LABCast 19: 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!

apple Rumors and Other News with Derek Daniel and Aira with Michael Hingson

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Life After Blindness is joined by two very special guests this week. First to discuss the weeks news is Derek Daniel from Life After Sight Loss. And later we hear about Aira from New York Times best-selling author of the book Thunder Dog and Director of Strategic Sales for Aira, Michael Hingson.
Derek and Tim begin by talking about the upcoming Apple event on September 12. They discuss all the rumors surrounding the new iPhone, Apple TV, Apple Watch and the new Home Pod.
Tim and Derek then talk about an inspiring story from Southern California. Jake Olson, who is the long snapper for USC, snapped the winning extra point in a recent game.
The news wraps up with a discussion about a new musical that is directed at children called Addy & Uno. Each of the five main characters in this musical are puppets who represent a different disability, including blindness.
Following the news, Tim demonstrates the Aira app for iPhone. He talks about everything from how to contact an agent, to checking your usage and even how to check your inbox for photos and videos.
To conclude the podcast, Tim interviews Michael Hingson for more specific details about Aira. Michael talks about how he came to work for Aira, using the service and the goals of the company. He even comments on the perceived high price of the service and its plans to expand internationally.
Michael concludes by telling us about an upcoming conference call that Aira will be holding on Tuesday, September 12, 2017. The call will begin at 8:00 PM Eastern time, 5 o’clock Pacific. This conference call is designed to answer any and all of your questions concerning the Aira service.
Here is the phone number as well as the access code to join the call:
Phone: (605)468-8004
Access code: 329906, pound

Thank you very much for checking out the Life After Blindness podcast!

Life After Blindness Spotlight interview with Michael Hingson

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This week on the Life After Blindness Spotlight, I am happy to be joined by New York Times best-selling author and Director of Strategic Sales for AiraMichael Hingson.
Michael and I began by discussing his childhood experiences and how the strength and perseverance of his parents inspired his independence going forward. As we continue from childhood into adulthood, We talk about more than just Michael Hingson the blind kid. Michael talks about several childhood interests including electronics and ham radio. We discuss Michael’s aptitude for math and how he turn that into a Masters degree in physics.
I asked Michael to explain the transition from physics major to salesman and how that journey placed him in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. We examine some of the events of that day and the impact that it is made on Michael’s life. One of the more impactful lessons that we can learn from Michael’s escape from the Twin Towers on that day comes from the magnificent teamwork shared between Michael and his guide dog Roselle. We discussed the importance of that teamwork and how it affects other parts of our lives.
You can read more about Michael Hingson’s life as well as more about that inspiring escape from the World Trade Center by purchasing Michael’s New York Times best-selling book; Thunder dog, The true story of a blind man, his guide dog & the triumph of trust.
Michael and I continue our conversation by discussing what he’s been doing since that fateful day in 2001. Michael has worked hard as an advocate for the blind as well as a motivational speaker. And now he has been hired by Aira as their Director of Strategic Sales. For more information about Ira and what their service can do for the blind and visually impaired community, you can select the link above or participate in an upcoming conference call. This conference call will be held on September 12 at 8 PM Eastern time, 5 o’clock Pacific.
The phone number and access code for the conference call is:
Phone: (605)468-8004
Access Code: 329906 pound

Thank you again to Michael Hingson for sharing his amazing story and thank you very much for listening to the life after blindness spotlight podcast!

LABCast #15: Beep Baseball, Accessible Appliances, Intervals App and Group Fitness with Maria Johnson

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My special guest on the podcast this week is Maria Johnson from Girl Gone Blind.
Congratulations to the Indy thunder beep baseball team for winning their second consecutive World Series championship! Maria and I discussed their win and our thoughts about beep baseball overall.
Next, we discuss two stories about accessible appliances. GE has developed a box that you can attach to any washer/dryer to make it accessible. And samsung is researching the possibility of voice activated home appliances like refrigerators and microwaves.
I then demonstrate an app for the iPhone and Apple Watch called Intervals. This app is used to set individual timers and receive alerts for different types of intensity interval training.
Maria joins me again to discuss her experience as a group fitness instructor. She talks about teaching her classes, the help she receives and the importance of just doing something to move your body.
The podcast closes with a Because of My Blindness story shared this week by Beth. Beth tells us about how the determination and teachings of her parents helped to guide her to become the independent blind woman she is today.
Thank you for listening to the Life After Blindness podcast! Join me again next time as together we continue to find that there can truly be a life after blindness.

LABCast #14: Description! Balance with Mel Scott, Tactile Eclipse App, Eclipse Description with Joel Snyder and First Aira Impressions

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Welcome to episode number 14 of the Life After Blindness podcast.
We begin this week by talking with Mel Scott from Blind Alive about a new series of balance exercises that she has developed specifically for the blind.
Next I demonstrate an app called Eclipse Soundscapes. This app not only offers audio description but also a tactile interface for the upcoming total solar eclipse in the United States.
I then interview the President of the Audio Description Project, Joel Snyder. He talks about the state of audio description and where he thinks it will go next. We also discuss the ADP’s upcoming initiative to offer live programming on ACB radio for the total solar eclipse. This will include music, educational information as well as audio description of the eclipse itself.
Recently I received my equipment for use with the Aira service for the blind. I talk about my first impressions of the service.
Last but not least, we share another “Because of My Blindness” story from a listener named Marana. Her story of perseverance shows that just about anything is possible!

Thank you very much for listening to Life After Blindness. Join us again next week as together we continue to find that there truly can be a life after blindness.

LABCast #13: 2017 ACB and NFB Convention Coverage with Shaun Preece

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Welcome to episode number 13 of Life After Blindness! This week I am joined by Shaun Preece from the RNIB Tech Talk podcast.
First we discuss a new iPhone app from Microsoft called Seeing AI. This app can be used to scan documents, spot read text, scan barcodes, recognize objects as well as be used as a camera with face recognition.Then we discuss AIRA and the impact that the service has had on the blind and visually impaired community.
Next, we discuss a new pair of binaural 3-D headphones called Hooke Verse Audio. When used with an app on your smart phone, these Bluetooth headphones with built-in microphone’s promise an amazing 3-D recording.
We also talk about a new product from Canada called Key 2 Access. Used as either a pocket sized device or an app on your iPhone, the service will allow you to request an audible crosswalk signal without having to find the button on a pole.
Shaun then tells me everything he knows about the highly anticipated Orbit Braille Reader. This product has been a long time coming but seems to be living up to the hype.
The last product that Shaun and I talk about this week is the new Victor Reader Trek from Humanware. This device combines all the book reading functionality of the Victor Reader Stream with the GPS capabilities of the formerly discontinued Trekker Breeze. We continue a conversation that started on the RNIB Tech talk podcast where we discuss whether there is still a use case for a device like this or not if you are already using a smart phone.
We finish the podcast by discussing efforts made by the NFB to make sure that blind people are included in future legislation involving self driving vehicles. On July 19, the NFB spoke to the House Energy and Commerce committee in order to make sure that legislation going forward would include accessibility for the blind and visually impaired.
Thank you for listening to episode number 13 of the Life After Blindness podcast! Please return next week so that together we can continue this journey to find that there truly can be a Life After Blindness.

LABCast #12 – Accessible Televisions, Audio Description, ACB and NFB, 10 Years of iPhone

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Welcome to episode #12 of the Life After Blindness podcast.
This week I talk about the new accessibility features of Phillips and Samsung televisions. I also discuss audio description as it relates to new over the air regulations as well as Amazon Prime Video. I mention a couple of the more notable things to be announced at the ACB and NFB national conventions. In in an upcoming podcast we will have special coverage of all the major announcements coming out of the conventions.
I also discuss a little bit about why I missed an episode of the podcast.
I then share another “because of my blindness” story.
The podcast wraps up with my announcement that an article I wrote about the iPhone and it’s impact on the blind and visually impaired was published on the mighty.com.
I break down the article by section and discuss each bullet point.

Thank you very much for listening to the Life After Blindness podcast! Be sure to listen again next week as together we find that there truly can be a life after blindness

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.