SeroTalk Podcast 134: The Cheese Stands Alone

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 134: The Cheese Stands Alone

Welcome back to another episode of the SeroTalk Podcast. Jamie Pauls, Lisa Salinger and Joe Steinkamp have a lot to discuss this week, so let’s jump right into the stories covered on this episode.

National Federation of the Blind Condemns Amazon’s Push to Put Kindle E-books in Schools

Amazon making Kindle Fire more accessible via voice, touch controls

Blind Bargains: An Apology, and the Announcement of 2011 Blind Bargains Access Award Winners

Window-Eyes 8.0 Now Available!

★ iWork for iOS Apps Updated with Improved Accessibility

iPhone VoiceOver Function For People With Disabilities

iPhone vs. Android: One Year Later | Joe Orozco

The advantages of owning an iPad

Tim Cook Explains The Biggest Changes He’s Made To Apple After Steve Jobs

Apple to begin manufacturing some Macs in the U.S.

T-Mobile CEO: Our iPhone experience will be ‘dramatically different’

T-Mobile to end smartphone subsidies next year

Surface sales may exceed 1M in Q4, says researcher

Microsoft’s Android bashing campaign goes down in flames as #WindowsRage trends

Why don’t computer users take passwords seriously?

Twitter SMS bug lets hackers tweet via other users’ accounts

The skinny on Netflix-Disney deal (FAQ)


Apple Promises To Fix iOS 6 Maps For Christmas By Physically Altering Planet Earth [Humor]

Building a sensitive robot, and perhaps a future politician?

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2 Responses to SeroTalk Podcast 134: The Cheese Stands Alone

  1. Russ Kiehne says:

    I was wondering, will the Serotalk team be doing An Accessibility Review of
    The Amazon Kindle Fire 8.9 tablet like they did with the Kindle 3?

  2. Russ Kiehne says:

    Doing some research, I found the following from NFB. I can’t see buying a Kindle
    Fire at this point in time. I’ll continue to use my Kindle Keyboard to reae Kindle books.

    Amazon, Why Do You Keep Burning Blind Readers?
    Submitted by cvangerven on Fri, 12/07/2012 – 13:00
    Blog Date:
    Friday, December 7, 2012
    By Amy Mason

    According to ZDNet and Engadget the Kindle Fire will be getting Explore by
    Touch and Voice Guide to provide
    accessibility features to blind and visually impaired customers.
    These features were first introduced in Google’s Android, Ice Cream Sandwich
    operating system. (This is the basis of the OS for the Kindle Fire and Fire HD
    which has been heavily skinned by Amazon for the device.) Google has since
    released Jelly Bean which has improved markedly on accessibility. If this
    were Amazon’s only weakness,
    an out-of-date OS, I would be disappointed, but I would understand. This is
    not, however, Amazon’s only problem.
    Their weakness instead, appears to be a disregard for the wishes of its blind
    Blind people want Kindle books. We want them badly enough that I know several
    blind people who have chosen to buy the Kindle Keyboard, despite being unable
    to do anything more than start and stop text-to-speech on their books. The
    PC edition (with accessibility plug-in) is slightly better. If a user is
    willing to sit at a PC, they can read by navigational elements as small as a
    sentence at a time, and as large as a page (seriously, you have to sit at the
    computer and turn every page. What a thrilling way to read a book!)
    I hear a few of you saying, “Ok, Amy, so you are upset about the past, but now
    Amazon is offering this additional accessibility in the Fire”. I am sorry to
    you, but for all intents and purposes it did not improve on their existing efforts.
    We purchased a Kindle Fire HD, and received it last Friday. We read on
    Amazon’s website that there were accessibility features, so we felt that we
    had to do our due diligence and test their work. First of all, when you get
    the device,
    you have to have a sighted person turn on the accessibility features because
    there is no way for a blind person to turn them on independently.
    Secondly, access is limited to the device settings, the collection of books in
    a user’s library, the primary navigation buttons (back, home, and more) and
    allowing you to start and stop text-to-speech on a book. A sighted reader on
    this tablet has the capability to browse the Web, play music, play audio
    books, download and read magazines and newspapers, buy Android apps, read
    e-mail, view documents (this ay be accessible, I didn’t get a chance to check),
    browse photos, voice chat, and read books. We are limited to access to the
    settings, navigating our library, and using the digitized speech equivalent of
    a cassette tape. We can play and pause speech, and it will read continuously,
    just like on the Kindle Keyboard, but we cannot navigate accessibly. No
    headings, paragraphs, pages, sentences, words or characters can be
    distinguished, nor can you go back accessibly. Tables of contents and social
    media integration are likewise unavailable to blind users.
    We were concerned by these conclusions, and decided that perhaps we were
    missing some details, so we called the company. (Accessibility was a very
    small part of the help page after all.) We spoke with two different customer
    service reps, and indeed, the reps verified that yes, this is the extent of
    the accessibility of the device.
    It is hard to see the accessibility features in the Kindle Fire as a gesture
    of goodwill.
    Amazon is familiar enough with what true accessibility looks like, both
    directly from us, from the work their competition has done, and even from the
    screen access packages it requires to allow a PC user to read with text to
    speech on a computer.
    It cannot claim ignorance when Google, Apple, and Microsoft all offer far more
    accessible devices (they all have their problems, but let’s be honest, these
    guys are all making a legitimate effort.). Furthermore, both the iPad and the
    Nexus 7 are confirmed to offer accessible eReaders from other creators (several
    of which can be used with Braille) while no access to Kindle books is available on any of these platforms.
    Amazon needs to stop burning blind readers with these half-hearted attempts at
    accessibility in all versions of the Kindle, including the Fire. What is
    needed now is for it to implement real accessibility, rather than expecting
    blind readers to accept a cassette tape equivalent in an era of multi-purpose

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