Welcome to this week’s edition of the podcast where Jamie Pauls, Ricky Enger and Joe Steinkamp discuss the top news stories of the week. We also respond to your emails, blog comments and iReports as we go along. Enjoy!
From Jenine Stanley
I’m listening to the End of Year in Tech special and enjoying the discussion very much. Regarding the discussion of the viability of NVDA as a screen reading option from vocational rehabilitation services, I can’t speak directly to that screen reader’s power and flexibility but I can speak to the general practices of especially state-funded rehabilitation services in buying technology.
It is so rare to find someone within a state rehabilitation agency that actually has a solid working knowledge of the capabilities of screen readers beyond what the manufacturer tells them in a structured demo. This is why it’s so hard to get them to look at any alternatives from the Freedom Scientific products, until now. The magic word in this new scenario isn’t functionality. It’s FREE!
With budgets for state services shrinking to nearly nothing, being able to access a free product gets that case closed a lot faster than providing a high-featured screen reader that costs over $500 at least along with added costs of training in the use of that screen reader. Whether it actually works for the person’s needs or not is often irrelevant.
I know there are conscientious rehab professionals out there who don’t do this but sadly they are few and far between and as state services consolidate and use personnel who have little experience with blindness providing services, as is the case with some VA centers who have eliminated their VIST coordinators, those people will look at cost versus functionality.
It’s good to know though that indeed NVDA is or seems to be providing that functionality for people. I just hate to see services taking the easy way out in that things are free versus a need for other types of access. A coworker was told by her state services person that a Braille note taker was too difficult for her to operate, but they have poured money into teaching her a Windows screen reader with little success. They won’t even let her try a note taker. It’s very frustrating.
Blog comment from Luis
Hi all, I wanted to respond to a couple of stories you touched on.
First about the Android Nexus 7 mic problem. The issue is still there. I tried to patch the Nexus 7 to a recorder to get the full affect of the sound for a recording. And I did so after Jelly Bean 4.2.1 came out. I thought it was the cable that I was using and traded it for another. But the same interferance was in the background. Then I listened to this podcast and was because of you Jamie, Ricky, and Joe. Did I found out the issue was within the unit not the cables. Thank you for that.
Also would like to comment on Ricky’s pondering of how Twitter seems to be more popular with the blind community over FaceBook. I believe that the reason for Twitter being more popular with the blind then FaceBook, is because of the client. You had clients like Qwitter and now The Cube that make it easy for the blind to be on Twitter. Without any ads for us to put up with. That’s on Windows use, then you have iOS users. Who have apps that give them a similar experience. The popular app has always been TweetList but now something similar would be Twitterrific. Avoiding the default Twitter app that has more stuff for you to flick through while reading your timeline. While FaceBook has no type of client for the blind to view or reply, or post on Windows like Twitter does. Nor are any of the apps for iOS as good as the Twitter apps. Although the default FaceBook app for iOS has come far when accessability is concern. But also, and I’m not sure if I’m alone with this. But the timeline for FaceBook isn’t always consistent. You may be looking at your timeline one minute, and comeback 30 minutes later. And you’ll see some new posts mixed with the same posts you saw 30 minutes before. And at least with the mobile version of Facebook, and the FaceBook app don’t always show the same posts at the same place of your timeline.
And perhaps it’s this that draws blind users to be more active on Twitter then on FaceBook.
Have other comments to make on other stories. but think I went to long. Great job starting off the new year.