Mac For The Blind Apple Certified

January 24th, 2015

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert have the good fortune of spending the hour with John Panarese the owner of an excellent resource called
Mac For The Blind.
This website is filled with up-to-date information to assist blind people in learning to get the most from their Apple devices.

In addition to the website, John offers training and consultation to individuals and agencies who seek assistance with Apple products.

John is a certified Apple Support Professional. He describes the process of becoming Apple certified, telling us what it means and how to go about it. Getting certified by Apple is a rigorous process. We applaud John for completing this certification.

Robert and Allison are pleased to provide you with this information about Mac For The Blind. We encourage you to contact John for training and/or consultation. Thanks, John, we appreciate all that you are doing for Apple Accessibility.


Burning Questions: The Tech Doctor Perspective

December 9th, 2014

In this podcast, Robert and Allison explore some interesting questions regarding recent software and hardware releases from

Both iOS 8.0 and Yosemite OS 10.10 required software updates to fix numerous bugs. While buggy software is frustrating, is Apple slipping in this area? It seems that every major operating system developer has to release bug fixes after a major dot zero release. Apple, however, prides itself on providing the best possible customer experience. Do they need to slow down and not try to do a major upgrade of both operating systems every year? Does Apple try to innovate too much in each release? If they did not, would their competition get ahead? Does Apple need to hire more software engineers to smooth out the development process? Is there any way to get the bugs out of complex operating systems before release? Are we as Apple consumers expecting too much from each new release?

On the hardware side, why are many of us still waiting to get the iPhone 6 Plus which is in very short supply? What does this mean for the next iPhone? Is the demand simply so high that making enough in time for launch is impossible?

After exploring some of these issues, Allison and Robert move into a discussion of the Victor Reader Stream from
While Robert and Allison are very satisfied that they can do everything on their iOS devices that the Stream can do, is the Stream’s excellent user interface enough to warrant its purchase to operate alongside the Apple devices?

Robert and Allison are interested in your input on these difficult issues. Feel free to
the Tech Doctor podcast with your ideas.


Allison and Her iPhone 6 Plus

November 10th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert briefly discuss the new Apple hardware and software that was announced at two major Apple events in the fall of 2014.

They quickly move to the heart of the podcast, however, which is a discussion of Allison’s brand new iPhone 6 Plus.

When you listen to the podcast, you just might hear some excitement.


People Helping People

September 29th, 2014

In this podcast, Robert and Allison Speak with Akash Khanolkar. Akash is a junior Information Systems major at Carnegie Mellon University. He is developing an iPhone app called CrowdViz which will allow people who are blind to connect with sighted volunteers for assistance. The app connects people using Apple’s streaming video service called FaceTime.

Akash describes his vision of how the service will work. We discuss several use cases for such a service.

For more information, and to provide Akash with feedback, take a look at the

We invite you to
us with your comments and questions as well.

We are excited about the possibilities for this innovative project and wish Akash and his partners all the best.


Follow the Dream

September 23rd, 2014

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert speak with Chelsea Cook. Chelsea is a senior Physics major with minors in Astronomy and Mathematics at Virginia Tech University. Since elementary school, Chelsea has dreamed of becoming an astronaut. Chelsea’s passion for space exploration and her love of astronomy have in no way been dampened by her blindness.

In the podcast, Chelsea explains some of the challenges and creative solutions that have emerged as she pursues her scientific education. She describes how the accessible iOS touch-screen has helped her understand spatial relationships and how VoiceOver accessibility on the Mac has enabled her to more efficiently work with spreadsheet data.

To learn more about how Chelsea does her work, check out this
Virginia Tech TEDX Video presentation
that Chelsea recorded in November of 2013. You can learn more about Chelsea and her work by reading
This Article
which Chelsea published in the January 2013 NFB Monitor. While participating in an internship at Space Telescope, Chelsea developed some images which were recently published in
This iBook.

Robert and Allison are confident that Chelsea has a bright future ahead. After listening to this podcast, you will certainly agree.

Thanks Chelsea, and keep us posted.


September 9th Apple Event

September 12th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert discuss the September 9th Apple event where the new
Apple Pay
Apple Watch
were presented for the first time.

Just in case you can’t tell from listening, Robert and Allison are very excited about these new products.


Painting the Back of the Apple Accessibility Fence with Rene Ritchie

August 12th, 2014

In this podcast, Allison and Robert speak with Rene Ritchie; writer, podcaster and creative force behind the very successful
website. In June of 2014, Rene wrote an article entitled
Apple and Accessibility: Pushing back against unacceptable realities.

In the podcast, we learn how Rene became interested in accessibility. He explains how Apple’s focus on accessibility is resulting in better products for everyone and not just benefiting people who have a disability. Rene explains the importance of Apple’s commitment to accessibility coming from the top down. This is a major factor in Apple having become the world leader in designing and producing devices that are useable by everyone.

We discuss the future of accessibility and Rene emphasizes the idea that we can all do more for accessibility. To this end, Rene has created a
Disability Hub
at We encourage everyone to go there and participate. By helping each other, we can make Apple accessibility even better.

Thanks Rene for your commitment to accessibility and for providing a place where stimulating and important discussions can take place. If we bring our experience and expertise to the iMore disability discussions, we can improve Apple accessibility for everybody.


Mastering the Macintosh

August 5th, 2014

How many times have you heard the following statement? “The Mac is great for working with email, web browsing and basic word processing. If, however, you want to get real work done, you will have to use Microsoft Office and a Windows Screen Reader.”

In his new book, Mastering the Macintosh with VoiceOver, Tim Sniffen teaches VoiceOver users how to work with Apple’s Pages and Numbers software to accomplish the same advanced word processing and spreadsheet tasks that most people think can only be done using a windows screen reader.

As Allison and Robert discuss this book with Tim, it becomes apparent that Tim’s years of experience and his passion for teaching access technology has enabled him to write a book demonstrating that a skilled VoiceOver user can indeed reach the same level of productivity on the Mac that can be achieved by an accomplished user of windows screen reading technology.

In addition to building on what most Mac users already know as a result of having used an iOS device, Tim makes extensive use of such important Mac and VoiceOver features as the item chooser, custom keyboard shortcuts and custom trackpad gestures to accomplish such things as table creation and the building of sophisticated spreadsheets.

Robert and Allison believe that Tim’s book is the perfect follow-up to Janet Ingber’s National Braille Press book called
Learning the Mac with VoiceOver.
Mastering the Macintosh with VoiceOver is for anyone who wants to move beyond the basics and explore just how much can actually be done with VoiceOver on the Mac.

Tim’s book is available free of charge in the
iBook Store.
We recommend that you read the book on your iOS device while practicing what is being taught on your Mac.

Thanks Tim for a great podcast and congratulations on the fabulous job that you did on this book. Keep pushing the access technology envelope.


Learning the Mac and discussing Podcasting Apps

July 29th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert speak with Janet Ingber about her new book. The book is called “Learning the Mac with VoiceOver: A Step-byStep Guide.” The book is available in hardcopy Braille as well as several electronic formats from the
National Braille Press

Robert and Allison share the opinion that this is an excellent book for anyone who wants to learn to use the Mac with VoiceOver. The book certainly can be read cover to cover but is also, thanks to its step-by-step approach an excellent reference resource. The book begins with how to select a Mac and takes the reader through setting up the computer and teaches one how to get around the Mac as well as how to use several very popular built-in applications.

Robert and Allison next discuss the new podcasting app called
They recommend giving Overcast a try especially if you are in to speed listening. They also point out, however, that
is still an excellent app for podcast listening. It offers some advantages not currently available in Overcast. We have found substantial reasons to keep both apps on our devices.


Teaching Excellence

July 21st, 2014

In this podcast, Allison and Robert have the pleasure of talking with VaShaun Jones the creator of a company called Fedora Outlier. This company is all about teaching you to get the most from your Apple devices.

VaShaun was one of the people who helped Apple make the iPhone accessible in 2009. He realized that accessible Apple technology had the potential to change the lives of blind people. For this to happen, however, people need a systematic and organized way to learn to use this innovative technology. Fedora Outlier is committed to teaching people everything that they need to know to become highly efficient Apple users.

Check out the
for full details on books and materials, one on one teaching, online courses and a lot more. Whether you are just getting started or an experienced Apple user, there will be something for you at Fedora Outlier.