Because of My Blindness, Hubooble app for iPhone, Nest Thermostat with Randy Rusnak and Top News Headlines!

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This week, listener Celeste offers her “Because of My Blindness“ story. She tells us about researching the history of video games. And despite having done so many other things in her life, Celeste explains why this topic is so important to her.
In the news, Tim talks about the described Super Bowl experience that AIRA provided for the big game. Through a variety of online platforms, AIRA Offered a free demonstration of their service. Not only describing to the user at the game the pregame and post game ceremonies, and the game itself but also describe the halftime show as well as the commercials airing on television. And of course, you could listen in as they directed the user to and from their seat as well as to the souvenir and concession stands.
Next, Tim discusses apples release of the HomePod. It is available for purchase on February 9 and will retail at $349. At that price, will it only be a competitor for hire end speakers or can it be a solid competitor to Amazon and Google‘s Voice assistance?
The Orbit Reader braille display has finally been launched. This compact braille reader offers a small and lightweight option that uses 20 braille cells. And even better, it retails for $449.
And finally, there was big news for specialist blind tech at last months CES. The Orcam MyEye II One the “Last Gadget Standing Award“! The Orcam is a small camera that fits to any pair of eyeglasses and allows the user to read text and identify faces and other attributes.
Next up, Tim talks to the developers from App A11y about their new iPhone app called Huboodle. This app currently offers six different games including word games, Video Poker, blackjack and a trivia game. Nick and Lee say that they plan to release one new game per month.
To wrap up the podcast, Tim finishes a series of conversations with Randy rusnak about accessible home tech. In this short peace, they discussed the accessibility and usefulness of the Nest Thermostat.
If you have questions or comments, please send your emails to: tim@lifeafterblindness.com
Please come back next time as we continue our journey together to find that there truly can be a Life After Blindness.

Join AIRA for a Described Super Bowl experience!

AIRA is offering an amazing opportunity for free to anyone who wants to experience this year’s Super Bowl. This promises to be a great way to participate in this type of live event.

I will be listening in and strongly encourage others to do so as well. I will cover The event in more detail on an upcoming episode of the Life After Blindness podcast. If you’d like to share your experiences, please comment below or send an email to: tim@lifeafterblindness.com

Here is the official announcement from AIRA:

You’re Invited!

To a virtual Super Bowl party with Aira

on Sunday, February 4th from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. EST.

Listen in as Aira agents Patrick and Emily provide live description of the game to Greg Stilson, football fan and Aira Explorer, who is attending the big game in Minneapolis, MN.

Greg will use Aira to get play-by-play visual descriptions of all the exciting action on the field, the commercials, and the half-time show. Aira agents will provide vivid audio narration as Greg sees the field for the first time, shops for souvenirs, navigates the stadium, and experiences the energy of the crowd.

The best part: you can listen to the entire experience live. While most of us will be watching from home, Aira intends to make it easier to get a little closer to the big game.

Ways to Listen

You don’t need to be a current Aira Explorer to listen in — anyone can join the party starting at 6:00 p.m. ET by doing any of the following:

1 Call 1-877-568-4108 and enter 536565714

2 Listen to the Webcast

3 Listen on YouTube

4 Listen on Facebook Live

Don’t Forget to Share

Forward this post to a friend or tweet us @airaio on gameday using #airabowl. Tell us about your favorite commercials, comment on the halftime show, and of course let us know who you’re rooting for!

To read more about this special event, visit our Super Bowl page on Aira.iohttp://go.aira.io/superbowl

Government Shut Down and Other Social Security Questions,Auto Harp Appfor Android and Talking Prescription Labels

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The government shutdown in the United States could have an impact on those who receive Social Security benefits. Tim speaks with a representative from Social Security, Debi Schwartz, to find out whether or not the government shutdown will affect beneficiaries. They also discuss a variety of other popular Social Security topics.

Next, we hear from Chris Terpin. He talks about and demonstrates an auto harp app he has developed for Android.

Finally, Tim speaks withDavid Raistric, Vice President at En-Vision America. David talks to Tim about a variety of solutions that En-Vision America has for helping the blind to Reed prescription labels.

When activated, adding image descriptions on Twitter is easy. So why isn’t this option enabled by default?

Twitter has become a very popular social media service among the blind and visually impaired. This is because of how easy and accessible it is to share short bits of text. Unfortunately, images that are shared on Twitter can be a barrier to the blind. By taking a couple of easy steps first, it can make it easier for blind and

visually impaired users to fully have access to what you are tweeting.

Since May 2016, Twitter has allowed you to describe any image that you

include with a tweet. In order to do this you must activate this feature.

First you will need to enter the user menu by selecting your profile icon and select “Settings and Privacy”. Next, under “General”, select

“Accessability”. Once in the “Accessability” section, scroll down

until you find a toggle labeled “Compose Image Descriptions”. This

needs to be turned on.

That’s all you need to do! Once you back out and compose a Tweet,

you’ll be presented with a new box that allows you to compose an image

description for any image that you post.

This enables a blind Twitter user to use a screen reader software (like

Voice Over for iPhone or JAWS for PC) to find out what your shared image is all

about.

Features like image descriptions are nice and much needed in social media. I am quite grateful that Twitter has incorporated this along with so many other accessibility options into its service.

But why hide the option so deep within the accessibility settings? Most people might not even take the time to find it, let alone turn it on.

Unfortunately, it seems as though it was just an afterthought added in by developers. An accessibility feature like this is so very important to someone who

is blind or visually impaired. A feature that is so simple and yet so important should be turned on by default. It’s a small gesture that would go a long way in making a big difference to those who are not always able to be included in the family memory, political joke or trending meme.

Eyes Free Fitness App with Mel Scott, Amazon Echo with Randy Rusnakk, Because of My Blindness and so Much More!

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Happy New Year!

We begin the 20th episode of the Life After Blindness podcast with an all new because of my blindness story.

Since we’ve been away, there’s been many developments in blindness related news. First,Microsoft’s Seeing AI app has added four new channels. These channels include: currency, colors, handwriting and light detection.

AIRA has announced partnerships with two US airports to allow users to navigate these airports for free without using any minutes. AIRA also announced a partnership with the ridesharing app Lyft. This puts lift right into the AIRA app, enabling your agent to help you in contacting and accessing your ride.

En-Vision America will be releasing a new app this year for the iPhone called Script Talk. Already available on android devices, this app allows users to scan codes on prescription bottles that will then read all the pertinent information about the prescription.

Next, Tim speaks with Mel Scott from blindalive.com about the recent release of the Eyes Free Fitness app for the iPhone. This app enables you to download and play a number of workouts offered by Blind Alive. The app also gives you direct access to their blog and podcast.

Tim the continues his conversation with Randy Rusnak. This time they are talking all about the Amazon Echo.

The podcast closes with a recording sent in by listener Rachel from the UK.

Because of My Blindness with Maria Johnson, Blindfold Games, Twitter, iPhone X and more with guest Shaun Preece

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This week on the Life After Blindness podcast, Tim is joined by Maria Johnson from girlgoneblind.com, Marty Schultz from Kid Friendly Software and Shaun Preece from the RNIB Teh Talk and Double Tap Canada podcasts.

We begin with Maria sharing her “Because of My Blindness” story. Maria talks about what she has learned and how she has grown since going blind.

Tim then introduces Shaun Preece to the podcast. They start by listening to an interview Tim conducted with Marty Schultz about the issues he has been having with Apple concerning his Blindfold series of games.

Marty tells Tim in the interview that upon further review and after such a great response from the community, Apple has reversed their original decision. Which had been to flag Marty’s games as spam and preent him from adding new games and updating his current games. Marty says that Apple took the time to consider his appeal, liten to the community as well as play the games for themselves and ruled that the Blindfold Games did not meet the requirements of their new rule.

After Tim and Shaun discuss the fallout of this news, they move on to other topics.

Net, they discuss the new character limit increase for Twitter. Then they debate the iPhone X and whether someone with no vision like Tim should get one.

They round out their discussion by referring to an email from listener Beth. Beth asks about the Samsung Galaxy phones from a year ago and their issues with exploding batteries. Tim ties this into the recent news about the screen burn-in on the new Google Pixel 2 XL phones.

Thank you very much for listening to another episode of Life After Blindness!

Blindfold Games versus apple – Life After Blindness Spotlight with Marty schultz

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Welcome to the Life After Blindness Spotlight podcast. My special guest this week is Marty schultz from Kid Friendly Software. Marty develops the Blindfold Games series that we all appreciate and love!

This special edition of the podcast is to Spotlight the issues that Marty is having with Apple and a new rule they have implemented that is preventing him from adding new games at the App Store as well as updating any of his existing apps.

In this interview, Marty talks about the humble beginnings of the Blindfold Game series and it’s growth up untill now. He explains the current issues that he’s having with Apple and what we can do as a community to help him remedy the problem. He also talks about the possible future of Kid Friendly Software and what he would like to do if Apple would change this rule.

Below is a description of the problem in Marty’s own words from his blog:

Two weeks ago, Apple rejected 3 updates: Blindfold Hopper, Blindfold Craps and Blindfold Horserace, by saying it violates a new rule of the App Store: apps that vary only by content (such as video or audio or text) must be merged into one app.  I explained that these apps are all different, and that only their menus and settings screens are similar.  I requested a phone call to discuss this further.  Tap here for details on Apple’s rejection.

On Wednesday night, I talked with an Apple representative, and Apple’s decision is that unless I merge the 80 Blindfold Games into a handful of apps, they will no longer allow new games to be released or allow updates to be made.

From a technology perspective, that’s extremely hard and time-consuming.  From a business perspective, that would mean spending hundreds of hours recoding the games, with no possible return-on-investment.  Most of the games generate sales in the first three months of the game being released, and I’ve been building these games for 4 years.

From a usability perspective, that means the main menus would be ridiculously complex, and the settings screens would be confusing and almost unusable.

If you are unhappy with this decision, you can express your opinion to Apple.  The accessibility desk is at accessibility@apple.com or you can call 1-800-MY-APPLE.  Thanks to everyone for enjoying my games.

Happy Halloween! Because of My Blindness, blindness News, Described Halloween Movies on Netflix and Ring Doorbell with Randy Rusnak

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Welcome to a very special Halloween addition of the Life After Blindness podcast!
Email your questions and comments to: tim@lifeafterblindness.com

The show starts this week with a new “Because of My Blindness” story from Wade. Wade talks about being inspired by other blind people to remain motivated.
Next, Tim covers many news headlines pertaining to the blind community.
Netflix offers many shows and movies with audio description. Tim tells us how to access this content. He then suggests a variety of Halloween related shows and movies.
The show wraps up this week with an interview about the Ring Doorbell. Randy Rusnek joins Tim to talk about the installation, usage and benefits of adding a Ring Doorbell to your smart home.

Thank you so much for listening to this special Halloween episode of Life After Blindness!

Because of My Blindness and Coping with Sight Los with Steven Scott from RNIB

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Life After Blindness begins this week with a “Because of My Blindness” story from Mark. He talks about being an orientation and mobility instructor and how because of his blindness, he is able to educate others. Mark also talks about coping with his sight loss and how rewarding his ork his.

Tim then takes a moment to discuss the short absence of the podcast. He explains that he has been dealing wih some health issues. Tim also says that his daughter has just started kindergarten and that he has been working with today’s guest, Steven scott, on other podcast and radio projects.

Steven scott then joins the podcast for this week’s interview. Steven and Tim talk about losing your vision and how Steven has dealt with his plethora of eye diseases.

Steven tells several stories about coping with vision loss at different stages of his life and how each transition was different. He also describes how he approaches sighted people and their questions about blindness.

Be sure to listen again next time as we continue our journey together to find that their can truly be a life after blindness.