SeroTalk Podcast 137: Contacts All Over the Place

Listen to SeroTalk Podcast 137: Contacts All Over the Place

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!

Microsoft Messenger Service not going anywhere just yet

Skype Switcher Tip: Use Compact View

Report: New, cheaper iPhone could cost as little as $99

Walmart now offers iPhone 5 on Straight Talk’s no-contract unlimited plans

T-Mobile rips up contract on unlimited data plan

Consumers pay the hidden costs for the ‘free’ app ecosystem

Happy Birthday, iTunes

RIM has made ‘notable progress,’ but ‘still a lot to do,’ says analyst

Facebook stock cracks $30 ahead of event next week

Size matters: Lenovo unveils 27-inch tablet

Kickstarter had a monster year with nearly $320 million in pledges

Audi: We’re ready to test autonomous cars on public roads

NHTSA details new sound requirements for hybrids and EVs travelling under 18 mph

Nuance hopes to make cross-platform voice recognition a reality with Project Wintermute

Will voice recognition make touch obsolete? Intel says yes

things I learned by pretending to be a blind Internet user for a week

We Live In a Sighted World, Like it or Not.

SixthSense, a new 3D sound horror shooting game for iOS which is playable by the blind

HumanWare Lowers Prices on BrailleNote Notetakers by Roughly 20 Percent

Building a Better Smartphone for the Blind – but can we count on accessible apps to go with it?

2012 DVD Hot Picks, All with Audio Description


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.


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One Response to SeroTalk Podcast 137: Contacts All Over the Place

  1. Zivan Krisher says:

    About “Ray” the Israeli cellphone for the blind.

    I agree that this is not the phone for the techy blind person.
    And that in general such specialized products leave us in the blind ghetto.
    I’ve played with the Ray and like many other blind specific products it’s not as polished as mainstream products.
    It also doesn’t run regular apps, just the specialized apps created for the blind.

    The thing you missed about Ray during the podcast is the fact that neither IOS or Android have a Hebrew TTS. The only Hebrew TTS available for phones runs on Symbian.
    This is a serious issue especially for the less techy user that also usually isn’t very good with English.
    That is why Ray has a market.
    Once a Hebrew TTS is developed for IOS and Android Ray will pretty much be irrelevant for anyone but the most basic user.

    For speech Ray relies on recordings of human speech or a server that turns the text into speech and sends it back to the phone over 3G. That is one of the reasons the system is clunky.

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