QwerkyWriter S Typewriter Podcasting Notes

 

Product name: QwerkyWriter S Typewriter

 

Manufacturer: Qwerky Toys

 

Website: http://www.qwerkywriter.com

 

Email: support@qwerkytoys.com

 

The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter was inspired by the old fashion manual mechanical typewriters with the first version (the Qwerkywriter) being available in 2015.

 

The QwerkyWriter S Typewriter was available in 2018.

 

Overall Physical Description

The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter is 33CM wide. 18CM depth.  Front hight (on which sits all of the keyboard keys)) 2.5cm at the front sloping up by 3 degrees so that the back row of keys is higher than the front row of keys.  

There is a good gap between the actual keys and the raised back section of the keyboard.

the raised back section (4CM) contains the paper/rest/stand for a phone or tablet), Return Lever on left, paper roller with the paper feed knobs at each end, and 3 spaced paper guards.

 

All key hight from the chassis approximately 1cm giving good travel and excellent mechanical feedback.

All keys are well spaced from each other and between rows.

 

5 rubber round feet, one at each bottom corner, and 1 in the middle at the bottom front edge.

 

When you first touch the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter, you immediately get the feel of all of the high raised well spaced keys, the Return Lever , and the paper feed roller with the chunky paper feed knobs.

 

Main Features

The chassis of the keyboard is mat black powdered coated scratch resistant aluminium - giving a high quality and solid feel.

The top of the keyboard on which the actual keys sit, is moulded from the front edge to the back edge of the actual keyboard area.  The top of the unit where the keys sit extends slightly beyond the left and right edges of the chassis, giving good physical definition.

 

Integrated tablet stand at back top edge - fits most smart phone and tablets such as the iPad or Surface pro as long as they are less than 1.55CMS thick.

The integrated stand extends the full width at the top back of the keyboard with a raised section in the middle, in the old days, this would have supported the paper.

 

Cast metal programmable Return Lever top left hand side - defaults to the Enter key or up to 16 characters or shortcut commands such as cut, copy or paste.

The Return Lever is connected  to the chassis on the left just behind the paper roller which has the paper feed knobs at each end.

Return Lever feels like a dog leg as it comes out, bends slightly to the left, and then straitens out.

The Return Lever extends from just behind the paper roller and ends up to the left of the top 2 rows of the keyboard. i.e. just to the left of the Escape key on the top row which also contains the Function keys from F11 to F12 etc, and the Accent key on the next row down from the top which also contains the numbers from 1 to 0 etc.

Press the FN key + Return Lever to enter macro programming, enter up to 15 characters, short-cut key or press Enter key to set back to default Enter key function.  FN + Return Lever again to end macro programming.

The Return Lever itself, feels very very high gloss and smooth to the touch, compared to the mat finish on the chassis.

To the right of the Return Lever is the small USB Bluetooth toggle button.

This button is on the chassis just behind the paper roller which has the page feed knobs at each end.

There are small LED indicators to the right of the UsB Bluetooth toggle button, and just to the left of the right paper feed knob.  These LED indicators feel like small tactile markers.

 

Dual scroll knob encoders (the paper feed knobs)

These knobs feel like old fashion typewriter paper feed knobs which have horizontal tractor  wheel style treads with an indent in the middle.

The Right knob is set to Vertical Windows Scroll and the left knob is set to volume.

For the volume knob, turning the knob away from you if sitting in front of the keyboard, turns the volume up, and turning it back towards you, turns the volume down.

The function of the knobs can be reversed via FN+W: i.e. volume now on right and vertical window scroll on left.

Knobs click when rotated like old manual Typewriter paper feed knobs, again, giving good solid mechanical feedback.

In iOS 13, Vertical Window Scroll with the right page feed knob (default) can be enabled via the Accessibility option (Assistive Touch - see manual).

 

Main Keyboard keys.  Typewriter inspired Keycaps - 2 piece keycaps have great stability, response, and automotive grade electroplating.  Cherry MX “clicky” switches.

Main keys are round with a full finger tip indent.

Flat rectangular Backspace key, Left/Right Shift keys, Caps Lock, and Enter key.  Long flat Space Bar.

Tab key is round and indented like the main keys.

Tactile marker on F and J at front of keys.

The Tab key and the Backspace key are red, whilst all other keys are black with white characters with the silver electroplating around each key.

Other FN key functions include:

FN+F1 - volume down

FN+F2 - volume up

FN+F3 - previous track

FN+F4 - play/pause

FN+F5 - next track

FN+F12 - Home button on iOS

Keyboard sleep settings:

FN+8 - set keyboard sleep timer to 10 minutes

FN+9 - set keyboard sleep timer to 20 minutes

FN+10 - set keyboard sleep timer to 30 minutes

FN+11 - disable keyboard sleep timer (not recommended)

Notes - keyboard still honours multimedia function key settings on Windows, Mac, and iOS.

The FN+F12 for the Home button in iOS, not only does the Home button function, but does twice for the App Switcher, and if you have VoiceOver setup as an accessibility shortcut, pressing FN+F12 (Home button) 3 times will toggle VoiceOver on or off from the keyboard.

If you hold down FN+F12, this will also invoke Siri on iOS.

The Qwerkywriter S Typewriter also supports NKRO via FN+Page Down or FN+Page Up for older computers.  NKRO allows the keyboard to not miss any keys that are typed, especially for fast typists.

 

Bluetooth connectivity - connects up to 3 Bluetooth devices.

Bluetooth Connect rectangular  pairing button at rear to the right of the USB port if facing front of the keyboard.

To pair a device in slot 1 for example - press FN+1, press Bluetooth Connect button for pairing, and connect with devices Bluetooth settings.

FN + 1, 2 or 3 to pair and access the 3 devices when connected.

FN key is to the right of the Space bar.

 

Micro USB port - to both charge and connect to a computer.

At the rear To the left of the Bluetooth connect button if facing the front of the keyboard.

The accompanying UsB cable can only be inserted in the correct orientation in to the USB port with the two connectors on the UsB connector facing up.

If keyboard is UsB connected to a computer or UsB power, the battery is disconnected and the keyboard can be USB or Bluetooth Connected.

If not connected to a computer or power, keyboard must be on for the battery to engage via the power rocker switch located at the back right hand side of the keyboard just below and back of the right 

Page feed knob.

Note - if the rocker is flicked forward the keyboard is on and if flicked back the keyboard is off.

If not on power, keyboard needs to be on for Bluetooth connection.

The internal battery is at the bottom rear edge of the keyboard, 2-3 hours to fully charge, and lasts for 2-3 weeks of regular use. The battery can be changed if required.

If connected to USB power, it is safe to leave the keyboard connected as this will not affect the battery.

 

The wait of the keyboard is 1.36 kilograms - rather than feeling heavy when sitting down and typing on your lap, gives a feeling of solidness, and stability.

 

When connected to a Windows computer

The keys to the right of F12 from left to right are Pause, Print Screen, and Forward Delete.

Remember the Tab key is not rectangular as found on a standard computer keyboard, but is round like most of the keys on the keyboard.

The Backslash key is above the Enter key and below the Backspace key.

The 3 keys to the left of the Space Bar from left to right are Control, Alt, and Windows.

The two keys to the right of the Space Bar from left to right are the FN key, and Right Alt.

There is no upside down capital T cursor cross with space on either side of the Up Arrow key.  However, to the Left of the Up Arrow is the Right Shift Key, and to the right of the Up Arrow key is the End Key.

Going from the bottom right side of the keyboard up Right Arrow, End, PageDown, PageUp, Home, and Forward Delete key.

The rectangular BackSpace key is immediately to the left of the Home key.

Note - there is no Insert key on this keyboard.

 

When connected to Mac OS or iOS

The keys to the right of F12 from left to right are F13, F15, and Forward Delete key.

Remember the Tab key is not rectangular as found on a standard computer keyboard, but is round like most of the keys on the keyboard.

The Backslash key is above the Enter key and below the Backspace key.

the 3 keys to the left of the Space Bar from left to right are Control, Option, and Command.

The two keys to the right of the Space Bar from left to right are the FN key, and Right Option.

There is no upside down capital T cursor cross with space on either side of the Up Arrow key.  However, to the Left of the Up Arrow is the Right Shift Key, and to the right of the Up Arrow key is the End Key.

Going from the bottom right side of the keyboard up Right Arrow, End, PageDown, PageUp, Home, and Forward Delete key.

The rectangular BackSpace key is immediately to the left of the Home key.

Note - there is no Insert key on this keyboard.

 

Accessories

A carry bag, dust cover, replacement keycaps, replacement battery or UsB cable  can be purchased through  Qwerky` Toys.

 

Screen Reader Performance

Both Narrator and Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) on Windows worked as expected using the Caps Lock key as the main command key for both screen readers.

 

VoiceOver on iOS and Mac OS worked as expected.  Sometimes on a 3rd party connected keyboard, the Control and Option keys (which are the main command keys for VoiceOver) can be a key apart or on either side of the Space Bar.  However, VoiceOver can also use the Caps Lock key as its main command key as well.

Note - both VoiceOver on iOS or Mac OS use the Control+Option keys as the main VoiceOver keyboard shortcut as well as the Caps Lock key.

 

Final Thoughts

After typing on the Qwerkywriter S Typewriter, going back to my usual laptop or Bluetooth keyboard, just feels wrong, and squashy.

This will be my keyboard to use on my UsB connected Surface Pro and my Bluetooth connected iPhone, iPad Pro, and MacBook Pro.

It really does remind me of typing on my IBM PS2 keyboard in the mid 1990’s.

When checking with Qwerky Toys as to how well the Qwerkywriter S travels in a computer bag without the keys popping off, they said that the keyboard is fairly rugged and should be fine when being carried around in a computer bag.

 

David Woodbridge January 2020

A year or so ago I did a podcast on my Connected Home which I will most likely update this year.  However, to cover the other side of my life (work), this is the magic list.

 

---

 

I often get asked what type of general and assistive tech stuff I use for work. So here is most of the stuff I use to allow me to test, evaluate, demo, podcast, and use.

 

Certainly makes accessing the technology that much easier, as I have it at my finger tips, just grab what I need and go.

 

The tech listed is separate to what my family and I use at home.  I.e. I don’t have to strip anything out of home in order to use when I go out and about for work.

 This was my aim as it got to annoying for my family with me constantly nicking stuff for work, so my tech lab was born.

 

David Woodbridge January 2020.

 

The list is roughly sorted in to Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, miscellaneous, and assistive technology.

 

Start Of List

 

Apple

 

AirPods Pro.

Apple TV.

Apple watch Series 3 Cellular with several bands.

Beats Pill Bluetooth speaker..

Beats Power Pro ear phones.

Beats Studio Over Ear head phones.

HomePod.

iPad 9.7 with keyboard, and iPad Pro 12.9 with Smart Keyboard.

iPhone X (original).

iPod Touch 7th generation.

Macbook air.

MacBook Pro with Touch bar.

Magic Keyboard 2nd generation..

Magic keyboard with Number pad.

Magic trackpad.

 

Amazon

 

Amazon Echo Dot 2nd generation.

Amazon Echo Input.

Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader.

 

Google

 

Google Mini.

Chromecast audio.

Chromecast video.

 

Microsoft

 

Surface Pro with Smart keyboard.

 

Samsung

 

Samsung Galaxy S10.

Samsung Galaxy Watch.

Samsung Galaxy Buds.

 

Miscellaneous Technology

 

Aftershokz bone Conduction head phones.

Audio mixer (mainly for podcasting (my iSee podcast), and Vision Australia Radio (Talking Tech show).

2 microphone wireless kit for recording interviews (Aldi special).

Blue Yeti USB Microphone.

Belkin Boost Up Wireless charger.

Bluetooth transmitter (connects to Bluetooth device and then plugs in to a 3.5mm speaker, head phone etc - comes in handy for recording output from Apple Watch))

Bose Frames audio  sunglasses.

Eve Energy switch.

Eve Weather module.

LIFX Smart Globe.

Dash Educational Robot - accessible programming for blind/low vision via Swift Playgrounds on iPad..

Tello Edu Drone for use with swift Playgrounds on iPad.

Sets of 3D figures for coding with the Ballyland Coding 1, 2, and 3 iOS apps.

Fitbit Charge 2.

Head Phones Wired/Bluetooth (Aldi Special).

Head phones 3.5MM (quite a few of these).

Logitech UsB head phone and stereo speakers.

ScanJig Pro + - document scanning/OCR, and Video conferencing.

Skoog Tactile music instrument

Power Bank portable charger for running the Amazon Echo Dot and Telstra Hotspot if power not available.

Several power boards and extension cables.

Several 3.5MM audio and Lightning to 3.5MM adapters.

USB Lightning, Micro, Macro, USBC, keyboard extension   cables etc, and chargers.  Plus universal power point adapters for international travel.

UsB port replicator for multiple USB and other ports.

4 UsB adapter to plug in to power point to support direct plugging in of cables to charge devices.

UsB External Hard drive.

Various adapters for iPhone/iPad (VGA, HDMI etc).

Various UsB and memory card types.

Tile Tag Tracking device.

Telstra Hot spot.

 

Assistive Technology

 

BrailleSense U2 Braille note taker.

Dolphin Gide Connect and Guide Reader with physical remote.

Dolphin Guide Pod.

Envoy Connect Daisy player.

Large print USB black/white, white/black, and yellow/black keyboards.

Mini Guide sonar device.

Pac Mate USB Braille Display from 2004 still working.

Perkins Brailler.

RIVO Custom keyboard for using Voiceover on iOS and Talkback/Voice Assistant on Android/Samsung.

Tap With Us wearable keyboard.

Orbit Reader 20 Braille display.

Pearl Camera with OpenBook.

Victor Reader Stream 2nd generation.

Switch control devices for iOS.

 

End Of List

As the title suggests, a demo on how to switch between the Home app, and either the NVDA or JAWS screen readers on the InsideOne.

Review notes of the MacBook Pro 16

 

In the Box

 

MacBook Pro 16 inch.

96W power adapter (to support the 100MAH battery which can still be taken onboard an aircraft).

USBC cable.

Documentation.

 

Main Specs

 

16 inch Retina display.

Intel Core i9.

Apple T2 Security chip for both security and system functions.

4 Thunderbolt 3/USBC ports (4 ports).

Up to 8 core processor.

Up to 8TB SSD storage.

Up to 64MB memory.

AMD Radeon Pro 5000M series graphics.

Up to 11 hours of battery life when wireless web browsing and video playback (compared to 10 hours with the previous MacBook Pro 15).

6 speaker sound system (has to be heard to be believed (my comment) and studio quality mics (3 in an array.

Keyboard - Magic Keyboard with refined scissor mechanism with 1MM travel (absolutely a much better keyboard), Touch Bar, Touch Bar (physical Escape key on left and :Touch ID/Power button on right), and inverted capital T cursor keys.

720P iSight camera.

 

MacBook Pro 16 slightly longer/wider than the MacBook Pro 15, and 0.76CM thicker.

Weight: MacBook Pro 1.82KG, MacBook Pro 16 1.95KG.

 

The MacBook Pro 16 due to the larger heat sync and better air flow, the MacBook Pro 16 is a lot less likely to throttle cPU performance back when under significant multi core and multi thread processing.

 

The MacBook Pro 16 is for heavy duty professional use such as video editing, compiling code, merging thousands of audio files etc.

 

Physical Description

 

Left side: 2 Thunderbolt 3 USBC ports towards back of the unit.

 

Right side: 3.5MM head phone jack, and 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB ports towards back of the unit with the head phone jack first when going from back to front on the left hand side.

 

Bottom: 4 rubber feet at each corner in slightly to prevent unit slipping on a surface.

Also on the bottom, on the left and right hand side, a long vent containing the speakers.

 

Top: retina screen containing the camera. Between the Touch Bar and the screen towards the left 3rd is the 3 mic array.  Left and right of the Touch Bar physical Escape key, and on the right of the Touch Bar the Touch ID/Power key.

The rest of the keyboard is in front of the Touch Bar with dots on the F and J, the inverted capital T (is back).

In front of the keyboard, is the large haptic style Trackpad.

 

Front edge - moulded indented area to allow screen to be lifted up.

.

 

 

Installation and Setup Issues

 

Opening up the MacBook Pro 16 for the first time, system automatically turns on. Waiting for the boot sequence, user will be prompted if they wish to use VoiceOver.

 

Typical setup process for setting up a new Mac - selecting language/country, connecting to a WiFi network, logging in to 

AppleID, choosing display, privacy screens, setting up Hey Siri, setting up Touch ID, and so on.

 

I had issues installing/setting up Mac OS Catalina 10.15.1 namely unable to choose my WiFi network from the table list (focus issues with VoiceOver), unable to sign in with two AppleIDS for iCloud/Media, and Hey Siri kept being read out by VoiceOver so had to stop.

 

Also whilst Touch ID did work for setup, was not getting percentage or instruction to put finger on or off via VoiceOver as is the case with iOS.

 

Finally had to setup Mac without AppleID, and Hey Siri.  Completed this in System Preferences/Internet accounts once Mac setup.

 

One final issue, had to update to Mac OS 10.15.2 as there was a bug with VoiceOver in 10.15.1 where the Time Option+T once VO Keyboard Commander turned on via Shift+VO+K wouldn’t work, fixed in 10.15.2.

 

As with all Macs used, I made the following changes:

In Finder preferences  - turn on Show Hard Drive on the Desktop, and show File Extensions.

Finder view - changed to List View.

 

System Preferences/Accessibility:

Check - Show Accessibility Status in Menu Bar.

Speech - Check Enable Announcements, and Check Speak Selected Text When a Key is Pressed. 

Descriptions - Check Play Audio Descriptions when Available..

 

System Preferences/Date and Time/Clock - Announce the Time Every (Quarter Hour).

System Preferences/Users - check VoiceOver within Accessibility options to come up at login screen.

System Preferences/Siri - change Siri short-cut to FN+Space Bar.

System Preferences/Sound - check Play Feedback When Volume is Changed. Adjust the sound volume for Time/date Announcement.

 

Mail - Shift+Command+M Show Mail Box List.

Safari/Preferences/Advanced - check Press Tab to Highlight Each Item on a Webpage.

 

VoiceOver Utility/verbosity - uncheck  Announce Hints in VoiceOver cursor.

VoiceOver/Trackpad Commander - Enabled VO+two finger clockwise rotate.

VoiceOver/Keyboard Commander - Enabled Shift+VO+K.

 

Physical Benefits of the New MacBook Pro 16

 

Physical Escape key rather than using the virtual Escape key on the Touch Bar.

Escape key and Touch ID button well spaced away from the Touch Bar.

Good separation between key rows on the keyboard.

Inverted capital T much easier to locate the Arrow keys.

 

The Touch ID makes it extremely easy to pay for purchases, and to unlock the MacBook Pro 16.

 

Absolutely amazing spacial studio sound when sitting in front of the MacBook Pro 16 speakers with excellent base.  Actually does sound like you are sitting in front of a HomePod.

 

VoiceOver sounds extremely clear with the speakers, and the Progress Clicks for the progression of a progress bar from the left to the right stereo speakers are quite profound and very easy to pick up and listen to.

 

Interesting effect when listening to voiceOver and music, voiceOver really does sound like its coming from a speaker in front whilst the music is coming from the speakers everywhere: makes it easier to listen to VoiceOver whilst listening to music.

 

Very high quality retina screen of benefit to low vision users, particularly when in conjunction with Zoom and the other new options in Catalina to have items speak under the pointer, and hover text magnification.

 

Benefits and Points to Consider

 

As there is no function bar, you can easily use F1 to F10 function style keys with VoiceOver by holding down the Fn key which turns the row of numbers in to F1 to F10.  For example, to do VO+F8 it would be FN+VO+8 (8 on the number row).

Note  for volume Up or Down for VoiceOver - Shift+VO+Dash or VO+Equals.

 

To use Touch Bar with VoiceOver, 1 finger drag or flick left or right across Touch Bar, to explore, and then 1 finger double tap on item to activate.

Note - Touch Bar changes options depending what application is in focus.

 

To toggle VoiceOver on or off non Touch Bar Macbook’s - Command+F5.  Touch Bar - Command+Touch ID 3 times.

 

To bring up the Accessibility Options Dialog box, on Macbook’s with no Touch Bar Option+F5, with Touch Bar Option+Touch ID 3 times.

 

With Mac OS Catalina, it is now possible to have various accessibility options turned on before the login screen, not just VoiceOver which was previously the case in earlier versions of Mac OS.

 

Transferring from a previous keyboard such as the MacBook Pro 13 or MacBook Air etc, is now much easier to transfer to the MacBook Pro 16 due to the excellent layout of the keyboard.

 

Keyboard is an absolute joy to type on with the keys having good mechanical feedback and motion.

 

I still surprisingly found VoiceOver’s change voice parameters command Shift+VO+Command+Arrow keys still extremely sluggish even on this MacBook Pro 16.  Ever since Apple switched the this command from VO+Command+Arrow keys the responsiveness of switching between the various speech parameters of Rate, Pitch, Volume etc has been very disappointing in the time it takes to switch from one item to the next: really does feel like I’m using a very old MacBook from a decade ago.

 

As the MacBook Pro 16 has no USB ports, a USBC hub with USB and other ports would be of advantage, especially if wanting to plug in a USB Braille display.  Not a disadvantage, just something to keep in mind.

 

Quite surprisingly, I still kept getting VoiceOver’s “busy” processing announcement every now and again when doing such simple tasks as adding an attachment to Mail.  With the Shift+VO+Command issue as well, I’m wondering if the actual code for VoiceOver has at all been optimised to take advantage of the faster processor?

 

The MacBook Pro 16 does get quite warm when using it on your lap, particularly if wearing shorts and the aluminium casing is in contact with your skin, quite noticeable and may be uncomfortable for some.

 

The increase in weight over the other MacBooks may be a consideration in carrying the unit around.

 

The only way to get high quality microphone recordings out of the MacBook Pro 16 is to try and speak directly in to the Mic array (which is quite difficult given it’s placement).  It does not compare to an external microphone, especially when being able to get closer or positioning an external mic close to your mouth.

 

The 720P iSight camera located at the top of the screen as with other MacBooks, is disappointing in such a high end MacBook given the target market, and the ever growing use of video conferencing including Apple’s own FaceTime group conferencing facility.

 

When invoking Siri via the keyboard shortcut, or “Hey Siri” ,would have been useful to have the usual alert sound to let the user know that Siri is listening.  This happens whether using the internal speaker or head phones (same with Hey Siri).

 

Summing Up

 

The MacBook Pro 16 is clearly aimed at the pro market where besides getting through massive amounts of processing quickly, it also translates in to less time taken to produce content: i.e. time is money.  However, for VoiceOver users, the new keyboard/layout, and the sound of music/VoiceOver does make this MacBook Pro an attractive MacBook (if price is no option).

For low vision users, it is important to point out that whilst the physical screen is bigger, display wise it is primarily still the same retina screen found in the MacBook Pro 13.

It would be great to see this keyboard come back in other MacBooks as they hopefully are updated with this new style of keyboard, without the price tag of the MacBook Pro 16, especially for the ageing population who don’t need a fast machine, but do need a larger screen, and a easy to use keyboard.

 

For a portable go anywhere MacBook and cost effective, the MacBook Air is still the way to go, particularly for students  However, not with the new keyboard.

 

For a good mix of portability, power, and a bit more pricey, the entry or high level MacBook Pro 13 is a solid option, particularly for school and work where a bit more power is required.  However, not with the new keyboard.

 

Note - the MacBook Pro 16 replaced the MacBook 15, hence the new line up - MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13, and MacBook Pro 16.

 

A lovely unit. For me as a podcaster and radio show presenter, I am quite disappointed by the positioning of the mics as I would have liked to been able to just use the MacBook Pro 16 itself.  All the advancement has gone in to the processing speed which is fantastic for high pro users, but perhaps a little bit more thought should have gone in to the positioning of the mic array, and the 720P camera for video conferencing (even pros want to video conference and not just data crunch smile).

 

Physical description and run through of the basic (Home) mode for the InsideOne windows 10 Braille tablet.

Further demos to come including a 2nd demo on a bit more on Home mode, then looking at using NVDA or JaWS switching, plugging in a QWERTY keyboard etc.

Note - the InsideOne’s Braille display is 32 cells, has a microphone at the front edge, the 2 cameras front/back, and a 10 inch HD screen as the tablet can also be used by sighted as well as speech or Braille users.

Developer website is: www.insidevision.fr

Australian distributer Quantum RLV: www.quantumrlv.com.au

 

Enjoy

 

Some food for thought.

 

The past decade has seen a lot of assistive and main stream tech come on to the market.

 

Below is my list of products and services that I have come across over the last 10 years in Australia.

 

I may have put in some products that were already around in 2010, but their still around smile.

 

After this list, is a current/Future list perhaps on things to look out for and deal with for the next decade, some of which we still haven’t resolved for accessibility at least in Australia.

 

The decade was quite busy, and I haven’t put in everything, just the stuff that we dealt with at Vision Australia or in the community in general.

 

And Yes I put Apple First smile.

 

David Woodbridge December 2019

 

The Decade - 2010 to 2020

 

iPad - I did an unofficial launch of the iPad in Australia in Brisbane in 2010.

Siri.

Apple TV.

Apple Watch.

HomePod.

AirPods.

Apple Pay - I did a channel 7 TV interview at the Broadway Apple Store when Apple Pay first became available in Australia).

 

Amazon Echo (plus Echo Show with screen).

Cortana.

Google Home (plus Google Home Nest Hub with screen).

 

Sneaking this in, in 2009 Voiceover was released for iOS and Talkback for Android became available with OS 1.5 Cupcake.

 

4G available in Australia in 2011, with movement at the end of this decade to 5G.

Accessibility dedicated support Helpdesk from Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

Accessible radios such as the Sangean PR-D17 Accessible AM/FM radio.

Aira and Be My Eyes video assistance services.

Amazon Officially comes to Australia.

Audio Description becoming more available not just on DVD, but streaming services (TV not yet supported in Australia yet)) - ABC iView was trialed with 14 hours of content (mid decade) per week and then stopped after 18 months or so, funding for 2020 now for more content on TV.

Audio streaming - AirPlay, Sonos, Chromecast etc.

Apple offers ESIMM support plus physical SiMM from iPhone X S and above plus carriers in Australia supporting Apple Watch ESIMMS.

Apps and more apps - replacing many dedicated blind or low vision devices such as OCR systems, video magnifiers, light detecters etc.

App controlled devices allowing accessibility via smart phones - alarm systems,  air Conditioner, coffee machines, robot vacuum, video doorbell, washing machine/dryer etc.  Other apps to control such devices as the Fitbit exercise tracker etc.

Bindi Maps arrives on the scene with indoor beacons at some Vision Australia and Guide Dog offices plus other places such as a shopping centre in Sydney (had the pleasure of working with the Bindi Maps folks in testing out the app and beacons).

Braille display support for both iOS and Android (Brailleback not Talkback for Android).

Brailling on a flat touch screen (VoiceOver BSI).

Bluetooth keyboard full support for VoiceOver on iOS, OS support on Android using Talkback.

Bluetooth keyboards supporting multiple devices.

Bluetooth Braille displays to support multiple devices.

Bush or the Hills Set Top talking digital set top box became available in Australia (didn’t really last that long).

Bone conduction ear phones and other audio devices like the Aftershokz, Bose Frames etc.

Coding accessibility - Swift Playgrounds from Apple,  and Code Jumper from Microsoft.

Custom devices such as the Victor Reader Stream  for reading daisy books, online streaming of radio etc.

Dolphin Pod and Dolphin Guide Pod making reading books easier by plugging in to a tV.

Dot Watch smart Braille watch.

Envoy Connect - cheap daisy player.

Expansion of accessibility solutions on desktop/mobile platforms.

Gaming consoles such as the Xbox, and the Apple TV with accessibility and improvements to actual game play accessibility.

Improvements to Apple and Microsoft screen readers, especially Narrator in Windows 10 plus touch screen support for Narrator.

Changes to Braille displays and notetakers (Android stuff) and Windows - BrailleNote Touch, Polaris, ElBraille, InsideOne.

Commute first 9 line Braille display book reader.

JAWS and Zoomtext continue to grow plus combining to form Fusion. Window-Eyes discontinued.  MAGic mainly used for legacy institutions, Supernova coming back a bit.  Non Visual Desktop Access (NVDA) still going strong as well.  Guide Connect comes back on the scene in the later part of the decade, at least in Australia.

iBooks first becomes available on the iPad, then followed by iOS - plus now Google books, Kindle books etc on mobile.

Kindle physical eBook readers.

Microsoft opens up a store in Sydney, very similar to the Apple Store and great service.

Microsoft Accessible Xbox Console controller.

Microsoft fully supporting Microsoft Office not only on Windows, but on Mac with full accessibility with Voiceover.

Microsoft amazing two apps - Seeing AI, and Sound Scape.

Mesh networking for home to increase WiFi coverage across living spaces.

Mobility aids such as the Buzz Clip or Sunu Band become available.

OCR becomes a bit more portable with the Pearl Camera and OpenBook

Smart Vision 2 (Android smart phone) to still offer touch screen and physical keys for screen reader users.

Samsung Smart phone/tablet with Voice Assistant.

Samsung Galaxy Watch with Voice Assistant.

Smart Home switch’s, smart Globes ,  etc.

Smart TVS with accessibility - Samsung with Voice Assistant, Android TV etc.

Streaming music and video services - Amazon Music/Prime, Apple Music/Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, Netflix, Spotify etc.

Switch control for desktop/mobile platforms.

RIVO keyboard (custom keyboard for VoiceOver, Talkback and Voice Assistant on mobile).

Tactile bank notes in Australia.

Talking devices on a bit of a come back - talking microwave, talking induction hob, talking blood pressure monitor, talking pedometer,  etc.

Trackpad external supported with VoiceOver on Mac Snow Leopard and then later on MacBooks.

Touch Bar supported on MacBook Pros with VoiceOver.

Tile tags or other tracking devices.

Touch ID and Face ID.

Trekker Breeze - stand alone GPS device.

Wearables - Echo Loop, Tap with Us, Orcam, Iris Vision, Aira smart glasses etc.

Wireless charging.

Vision Australia produces iOs and Android apps to access online library.

Vision Australia Radio accessible via the Internet as well as podcasts.

Video conferencing Facetime, Skype, Zoom

Voice dictation and voice control becoming settled in main stream for desktop/mobile.

 

Now/Current and Next Decade

 

3rd party screen readers or screen magnifiers no longer required.

3D printing becomes more accessible and doable at home.

5G implications.

Accessible digital radios.

Accessible fitness equipment in their own right.

Accessible cable set top box’s, especially Foxtel in Australia.

Accessible EFTPOS terminals.

Accessible or better access solutions to ATMS.

Accessibility push for apps for desktop/mobile, and the web 

continues.

Accessible office equipment.

Accessible public places/institutions - library, museum etc.

Automated train systems (driverless trains such as Sydney metro light rail).

Automated elevators where car is selected by a touch screen and need to find the actual car to go in 

to.

Automated lawn mowing machines.

Bus - identify bus number, route, and bus stop.

Better and wider coverage for  mobile and home WiFI.

Biometrics for security.

Delivery drones.

Electric cars (audible sounds).

Finding and identifying products when physically shopping.

Independent train/train station, and Aircraft/airport travel (plus accessible entertainment inflight).

Indoor beacons and indoor maps.

GPS improvements - better accuracy, work better in bus/trains, and work better in built up areas such as tall building city scapes.

Object recognition for physical environment and implications for O&M.

OCR will do hand writing recognition.

PDF file access is finally conquered.

Phones with no physical buttons or controls.

Robot Guide Dog.

Smart speakers and personal assistants will cope with variations in a persons speech pattern.

Smart Speakers and personal assistants improve with better AI.

Smart TVS get better accessibility, especially with apps/browsing the web.

Smart device replaces mobile/desktop , becomes one device.

Smaller and discrete wearable devices.

Self service check outs in shops.

Self service kiosks.

Self driving vehicles used for dedicated routes.

Speech input/output in devices.

Solar and.or public charging stations for smart phones etc on trains, public spaces etc.

Touch screens in cars.

Touch screen home appliances.

 

End of Document.

 

 

Demo of the AirPods Pro, great new ear tips, and Noise Control.

Fully accessible radio with high contrast, voice output, and tactile buttons/controls.

Vision Australia Vision Store

https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/accessible-amfm-radio

 

In this demo, I take you through setting up an iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5 using VoiceOver.

I also do a physical side by side comparison of the iPHone 8 plus, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 pro, and my original iPhone X.

Whilst physically comparing things, I also do the same with the Series 3 and Series 5 Apple Watch's.

 

In this demo I show you how to use the Amazon Echo Whisper mode to get the Echo to whisper back to you when you whisper to it.

Great for checking the time in the middle of the night when you don't want to wake up your partner.

 

At the moment, you can play seven high quality ambient sounds on the HomePod that will continuously play, and whilst an ambient sound is playing, set a sleep timer.

The 7 ambient sounds are currently white noise, fireplace, night, rain, forest, stream and ocean.

Just say "Hey siri play xx sound".

By the way, the sounds sound a heck of a lot better in person as it were, rather than on the recording.

Enjoy.

This is a great new feature for transferring audio between HomePod and iPHone or iPhone and HomePod.

One of those features where you think how did I do without this before smile.

In this demo, I demo the commands for adjusting the speech rate of Alexa on my Amazon Echo plus.

 

In this last demo for the moment in my Dash robot series, how to tell if Dash is really flashing his lights if you can't see smile.

In this demo, I give you a physical description and run through of the Ember Ceramic Mug and its associated Ember iOS app.

The mug was purchased from the Apple Online Store for $129 Australian, and for me, its just a nice way of keeping a cup of coffee hot from the top to the bottom of teh mug smile.

In this demo, I show you how to get Dash to do things over and over and over again via a simple for loop

In this demo, I show you how to go about writing a function.

Demo of the Powerbeats Pro - physical description and functionality.pu

Demo of the iPod touch 7th generation as a great entry level iOS device.

In this demo, we have some fun working out the buttons on Dash’s head.

In this demo, we have a bit of fun getting Dash to respond to a clap sound.

In this demo, I show you how to code once again using the Dash Template within Swift Playgrounds on the iPad on getting Dash to play various sounds and to have a bit of fun with moving Dash and making sounds.

 

Celebrating 10 years of VoiceOver on the iPhone since the iPhone 3GS.

 

Enjoy this demo produced for Vision Australia customers on the then AT Tech Page for people to download and learn how to use tech.

This demo was the first in a 26 or so demo series on learning how to use the iPhone 3GS with VoiceOver in September 2009 after VoiceOver was announced on the iPhone at the WWDC  2009 June 19 conference.

 

In this demo I show you how to use the Dash Template that you can get from within the Swift Playgrounds app for searching for Wonder Workshop.

In this demo, I take you through the move forward, move left, move right, and move backward commands.

 

physical description and demo of the Bose Frames Alto Sunglasses.

By the way, the iPhone I was using to record using the Bose Frames on my other iPhone was about 30cm or 12 inch's away from where I was sitting, so as you can tell, you can hear sound bleed from the glasses.

In this demo, I discuss how you can use Dash to learn coding via Swift Playgrounds using the developer Playgrounds (Wonder Workshop), in particular Dash Template and Dash Book.

I then give you a run through of how Dash is put together, and how you turn him on.

Note - none of the Wonder Workshop apps are accessible so if you are a VoiceOver user and you want to learn how to code or teach your children how to code with VoiceOver support, then it will be the iPad, Swift Playgrounds, and the free Playgrounds mentioned above.

Both the Dash Template, and Dash Book can be located within Swift Playgrounds, just look for Wonder Workshop and you'll find it.

In the next podcast, I'll show you how you can program Dash using VoiceOver. 

These are my notes on using both watch's with their respective screen readers.

These notes have come out of the recent podcasts on the Galaxy Watch, and me actually using both watch's over the last 4 weeks or so at the same time smile.

As it says in the title, these notes were produced using Add to iTunes as spoken Text using the Alex speech.

Hope you find it useful.

In this demo, I take you through a walk through of accessing notifications, widgets, and apps that I use on a daily basis on my Galaxy Watch using Voice Assistant.

In this demo, I take you through adjusting the Ring, Accessibility (Voice Assistant), Media, Notification, and System volumes for the Galaxy Watch via the Galaxy wearable app running on my Samsung Galaxy S10.

Note - the Sound setting on the Galaxy Watch itself is only for the Ringer volume (or at least as far as I could find out).

In this demo, I take you through the very straight forward process of pairing a Bluetooth device to the Galaxy Watch.

In the demo, I use my TP Link Music device which allows me to plug a speaker in to the Bluetooth receiver.

 

In this demo, I show you how to adjust Recent App time out display from 20 seconds, 2 minutes or 1 hour which is what I have it on.

One of the main reasons why I use this function is to get around the "can't use this app whilst using Voice Assistant" as whilst one of these apps is running (which I can launch via Bixby avoiding the crappy accessibility watch dog msg), the app is there when I want to use it and don't have to use Bixby.

As in the demo, I use the Timer app this way all the time, which again, Samsung deems as inaccessible when it's not.

 

As with the iPhone and the Apple watch, this is a useful function to track down where you have put your phone or watch by playing a sound to locate it.

I did not demo either the Location or Security features in this demo.

In this demo I show you an interesting way of entering in your pin number via the bezel using Voice Assistant.

To activate the pin number security, simply go in to Settings, Security, Lock Type, and choose Pin and set your pin number.

Besides the fun bezel way of entering in your pin number which reminds me of using a combination lock, you can still flick left or right through the numbers and double tap on the number to enter.

In this demo, I show you how to enable Direct Access to allow Voice Assistant to be toggled on or off.

Just a tip, when you have enabled Direct Access/Voice Assistant, the 2 finger triple tap to toggle Voice Assistant on or off will over ride the 2 finger triple tap for Time, battery, and service status. 

In this demo, I take you through a demo of the Analog Utility Watch face that has the sound of a ticking watch, haptic time via Voice Assistant (2 finger tap hour and 2 finger double tap minutes on the watch face using Voice Assistant), and setting hourly chime.

Also, if you just touch the Watch Face after waking the watch up, it'll also give you the time.

This is one thing that I can’t understand on the Galaxy Watch with Samsung deciding which apps will work and which apps will not work with Voice Assistant.

As you’ll see, two examples where Samsung actually gets it wrong (their own Timer app which actually is accessible), and the Spotify app, whilst some of the buttons are not accessible, the app itself is still usable.

The trick to get around the blocking msg that stops you from using an app is to use Bixby which I do in the demo.

Yes, there are completely inaccessible apps, but let’s let the user decide smile.

However, one good thing about this demo, yes you can play music out of the Galaxy Watch’s internal speaker!!!

In this demo, I give you a physical description of the Samsung Galaxy S10 and navigating with Voice Assistant on the Home screen, Soft button toolbar (back, Home and Recents button), notifications, app screens, Recents, and whilst navigating some useful Voice Assistant commands.

As the title says, just an overview demo of a physical description of the Galaxy Watch 46MM and navigating its interface with Voice Assistant Screen Reader.

Note - after completing the demo I was notified that triple tapping the screen with 2 fingers during setup will turn on  Voice Assistant - haven’t verified..

In this demo, I show you how to turn on Wireless Power Share on the Samsung Galaxy S10 and charge such Qi devices such as the new AirPods 2nd generation, iPhone X, and my Galaxy Watch.

In this demo of the new AirPods as of March 2019, I take you through using wireless charging, Hey Siri (plus proximity usage to the iPhone or homePod), and discuss the significant reduced latency when using the AirPods with VoiceOver gestures: much more responsive.

In this demo, just thought I would share a setup that I use when demoing these smart speakers at workshops etc without having to hunt for power points or connect to WiFi networks.

Hope you find it useful.

David.

In this demo, I take you through the use of my very manual and physical button based key lock safe that I use to secure my keys for cleaners and others coming to my house.

I thought it was a nice manual practical solution on giving people access to keys, access cards etc and didn't involve Bluetooth, HomeKit or any other smart type environment: it just works.

As I explain in the demo, its like an over sized padlock with a physical keypad with a storage compartment inside, and a hasp that you use to attach it to something like a gate, fence, tap, door etc.

Cost was about $66 Australian and I purchased it at Bunnings Warehouse.

Yes, Wind Chimes skill for your Amazon Echo when you don't have an actual one available smile.

A go through of the very fun to play Ear Hockey game for Windows 10, self voicing, and free from the Microsoft online Store.

In this demo using the Narrator Online User guide, I demo navigating by list of links, headings or Land Marks.  Demo the Table reading mode and the Narrator Find command.  Run through how to change and navigate  the Narrator reading view, and summary comment on bringing web links etc, scan mode, Narrator Find, Table reading, and reading views all together.

When you are listening to Audible audio books on your Amazon Echo, Alexa now lets you adjust the REading Speed by saying Alexa:

Read Faster (up to max 150 percent),

Read Slower (down to 75 percent) or

Read at Normal Speed (back to 100 percent).

Finally we have at least some control of Auidble audio books speed as we do on the Iphone, not as fast, but certainlyh better than nothing.

Now I can really enjoy my Amazon Echo with my Audible books the way I like to listen to them.

 

In this demo, I run through Scan Mode toggled via Narrator+Space, Narrator Views (changed with Narrator+Up/Down Arrows and navigate via Left/Right Arrows), and using Narrator gestures with the touch screen.

 

In this demo, I use Notepad to demo the various Narrator navigating commands for previous, current and Next Character, Word, Line, Sentence, Paragraph, and Page.

I also demo continuous reading and show with the FN key it allows the cursor keys to be Home, End, Page UP, and Page Down.

In this demo, I take you through the Typing Echo and Keyboard settings in Narrator settings access via Control+Windows+N.

Also do a bit of a demo showing how my typing settings sound by launching and typing in to Notepad.

 

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