Global Perspective

April 19th, 2014

In this podcast, Allison and Robert have the pleasure of speaking with Jean Parker.

While in elementary school at the Perkins school for the blind, Jean was introduced to a number of international students and faculty. She realized that she wanted to travel the world and visit the places that she was learning about. As a radio journalist, educator, activist, researcher and Ph.D. candidate, Jean has lived and worked all over the world.

In this podcast, Jean shares some fascinating experiences and tells us about her doctoral research which is designed to help people in India prepare for and recover from the many natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis which unfortunately occur far to frequently in Asia.

Jean creatively uses technology to accomplish her goals. She prefers devices that can do multiple things. The iPhone and Book Port Plus are examples of such technology. The eleven inch MacBook Air has turned out to be the only computer that Jean caries with her. She tell us about how she is creatively using a combination of community radio and mobile phone technology in her transformative doctoral research.

We are confident that you will learn as much from listening to our conversation with Jean as we did. After all, learning something new is what the Tech Doctor podcast is all about.

We invite you to
us at the Tech Doctor podcast with any comments and suggestions.


Comparing iOS Devices and Notetakers

April 6th, 2014

Allison begins this episode by introducing her very special new friend to the Tech Doctor podcast.

We spend the remainder of the show reviewing an excellent
Applevis blog post
Comparing iOS devices with specialized notetakers built by companies who create products specifically for people who are blind.

We are excited about this most interesting and worthwhile topic and appreciate the perspective that is presented in this blog post.


CSUN 2014

March 23rd, 2014

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert begin with a discussion of their experience at the
“29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference”

Allison and Robert do not discuss new products but encourage everyone to listen to the vendor interviews done by
Blind Bargains.

While in San Diego, Robert and Allison had the pleasure of spending time with three of their favorite Apple Podcasters. Shelly Brisbin from
Shelly’s Podcast
Adam Christianson from
The Mac Cast
and Allison and Steve Sheridan from
They then play a portion of their CSUN presentation entitled: “Creating Podcasts That People Want to Hear.” Following is a description and a link for each piece of software that is used in the creation and publication of the Tech Doctor podcast.

To record the Tech Doctor podcast over Skype, we use
Audio Hijack Pro

To edit the recording, we use
Sound Studio

To make sure that each podcast participant is speaking at the same volume, we use

To convert the podcast audio file from AIFF to MP3, we use

To upload the podcast audio file to the Tech Doctor website, we use an FTP client called

To edit and upload the Tech Doctor show notes, we use


Music By Ear

March 11th, 2014

When thinking of all that is most pleasurable in life, the Tech Doctors believe that the making of music is very near the top of the list.

Everyone is familiar with a handful of famous blind musicians, but how do the rest of us learn to play an instrument?

In this podcast, we talk with Bill Brown who teaches people to play music by ear. Bill’s online music lessons work equally well for both sighted and blind students.

is screen reader friendly and all of the lessons are available as a download. The prices are very reasonable and the quality of the instruction is excellent.

While Bill did not develop his “Music By Ear” lessons originally for people who are blind, he has added introductory courses where he teaches blind people what they need to know to get started with a particular instrument.

The number of different instruments and the variety of songs that Bill teaches is nothing short of amazing. There is something there for everybody.

Finally, if you live in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom, and you are eligible for services from your country’s library for the blind, Bill’s lessons are available through your national library service.

Listen to this podcast and take Bill Brown up on the special offer that he made to Tech Doctor listeners. There is nothing more satisfying than learning to play a musical instrument.


Bits and Bobs

March 6th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert begin by discussing a
blog post
where the author has decided to switch from the Mac back to Windows because of concerns about Mac accessibility.

They then share their opinions about an
that explains how Google has failed developers by not including all of the standard accessibility hooks in the Android operating system.

Next, Robert describes two books that he has recently enjoyed. The first book is by Dave Eggers. It is called “The Circle” and is available on
The second book is called “The Martian” by Andy Weir. It is available from
Before leaving books, Robert and Allison talk about an iOS app that they use to keep track of what they are reading. The app is called “I Read It Now” and the developer has worked hard to make both the
version fully accessible with VoiceOver.

Next Robert talks about an online backup service which he has found to be totally accessible and extremely easy to install and utilize. The service is called
Back Blaze.
In addition to being an excellent online backup system for the Mac, Back Blaze has a fully accessible iPhone app allowing one to view and restore files directly from the iPhone.

In the next section of the podcast, Robert and Allison discuss their favorite RSS clients. Robert describes
for the iPhone,
Mr. Reader
for the iPad and
for the Mac. Robert keeps all of these RSS apps synced using an RSS service called
Feed Rangler.

Finally, Robert and Allison compare and contrast the features an capabilities of current iOS book readers and players with the most current specialized player for the blind called the
Victor Reader Stream.
While Allison and Robert agree that the new generation of the Stream offers a very nice interface to internet radio stations, Bookshare and NFB Newsline, they feel that iOS apps still offer more variety and flexibility. They do not believe that using a touch screen is a significant barrier for most people.


For the Benefit of Those Who See

February 24th, 2014

In this Tech Doctor episode, Robert and Allison have the pleasure of speaking with Rosemary Mahoney who just published her sixth book. Rosemary is a sighted woman who became interested in really understanding what it is really like to be blind.

In the book, Rosemary candidly describes her journey of going from a person who was fearful of blind people to someone who now has significant insight in to how blind people function in the world. She dispels the myth that blind people are depressed and helpless. The book is honest, accurate and at times quite humorous.

The podcast gives one a good idea of what Rosemary experienced but one can only fully appreciate the power of this story by reading the book.

In addition to being available in print, the book is in audio format from both and the National Library Service BARD site. The National Braille Press will be making the book available in Braille as well. The book is entitled: “For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches From the World of the Blind.” More information is available at
Rosemary’s website.

Robert and Allison agree that this is an extremely important book for everyone to read. We feel that sighted people can especially benefit from what Rosemary has to say.


Voice Dream iPad Air and Unified English Braille

December 11th, 2013

Robert begins this Tech Doctor episode with a new year’s resolution.

Allison tells us all about how to play MP3 audio books with the latest
Voice Dream Reader.

Robert takes us through the process of choosing the
iPad Air
over the iPad Mini.

Finally, the Tech Doctors discuss the
Unified English Braille Code
which will be officially adopted by the United States in 2016.

Happy holidays to all of our wonderful Tech Doctor listeners. There will be more Tech Doctor podcasts coming your way in 2014.


Out of the Whirlpool By Sue Martin

November 13th, 2013

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert speak with Sue Martin. Sue has recently written and published her memoir. The book is entitled “Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation.” Sue’s story is absolutely one of triumph and fulfillment. It begins, however, with Sue describing her serious struggle with depression and the suicide attempt which resulted in blindness.

Sue tells her story in a very honest and compelling manner. This allows the reader to have both an intellectual and a emotional experience while reading the book. One feels as if they are walking along with Sue as she tells her story.

The book is available in print and audio directly from
Sue’s website.

Out of the Whirlpool is available as an ebook in both the
stores. It can also be ordered from any book store.

Robert and Allison love this book and encourage everyone to read it. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversation with Sue and invite you to check out her website not only for the book but for her other writing as well.

After completing our conversation with Sue Martin, we turn our attention to the new Mac operating system update from Apple called Mavericks.

Robert and Allison have found Mavericks to be a solid operating system. The accessibility with VoiceOver is excellent just as it was with Mountain Lion. We discuss a few miner issues that we have found but highly recommend that people upgrade. That is after you have done a complete backup of your computer.

To learn more about Mavericks, we recommend the Mavericks podcasts from
David Woodbridge
Sarah Alawami.

If you really want to explore the technical aspects of Mavericks, we recommend the excellent review by
John Siracusa.



November 6th, 2013

In this podcast, Allison and Robert discuss what we are likely to see from Apple regarding new iPads, MacBook Pros and the eminent release of Mavericks.

They describe the importance of backing up ones system before updating the OS including some recommended backup software.

Robert And Allison discuss their experiences with iOS 7. They are in agreement that it is a very solid first version of the OS.

They explain how one can use the “Drafts” notes app in conjunction with MBraille to create and edit notes. These notes can easily be stored in Dropbox.

Finally, Allison and Robert discuss some of what is new in the world of ebooks and reading.


Learning iOS 7 the Easy Way

September 24th, 2013

In this Tech Doctor podcast, Allison and Robert spend the first 45 minutes with Jonathan Mosen discussing his new book called “iOS 7 Without the Eye.” While not intended for the iOS beginner, this is an excellent resource for quickly and easily getting up to speed with what’s new and different in iOS 7.

The book is available directly from Jonathan and comes in PDF, RTF and EPUB formats.

For more information go to
Jonathan’s Website

Robert and Allison spend the last 15 minutes discussing their new and exciting iPhone 5s acquisitions. I’ll bet you can hear the excitement in our voices.