SPN Special: Eight Interviews From NFB 2014

Listen to our SPN Special: Eight Interviews from NFB 2014

Welcome to our first SPN special from NFB 2014 in Orlando, Florida. Ricky Enger and Joe Steinkamp have been hard at work talking with many of this year’s convention exhibitors, so sit back and enjoy the following interviews from the 74th annual convention of the National Federation of the Blind.

We would like to thank HIMS Inc. and Elegant Insights Braille Creations for sponsoring this year’s NFB convention coverage.

Matthew of Humanware talks with Ricky Enger about some exciting updates coming to the second generation Victor Reader Stream.

Joe Steinkamp visits with John Wilson of 3D Photoworks about 3D objects in real time and space.

Ricky Enger learns about Echo-Sense, a mobility aid for the visually impaired.

Joe Steinkamp explores portable low-vision solutions from Abisee.

Ricky Enger speaks with Tony of Enabling Technologies about their latest Braille embossers.

Joe Steinkamp talks with Odin Mobile about the latest news about their mobile phone solutions.

Heather of VitalSource Technologies talks with Ricky Enger about their accessible electronic textbooks.

Ricky Enger brings us some exciting news about the soon-to-be released KNFB Reader.

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SeroTalk Podcast 204: 34 Benjamins

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 204: 34 Benjamins

Join Jamie, Ricky and Buddy for this week’s episode of the podcast as they discuss the top news stories of the week. After the news, Jamie talks with Joshua Loya and Mario Schapp about the San Diego Blind Community Center’s Tekio Jutsu martial arts program designed with the visually impaired student in mind. Stories covered in this podcast include:

Feds to distribute “currency readers” for visually impaired people

NEW! VarioUltra

2014 National Convention Exhibitors

Slate & Stylish: What NOT to Wear: Convention Edition

Uber and service animals controversy

Fire phone Accessibility

What’s right (and wrong) with the Amazon Fire Phone

Amazon Fire Phone vs. Samsung Galaxy S5: Specs Compared

What iOS 8 tells us about the next iPhones and iPads

Why the time for an iWatch is finally almost here

It’s impossible to upgrade the entry-level iMac’s 8GB of RAM

Apple settles ebook case, agrees to pay consumers over price-fixing

Roundabout

75 Years of AFB and Talking Books

APH: The History of the American Printing House for the Blind: A Chronology

THE WAR OF THE DOTS

RIP Greg Brayton

Our thanks go out to Andre Louis and Patrick Purdue of PD Audio Productions for the theme music heard on this podcast.

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High Contrast Episode 22: Too Much Outdoors

Listen to High Contrast Episode 22: Too Much Outdoors

Its finally summer time. Sand, surf, sidewalks, some other S words. You know the time where you venture out of the home and possibly commune with nature. This month Rodney, Byron and Maurie talk about what they use to combat the evil rays of the sun. And we have an app review plus the Mailbag. So sit back in that cheap outdoor lawn chair and join us while we talk sun shades.

Here are some suggestions for where to start on the perfect pair of sunglasses. Remember, you may want to go see these options in person as some may not fit your face well when it comes to wraparound lenses. Also, you may find that red works better than gray on a tint. Or green, or blue. Everyone has their own style as you can see from these examples.

CPF lenses (originally made by Conrning)

Remington Shooting Glasses

Fuel Cell by Oakley

Gunnar Computer Glasses

And don’t forget hats. A good hat can let you avoid some glare issues without having something on your face. And at the pool or beach, it is an alternative to having water spots on your lenses if you rely on sunglasses for summer eye protection.

App Review: Marvel Puzzle Quest Dark Reign for iOS

joe is a bit perplexed. He has been playing this game for more than a month. He hasn’t spent a dime. But he can’t fully recommend this Match 3 title because it’s a low vision nightmare. If you have issues with colors, shapes or text on and odd background… stay away. Or get the app, try it and uninstall. If you do decided that you want to have Iron man, Storm, Black Widow and others beat up the bad guys by matching colors and shapes in spandex, give this one a shot. Its great for the cheap gamer and you can use Zoom on iOS to help you get through the rougher spots on the UI.

Mailbag:

Check out Rodeny, Byron and Ranger1138 on the latest End of Line talking about what you could watch on your TV or tablet this summer. If you don’t like the outdoors that is of course.

Wayne writes in with this comment…

“Morning everyone, Just a handy tip that I thought you might find helpful. I was listening to the last episode when you were mentioning about not wanting pasccodes announcing in public places by voiceover. I am a non-visual user of the iPhone and also don’t want pass codes announcing. There is a good solution though. If you turn on the handwriting mode in the rotor, you will be able to handwrite your passcode in the passcode field. The code is not announced when in handwriting mode on the lock screen. Hope that’s useful. Also, to prevent your text messages announcing in the lock screen, you could disable them in the notifications centre re: turning them off in the lock screen. There’s more inconvenience with this re: the text alert tone will sound but you’ll need to go into messages.I suppose the other option would be to mute voiceover with the double triple tap gesture and turn it on again after the text alert sounds. Keep up the good work at Serotek. It’s all very helpful. Although I am an iPhone user, I do also like to keep in touch with Android developments through that Android Show. too. Maybe they’ll be the option of @That Windows Show@ soon eh? Thanks again for all the effort your teams put into the shows. Best regards, Wayne”

Neat! That was one we hadn’t considered at all. Good catch!

How can you find out what our hosts are up to outside the podcast?

Follow Maurie Hill on Twitter

Check out Maurie’s writing on the AI Squared Zoomed In Blog

Follow Rodney Edgar on Twitter

Check out Rodney on the Tech Access Weekly Blog and Podcast

Follow Byron Lee on Twitter

Check out Byron’s LowVisionRants.com Website

Feel free to send your feedback on this show to

You can always find the latest on this show and others on the SeroTalk Podcast Network

using iBlink Radio for your iOS device or your Android device. You can even leave us an iReport right from the iBlink app.

Thanks for listening!

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SeroTalk Podcast 203: There Is a Storm Coming

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 203: There Is a Storm Coming

Welcome to this week’s episode of the SeroTalk Podcast. The news of the week, your feedback, a book recommendation and an interview with author Shelly Brisbin about her new book IOS Access for All: Your Comprehensive Guide to Accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch are just some of the things you will hear on this week’s show. Topics covered in this podcast include:

A T Talk

Braille Sense v8.2 Released with Features YOU Asked For!

Book Trade Announcements – Dolly Parton Presents Braille Book To Blind Child

GrabPak introduces line of Braille First Aid Kits

eBay and The National Federation of the Blind Team to Optimize Accessibility of Site, Apps

When Just Listening Is Not Enough: Google Falls Short on Accessibility for the Blind

What Will It Take for Google to Find Its Voice

Comparing the Windows Computer with the Mac

As Technology Marches Forward, Who Gets Left Behind?

Verizon Says It Wants to Kill Net Neutrality to Help Blind, Deaf, and Disabled People

Mainstream Matters

Report corroborates Apple planning to announce new wearable product in October

Apple’s new Lightning spec allows for smarter, better-sounding headphones

Rumor: NFC, wireless charging, improved LTE slated for iPhone 6

Starbucks to Start Offering Wireless Charging in San Francisco

Amazon Prime Subscriber? You Just Got Free Streaming Music

Roundabout

The Top 24 Summer Books of 2014

Vessyl smart cup can tell Coke from Pepsi

Xbox Live’s Major Nelson » E3 2014 Binaural Audio Experiment :

Ricky recommends Room: A Novel Written by Emma Donoghue

Our thanks go out to Andre Louis and Patrick Purdue of PD Audio Productions for the theme music heard on this podcast.

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness and Low Vision, Interviews, Podcasts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

SeroTalk Podcast 202: Thermoform in the Summertime

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 202: Thermoform in the Summertime

The news of the week, a wayward mailbag and elocution lessons are all a part of this week’s podcast, and our interview with The National Federation of the Blind’s Curtis Chong is the icing on the cake. Topics covered in this week’s episode include:

A T Talk

Walgreens Now Offers Talking Prescription Labels for Blind Customers

Assistive Technology Design for People Who are Blind or Visually Impaired Survey

CiscoVision Wiki | Main / 2014 Semester 2 Course Offerings

iOS Access for All | Your comprehensive guide to accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. by Shelly Brisbin

Learn to Use the Mac with VoiceOver (MAC)

Knowing What Is Good About the iPhone and What Is Not

My comments on the Braille Monitor Article concerning the iPhone | Thoughts from David Goldfield

GWKB2058 – McAfee Found to Block Important Functionality in Window-Eyes

Unexpected loss of ZoomText activation

Mainstream Matters

Apple’s HealthKit Is a Huge Headache for One Startup

iOS 8 will let you scan credit cards via the camera

What Android 4.4.3 could mean about the future of Android updates

Microsoft stock price hits 52-week high, suggests market approves of Nadella

Why an Amazon Phone Makes Sense

Roundabout

Blind? Listen to this 9-year-old: ‘Accept it and live life as is’

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition 2014 Jamie mentioned that he plans to read Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story by Erik Weihenmayer.

19 Rare Recordings of Famous Authors

Our thanks go out to Andre Louis and Patrick Purdue of PD Audio Productions for the theme music heard on this podcast.

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SeroSpectives: This Month in Tech for May 2014

Listen to SeroSpectives: This Month in Tech for May, 2014

Replay the Accessible Event archive of This Month in Tech for May

Jeff Bishop is an IT Accessibility Analyst at the University of Arizona. He describes himself as a “Developer, technologist, Window-Eyes scripter, Broadcaster and family oriented guy” and is probably best known for his broadcasts on various community radio stations.

Janet Ingber has been writing for AccessWorld since 2005, and cohosts two podcasts on How to be Blind. Her new book, “Learn to use the Mac With VoiceOver” is now available from National Braille Press. Janet has a Masters Degree in Music Therapy and provides services for adults who have developmental disabilities. Additionally, she is certified as a special education teacher. Janet lives in New York City with her husband, daughter and guide dog, Jack.

Byron Lee is a Ham Radio Operator (KC9EEK), Broadcast Personality, Audio Engineer, Voice Over Artist, Web Designer, IT Professional, and most importantly, a huge geek! He is currently employed by Horizons for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who are blind or visually impaired, and is currently working on the DirectionsForMe project, a one stop source for accessible packaging information. In addition, Byron hosts two Internet radio shows. The Talk Zone is a two hour program about adaptive technology, disability rights, science fiction, pop-culture, and just about any other topic. The Fun Zone is a one hour program featuring comedy music. His shows are simulcast on ACB Radio Mainstream, and several other online radio stations. Byron has also been involved in other radio shows and podcasts, and is a frequent contributor on the SeroTalk Podcast Network. Find out more about Byron on his website or take a look at his newest project, the Low Vision Rants Website.

In the Community

HIMS Inc. Releases New Pocket-sized Media Player that Gives Blind and Visually Impaired Near-Instant Access to Printed Text

The Penguin Random House/Bookshare Partnership

BlindSquare celebrates two years; releases Version 2.0.

General Tech

Amazon, Twitter link up for easy shopping through #AmazonCart

Text-to-911 is here, but it isn’t everything you might think

Windows Phone 8.1 Launching June 24

WWDC

Information on iOS 8 now added to the Apple website

Information on OS X Yosemite now added to the Apple website

Apple publishes Swift programing language guide on iBooks

32 Hidden Features in Apple iOS 8

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SeroTalk Podcast 201: Magical Weapon

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 201: Magical Weapon

To help remake accessibility training as we know it, visit http://www.a11y.tv to view training subscription options and make your contribution to EZFire’s A11YTV funding campaign.

Join Jamie, Ricky and Joe as they manage to talk about more than just the news from Apple’s WWDC keynote. Never fear, though; they discuss that topic at some length. After the news of the week, Jamie sits down with Mike Calvo to talk about the Philips HD8753/87 Intelia Automatic espresso machine. Topics covered in this podcast include:

A T Talk

HIMS Inc. Releases New Pocket-sized Media Player that Gives Blind and Visually Impaired Near-Instant Access to Printed Text

Mac Master Series FAQ

Introducing Magnificent, a new magnifier app for iOS

Chicken Nugget 2.3: YouTube support, hidden timelines, run at startup, more!

Try the New ZoomText Beta for Windows 7

Google Glass gives the deaf an ASL interpreter, even in the dark

Mainstream Matters

CD Players, Reluctant Technology Learners, and the iPod

Samsung Simband Preview

Google’s prototype electric self-driving car seats two, has no steering wheel

Surface Pro 3 Is Coming

Summary of Announcements from WWDC 2014 Keynote | AppleVis

Roundabout

Legendary author Maya Angelou dies at age 86

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings narrated by Maya Angelou

Long-lost, 1958 recording of Tolkien explaining Lord of the Rings has been unearthed

Mike Calvo’s review of the Philips HD8753/87 Intelia Automatic espresso machine

My review is as much about an excellent product as it is about an outstanding company. Let’s face it. Either the product is decent but the customer service is terrible, or worse, the product sounds great, but the interface is not accessible.
As a coffee aficionado, I was excited about the glowing reviews of the
Philips HD8753/87 Intelia Automatic espresso machine. A quiet grinder,
a smaller form factor, a convenient milk frother and easy programming
are just the beginning of what amounts to an amazing appliance. At a
price north of $1,000, one should expect nothing less, right?
Well, for blind consumers that’s a highly subjective question.
Companies rarely consider the potential blind end user, but in the case of Philips the reception could not have gone better.
My experience actually began before the package even landed on my doorstep. I called customer service to try to make sense of the product. Being the skeptic that I am, I wanted to make sure I would be able to utilize the espresso machine as soon as it came out of the box.
Daniel S, the helpful customer support representative, did not shy away from the challenge of explaining the machine to me when he learned I had a visual impairment. Instead he went and got himself in front of a model similar to what I’d ordered and proceeded to explain the order and function of each button.
Yeah, you could attribute it to the courtesy of one representative,
but later, after the machine had arrived, I called again to inquire
about some functionality of a special drink button I could not figure out.
The next guy proved to be just as friendly and accommodating as the
first guy, effectively proving that at Philips there is a prominent
culture of customer-oriented service. Even better? The PDF manual I
downloaded from the website was readily accessible for my screen
reader. That’s not typical considering the image-only manuals and
tutorials blind customers are accustomed to. Okay but how’s the
coffee? In a word: “AMAZING!” The wide variety of options this machine
provides will yield years of yummy coffee goodness! After all the
help from Philips I was able to set up the machine and enjoy my very
first coffee with absolutely no sighted help. I never can get over the
pleasure of purchasing a product and completing it’s setup
independently. Now here’s all you ever wanted to know abut the
Philips HD8753/87 Intelia Automatic espresso machine: Product
features

Save your favorite coffee settings
You will always get a perfect cup of espresso brewed just for you,
according to your personal preference, thanks to the innovative memo
function to adjust the coffee length, strength and temperature. Enjoy
a superb coffee drink in your favorite cup with just the press of a
button. Play with the coffee’s richness with the HD8753/87′s
adjustable grinder

Different coffee blends require different levels of granularity for
the full flavor to unfold. The grind granularity of this espresso
machine can be adjusted in 5 settings, from the finest grind, for a
full bodied espresso, to the coarsest, for a lighter café crème.

Enjoy coffee without burned taste thanks to a 100% ceramic grinder
Saeco uses ceramic grinders because of their consistent grind without
overheating the coffee bean for an impeccable espresso. Ceramic also
ensures long-lasting performance and a really quiet operation when
grinding your favorite beans.

Easy cleaning thanks to the removable
brewing group The brewing group, a Saeco invention, is the heart of
the HD8753/87.
ensuring automation. The brewing group is easily accessible from the
side. It can be removed effortlessly for cleaning by rinsing under the
tap ensuring maximum hygiene.

Coffee without the wait thanks to the
quick heat boiler The Saeco quick heat boiler technology ensures your
machine is always ready. Now you won’t have to wait between brewing
each espresso, but can prepare coffee after coffee. So, you can share
your new indulgence with friends.

Perfect froth thanks to the dual
chamber milk carafe Enjoy your milk specialties fully automated with
the patented milk carafe with dual chamber technology. Simply pour
milk into the carafe, plug it into the machine and select your coffee
drink. With the dual chamber technology you will always enjoy
professional coffee drinks with dense, long-lasting milk froth at the
ideal temperature from a constant splash-free flow of milk. Avoid
heat loss and fit every cup with the adjustable spout

The adjustable
spout on Philips’ espresso machines will fit every cup and thus
prevents the coffee splashing or cooling down while pouring in your
cup. This way your espresso is always served at the right temperature
while maintaining a clean machine.

Easy cleaning thanks to
dishwasher-safe parts For your convenience, you can put the Saeco’s
drip tray and milk frother or milk carafe in the dishwasher. This will
save time and ensure a hygienic cleaning. You will always have a
clean machine thanks to auto-clean and descaling
Saeco designed this espresso machine to automatically clean its
coffee circuit with water upon starting up or switching off of the
machine. This delivers a great, fresh taste with each cup of coffee.
Regular descaling prolongs your espresso machine’s life.

Technical specifications

Perfect Espresso
Espresso technology • Saeco adapting system • Aroma-system:
pre-brewing

Easy to use
Cleaning and maintenance • Automatic coffee circuit rinse
• Descaling cycle
Usage • Adjustable coffee dispenser
• Cup holding surface
• Rapid steam
• Removable brewing group
• Normal / long espresso option
Energy saving
Energy saving Automatic stand-by

The bottom line? It’s been a gratifying experience. The best part of
waking up might be the shot of espresso to jumpstart the morning, but
my day is made all the more productive when I know that if my machine
has issues, I can call a company that just gets it. No separate but
equal accessibility telephone lines, just helpful people who can
easily bypass the visual impairment stigma and go on about the
business of helping me like any other customer. Thanks Philips! You
certainly have a happy customer here!

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness and Low Vision, Interviews, Podcasts, reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming this Thursday, This Month in Tech for June

“Summertime, and the livin is easy.” Not so in the world of tech, where the action never stops. Come join us Thursday, June 5, when we’ll discuss all the technology news from the previous month.

Posted in Announcements, SeroSpectives | Leave a comment

High Contrast Episode 21: Tangent Mode On!

Listen to High Contrast Episode 21: Tangent Mode On!

To help remake accessibility training as we know it, visit to view training subscription options and make your contribution to EZFire’s A11YTV funding campaign.

Rodney, Byron and Maurie spoke about the joys, or perhaps lack there of, for low vision users in iOS 7 a few episodes ago. Well, in honor of the recently released iOS 7.11 and joe having a spiffy new iPad Air, the team has reconverged to discuss the latest iOS and its changes made to better aid those with vision impairments. They’ll also talk “Growing up Fisher”, canceled by NBC not too long after the show was recorded, plus the typical unexpected topics that can be so magical on a show like ours.

Here are some things that came up in conversation….

BBC News – Glow in the dark road unveiled in the Netherlands

Rodney mentioned the 8 Bit Classic from Activision. All hail “Enduro’!

Recommended by Byron, Luke and carrie’s “Bad Report” Podcast

Confused about what Ringtone Rodney helped accidentally create? Well, check out the Out Cast for 2012 to hear it in context.

And download it for your very own

App Review: Star Wars Assault Team

Speaking of that new iPad Air, although this game is also on Windows Phone and Android as well, Joe is playing what amount’s to a strange mix of a card battler with a turn by turn RPG set in the Star Wars universe. It’s a free title, however, it will force [ha ha force!] you to consider handing over money at somepoint midway through the game. All your SW Regulars are there with Han, Luke, Chewie and so many Droids. It’s a fun romp, its free and it is great for killing time while waiting in the burger line for lunch.

How can you find out what our hosts are up to outside the podcast?

Follow Maurie Hill on Twitter

Check out Maurie’s writing on the AI Squared Zoomed In Blog

Follow Rodney Edgar on Twitter

Check out Rodney on the Tech Access Weekly Blog and Podcast

Follow Byron Lee on Twitter

Check out Byron’s LowVisionRants.com Website

Feel free to send your feedback on this show to

You can always find the latest on this show and others on the SeroTalk Podcast Network

using iBlink Radio for your iOS device or your Android device. You can even leave us an iReport right from the iBlink app.

Thanks for listening!

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SPN Special: An Audio Tour of the Seeing Eye

Listen to An Audio Tour of the Seeing Eye

To help remake accessibility training as we know it, visit to view training subscription options and make your contribution to EZFire’s A11YTV funding campaign.

Last December, Serotek’s own Buddy Brannan had the opportunity to join HIMS Inc. in New York City where they took part in the dedication of the very first UN Accessibility Center. While Buddy was in the neighborhood, he paid a visit to The Seeing Eye. He brought back a lot of audio from that trip, and we are pleased to bring you the second installment. Buddy had the opportunity to record a tour of the school. This is a high-quality stereo recording, so a good pair of headphones are recommended.

We would like to thank Jim Kutsch, the president of the school along with other members of the staff for making this tour one that our listeners will never forget.

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