LABCast #11: Because of my Blindness, Audio Description in Amazon Prime, Black Box for iPhone, Father’s Day with my daughter Alyssa and more!

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Welcome to episode #11 of the Life After Blindness podcast!
The podcast begins with a “Because of My Blindness” story. In episode #9, I shared the story of how I met Mr. and Mrs. Obama before they became the President and First Lady. I asked you to share your stories that have had a positive or inspirational impact on your life. The catch being that it happened because of your blindness. In other words, it might not have ever happened to you if you were not blind.
Many of you submitted your stories. One of those stories came from Bobby who sent me a voice message using the app Vorail. He tells of how, because of his blindness, he has now met his current fiancé.
Do you have a positive story to tell that might not have happened if you weren’t blind? Please send your stories, written or audio, to tim@lifeafterblindness.com and I might share it on a future episode!

Since the last episode was completely devoted to covering Apple’s WWDC keynote, there is a lot of news that we haven’t been able to cover.
First up this week is the announcement from ACB and Amazon that they will now provide audio description tracks for their original content and like Netflix before them, strive to get audio description whenever possible. I talk with you about my experiences so far using audio description in the Amazon Prime Video app for iPhone as well as on a Kindle Fire.
You can also hear me being interviewed about audio description in Amazon Prime on the RNIB Tech Talk podcast.
In a semi-related story, I tell you about a company named Actiview. They have released an app that will automatically synchronize an audio description track with a movie at the theater. So no more using a clunky device that may or may not work or even be available. They hope that their less expensive approach and use of one’s own device will appeal to movie theaters and blind customers alike.
In a first of its kind law suit, Winn-Dixie was taken to trial. The judge said that their website is so closely tied to its stores, that it must make it accessible per the ADA. This is very important because there are many law suits out there pushing for companies to make their apps and websites accessible with screen readers.
Finally this week, I share a story from England about autonomous pods that are being developed by the Insight Project. With government funding 2.2 million pounds towards the project, the hope is to develop a slow moving, short-range vehicle that can be used in places like airports or small residential areas. These pods are being tested by people who are blind and visually impaired and work very much like any other driverless vehicle. Rather than relying on tracks or rails, these pods use sensory technology inside and out to help it navigate. It also comes with an accessible app for your smart phone that enables you to not only call for the pod but also give you information about your surroundings while you travel.

Next, I demonstrate a new puzzle game for the iPhone called “Black Box: Think Outside the Box‘. This is a mainstream app developed by Ryan McCloud. The developer has made a point to reach out to the blind community to make sure the game is accessible. When playing this game, you do truly need to “think outside the box” and consider all the things that your phone can do. This will help you solve the more than 70 puzzles now available in the game.

The podcast wraps up with an interview with my daughter Alyssa. We talk about how we spent Father’s Day. Then I ask Alyssa about a story out of Miami where children were able to pretend to shave their Dad’s faces. we discuss the different ways these children are able to learn.
Thank you so much for listening to episode #11 of the podcast! Please come back again and join me on this journey so that together, we can truly find that there can be a life after blindness.

LABCast #10: Coverage of the 2017 Apple WWDC Keynote

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Welcome to episode #10 of the Life After Blindness podcast! My guests this wweek are Holly Anderson from the Maccessibility Roundtable podcast, Derek Daniel from Life After Sight Loss and Shaun Preece from RNIB Tech Talk and Audio Pizza podcasts.

On June 5, Apple kicked off its annual worldwide developers conference. Tim Cook and others from Apple, delivered a keynote where they announced many new features and updates. Being a developers conference, Apple announced many updates to the various operating systems. Including iPhone, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
They also announced many upgrades and refinements to several hardware products as well. This includes iPad Pro in the Mac.
Please join us as we discuss the many announcements that were made during the keynote.

Life After Blindness Spotlight Podcast with Tim Schwartz

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Welcome to the Life After Blindness Spotlight. This is the podcast where I ordinarily interview someone connected to the blind and visually impaired community. However, I’m doing things a little bit differently this week. this week, I’m Sharing with you some of MY journey of a life with blindness.
So please listen as I talk about my childhood and how my blindness began. I will also talk about my life and career since then. And I will tell you about my life now, about my work and my family.
I wrap up by telling you about my goals for the Life After Blindness website and podcast.
Thank you for listening and exploring my journey with me! Please come back again as I interview others about their journey with a life after blindness.

LABCast #9: synthetic Retinas, smart paint, Amazon echo communication features and WWDC Rumors With Special Guest Holly Anderson

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Welcome to episode nine of the Life After Blindness Podcast. Returning this week is Holly Anderson from the Maccessibility Roundtable Podcast.
Because of my blindness:
Do you have a positive or inspirational story to share that might not of ever happen to you if you were not blind?
Unfortunately learning negative experiences can happen when you were blind. I want to hear about your positive experiences. Have you gotten to go somewhere, meet someone or do something that you never would’ve been able to do if you hadn’t been blind.
Please send your audio recordings or written stories to me at: tim@lifeafterblindness.com
I will share your stories in upcoming episodes of the podcast.

Headlines:
Holly Anderson joins me to discuss a few news stories that affect the blind community.
First, we discuss an oxford students research into creating a synthetic retina. It’s in its very early stages but could potentially be better excepted by the body and provide more realistic vision than other retinal replacements available now.
Next, we discuss the new initiative coming out of Tampa Florida. And tapas efforts to become a “smart city”, they are looking to use smart paint with smart canes at certain crosswalks. Sensors in the smart paint would let your smart cane know where you are with in the crosswalk as you go from one side of the street to another. Holly talks about the potential pros and cons to using a technology like this.
Finally, we will talk about our experiences using the new communications features for Amazon echo in the Amazon Alexa app.

Review:
If you ever wanted to use your Amazon echo or the Alexa app to send and receive texts and voice messages or to place phone calls; then the new communications update is just what you been waiting for!
In this review, I will walk you through the new features and demonstrate how they work.

Call he returns for the last segment of the podcast to talk with me about what we expect from this year’s WWDC conference from Apple. We talk about rumors and speculation surrounding the upcoming keynote address on July 5. We also talked about what our “one more thing” would be.

Thank you so much for listening to episode nine of the Life After Blindness Podcast! Please come back again as together we continue our journey to find that there can truly be a life after blindness.

Life After Blindness Spotlight Interview with Frank Facio

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Welcome to the Life After Blindness Spotlight. This is the podcast where I interview someone connected to the blind and visually impaired community.
This week, I speak with Frank Facio.
Frank is been an employee of the United States Postal Service for almost 35 years. During his life and career, Frank has faced many difficult transitions. Frank’s positive “roll with the flow” attitude combined with the insight and help of many wonderful people along the way, has helped him stay strong and overcome.
In this interview, Frank talks about how blindness has affected his marriage, career and his passions. Two of these passions are playing Beep Baseball and performing with his band, ‘Steele Horse Country’.
We highlight many of Frank’s personal and professional milestones. Then, we wrap up by discussing Frank’s future plans.
Thank you very much for listening to the Life After Blindness spotlight interview with Frank Facio!

Related Links:
Frank’s emial: bigfaz58@gmail.com
Steelehorse Country on Facebook

LABCast #8: AMC Theater, Space Accessibility and Google AI. Parenting with Holly Bonner. 2 Years of AppleWatch.

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Welcome to episode #8 of the Life After Blindness Podcast! My guest this week is Holly Bonner from blindmotherhood.com.

In this week’s news, AMC Theaters settled a lawsuit which will cause them to provide better services to the blind and visually impaired. Also, The University of Chicago announced a new study where they hope to find better ways of teaching astronomy to blind children. Finally, Google announced a new AI technology that can detect Diabetic Retinopathy early by scanning the retinas.

I then speak with Holly Bonner from blindmotherhood.com. She talks about her experiences with parenting and caring for a household from a blind mother’s point of view.

The podcast wraps up with a discussion about the Apple Watch. It’s been 2 years since the Apple Watch was released. Tim talks about the differences between Series 1 and Series 2. He then gives examples of different uses for the watch.

Thank you for listening to episode #8 of the Life After Blindness Podcast. Please join us again as we find that there can truly be a life after blindness.

Life After Blindness Spotlight Interview with Derek Daniel

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Welcome to the Life After Blindness Spotlight. This is the podcast where I interview someone connected to the blind and visually impaired community.
This week, I speak with Derek Daniel from Life After Sight Loss.
Derek talks about growing up in a small town in southern Indiana after having been adopted at just three weeks old. growing up, Derek discovered he had a passion for the performing arts as well as for helping people. Combined with his interest in technology as well as his experiences through church ministry, Derek is using these talents and interests to help others through his new website and podcast.
Listen as Derek describes losing sight at age 18. And how the love of family and Friends as well as his love for the performing arts, helped him through the transition. Derek also discusses how he manages being a stay at home blind father while producing YouTube videos, blogs and podcasts. He then shares his hopes for the future of Life After Sight Loss before ending with some inspirational thoughts for those who are losing their vision.

Thank you very much for listening to the Life After Blindness Spotlight interview with Derek Daniel.

LABCast #7: AIRA and the Boston Marathon, 3-D Ultrasounds and Movie Reading App with Lauren Hayes

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Tim’s guest this week is Lauren Hayes from AccessibilityOz.
Tim and Lauren begin the podcast by discussing Aira and it’s use in this year’s Boston Marathon. Working closely with Aira, a man completed the marathon using the service. Tim and Lauren discuss how it was used and what could be learned from this test going forward.
Next, Tim talks about a 3-D printing technology used in a hospital in Brazil. A blind couple worked with their doctor in order to have 3-D printed models of their child’s ultrasound in each trimester of pregnancy. This is the first time 3-D printing has been used while built into the ultrasound machine. Lauren and Tim give their opinions on the story as well as the medical and educational possibilities of this technology going forward.
A new app has been released in Australia called Movie Reading. This app enables Aussies to download and sync an audio described track to use with movies at the local cinema. Lauren talks about the current state of audio description in Australian cinemas. She then gives her opinion of the app and discusses it’s accessibility as well as the lacking accessibility of Movie Readings website.
Thank you very much for listening to the Life After Blindness podcast! Please join us again as together we continue our journey to find that there can truly be a life after blindness.

LABCast #6: Latest News About Microsoft, Lyft and Samsung. Accommodations for Blind Parents and a Review of the Parental Controls of the iPhone.

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Life After Blindness takes a look at being a stay at home blind father. Additionally, we discuss this weeks news as well as review locking down your child’s iPhone.

Tim answers a question from the Life After Blindness Facebook page from Janice. She asks about the best smart phone to get for her son. Tim suggests the iPhone and talks about it’s out of the box accessibility.

As Tim introduces the rest of the lineup for the podcast, he mentions an article posted to the Life After Blindness Blog from Jackie Waters. This article talks about Jackie’s experience when her sister-in-law (who is blind) comes to live with her and her husband. In the article, Jackie outlines some of the methods she used to help her sister-in-law to be more comfortable in the household.

Tim’s first guest is Shaun Preece from the RNIB Tech Talk and Audio Pizza Podcasts. Tim and Shaun discuss the following recent headlines from the blindness community:

Microsoft announces they have added braille support in Narrator for over 35 manufacturers as well as the ability to use Narrator when doing a clean install of Windows.
The National Federation of the Blind and the ride service Lyft have announced a partnership to better accommodate blind and visually impaired customers. This will include initial and ongoing training of drivers and a zero tolerance policy for drivers who refuse service to someone with a guide dog.

In addition to announcing their new lineup of smart phones, Samsung has announced a new virtual assistant named ‘Bixby’. Tim and Shaun talk about how Bixby could compete with other services like Amazon Echo and how this potential competition could be good for the blind.

After the news, Tim demonstrates how a parent can control content on their child’s iPhone. Tim first walks through the process of turning on restrictions and showing what functions and features of the iPhone can be restricted. Tim then demonstrates the Guided Access feature of the iPhone. This feature allows you to not only lock a child into the current app but allows you to set a passcode or even set a time limit for the use of that app.

To conclude the podcast, Tim is joined by Derek Daniel of Life After Sight Loss to discuss his experiences as a stay at home blind father. Derek outlines his daily routine and gives examples of certain tricks he uses around the house. From baby care to cleaning the house to playing games with a toddler, Tim and Derek dive into what accommodations can be made to make things easier on a blind parent.

Thank you for your continued support of the podcast! If you have any questions or comments, please send an email to: tim@lifeafterblindness.com

Please join us again as we demonstrate together that their truly can be a life after blindness.

LABCast #5: News with Derek Daniel, Review of MLB.com At Bat and Rodeo Animals with my daughter

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Welcome to episode #5 of the Life After Blindness Podcast! My guests this week are Derek Daniel and my four-year-old daughter, Alyssa.
Derek and I begin the podcast by discussing the following blindness related news stories:
Blind British man in world’s first operation to deliver modified DNA to his eyes
Microsoft is working on technology to help the visually impaired learn to code

This blind gamer got to play ping-pong with his wife — all thanks to the Nintendo Switch
Summary of Apple’s March 21, 2017 Product Announcements

Next, I review MLB.com At Bat. An accessible app for the iPhone that will help you get scores, news, highlights and so much more throughout the major-league baseball season.

I conclude the podcast by talking with my four-year-old daughter, Alyssa. We discuss a recent story about blind twins who show animals at the local rodeo. Alyssa puts everything in perspective as we talk about living a life with blindness.

Thank you so much for listening to the Life After Blindness podcast! Please come back next time as we continue to find together that there can truly be a life after blindness.