SeroSpectives: This Month in Tech for July

Listen to SeroSpectives: This Month in Tech for July

View the Accessible Event archive of the show


    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! When asked about Byron, people often say “He’s just this guy, ya’ know?”
    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. He is currently working on the DirectionsForMe project, a one stop source for accessible packaging information.
    He does two radio shows on the internet. 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, Radio Free Dishnuts, The Beyond Radio Network, and Dementia Radio. He has also been involved in other radio shows and podcasts such as End of Line, a SeroTalk Podcast.

Pratik Patel is the President and CEO of EZFire, a firm dedicated to promoting usability and accessibility to devices, web sites, software, and other electronic material. He is the current chair of the Information Access committee for the American Council of the Blind and serves as the President of ACB’s New York affiliate. His background includes legislation, access to assistive technologies, accessible books and other instructional material as well as many different forms of new devices. His Recent efforts include the implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, which includes accessibility to videos, interfaces to televisions, DVR’s, and other mobile software and devices.

Darrell Shandrow is a blind accessibility evangelist, Internet radio

broadcaster, assistive technology instructor, and technical writer living

in Tempe, Arizona. As the publisher of the Blind Access Journal blog and

podcast, he is part of a team of advocates, assistive technology

instructors, and reporters including Karen Shandrow, Allison Hilliker,

Jeff Bishop, and special guest contributors exploring accessibility and demonstrating revolutionary new technologies for the blind.

He also co-hosts the Desert Cafe radio show on ACB Radio

Interactive every Sunday at 10:00 a.m. Arizona and Pacific Time, where all

listeners may enjoy good music and great conversation with friends.

Keep up with the latest happenings by following him on Twitter.


OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: the Ars Technica review

David Woodbridge’s Mountain Lion podcasts on AppleVis available on iBlink Radio.

Why should I, a Windows user, care about Mountain Lion anyway?


Microsoft moves your Office to the cloud

Windows 8 launches October 26


SPN Special: A Discussion of Windows 8 by Jeremy Curry from NFB12:

  Also, three convention interview specials, ACB and NFB convention archives and a tour of APH all on the front page of iBlink Radio.

Serotek’s Accessibility Anywhere package


Accessibility gestures for Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean)

Georgie Apps Help Blind and Visually Impaired

Download a free 14 day trial of Georgie online here


Microsoft revamps Hotmail into

Dropbox data breach proves the “One Site, One Password” rule

Amazon Matches iTunes Match With New ‘Audio Upgrade’ Feature


Apple reportedly to unveil iPhone 5, iPad Mini on Sept 12



AccessNote: AFB’s New Note Taker for Your iOS Device

New HumanWare iPhone app will get deaf-blind and sighted people talking

Looktell Breadcrumbs GPS is on the way!


We are pleased to congratulate our contest winner, Bill Freeman. His winning entry follows:

I have been totally blind all my life, and have a condition called Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.  Most of the people in my family are pretty open minded about my blindness, and never held me back from experiencing life, or sheltered me, as I grew up.  Because of this, I am not afraid to try new things, and have a bit more independence than some of my other blind friends.    My wife and I  absolutely love smoked meat, especially brisket.  A few years back, a blind buddy of mine and I decided to try our hand at smoking one while my wife was out of town visiting her parents for a couple of days. At that point in time, I had been using a charcoal grill for awhile, and had gotten pretty good at it, so believed that smoking wouldn’t be all that different.  Boy was I wrong!

We went out and purchased a round water smoker, which basically looks like a waste high barrel with a domed lid.  Inside, this type of smoker contains a pan for the fire on the bottom, a water pan above this, and a wire rack for the meat to sit on near the top.  The lid also contained a built in thermometer, which did us no good whatsoever.  We also bought some charcoal, lighter fluid, a bag of wood chunks, and a nice big brisket of course. 

Our little misadventure started out well enough.  We started out by soaking several chunks of wood in water, then rubbed down the brisket with a dry rub.  We next filled the water pan with water, loaded the fire pan up with charcoal, and sprayed it with lighter fluid.  Lighting the fire went off without a hitch, and after about 20 minutes or so, the fire had burned down, and the coals were ready to spread out flat.  After doing this, we added some of the soaked wood to the top of the coals, and finally put the meat on the top rack and closed the lid.

Things seemed to go well for the first couple of hours.  Our efforts sent wonderful mouth watering smells spreading out through the neighborhood, causing several people to drop by and see what was going on.  One of my neighbors came out at one point during the day, and was amazed that two blind guys would even attempt such a daunting feat.  Another poor busybody was overly concerned, and feared for us, and for the safety of our home and neighborhood.

An exciting adventure would not be complete without at least a couple of near disastrous events.  One such event happened when my buddy plowed directly into the smoker while rushing to the house to answer the phone.  The whole works nearly tipped over, but he was able to stop it in the nick of time by painfully grabbing onto the lid handle.  Another bit of excitement happened when I knocked some burning charcoal out onto the ground without realizing it while messing with the fire.  The charcoal set a small patch of grass on fire.  Luckily, we discovered this quickly and had a bucket of water on hand.  We were able to put out the fire before it could spread and get out of control.  The fire department was not involved, but I think we just about gave our nosy neighbor a heart attack!

After the first couple of hours, things started to go downhill quickly.  The fire went out at this point, and we had trouble keeping it regulated after that.  Adding more charcoal and wood allowed us to get the fire going again, but it started out way too hot, and quickly went out.  After several more hours fighting with the fire, we ended up with a brisket which was a charred husk on the outside, and totally uncooked in the center, according to a sighted friend.

Not willing to admit defeat, we sliced off all the charred parts from the outside, and put what was left in a slow cooker for several hours.  Our final efforts turned out much better than we had hoped for.  Enough of the smoke had infused what was left of our brisket, and gave it a nice flavor.  We were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!

After doing some research and talking with people, I think I may know what went so wrong.  In a charcoal smoker, ash builds up in the fire pan after some use.  This ash made it hard to keep a good consistent fire going.  From what I’ve read, it is necessary to somehow sift out the hot ash during the cooking process.  Keeping a good fire going is not easy for anyone, but would definitely be a whole lot easier with sight.  Also, we had no accessible way to monitor the temperature of the meat throughout the cooking process.  Because of these challenges and the sheer amount of time and effort required, I have not attempted to smoke anything again.  Now, when we get the craving for smoked meat, we make a trip to a favorite barbeque joint of ours.  I have been on the lookout for a more accessible method for smoking meat, but had not found one until hearing the podcast on

Despite our near failure though, we had a great time, and I do not regret the experience in the least.

Bill Freeman — Arkansas

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