SeroTalk Podcast 183: Audio Selfie

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 183: Audio Selfie

Welcome to this week’s edition of the SeroTalk podcast where Jamie, Ricky and Joe discuss the top news stories of the week. Topics covered in this episode include:

News in A T

SeroSpectives: This Year in Tech for 2013

Announcing the AppleVis Golden Apples of 2013

iPad, Not the Most Economical Choice for Blind Consumers

Testing Android Accessibility: I Give Up

App Turns Smartphone Into Virtual Cane for the Blind

Hey iOS peeps! Now you can school your Android friends in SpellStack . Grab us on the App Store!

Digit-Eyes 2.0 has a completely NEW and simplified user interface design plus NEW other New features

Why Do We Fear the Blind? –

Here’s the Braille Challenge song

Mainstream Matters

CES 2014: Wearables, connected appliances, automated cars, and curved TVs

Yikes! Target’s data breach now could affect 110M people

Snapchat apologizes for leaked user data, updates app to let you opt out of ‘Find Friends’

Windows 8.1 update images pop up online

Why the Kindle Fire HDX is a far better tablet than the iPad

World’s First Commercially Available Self-Driving Car Launches

Here’s What Happens To Your iPhone In The Bitter Cold


From Pam Francis

Hi folks, I am curious to know whether Serotek as a company makes a practice of reaching out to mainstream app developers to educate them on accessibility of their apps &/or web pages. In most cases, as we all know, paying attention to the tech community it can be achieved without disturbing the “pretty” app or website. As a community, we all are, or should be grateful for the strides having been made in accessibility, opening a world to us allowing for more independence & education to current events etc.

As was so eloquently stated in your latest podcast, one truly needs to find a balance between blindness specific apps & mainstream apps to achieve maximum productivity in any area.

While we praise companies such as Amazon for finally allowing us accessibility to their products & library, I think at year’s end, we also need to take note of the apps or sites that have been broken that may have been previously accessible if for no other reason than by accident. If these previously accessible web pages or apps have been broken due to ignorance of the standards, I would think, if done constructively said developers would be open to modification of their app or website to achieve accessibility as was done prior to their upgrade.

I am also curious to know if any of you know of any site that offers any kind of interactive classes, especially dealing with Android. I am part of the eyes free list. Fortunately, there a lot of knowledgeable folks up there. However, I still have questions that don’t lend themselves to an email, not knowing if or when one will respond. There used to be a chat site called we the people. They were recreational while offering classes in many areas, i.e. helping one to learn a given screen reader etc. I am in no way saying the podcasts aren’t helpful, They are an excellent tool. However, other than the emails written commenting on stories, they are not interactive. Please in no way don’t take this as destructive criticism. It is not meant that way. I also heard you mention speakqualizer. I wish to this day there was a hardware equivalent. Speakqualizer was my first interaction with a computer. I had a friend with no vision who allowed me a temporary stint in his home. He used it with a monochrome monitor. I was used to trying to paste my nose to any screen be it TV or otherwise. This thing forced me to listen. It also allowed one to examine the post before DOS launched. If one knew what they were doing, one could make innumerable tweaks to one’s computer with that thing.

Speaking of early speech software, Who remembers Vert? I had to learn that program in Florida & be proficient enough in it for employment. I still have a laptop around here somewhere with a 20 meg hard drive with DOS 3.3 running Vert & Word Perfect 5.0. I also think there is not enough credit given to instructors who deal with us who have partial vision. There ar those of us who want to use our vision to its maximum, at times without considering the safety or lack of productivity in doing so. I say this because the lady who taught me Vert, actually took away my computer monitor, forcing me to pay attention to my headphones & interact with the keyboard. Without her diligence & perseverance I would not have been able to learn voiceover independently. I still use magnification, yet have learned when it is most productive to use one or the other. I know there’s more, yet I think this is enough for one email. Thank all of you for your tireless work. Sincerely, Pam Francis

From Jenine Stanley:

Interesting discussion of a blog post challenging the use of descriptors for our population.

I have to laugh at our CEO at the Guide Dog Foundation. He is one of the biggest supporters of our community and accessibility there is, but he also likes to have lots of lights on in our facility, even when the people he serves say they cause a lot of glare and such. He’s cool about it when told that they are too bright but here’s an example of how he handles it which I find highly amusing.

CEO walks into room where blinds are drawn because of afternoon glaring sunlight. All of the people in the room are sighted. I am on speaker phone.

CEO Opens blinds. “Sorry, we light dependant people need well, light.”

Everyone squints and says it’s too bright. He closes blinds part way.

I note to group that we as human beings are all light dependant. Some of us just can’t perceive it, which breaks us into a discussion about Seasonal Affective Disorder, that is totally off the point of our meeting.

We often tease our CEO that there’s “light dependant” and then there’s “Really light Dependant”. He asks if that’s the same as partials and totals. Uh, yeah.

Jenine Stanley

Blog comment from Rynhardt Kruger:

Are you able to update the version of Talkback on the device? The newest Talkback lets you enable the old gestures for changing reading granularity. Also, did the “focus speech audio” talkback setting have any effect on the ducking issue?


How gaming can help blind people navigate buildings in real life

The Beauty of Space Comes to the Visually Impaired

Listen to Strange Sounds Recorded in a Hole 5 Miles Deep

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4 Responses to SeroTalk Podcast 183: Audio Selfie

  1. Steven Whiteker says:

    Thanks guys and gal for all of the wonderful content that you produce. I always enjoy the show, and find the content both refreshing and enjoyable!

  2. Beth says:

    Regarding the article entitled “Why Do We Fear the Blind?” – from the

    What comes to mind when you hear the word “Amish”? Peacefulness, joy, a bucolic setting, good health, right? Well, yes, of course but there is much more than that. Turns out, the above ideas about the Amish are stereotypical. I am reading a very interesting book about the Amish and some intriguing realities about their lives have been imparted to me. This blog post is not meant to be a book review, I will post the book title and BARD number here so you can read it if you wish.

    “Amish society” DB 51601

    Here are a few things I have learned and, again, these are generalizations. Some of the Amish are rule-bound, with even some innocuous doodad on their horse harnesses being an offense. These strict rules can breed hostility and anger, which are often suppressed, since these emotions are not to be shown. It is now my understanding that mental illness is rather common among the Amish, which surprised me, again, a stereotype on my part. The book also stated that the Amish seem so gentle to tourists because, for a brief time, there can be conversations about the outside world, which interests many Amish and they can relax and converse normally, without having to think about rules. Also, there have been many church splits among the Amish, which make for family and other social upheavals and bitter fighting, which can last for generations. Some Students long to go beyond the eighth grade but can’t readily, which produces turmoil. So, wow, the Amish are just like the rest of us at the core of things. Stereotypes are surface things, they always have some truth to them but look beyond the surface. Beth

  3. Russ Kiehne says:

    After reading “iPad, Not the Most Economical Choice for Blind Consumers” and
    Testing Android Accessibility: I Give Up”, I’m glad I ended up buying a
    refurbished ipad mini. It has more volume and better sound than my ipod
    touch, victor reader stream booksense and plextalk pocket. With being able
    to lock the screen while playing audio content, I get much more play time
    than with my
    specialized players.

    With the bard mobile app, I can read nls books on it. Books can be directly
    downloaded to the ipad mini. This can’t be done on my specialized players.
    It’s going to be a while before bard mobile comes to android!

    With the audible app, I can read books from audible. Books can be directly
    downloaded to the ipad mini. I can’t do this with my specialized players.

    With the Kindle app, I can read Kindle books from Amazon. I can’t do this
    with my specialized playrs.

    With voice dream reader, I can read books from bookshare, unprotected epub
    and other file types. I use it to read multi-part mp3 audio books.
    What’s nice about voice dream reader, you can download books from both bookshare
    and Project Gutenberg directly to the ipad mini. I bought the optional
    neospeech voice to make it sound just like a booksense when reading any text
    based file. Voice dream reader is supplied with Acapela. I
    can switch between Acapela and neospeech. I can’t see buying a second
    generation victor reader stream inorder to download books from bookshare to
    it. With the specialized players I have, I can’t download books from bookshare
    to them. Is there an app like voice dream reader for android?

    With the downcast app, I can download podcasts directly to the ipad mini. I
    can subscribe and unsubscribe to podcasts on it. With my plextalk pocket, I
    can’t subscribe and unsubscribe to podcasts on it. With the other two
    specialized players i have, I can’t download podcasts to them. Is there an
    app like downcast for android?

    My ipad mini is now my favorite device for reading books, downloading and
    listening to podcasts and old time radio shows.

  4. Tim Hornik says:

    With regards to the comments from the Eyes Free Google Groups from Chris, I definitely understand his perspective. Android ventured a long way into the land of accessibility for the visually impaired. However, it has a little more to go within its stock set of apps before it will reach a level of ease for those transitioning or first time smart phone users. Yes, I have picked up a Nexus 7 a couple of months ago, and have enjoyed the experience.

    However, for Droid to truly become a great competitor against iOS, two things must happen. First, the assistive technologies trainers, professionals, organizations, and similar must adopt Android as an alternative device for mobile computing. In my experience, only a few of these blind rehab specialists have embraced Android and offer it as an option. Secondly, the pool of resources needs to grow a bit more. I understand the difficulties with the various incarnations of Android, Sandroid, etc out there, but compare that to iOS. Maybe later on this year, this gap will shrink tremendously, especially as websites and resources like That Android Show,, Wolfdream De-Mystifying series, and numerous other websites and communities mature.

    On a side comment about the security stuff, I could swear that some company called Serotek has this program called Socializer that has users inserting their social network login information for various accounts. Wait, I believe they also have some cloud service for storing OCR’ed documents. BTW, I use both. Anyways, I am weary about the NSA stuff, but care more about private companies who store and monitor my stuff. But this is my digital life, and not my real life. You can take all of this stuff away, and I am still me. Unless, we get to the point with neuro chips and our ghosts get hacked by the puppetmaster.

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