Vorail: Its All in the Voice

May 9th, 2016

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Robert and Allison speak with a developer and a user of the new social media app called Vorail.

Rather than rely on text or photos, Vorail uses the human voice to communicate with other people. So far, this app has really resonated with people who are blind and visually impaired. Hopefully, lots of sighted people will start catching on to the benefits of Vorail as well. After only being publicly available for about two months, the app is already handling over 40,000 messages a day.

The developers have chosen the human voice over text or pictures because they believe that voices allow people to connect on a deeper human level where one is judged on what they say versus what they look like.

Because it is difficult to describe this community by talking about it, the last third of the podcast is made up of members of the Vorail community speaking for themselves about what Vorail means to them.

Robert and Allison believe that this community has a lot to offer. They appreciate the work that Tom and Mandi are doing and thank them for talking with us on the podcast. They also thank the members of the Vorail community who contributed to this episode as well.

Vorail
is available for free on the iOS app store. You just might want to give it a try.

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iPhone and iOS 9

May 2nd, 2016

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert speak with Anna Dresner about her recently released book “Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS 9.”

For several years, Anna has worked with National Braille Press to publish the only hardcopy braille step-by-step guide to using the iPhone for blind users. This latest update, covers all of the basics plus everything that is new in iOS 9. In addition to the book being great for beginners, the book will appeal to people who simply need to be reminded how a particular feature works. Geeks who want to know everything about the new features in iOS 9 will find this book helpful as well.

In addition to hardcopy braille, the book is available in DAISY, Word and Epub formats.

To locate the book, a reference card and other materials, go to
The National Braille Press
website and type “iPhone” in the search box.

Thanks Anna. The Tech Doctors appreciate all of the care and detail that you always put into this book. It is an excellent resource.

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Happy Birthday Apple

April 9th, 2016

This is a very special episode of the Tech Doctor podcast. Robert and Allison celebrate Apple’s 40th birthday with a panel of Apple accessibility rock stars.

We were fortunate to have author and Mac journalist, Shelly Brisbin join us. Shelly started using the Mac in 1986. She brought us a very unique perspective as a technical writer, publisher and low-vision Mac user.

In recent times, Shelly has thoroughly explored and written about iOS accessibility. Her current book entitled: iOS Access for All is a comprehensive guide to all of the iOS accessibility features. To purchase and/or learn more about the book, go to the book’s
Web Page

Shelly has a new podcast called
The Parallel
which she refers to as a “Tech podcast with accessibility sprinkles.”

Finally, you can keep in touch with Shelly by following her on Twitter. Shelly’s twitter name is @Shelly.

With around 400 instructional podcasts under his belt, David Woodbridge is arguably the most prolific Apple accessibility podcaster. We all learn from the excellent podcasts that David produces. Go
Here
to find all of David’s podcasts.

David has a free book available in iTunes where he helps blind people get started with Apple products. To find the book, search for “iSee” in the iTunes store.

David does a weekly radio show on Vision Australia Radio about accessibility. The show is also available as a podcast. To access the show notes, go to
This Website

You can follow David on Twitter. David’s Twitter name is @dwoodbridge.

Larry Skutchan harnessed the power of the Apple II in 1983 when he wrote one of the first fully accessible talking word processors. We introduce this podcast by playing a sample of the Echo II speech synthesizer which Larry’s word processor used to speak the text that was on the Apple’s screen. Larry went on to write a very popular terminal program for the Apple II. ProTerm enabled us to access such popular online services as GEnie, CompuServe and hundreds of BBS systems. Larry went on to write a very popular screen reader for DOS called ASAP.

At present, Larry is the Director of Technology Product Research at the
American Printing House for the Blind
He and his team, along with several other companies, are developing the first inexpensive refreshable Braille reading and note taking device. Go to the
Transforming Braille Website
to find out more information.

Larry told us that his team at APH will soon be seeking beta testers for a new GPS app called Nearby Explorer for iOS which will be released later this year. To sign up to be considered as a possible beta tester, go
Here

APH will be releasing an iOS version of their famous Talking Typer software later this year as well. At present, APH has two apps available in the iOS app store. They are Virtual Brailler” and “Math Robot.”

Allison and Robert were honored to celebrate Apple’s birthday with this outstanding panel. We want to thank them for all that they do for Apple Accessibility. We loved hearing your stories and we learned from your unique perspectives. Thanks for spending time with us. If you are at all interested in the history of Apple Accessibility, give this podcast a listen.

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Apple March 2016 Event

March 24th, 2016

In this Tech Doctor episode, Allison and Robert summarize the March 2016 Apple Event that was held on Monday, March21st. This will likely be the last event to be held on the current Apple campus. This is also happening very close to Apple’s 40th birthday.

Allison and Robert hope you enjoy hearing how Apple continues to move forward not only with the development of new products but in the area of health care research and environmental initiatives. It is refreshing to see this hugely successful company show its human side.

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Examining Sonos

February 29th, 2016

In this podcast, the Tech Doctors examine the speakers and other offerings from the Sonos company. Robert and Allison speak with a Tech Doctor listener and Sonos fan named David Lepofsky.

Before diving into Sonos, however, David talks with us about the disability advocacy work that he does in Canada. To learn more about the Ontario disability advocacy campaign go
here.
David has a
Lecture Series
on the fight to strengthen accessibility legislation in Canada. If you would like to receive email updates on the progress of the accessibility campaign, send a request
To

David and Allison are both users of the Sonos products. Allison uses Sonos speakers and David connects to Sonos using his existing stereo equipment. A good discussion of the accessibility of the Sonos app follows their explanation of their individual Sonos setup.

For more information about Sonos, go to their
Website
or call them toll free at
1.800.680.2345.
You can contact David on twitter @davidlepofsky
The Tech Doctors can be reached via
Email
do not hesitate to write if you have any comments or suggestions for Allison and Robert.

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Apple Accessories Error 53 and New Mac Software

February 15th, 2016

In this Tech Doctor Podcast, Robert begins by describing some new Apple accessories. He discusses the
iPhone Lightning Dock,
Apple Watch Dock,
Milanese Loop
and
Beats Pill Speakers.

Allison discusses the
Sonos Speakers.

Robert describes the new Trekz Titanium headphones from
Aftershokz

Robert and Allison discuss the controversy surrounding “Error 53.”

Finally, Robert and Allison talk about some new Mac software.
Loopback from Rogue Amoeba
and a piece of software, available in the Mac App Store, called
Podcast Chapters.

Robert used the Podcast Chapters software to divide this podcast into chapters. If your podcasting client supports this type of markup, try jumping around to different sections of the podcast and let us know what you think.

To learn more about using Podcast Chapters, check out these two excellent Applevis podcasts.
Podcast Chapters for OS X: Separate Podcasts into Chapters for Easier Listening and Navigation
and
Quick Tip: How to Navigate Podcasts by Chapter Using Downcast and Overcast for iOS
To understand just how easy it is to use Loopback with VoiceOver, Robert and Allison recommend this excellent
iBlind Tech Demo Podcast.

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Year End Review: Apple 2015

December 30th, 2015

In this podcast, the Tech Doctors offer their opinions on the major hardware and software that Apple released in 2015. It was a very busy year with plenty of excitement along the way.

They begin with the opinion that
VoiceOver Accessibility
has steadily improved throughout the year. As of the end of 2015, the Tech Doctors are confident that VoiceOver is performing well on all of the Apple devices. The current versions of iOS 9, OS X WatchOS 2 and tvOS are all working well with VoiceOver.

The Tech Doctors next discuss the
Apple Watch.
Robert loves his watch and uses it every day both at work and at home. Allison has not integrated her watch into her life to the extent that Robert has,but she acknowledges that the watch improves with every software update. Allison expects to enjoy the watch a lot more in 2016.

Robert briefly discusses an app which allows one to silently check the time on the watch by detecting vibration patterns that represent the hours and minutes. The app is called
TimeBuzz.
Robert next briefly demonstrates an app called
iReg.
This app allows one to record audio directly on the Apple Watch.

The Tech Doctors talk briefly about the new
MacBook.
Neither Robert nor Allison have one but they believe that it is the beginning of a new and exciting next generation of Apple laptops.

The Tech Doctors are seriously enjoying
Apple Music.
They love having streaming access to more than 30 million songs on iTunes.

The Tech Doctors then spend some time on the
iPhone 6s Plus.
Allison and Robert are of the opinion that this is by far the best iPhone that they have ever owned.

The podcast finishes with a discussion of the new 4th generation
Apple TV,
iPad Pro
and
OS X El Capitan.

The Tech Doctors feel that Apple did a great job in 2015. They can’t wait to see what comes along in 2016.

Finally, Robert and Allison very much appreciate your support of the Tech Doctor podcast. We hope you will continue to listen as we are certain that the best is yet to come.

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MLWordTips with Lynnette and Maria

December 7th, 2015

In this podcast, the Tech Doctors have the pleasure of talking with Lynnette Tatum and Maria Rios all about their new iOS app called MLWordTips.

For twenty years, Lynnette provided her students with notes on how to use Microsoft Word using the keyboard rather than the mouse. Lynnette turned these twenty years worth of notes into a beautiful iOS app making MS Word keyboard shortcuts accessible to everyone who has an iOS device.

Lynnette took us through how she got the idea for the app. She and Maria wrote and edited the content and Michael Doise of
iAccessibility
developed the app.

The Tech Doctors are of the opinion that this app is equally beneficial for blind and sighted people who want to get the most out of Microsoft Word. We congratulate Lynnette for having the courage and the passion to turn her idea into a product that everyone can purchase on the iOS app store.

Check out
MLWordTips
for yourself. Then, get to work and create an app of your own.

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Developing iOS and Mac Apps

November 18th, 2015

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Robert and Allison talk with Jeff Bishop, Alex Hall and Michael Doise about the development of the innovative iOS app for the American Council of the Blind called
ACB Link.

Jeff Bishop begins by taking us through the basic features and capabilities of the app. Michael Doise, the app’s developer, then talks with us about what it is like to take a set of ideas and turn them into a fully functioning iOS app.

The podcast then moves to a broader discussion of the accessibility of app development for people who are visually impaired and blind. Alex Hall tells us about a tutorial that he has published on
AppleVis
teaching VoiceOver users how to work with Xcode on the Mac. We learn that Apple has made it easy for developers to build VoiceOver accessible apps.

We conclude with the realization that app development is a viable career for blind and visually impaired people. Michael Doise tells us that his company called
iAccessibility
is interested in working with blind and low vision Apple developers. We see Apple app development as an excellent career opportunity for qualified blind and visually impaired people.

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Talking Apple TV with David Woodbridge

November 10th, 2015

This Tech Doctor Podcast is all about the new 4th generation
Apple TV

Robert and Allison spent the hour with
David Woodbridge.
At the time of this podcast, David has published 13 excellent podcasts teaching us to use the new Apple TV with VoiceOver. He says that he plans to publish at least 20 podcasts on the Apple TV.

We discuss the new hardware, describe how to set it up and talk about how this device differs from the third generation Apple TV. We agree that the new Siri remote and the ability to install apps from the Apple TV app store are the big changes available in this 4th generation Apple TV.

The three of us conclude, that once again, Apple has taken the lead on providing the most accessible set-top box that is currently available. We are really enjoying this new Apple TV. Sit back and let us tell you all about it.

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