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The biggest names, the latest news, and leading insights from the field. Weekly Podcasts, interviews, technology demonstrations, and commentary from industry experts. Get more at
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    Meka White provides her very first interview for the BB Qast in this special look at the Speed Dots booth. Hear Rachel Feinberg tells Meka about products like the power Cube. Plus the screen protectors, talking thermometers and Bluetooth accessories that the company is already known for are on full display. Head over to the Speed Dots website to learn more about the various items in the catalog.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    J.J. managed to find time away from the A.T. Guys booth to post some convention coverage of his own. In this interview John Herzog, Accessibility Solutions Engineer, describes the many advancements AT&T media based products have been gaining since November 2016. Both the DirecTV apps for Android and iOS are speech friendly now with their respective screen readers. John will take us on a tour of the iOS app with stops by the DVR Manager and live TV functions. You will also hear how you can turn on the talking guide on your DirecTV box along with some other information about accessing your secondary audio. John will also provide information about how similar features can be utilized via the U-Verse apps. All of this amazing access is free to U-Verse and DirecTV subscribers. The Talking Guide page at DirecTV has more information about this new feature of the subscription television service.
    And visit this page to learn more about U-Verse and audio description.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Earle Harrison chatted with Meka White about several of the products offered by Triumph Technology. From one of the world's smallest Braille Displays to mobility aids like the Buzz Clip, Triumph has something for you. Visit this proud Minnesota-based company's [website]( to purchase any of the products mentioned in this interview.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Laura Legendary, co-founder of the Fashionability Channel and podcast, is no stranger to those who have heard our summer convention coverage before. This year Laura truly broadens her product lines by adding items for the celebration of those in Pride communities. She also has some "jingly jangly" charms that are perfect for the sun worshiper, the butterfly fan and the nature lover in all of us. Her jewelry is very tactile and stylish. To learn more, and visit with the woman herself, travel to the Elegant Insights website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Joe caught up with the fabulous Ginny Owens to find out how her tour was going since her last appearances on the BB Qast. Ginny talks life on the road and how prep is going for her forthcoming book. Ginny is also making plans to begin her own podcast soon. The show will focus on compelling inspirational stories she has amassed through her travels. Ginny brought her recently released merchandise, including a beautiful T-Shirt, to convention. Visit her website to snag one of your very own. You can hear clips of "Love Be The Loudest" in our multi episode celebration of the album's launch last year. Part one can be found in episode 79 with the second portion in BBQ 81.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Barry barely had a voice left by the time Joe caught up with him at his booth on the Exhibit Hall floor. That's because his products were very popular with the convention crowds. Barry takes us on a tour of the 5 products that moved the most out of his hands and into those of eager customers. From speakers to unique battery charge options, Guide Lights and Gadgets has something for every price point. To order any of the products mentioned in this interview, head over to the company's website for contact information.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Meka White spoke with Lydia Washington about the continuing work that the U.S. Treasury Bureau of Engraving and Printing is doing to aid in the access of currency. Apps such as the iPhone based iNote and the Android based Ideal Currency Identifier are great for those who rely on smartphones for their primary forms of access. However, thanks to Orbit Research, you can obtain a free easy to use iBill MoneyReader that will identify currency without having to use a smartphone. Visit the BEP website to download the application needed to qualify you for this free service in order to obtain an iBill. It is also a good site to gain more information about currency accessibility in general.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Meka White takes some time to see what Alice Woodside Lynch brought to convention. What she found was that you needed to see Alice early, as many of her cane charms, bracelets and other fantastic jewelry was incredibly popular -- especially if you wanted matching tokens of Labs, Sheppards and other Service Animals to wear as earrings, necklaces or other adornments. Check out the interview to hear what other products were a hit at ACB. And don't forget you can pick up items by visiting Alice on the web.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    The Optelec US Twitter account suggested that attendees should visit the VFO booth to see the newly announced Compact 6, so Joe thought he should do just that. hear Joe Chung, Director of Sales and Professional Products - Western United States for VFO, take us on a tour of the feature set of the new portable Video Magnifier now debuting in the Compact line. A physical description, a discussion of the touch interface and some good use cases for the unit are sprinkled throughout this interview. The Compact 6 is in the pre-production portion of its life cycle with a launch of the product coming very soon. To learn more about this magnifier, and other brands within VFO, visit the company's website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Mike Tindell was one of the busiest people in Sparks. Product demonstrations, mini tutorials on new devices and he may have even dealt a few hands of Blackjack down in the casino for all we know. Joe found Mike drinking a cup of coffee and decided that he might be able to coax a few words about what was new at Humanware out of him between sips. hear Mike talk about upcoming changes to the Braille note Touch, launch information about the Brailiant 14 and what's new with the recently released Connect Video Magnifier. Also, if you haven't heard it already, you can hear Joe and Greg Stilson discuss the new Victor Reader Trek in depth in our latest BB Qast Special. Remember you can order many of these products by contacting Humanware directly or by direct purchase from their website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    We were there when the newest member of the Braille Sense family was announced back in march. Dave Wilkinson, manager for both the Polaris and the National Education division, returns to our microphones to commemerate the recent launch of the braille notetaker. Dave will outline some of the features, layout and aspects of the polaris that have changed since the debut announcement. He'll also provide some audience Q&A throughout the recording. The Braille Sense Polaris is shipping now and you can learn even more about it by visiting the product page at the HIMS website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Ed Rogers, Managing Director of Bristol Braille, shows Chancey the newly minted Canute Mark XII. Sporting 9 lines of solid Braille, with 40 cells in total, the Canute is a standalone open sourced Braille E-Reader. hear a tour of the unit and details on the hardware specifications. Ed also informs Chancey on how the previous prototypes have been doing in Educational settings and future plans for the final release version of the product. Ed suggests that those who would like to keep up with the development of Canute subscribe to the Braillists forum and newsletter. You can also stay up to date on the distribution rollout, and pricing, for the Canute by visiting the official Bristol Braille website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Chancey caught up with Mel Scott, founder of Blind Alive, during her personal marathon that is the NFB Exhibit Hall floor. Mel has just released a new line of exercise audios and she has recently launched a health-related podcast. Blind Alive's work out series are perfect for those who are looking for beginner's level guided instruction, as well as those looking for a range of more advanced physical challenges. You can learn more about the various levels of blind-friendly audio workouts by visiting the Blind Alive website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Betsy Beaumon, President of Benetech Inc,
    and Lisa Wators, Senior Program Manager at, sit down with [Chancey] to discuss many ways that Benitech allows people to read text in alternative formats. Betsy outlines some of the education aspects of image description and math access through the Diagram Center of Benetech labs. Lisa provides us with updates coming to Bookshare in the form of the new advanced search feature, a wider availability of the reading list options and how you can be a part of the library partnership program. Be sure to visit the Diagram Center website to learn more about the image technology techniques mentioned in this interview.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Not so long ago, at CSUN17, Buddy found this wearable that allowed you to type on your iPhone by just tapping fingers on any surface.
    Chancey caught up with Dovid Schick, founder and CEO of Tap Systems, on the NFB's Exhibit Hall floor in order to try the lightweight accessory for herself. Listen as she describes and demonstrates the process of typing with the Tap. To learn more about Tap, visit the company's website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Venkatesh Chari, President and CTO of Orbit Research, was one of the busiest people at NFB17. Somehow our intrepid Chancey Fleet was able to gain a few minutes of his time to talk about the launch of the $449 20-cell Orbit Reader. She also was able to get an update on the Graphiti tablet as well. You don't want to skip this one for sure. Keep up with all the goings on at Orbit research by bookmarking their website in your internet browser of choice.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Be sure to have your earbuds in for this special interview as Chancey recorded this from a set of binaural microphones. Hear Anthony Mattana, founder and CEO of Hook Audio, speak to Chancey about the Verse line of products in an outdoor setting. Anthony explains how he came to make his products accessible to the Blind and what he has learned from his attendance at the 2017 NFB Convention. If you are interested in learning more about Hooke Audio, visit the company's website. And you can learn more about the product's accessibility by reading this blog post.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Chancey had to dodge dog guides, fight for food through crowds of convention attendees and track down all these interviews you have been listening to from NFB17. She has truly earned her spoils of victory. So why not celebrate by slaying a few dragons, or go wandering through a dungeon or two? It seems tame when compared to the Exhibit Hall floor actually. Chancey began her quest by talking with Beth Carrigan, General manager for the game Materia Magica, and she learns how easy it will be for her to play this 22 year old text adventure. With Windows and Screen Reader in hand, you can join the Lady Fleet online in this classic MUD. The game is free. However, donations are what allows this game to stay as strong as a castle wall. Visit the game's portal and the accessibility help page to learn how to play. If you dare...

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Android notetakers are pretty common now. However, one of the first units to enter the marketplace was the Braille2Go from National Braille press. Brian McDonald, President of National Braille Press, provides Chancey with a deep dive into the B2G hardware and software ecosystem. hear Chancey take her elementary steps into the world of the B2G with a demonstration of navigation in an app that shows the periodic table. To learn more about the B2G, or the other wonderful products and services from the National Braille press, visit the product's website.

    Sponsor: HIMS, Inc.
    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    From a room somewhere within the Nugget Casino in Sparks Nevada comes the first ever BBQ Game Show. Recorded in front of a live studio audience, and thankfully edited for podcast presentation by Mr. Derrick Lane, our announcer Joe Steinkamp provides the info for our Master of Ceremonies J.J. Meddaugh. Join the BBQ Crew in a series of pricing games that bear little resemblance to those you might have heard on other popular nationally syndicated programs. Ahem, cough cough, hear members of the studio audience compete for valuable prizes. Also, for stuff we didn't want to pack up with us for the trip back home.

    Before we begin, we would like to thank immensely those who provided prizes to the event. Speed Dots and Ginny Owens are fine folks. So please check out their pages linked within our show notes to learn more about what they do and offer. Prize pricing was based on product pricing from A.T. Guys, Speed Dots and Food item pricing came from time of purchase prices at the local chain Smart And Final
    Food item links listed below do not match with prices mentioned during the show and are provided for those who wish to experience the possible deliciousness of them for themselves.

    4 items below

    Our first contestant is Wendy. There are six items on display. Can she guess which ones are under $3.00? If she can, she will win up to $100 in A.T. Guys spendable cash.

    Air Heads Xtremes Sweetly Sour Candy Rainbow Berry

    Two Bite Watermelon Cupcakes

    Nabisco Oreo Chocolate Firework Limited Edition Sandwich Cookies

    Cheetos Flamin' Hot Chipotle Ranch Crunchy Cheese Flavored Snacks

    Barcel Corn Snack, Hot Chili Pepper & Lime, Takis

    First Street Black Cherry Sparkling Water

    The Human Clock Game

    Marco came down to the podium for our second game. He must guess the prices correctly within 30 seconds. If he can, he will win a bunch of musical swag, and a Bluetooth Remote

    First, a Ginny Owens prize pack
    This includes a Love be the Loudest T-Shirt,
    a USB drive loaded with music and videos,
    and a copy of her latest CD.
    Courtesy of Ginny Owens.

    Then, control this music with
    a Bluetooth Remote Control
    Play music, control the volume
    even activate Siri with this remote
    Connect to your mobile phone for wireless control of
    your tunes, BARD, and more.
    from A T Guys

    Pick a Number

    Cathy steps up for the third game of the day. She must guess numbers from 0 to 8. Each number represents a number in the price of a prize or the pig-shaped bank where we keep our change at the A.T. Guys booth. If Cathy guesses correctly she will win the following...

    first, a tumbler emblazoned with the hotel logo. It is tall with red lettering on a solid black background.

    Next, a SpeedDots prize package!

    This package includes:
    A 5 port rockwall USB charger
    This compact charger will charge and power 5 of your devices.
    Use it on your desk, or night stand, or take it with you on your travels.
    Even use it while Traveling abroad!

    A three in one durable charging cable.
    Stop carrying bags of cables.
    Charge all your devices from a single cable,
    whether it's Micro USB , lightning, or the new USBC, you can charge them all.
    all aluminum construction so it won't fray
    6-foot length
    and Apple certified.

    Finally, a SpeedDots tempered glass screen protector bundle.
    This bundle combines everything people have asked for in a screen protector.
    Not only do you get the speedDots screen protector of your choice for faster navigation or typing,
    you also get a high quality glass screen protector, so your screen is protected against drops and bangs.
    All of this, from Speed Dots.

    plus 2 shiny pennies courtesy of J.J. and Joe.

    A Show Off Showcase

    Our last game features Sandi and Karen. Whoever guesses a number that is closest to the price, without mentioning a larger number than the price itself, will win. here is what items are on display.

    A Cone-shaped Bluetooth Speaker
    along with a gaggle of items we found in the Nugget gift shop. Such as magnets, shot glasses and nifty pen-sized flashlights that said "Reno" and "Nugget" on them.

    Let's have a hand for Wendy, Marco, Cathy, Sandi and Karen for being our first ever game show contestants. They were great sports and it made this event a real thrill for us.

    We'd really like to thank everyone for helping us make this first outing a fantastically fun night. Dave Wilkinson, our human clock and random number generator, was a last second addition to the proceedings. And, as stated during the program we could not have captured this on audio without the help of the talented Derrick Lane!

    Visit his site to learn more about how you can harness the power of his audio production.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Anyone know which end of a microphone you speak into to do a podcast? We've been a way for a while. However now that the summer shows have ended, we're back to recording shows in the studio and not in a hotel. And it seems like some big news was waiting for us to talk about. News so big that we thought Chancey Fleet should join us to discuss the week's events. There is a tip and an audio-based "Last Word" in there too. So kick up your heels and turn on the AC as we're saying good bye to the summer conventions on BBQ 109.

    Sponsor: Humanware

    This episode is brought to you by HumanWare.
    Last year HumanWare partnered with Google to launch the BrailleNote Touch, the world s first and only Google Certified braille tablet.
    The BrailleNote Touch combines the simplicity and efficiency of the well-known KeySoft user experience, with the power and openness of a mainstream tablet.
    Use the familiar KeySoft apps to accomplish your daily tasks of document creation, email, or internet browsing, while downloading any accessible app from the Google PlayStore. Once downloaded, KeySoft ensures those apps are efficient to use with braille. If you don t want to type on the Touch s included physical keyboard, you can type completely scilently on it s touch screen using the innovative TouchBraille typing system. With school starting back up, use KeyMath in your math classes, the all in one system which allows braille math to be converted to perfect looking print math in real time. And if you have not updated your Touch to version 4, it is live and waiting for you in the KeyUpdater app.
    The BrailleNote Touch, The future is so close, you can touch it.
    Learn more about the BrailleNote Touch or any of Humanware s products by visiting or by calling 800.722.3393.
    You can also watch any of the several BrailleNote Touch Snapshot videos done by HumanWare by visiting their YouTube channel at .

    In The News

    Breaking: NVDA's Jamie Teh Leaving for New Job with Mozilla

    Opinion: Shady Code Alert: Amazon iPhone App Detects Voiceover and Quietly Disables Alexa

    Hims Focuses on Camera, QWERTY Keyboards for First BrailleSense Polaris Update

    Accessible Apps updates Twitter Client Chicken Nugget to version 4.4

    Discussion Topic: Big Stories From ACB/NFB Summer Conventions

    The subject list is shallow but the conversation delves deeply into the major highlights of the summer conventions. Chancey, J.J. and Joe have some opinions and we hope you send along yours as well because there were some bombshells dropped in the A.T. world between episodes 107 to 109.

    Need Vision on Demand? There s an App for That

    Microsoft releases the Seeing A.I. app to the iOS App Store

    Innovation, Blindness, and the Emerging Pattern of Thought

    Everyone is talking about the Orbit Reader

    Tip: Barcode Reading on Demand

    J.J. demonstrates some features of the Seeing AI app which can be used to identify products.

    Last Word:

    From our summer earworms to yours... You know you missed this section!

    The march to the winter announcements begins in a month or so. That leaves us a few shows to provide more "catch up" coverage before we start talking about phones and watches. Next week, we'll cover some of the other news that passed by while we were away.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    You might be wondering how Blind and Low Vision people can enjoy the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st. In this episode we speak to Dr. Henry Winter, a real honest to goodness astrophysicist who tells us how we can participate in the big cosmic event. We also sync our Google Home calendars, talk more about the Orbit Reader and we strap on our red shoes for the "Last Word".

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    The Onkyo Braille Essay Contest Returns with $2,000 Top Prize for Braille Essays

    Humanware and APH release the Matt Connect video magnifier

    Here's a story we didn't get to last week when we were discussing news out of Orlando.
    Alexa, Open NFB-Newsline

    Our friend @AccessAna turned us onto the latest with Brailleback in this tweet:

    New beta of #BrailleBack for #Android, featuring contracted Braille input, grade switching on the Fly, and wordwrap.

    And, after we recorded this episode, it seems Android O is almost here according to this ArsTechnica article.

    How fast can you process words? Participate in a 10 minute Research Study to F

    Be sure to catch up on your summer reading with the July and August issues of Access World.

    Navigate the Playa Accessibly with Updated Burning Man Maps

    Interview: Eclipse Soundscapes

    Dr. Henry Trae Winter, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, sits down with J.J. to talk about Eclipse Soundscapes. Learn how you can use this free app for iOS and Android to experience the solar eclipse on Monday, and how you can participate as a citizen scientist by providing audio of the event. There's more coming up after the eclipse as well, so don't delete the app after Monday.

    Tip: Google Home Calendar

    The ability to add appointments to your calendar from your Google Home arrived during our time away at Summer Conventions. Joe walks us through the process. However, here is an article that outlines the steps as well.

    Sound Off:

    Here are three emails that touch upon some of our thoughts from episode 109. Firstly, from long time listener Rebecca Skipper, an email entitled "Welcome Back".


    Episode 109 is one of my favorites from the BBQ.

    I share Joe s concerns about the potential loss of choice, but I m even more concerned about affordability if the government purchases Braille displays on bulk.

    Yes, I ve received AT from VR, but once I started working, I discovered just how empowering it can be if you, the consumer, purchase your own products.

    I bought my second Braille Notetaker after the first one crashed.

    I look forward to the opportunity to buy my own technology in the future.

    Please remember how the Orbit Reader 20 was launched from a group of nonprofit organizations who wanted to keep the price down so that more people have access to Braille.

    That major milestone should not be overlooked.

    What an amazing accomplishment!

    Get twelve organizations to agree to and stick with a goal!

    That is amazing!

    So, I would rather see the consumer become empowered like I did.

    Let's give the affordable Braille display market a chance to thrive in the consumer market.

    The government can do good things and try to improve access to AT, but prices seem to go up.

    Give vouchers to consumers if you have to.

    It would be nice if every library system had access to a 40 cell refreshable Braille display, but it would be used very little in some areas to the point where staff would forget how to connect the device.

    I wish the blind community truly understood how fortunate we are right now.


    From Bonnie Lucas,

    "Loved your show on bridges and when J.J demoed the App, I was reminded that when I got it to read a can it said cranberry juice and we do not buy cranberry juice. The can was actually fire roasted tomatoes.

    Listening right now and I think there ought to be a way to have a game show at the NFB convention! Listened and loved it!

    And lastly from Stanley Littrell...

    "While I was listening to the section of your podcast concerning Seeing AI, I was reminded of trying a recent experiment. When I used my ID mate to read a bag of mixed nuts that I purchased through Amazon I couldn't read the barcode because it wasn't in the database. I then used the short reading text mode to read the bag using the Seeing AI app. I was able to read the contents of the bag. I will still proudly use the ID Mate. This app is just one more tool in the tool kit."

    Last Word:

    From Flying Battery Zone, via Sonic Mania, to just plain batteries. We always finish with some crazy stuff at the end of the show.
    Green Hill Zone Act 1 2017

    Green Hill Zone Act 2 2017

    Samsung copycat Xiaomi has a phone called Note and it just exploded in someone's pants

    We're just returning to stride with this week's show. It is good to be back and even better to know we have a lot more to talk about before the end of the year. See you next week!

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
    Share: |Twitter orFacebook

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    Style and fashion might be scary words to some of us who are not fans of clothing shopping. In this week's episode, Ricky Enger stops by to talk about Clothing Subscription Services that might just take the fear of the unknown out of the shopping equation. We'll also reverberate in the "Last Word" and find out how you can make those new voices in NVDA even faster than the default in our tip of the week.

    Sponsor: Humanware

    Humanware recently announced the Victor Reader Trek, a combination talking media player and GPS. After Joe's interview with Greg Stilson around convention time, many of you sent in questions which Greg has answered. We'll include these later in the show notes. You can preorder it now for $599 which is $100 off the list price, or call Humanware at 800-722-3393.

    In The News:

    Latest NVDA Includes New Voices, Rapid OCR, Contracted Braille Input

    Start Talking with the Free Dictationbridge Release Candidate for NVDA Out Now

    Windows 10 adding eye control to boost accessibility

    Samsung Launches Visual Aid App for Visually Impaired

    The original name in head mounted Video Magnifiers returns with Enhanced Vision's all new Jordy

    Android O feature spotlight: Accessibility has some new features, including better volume control and a new shortcut method

    Freedom Scientific Focuses on Ruggedness with Updated 40-cell Display

    New Humanware Explore 8 Remains Portable While Packing in More Screen Real Estate

    Browse more than 1,400 Audio Described Movies from the Audio Description Project

    Discussion Topic: On Demand Clothing Options

    Independently shopping for clothing that reflects your personal style can be a challenge, though it is a necessary evil. In this segment, Ricky And J.J. discuss two styling subscription options which allow a user to receive a box of items at chosen intervals, and select the items to keep or return. Both options discussed are available for men and women, and require a $20 styling fee for each box received. Returns are processed through USPS, simply using the included return envelope to send back the clothing that didn't work out. The services reviewed were Stitchfix and Wantable. You can visit the main websites, or you can
    Use Ricky's invite code for Stitchfix or
    Use Ricky's invite code for Wantable.

    Additional services discussed in this segment were:
    Trunk Club
    Gwynnie Bee
    Dia & Co

    Tip: Faster and Faster Voices

    J.J. explains how to speed up the new Microsoft voices which are now available with NVDA 2017.3

    Sound Off:

    Three emails make up the feedback this week. Up first, Daniel Crone was kind enough to ask a question about episode 110's title.

    "What is blast processing?"

    Blast processing was a made up marketing term by SEGA of America to promote Sonic The Hedgehog. It was used in many of their 90's commercials.
    Joe mentioned the term briefly at the top of the episode in relation to the tease for his contribution to the "Last Word".

    Next, Victor Marques wanted to pass along a story that was quite like the one Chancey told on BBQ 110.

    "Funny story relating to Chancey's walk back to the hotel where the person told her that she could find her car in the back parking lot. People really just are clueless sometimes and do not think. My wife and I were leaving McDonald's with the two children we were caring for that day and our two dog guides. We were standing outside getting my Trekker Breeze ready and harnessing the dogs when someone asked if he could help us find our car. It took about 10 seconds of silence and probably quizzical expressions on our faces for him to realize and comment that we probably did not have a car. We do, however, look forward to the day in a few years where that question might have some validity, and that certainly is exciting with the advancements in driverless technology. What are your takes on that and do you think it will ever get to the point of true autonomy?"

    lastly, Rodney Neely had this to say after hearing our previous episode.

    Hello J.J. and Joe,
    My name is Rodney Neely. I have been a loyal listener of your program
    for a long time. Joe, I used to listen to you when you worked for
    I really enjoy all of your programs. But there is one area in which I
    think that some focus might be beneficial for all blind people,
    especially for those of us who work in a predominantly sighted
    I am hoping that you might consider doing a segment on the
    collaborative work-place.
    and/or different ways that blind people can collaborate with our
    sighted colleagues in the work-place.
    Fortunately, Zoom is fairly accessible. Unfortunately, the Federal
    government chooses to use Microsoft Sharepoint and Skype for Business
    as its collaborative work-place solutions. Neither of these tools is
    really usable by blind people without some expensive plug-ins.
    If you eeally want to get your listeners excited, you should contact
    representatives from the NFB, the ACB, and even AFB to see what steps
    they have taken to combat this problem.
    Whether you choose to do a program that focuses on this topic or not,
    I will still listen to your programs.
    Please let me know what you think of this idea."

    Where to start... Well, we've used Zoom a few times and we may do a focused segment on it in the future. The collaborative work-place problem has existed for quite some time in Government, private and Education sectors. It isn't an easy discussion to have as you might approach each sector differently depending on the State or Federal level. And making things more complex is the bidding process for procurement. It Departments also tend to play favorites based upon technical implementation and the need for less training of staff with some deployments. But that is just the tip of the iceberg really. joe gives some ideas about how to go about the process. However, he also says that this was one of the reasons why he left State Government 7 years ago.

    Last Word:

    Find out if you can segue from Gate Reverb to pizza Rat in the same podcast segment in this week's edition of end of show randomness.
    How a recording-studio mishap shaped '80s music
    New York City scientists will pay you to study your rat infestation

    Joe made a few media references this week that did not fit directly into the Show Notes order. So, in case you wanted to hear clips of what he was talking about, here are two mentions.
    National Lampoon "You Catch It And You Keep It"
    David Letterman drops stuff from a 5-story tower

    Victor Reader Trek Answers from Greg

    Tina Hansen
    Is there any chance of adding support for Bluetooth keyboards?

    GS:  This is not implemented in version 1 but is possible and has been a requested feature.

    What about Audible support?

    GS: We are in discussions with Audible and they are supportive of making accommodations for the upcoming Trek.

    Michael Micallef
    I heard with great interest this podcast regarding victor reader tracker. At present I m already have victor reader streamII. But now I have the following questions:
    Is there a possibility that we the existing vrstream users to trade in our device with the new vrstream-trecker device?

    GS:   HumanWare is currently offering a preorder discount of $100 off the retail price of $699 with the product shipping in October.  There is currently no trade in program available.

    Joanna Toner
    Are there any plans to allow RNIB Talking Books members to be able to access the Library through the Stream?
    GS: Both on the Stream and Trek we are currently working with RNIB to implement the RNIB Bookshare books as an option for those users in the UK.

    Will it be possible to change the default location of podcasts from the internal memory to the removal SD Card?

    GS:  This  has been a highly requested feature and is something we are looking into for an upcoming release on  both the Stream and Trek.

    Will the internal clock keep more accurate time?

    GS:  On both the  Stream and Trek the device syncs with an internet time server and will always sync your clock back to that server as soon as an internet connection is detected. 

    If someone buys the Trek in the UK I presume they will get access to the UK map. If that person goes on holiday to the US, will they be able to purchase the US map and install it on the same unit?

    GS:  Upon launch the device will ship with the country or region in which you are located.  For example if you are located in the UK you will receive the UK map.  If you are located in Michigan you will receive  the North America map which includes the US and Canada.  After the device is launched we will be validating European and other countries as quickly as possible to ensure the maps are compatible and will be   rolling the product out in these locations as well.  Our hope is to release version 1.1 by end of year which will include the ability to purchase other maps and have them downloaded wirelessly to the device.

    Ted Phillips
    My name is Ted Phillips and I have been listening to your podcast on the new Victor reader trek. I was looking on the humanware website for information on its availability in Canada. I hope that you will soon provide information on its availability in Canada. And the cost as well. Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you

    GS:  The device will be first released in  North America in October.  This includes the US and Canada and a Trek user in this region will receive the entire North American map on the device.  The price is $599   preorder and $699 retail  USD.  
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    This week's episode is chock full of demos, tips and even an interview. James Boehm stops by to talk about a use for your old canes. Andre Louis also supplies us with an OCR demo for the Mac. Also, hear about the new NVDA and a look at the latest Apple accessory on the market before all that new stuff is announced on September 12th.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Hurricane Harvey

    Long time listeners know that Joe is from the Gulf Coast. While his friends and family made it through safely, others were dramatically impacted by Hurricane Harvey. All of us at the BBQ urge, if you can do so, to contribute to the relief effort. Below are some links for resources to give to those affected by the storm.

    The American Red Cross is giving aid to many areas impacted by the Hurricane. To learn more visit their Hurricane Harvey page.
    The Houston SPCA is serving as a hub for providing assistance to Animal Shelters who found themselves in the path of Harvey. You can learn more about them at their official website.
    The Houston Texans's JJ Whatt started a grass roots movement to help out his adopted Home Town. Learn about his contribution to the "Houston Strong" efforts here.

    Interview: James Boehm of Kustom Canes

    J.J. spoke with James Boehm, founder of Kustom Canes, to learn more about his journey from detailing cars to detailing something else related to mobility. James has a passion for customization and he gives some pretty amazing descriptions of the canes he has already created. Another passion for James is the need to provide refurbished canes to those in need. The "You Cane Give" project is a program where your gently previously used canes can be repaired for use by others in countries that may not have traditional O&M services available.

    If you would like to learn more about customized canes of virtually any style, [visit Kustom Cane on the web.
    And to donate canes, Email

    Review: Apple Magic Keyboard With Numeric Pad

    Joe has this thing about first party hardware. He has several pieces of Microsoft and Apple gear lying around the office. A recent birthday gift of the new Apple Magic keyboard with Number Pad made its way into his collection. Is it worth the $129 asking price? Joe weighs in with his opinion, however, he suggests you search it out before you consider purchasing it yourself.

    Demonstration: NVDA With Win OCR

    Good grief are those PDF menus for that local food establishment ever annoying. And those people who post text in a pic on the web? Sheesh! It would be really nice to just hit NVDA Modifier R and have that stuff read aloud right? Listen how easy that actually is as J.J. shows us how to use this new feature found in the latest version of NVDA.

    Demonstration: VOCR

    Andre Louis shows off VOCR, OCR for VoiceOver users on the Mac.

    Created by Chi Kim, maker of FlowTools, FLogic and now VOCR, this set of useful macros for Keyboard Maestro brings OCR to VoiceOver users.

    Necessary Downloads:

    Keyboard Maestro:

    VOCR (from GitHub:)

    If you need to contact Andre Louis for help:

    Twitter: @OnjMusic

    Tip: Stay Prepared!

    Joe suggests taking some time out to prepare yourself for any manner of emergency. Many of these actions may prove to be life, or time, savers when you are in a situation where you are unable to rely on the technology you have readily available.

    • Protect your valuable documents...
      Grab a slate and stylus, or that old fashioned Brailler, and jot down your important numbers. Insurance policies, medical information, your family's social security numbers and other information you think you might need in order to verify your medical or residential status. Then, after all that is down on hard copy Braille, put it in waterproof bags with Braille labels on them. Keep them somewhere safe, yet easy to get to, that way you have them if you have to leave your home quickly.

    • Check your lighting conditions...
      Use the help of others, or Vision Assistance Apps, to make sure all your indoor and outdoor lighting is working properly. Also, be sure to have a flashlight and fresh batteries on hand. This will help others, including First Responders, help you in dire situations.

    • Food And Crates...
      If you have a Service Animal, or just family pets, be sure to have about a week's worth of food on hand. It may take a while to reach your area if you were to become cut off due to flooding or downed power lines. So making sure those furry friends have enough to eat is paramount. Moreover, if you do have to evacuate, many shelters will not accept pets without them being housed in a crate or cage. You don't want to leave them behind. So be sure they have these things available to them.

    • Battery Packs and Generators...
      Refrigerators, phones and laptops are all important devices in our lives. Until the power goes that is. Then you really find out how much you need them. Making sure you have the resources on hand to run them for longer periods of time, during a power outage, can be one of the most important aspects of managing life off the power grid. Be sure to invest in batteries for radios, and other electronics, as this will allow you to find out news and weather updates for your local area. Homeowners may want to look into the purchase of a portable generator for running the icebox. But those who live in apartments may want to be sure they own an ice chest for keeping food and medical supplies cool.

    • lastly, look into waterproof cases for your electronics. If your phone, laptop or notetaker is your primary form of access... providing the ability to keep it safe from the elements is key when you are forced to travel for whatever reason.

    "Sound Off" and "Last Word" are taking a break but will return in episode 114. Next week we'll talk about accessible games and the week after that finds us talking about the many things Apple will want you to buy this holiday season.

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    We've talked a bit already about how J.J. has used NVDA with OCR to play some games. And Joe has spoken about Xbox accessibility with Narrator. But that barely touches the surface of the types of games that are now available. Michael Feir and Jessie Anderson are on hand to talk about other forms of games access in this long-form discussion episode. The group also talks about the rise of crowd funding in the games sphere, how 3d printing is helping board gaming and how the future of games is going to involve lots of Augmented Reality.

    Sponsor: HumanWare

    This episode is brought to you by HumanWare.
    Are you an iPhone user?
    Do you get frustrated trying to type text messages or emails on the on-screen virtual keyboard?
    HumanWare just announced their new Brailliant 14 braille display.
    In addition to having the standard Bluetooth connection available,
    this display has a second Bluetooth Low Energy module which ensures you never lose the pairing with your iPhone or other devices.
    In addition you can actually use the Brailliant without any connection to an iPhone to take notes in contracted or uncontracted braille.
    The innovative Brailliant Sync app, available on the app store now, allows for those notes to immediately sync to your iPhone or any other devices connected to your email account,
    as soon as you pair with your phone again.
    Take notes with your Brailliant 14 in a meeting, go back to your office and text someone with your phone. You will notice those notes will be magically synced with your iPhone and other devices within seconds.
    The Brailliant 14. It s not just a small display. Learn more at or by calling 800.722.3393.


    The list of places where someone can learn about games access is growing rapidly. This list is just the tip of a very large iceberg on the subject.
    The Unity Accessibility Plug In Project
    GA Con, the Games Accessiblity event at the Game developer Confrence
    Follow Ian Hamilton on Twitter for a wide array of game access news
    The Able gamers Charity provides demonstrations, talks and more about games access in the mainstream game event space
    Game Accessibility Guidelines
    Designing Games For Everyone News Center

    Here are some of the places the group goes to find all types of games
    Good Old Games
    Humble Bundle

    The Xbox 1 and the Playstation 4 now talk with the aid of on board TTS. There is a blind player out there competing in Street Fighter tournaments.
    And there are games out there with loyal Blind followings like Skullgirls and Killer instinct.
    However, Joe notes that the true power of a talking video game console is more access for the parent than the player. Now you can track, limit and stay involved in the games played in the house. Both consoles, and their respective websites, allow for the purchase of content in ways not seen five years ago.

    Video games on other platforms:

    The iOS platform is probably the most friendly OS for audio games ever. This list contains some games for iOS, Android and the PC as our talk about electronic diversions wandered from device to device.
    Villains from Beyond
    A hero's Call
    Crafting Kingdom
    Blindfold Games
    Blac Box Puzzle
    The Inquisitor audio games
    Six Ages, sequel of King of Dragon Pass
    A Dark Room/The Ensign
    Dice tray
    A Blind Legend

    Table Top Games

    The group also discussed games that don't involve a video screen. Joe mentions he cut his teeth on problem-solving with the exploits he performed in "Dungeons And Dragons". Michael chimed in during this potion portion as well. many of the suggestions below come from his comments on table top gaming.
    64oz Games
    Sushi Go
    Nemesis Factor
    Open Legend RPG

    Virtual Reality

    Joe asked Jesse to come on board as he uses an Oculus Rift to play VR games. This style of gaming is on another upswing in the public consciousness and jesse gives us some idea of how accessible these experiences are for Blind and Low Vision players. Some of the games can be viewed on YouTube and that might be the best way to get an idea of how they play, as VR can be a costly experience otherwise.
    Batman VR
    Ric And Morty VR
    Star Trek Bridge Crew
    Job Simulator
    International Space Station
    Dread Halls
    Resident Evil 7

    Disabled Characters In Games:

    Sometimes the way people view the Disabled Community can be shaped by the media consumed. Here is a list of games mentioned that feature a Disabled character in their narrative.
    Beyond Eyes
    The Surge
    Final Fantasy XV
    Life Is Strange

    Next week, Apple brings us the iPhone and Apple TV and Home Pod and new Apple watch and ... well you get the idea. Episode 114 is all about the Apple event on September 12th. don't worry if you are not an Apple fan as Google looks to have an event on October 5th and Microsoft announced a Surface event for October 31st. It is beginning to look a lot like the holiday season on BBQ, that's for sure.

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    Big news requires a big discussion group. That's why we asked Jamie Pauls and Scott Davert to return to the BBQ to talk all things Apple. X, 8, TVs and other acronyms will be mentioned. Also, you won't believe which Qast host defends one particular Apple device or why.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Hurricane Assistance

    The recent Hurricanes have brought untold devastation to millions of people. ACB and the NFB have both mounted efforts to assist those in the Blind and Low Vision Communities that have been impacted by these storms. If you can do so, please click on either link and provide whatever support you can.
    ACB Disaster Relief Fund

    National Federation of the Blind Hurricane Harvey Relief Project

    Discussion Topic: Apple iPhone Event 2017

    Here is just some of the news and links we covered during our Apple conversation.

    All the XCiting News from Apple's September 12 Event

    Mac Break Weekly 575

    A look inside the new Steve Jobs Theater at Apple s spaceship campus

    24 Things You Can Do in iOS 11 That You Couldn't Do Before

    Apple's New iPhone Lineup: SE for $349, 6s for $449, 7 for $549, 8 for $699, X for $999

    iPhone 8 FAQ: Everything you need to know!

    iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Have Smaller Batteries Than iPhone 7 Models, But Similar Battery Life

    Hands on with the iPhone X: OLED and HDR outshine the other features

    iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus: All the specs, compared

    iPhones Compared: How the iPhone X Stacks Up Against iPhone 8 and 8 Plus
    Apple is Defying History With Its Pricey iPhone X

    How Much Will the Expensive Ass iPhone X Cost on Apple's Upgrade Plan?

    Apple is turning a design quirk into the iPhone X s defining feature

    How the Home 'button' works on iPhone X

    Apple explains what exactly happened when Face ID failed during iPhone X demo

    U.S. Senator Raises Questions About Security and Privacy of Face

    What you should know about privacy and Apple s FaceID on iOS 11

    Face ID Raises Some Scary Questions Here Are Some Answers

    I m worried that FaceID is going to suck and here s why

    Apple officially announces new Apple Watch Series 3 with LTE connectivity

    Apple Watch Series 3 Battery Lasts Up to 18 Hours, But Varies Based on Activity

    What's the difference between Apple Watch Series 0, Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3?

    Apple TV & iTunes Get 4K Upgrades

    Apple has begun rolling out HDR 4K content on iTunes and upgrading old purchases

    Disney Is the Only Major Hollywood Studio Not Backing Apple's Plan to Sell 4K Films at $20

    tvOS 11 FAQ: Everything you need to know!

    Some iPad Pros cost $50 more today as Apple quietly ups prices

    Apple Now Offering 32GB Variant of the iPhone 7 in Jet Black

    macOS High Sierra preview

    iTunes 12.7: How to cope with the abrupt changes


    We asked for reactions on the news of the week and boy did you deliver. Here's just a sampling of the tweets we received:

    GStilson: The part that is being overlooked right now is what they did with the watch. That could potentially be a wearable industry changer.
    ed_edwardson: Apple must have used up their supply of courage last year. Bringing back the headphone jack would have been truly courageous.
    cristoferdeo: I'm inclined to buy the $800 256 GB iPhone model and sell my SE to mitigate my out of pocket cost.
    douglas2005: I wish Afple had addressed improving Siri. Not sold yet, but leaning to iPhone 8 or maybe Android.
    daiverd: I wonder if it will be possible to replace my phone with the new watch completely. I miss tiny phones
    jaybird110127: I personally don't see any reason for a blind person to buy the iPhone X. Save $300.
    LeftBollocks: by its very nature apple has proven that changing tec will spike abuse for a while. Then people wonder how they did with out
    slannon97: They didn't introduce any new Macs or a new iPhone SE. I'll wait until next year.
    alyssa6595: I'm looking forward to the new watch. To me, that was the highlight, along with the tribute to Steve Jobs
    maldonado0767: I'm a proponent of change and glad Apple has decided to upgrade to modern times by bringing wireless charging.
    turtlecatpurrz: I'm thrilled they are still selling the SE and 6S. It gives me hope that I can get another year out of my 6S
    missanonymous94: I wonder what the solution is for people who can't open or control their eyes, or have no eyes. I have nostagnus and can't look directly.

    The big tech events show no sign of stopping with Google and Microsoft both set to display their holiday lines in October. And there wasn't any sign of the Home Pod. So it isn't unrealistic to think we'll have another Apple event since it isn't like they have to book their Steve Jobs Theater in advance. Next week, however, we'll catch up on news and talk iOS11's big rollout with Jamie and Scott.

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    The new iOS 11 is live and ready to download. Jamie Pauls
    and Scott Davert
    return to talk about the perils and pitfalls for those who want to install that shiny new OS on their IDevices. We'll also catch up on the news, check in with "Sound Off" and enjoy some Dog Feelings in the "Last Word".

    Sponsor: Humanware

    This episode is brought to you by Humanware. Last year Humanware partnered with Google to launch the BrailleNote Touch, the world's first and only Google Certified braille tablet.
    The BrailleNote Touch combines the simplicity and efficiency of the well-known KeySoft user experience, with the power and openness of a mainstream tablet.
    Use the familiar KeySoft apps to accomplish your daily tasks of document creation, email, or internet browsing, while downloading any accessible app from the Google PlayStore. Once downloaded, KeySoft ensures those apps are efficient to use with braille. If you don't want to type on the Touch's included physical keyboard, you can type completely scilently on its touch screen using the innovative TouchBraille typing system. With school starting back up, use KeyMath in your math classes, the all in one system which allows braille math to be converted to perfect looking print math in real time. And if you have not updated your Touch to version 4, it is live and waiting for you in the KeyUpdater app.
    The BrailleNote Touch, The future is so close, you can touch it.
    Learn more about the BrailleNote Touch or any of Humanware's products by visiting or by calling 800.722.3393.
    You can also watch any of the several BrailleNote Touch Snapshot videos done by Humanware by visiting their YouTube channel at

    In The News:

    California Joins New York in Offering Free Bookshare Memberships for Qualified Residents

    Catching Up: Try Out the JAWS 19, ur 2018 Public Beta

    Freedom Scientific adds another jewel to the collection with the release of another 7 inch Ruby Handheld Video Magnifier

    Redbox Kiosks May Become More Accessible after Prolonged Legal Battle

    Project Management App Asana Gains VoiceOver Support with Latest Update

    From Inclusive Android, Poll On Audio Experience and Talkback

    Paid Racing Game Accessibility Research from Columbia University in New York

    Discussion Topic: iOS 11

    Jamie and Scott are back to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of iOS 11. To learn more about the new update, and decide if you should jump in the deep end or just hang out in the pool side lounge chairs, read the links below for more information.

    To update or not to Update to iOS 11; Braille Users May Want to Wait According to AppleVis

    Apple Releases iOS 11; Bringing a Range of Enhancements and New Features

    What's New in iOS 11 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision and Deaf-Blind Users

    The Accessibility Bugs in iOS 11 for Blind and Low Vision Users; From Serious To Minor

    Here s Why You Should Wait to Download iOS 11

    Apple Releases New iPad Pro Tutorial Videos Covering iOS 11 Features

    iOS 11 on the iPhone 5S: Slower, but not quite slow

    Some iOS 11 issues show early adoption pitfalls, others are just growing pains

    Older 32-Bit Apps Will Not Work With iOS 11

    Can t send email on iOS 11? Apple working on fix for and Exchange mail accounts

    Turning Off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in iOS 11's Control Center Doesn t Actually Turn Off Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

    iOS 11, thoroughly reviewed

    Picture This, or Maybe Not: a Review of the New Image Description Feature in iOS 11

    iOS 11: The MacStories Review

    iOS 11 review: 99 hits, 1 miss

    Is Apple Still Detail Oriented?

    How to downgrade your iPhone or iPad from iOS 11

    Sound Off:

    We start with an email from Juan...

    "Hello blind bargains,

    I continue to enjoy your podcast, and your honest opinions. Of what technology has in store for us blind individuals. I too am not too impressed with the changes of the iPhone, but let's face it, Apple is going after the market for people who use android phones, as there are so many that use them. It started with the 6+ phones with their bigger screen, and now the screen with no buttons. I still don't like the no regular head phone feature. Also, you guys mentioned that you wouldn't like the phone charging on a table, but many students at Sac State regularly. Leave their phones on tables while they are eating or studying. In addition, Scott mentioned that he uses his phone with a braille display, but I'd like to know how that experience is for him, as I too have a braille display but find myself listening to the speech, because the braille doesn't keep up, and also, find myself touching the screen to navigate around like tapping the bottom for the doc icons, and the top for my essages. Scott, how do you do it?
    Also, with the new Braille note takers that run on android I'd like to know if they are considerable substitutes for heavy laptops; on those long days . I mean does the internet work on university wifi networks, and can you actually go on the school websites? Also, when writing on these note takers, can you format documents correctly? Anyway, could either Jamie or Scott, or anyone do reviews on the Humanware Braille Note Touch, and the Hims Polaris?

    Thank you


    Juan Manuel Avila "

    Several of our CSUN17 and Summer Convention interviews speak about Notetakers and how they operate in the classroom. It is a major priority for most of the AT Industry at the moment as Education is seen as the new battlefield for winning over students and Education Staff alike. But remember, a web portal can be awful for any device if it is coded badly or if it requires a visual click on a box to enter its network. That means you don't know until you encounter it. As Joe noted this happened in Reno at ACB for a lot of convention goers.

    Next, from Josh, an aspect of gaming we didn't cover a few weeks ago.

    "You forgot to mention flight simulator games such as euroFly and microsoft flight simulator x."

    This is true, but unlike Pokemon, we can't catch them all. We'll see if we can wrangle up a few pilots for a talk about this when we come back to another round of gaming talk.

    Last Word:

    Optimism shines in this week's look at the wild world of the web.
    Thoughts Of Dog On Twitter
    Processing (Seeing AI remix) by Ghorthalon

    Shelly returns in BBQ 116 to talk about iPhones, Apple TVs and Apple Watches. Tune in to hear our thoughts on the new hardware releases.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    Apple released new hardware this month with the glass-backed iPhone 8 models and the spiffy Series 3 Apple Watches. BBQ Regular Shelly Brisbin drops by to talk about those objects and give her take on iOS 11. We also have a tip, "Sound Off" and the Last Word" in a very laid back long-form conversational edition of the Blind Bargains Qast.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    Amazon Fire Braille Support: New, Improved, and Still Improving

    JAWS 18 September update Supports Edge Browser, Brailliant 14

    Optelec Now Shipping Compact 6 HD Speech, a Tiny Magnifier with OCR

    Practice your Math in a Flash with a New APH Action for Google Home

    Just One Week Left to Submit Papers for #CSUNATC18 in San Diego

    Watch Liam Erven's Presentation at the Gamer Grace Video Gaming Convention

    Discussion Topic: Apple Watch, iPhone 8 And iOS11 redux

    Be prepared to hear the debate between Joe and Shelly as to which Apple product they like the most in the current line of shipping Apple products. The answer, as they say, might surprise you. below are some articles mentioned during the discussion. Note that we ran out of time and a few products might need a return visit to the spotlight.

    Apple s iOS 11.0.1 update addresses Exchange e-mail server issue

    How to use Apple s terrific document scanner in iOS 11

    How to switch your video format to shoot in 4K/60FPS and 1080P/240FPS

    How to record your screen with iOS 11 for iPhone and iPad

    Apple Watch Series 3 review: A dash of iPod and a bit of iPhone for your wrist

    iMore Watch OS4 review

    Review: watchOS 4 breathes new life into fitness side of the Apple Watch

    Apple Watch Series 3 teardown finds a bigger battery and few surprises

    iPhone 8 and 8 Plus review: The curious case of the time-traveling phone

    iPhone 8 review: The status quo upgrade

    iPhone 8 Teardowns Reveal Advanced Modems Likely Selected for Power Improvements

    iPhone 8 Component Costs Estimated to Start at $247.51

    Glass-Bodied iPhone 8 Shatters Repeatedly in Drop Tests

    Apple's iPhone X to boast 2,716mAh battery, 3GB of RAM, Chinese regulatory filing shows

    The iPhone X Portends a More Accessible Future

    macOS 10.13 High Sierra: The Ars Technica review

    MacOS High Sierra is well worth the upgrade

    7 things to know before upgrading to MacOS High Sierra 10.13

    Apple s Safari update secretly mines data to protect your privacy

    Apple s new file system will eventually support Fusion Drive machines

    How to downgrade from macOS High Sierra back to macOS Sierra

    Apple TV 4K Teardown Reveals 3GB of RAM and Larger Venting System With Replaceable Fan

    Apple just received a fast lane for developing health features that require FDA approval

    Efest LUC Blu6 Bluetooth Battery Charger

    An accessible battery charger? We're talking traditional AA or AAA batteries, not phone powerbanks. Patrick tries out the Efest LUC Blu6 LCD Intelligent Charger with Bluetooth available for about 36 bucks from Amazon. Listen to see if this might be an accessible solution to charge those old batteries.

    Tip: Add the Apple TV Remote app to Control Center

    Joe has mentioned a few dozen times that he is not a fan of the Siri Remote for the 4th Gen Apple TV. The new iOS 11 allows for the Apple TV Remote app to be added to the Control Center. Check out these steps to customize and reorder the new Control Center.

    Sound Off:

    Rebecca Skipper gives her opinion of iOS 11 and wonders about the form factors of iPhones.


    I m running IOS11 on an iPhone SE.

    I m not experiencing any problems deleting messages in mail yet.

    However, I prefer IOS10 methods for moving files.

    Apple s notification sheet reminds me of Windows notification center because both OS will let you clear notifications.

    Would you care to speculate on the future of the iPhone SE?

    The move to larger phones isn t for me, and I hope Apple will continue to support their smaller phone line.

    Only time will tell, however, even the smaller iPod units disappeared when their sales slowed. Apple likes money but it is still primarily a hardware-based sales company. We'll have to see what happens with 8 models of iPhone in the channel before we begin to speculate which ones get voted out of Apple Park. Next, we're reminded of an old friend of the show. Ali Moosa writes...

    "Hello Joe and J.J,
    When you guys did shows in other places, I remember you guys had Alena Roberts on hosting one of the shows.
    Have you guys looked at having her on the Blind Bargains show?
    Hope to hear from you guys soon,
    Thank you,
    Ali Moosa "

    Ms. Roberts is alive and well on the West Coast. Her schedule is crazy and we have not been able to book her for an appearance. We'd like to have her and Pete Bossley on at some point down the road. It is really fun to get the band back together when schedules permit.

    Last Word:

    Don't Say Velcro

    Student outwits teacher's 3x5 cheat sheet

    Next week, to J.J.'s relief, we probably will talk Google and Microsoft. Both companies, along with Amazon, are releasing new tech objects. Grab the wallets, it is totally the beginning of the holiday spending season for us geeks!

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    We bring balance to the Force this week with a look at the recent Google Hardware Event. However, Apple Fans, that isn't all we talk about as some of the hardware discussed can connect to iOS as well. We also have "Sound Off", a tip and the craziness that is the "Last Word".

    In The News:

    If You Only Take One Survey This Year, Make it WebAIM's Screen Reader Survey

    Hitting Refresh on Accessibility

    Rethinking Web Accessibility On Windows

    No Need to Wait Around, Be My Eyes for Android has been Posted

    Playstation firmware v5.0 adds more minor changes to TTS access

    No Need to Wait Around, Be My Eyes for Android has been Posted

    National Federation of the Blind Applauds Introduction of AV START Act

    Google Docs Magnification

    Amazon s new Fire TV will ship with Fire OS 6.0 (based on Android Nougat)

    Roku unveils faster media players, universal remote and a new OS

    Discussion Topic: Google Event 2017

    Seven product announcements, nine videos and all under 120 minutes. Google sure packed in a lot of information during their event and we unpack some of that during our deep dive at what we thought mattered from mountain View. Here is just some of the articles we refer to during this portion of the program.

    Sundar Pichai says the future of Google is AI

    $49 Google Home Mini announced to compete with Amazon s Echo Dot

    Google's Home Max Goes After HomePod With a Big Ass Sonos Clone

    Google now lets you send messages through the Google Home to unsuspecting roommates

    Everything you need to know about Google Home Max

    Pixel 2: What You Need to Know About Google's New Top Android Phones

    Google Pixel 2 vs. Pixel 2 XL: What's the difference?

    The Google Pixel 2 XL vs. the competition: Cameras rule

    Pixel 2 comes with a free Google Home Mini

    Google guarantees three years of Android software updates for the Pixel 2

    Pixelbook hands-on: stunning hardware for Chrome OS afficionados

    Made for Google program goes official, denotes approved accessories

    Google wants to sell you this USB-C to 3.5mm/USB-C adapter for $44.95

    Google's Pixel Buds are $159 wireless headphones with real-time

    Realtime Translation Demo

    Google s Pixel Buds use Assistant to auto-pair to your phone, just like Apple s AirPods

    Google reveals new Daydream View VR headset for $99

    Google unveils a $249 smart camera that decides what s worth photographing

    The Pixel's missing headphone jack proves Apple was right

    Google is using its biggest advantage as a weapon to totally embarrass Apple

    Spotify voice commands now work on any Google Assistant-supported device

    Original Google Pixel gets a new lower price

    Google Assistant now has a male voice option

    Google follows Amazon with multi-step smart home routines and kid-friendly accounts

    Google Just Invented... Lifelogging?

    Inside Google s massive hardware ambitions

    Tip: Easier Reading In Word 2016

    J.J. reminds us that you can read documents in Microsoft Word 2016 easier if you view them from the "Draft" area. To do this, press Alt plus W to jump focus to the "View" tab. From there navigate to "Draft View". Joe notes that Screen magnifier users who rely on speech for some tasks would also like this tip for long reading sessions, rather than shrinking a document down a few sizes, as speech can encounter problems when viewing pages in modified views.

    Sound Off:

    Charlie Smith provides us an update to a previous story in the News Feed...

    "Hi everyone:

    I am currently testing Asana, and as stated in the subject line, it is accessible beyond explanation.
    All the buttons are labeled correctly, tabs work beyond well, and all is good with VoiceOver.
    I am not working in a team, I just love to assist anyone developing apps."

    Jim writes in with his take on iOS 11's shortcomings.

    "Hello, I really enjoyed your Blind Bargains podcast regarding iOS 11.
    One significant bug that no one seems to discuss often is this horrible rendering of PDF files, for example in Ibooks.
    Epub files are fine, but PDF'S jump around all over the place, so that the experience is ruined, completely ruined.
    Many user guides and class materials are distributed in PDF format, so I am highly disappointed with this bug.
    I should try importing PDF files into another app, I do not know if that might yield better results.
    At any rate, I always enjoy the podcast.
    Sent from my jPhone"

    Last Word:

    Music and dogs are this week's subjects at the center of the Last Word.
    Another Taylor Swift cover song for J.J.

    Got it licked! St Bernard dog Mo breaks Guinness World Record for longest tongue

    Four weeks of mainstream tech sure can wear a team out. So that means there will be another apple Event, looking at you Home Pod, to come before December. And we already know Microsoft has a few things in the pipeline past the Windows Fall Creators Update. Oh, yeah, there is that new Victor Reader Trek too. It seems there is no sleep until we are eating turkey at Thanksgiving. Tune in to 118 to hear what's next.

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    The fun of the hardware announcements has died down, for now, with J.J. and Joe finding themselves back with a full slate of news and a demonstration of YouTube TV. We also have a tip, "Sound Off" and a triumphant return of a long-time favorite subject to the "Last Word".

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    Free Nearby Explorer Online Comes to the iPhone with Lots of Navigational Goodness

    Seeing AI v1.3 brings 3d Touch support and save original document enhancements

    ZoomText 11.6 released for Fusion and ZoomText Magnifier/Reader

    Small JAWS 18 Update Fixes Outlook 365, Edge Bug

    JAWS 2018 Public Beta 2 Fixes Bugs in Many Areas, See the Complete Changelog

    JAWS Wide Open

    The U.S. is not the Only Country with Inaccessible Currency

    Court: Movie Theaters Must Accommodate Deaf-Blind Patrons

    Demonstration: YouTube TV

    More and more Americans are cutting the cord. Yet not all of the options available are speech or magnification friendly. And in some cases your particular television market may not be able to view any local network channels. In this demonstration of YouTube TV, on Android and Windows, J.J. shows us what the service has to offer and gives us an idea on the pros and pitfalls of using access technology to view all those wonderful channels. After that, Joe asks J.J. some questions about the experience and the pair discuss some aspects of the cord cutting alternative on the iOS platform. If you find that you want to try YouTube TV out for yourself, there is a free trial, head over to the official website to learn more.

    Tip: Share WiFi Passwords In iOS 11

    The new version of Apple's mobile operating system allows you to easily share a WiFi password with a guest in just a few simple steps. This article outlines how to do this but beware that both devices need to be on iOS11 for this tip to work.

    Sound Off:

    From Duyahn Walker, a bit of Amazon news that eluded our grasp last week.


    I noticed that in the Amazon music app that there's a new feature. This feature is now Alexa. When swiping to the right on the app, you will find an unlabeled button for Alexa. You have to get VoiceOver to see it. Once you do, you double tap this button and Alexa is ready to listen. However, you've got two voices fighting for attention. One is the Alexa voice, and the other is VoiceOver. When you double tap this option, VoiceOver is telling you that it is listening to you. But when you try to speak to Alexa, VoiceOver is getting in the way, and you can not issue your commands. This is a major problem. You don't want to shut VoiceOver off if you are totally blind because you need to be able to hear what your doing. Even if your low vision, your dealing with the same problem if you can't see the screen very well. I've tried to speak to the accessibility department about this issue and they don't want to file tickets to the developer's. In my personal opinion, this bothers me quite a bit."

    We had a number of people write in to tell us the real identity of the Math Flash voice. For example, this guess from Beth.

    Hey, listening to BBQ116 and that voice is Bob Boots. Beth

    Good guess, but no. We actually had APH confirm this to us on Twitter, the true identity of the Math Flash voice is Lou Harpenau.

    Last Word:

    Dipping sauce and cookies are the things that we found most interesting this week.
    Girl Scout Thin Mint Cereal

    This DIY Recipe for That McDonald's Szechuan Sauce From "Rick and Morty" Is Pretty Damn Good

    It feels strange not to have a big company telling us that they have new hardware to sell. However, we'll take the quiet time to focus on other matters next week. Remember, backup all your data as the next version of Windows 10 is on the way come midmonth!

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    J.J. reports from a remote location and Joe is on autopilot due to the first school year based family sickness. But that didn't stop either of them from bringing along some topical news, "Sound Off" and a few "Last Words". Jay Forry returns as well to talk about summer movies. Which it just so happens to be a great idea for our two hosts since J.J. is traveling and Joe can barely manage to find the remote option on his Apple Watch.

    In The News:

    Portion of Enchanted Hills Camp Destroyed by California Wildfires, Lighthouse Pledges to Rebuild

    Main Menu for October 13th 2017 features talk on Windows 10 Fall Creator's Update changes

    The Fall Creators Update Brings Us Closer to a Windows for Everyone

    Windows 10 Fall Creators Update: Lots of small changes and maybe the revolution

    Apple Releases iOS 11.0.3; Fixing Problems with Audio and Haptic Feedback on some iPhones

    Texie is a new iOS app that aims to binally bring us handwriting OCR
    Michael Doise gives us his take on the app from his blog

    Twitterific, after an amazing croud sourced fueled development cycle, comes to the Mac with many Voiceover friendly features

    The Survey Of The Week" focuses on replacing traditional A.T. with mainstream phones and tablets. Up for grabs, if you complete the survey, is a drawing of a $100 iTunes or Google Play gift card

    Madden 2018, through the efforts of karen Stevens and the EA Access Team, is the first game to score a touchdown for Blind players on Playstation and Xbox. Read more about the current features at this link

    Interview: Jay Forry "Blind Film Critic"'s Top 5 For Summer 2017

    Jay Forry is back with us to talk about his pics for the 2017 summer movie season. Hear what he got right with the top five films from his list in episode 98.
    Joe mentions the yearly totals for each of the films in this look back at the summer. You can see these totals, and many more statistics, at Box Office Mojo.
    You can check out his webiste for more movie goodness.

    Tip: Movies Anywhere

    J.J. punted the tip over to Joe who tells us of the transformation of Disney Movies Anywhere to just Movies Anywhere an app which can leverage your home movie collection and let you watch movies, well anywhere. We mention it here especially because many audio description tracks are available.

    Sound Off:

    Phil Koster writes in;

    "My wife has the LCA variant of RP so she has some vision. She has been using Windows phones for a couple years now as WinMo 8 was actually decent. So this might have to wait for after the Windows event but: is Windows mobile going away completely? Will the OS be there for 3rd parties and it's just the MS/Nokia phones going away? If WinMo is going away, should we go Android or iPhone? We can't afford a premium phone so it would end up being a used iPhone or a mid-low end Android phone. If it matters, we already have an Amazon echo, Roku, and Fire Stick. We purchase most of our digital content from Amazon. Does that put us in the android camp for ecosystem already? If you do recommend android for us, can you mention a couple recommended mid-range phones that are T-Mobile/unlocked?

    Thank you very much. LOVE the podcast. Keep up the great work.

    We're sad to report to you Phill that Microsoft did confirm that Windows Phone is no more.
    There are many low cost Android phones out there with larger screens. And your wife could use the new microsoft Launcher as a means to porting over any services from MS that she may have gotten accustomed to using on WP.

    From Twitter, and our discussion of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cereal, Thanks to Trenton Matthews for turning us on to Reese's Peanut Butter International Delights Coffee Creamer.

    Last Word:

    Netflix Unveils Top Binge Raced Shows
    Epic Deli

    Next week, Joe has the Google Home mini and J.J. wants to know if it is the $49 gateway tool Google hopes it to be this holiday season.

    We leave you with this Epic menu, courtesy of Liam:

    This weeks offerings at epic deli (10/16-10/22)
    THE GORDON BOMBAY- two quarter pound certified angus beef patties, american cheese, jalape o's, pulled pork, house made "Hockey Mom" bbq sauce that we make with Only Child Brewing's "Hockey Mom" K lsch style beer!! then we take a toasted pretzel bun and spread Merkt's cheddar cheese on both sides and then crust the insides of the bun with crushed tortilla chips!!!
    THE STANLEY- bbq pulled pork, bacon, bbq rib patties, cheddar cheese, spicy cheese curds, ghost pepper ranch, and bbq potato chips!! Served on a sub roll!!! LET'S GO BLACKHAWKS!!!
    THE BURRITO-WICH- shredded pork, refried beans, avocado, chipotle sour cream, pico de gallo, pepperjack cheese, taco flavored doritos and lettuce!! Served on a toasted sub roll!!
    THE JOE MENTALINO- a fried chicken breast tossed in ghost pepper buffalo sauce, ghost pepper ranch cream cheese, habanero pickles, and ghost pepper slaw!! served on a toasted brioche bun!!
    THIS WEEKS APPETIZER SPECIAL!! CHICKEN POT POUTINE- waffle fries smothered in chicken pot pie b chamel sauce with chicken and mixed vegetables and topped with white cheddar cheese curds and fried onion straws!!
    ADULT BUTTER-BEER SHAKE- we mix together vanilla ice cream, butterscotch, and 7%ABV Not Your Father's Vanilla Creme Ale! topped with whipped cream and butterscotch! served in a 16oz frosty mug!! (21+)
    SALTED CARAMEL 100 GRAND SHAKE- we mix together vanilla ice cream, salted caramel, milk, and a 100 grand candy bar!! topped with whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate and caramel!!
    PISTACHIO PUDDING POP SHAKE- we mix together vanilla ice cream, pistachio flavored pudding mix, and milk!! topped with whipped cream and chopped pistachios!!
    NUTELLA BUTTERFINGER SHAKE- we mix together vanilla ice cream, nutella, milk, and a butterfinger candy bar!! topped with whipped cream, chocolate, and crushed butterfingers!!

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    This is one of those times where we get to talk about actual new hardware with said hardware actually on hand. Joe has the new Google Home mini in the office and J.J. asks him questions about the little round Google Assistant. Jay Forry also returns to talk about the 5 films that turned out not to be good from the summer movie season. And then we get into the spirit of "All Hallow's Eve" in the "Last Word". So get that bowl of trick or treat candy, you know the good stuff you aren't giving out to the neighbors, as we will commune with the week's ghostly news and ghoulish access technology.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    Microsoft is indicating that the free Windows 10 upgrade, for Assistive Technology users, will be ending on December 31st 2017

    JAWS and the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

    Also, as we speculated during the recording earlier in the week, JAWS 2018, not JAWS 19 Now Released

    Hartgen Consultancy has been preparing for the Fall Creators update and the latest version of JAWS. Visit this link to learn more.

    Memphis International Airport joins the Aira Airport Network, offers new service for blind and low vision passengers

    Envision AI app released for iOS

    EnVision America releases database v6.5 for Win Dixie, Schwan's and other national retailers

    The Bitcoin Whitepaper in Braille Can be Yours for Free Thanks to A Crowdfunding Effort

    APH Blasts Through Textbook Barriers with Free Advanced Transcription Tool

    iAccessibility, Amazon Element Unboxing

    Demonstration: Google Home Mini

    The new $49 Google Home Mini arrived in stores this week with 3 colors to choose from. Coral, chalk or charcoal make up the initial line up for this smaller version of the Google Home. J.J. asks Joe if his purchase of the charcoal model was on par with his original Google Home or was it relegated to being just a backup device in this initial look at the Mini. Much of Joe's thoughts can be summed up in this Wired review.

    Interview: Jay Forry's Summer Misses

    Jay Forry is back with us to talk about his pics for the 2017 summer movie season. This week we focus on the five films that didn't live up to jay's expectations. Joe mentions the yearly totals for each of the films in this look back at the summer. You can see these totals, and many more statistics, at Box Office Mojo.
    The cool thing is that iTunes has many of the movies on this list with audio description support. "Wonder Woman", "Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2", "Spider-man Homecoming" and "Baby Driver" are available now from Jay's summer hits list. "Dunkirk" is not available on home video at the time of this recording, however, it did have audio description during the film's theatrical run. Now if you are the type who enjoys a bad movie, or a fan of mega franchises, then these movies from Jay's misses list might satisfy you. "King Arthur, Legend of the Sword", "Baywatch", "Snatched", "Transformers, The Last Knight" all sport audio description. "Rough Night" appears to be Closed Captioned only. We'd like to thank Jay again for dropping by and talking movies. We can't wait to hear about his thoughts on the Winter Movie season and his Oscar speculation next year.

    Tip: Get A Google Home Mini For Practically Half Price

    Just sign up to Google Express, purchase from WalMart, then wait for the device to arrive. Here is a link that outlines this process in a little more detail.

    Sound Off:

    Juan, a long time listener of the podcast, sent in his thoughts on the terrible California wildfires we spoke about in episode 119.

    "Hello team,

    First of all Thank you for sharing the updates on enchanted Hills Camp EHC. This camp has some of my greatest memories. I attended camp only for a short while, when I was 17-19 years old. Twice actually I went. It was and will always be the Home away from home; for the blind people in California, and the world. It was a much talked about place by teachers, students, parents, and everyone. It was like A Caribbean vacation resort in the middle of rwed woods, on a mountain, and with everything nature had to offer, along with a friendly community that made everyone feel welcome. I wish I could have visited a few more summers.
    Hearing about the devastating fires makes me feel like rebuilding the sight and hoping it will be alright. I plan to donate some money, and encourage everyone to donate as well. Blind Bargains please keep informing us.


    Juan Manuel Avila "

    From Rebecca Skipper comes this question regarding Windows 10 Fall Creators Update...


    So far, I like the fact that it is easier to see storage options under settings and notification alerts in the system tray.
    So, does OneDrive stop automatically synching everything to the device when you turn on another computer?
    Does it synch only when you copy a specific file or folder?
    If so, this would be great for smaller SSD drives."

    Windows 10 can sync a lot of files and settings, including those with "Ease of Access", if you explore the options under Settings and then venture off into the Accounts area. However, One Drive does require a Microsoft Account and it can be a bit fickle at times when it comes to storing and backing up files. It is a great option for free storage and Microsoft Office tends to remind you of that often as it sometimes ends up being the default saved location for some file types. Joe even noted that it can act as a file manager of sorts for the Xbox one. But to answer Rebecca's question, yes but you need to be sure you are signed into your account and you want to also be sure that OneDrive is on by default at Startup.

    Last Word:

    It is our last show before Halloween. So we thought we would provide some levity in regards to this event.
    Inside the World of a Halloween Sound-Effects Artist

    Google Assistant gets playful with new Halloween-themed Easter eggs

    Have a fun and safe Halloween weekend everyone!

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    The news is always the portion of the program we can never predict from week to week. Surprises are always welcome and this time is no exception. It is a good thing that Brian Fischler dropped by to give us a few chuckles and a primer on "Laugh For Sight" because it definitely adds some levity to the proceedings. We also have a tip, a brief "Sound Off" and a BBQ first in the "Last Word".

    Program Note:

    A beloved member of just about every part of the Blindness Community passed away recently. Chris @toonhead Skarstad was one of those unique people you rarely encounter in life. He had the uncanny ability to provide a supportive comment, a kind message or a well thought out constructive remark for just about any situation. We will miss you greatly and so will others as demonstrated by this moving thread over at Apple Vis. RIP Toony...
    Sad news to report

    In The News:

    Breaking: Germany's BAUM Retec AG Files for Bankruptcy Protection as it Restructures, BAUM USA Still Open

    The next three news links cover a few sides of the Firefox and Screen Reader support conversation that erupted this past week. We touched on this some back when ZoomText covered it in their 11.6 update. However, more took notice when the dedicated Screen Reader blogs made their support announcements.

    n-Process Halloween 2017: Firefox 57, Windows Fall Creaters Update, Australian NDIS and more

    Important information for users of Mozilla Firefox

    Rethinking Web Accessibility On Windows

    As stated in this episode, and to give greater context to why Mozilla is making changes, these four mainstream articles may shed light on the uphill battle Firefox faces in the near future.

    The Web began dying in 2014, here's how

    Inside Mozilla's Fight To Make Firefox Relevant Again

    Firefox takes a bite out of the canvas super cookie

    Firefox to get a better password manager

    Firefox 57 Will Hide Search Bar and Use a Uni-Bar Approach, Like Chrome

    Remember, to avoid any issues, follow the steps outlined in the Screen Reader blogs before November 13th. Or, do it now while you are listening to the show. We'll understand.

    SuperNova 16.06 Fixes more than a Dozen Bugs

    Dolphin releases Easy Reader for Android

    TalkBack 6.1 Beta Adds Quick Language Switching, Enhanced Navigation in Native Apps

    Apple Releases iOS 11.1; Bringing a Number of Fixes and Enhancements for Blind and Low vision users

    Apple Releases Software Updates for the Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV

    Shout out to Dean Martineau for compiling the Windows Screen Reader Keystroke Compendium: You can find it at National Braille Press' site.

    One International Airline Now Offers Boarding Passes in Braille

    Interview: Brian Fishler And "Laugh For Sight!

    Brian Fischler, who you might know as one of the hosts from "That Blind Tech Show", is hard at work in putting together the finishing touch on this year's Laugh For Sight" event. For more than a decade, with the assistance of the Gotham Comedy Club,"Laugh For Sight" has brought together Comedians for a gala night of jokes to raise funds for vision loss research. This year's outing is going to have a silent auction, some amazing sponsorships and of course wall to wall humor. If you are in the New York area, grab your tickets now. Or, if you are interested in the $20 deal Brian mentioned on the show, email him at
    Be sure to add "Laugh For Sight" to your bookmarks to stay up to date on the latest from this funny organization.

    Tip: Start Your Holiday Tech Support Prep

    Fans of this show probably end up being popular during the holidays as their families just might wrangle them into providing free tech support. Well, if you are lucky, they'll feed you first and then ask you to fix stuff. At any rate, you may find yourself having to troubleshoot the new Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. To verify if the computer in front of you has the latest version of Windows 10, venture to Settings then System and move to the About section. This panel will let you know the version of Windows 10 installed. You are hoping it says 1709 as that means you are looking at the Fall Creators Update rather than an older version. Also, don't forget to journey to the Windows Store and make sure those apps are up to date as well. This by no means will solve all your problems, however, it may provide you with the needed progress bars for the consumption of dessert.

    Sound Off:

    Mary Emerson left this insight for us in the episode 119 Comments Section;

    Hi, You were talking about grocery delivery services. I've been using Safeway since March 2002; they've been wonderful! Sometimes I get items I didn't order, and sometimes other people get my stuff, but I've accepted that as part of the process; nobody's perfect, and we all make mistakes occasionally. I get reimbursed for missing items. Sometimes there are some good deals if you shop online. Thanks for a great show! from Mary Emerson

    Joe notes that the recent updates to the Harris Teeter app for iOS broke VO support in all sorts of ways. The chain recently dropped out of the Instacart list and this leaves the website as the only means for browsing and ordering things for delivery. He has already contacted HT and provided some resources, however, all this meant was that he and Ricky will use other stores over HT while they work back in Voiceover support.

    If you have a local grocery chain app, either iOS or Android based, that you find easy to use... let us know via social media, in the comments below or drop us a line and we will share that information on an upcoming episode.

    Last Word:

    Great minds think alike? J.J. and Joe picked the same story for the very first time!
    Google CEO says he will drop everything to address burger emoji scandal
    Here's How You Should Assemble Your Hamburger, Emoji Be Damned

    So, meat on the bottom bun? Cheese in the middle? What is the proper way to dress up a burger? let us know as we want to hear the wisdom of the crowds on this one.

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    J.J. is recording from a mystery spot in New Jersey this week. Joe is no longer distracted by illness nor baseball. That means there is a user-requested discussion about grocery shopping in the cards for the middle portion of the episode. But don't worry, as a live tip, the "Last Word" and an amazing email arrived for "Sound Off".

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    Palo Alto nonprofit Benetech wins a $42.5M Dept. of Education grant, a nod to founder Jim Fruchterman s quest to help the blind

    Important information for #NVDASR users and #Firefox 57.

    Dolphin releases Easy Converter Express

    iPhone X Review: There are Some Adjustments and Compromises, but I Can t Imagine Going Back

    MBraille version 4 sports more languages and other features

    HumanWare is now shipping the VictorReader Trek, delivering orientation & entertainment in one mobile package!

    Be sure to check out the Access World November Holiday Buying Guide

    Survey of the week! PDF and the User Experience Survey 2017

    This year's Seedlings Auction is now underway

    Discussion: Grabbing Groceries With Amazon Now, Shipt And InstaCart

    Several listeners have asked how the BBQ Crew does their food shopping chores. Joe and J.J. will focus on three services that they use fairly often for nabbing the noms. Be sure to log into these services to see if they are active in your area. Also, due to the nature of how apps update, there is no guarantee that each of these services is screen reader friendly at the time you decide to try them. All we can say is that, at the time of recording, they work with mobile devices or the web.
    Amazon Prime Now

    Great if you want something in two hours. Especially if it is a nonconventional item, like an iMac, but limited on things like fresh or frozen foods. If you are a Prime member, then you already have access to this service if it is active in your area. The downside here is that you can't find some types of products and you might go broke on the things you do find when just searching for random stuff.

    J.J. notes that he uses this service for his weekly food runs. Text-based communication with the shopper is helpful and there is a $5.99 fee for delivery that runs under $35.
    Needs JJ promo code here

    Joe likes the containerized reading and look of the app. he mentioned that you can customize an provide instructions ahead of time to a shopper if there is a possibility of an item being out of stock. You can pay $150 a year to gain free deliveries, however, the service often has promotional items that can qualify you for free delivery. The downside for this one is that you have to watch for "busy", or what you might think of as surge, pricing. And you will want to learn about how InstaCart pays their shoppers. Or, as with both non Amazon services, you could just tip the shopper with cash to avoid any pitfalls you might encounter with a shopper getting paid the proper amount for their generous time.

    If you are interested in trying out Instacart, here is Joe's referral link.

    Tip: Uber now lets you add multiple stops to your ride

    Lyft will let you add a midway point to your trip if you would like to, say, pick up that latest trendy food item from Taco Bell. But who needs that when you could add two more stops to that trip by using Uber instead. J.J. outlines the steps for doing just that in this week's tip suggestion.

    Sound Off:

    Christopher Bartlett writes in with the subject line of "Help with pairing Win 10 to chromecast audio".

    "I'm casting about (ha, see what i did there?) for a solution to getting my Win 10 machine to cast audio to a Chromecast Audio unit I have plugged into my nice stereo across the room. I'm wondering if you, or any of your listeners have successfully solved this problem. I've tried installing three separate applications that purport to do this, and none of them are either accessible, nor result in the production of any audio where I want it. I've exhausted my resources, and am hoping that you two resourceful folk, or a resourceful listener can help me do this thing.

    Chris is right in that there are a few apps out there, and sadly, they all don't really work very well. Chromecast Audio has the ability to do full dynamic range playback and Google has said in the past that the best way to deliver this experience is through Wi-Fi. To be fair, with Bluetooth Audio yet again undergoing a new spec transition, this is the more futureproof way of doing things. And it works well for record collections uploaded to Google Play or casting from Chrome on Win 10. There is, as we noted earlier in the year, BT support for Google Home. Yet there is no 3.5 jack for that device. Looks like Chris may need to look into a dongle to do the functionality requested, if he has an input available that is, on his stereo system. Many midrange home theater and traditional stereos now sport AirPlay, ChromeCast and Bluetooth 4x out of the box. It just depends on the make and model if they have all three on board.

    Now get ready as Ben drops the knowledge on us about Tactile Holograms.

    "Hello Joe, J.J., and anyone else on the Blind Bargains team.

    I listen to the Blind Bargains podcast, and greatly appreciate its content. I believe this podcast covers very important ground, without overlapping other great blindness-related podcasts.

    I would like to present a topic to Blind Bargains, and receive any feedback and recommendations that this team may have. The topic is tactile holograms. I became interested in tactile holograms about a year ago, when I was researching the extinct Optacon. I basically ended up on a German website that was blindness-related. It had a small section in English on tactile holograms, and this got my attention. Since then, my mind has ebbed and flowed on this topic. But recently I have felt an ongoing need to state my opinions and observations quite publicly.

    There may be tremendous opportunities to advance assistive technology for the blind by using tactile hologram technology. I will use the word blind throughout this entire e-mail, even though I have many more people in mind than only those without light perception. It seems quite likely to me that the Blind Bargains team members have already thought of this topic.

    My goal is to network with people who know much more about science and technology than I do, to persuade people that it is worthwhile to heavily research tactile holograms in the context of blindness, and to raise significant funds in this arena of research. In my opinion, we already have nearly all the scientific research we could ever hope for in the quest to give sight to the blind. The money going into this quest may be even more spectacular. For now, I believe that scientists should begin researching and developing touchable hologram technology with a keenness that is orders of magnitude greater than at the present. For the record, I live in the United States, in Missouri.

    It has been possible to make holograms that could be felt by human hands since at least as far back as 2008. For all I know, this ability may have existed before then. It appears to me that very few people have done in-depth research regarding tactile holograms at this point. Surprisingly, the imagination regarding how tactile holograms may help the blind is barely present on the internet in written form.

    From searching with Google, the idea of tactile holograms seems to have never been widely discussed or promoted on the internet through writing. Rather, the vast majority of the written content pertaining to this topic appears to have been published between 2008 and 2016. Barely any of this content appears to have been published in 2016. The internet is indeed a much more manufactured and curated arena now than it was in the past. But I ll give Google the benefit of the doubt throughout this e-mail. I am thrilled that some individuals have already done incredible research regarding tactile holograms. But it seems clear to me that much more awareness and participation is still necessary. As stated, the available written information on the internet regarding tactile holograms often does not include content regarding blind individuals. When the blind are mentioned, there is almost no deep discussion or imagination regarding how tactile holograms may be helpful in assistive technology.

    Between this paragraph and the next, I have pasted 5 URL s, which qualitatively and topically seem to represent nearly all the written information on tactile holograms that is available to the public free-of-charge. I also put the title of each webpage above its URL. I will admit that to the best of my memory, I did not yet listen to the YouTube videos on this topic. I will probably do this rather soon. If much more information is available in the videos than in the text of the below URL s, I will not resist, but will be glad. I am not trying to go on an extended rant. But based on the minimal written information on tactile holograms, I do not expect YouTube videos to have superior information.

    Scientists develop incredible holograms you can touch | Alphr

    Five Futuristic Interfaces on Display at SIGGRAPH - MIT Technology Review

    How Haptics Make Holograms You Can Touch - Motherboard

    3D virtual objects that can be touched and felt

    Mohamad Eid: The Touchable Holograms of the Future | The Gazelle

    One of the most comprehensive webpages I have found on the topic of tactile holograms, whose URL is immediately above, is titled Mohamad Eid: The Touchable Holograms of the Future . The blind are briefly mentioned there, but do not receive much focus. Even in this article, the blind are not discussed or mentioned whatsoever after the author uses the word hologram for the first time. I intend to aid in the serious promotion of tactile holograms as an active research path. Above all, I desire that at least one portable and affordable tool, based on tactile holograms, be developed for the blind.

    Tactile hologram technology may potentially exist in many products and be used for many applications. For example, it may allow the blind to read Braille on a desk, on the lap, or in mid-air. It could aid in all STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) subjects. Touchable holograms may even let many blind people drive bicycles if the required hardware becomes portable, and if bicycles are modified to allow steering and braking with the use of one hand.

    At least some of the existing tactile hologram technology allows human manipulation of the projection. One example, also from one of the above URL s, involves a light switch ( Therefore, many different kinds of multimodal systems could be developed. For example, a blind person could potentially feel a representation of a cow s ear, and then ask a voice assistant on a computer or mobile phone What color is this? . Then, the text-to-speech from the voice assistant could answer the above question. This is only one of many possibilities. Of course, we could include screen readers, Braille displays, magnification, and nearly every other assistive technology as well, as appropriate.

    By using portable tactile hologram technology, the blind can potentially feel a real-time 3-dimensional representation of what a wearable video camera captures. Furthermore, if this tactile holographic representation can update many times per second, then this could radically increase the available information that can be used for independent travel. Also, this may make independent travel much easier and more spontaneous for the Deafblind. This would at the minimum require a video camera, a way to mount or carry this camera, a powerful and portable computer, a wearable projector that projects the tactile hologram to an area that is ergonomically reachable by one s hand or hands, and wires or a wireless protocol that can quickly transmit large amounts of data.

    I am neither a hardware nor software developer. However, I use assistive technology on a daily basis. I believe that my imagination is one of my strongest assets. I am totally blind. I am an orientation and mobility specialist with Rehabilitation Services for the Blind of Missouri.

    I desire to see serious and immediate research into tactile holograms for the blind, whether or not I profit financially. If tactile holograms can benefit the blind, I would like to soon see several portable and affordable solutions incorporating this technology. I desire that tactile holograms become a topic of discussion again, and that this discussion be much richer than last time, especially regarding potential use by the blind. There is no doubt that disability education must play a significant part in this process. Otherwise, the average technology enthusiast, who shares much in common with the average human being in general, will be unable to imagine why blind people would desire access to tactile hologram technology. Hopefully, the practical applications of this technology will become understandable to the average person, and people will no longer think that tactile holograms are only useful for gamers, entertainment, hygiene and medical professionals.

    Thank you for hearing my perspective on this topic.



    That was incredible research Ben. We'll reach out to a few in our rolodex to see if we can add more to what you have found out. If anyone reading has more to add, send it along to please.

    Last Word:

    As a follow up to last week's story about those two spindled boxes of joy...
    A Global Shortage of Magnetic Tape Leaves Cassette Fans Reeling

    And this week we thought we would point out one particular iPhone X launch tale.
    Fake Apple Store Improv Everywhere

    We're getting closer to the Black Friday episode. If you, or your business, would like to be a part of it... contact us

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    App development may seem like a glamorous vocational choice, but as you will hear in this episode, it sure does have the occasional pitfall or two. Marty Schultz, of Kid Friendly Software and Blindfold Games fame, returns to the BBQ to talk about his wild week and his bright future. We'll finally broadcast that tip we've talked about since May, "Sound Off" will be X-citing and you might find the "Last Word" to be one of those things you won't be able to forget for a while once you have heard it for yourself.

    In The News:

    Google announced some positive access related changes for Android. However, if you read the collection of stories below, you will find that the mainstream tech press had a wide range of reactions to the Accessibility Services news.

    Accessibility Services: What they are and why Google is cracking down on their misuse

    Google cracks down on power-user apps that use Android's accessibility API

    Google will remove Play Store apps that use Accessibility Services for anything except helping disabled users

    Google's about to kill a bunch of useful Android apps that rely on Accessibility Services

    Now you can Describe Chicken Nugget in 280 Characters with Version 4.5

    Remember "TheQube"? It too has an update for the new 280 character limit

    The UK, Ireland and Austrailia can now download Microsoft's Seeing AI

    HIMS released the third update for the Braille sense Polaris. The update incorporates several user suggestions plus major fixes for Word Processor editing, creating and receiving e-mail, improved access to Web portals like airports and hotels, better consistency and connection between the BrailleSense and Android side, and more.

    EnVision America releases v3 of the I.D. Mate Galaxy firmware. The free update sports;

    • Announce the Wi-Fi signal strength as, excellent, very good, average, fair, or poor.
    • Modified Inventory and Browse Inventory Modes.
      Bookmarked Help Mode.
    • Support for HTTPS online requests.
    • Added EVA Online Database - Barcode information found online is uploaded to the new EVA Online Database.Then if a barcode is scanned and not found in the main barcodes.dat file, Galaxy will search online to this database first before searching other online sources.
    • Fixed Wi-Fi Connect / Disconnect Issue - if device cannot properly connect to the online time server, give the "Limited or no bandwidth available." announcement.

    From Top Tech Tidbits comes word that Audacity has been upgraded to version 2.20, giving screen reader users greater access to soundclips. Check out this David Bailes guide to learn more.

    Interview: Marty Schultz Of Kid Friendly Software

    To say that Marty has undergone a strange week would be some kind of an understatement. From the initial news about his apps being under review, to his relief that the review process proved to work in his favor which was then followed by him having to defend his design choices... yep... we'd have to say Marty has experienced one crazy time of it. J.J. sat down with the man at the center of it all to get his thoughts on the matter. Hear reflections on the process, the public reaction and what's next for the Kid Friendly Software Developer. And, if you want to really help him out, remember to rate and review Blindfold Games in the App Store. The occasional In-App Purchase is also a way you can support those out there in Appland that make great software too. Code isn't free. So support those who make it for you!
    You can learn more from the Blindfold Games website or follow @BlindfoldGames on Twitter.

    Tip: Broadcast With Google Assistant

    it is finally here. The ability to use the Google Assistant as an intercom is now rolling out to Google Home users and it is incredibly useful for those who have multiple floors, or large spaces, and a Google Home/Chromecast setup. Simply say the Google trigger phrase followed by the command "Broadcast". The Google Assistant will then record what you say next and pass that along to the other Assistant-based items in the home. To learn more about this feature, visit this page from Android Authority.

    Sound Off:

    Jim Denham, and a few others on social media, wrote in with another way to accomplish Joe's tip on finding the version of Windows you are running.

    "Hey guys:
    First, great podcast, keep up all of the great work you are doing.
    In ep 121, Joe's tip referenced how to get the version of Win 10 your
    friends and family might be using. He had users go through the
    Settings app. For screen reader users, I find there is a much quicker
    and easier way to get at this information. Open the Run dialog box and
    type winver and press enter. While this doesn't provide all of the
    information about the computer, it is a really quick and easy way of
    determining the version of Windows 10 being used.
    Hope this helps. Thanks again for all of the great stuff on your podcasts."

    The man who provided the name of this very podcast, Alex Hall, had a few thoughts about Joe's initial iPhone X impressions. The discussion took place on Twitter. However, Alex's response is just a smidge longer than 280 characters. It also resulted in this well-thought-out Guest Post.

    Guest Blog: Apple Design for Most of Us

    John wrote in to tell us that those noisy neighbors might not be at home when the late night party starts.

    "Hi Guys,

    If you haven't seen it already, I thought you'd get a kick out of the
    story linked below.


    Last Word:

    Alright, last one of these recording related stories.
    Hide And Seek, the rise and fall of Hidden Tracks

    Here's Joe's official submission for the segment. It is, uh, unforgettable.

    Somebody wrote an email bot to waste scammers' time

    Need ideas about stocking stuffers or just looking for a fantastic gift for yourself this holiday season? Well then, you will want to tune in next week as the Blind Bargains Qast will have some suggestions as to how you can spend that festive funding.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    BrailleSense Polaris made its first appearance on Blind Bargains with Joe Steincamp and Dave Wilkinson hidden (for security reasons) in a tiny bunker far below the surface of the Earth. But now there's no need for secrecy as Polaris has been shipping since the end of June so everyone already knows that Polaris is a wicked awesome dude. Joe and Dave review just how far the unit has come since its release. Dave discusses some of the features in the latest firmware upgrade, and the unit does some cool math until Dave and Joe remember they're not so good with numbers. To compensate, they use Polaris and Google Assistant to do the work for them so that you see just how much money you can save with the HIMS-tacular Blind Friday deals on not only Polaris but all other HIMS products, such as the Smart Beetle,GoVision and the U2 Mini But wait! The deals get even better if you ask a friend to bundle. So sit back, relax, and let Joe and Dave get your Blind Friday shopping started.

    We thank Hims for sponsoring this holiday podcast.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    Welcome to our 3rd annual Blind Bargains Holiday Shopping Guide. This year, we've brought the deals straight to your audio feed. Sit back and relax as some of your favorite merchants, or perhaps some that are new to you, tell you about their latest products and services as well as some holiday deals. We'd like to sincerely thank all of the companies who were apart of this show. Below you'll find information about each company in the order they appear in the show.
    Be sure to stay with Blind Bargains for lots of deals from Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond. We hope you have a safe and fulfilling Thanksgiving and we'll be back to our normal? format next week.

    Mystic Access

    Mystic Access wishes to make the holidays brighter with gift ideas that educate, empower and take the intimidation factor out of learning assistive technology. We wish to make your learning journey far less stressful and way more fun. Whether you're searching for a comprehensive audio tutorial, one-on-one training, or accessible electronics which can be enjoyed by sighted and blind loved ones alike, we have your gift-giving covered.

    Our audio tutorials are professionally recorded, produced, and created from a blindness perspective. We offer tutorials on a variety of topics, including our eight-hour deep-dive into the fourth generation Apple TV. As with all our tutorials, it's available as a digital download in both DAISY and MP3 formats, and via SD card for $15 more.

    If reading and music bring you holiday cheer, you may enjoy our audio tutorials on the second generation Victor Reader Stream, and the Amazon Echo (Alexa) products.

    Other offerings include our delightfully informative Apple Watch tutorial, our comprehensive overviews of the popular Voice Dream Reader and Writer iOS applications, and our extensive overview of Google's suite of products, including Docs and Drive.

    If a new braille display is on your shopping list, you may enjoy our tutorials on the VarioUltra and Orbit Reader 20 braille displays.

    We're excited to offer accessible Bluetooth speakers and headphones, all of which include voice prompts for easier navigation. We also offer a Bluetooth transmitter receiver, which allows streaming to your Bluetooth headphones or speakers from devices such as your NLS player, Victor Stream and others which don't natively include Bluetooth. Each of these devices includes a detailed audio tutorial which covers orientation and functions. Audio samples are available for each product. Tutorials are also sold separately.

    For a highly-personalized gift of love, you may wish to consider our personalized audio tutorial service, where we can custom-design something to meet your specific desires. With the same exceptional quality as all our tutorials, this gift can be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

    If one-on-one training is on your gift list, we offer a variety of options to meet your needs. From screen readers to iOS / Android and beyond, we can remotely support your learning in a fun and relaxed atmosphere from the comfort of your own space. all training sessions are recorded in MP3 so that you can listen again anytime. For aditional support and empowerment, we offer personalized consultingand self-advocacy coaching. and self-advocacy coaching.

    Unsure What to buy them? A virtual gift card could be the perfect way to brighten someone's holiday.

    Mystic Access looks forward to supporting and empowering you. Check out our bi-weekly podcast,free downloads,free monthly free teleclasses, and contact us if you wish to order via phone, or to ask any questions. (716) 543-3323, or We wish you a beautiful and safe holiday season filled with joy and love.

    A T Guys

    Black Friday at A T Guys is Live. We've started our Black Friday sale early, with some huge discounts and never before seen deals on some of our most popular items. Save $30 on the popular Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headsets, now available in two sizes and multiple colors, for $99.95. Get the popular Matias Bluetooth keyboard, which can be paired to up to 4 devices at once and featuring a 1-year battery life, for $95. Or check out the popular Soundpods Bluetooth speaker for $39.95 or our Bluetooth Multimedia Remote for under $25. From stocking stuffers to braille displays, there's a sale to fit any budget.
    Check back, as new items may be added from time to time.
    Go to our A T Guys Black Friday Page

    Note: Our phone lines are closed over the weekend while we indulge on turkey, but you'll still be able to place orders online via our secure shopping cart. Please E-Mail us with any questions and we'll do our best to respond as soon as possible. You may call us on Monday to place orders over the phone at (269) 216-4798. Please leave a message if we don't answer, as our lines will be busy. Thanks, and have a great Thanksgiving.


    If you have a body, and we're pretty sure you do, then BlindAlive has workouts that are right for you! Recently, we have developed workouts that help improve your balance, make use of a foam roller to stretch and strengthen, and an Interval Training Workout. If you re new to working out, or it has been awhile, consider our Pilates, Yoga, or Gentle Workout Sets. If intensity is the name of your game, we have Cardio, Weights, Stability Ball, and BootCamp workouts. The Whole Body Stretch is fantastic for all who want to move, increase flexibility, and simply feel great! All audios are described, so there's no guesswork. Visit today to see all that BlindAlive has to offer, and subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss the exciting things coming in 2018!

    Give memories from the past, as presents to keep for the future!

    If you have old recordings of family or friends, music, books, etc. on records or tapes that are no longer available, we can bring those memories back, sounding better than ever! Check out Lane's Audio for more info.

    iOS Access for All

    iOS Access for All is a the most comprehensive guide to the accessibility features of Apple s mobile devices. From the VoiceOver screen reader, to support for hearing aids and closed captioning, Apple's mobile operating system, iOS, includes features that support people with a wide range of physical and cognitive disabilities. Readers will learn how to set up and use an iOS device in an accessible way, and how to get the most from apps provided by Apple, and available from the App Store. The book also introduces iOS tools, including the Siri voice assistant, that weren t designed for accessibility, but that nonetheless enhance productivity and pleasure for disabled users.
    For more information or to order, visit

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    The first show of the last month for 2017 just so happens to be the episode before Joe goes on vacation. It also contains a festive tip, a live taste test of a product by J.J. plus a demo from Stacie Hardy and Raul Gallegos. "Sound Off" continues the ongoing debates about what you eat after Thanksgiving dinner while the "Last Word" has a bit of travel related information.

    Program Note:

    We were absolutely gutted by the news of the recent passing of long time listener Richard Cavallaro. A smart technologist, a wonderful advocate and a pretty fine musician was lost to us shortly before Thanksgiving. Rich was a friendly voice in many of the community conversations and his insights will be greatly missed. Rich's family has set up "The Piano Man Fund" in his honor and it serves as a beautiful way to celebrate his life.
    Please consider a donation to the fund and we offer our sincerest condolences to the Cavallaro family and Rich's friends.

    In The News:

    ACB initiates a law suit against Hulu due to lack of access and audio description for the service's content

    Actiview has been updated and now contains audio description for the number one movie in the U.S., at the time of this recording, "Cocoa".

    KNFB Reader deal is over, but New sprint customers receive free KNFB Enterprise

    Envision A.I. has a new update as indicated by the tweet below.
    "@LetsEnvision Nov 23
    New updates is out with an improved text reading experience (real-time text and document text features added). We have also worked on our major tweaks to our UI and flow. Lots more to come from our pipeline. "

    November's BrailleNote Touch Update could Make You a Graphing Pro

    NVDA 2017.4 Release Candidate Diversifies Browse Mode Support, Drops XP and Vista

    Santa Again Contracts with the NFB to Send Braille Letters to Blind Kids

    Company Seeks Feedback about Airport Check-in Kiosks

    Joe appeared on Main Menu again, but this time it wasn't about Windows. Hear talk of a new audio framework for games called Wander Words.

    Demonstration: Fantastical2 On iOS

    Raul Gallegos and Stacie Hardy -- congrats on their recent engagement by the way -- of RGA Tech Solutions take us on a quick spin through their calendar. Okay, not really, but they do show us how easy it is to use the iOS app Fantastical2. This app is great and it works well with an Apple watch if you happen to have one of those on your arm. The app has a habit of going on sale during the holiday season. Yet at $4.99 normally, for an app that can sync both iCal and Google calendar, it is well worth the price.
    Find [RGA Tech Solutions on Facebook.(

    Tip: Call Santa Via Google Home And Amazon Echo

    Earlier in the show we mentioned that you could enjoy a letter from Santa in Braille. Well, if you want to chat with him through a virtual assistant, why not give the North Pole a ring instead. Joe will demo a call to Santa for this tip using a Google Home Mini. The Amazon Echo can phone the Jolly Old Elf too. Visit this link to learn more how to speak with Santa's Workshop from your Echo.

    Sound Off:

    Beth writes in...

    "MINCEMEAT!!!!! Please look at how I wrote that! You can feed the punkin pie to the geese, lol! Happy Thanksgiving, guys! Beth"

    Bargain Houndh had a comment to share on Alex Hall's post on iPhone X.

    "Thank you, Alex and Joe, for such intriguing Apple opinions. Re the comments concerning the idea that changes to Apple products were made to pad Apple's production costs, not for users' benefit. How many times have sighted people grumbled about changes to products generally, since consumerism began? The answer is: Lots of times! A company's number one concern is their bottom line, to stay in business and, to do this, money must be made. If I go to my local bakery and I say I want pumpkin-orange pie and they say they don't make that, which I'm glad of, by the way, ha ha, they will not accede to the individual consumer's wishes just because the person wants that particular flavor, ugh! The bakery would probably correctly, I hope, lol, assume that not very many people would even think of such a combination, let alone want it. Apple makes products for the sighted and it was decided that accessibility would be included out of the box but that is not Apple's reason for being. Therefore, the needs of the blind and low-vision populations will never be the main road on Apple's road map. I would say there will always be ways around changes to make the UI accessible but Apple will never make a blindness-oriented anything. Even blindness-specific tech companies, such as HIMS and Humanware, must create software and hardware to please the majority of the people they serve. They listen to consumer demand but they must ultimately make choices. Sometimes it's years before a dearly sought-after app or adjustment is made to these products. The only way in any market for an individual to get an exact match for a product is to self-create and then keep tweaking it as needed. Beth"

    Harry Brown had another view about the new iPhone 10.

    "Hi JJ, and all,

    I totally, disagree with Alex Halls post!
    Yes, I do agree that Apple is a business, and yes, they should make a profit.
    However, here's where I differ:

    1. I don't know a blind person, anywhere, who can just walk up to a touch screen device, and tap an icon, without sliding their fingers all over the place, trying to find an icon.
      That, my friends, is not efficient, that, is inefficient. If I were hiring a blind person, I would give him/her an efficiency test, and if they didn't pass it, which none of them will, I would not hire them.
      there is not one blind person in the world, who can just walk up to a touch screen device and tap an icon without groping around the screen for it.
      Now, do the speed dots screen covers help, maybe, but who knows! I tried to use one, and when I updated the IOS software on my iPod, I had to type in a stupid pass code, and no matter how many times I typed it in, it said it was wrong, so, I will never know just how good a screen protector works or not.
      Keys are MUCH MORE efficient, much faster, and this world is all about speed, and it doesn't have time for people feeling for icons.

    Now I will say one thing for touch screens, there is 1 group of people who really need them, and that is, people with neuropathy, who cannot touch keys, so they need a touch screen.

    1. Now the voice idea is a good one, but here's the problem, and that is, when you're in a crowd, when you're outside in the wind, or, when you're inside, and the air conditioner, or, some loud device is running, unfortunately, voice is not there yet. But yes, I would love to see us use voice, to control everything, and not have to feel for icons on touch screens.

    2. The last point is this. As someone who cannot use a touch screen because I cannot hold a device in my hands for hours on end, and I cannot feel a screen for icons, for hours on end, because I have tremendous pain, I will never be able to use a touch screen. But does Apple care? Absolutely not, because people with disabilities are the minority, (no matter what disability we have, you can name them all), but Apple, and all these mainstream companies just care about the majority, and not, the minority, which is fine, but if this continues, I will be one of those luddites, I will go without a computer, I will go without a cell phone, and if something happens to me, and I die, which is what almost happened to me, and thankfully, I was able to get a Samsung Gusto 3, which has saved my life), I guess I will just go without then."

    Joe mentioned that there were a few mainstream technology articles with a slant post Apple Distortion Field driven. Here are a couple of examples of them.

    How app developers and designers feel about the iPhone X and the notch
    Why I'm selling my iPhone X

    Now the debate shifts from pies to phones to apps. Here's the first of two comments about Blindfold Games.

    "Dear BBQ team,

    I just finished listening to episode 123 (and by the way, now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head.) Anyways, I listened to the segment on the talk of the blindfold games, and I have to say, I'm glad the games are back! I remember hearing the news about Apple's decision of disallowing Marty to release new games unless he coded them into a handful of apps. I was so upset, I cried that night. I'm in a facebook group for people who use Apple products, and a vast majority of us were completely against this dicision. I honestly had no idea how many people fought back. I'm just glad it all worked out in the end. I really enjoy these games, and I'm sure there are others who do as well. Out of the 10 blindfold games I have on my phone, my personal favorite is Blindfold Clues, which is similar to the board game "Clue". Anyways, I still enjoy your podcasts. Keep up the great work. Oh, and keep up the silly shenanigans!


    Lydia Alverson

    P.S.. I couldn't help but laugh at your pumpkin pie/minced meat argument. Hey, I'm with you on the pumpkin pie, JJ. But you know, you can't have pumpkin pie without a cup of hot chocolate to go with it.

    Sent from my BrailleNote"
    Kevin Barry chimes in with this experience.

    Love the podcast. However, listening to your latest conversation with the guy behind kid friendly software I feel I must inject a dissenting opinion.
    In my experience he certainly makes a lot of games. A lot of buggy games.
    With one in particular, Wildcard, basically Uno, it had several large, and continues to this day, with one major bug. One huge bug was that he was using the wrong deck. Yes, the wrong deck. Several times I wrote to him and explained exactly what was wrong. He would respond with something like, yes, I understand, I will fix it. Then nothing. I wrote again asking if he was going to fix the problem. He writes back asking "what problem?" This routine literally went on for three or four rounds before he finally fixed it. And, as I said, there is still a bug he hasn't fixed.
    Separately, I have found the way he charges for in app purchases to be repugnant. Not that he charges. I accept that. Again, an example with Wildcard. Early on I paid for a feature which I now cannot recall. He came out with an update where he took away my upgrade and wanted to charge me again for exactly the same upgrade.
    I suspect he has done exactly that with other games.
    I am getting a little tired, not just on your podcast, of hearing how great this guy is.
    What we have here, in my opinion, is a classic example of us in the blind community being so grateful to anybody who pays attention to us as games we can use are few and far between."

    Last Word:

    We're still recovering from American Thanksgiving as you can tell by the food and travel related links below.
    Snacktaku Eats An Eight-Course Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner
    The secret words your airline crew don't want you to understand

    Bonus Links:

    Here are some other things that came up during the latter half of the podcast.
    Hot Chocolate Oreos
    This Flamin' Hot Cheetos Turkey Is The Insane Dish You Need This Thanksgiving
    Introducing the Garsquashroom, the Vegetarian Answer to the Turducken
    And you can wash it all down with a Jones Soda

    Next week, Shelly takes the co-hosting spot while Joe and Ricky are on a very large boat. Neither J.J. nor Shelly have an idea about what will happen in BBQ 126. Therefore, you have to give it a listen to hear for yourself what transpires.

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    Joe is cruising far away from civilization, so Shelly Brisbin stopped by to hold down the fort. Shelly and J.J. talk Sonos speakers, Apple updates, and smart gadgets amongst other things, and find many parallels between all of them. Emails, a tip, and One More Thing round out this lively episode, so strap on in.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Also check out the Hims-tastic Holiday Qast which has deals which are still valid through the end of 2017.

    In the News

    Lots of VoiceOver Fixes in iOS 11.2

    Apple s no good very bad week in security updates and this

    Virgin Atlantic has launched in-flight entertainment for blind people and J.J. says he'll give a review if someone buys him a ticket.

    House and Senate tax bill impact on blind people, from AFB

    Kathy Ann Murtha book on using JAWS with Facebook

    A list of books on web accessibility, from Web Axe

    Discussion: Sonos, or how to blow lots of money on Audio

    Before Alexa, before Google Home, and well before HomePod, Sonos revolutionized the smart speaker market with its line of connected speakers. Now with options starting at under $150, they may be within reach of many more people. Shelly and J.J. talk about their setups, the Sonos apps for phones and computers, and other things to consider.
    Shelly has even integrated her Alexa things with her Sonos speakers for voice-enabled musical bliss. If this talk has you wanting to buy in, check out Amazon's Sonos page which will enable you to prime some speakers to your abode in a couple of days.

    Tip: Ibotta

    J.J. recently wrote about Ibotta, an app which will give you cash buying products and services you may already be using, such as Uber and online shopping. You can use this link to get $10 for signing up and redeeming your first offer.


    From Juan Avila

    I heard about Rich Caballaro. He and I went to the Louisiana Center For the Blind together in 2012-2013. I didn't get to interact with him for very long, as he arrived at the center when I had a couple months of training, and he was always spending time with his girl friend. He seemed like a nice person who was kind to everyone, and had a lot of love for technology. I remember that he asked for my oppinion about a tech instructor, and it was almost like Rich said "I'm going to be better than that instructor." And later I heard Rich was going to be an instructor for a center in Iowa, so I imagine , and trust that he did a good job. After graduating from the LCB a group of us formed a chat team on an app called "HeyTell" in which we would tell each other our progress in life, our endevours, and new tech we wanted. I remember Rich wanted the greatest and latest iPhones with the greatest capacity like the 6+ gold color. And everyone would tease him about it. "iPad phone?" Can I get one too? etc. After a while people were getting bored of talking on the group chat and eventually nobody talked on it. Someone said they would put us on What's App, but by then I decided that I had better things to do
    than to listen to what someone far away had for dinner each day. Life is a complex thing, and I never know who I might see again. I will miss Rich.

    From Twitter:

    @mehgcap: I've had Fantastical for years, but when I first tried it, I didn't much like it. After hearing @blindbargains Last 125, I'll have to try it again. Plus, the demo used the Ava voice I like so much! Nice to hear someone else using
    @skipper8210: Care to join the speculation on rumors of an iPhone SE2? I'm more excited about this than the iPhone 8 or X.

    -One More Thing

    Shelly is here, so we give some nods to her podcast The Parallel including this segment where we talk about what Joe is eating right now and far flung smarthome gadgets.

    Joe's back next week, or at least we think. IN the meantime, check out Shelly's great book on iOS Access for All which will include an upgrade to the iOS 11 version as long as you buy it from somewhere other than iBooks. Have a great week everyone.

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    Joe has returned from vacation to join J.J. for one of the final episodes of 2017. The pair discuss some shipping and gift wrapping suggestions, Joe has a Gmail tip for iOS users and a festive treat awaits in the "Last Word". So leave the cookies and the milk out for Santa before you curl up for a long night's winter nap with episode 127.

    In The News:

    Seeing AI version 2.0 released with new features, including handwriting and currency recognition

    That NVDA RC update isn't an RC anymore. Get the latest update by Visiting the NVDA site

    JAWS 2018 updated twice while Joe was away. See the changelog at the Freedom Scientific site to learn more

    ZoomText, And Fusion, moves to 11.7

    Public outcry causes Google to rethink banning powerful accessibility apps

    Chrome Apps are dead, as Google shuts down the Chrome Web Store section

    VoiceView update adds new navigation gestures and more

    iOS Review: MindNode 5, AN Accessible Mind Mapping Tool for Writers

    Discussion Topic: Creative Shipping And Wrapping Of Those Holiday Gifts

    J.J. and Joe pass along some ideas about how to ship your gifts, or how to place them in various containers if you aren't a gift-wrapping expert, for the holiday season. Amazon has lots of options to ship and wrap your gifts. And it may be the right way to send or even bring back the stocking stuffer in your life, if you have to travel a long way to see friends and family. Note that TSA, various airlines and other modes of travel have unique restrictions for carrying items. Therefore, doing some research might save you having to discard a box or bottle of holiday cheer when adventuring through the airport. Remember, you can always look up the nearest UPS Store if you want to avoid that kind of thing at TSA. You can easily track your bundle of joy via the Google Search app, if you use Gmail, to see if you will beat your packages home.

    If you go the gift card route, J.J. suggests choosing an odd amount so that person won't easily forget your gift in a sea of certificates. Joe also says that you may want to pair those cards with a similar gift. I.E. a movie pass with a gift card to an ice cream shop. Omaha Steaks with a Jones Soda complement. It also doesn't hurt to have a few low amount iTunes cards to pass around for those you may have not gotten to, but needed to, on your naughty or nice lists. Tag your gifts with a stylus,, note cards are a big help here, so you remember what goes to whom and why.


    This came about a little late for those who had that nasty iOS11 mail issue, however, you can now add iCloud email accounts to Gmail. This is great for those who wish to switch from Apple to Android. Or, for those who wish to have a foot in either pool, you can now see your email on the rival device. Oh, you can also add Exchange and other Microsoft accounts to Gmail too. Here is an article that goes into the changes recently added to the iOS update for Gmail.

    Sound Off:

    Juan wrote into the show, on Ep 126, about Rich's passing. Nick and Bob, over at TBRN, put together a fitting tribute show, archive can be found at this link, and Joe was honored to be asked to speak at this event.

    As a follow up to the Blindfold Game discussions, the link below shows Apple is cracking down on all sorts of apps and Developers.

    Apple s widened ban on templated apps is wiping small businesses from the App Store

    Here are a couple of tweets to the @blindbargains feed...

    alimoosa191: Is the Matias keyboard similar to Apple s Magic Keyboard with numerik keypad?

    In layout, yes. In features, no. The new Apple Magic Keyboard, which Joe covered on Ep 112, only connects to Apple devices. and one at a time at that. It is a great keyboard but it isn't nearly as feature-laden as the Matias. To hear more, pop back to our Black Friday show.

    DiannaMuircast: This @blindbargains podcast is hilarious!

    We agree and its always a great time when Shelly graces our MP3 streams!

    Last Word:

    From the cruise, Joe has a new song for the holidays
    You may have heard of the Can'tenna, but maybe we'll have the Cane-tenna
    IT STINKS! Onion Truck Ironically Catches Fire Near Frying Pan Road

    One more to go before we say good-bye to the year that was 2017. Safe travels to everyone and Happy Holidays!

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    The month of December used to be a slow month in podcasting circles. That doesn't seem to be the case again with 2017 rolling right along with timely news and events still arriving like they were UPS holiday packages on the BBQ doorstep. Good thing we asked Amanda Rush to come by and talk about Word Press as we shall need a sister site up to contain all these analogies and metaphors we've made about boxes and packages on the show over the last 60 days. J.J. takes some time out to play a game on Echo, Joe has one rejected idea in the "Last Word" and Patrick lets his guard down in a most interesting way. Grab that cup of coffee, cocoa or just a glass of milk... it is BBQ 128.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    In The News:

    NVDA remote 2.1 debuts with several requested key features
    @tspivey: NVDA Remote 2.1 released. Adds a keystroke to push the clipboard, adds braille input in browse mode, fixes reconnecting to the previous server when machine is being controlled.

    Access World for December looks at more gift ideas, the El Braille and some issues for Diabetes Management

    Popular website Eyes Free Fitness now has an iPhone App

    Facebook's Alt Text for Images is Expanding

    Magic v14 update arrives bringing with it support for the Win 10 Fall Creators Update and more

    Survey of the week!
    AFB is seeking feedback on the Career Connect service and one lucky participant could win an Amazon Echo

    Kickstarter of the week!
    The World's First Smart Screen Protector with Smart Buttons for the iPhone!

    Interview: Amanda Rush And Accessible Word Press

    Amanda rush, of Customer Servant Consultancy, chats with J.J. about the power of Word Press and why you should consider it as your next content platform if you utilize a screen reader. Building websites can get complex really quickly. Amanda has some resources that can lead you through that maze of code. To reach her directly, use her "Let's Talk" contact form, or contact her via Twitter @cswordpress .

    Tip: Match Game 2017

    Fill in the blank during the holidays with your friends, family and old TV or movie stars from the 60s or 70s with this Amazon Echo skill that lets you play the classic game show "Match Game". There are free daily questions, however if you purchase question packs, you can keep playing until you win that year's supply of Rice-a-roni or a room full of ZBrick paneling.

    Sound Off:

    From our article about the Seeing A.I. update comes these two opinions;

    So basically, they've just allowed me to take my OCR folder and replace it with one app? Nice. So far it does seem to work, even the handwriting recognition which, while not perfect, does well enough and is a major door-opener for us. I wish everything coming out of Microsoft was this awesome. I really liked Seeing AI before, and it's even better now. Now Microsoft, if you could just concentrate on real improvements like this in your other products...

    The updates were worth the wait. Cleaned up my home screen by being able to replace a number of apps with this new upgrade. Currency and colour feature works more consistently than other apps. The ability to read hand writing, and therefore Christmas cards sent is a great feature. Keep it coming Microsoft.

    Lydia Alverson, long time listener of BBQ, sent along her Winter Wishes in the most accessible way!

    Dear Blind Bargains team,

    Just to show my appreciation, I wanted to send you a little holiday greeting. I hope you enjoy it.

    Press to hear greeting:


    Lydia Alverson.

    Also, another long-time fan, sends her regards about Ricky and Joe's recent news...

    Hey, fir"st, congrats to Joe and Ricky! I would love a show on cruising, I have never cruised and I would please request that you discuss cruises to nowhere, you don't get off the ship and they are short cruises. They may no longer exist, not sure. If I ever cruise, I want to stay on the ship, that's why I would get on one in the first place! Happy holidays to you guys and looking forward to more great podcasts next year! Beth"

    Last Word:

    Fred sent this first link into Feedback back on June 28th and Joe thought it appropriate if it landed here in the "Last Word".
    Taco Bell just had its first wedding ceremony for a very hungry couple
    And J.J. would like everyone to be aware of this local announcement in his area.
    "The Lowell Police Department's message: "Please do not walk
    out in front of a city snow plow with your shovel challenging
    our drivers not to plow in your driveway. 26,000 pounds of
    metal and salt does not stop on a dime. If the truck doesn't
    crush you and kill you instantly, the blade will dismember your
    body and you'll bleed out before any help arrives." "

    Well that will do it for our third year of the Blind Bargains Qast. Patrick will be back in the feed with the Outtakes show. And the BBQ Crew will begin 2018 with the traditional look back at the previous year's biggest stories. until then, all the best to you and yours in this grand new year!

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    You know that holiday song that has the line: "It's the most wonderful time of the year?". yeah, well, Patrick tends to hum it a lot in December because this is the dedicated show where he has free rein to post all the things that would make us sound silly if left in for an episode's original broadcast.

    Naturally you will hear several flubs from J.J. and Joe. And you might be surprised to hear a couple from Patrick that hit the cutting room floor. Yet as they say on TV, "but that's not all, as many of the BBQ Crew find their way into the Outtakes this year. Listen as Shelly, Scott, Dave, Meka, Chancey and Ricky create some humor with only BBQ Regular Jamie Pauls avoiding the microphone for like the first time... um, ever. So don't miss the train as we start the new year off right by celebrating what we got wrong in 2017.

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    Happy New Year and welcome to the first show of 2018. Traditionally, if you are a long time fan, you know the first show has been reserved for a glance back at the previous year's AT news. However, due to crazy schedules on everyone's part here at BBQ, we'll delay that look over our shoulder and talk about it as the focus for episode 131. This week we will assume the Discussion Topic" format as we cover J.J.'s recent trip to Vegas for the 2018 Consumer Electronic Show and Joe's review of the 12 pound Google Home Smart Speaker. We also have a tip, some quick thoughts in "Sound Off" and our first "Last Word of the year. This one is a little longer than usual because there was just so much to talk about.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

    Discussion Topic: CES 2018

    This year the big show in Las Vegas sported the ability to filter the more than 4,000 booths by an actual Accessibility track option. J.J. talks about how that worked and how some companies fit under that new banner. He also offers a few suggestions of vendors to be on the lookout for during the year.

    J.J. sat in a bus from Accessible Olly,
    [APH showed off the full-size Graphiti.
    Robotix Learning Solutions are the makers of the TACO Playbits and TACO Robobrix educational learning tools. They also offer the Phiro the robot that teaches kids to learn robotics, coding, computational thinking and problem-solving skills in a fun and easy way.
    are the creators of The world s smartest tape measure

    Vditory! states that their mission is: "Aiding from the low vision to the completely blind users in living an independent and disability-free life"

    Qwertyfree is a gesture-based keyboard for iOS

    XYZ Printing offers a cool-touch 3D pen under $50

    Eyesynth is working on alternative User interface options that involve soundscapes using Aftershokz

    Ultra Haptics are haptics using puffs of air to simulate button presses and gesture based swipes

    beltmap is a wearable vibrating belt that allows you to feel where to go next or detect objects in your path

    Makerbuino is a retro styled Arduino video game console that J.J. thought Joe might want to know about

    Joe, on the outside looking into the fishbowl that J.J. was swimming around in Vegas, thought these mainstream stories were interesting.

    CES 2018: Everything is too complicated

    Apple s Indirect Presence Fades from CES

    All the new HomeKit gear unveiled at CES 2018

    Google takes on Echo Show with four new smart displays

    This Bluetooth Air Filter Will Tell You Just How Filthy Your Air Is

    Netflix hid a fake biotech booth in the middle of CES

    Smart Toilet Kohler announces Konnect, its line of premium smart appliances

    Sennheiser s first soundbar has 13 speakers and sounds amazing

    Amazon s Fire TV OS is a total no-show at CES 2018

    Audio company Klipsch announces two mid-century modern speakers with Google Assistant

    Industry players say self-driving cars are years away

    Hardware Review: Google Home Max

    Joe talks about how his holidays were filled with music. Music that the neighbors could enjoy as the Google Home Max is really loud. J.J. asks Joe about his review and drills down on some of the setup process, what sounded best and just who is this smart speaker best for in what is about to be a very crowded marketplace.


    Thanks to James Teh, now at Firefox, who mentioned this one in a recent tweet. Use Windows plus the letter V to hear those notifications that can pop up in Windows 10 from time to time. Joe shows J.J. that he can read a Dropbox notification by using this handy Windows hotkey.

    Sound Off:

    Rhonda Hornbacher writes in,


    individuals to provide information on cruising as a person who is blind. My husband and I have taken 3 cruises since 2012. We have cruised to Hawaii, Alaska and various islands in the Caribbean..

    On a whim, I decided to request audio description services for our 2012 cruise to Hawaii and I was surprised to receive a describer. Since then I have requested and received describers for both of the other cruises.

    If you would like to know more just let me know.

    I would be interested in your cruise experience too.

    Have an awesome day,
    Rhonda, who also lives in Charlotte:

    Three more of Joe's friends on social media happened to take a cruise since we aired episode 128. It seems to be a trend. We don't have an air date in mind just yet though. so, stay tuned.

    cW, not to be confused by "The CW" TV Network, left us a comment on Joes story regarding the launch of the audio RPG "A Hero's Call".

    "I got the game yesterday. All I can say, without giving anything away, is that it is worth the money. So far, it appears to be the kind of game I like. Most if not all of the problems I had with FPS games in the past is the hand ear thing. Ok, that is not that big of a problem for me. What I really like about this game is that I can think through my actions within battle and be reasonably sure the action I took is the best one. Whereas swamp, I am running away until I have a good plan of attack before I turn and strike. Different styles of play where neither is bad. A Hero's Call basically, for me, is a lay back kind of game where I can ease my way through it with enjoyment while thinking about the clues I have been given via asking about town. Anyway can someone get Liam Erven on talking about his favorite parts of the game. I, personally, would like to see if he can talk about his favorite parts without giving away any hints and or spoilers. I have found that the overall sound scape of the game to be good. Is sound scape the right term here? Anyway, it sounds good so far and the background music is a plus. If anyone asks me, I would say that it is a text adventure put into a first person audio game. That might not describe it well, but that is sort of what it reminds me of. Anyway. Love the game and can t wait for this to be covered in BBQ."

    this game is so, so good. But it might not be for everyone. Be sure to check out BBQ Regular Liam Erven's YouTube demo if you need to get an extended look at the game before you commit to a purchase.

    Last Word:

    Before we begin the links bit, here is a mashup tune Joe had been saving for J.J..
    Amazon is now offering a monthly Oreo Subscription

    The 9 Absolute Weirdest Gadgets We Saw at CES This Year

    We are only two months away from San Diego. That is so hard to believe. Then, if you let your mind drift, we are six months away from the major conventions. yep, that is half the year down already. We like to plan ahead. Still, before we can move ahead, we'll look back at the year that was 2017. have a great week everyone!

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    Here we go, another year, another top 10 list. Join J.J., Joe, Shelly and Chancey as they roll through some of the bigger news that shook the Low Vision and Blindness technology field in the year that was 2017.

    10. The "Year In Braille" takes many forms

    We do not have many of the, now infamous, "combined entries this year. Yet how could we not lump so many good stories into one pile about Braille?
    Braille support comes to Amazon VoiceView, improved Braille support in NVDA, Windows includes Braille support for Narrator, NVDA and contracted braille input. So many good things. But read on, we noted that the year also had a few missteps.

    9. HIMS, the release of the Polaris

    The counterpunch to the Humanware Braille Note Touch came along in a sleek device that also gives a nod back to the owners of HIMS in the name, and use, of the Polaris software.

    8. Baum VarioUltra Shipping Issues and bankruptcy protection

    This story may get more interesting in 2018, but the warning bells sounded last fall.

    7. VFO Acquires Paciello Group

    Brand recognition within the web access community, a pool of talented people and a respected player in the W3c and WCAG communities. What's not to like? Well, for VFO this particular acquisition meant that it was beginning to solidify bigger Enterprise plans beyond that of being a hardware and software maker.

    6. Firefox, Version 57

    A possible big change for the way web browsers work, though 58 is mitigating much of this for NVDA at least, some in our echo chamber shouted: "fire!" when the room began to fill with smoke. Also Jamie Teh joining Mozilla was kind of a big deal for them and NVDA as well.

    5. Apple, iPhone X, iOS11 issues

    Another year of Apple speculation saw the company continuing to release new products, and hit new all-time high revenue targets, despite a bit of tarnish forming on that Rose Gold finish.

    4. Window-Eyes is No More, How We Got to This Point and What's Next

    The group notes that this was not a matter of there being a lot of users, but because Window-Eyes was a poster child for consolidation.

    3. Orbit Reader

    An entry that hits the list two years in a row. They shipped a few of these things apparently, but where is it now? Chancey calls it "story zero" due to the lack of availability.

    2. AIRA explodes on the scene

    Never underestimate the power of good marketing. With a drive to have famous names on the board of Explorers, the beginnings of a network of places to use the service and a major splash at the summer conventions, AIRA sparked a ton of interest amongst our community. And a whole lot of controversy too. "Mobility gamechanger", "Blindness "Privilege" and "transformative Service" are just some of the ideas bandied about in our number two story.

    1. [SeeingAI](]

    A unanimous number 1 for the first time ever in the many years we've been doing this countdown. Not a surprise really as this free app does so much for so many. Congratulations Microsoft!

    We had our say. It is now time for you to have yours. Please send along your thoughts about 2017 to or leave a musing in the Comment Section below.

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    It is always a treat when we can get someone to come on the show and talk about services and new hardware. This week Buddy Brannan joins Joe and Patrick to discuss not only a new Braille Display, a new Braille Embosser and even a new Android phone. He also provides some good insight into the news surrounding service animals and the airline industry. Then, Patrick talks about a new recorder that Joe will probably end up buying before CSUN. It is a jam packed episode of insighful comments and hardware reviews. And we think this will come as a shock to J.J. for sure that his absence from the show this week did not result in a gab fest about videogames or Microsoft.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

    Discussion Topics: Buddy Has All The Toys!

    Before we started conversations about things that go bleep in the night, Joe thought it would be a good idea to get Buddy's take on the current dilemma that Delta customers with service animals will face starting March 1st.

    Joe and J.J. are not Guide Dog users, however, Buddy is and he has some rather blunt thoughts on the matter. Here are a few statements from others on the situation as further food for thought.

    ACB's Remarks on Delta s Revised Guidelines
    National Federation of the Blind Statement on Delta's New Service Animal Policy
    Delta flies 250,000 service animals a year. Now the rules are changing
    Some Disability Advocates Are Upset With Delta's New Service Animal Requirements
    A woman tried to board a plane with her emotional-support peacock. United wouldn't let it

    We then turned to a discussion about Buddy's new ViewPlus Columbia Embosser. Followed by a peak at his new Inovision Braille Me 20 cell sub $500 Braille Display

    Then Joe had to get Buddy's feelings on record about his use of a Google Pixel 2.
    It is a wild time indeed as Buddy is bullish on all this new tech.

    Hardware Preview: Zoom H1n

    The refreshed model of Zoom's long running H line is starting to emerge from CES and on to store shelves. The Zoom H1 is the entry level device in the H series and you have already heard how good it is if you have listened to any of Joe's convention recordings in the last 7 years. So it was with great interest that we ask the Audio master Patrick perdue if Joe was about to drop $120 on this updated recorder. The short answer is... probably. Patrick takes us on a tour of the controls and gives his first impressions on what he found in his short time using this recently released product. We're sure to have more to say on this one in the future. Stay tuned!
    You can get it now through third-party sellers on Amazon for $119.99

    Last Word:

    We only had time for one link, and it seemed fitting after the Grammies, here is more on why songs sound the same and a great example of the "Golden ratio" in music.
    4 Cords Redux

    Next week, J.J. is back with the first of audio from ATIA 2018. And we may actually get a chance to catch up on some of the long lost and forlorn "In The News" section.

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    J.J. is once again transmitting from a location somewhere in New jersey. Hear his harrowing tale of food delivery throughout this episode. unrelatedly, but still involving hotel travel oddly enough, hear J.J. take a trip around the ATIA host hotel with Larry from APH and Indoor Explorer. News is back, so is "Sound Off" and a very timely tip rounds out the show.

    In The News:

    The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) Partner for a Future of No Limits for People Who Are Blind

    Stan Littrell has already ordered his Orbit Reader. Furthermore, he thought our listeners would be interested in this email that came from APH Support.

    "I figured that I would send the following note from APH concerning
    certain problems that they are having with some of the orbit 20
    braille displays that have been sent out and how they are addressing
    the issue. I have a feeling that I will receive my unit today or
    Monday since it was sent out by APH on Tuesday. Dear APH Orbit Reader

    It has just become clear that at least some of the units from a recent
    shipment of Orbit Reader 20s may have an issue with some pins
    sticking in either the up or down position.
    If you received a unit with pins that stick, APH will send you a
    replacement along with a pre-labeled box in which to return the
    faulty unit. You also have the option to receive a full refund.
    Please call customer support at 800-223-1839 to make arrangements.
    APH is working to understand the problem before we ship replacements,
    so we cannot give you an exact timeline for shipping replacement
    models. We will keep you posted as we learn more. We have halted
    future shipments until a complete understanding of the problem and a
    resolution is determined.
    We apologize for this inconvenience. Please be assured we are doing
    everything possible to resolve the situation quickly. Thank you for
    your patience.
    Alan Lovell
    APH Customer Relations"

    Also, for those just now getting their units, nab the January 29th firmware update for the Orbit Reader before you take it for a spin

    A Baum Facebook post was originally in our news lineup. Sadly, shortly after our recording session for this episode, we had to publish the news you will read below in the next linked article.

    Breaking: Baum USA Closing their Doors, Suspending U.S. Repairs of Braille Displays

    Google launches dedicated accessibility support

    From the TalkBack team: Announcing The Official Release Of TalkBack 6.1

    It's Now Possible To Go A Thousand Miles With A Braille Display

    Digging Up The Dirt On News We May Have Missed

    Discussion Topic: ATIA 2018 Highlights

    J.J. recently returned from Orlando where he braved the Exhibit Hall of ATIA 2018. He placed several of his thoughts about ATIA 2018 in this Access World article.
    "Feeling Fireworks" is a phrase not often heard and Joe had to know how that came about. The Mountbatten Smart, metric Caliper from NBP and the Kapsys SmartVision phone were also items for discussion in this portion of the program.

    Demonstration: APH Nearby Explorer Indoor Navigation

    Hear Larry Skutchan and J.J. wander around the convention hotel demonstrating their cane skills. They just so happen to also be demonstrating the new Indoor Explorer mode of APH's Nearby Explorer as they go along as well. There is a lot that goes into making indoor navigation possible. Tags, open maps and an smartphone-enabled app are only part of the process. Larry explains in this demonstration just what it takes to bring this all to your ears. he then goes on to give some insights about the Orbit Reader and math Blaster for an added bonus. This is one you don't want to miss.

    Tip: Always Carry Some Cash On You

    J.J.'s food fiasco happened in real time during the recording of this episode, about 30 minutes was dropped of Joe and Patrick just talking about the weather, but one small mistake in an app had J.J. passing along cash to a very nice driver of a food delivery service. Sometimes it is good to have cash on hand for Bell Hops, bartenders and other service persons for whom it is customary to tip when traveling. A lack of talking ATMs can be daunting, however, many local grocery stores and major drugstore chains will let you debit out cash on purchases. This can be a big help when you visit a new area where you may find yourself in need of paper money.

    Sound Off:

    First up, one very important email from a Mr. J. Pauls. it seems there was a top ten list for 2018 lying around in the Blind Bargains Inbox. Below is his list for the biggest stories of last year.

    1 The demise of Window-eyes
    2 The rise of Microsoft Narrator
    3 Jamie Teh moves to Mozilla
    4 Release of Seeing A.I.
    5 Audio description comes to Amazon videos
    6 Release of BrailleSense Polaris
    7 Continued updates to BrailleNote Touch
    8 Release of ElBraille
    9 Orbit Reader moves closer to release
    10 ACB s Audio Description Project

    As you read above, and think back to episode 131, his list isn't all that far off from what the rest of the panel thought. Minus the Number One story of course. We thank Jamie for sending this in, he was actually the first person to do so and that is why this got lost in the shuffle because the rest of us were late, and we'll make sure that he is included in next year's tabulation for sure! Speaking of the "Year In 2017", here is a remark from the comment section of that episode by Orko.

    "I was just recently turned on to Aira and in the short while that I've had the service it has made a noticeable and positive difference in my day to day life. No more waiting for sighted help to get some things done, what a difference! And then here comes episode 131 and your year in review and how negative you and your guests were towards the Aira service. Since then I have found myself wondering if I wanted to continue subscribing to your podcasts. Sure there are services like Be My Eyes and Be Specular, but while I applaud the work of the volunteers that make those services work, at the end of the day they are untrained volunteers, and there are situations where using an untrained volunteer makes me nervous. Aira assistants, on the other hand, are trained professionals who are under a non disclosure agreement to protect your personal information. I agree that there are some legitimate privacy concerns, but I also believe that it's up to the user, not the service, to use appropriate caution when working with such services when it comes to what you reveal to them. I'd have given episode 131 a thumbs up, but after hearing what you had to say about Aira, it gets a very definite thumbs down."

    There were two AIRA subscribers on the panel and it was stated a few times that we were speaking about the business side of things. There are real concerns moving forward however, none of us were making value judgements about the service. We are fans, watchers and most of all users of Assistive Technology. We aren't rooting for a company to fail. Especially now that so many are falling all around us. At the same time, don't look for this podcast to be one that validates the "fanboy" or "fangirl" gushing sign of approval that everything by Company A or Product B is fantastic. We like to ignite the spark of conversation and that means we sometimes take an unpopular stance on a popular topic. As Joe stated in his response, "Sometimes you have to divorce your feelings about a product or service when talking business... and this is a business". We hope our listeners understand when we are speaking from that sense and when we are providing more of a direct opinion. We can say that we have been very transparent about our opinions and this has gotten us into trouble with our friends in the A.T. field on occasion. yet it is our honest style that allows us the access we have to those same friends and it is how we are able to have much of our fabulous convention coverage over the years. The BBQ Crew pulls few punches and we don't plan on softening this approach in the foreseeable future.

    tchemel left this comment on the Google Access Support story,

    "I'm decidedly unimpressed. I emailed them about not being able to create appointment slots (a longstanding problem) and they assured me that I can now do this using the new calendar, which is patently untrue. I wasted time going round and round with them, and they clearly don't understand the difference between an event and an appointment. Horrible."

    The Orbit Reader release had a few comments. Here's one from Darknexus.

    "There's something just a little odd about this method of doing business. Rather than making enough units to cover all the orders they would receive, it's as if they're trying to force an order rush. I can't think of any sound business reason to do this, especially after so many delays, unless they're trying to offset the cost of something else or are selling the displays far below the cost of manufacture. Either way, something just doesn't click.

    And Debee Armstrong left us this thoughtful remark;

    "Until we hear more about the drawbacks of such an inexpensive Braille display we will not truly know if the tradeoffs are worth it. I think people who never used a Braille display believe it is like reading paper Braille, and that is not true. EveryBraille display has drawbacks, features you tend to dislike. If the Orbit has limitations you can live with, the price is great, but until you know the limitations, you will want to be careful. Fpor example, I personally find it frustrating with the displays I have owned that there are too mamy little buttons all clumped together. It is too easy to accidentally press the wrong one. I also found that 14 or 20 cells is just not enough for me, but 40 is perfect."

    Last Word:

    Both good and bad audio awaits in this week's edition of strangeness from the web.
    Furby Organ is the stuff of nightmares
    Couple mistakenly goes to see Red Hot Chilli Pipers

    Next week we'll have another interview from ATIA and Joe will finally talk about those iPhone chargers.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    0 0

    This week we bring you a timely interview with David Bradburn, a person who is involved in one of the biggest stories of the year so far. We also have some great comments in the Sound Off" section, a tip and Joe finally talks about those iPhone chargers. The "Last Word" is Furby free. So relax and get ready for an amazing episode.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

    Farewell to the Zone

    If you haven't heard, the Zone BBS, a website which we started and ran for the past 15 years, was shut down last week. You can go to the home page to see some memories and farewell messages from users. There is also links to a Facebook and Reddit groups and a Twitter account which you can follow for any future developments. It's been a great ride.

    Breaking News - Interview: David Bradburn

    Friend of the show David Bradburn took time to talk with J.J. about the recent news with Baum. David is very candid about what is happening, what the possible path is moving forward and he gives an update about future support for existing customers. David also lets the cat out of the bag about which CSUN booth you can find him at next month. That is if we don't take him on as the new BBQ Food Critic first. Tune in to hear his thoughts on the current market and some real insights on the current trends in Braille Displays. We sincerely would like to thank David for his time and we hope this interview clears up any erroneous information that has been spreading about the company.

    Remember, if you have questions, write Baum directly at and watch the official Baum USA site for further announcements.

    In The Other News:

    News about HR 620 has been falling between our scheduled recording sessions. However, we think everyone should be aware of what it is and why they need to speak with their Government representatives about how it may impact their lives. Below are two articles that explain what the bill is and where it stands as of the time of this recording.

    Confrontation at the Capitol: The Fight to Stop H.R. 620

    NBC News: {The GOP's H.R. 620 will gut the Americans With Disabilities Act, pushing disability rights back to 1989

    If you want to learn more about this, or other access legal matters, you may want to visit Lainey Feingold's site on "Settlements in Structured Negotiation"

    Announcing the Aira Employment Program

    Hardware Review: iPhone 8 and 10 Charging Options

    Joe picked up a Belkin Boost Up wireless charger and the official Apple 29 watt charger with Lightning to USB-C cable to see if rapid and wireless charging was all the rage. He was so impressed by both that it caused him to write this article about both charging options for the site. Joe gives J.J. an idea about the costs and setup of both chargers. And you should really look into one of these options if you have an iPhone 8, 8+ or X on hand.

    Tip: Now Playing History For The Google Pixel 2

    J.J. is really getting into the Pixel 2. He noted that the Google Assistant will listen for music in the area and notify you automatically what song was playing. but that wasn't enough for him. J.J. found this neat little app called Now Playing History that will capture this data and save it for later. You can then play the songs you heard in an Uber, at lunch at that trendy spot or even in the theater later on one of several music streaming sites.

    Sound Off:

    The tremendous feedback from episode 131 continues this week with two emails. First up, Ken Scott.

    "Hi BBQ Team,

    I am late in commenting on BBQ 131. I have no excuse or justification. I did enjoy this episode.

    I am relieved that someone in the AT community Joe in this case does not subscribe to the idea that Window-Eyes lost the screen reader wars. A venture capital company in this case Vector if I heard Joe correctly bought out a successful competitor. I suggest that the members of the blind community that are supporters of Uber and Lyft seriously consider the implications of what Vector did for the screen reader community when it comes to ride share verses taxies for Uber and Lyft.

    I am also relieved that someone beside myself has come to the conclusion that the developers of JAWS are devoted to supporting legacy applications at the expense of keeping up with current standards and practices. I probably am not correctly understanding Joe s comments about JAWS. If I am correctly understanding Joe s comments, JAWS users should realize that even U.S. government agencies and large U.S. corporations eventually update their I.T. infrastructures. JAWS may not be able to respond to these updates when they come along.

    I beg to differ with Joe about economic advantage when it comes to AIRA. He pointed out that poor people not being able to drive and operate motor vehicles as a case of differences not meaning inequality. There is a serious critique within the transportation economic body of study that the current U.S. system of excluding the poor who are otherwise able to operate motor vehicles or providing an effective alternative to owning/operating a motor vehicle create a profound inequality issue given the U.S dependents on individually owned and operated motor vehicles to meet basic transportation needs. This pretty much destroys Joe s argument against inequality by analogy for AIRA.

    I also have to point out that there are extensive studies showing that there are large numbers of unlikeness and uninsured poor drivers using old highly polluting vehicle, because they have no choice: provide for their families or starve.

    I also have to beg to differ with Chancey when it comes to VFO s acquisition of the Paciello Group. She attempted to present as a potential positive the idea that consultancies working with the same corporation that has other service agreements could provide synergies. My reply is Enron and Arthur Anderson. For those who do not know the history, there was strong evident that the consultancy arm of Arthur Anderson encouraged the accounting arm of the same company to fudge the books for Enron. We do not have conclusive proof as Arthur Anderson went bankrupt before a final legal finding. There are other cases that suggest that combining consultancy with other services is a bad idea.

    Best Regards,

    Next, Darrell Hilliker has some fantastic thoughts about AIRA.

    "Hi Blind Bargains Team,

    I just finished listening to episode 131, and, wow!

    Here are my thoughts on Aira as a totally-blind husband and father of a busy toddler.

    Although it is not perfect, Aira has been revolutionary for our family!

    It ultimately comes down to this...

    There seem to be about a million and one tasks that absolutely require some level of sighted assistance: accessing print medical records, fixing the settings on inaccessible electronics, identifying medications, reading the mail, etc. Etc. Etc...

    I am talking about those situations where having sighted help is our only option in order to achieve success.

    Prior to Aira, getting this kind of help required that I schedule a specific time with a specific sighted person, and, in some cases, that I pay a specific amount of money, in order to get the job done.

    Although I could sometimes Facetime a friend or relative, most of these scenarios also required that I invite some stranger into my home.

    In the case of friends and relatives, sometimes, the need for help changed the nature of the relationships.

    All this required extensive juggling and planning, and sometimes higher executive management functions like hiring and firing, in order to just do the thing we wanted to do!

    That's just about all over now that Aira's around...

    Instead of the previous crazy planning, all I need to do whenever I need a bit of sighted help is open the app, get the glasses ready (if necessary) and press what I like to call the Aira button.

    In about 30 seconds, I am connected to someone who can work with me to accomplish the task at my convenience and on my terms.

    I think the value of this capability is simply incalculable!

    Does Aira break accessibility? Heck, yes! Owners of kiosks, websites and other inaccessible tech may decide they no longer have to insure their products and services are accessible to blind people, since we can, after all, use that new-fangled Aira thing to get help.

    On the other hand, ultimately, what it all comes down to is that I just need to get things done!

    If I can do an important task in a few minutes with an Aira agent, that's far more productive than waiting days or weeks to schedule a sighted helper, or potentially months or years to fight a protracted accessibility battle.

    I do realize this is bad in a way, because, ultimately, I will likely forget about some of the accessibility battles that need to be fought, file fewer official complaints, write fewer letters, etc.

    Remember, I've got my hands full!

    Then there's the concern over teaching the use of Aira in blindness training programs.

    If this is done at all, it should be explored near the end of a person's program, when they have largely achieved all their other goals.

    Accessing information using hardcopy Braille, computers and smart phones, managing one's home using alternative blindness techniques and traveling independently using the long white cane should always be emphasized first and foremost in any quality blindness training program long before the introduction of remote sighted assistance technologies like Aira, or even Be My Eyes, Bespecular, Seeing AI, TapTapSee, etc.

    I guess the one positive aspect of Aira in a training center is that we're returning to the old-fashioned skill of learning how to "use a reader." In other words, we're learning when and how to most effectively leverage sighted help to get visual jobs done!"

    Thanks to both ken and Darrell for their comments about episode 131. We really enjoy hearing these views and we'll keep featuring them as they come in as it provides some great contrast to what we said within that portion of the program. Joe noted during this email that there was another deep look at the business aspects of the A.T. Industry that popped up up on the net this week. If you are interested, or if you want to learn more about investment language, you may want to take a gander at this OrCam article and their drive to IPO.

    Lastly, let's get an update on the arrival of the Orbit Reader from Stan...

    "Feb 14 (5 days ago)

    I wanted to keep you informed about my experience with the orbit 20
    reader. Luckily, it has been a case of so far so good with respect to
    sticking pins on my orbit 20 braille display. I received my unit at
    about 4:38 pm yesterday afternoon pacific time. After letting my unit
    charge up I've only had a little time to test the unit. I haven't had
    any pins stick. The only time that I ever had any slight issue is
    when I put my fingers on the display too quickly as the unit was
    refreshing. I really love the feel of the braille because it is so
    crisp and sharp. It is important to be patient with the refresh rate."

    Last Word:

    A new mythical phone and J.J. brings the noise for this week's internet distractions.
    A little NSFW, Introducing The Banana X phone
    Ember Trio - Hip Hop Medley Violin and Cello Cover

    Thanks to Tom dekker for speaking about our show on AMI's "Kelli And Company". Check out AMI's new iOS and Apple TV apps. Here's a look at the new app's features from AMI itself.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    It happened to be Pancake Day at the time of recording. We aren't sure if having some form of a pancake would be a good accompaniment for the show, however, expect to hear a lot more about pancakes the closer we get to CSUN. That's because Richard Walker's Pancake House is a "must find" in San Diego. Enough about food. This week we finish up our ATIA coverage with an interview with John Taylor from IRIE_AT about a new smartphone option, discuss Video Magnifiers in "Sound Off" and talk about pancakes in the "Last Word". Hey wait, how did that get there? Oh well, grab a pad of butter and slather on the syrup for episode 135 of the delicious BBQ.

    In The News:

    Be my eyes partners with Microsoft to offer free tech support for Blind and Visually Impaired individuals

    Orbet Reader 20 Drivers Now Available for JAWS Screen Reader

    JAWS February Update Simplifies OCR from PDF's, Fixes Numerous Bugs

    ZoomText Fusion and the traditional version of ZoomText 11 saw a recent update as well.

    NVDA has reached another RC milestone. Which means, by the time we talk about it on the show, the newest update can't be far from being released. Be sure to keep reading the NV Access In Process blog for more details.

    BrailleSense Polaris Upgrade Announcement

    The latest EnVision America update to the ID Mate Galaxy shaves precious seconds off the unit's boot time. Visit theID Mate change log site to learn more about product support options.

    Envision AI adds more features, and even more languages, to keep pace with Microsoft's Seeing AI

    APH's Nearby Explorer, as mentioned on episode 133, has released a new version on iOS that is worth a look regardless if you use the free or paid options

    Kickstarter of the week, A Japanese company wants to provide OCR using a Raspberry Pie and a pair of Smart Glasses
    Learn more about the Oton Glass.

    Interview: John Taylor Of IRIE AT And The Smartvision2

    There are some out there who just adore pushing buttons. No, not in a mean way. More like they want to have buttons on their phones but they want those phones to still have some modern conveniences. Hear John Taylor speak about one such option with J.J. as they sit outside the ATIA Exhibit Hall on a sunny day in Orlando. To learn more about the Smartvision2, or other phone options from IRIE AT, visit their phone product page

    Tip: Dark Mode List

    Joe and Shelly have spoken about how great the Smart Invert functions of iOS 11 are getting as more and more developers are starting to rollout support for the feature. Dark Mode, which isn't really tied to any platform or OS, offers the same appearance of Smart Invert and it too has seen greater adoption with services like YouTube and Twitter now offering it under their settings sections. Dark Mode List is a site whose mission is to try and create a database of various services that offer Dark Mode options. It isn't platform specific either So take a look the next time you want to peruse an app without that glare intensive black text on white background distracting you.

    Sound Off:

    Santiago wrote us twice about Apple.

    "Hi guys,
    This is Santiago from California. Great job on the podcast by the way. I always tune in when a new show is released. Regarding Joe's prediction of Apple in 2018, I had a bit of a question. I mainly use Apple products for school and leisure. These include multiple Macs, an iPhone, an Apple Watch, an Apple TV, and AirPods, Obviously I have invested quite a bit of resources in to these products; however, given Apple's recent performance on the stock market, based on recent controversial actions by the company, not to mention sales of iPhones, should I start looking in to replacing at the very least some of my Apple products with those who have more of a stable future? I'm really big in to tech, so I've used Windows and Android devices before. Android would be a difficult switch for me, as I use braille screen input on iOS almost 100 percent of the time, and I don't know of a comparable feature on Android as of now. Thanks guys and keep up the good work!

    And again ...

    "Hi guys,
    It's Santiago again. I did forget to mention something in my previous email. Quite honestly, I have absolutely no problem with the recent changes at Apple. For instance, I've personally been wanting an iPhone without a home button for years. I always thought this would result in less mechanical breakdowns when it comes to not having a home button. Not to mention, the lack of a large bezel on the iPhone X has made typing using braille screen input more accurate for me, since my fingers can be near the edges of the phone as well. As for the throttling dilemma, I will personally leave this on even when iOS 11.3 is released, but I do feel like Apple should have given users the option. It's typical of Apple to make under the hood performance changes to their products though, so that's nothing new. The only reason I ask about trying other products is the fact that I am worried about Apple's future as a company. For all I know, I might be a minority when it comes to approving of Apple's recent moves.

    We've had several emails, tweets and messages about this over the last month or so. BrailleBack quality, and screen input in particular, has come under scrutiny as the likes of Amazon and the Android Braille Notetakers have started to roll their own when it comes to these types of features. We hope that changes in android Oreo at some point. Moreover, we'll continue to ask Google about the status of things as we see them throughout the year at various conventions. Here's hoping that we will have an update about this soon.

    Mike Kilburn writes in with a Video magnification question;

    "hi really enjoy your podcast. bunch of informatio that I ve found helpful.
    has anyone solved the problem with regard to glare using video magnifiers and seeing LCD displays. are you aware of any products available that would resolve this problem.

    Here is a bit of joe's email response to Mike...

    "Sadly the matt finish is something that is rarely seen anymore in the off the shelf technology that most video magnifiers use for their monitors. Its felt by Sony, and other display makers, that the glossy finish shows off color better. You can minimize it some by using a Monitor Hood, using a Monitor Arm to extend out your screen or for some they use an anti glare filter that they can tape over the LCD. None of those solutions are perfect ones and some are downright ugly. You can play with the lighting in your area and try and place it off to the side or use a torch lamp that shines light up towards the sealing."

    Every eye is unique. That means someone will have to experiment with their lighting and positioning a bit to find out what works best. It is also a good low cost solution and some people find that moving their monitor fixes a whole slew of issues. Next, Orko sends along another comment on a previous episode.

    "Hi! I wish to apologize for my previous email regarding your comments about the Aira service. It was harsher than I had intended. The only reason I can give for its harshness is because I was upset by what I perceived as a negative view of a service I value greatly. Like Joe, the devil that took my vision was glaucoma, only I didn't suffer the loss of peripheral vision and a narrowing field of view as is most commonly described as the symptoms of glaucoma. Instead a slowly building fog over my vision was what I saw and it eventually masked out almost everything leaving me with only very limited light perception. This began in 2010, I was declared legally blind in 2012, and started using a white cane in 2013, at that time I was told I only had about 1% of my optic nerves left and that I would eventually go completely blind. So I'm still rather new to blindness and still learning to cope with it. My biggest problem and frustration has been situations where a sighted assistant is really needed. The problem and frustration came from not being able to find a satisfactory solution. I've tried Be My Eyes, but half the time, when I'd be connected to an assistant, the connection would be immediately dropped. Most of the time, even after numerous attempts, the app would time out with no connection to anyone at all. Only ocasionally did I get a usable connection to an assistant. And then there is the problem of the assistants themselves, while I applaud what they are doing, at the end of the day, they are still untrained volunteers with no apparents contracts or agreements in place to protect any information they might learn about you, so I kept my use of it to only those situations that I'd be comfortable talking to a complete stranger on a crowded bus with. Be specular wasn't that much better, and it was limited to those situations where a single photo and the answer to a single question was all that was needed. It too I kept to stranger on a crowded bus situations for the same reasons I limited my use of Be My Eyes. My family is, unfortunately, so broken that family members close enough to be of use are either not available or unwilling to help. Those family members willing to help are more than an hour away, so not really readily available. Then I discovered Aira and signed up in the hopes that it would be the answer I was looking for. While I agree that they could do a better job of defining what they will ultimately do with information about me that they gain from my use of the service, at least the assistants you connect to are trained professionals under a non disclosure agreement intended to protect my information. Maybe not the best solution, but definetly better than nothing, which is pretty much what you get with Be My Eyes and Be Specular. So far my experiences with the service have all been positive. I no longer worry about situations that need a sighted assistant because I now have one, and I don't hesitate to use it when the need arises. The only two cons to the service I can think of are that it isn't available 24 hours a day, but since neither am I, I can live with that. And that to use the glasses involves quite a few separate parts, so I only use them when I absolutely need to be able to use the service hands free. Otherwise, I just use my iPhone's camera. And no, despite what I said about subscribing to the podcast, I am not going anywhere and will continue to listen to it. Of all the accessibility podcasts out there, yours seems to be the only one that doesn't bow down and pay homage to the Apple god. While I do use an iPhone, I am by no means an Apple fanboy, and want to hear about all the other assistive technology available regardless of who makes it. Thanks for a great podcast and best regards."

    No need to apologize and we are glad you stayed with us rather than unsubscribing. We at the BBQ are known for being outspoken. And sometimes that means we get a bit of push back when we talk about matters that strike some to the core. Still, we think it is important to talk about things beyond the press release and that can touch on some uncomfortable and emotional subjects. We also freely admit that we can be wrong about various subjects. This portion of the program was designed to highlight that very thing when people who have more knowledge about a thing speak up to tell us we were a little off base. The same goes for when our listeners have strong opinions that are more rooted in the general use of a product or service over the viewpoint of how it appears to us in the overall A.T. Industry. Don't hesitate to let us know your thoughts regardless if they disagree with ours. There is room on the BBQ for all sides in any debate!

    Finally, some tweets:

    CarrotTop1023: Hi there, I just want to let you guys know, I've subscribed to your podcast via my Victor Reader Stream. I'm enjoying these episodes, keep up the good work!
    h_bosch1: That was an awesome tip for Pixel 2 on BBQ 134.

    Also a shoutout to @DiannaMuircast for her audio clip of an interesting flight simulation.

    Last Word:

    A YouTube clip and something about food? Just another typical week for the last block of the show really.
    QT Star Trek
    Your next flight might just introduce you to Rip Van Waffles

    All bets are off for next week's show. That is because we expect some out there will start to trickle their product release news prior to CSUN 2018. Tune in to hear the delight, panic and eventual acceptance from the team that we only have two more shows to go before our new year of convention coverage begins.

    Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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    Buddy Brannan is back and he is here to show off the new addition to his ever-growing Braille Display collection. We'll then delve into how non Google made Google Home units work. The tip will give you the need for speed, "Sound Off" has a request for Buddy and the "Last Word" will make you forget all about those Furbies from a few weeks ago.

    Sponsor: HIMS

    Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

    Also, read more about the Braille Sense Polaris in the January 2018 edition of "Access World"

    In The News:

    Microsoft Soundscape is a new way to navigate

    This survey might indicate that Microsoft could bring Seeing AI to the Android platform one day

    Inclusive Android recently tweeted the following...
    [A new group is being assembled to provide app developers with access to testers who use Talkback who are interested in helping provide feedback to app developers (e.g. facebook) please join the IA Tester's group

    Ciscovision tweeted:
    [We regret to inform you that CAVI is not currently teaching audio courses at this time. Because of this we have released our current content for free and you can download it here.

    Mystic Access releases a course on the many ways you can use your Google Home

    Discussion Topic: Orbit Reader, Tic Home Mini And Insignia Smart Speaker With Google Assistant

    Note: Buddy learned from the Development Team that some of the qualms he had with the Braille Me will be addressed in an upcoming firmware update. Stay tuned to our conference coverage from CSUN to learn more about the changes coming to this affordable display.
    Buddy is back to talk about his initial impressions about the orbit Braille Reader. He'll talk about it and how it compares to the Braille Me that he spoke about earlier in the year. Joe and Buddy will then talk about third party Google Home alternatives. Buddy has the TicHome Mini

    and Joe has the Insignia Smart Speaker. The best part is that each one of these devices is under $500. Quality vs. price comes up a few times as a result.


    The previous version of Speed Test was dificult to use because this free utility relied on flash. The updated version doesn't and this is a great way to see if that costly internet package is giving you all your packets at the price you pay for them.

    Sound Off:

    Long time listener Rebecca Skipper writes in with her thoughts on HR 620...


    I join Joe in his opposition to HR620, but I want to point out that the ADA is not the end all be all solution.
    Ignorance about people with disabilities will always exist so long as the able-bodied adult exists.
    I m not wishing for anyone to have a disability, of course, but it would help if we remember that even the most healthiest individual can become temporarily disabled.
    Now, here is my complaint about the government at large.
    Not everyone with a disability who works can get any protections under the ADA.
    Freelancers like myself may enjoy the flexibility of being our own boss, but that does not mean that we have the same wage or other federal protections.
    I read a recent article forwarded to me by someone from Accessible World s Tech Talk program.
    The author of this article says that the DOJ has been directed to educate businesses about people with disabilities.

    Well, just educating businesses isn t enough!
    In fact, I recently had a potential employer say You must not be totally blind because if you were totally blind, you couldn t do this job.
    These were his words after I explained to him that I use a keyboard and not the mouse.
    I only disclosed my disability after he said that all potential candidates would go through training, and I, to my regret, felt it necessary to explain that I can t use the mouse.
    I ended up losing the opportunity anyway because I spent almost half my time trying to get Skype to let me share my screen with a sighted trainer the following week!
    In my opinion, there are only two ways forward.
    Don t let HR620 become law if we can avoid it.
    Voting in November isn t enough!

    The only upside to all of this is to consider the efforts of companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and, yes, even Apple despite its recent mishaps.
    Since I ve concluded that we will never stop people from being ignorant, we, as intelligent and diverse individuals with disabilities, should create more businesses and make it a point to advertise that we are inclusive and accessible to fellow human beings with disabilities.

    No, not everyone can or will start their own business, but I ve been self-employed for almost four years.
    Will I continue staying self-employed? I m not sure. But, I can say that we might have to let our wallets send a message by supporting those businesses that show a commitment to providing products and services to individuals with disabilities. We can no longer assume that the government will maintain the ADA as passed in 1991.

    You might not want to share the statement I m about to make.

    I find it ironic that the same Party that passed the ADA is the same party that is weakening it.:

    Next, Cullen Gallagher has a request for Buddy.

    ""Hello BlindBargains Team,
    First, I want to thank you for producing this excellent podcast every week. I always look forward to downloading it each week.
    Last week, i finished listening to podcast 132, and found it extremely interesting. I especially enjoyed the information about the ViewPlus Columbia Embosser. I would love to see Buddy come back on the podcast, and do a demonstration of the embosser, showing what it sounds like, how long it takes to boot up, and hear the voice prompts that it has. If he still has his Juliet, maybe he could do a comparison of the two embossers in action. That would be vary interesting to me. There is not a lot of embosser demos, so this would be interesting. I'm really surprised that viewPlus is letting these go for such a low price, considering how fast of an embosser it is. In looking at there site, I was surprised to see the MBraille embosser, which is quite a bit slower than the Columbia, cost so much more.
    Again, thank you for the excellent podcasts."

    The good news is that Buddy agreed to fill this request. The bad news is that we'll have to wait for April before we can schedule this into the lineup. Buddy will be back with us after our little jaunt to San Diego.

    Last Word:

    A link with a YouTube clip followed by another about food means the end of the show must be nigh.
    High Speed Mechanical Display 60FPS
    Flippy, the robot hamburger chef, goes to work

    One more episode to go before we fly off to the West Coast for CSUN 18. Fun, sun and information is just around the corner. That and a nap afterwards. Have a great week everyone!

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    The last show before we start our pilgrimage to the West coast has us thinking about long flights. J.J. in the spirit of the season, not Spirit Airlines mind you, takes us on a brief tour of an In Flight Entertainment System in this episode. Our Legal Correspondent is back for a listener email in "Sound Off" and we'll check in on one of the subjects from last week's "Last Word". Fold your tray tables and place your seats in the upright position... BBQ 137 is heading towards the runway.

    In The News:

    Dictation Bridge has hit the 1.0 release stage with many new features. Visit the Dictation Bridge site to learn more.

    Further Orbit Reader 20 Shipments Delayed until Summer

    NVDA's First Release of 2018 Improves Firefox 58 Support, Adds More Braille Displays

    PocketBraille is now live in the Google Play store as a beta!

    Real Research, Real Money from the Accessibility User Research Collective

    Comcast Launches New Accessible TV Features Ahead of Paralympic Winter Games 2018

    Google Accessibility added new information about the new support email in this tweet
    Announcing a new support email! Please update your bookmarks to

    BBQ Regular Shelly Brisbin will be with us in San Diego once again this year. However, if you can't wait to hear her wise words, check out the link below...
    "My radio story for @texasstandard about @TSBVI_Outreach and Apple coding class" Blind Students Learn To Code With A Swipe And A Tap

    And check out a review of Shelly's book in this month's Access World.

    Demonstration: Southwest Airlines In Flight Entertainment System

    J.J. has been flying a lot lately to his secret locations in New Jersey. This has given him the uncanny ability to recognize snacks by their sound on the rolling cart as it goes by him. However, on one of the flights for his travels to CES, J.J. decided to forego guessing which bag was peanuts and which was pretzels for something else entirely. Listen as J.J. takes us on a tour of the entertainment offerings on his flight. Or, for the most realistic experience, place the sound of a crying baby in the background as you hear J.J. demonstrate the Southwest offerings.

    Tip: Audio Books From Google Play

    Google Play Books has recently added audio books to their offerings. Now you can listen to a book on iOS, pick up where you left off on Android, maybe skip a chapter in Chrome and even cast it to your Google home or Chromecast. It is a nice multiplatform alternative to have around. And keep an eye on your Inbox as Google has already offered a free audio book as a promotion earlier this year.

    Sound Off:

    Our resident legal corespondent Tim Elder of TRE Legal joins us to answer a legal question that is likely on many people's minds, concerning the extent that employers have to provide accommodations for their employees. Thanks Tim for coming on the show.

    Debbie Armstrong wrote in with an idea for someone out there to start a new website.

    "So, I d like to start using more Windows 10 apps. But I don t want to clog up my PC with loads of inaccessible software.
    Do listeners have recommendations for apps that are particularly accessible, or apps to avoid? I really wish there was a community of blind Windows app users that worked like applevis. I have contributed extensively to the app directory there would also make contributions if such a community existed. "

    KNFB Reader, Team Talk somewhat and even Microsoft's own version of Solitaire work with Narrator or other Screen Readers. But we know that is nowhere near all the Microsoft Store apps that do. Send in your faves to and we'll share them on upcoming episodes.

    mandojanny: Does orbet reader allow for braille input or simply reading?

    We double-checked this with APH, but you can type on the Orbit Reader 20 currently. You can type in braille, but there is no back translation on-board.

    Last Word:

    Music and food but not the way you might think for this portion of the program.
    I Went to a Silent Disco as an Old
    Burger-flipping robot takes four-day break immediately after landing new job

    Just a reminder that our next episode will be the CSUN Wrap Up Show. That means that a bunch of audio from San Diego is going to come down the pike to you before then. Hang on, hold tight, BBQ Convention Coverage 2018 begins soon!

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