Features and Benefits  of the Apple Watch

 

This document is all about the Apple Watch, what things you or I may use it for, and some tips along the way.

As I am a VoiceOver user, you can pretty much assume I’m going to be referencing and or using VoiceOver all the time smile.

 

Enjoy.

 

David Woodbridge

 

Choose from the Apple Watch S3 (WiFi  only), SE or S6 cellular or WiFi (SE no blood oxygen sensor).

 

Overall the main physical difference between the Apple Watch S3 and the newer models besides the screen size etc, is the rectangular Side button, which is located next to the round Digital Crown (in old terms the winder) on the right side of the watch. On the S3 it feels like a normal button, whilst the newer models have the Side button flush to the case.

 

On the opposite side to the Side button and Digital Crown, you have the speaker and microphone.

 

If you are on an S3 and thinking about updating, the performance difference is remarkable with Siri, Voiceover, apps loading etc.

 

Change your own Watch bands to feel stylish, and more importantly, it is very easy to slip off and on watch bands when ever you feel like it.

 

If you turn the Apple Watch over, on the back, just in front of where the left and right sides of the band connect, there is an indented rectangular button, press this in and then slide the band to either side of the watch to remove either side.

To put a watch band on, the connectors that slide in to the watch have a pop-up button in the middle, have this facing up as you slide the connecter in to the slot on the side of the watch, when the connecter is all the way in to the slot, the pop-up button will engage and lock the band in place.

 

Check out what Watch bands are available in the Apple Store app on the iPhone.

My favourite bands are the Link Bracelet,Leather loop, and the nylon hook and loop band.  

 

If you have watch bands from the S1, 2 or S3, these bands will still fit the S4, 5, S6 or Se: i.e. 38mm-42mm or 40mm-44mm.

 

Apple Watch SE and S6 give you all day coverage, and you can fast charge for an hour to get a bit more juice when you need it.

 

If the Apple Watch is off, hold in the Side button for 2 seconds then release.

If the Apple Watch is on, turn it off by holding in the Side button, Power Off screen will appear, and choose Turn Off.

In this Power Off screen, there is also Medical ID, and Emergency SOS.

Note - when the battery of the Apple Watch gets low, in the Power Off screen you can also choose Power Saving mode, this does not work with voiceOver as everything is turned off besides just the time.

If you accidntally turn on Power Saving mode, press and hold the Side button to exit.

Note - if you can’t see and you are wondering whether the Apple Watch is turning on, use the Seeing AI app from Microsoft on your iPhone, choose the Light channel, rest the camera on top of the Apple Watch screen, and then as it starts up it will recognise light coming from the screen.

Usually the Apple Watch has a good amount of charge when you first get it.

 

Setup of the Apple Watch is done within the Watch app of the iPhone and all functions within the app are fully accessible.

With an initial setup of an Apple Watch, you have to aline the stars on the Apple Watch face with a coloured square on the iPhone screen within the Watch app, if you can’t do this, you can also do this part manually where you type in a Apple Watch ID pairing number.

 

Remember that whilst a number of options within the Watch app are mirrored on the Apple Watch where you can also make changes, you have much more finite control in the Watch app.  For example, choosing different watch faces within the Watch app along with a description of the actual watch face.

 

If you have more than one Apple Watch, you can setup auto switching within the Watch app so that when you put another Apple Watch on, it will automatically activate.

 

When you place the Apple Watch on the charger, you will hear a tone, and VoiceOver announce charging, and perhaps bedside mode.

 

When you are charging the Apple watch, ,it will pop up a notification on your iPhone once the Apple Watch is fully charged.

 

When you are on your iPhone, and no where near the Apple Watch charger, just say Hey Siri check battery, and all your devices including the Apple Watch will have their battery level spoken.

When you are waring the Apple Watch, checkout the Battery complication or just ask Hey Siri what is my Apple Watch battery status.

 

The user experience of the Apple Watch starts from the Watch Face, App Screen, and Dock.

 

From the Watch face, if you press the Digital Crown, it will move to the App Screen, if pressed again, will return to the watch face screen.

 

App View can be changed between grid or list view within Settings, App View on the watch.  Folks using VoiceOver may find the List View easier.

 

Quickly switch between the watch face and the most recently used app by simply pressing on the Digital Crown twice.

 

Access the most recently used apps via the Side button pressed once.

 

On the Watch Face of the Apple watch are icons called Complications which allow the user to quickly get access to information from associated apps without having to actually go into an app, makes getting info at a glance very fast. For example, the Info Graph screen has 8 complications so you could have Calendar, , Workout, Weather, Blood oxygen, Heart rate, Messages notifications, Move, exercise and stand rings, and Battery all with current data just sitting there on the screen waiting to be discovered.

 

You can also access the Control Centre, and Notifications Centre from the watch face.

Control Centre contains - Connected iPhone status, Location status, Mobile data toggle, WiFi toggle, Battery level status, Aeroplane Mode toggle, Ping iPhone, Silent Mode Toggle, Walkie Talkie Toggle, DND toggle, Sleep Mode toggle, Torch, Water Lock toggle, AirPlay toggle, and Edit.

Notifications Centre - contains all of your notifications, and a Clear button to clear them.

 

The Apple Watch can be secured with a Pass Code or unlocked via the iPhone if the Apple Watch is being warn.

 

Wearing the Apple Watch, when you raise your wrist, the screen comes alive, and you can use Hey Siri at this point (of course if it is set to respond to Hey Siri in Settings).  Touch the screen if you are using Voiceover to find out the time.:

 

When the screen is locked, you can also do the following:

1 finger double tap - vibrated Hours and minutes (long for lots of 10 and short for lots of 1 minute).

1 finger triple tap - vibrated minutes only.

So 10:32 would be 1 long vibration, pause, 3 long vibrations, pause, and 2 short vibrations.

 

For folks that are not using Voiceover, within the Clock option within the Watch app, you can have the time spoken and/or vibrated.

 

Busy busy and don’t have time to check how the hour is going, set Chimes on your watch to chime on the hour, quarter, half or 3 quarter hour.  You can choose from Chime or Bird within Accessibility.

 

Customise your Watch Face to give you the info you need at any time of the day or night, use the GMT watch face to setup different time zones in Australia.

Note - the trick here is to have World Times for cities already in your World Time app, in this way, you just add each World Time CityName to each of the complications on the GMT Watch Face.

 

Watch Faces can be easily customised from the Watch app or from the Watch Face main screen, 1 finger double tap and hold for VoiceOver users.

 

Want to have a cute Apple Watch face, select from a huge variety from the iPhone Watch app.  Fun ones are Mickey Mouse, Mini Mouse which both talk, and Toy Story.

 

Want to see the time better, use the X-large watch face with easy to see time.

 

Depending on what you are doing, easily switch between Apple Watch faces by scrolling left or right on the main Watch Face screen.  For example, Activity (workout) watch face or Mickey Mouse. For VoiceOver users, the name of the Watch Face is spoken when you scroll to it.

 

Can’t find your Apple Watch in the house, use Find My on your iPhone to locate your Apple Watch and play a sound.

 

Can’t find your iPhone either but you have your Apple Watch on, just Ping your phone from the watch.

 

Has your friend arrived at the railway station yet, just use Find People on the Apple Watch to check your friends current location.

Note - must be sharing location.

 

Have a smart home, just use your Apple Watch via the Home app or Siri to control all of your smart things like lights, switch’s etc.

 

Want to keep healthy and monitor your wellbeing, engage with the move, exercise, and stand reminder rings on your Apple Watch: red for move, green for exercise, and pink for stand. Note - exercise is mainly to do with your heart beat, so going on a long casual walk, may not start to fill in your exercise ring.

You can adjust the goals for all 3 rings: KJS for Move, minutes for Exercise, and number of hours you stand in a day for the Stand ring.

 

If you use the Fitness Widget in iOS 14 on your iPhone, you can check how your rings are going as well.

 

Use the various Workout routines on the Apple Watch to get the most out of your exercise, and have most of the things you do to help you fill in those rings.

Note if you don’t use one of the Workout routines, the Apple Watch at best will just assume you are going for a brisk walk, and not turn on many sensors.

 

There  are lots and lots of Workouts on the Apple Watch which should pretty cover most users needs.  What is very cool about the Workout app is that when you are doing a Workout routine which includes a number os sub-routines, you can keep just adding them to the main overall Workout and then when you are finished, just press End and all the sub-workouts will be saved.

 

The indoor Workout works well for the treadmill.

The Functional Strength training is great for Sit to Stands, and where you are just stepping up and down on a step.

 

With all these Workouts, you can set an Open Goal and just keep going or set certain parameters to complete to finish the work out such as time, distance, energy burned etc.

 

Any time you are exercising or not, you can check out how your heart beat is going on the Apple Watch either via the Heart Beat app or via a complication on the watch face.

 

Within a workout, just raise your wrist and get your current heart beat spoken to you by VoiceOver.

 

If your training and running laps around the park where you have to complete each lap within a certain time, use the Stop Watch app and keep track of each lap.

 

Sitting down to long, the Apple Watch will remind you to stand if you have been sitting for more than 50 minutes, and yes, you can turn it off all together or just mute for the day.

 

Use the Breathing app to meditate or just take some time out to relax and concentrate on your breathing with the help of the haptics on the watch.  There is also a Breathing complication for the watch face. Minutes and number of breaths per minute can be adjusted.

 

Monitor your sleep with the Sleep app when you go to bed with your Apple Watch on.  You will also be able to setup a reminder for wined down time before going to bed.

In the morning, you can check how well you slept.

 

The Blood Oxygen sensor in the S6 is a great tool to monitor your wellness.  Use the Blood Oxygen app or use the complication on the watch face (S6 only).

 

Note the ECG function by placing your finger on the Digital Crown to get a pulse reading is not switched on in certain regions including Australia as of October 2020.

 

The Apple Watch health and well-being side of things is not just based upon the use of one feture, but all features when brought together to allow you to examine trends and your overall general health and wellness.

Go in to the Health app on the iPhone to examine all of the data that the Apple Watch has securely and privately put together for you for day, week, month or year views.

 

Another function that is not yet turned on in Australia is Family Sharing.  This is where you can have one iPhone controlling a number of Apple Watch’s. Hopefully this will come at the end of 2020.

Note - this function is not available on the S3 as it is now WiFi only and for Family Sharing to work, a cellular Apple Watch is required.

 

With iOS 14.2 coming out in November 2020, the Intercom feature currently supported in iOS 14.1, for HomePod to HomePod will be available on the Apple Watch so you will be able to send intercom messages when you are out and about or at home via your HomePods.

 

Gone for a swim and the sound coming out of the watch sounds a bit tinny, just use the Water Lock function to make the speaker membrane vibrate and clear the moisture off the speaker membrane.

 

Cooking and need to time the Pasta, just use the Timer app on the watch if you don’t want to use Siri.

At this point, Siri doesn’t read the remaining time on the Timer for VoiceOver users, but you can still read the value.

 

Tired of dragging your iPhone out of your bag or pocket to answer a phone call, check a notification or reply to an email or message, just do it all on the watch.

 

Running late for an appointment, just call from your Apple Watch using the Phone app, Siri or from a complication You can also check your favourites, Recent, Contacts, Keypad or Voice Mail within the Phone app.

Note - since you can access the Keypad, yes, you can use auto phone systems where you have to press 1 for this or 2 for that.

You can also transfer the call from the Apple Watch back to the iPhone if you need to.

 

Need to dash off a quick message, just do it on your Apple Watch via the Messages app and choose from dictation, emojis or scribble.

 

Reply and send emails from your Apple Watch using the Mail app, and choose from dictation, emojis or scribble.

 

Some one rings you with a quote number, phone number or something else you need to take information down about, just use the VoiceMemos app on the Appel Watch to make an audio note to yourself. These Voice Memos are available through iCloud so you can pick them up on your iPhone as well.

 

If you need to find out quickly where you are, just ask Siri: Hey Siri Where am i? you can also find this information within the Maps app and favourite    locations. 

 

Of course, you can do lots of other things with Siri, the same you can do on the iPhone including searching for closest restaurant, petrol station etc.

Don’t know how to spell a word, just ask Siri.

Get a definition of a word.

Start music, radio or podcast playing.

And so on.

 

Note - you can search for a website using Siri, use VoiceOver to Open the website by choosing the Open button after the link, and then read the website using Voiceover.

 

Siri can be invoked in a number of ways by raising your wrist, holding in the Digital Crown or just saying Hey Siri (each one of these options can be toggled).

 

Enjoy listening to music, radio, audio books or podcasts, do it all on your Apple Watch with connected ear phones or depending on what you are doing, the HomePod.

Note - most of the time the Apple Watch is going to want to play through connected ear phones.

A bit of an annoying function, if you are using VoiceOver with the airPods or Beats Flex and you have chimes turned on in the Apple Watch, every time the watch chimes, and you happen to be using your AirPods/Beats Flex on your iPhone, they will switch to the watch, play the chime, and then switch back to the iPhone.

 

Use the Now Playing App on the Apple Watch to start or stop media playing on the iPhone. For example, listening to a book within the Audible app, Now Playing gives you current Chapter title, Volume, Skip backwards 30 seconds, Play, Skip forward 30 seconds, Airplay, Track list, and More.  

 

Get up in the middle of the night and you need a bit of light to get around the house, just turn on the Torch function on the watch to light your way.

 

Set a wake up alarm on your Apple Watch to wake you up in the morning whether the watch is on your wrist or on your bed side table charging.

There are many chargers now which combine the Apple Watch, iPhone, and AirPods Pro all together on one charger.

 

Check the weather with the Weather app,  complication on the watch face or via Siri.

 

Want tactile feedback when walking or driving to a destination, the watch gives you tactile feed back for left, right turns etc through the Maps app.

 

There are many other places where haptic feed back is used. Within the Sounds and Haptics screen within Settings, you can play around with the strength of the Haptic feedback including prominent haptic feedback.

 

Remember those people in the movies or concert halls who don’t turn of their iPhone etc, you can put 

your Apple Watch in to silent mode so that you don’t annoy other people.

 

Speaking of silent mode, if you get a call on your Apple Watch and if Mute is turned on when you put your hand over the Apple Watch, you can stop the ring sound straight away.  This is done in Sounds and Haptics Settings screen, Cover to Mute Toggle.

 

use the Reminder app to remind you about the important or not so important things on the Apple Watch.

 

Shopping and forgot your key card, just use Apple Pay on the watch securely and privately by 

pressing twice on the Side button.

 

Lost the physical Siri Touch remote somewhere in the house, just use the Remote app on the Apple Watch to keep using and navigating the Apple TV.

 

What time is it in London, use the World Time app to check and if not there, just Add a New City or again, just ask Siri.

 

Prone to falling, enable in Settings, SOS, Fall detection to call Triple Zero, and your own contacts with your location when the Apple Watch detects that you have had a fall, you can cancel this automatic response and not call.

If you are over 65 years of age, this will be enable automatically.

 

Also within Settings, SOS, this is where you enable Hold Side button to call Emergency Services.

After about 5 seconds, a personal  alarm will sound, and the watch will count down to call triple zero in Australia. 

When I tested this, I couldn’t stop the call to triple zero in Australia using VoiceOver so had to explain to the operator that it was a test call.

 

You can also setup Medical ID within the SOS screen to be shown at the Apple Watch lock screen via holding in the Side button to bring up the Power Off screen which contains the Medical ID info.

this info is also sent to emergency services and your Emergency Contacts.

 

Install or delete apps on the Apple Watch from the Watch app on the iPhone or delete apps you don’t want by using the VoiceOver actions rotor on the watch itself.

You can also use the App Store app on the Apple Watch to install apps as well.

 

Default apps on the Apple Watch include:

Activity (Move, Exercise, and Stand 

App Store,

Audio Books (from the iTunes library),

Blood Oxygen (S6 only),

Breath (meditation),

Calendar,

Contacts,

Hand Washing (Hand Washing reminder when you come back home and/or to keep washing your hands for 20 seconds),

Heart Rate,

Mail,

Maps,

Messages,

Music,

News,

Now Playing (media),

Nike+ Run Club,

Noise (check environmental noise levels),

Phone (the Phone app for Recent calls etc),

Photos,

Podcasts,

Settings,

Sleep (monitor your sleep),

Shortcuts (as in Siri Shortcuts),

Stocks,

Voice Memos (can use internal watch speaker),

Walkie Talkie (talk directly to another Apple Watch user),

Wallet (Apple Pay),

Weather, and

Workout.

 

Besides the default apps on the Apple Watch, there are many apps that are fully accessible on the Apple Watch. For example:

the Apple Store app itself for checking your orders etc,

Audible audio books,

Chirp (Twitter app),

Cricket Australia Live,

Ember (for use with the Ember Temperature controlled mug),

Just Press Record (another excellent recording app),

Outlook for Microsoft Outlook,

Pedometer++ (step counter), 

Pocket Braille (learn Braille),

Spotify,

Tile for use with the Tile Tags,

Trash Day (reminder when to take out the garbage bins),

TripView  Sydney for timetable information for public transport within Sydney,

Water Reminder (drink more water).

 

Sometimes when using 3rd party apps on your Apple Watch, they may sometimes lock up, easally force quit them when you are in the App when holding down the Side button to bring up the power off screen, and then hold in the Digital Crown to complete Force Quit.

 

Accessibility options in the Apple Watch (which closely mirrors in general what is available on the iPhone) include:

Vision - VoiceOver, Zoom, Bold Text, On/Off Labels, Gray Scale, Reduce Transparency, Reduce Motion, and Chimes.

Motor - Side Button Click Speed,

and Touch Accommodations,

Wheel Chair Activity,

Walkie Talkie accessibility.

AirPods - adjust the speed to press on the AirPods.

Hearing - Mono Audio, and Adjust the Audio Balance between Left and Right channels.

Taptic time Speed: adjust how fast the time is felt with Taptic time (long vibration for 10 minutes, and short vibration for 1 minutes).

 

As with the iPhone, you can set the Accessibility Short cut (pressing the Digital Crown 3 times) to toggle on or off VoiceOver, Zoom  or Touch Accommodations.  You can also turn VoiceOver on or off via Siri.

 

With VoiceOver you can:

1 finger flick left or right for previous or next item,

2 finger clockwise or counter clockwise rotate use VoiceOver rotor (now includes Actions, Character, Word, Speaking Rate, Volume, Language, and Headings),

1 finger flick up or down to move or access VoiceOver rotor,

1 finger double tap activate current item,

1 finger double tap and hold (wait for vibrate) bring up context more menu screen for example bring up Watch Faces screen when done from the watch face screen.

1 finger double tap when watch locked gives haptic time for hours and minutes with VoiceOver.

1 finger triple tap when watch locked gives haptic minutes for VoiceOver.

Note - now with Watch os 7, haptic time can be used whether VoiceOver is on or off.

2 finger touch silences VoiceOver speech,

2 finger flick left or right scroll between watch faces,

2 finger flick Up or Down scroll screen up or down.

2 finger triple tap turn on Digital Crown Navigation togle - allows you to move the VoiceOver cursor left or right by using the Digital Crown.

3 finger tap name of watch face or page scrolled,

3 finger double tap toggle VoiceOver speech,

3 finger triple tap toggle VoiceOver screen curtain,

 

Modified version of VoiceOver iPhone X style gestures:

1 finger drag from top of screen with initial vibration confirming gesture activated, keep moving finger for the 2nd vibration to access Control Centre.  Same from bottom of Watch Face screen for Notifications Centre.

If gestures prove difficult, again at the Apple Watch watch face screen, use the VoiceOver Rotor Actions option (default) to flick up or down with one finger between customise watch face, Notifications Centre, control centre, and Activate.

When VoiceOver focus is on a complication like the Rings, an extra item is added to the VoiceOver Actions rotor option, Enable Auto speak, this allows VoiceOver to automatically speak the complication when you raise your wrist. This is a toggle, so to turn it off, choose Disable Auto Speak from the VoiceOver  Actions rotor.

 

VoiceOver settings on the Apple Watch (Settings, Accessibility, VoiceOver) include:

VoiceOver toggle,

Speaking Rate,

VoiceOver Volume,

Haptics Toggle,

Siri Voice toggle to allow VoiceOver on the watch to use the Siri voice from the iPhone (currently does not work as of October 29 2020),

Speak Hints toggle,

Digital Crown Navigation toggle,

Speak on Wrist Raise toggle,

Screen curtain toggle,

Speak Settings options,

Rotor Languages options.

 

In specific reference to VoiceOver, when using gestures, the Apple Watch SE or S6 is so responsive, it feels like you are using the iPhone with VoiceOver.

 

For more information on the Apple Watch in general, go to:

http://www.apple.com/watch

or on specific accessibility features, visit the Apple Accessibility page:

http://www.apple.com/accessibility

 

David Woodbridge October 2020

In this demo, I take you through the various ways of Force Quitting apps on the Mac, Apple TV, iPad/iPhone/iPod touch, and the Apple Watch using VoiceOver.

 

In this demo, I discuss all 3 AfterShokz Bone Conduction head phones that I use including the original Titanium, then Air, and the current ones the OpenMove.

At the end of the comparison chat, I give you a phone call demo of each one so you can hear the call quality of the head phones.

In this demo, I go through a physical description of the new Nest Audio which is now a pill shape, talk about the touch controls similar to the new Nest Mini or old Google Mini, and play some music for you to listen to along with some comments.

As the name of this demo suggests, how to use the HomePod to HomePod intercom feature as of iOS 14.1 for the HomePod.

Commands:

Hey Siri intercom "and the message" with message going to all HomePods or

Hey Siri Intercom Dining Room "and the message" just to the dining room.

Note - this was just the standard HomePods smile.

Enjoy.

In this demo, I take you through one of my Workout sessions where I usually do 7 routines for each Workout session times 4 with each sub-routine being 3 minutes and finishing off with a 25 minute treadmill walk with 8 degrees of tilt.

For this demo, I do 2 workout sessions, 4 sub-routines lasting 1 minute just for the demo: stepper, boxing/sparring, sit to stand, and hand cycling.

The first Workout session I use Siri to start each sub-routine, and in the 2nd workout session, I add each sub-routine manually: either way allows you to save all sub-routines in to one whole Workout session where you can go through and read the results of each sub-routine workout: i.e. everything is saved automatically as you will hear in the demo.

 

In this demo, I show you how to turn on the Hand Washing Feature and how to use it: i.e. I've found using VoiceOver that it kicks in but doesn't seem to read the first 4 seconds of the timer.

Turn Hand Washing on in Settings, Hand Washing (off by default).

In this demo, I show you how easy it is now to change to your favorite VoiceOver Language on the Fly via the VoiceOver Rotor on your Apple Watch.

Orbit Writer Review/Podcasting notes

 

Product Name:

 

Orbit Writer.

 

Manufacturer:

 

Orbit Research.

 

Website:

 

https://www.orbitresearch.com/product/orbit-writer/

 

Email:

 

information@orbitresearch.com.

 

Brief Product Description:

 

The Orbit Writer is a compact and portable Braille input Perkins style keypad that can access a range of mobile and desktop operating systems as an actual keyboard or with their associated screen readers supports up to 5 Bluetooth devices and one UsB device.

Haptic feedback for settings, and features.

If you know the layout of the Orbit Reader 20 Braille notetaker and Braille display, then you know the layout of the Orbit Writer keyboard.

NB - Braille input keyboard, no Braille display or speech output.

 

Documentation:

 

Extremely well written.

Documentation in brf, doc, pdf, and html formats.

Website for documentation - https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-writer-support/

 

Dimensions:

 

16.0x 6.5 x 0.8 CM.

90 Grams.

 

In the Box:

 

Orbit Writer,

micro UsB cable,

And getting started in print and Braille.

 

Physical Description:

 

6 Braille input Perkins style keys top back face. 

Cursor pad inbetween and slightly below dot 1 and dot 4 keys with up, down, left and right in a circle, and select key in middle.

Dot 7, Space and dot 8 keys at top front middle face.

Lanyard port front middle edge.

Micro UsB port middle left edge.

4 round rubber feet on bottom corners.

 

Main Features:

 

Works with all smart phones and computers out of the box.

Light weight, and  Compact design to fit in a pocket or purse.

Quiet operation with positive tactile feedback.

Perkins style keyboard with cursor pad.

Replaces need to use touch screen.

Fast charging (less than 2 hours), 3 days of use.

Check battery strength.

Supports up to 5 Bluetooth devices, and 1 UsB device.

Adjust strength of Haptic feedback.

Adjust auto shut down time.

Attachment points for strap or lanyard.

Support for all languages on phones or tablets.

 

Battery/Charging:

 

3 days of operation.

Fully charge under 2 hours.

Charge from USB adapter (not supplied) or computer.

When power plugged in, short vibration,  when removed long vibration (whether unit is on or off).

Can be used whilst charging.

Rechargeable and non replaceable batteries.

When unit  gets down to 20% charge, 3 short pulses every 3 minutes.

If battery too low when turning on, unit will automatically shut down.

 

Confirm battery charge: press and hold Space+Up Arrow for 1 second.

1 short pulse if battery level between 0 and 20%.

2 short pulses if battery level between 20% and 40%.

3 short pulses if battery level between 40% and 60%.

4 short pulses if battery between 60% and 80%.

Long pulse if battery level is grater than 80%.

Auto shut down to save battery can be adjusted, default is 10 minutes.

 

Tips  for Initial Orbit Writer Operation:

 

Turn on/off - hold Down/Up for 1 second, short pulse for on, long pulse for off.

 

Pair to 5 Bluetooth and 1 USB channel.

Channel 1 (default) - Space+Left+1.

Channel 2 - Space+Left+2.

Channel 3 - Space+Left+3.

Channel 4 - Space+Right+4.

Channel 5 - Space+Right+5.

Channel 6 (UsB) - Space+Right+6.

If channel not previously paired, 3 short pulses

If channel paired: 2 short pulses

Pair channel: hold down command (Space+Left+ChannelNumber) for 1 second to feel short pulse (now in paring mode plus overwrite previous pairing if present).

In some situations, reconnecting via Bluetooth may take up to 10 seconds.

 

Connecting to a Mobile Device Example -

 

iOS VoiceOver:

 

Turn on Orbit Writer - Down+Up for 1 second (short pulse).

Place Orbit Writer in pairing mode (channel 1 is default if used for first time). Otherwise, press Space+Left+2 (3 4 or 5) for 1 second, short pulse.

Goto Settings, VoiceOver, Braille, and select Orbit Writer xx (were XX is the serial number of the Orbit Writer).

When paired, short pulse.

When iOS device is locked, Orbit Writer disconnects, 2 short pulses.

When iOS device unlocked, Orbit Writer will reconnect, 2 short pulses.

To turn Orbit Writer off, Down/Up for 1 second, 1 long pulse.

 

Basic iOS/VoiceOver  commands

The cursor navigation pad, Left or Right Arrows move VoiceOver cursor to previous or next item (1 finger flick left or right).  Select /perform  action command (1 finger double tap). Up or Down Arrow (1 finger flick up or down) move or select current VoiceOver rotor item.  Adding Space to the navigation keys performs Orbit Writer functions such as pairing mode or checking the battery.

 

Chord Commands (note - best way to remember these chord commands is there positioning in the 6 dot Braille cell in their relation to each other.

Space+1 or 4 - previous or next item.

Space+36 - select/perform action command.

Space+125 (h) - perform Home function).  When pressed twice, App Menu.

Space+23 or 56 - move to previous or next VoiceOver rotor item.

Space+3 or 6 - select or move current rotor item.

Space+235 (s) - Status menu -

Space+25 - Control Centre.

Space+46 - Notifications Centre.

Space+135 (o) - Scroll right).

Space+246 (ow) - scroll left.

Space+156 (gh) - VoiceOver Magic double tap to start/stop media or answer.hang up a call.

Space+124 (f) - find text command.

 

Benefits

 

Works with iOS, Android/Samsung, Fire OS, Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Supports up to 5 simultaneous and 1 USB connection.

Can be used as either an input keyboard (HID) or screen reader (SR) device..

Rapid switching between connected devices.

 

Supported screen readers include

iOS/Mac VoiceOver,

Android/Samsung/Amazon Talkback and Voice Assistant via Brailleback, and

Windows NVDA, JAWS, and Narrator (via BRLTTY).

 

Haptic feedback easily identified.

 

Particularly on iOs/VoiceOver, if user knows how to navigate with other Braille Input keyboards as found on a number of Braille displays, standard VoiceOver navigation can be considered the same.

 

Apple Watch OS 7 beta can use the Orbit Writer to navigate.

 

Screen readers that do not directly support the Orbit Writer as such, will still see it as an Orbit Reader 20 which will still enable the Orbit Writer to function.

 

Very light weight and quiet key operation.

 

To minimise sound of haptic feedback, 3 settings are available, soft, medium and hard pulse.

Space+Right to check current setting.  Space+Right held down for 1 second to change to next pulse setting which can be felt. 1 pulse soft, 2 pulses medium, and 3 pulses hard.

This is of particular importance if you don’t want the haptic sound being heard by others or coming through in a recording.

 

To adjust auto shout down of unit, 4 settings are available, 5, 10, 20, and 30 minutes.

Space+Left to check current setting. Space+Left for 1 second to switch to next time out setting. 1 pulse 5, 2 pulses 10, 3 pulses 20, and 4 pulses 30 minutes.

Note - if iOS device goes to sleep, within the auto shut down period, it will reconnect when iOS device is awake.  If Orbit Writer being used for note taking, a possible suggestion to is to have the lock idle time of the iOS device greater than the Orbit Writer, then no need to reconnect.

 

Works well when using Orbit Writer with lanyard.

 

Mac VoiceOver detects Orbit Writer directly when plugged in as a USB device.  For Braille support, VoiceOver Utility, Braille, and Add Bluetooth Braille display and choose Orbit Writer.

 

Points to Consider:

 

Requires a Windows Pc to update the Orbit Writer.

Do not press down on the arrow keys, these keys are designed to push out from the edges. Pressing down fills quite hard whilst pushing out feels easy.

Be careful when holding down Space+Left+channel number to select desired channel for too long as after 1 second will put Orbit Writer in paring mode and previous pairing lost.

 

Testing remaining:

 

Android/Samsung, and Windows in particular with NVDA, JAWS, and Narrator.

 

Cost:

 

$99 US plus shipping.

 

Other Accessories:

 

Orbit Writer Carrying case: $14.95 US.

Leather Orbit Writer carrying case: $29.00 US.

Orbit Writer Lanyard: $3.95 US.

Extended warranty: $25.00 US.

 

Similar Products on the Market:

 

As far as Braille input keyboards are concerned with no Braille Display, there is not any similar product on the market.  However, a similar concept keyboard for navigating with VoiceOver does exist, the RIVO keyboard, which works with mobile devices, but is 4 times the price, and is harder to learn as it has no relationship to any other devices on the market.

 

Warranty:

 

Unknown.

 

Recommendations:

 

Vision Store should sell this product.

 

Initial Evaluation: September 3 2020.

 

David Woodbridge

 

In this demo, I show you two ways on how to adjust the Taptic Time Speed on your Apple Watch either using the iPhone or Apple Watch itself.

You can find Taptic Time in the Accessibility panel either within the Watch app on the iPhone or within Settings in the Apple Watch.

In this demo, I take you through what is in the box, main features, physical description, and various things you can do with the iPad and how.

The reason why I use Apple Products, is that it is all well integrated with everything that I use. for both home and work: the Mac, the Apple Watch, the Apple TV, the iPad, the iPod touch, and of course the iPhone.

 

I have been using a Mac now for 15 years and iOS for 11 years.  One thing that has always stood out for me with the Mac is that as a person who is blind, I can completely trouble shoot or re-install the OS completely independently without sighted assistance.  My interaction with a Windows machine over these years when something has failed, has always meant I have needed someone with sight to let me know what was happening on screen or to assist me getting the screen reader up and going again.  I know that with the latest Windows 10 that you can now kick in Narrator which is a great thing.

 

As I mainly use my Mac when creating content rather than navigating/reading content (which is more my iPhone), the Mac forms the basis of most of my work flows as it were.

 

As a poor speller, Siri comes to the rescue with “Spell Yogurt” which is a particular word that I always forget to spell when doing a shopping list, and yes, I used Siri to spell it just now.

 

Being able to ask Siri for directions when using my Mac to a location, then within Maps, share to my iPhone: ready to follow the directions when I leave the house.

 

I know that I can use Siri to cary out calculations, but having the Calculator app on the Mac also speak out its results is very handy for me as a screen reader user.

 

Quickly looking up a word within the Mac Dictionary app is always helpful, and then there is always Siri to get a definition of a word.

 

Siri on the Mac works well for launching apps, finding documents, and checking my Calendar.

 

Being able to dash off a quick email or Message on my Mac with voice dictation is a great benefit.

 

With FaceTime on the Mac, I can make and answer calls via my iPhone, and since I’m already on the Mac, can use Textedit or Pages to take notes whilst I’m chatting on the phone as it were.

 

I still appreciate the fact that when I plug power in to the Mac, a chime plays to let me know that power is on and my Mac is charging: no need to check the charging status.

 

My family and friends all use iOs devices, so rather than having to pick up my iPhone to send a Message, I use Message on the Mac to send and receive messages.

 

Our family uses Find My Friends to keep track of each other.  Rather than having to get out my iPhone, I can check in the Find My Mac app to see where folks are.

 

As the Mac comes with the Mac App Store, most of the apps that I use on the Mac are from this source.  I feel better protected, and the apps work reasonably well such as Twitter.

 

As I am a big fan of using iBooks on my iPhone, being able to read these same books on the Mac with VoiceOver is a huge plus.

 

The iWork suite works well with VoiceOver on the Mac, but what is great as well particularly for work is the fact that Microsoft Office works well: I Particularly use Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook on the Mac all the time these days.

 

My main source for social media is Twitter, I use Twitterific, most of the time live it running it in the background and pop over to it to check incoming tweets.

 

Universal copy between the Mac and my iPhone comes in very handy for copying phone numbers or URLS in either direction, and nothing could be easier than selecting copy on one device, and paste on the other.

 

Airdrop between my Mac and my iPhone or family’s devices and my Mac works very nicely as well.

 

As I produce a fair number of instructional documents, some of which folks want in an audio format, using Add To iTunes (now Music)As A Spoken Track, comes in very handy for quickly converting a text document in to an audio file.

 

As I where away the hours when working on the Mac, rather than having to check the time manually, I have the Mac system clock tell me the time every 15 minutes so I can automatically keep track of time passing, and don’t miss an appointment.

 

Speaking of appointments, I use Reminders and Calendar appointments on my iPhone which of course come across to the Mac as well.

 

When shopping, I use the Notes app on the Mac to make a check list of items to check off when I pick up the Note on my iPhone when shopping.

 

Adjusting the sound of the Mac with audio feedback I’ve always found handy for both VoiceOver and general sound output on the Mac.  As well I find changing the sound source for VoiceOver itself via the VoiceOver Utility very straight forward.

 

I tend to use both Google Chrome and Safari on the Mac for slightly different purposes.  I use Chrome for the client management system at work and Safari for reading articles on the web via the Reader mode which strips out the html code just leaving the text of the article to read.

 

As iTunes and now Music originally was developed for the Mac, I seem to have less issues with it from an accessibility point of view that I do when using iTunes on Windows.  Consequently when there is an update to Music, I don’t get as nervous that something may have broken from the screen reader point of view.

 

Speaking of Music, I have a number of Airplay speakers including a number of Apple TVs and HomePods around the house, depending on what I am doing and where I am, I just pipe the music to the appropriate speaker or Apple TV.

 

I certainly enjoy listening to Audio Described movies from the iTunes Store now TV app Store since Apple is making a considerable effort in making these available.

 

When  my family goes and stays over night if we are visiting, I always take our family MacBook Pro which has my boys favourite movies on it plus the Apple TV so I can stream them from the Mac on to the TV via the Apple TV.

 

I seem to be given iTunes cards from family and friends on a regular basis.  Like the iPhone, I can use the camera in the Mac to input the iTunes gift card straight in to iTunes.

 

Using my AirPods across all devices: particularly Apple Watch, iPhone and the Mac: means I can just use one bluetooth head phone for all my devices.

 

As I use an Apple watch, having my Mac simply unlock when I sit down to use my Mac is fantastic and much more convenient and faster than waiting for the screen VoiceOver to speak out the security prompt, and for me to type inn my password.  There have been times when I have got a bit impatient and have started typing in my password before VoiceOver has started talking, only do find that I have sent the last person in Messages my password smile.

 

Of course, using one of my MacBook Pros with Touch ID to also unlock the Mac is a great benefit as well, if I’m not using my Apple Watch.

 

As I still enjoy the occasional game of chess, having the default Chess application in the Mac speak out its moves lets me enjoy a good game of chess, even though I mostly loose to the Mac.

 

One of the dreaded things I absolutely hate on Windows is that sometimes sound is muted, and there is no keyboard short-cut to get it back.  On the Mac there is a short-cut and I’ve never not been able to get sound back on the Mac and consequently keep using VoiceOver.

 

I use preview on the Mac for quickly listening to audio files or checking a document, rather than having to launch an application to access the file.

 

Being able to check the status of what accessibility options I have turned on is quite useful, particularly when using other accessibility options other than VoiceOver.

 

Having the Mac speak out system messages or read what is on the screen through a keyboard command is again extremely handy.

 

Since I use some different bits of hardware in the house to control lights, lamps, check the indoor and outdoor temperature, and check who is at my door: rather than me having to pick up my iPhone to access these different systems, I can use my Mac as well.  In particular, having the Home app on my Mac as well as my iPhone makes things a lot easier.

 

Besides having the Home, Maps, Messages, Notes, Reminders, and  TV App on my Mac which I also use on my iPhone, the News and Voice Memo apps are also extremely useful.  News for keeping up with the latest news, and Voice Memo when I want to quickly record a note or customers training session.

 

Having my documents on the cloud, means that all my documents are on all my other Macs etc when I need to access a particular device.

 

The inbuilt Mac keyboard commands to jump quickly to the Applications, Documents, Home, Utilities, and Downloads folders makes jumping around the Mac a breeze.

 

VoiceOver on iOS and Mac OS have similar gestures and keyboard commands which makes transferring from one to the other a breeze, plus from a training point of view, very consistent and easy to explain and re-enforce ways of navigating.  In some ways, you are using one screen reader for mobile or desktop.

 

I forget sometimes how many different ways VoiceOver allows me to navigate: main keyboard commands, Lock VoiceOver keys, Quick Nav, numeric keypad, and of course the trackpad.

 

The sounds that VoiceOver on the Mac users to let you know what is going on is one of those things that when you don’t have it, you really miss it when I use Windows.

 

Using screen curtain to blank the screen so that people can’t see what I am doing when I’m reading a report on the train or reading a confidential document at work is extremely valuable.

 

Having a training mode in a screen reader to teach you how to use its basic functions is very important for new users.

 

When I am not using my MacBook Air Or MacBook Pro with the inbuilt trackpad, I can still use my Magic Trackpad with my iMac.

 

AS far as I know, VoiceOver is still the only screen reader that allows the launching of applications from its own Keyboard commander.  All the applications that I use regularly on the Mac have their own VoiceOver Keyboard Commander short-cut such as K for Skype, G for Google Chrome, A for Amadeus Pro, M for MarsEdit etc.

 

Speaking of the only thing that Voiceover does, Alex (found on iOS as well), is still the only speech synthesizer that breaths (up to 200 types of breaths) when it is speaking: particularly useful when converting a document to audio using the Alex voice.

 

I still find VoiceOver on the Mac the easiest screen reader to install a Braille display.  For UsB, plug it in and VoiceOver will detect it.  With a Bluetooth Braille display, choose the Braille display you want to use and off I go.

 

As the cursor movement on both the Mac and iPhone are the same with VoiceOver when navigating: cursor is to the left or right of the character when moving: I don’t have to double check myself when switching between mobile and desktop.

 

No matter if I am typing in Messages, Notes, Mail, Pages, Safari etc, it its always nice to know that my typing is being spelled checked: did I mention I was a poor speller.

 

The strong integration between the Mac OS and VoiceOver, means that I never have an issue with the screen reader not working, hanging, not working with the video card, loosing its authorisation etc: it just keeps working.

 

In this demo, I give you a physical description of the Arkon Smart Phone Stand.

As I mention in the demo, this smart phone stand is for cooks, crafters, podcasters, live stramers etc: anyone who wants a very adjustable stand for their smart phone.

For me, this stand is great for product demos via Zoom, video demos, OCR, live stream chatting etc.

 

  https://arkon.com.au/hd8rv29-arkon-kitchen-desk-table-stand-for-periartists-cooking-baking-crafting-scopes.html

In this demo, I show you both the System and VoiceOver BackTap functionality in iOS 14 beta 3 on my iPhone SE 2020.

 

Explanation and demo of this smart thermometer which works with voiceOver o iOS, and should work with the same Thermo app on Android.

https://www.withings.com/au/en/thermo

In this demo, I give you a run through of the BBT Canute 360 - physical description, and a run through of its operation.

For more info, go to:

https://bristolbraille.co.uk

In this demo, I explain and show you how to use this chest mount for your smart phone, in this case my iPhone SE.

Works well with video assistance services.

I tend to use the front camera as when the phone is sitting in the mount, I can still use VoiceOver with the touch screen.

I purchased this Chest Mount from CamGo in Australia, and it was a great purchase for $34.00.

https://www.camgo.com.au/store/p395/Phone-Chest-Mount.html

In this demo, I show you a much easier way to change the sound source on your Mac by adding Volume Control to your Extras menu, and you don't have to change anything with VoiceOver.

I also show you how to get VoiceOver to use a different sound source via the VoiceOver Utility within the Sound category.

In this demo, I show you a nifty work around on how to change Sound Output Sources on the Mac without having them activate when you try and Arrow through them.

In this demo, I give you a physical description of the SteelSeries Arctis 5 Gaming Headset with it's two sound sources which for screen reader uses means you can balance the sound coming out of both sound sources (game and chat) for your screen reader and your Zoom meeting for example.

 

In this weeks Talking Tech for June 2 2020, David celebrates his 30 years at the Royal Blind Society of New South Wales (RBS of NSW) now Vision Australia by discussing some of the tech highlights over his time working as a technology specialist since June 4 1990

With these notes, you get the whole list, enjoy.

 

Unusual or Meaningful Tech Over the Last 30 years

 

When I started work for the then RBS of NSW (now Vision Australia) on June 4 1990, my tech on my desk was a Keynote PC Plus based on a Toshiba 1000, a Braille & Speak note taker, and of course a telephone land line.

 

Tech sitting on my desk 2020 for general everyday stuff, iPhone, wireless charger, Apple Watch, AirPods, QBraille Braille Display, EmBraille Braille Embosser, iPad, phone  and tablet stand, MacBook Pro, Magic keyboard, Surface Pro, work Toshiba laptop, Samsung S10, Google Home, Amazon Echo, and HomePod: plus my audio studio setup for podcasting and my radio program.

 

Ever since I started working in the technology field after being a Social Worker for 4 years as a drug and alcohol counsellor, I have always enjoyed sharing my technology findings and suggestions with others.

 

In no particular order, this is a list of all the tech that I have personally used for both home and work.

 

Where some of the tech still exists when it first came out and where it has evolved to now, I’ve put the updated version in both the old and current tech lists.

 

Interestingly, there are over 10 products that are Assistive Tech related that have lasted the test of time and are in the old and current technology lists.

 

Where some of the products may not be that well known, I’ve put a short blurb next to each one.

 

Oddly or not, I wish some of the devices that are no longer around still were, as they did some great specific tasks, for example, The Braille and Speak, and the ABC Courier.

 

A couple of the products mentioned in the Old Tech list were available before 1990, but they were widely used at the RBS for training and work place assessments, so I’ve stuck them in.

 

Whilst I loved my Apple IIE with the Echo Synthesiser in the mid 1980’s, I still remember the freedom I felt when I got my first IBM compatible computer with the Artic Business Vision MSDOS screen reader and synthesiser (I could use a much wider range of programs than that compared to the Apple IIE).

 

In some ways I’ve gone back to Apple (Macs) for home computing (which used to be the name of my BBS by the way), but of course, for education and work as far as screen reading is concerned, it is still Windows and JAWS.

 

David Woodbridge 2020

 

1. Old Tech

 

If you haven’t heard of some of this stuff, use good old Google, should still be some info floating around.

 

Keynote PC Plus (Toshiba 1000 laptop with KeySoft  note taking software and installed   speech hardware synthesiser).

Keysoft for MSDOS.

Keysoft across portable devices such as the Voice Note, Keynote Companion, BrailleNote Touch (current today).

 

Braille & Speak (Braille keyboard based simple note taker with speech).  Loved this device as you just turned it on and started taking notes straight away.

Braille Lite (Braille & Speak with a 40 cell Braille Display).

Type & Speak (Braille and Speak with a QWERTY keyboard).

 

Inca QWERTY Keyboard for MSDOS (with two Braille display lines).

 

Navigator Braille display for MSDOS.

 

Artic Business Vision MSDOS screen reader.

Artic Business Vision internal PC speech synthesiser Card.

Artic Transport (you could upload the screen reader to the MSDOS PC from the external speech synthesiser).

Artic Gizmo Pad(an external navigation keypad for Artic Business Vision).

Arctic Winvision Windows screen reader.

 

I still remember when Windows came on the scene and there was a lot of concern that people who relied on screen reader technology may be left behind, but software like Winvision and others mentioned below came to the party, although it was a bit of a wait.

 

OutSpoken for Mac for System 6.07, 7 and 8.

I always thought it was great that Outspoken for the Mac used the internal sound for the software speech synthesiser (Fred who is still around today) and did not have to rely on speech synthesiser hardware. 

Remember from System 9 until Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, there was no screen reader for the Mac: Outspoken was discontinued and there was no VoiceOver.

 

OutSpoken for Windows.

 

Enlarge for Mac (3rd party screen magnification for Mac).

CloseView for Mac (inbuilt screen magnification).

System Zoom is now the inbuilt screen magnification for the Mac.

 

Double Speak external speech synthesiser that worked with a number of MSDOS screen readers.

 

Accent SA external speech synthesiser that worked with a number of MSDOS screen readers.

 

Keynote Gold PCMCIA, PC Card or Keynote Gold external speech synthesiser (had driver to be made available to other screen readers, other than KeySoft or Master Touch).

 

Master Touch MSDOS screen reader (could read direct video writes, caused quite a few of DOS apps to be accessible out of the box).

Master Touch Touch Tablet (25 line by 80 column tablet for navigating with Master touch cursor).

 

Apollo external speech synthesiser (mainly designed to work with Hal MSDOS screen reader).

 

Hal MSDOS screen reader (worked with the Apollo speech Synthesiser).

 

DECTalk Classic(very large external speech synthesiser).

DECTalk PC (internal speech synthesiser card).

DECTalk Express (external speech synthesiser).

DECTalk Access (software speech synthesiser).

All the DECTalks had lovely speech.

 

ASAP (As Soon As Possible) MSDOS screen reader.

ASAW ASAP for Windows screen reader).

 

JAWS For DOS MSDOS screen reader.

JAWS for Windows (current today, Windows screen reader).

Oddly, I never liked the JAWS for DOS screen reader, but absolutely like the Windows version.

 

Eloquence software speech synthesiser (Made famous when first worked with JAWS For Windows V3.2 when JAWS and Eloquence came on CD).

Eloquence still is my preferred speech for JaWS and is what I use on my Samsung S10.

 

Vocal-Eyes MSDOS screen reader (could be widely configured, used to configure programs in the work place).

Window-Eyes for Windows, Windows screen reader.

For some odd reason, Window-Eyes was never really widely used in Australia.

 

Dragon for MSDOS.

Dragon For Windows (current today).

 

Braille To Print for Perkins Brailler.  Take the bottom cover off the Perkins, sit the Perkins on top of the Braille To Print which lined up the Perkins keys to springs on the BP unit: then as you Brailled, the box would translate the Braille in to print and print this out on an attached dot matrix printer.: very nifty and would still be handy today.

 

Jot A Dot, small portable Braille writer (I was always disappointed how hard it was to produce Braille).

 

PC Kurzweil OCR Reader (internal PC Card supporting the PCKPR OCR software).

 

Arkenstone Easy Reader OCR software.

OpenBook for Windows OCR software (current today).

 

Versa Braille (20 cell Braille note taker using cassette tapes).

 

Pac Mate note taker with 40 cell Braille Display.

One great thing about the Pac Mate was that you could take out the Pac Mate Braille Display and link it up to your computer whilst still using the Pac Mate as it were as a speech output note taker.

In actual fact, I can still use my Pac Mate Braille Display via UsB on my Mac today.

 

Braille Blazer, portable embosser.

 

Rainbow  Reader (stand alone OCR reading machine).

 

Eureka A4 (personal Braille input keyboard note taker).  Oddly had a vault metre, and a thermometer.

 

MountBatten Brailler (Braille Writer, embosser etc current today).  The fact you can stick in a QWERTY keyboard, type, and stuff comes out in Braille.

Mimic for MountBatten Brailler, LCD display  (current today).

 

Braille Mate (single Braille cell on a note taker, could not see the point).

 

Light Probe (detects light source - current today).

 

ABC Courier (deaf/blind communication device with an Atari computer with a small screen/QWERTY keyboard and an Alva Braille Display all in one device).

TeleBraille (deaf/blind communication device).

 

Talking keyboard plug in box (made any keyboard speak that was plugged in to it).

 

Nomad tactile and talking diagrams.

 

Vista plug in PC screen magnifier for MSDOS, had own mouse.

 

ViewPoint Split PC/CCTV.

 

Magic screen magnification for MSDOS.

Magic screen magnification for Windows (no longer being upgraded).

 

Zoomtext screen magnification for MSDos.

Zoomtext screen magnification for Windows (current today).

Fusion (combining both JAWS For Windows, and Zoomtext For Windows in to one package, current today).

 

Road Runner (portable text reader).

 

Book Sense (portable book reader).

 

Parrot or later Voice Mate (record notes and appointments).

 

Voice Diary (record notes and appointments).

 

Olympus DM5 Digital Recorder (with inbuilt speech menus).

 

Business Memo (voice recorder).

 

IBM OS 2 Screen Reader for OS 2 and Windows 3.11 with dedicated external number pad keyboard (which could also be programmed).

 

Home Page Reader (from IBM for reading the web - self voicing application for Windows).

 

PW WebSpeak (self voicing application for reading the web in Windows).

 

Narrator for Windows XP screen reader for Windows (used to be joked that this was an example of a screen reader not being a screen reader).

Narrator for Windows 10 (current today and yes it can be termed a screen reader).

 

Talking Microwave late 90’s LG.

Talking Microwave 2020 Cobolt (current Today).

 

Talking Caller ID for land line telephone.

 

Nokia Communicator 9210 with Talks which was also for later Nokia phones.

Nokia N82 and other Nokia’s running Talks and the Symbian operating system.

 

This was another significant point for me on my tech travels.  I went from using a brick mobile phone which did not  speak, to the Nokia 9210 which spoke via Talks when you opened it up and used the QWERTY keyboard (the actual phone on the front did not speak), and then the run of Nokia’s (again with Talks) where the phone spoke.

 

Freedom Box talking interface to Windows - self voicing application, name later changed to System Access Mobile network.

System Access Screen reader for Windows (could also run off a USB stick).

SAToGo (run System Access from a Webpage).

System Access Remote Access Manager (remote Windows PC support).

 

Guide Connect early 2000 (later sold to Dolphin Systems).

Guide Connect (Dolphin Systems, simple to use menu driven self voicing application offering a number of applications for Windows, current today).

 

Speaking menus on iPod nano/Shuffle (speech came from PC Windows or Mac).

 

Talking set top  box (Hills Set Top Box).

 

I can’t remember the name of this, but before land lines had a hands free speaker phone so you could instruct someone over the phone, there was a gadget that you placed the receiver of the phone on and it turned the phone in to a hands free phone for microphone and loud speaker.

 

2. Current Tech

 

A few main stream bits and Bobs in here as well.

 

The first 10 or so products listed below appear in both sections, and whilst they have ben updated or changed, are still around amazingly.

 

Keysoft across portable devices (current today - BrailleNote Touch).

 

JAWS for Windows.

JAWS Tandem (part of JaWS but fantastic tool for remote Windows PC support).

 

Window-Eyes for Windows (this has only recently been discontinued).

 

Non Visual Desktop (NvDA) screen reader for Windows. Can be completely run as a stand alone screen reader.

 

Supernova screen reader for Windows (combines Braille, screen reader, and screen magnification).

 

Dragon For Windows.

 

OpenBook OCR for Windows.

 

MountBatten Brailler.

Mimic for MountBatten.

 

Magic screen magnification  for Windows (no longer being upgraded).

 

Zoomtext  screen magnification for Windows.

Fusion (combining both JAWS For Windows, and Zoomtext For Windows in to one package, current today).

 

Narrator for Windows 10 (happy to now call it a screen reader smile).

 

Guide Connect (Dolphin Systems).

Dolphin Pod (use your TV to access entertainment options of Dolphin Guide Connect - plug in box).

 

Light Probe.

 

Plextalk Pocket daisy player (seems to be no longer available).

 

Victor Reader Stream (daisy player and all the other things it does).

Victor Reader Trek GPS (plus Victor Reader Stream options).

 

Envoy Connect (basic daisy player.

 

Focus 14 and 40 Braille displays.

 

VoiceOver for Mac from 10.4.

 

VoiceOver for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Apple Watch, and Apple Tv.

 

We had the nervous times again when we went from MSDOS to Windows, now it was going from mobile phones with keyboards to touch screens.  Apple hit the nail wright on the head with VoiceOver and continues to lead the way.

When the first iPhone came out in 2007 with no speech, this perhaps made some folks a bit worried on how long it would take for accessibility to be within the phone.

 

I’m not 100 percent sure when this came out, but I think in the early 2000’s, there was a Dell PDA that had a rubber overlay keyboard with the Maestro software running with speech output, that allowed a person who was blind to use the touch screen PDA, I always thought the Maestro was pretty cool for what it allowed me to do.

 

Talkback for Android.

Voice Assistant on Samsung phones/Tablets, and Galaxy Watch.

Synapptic software for Android.

 

Various iPod nano (latest version had version of VoiceOver on it before device was discontinued).

Various iPhones.

Various iPads.

Various iPod touch.

Various Apple TV.

Various Apple Watch .

Various AirPods.

I did an unofficial launch of the iPad in Brisbane at a conference in 2010, Apple’s smart home tech at a show in Melbourne in 2015, and the launch of Apple Pay in Australia also in 2015.

Interestingly, when the iPhone 3GS came out with VoiceOver in 2009, that is when I started doing audio demos on the Vision Australia website which then turned in to my podcast iSee feed in 2011.

 

Various Macs since 2005 at home.

My first Mac was a Mac mini, and I remember complaining to Apple Sydney that I couldn’t play DVD’s on it because the Mac wanted a monitor and I didn’t need a monitor as I was using VoiceOver.

At this point in January 2009, this is when I became an Apple Accessibility Ambassador and still am today.

I still use the Alex software speech synthesiser as it still remains the only speech synthesiser that breaths when it is speaking,, and is what I use when I produce Add to iTunes now Music as a Spoken Track from a document (like this one).

It is interesting how Apple has gone back to the iPhone SE 2020 with the Home button, and adding the physical Escape key back to the MacBook Pro Touch Bar and the much better keyboard with the cursor cross.

 

At work, as long as I can remember, we have always used Toshiba laptops including my current work Toshiba laptop today.

I have my own Windows Surface Pro for testing.

 

Magic Trackpads and Magic Keyboards.

Still think it is great that I can use the Magic Keyboard not only with my Mac, but my iOS devices including the Apple TV.

I thought the Magic Trackpad was amazing when it became accessible via VoiceOver with Snow Leopard.

 

Wireless chargers.

There is just something nice about plonking your iPhone, AirPods or Appel watch on a wireless charger and not having to worry about cables.

 

Various Fitbits.

 

Be My eyes and Aira using 2 way video communication  via Smart phone for assistance.

 

Various tablet/phone stands.

 

Xbox One/One S (with Narrator).

 

Kindle eBook stand alone Readers.

 

Samsung Tab One (originally to drive my App driven coffee machine in 2017 as the iOS version of the app was not accessible).

 

Samsung Galaxy S10 smart phone.

 

Smart TVS (Samsung in particular).

 

RIVO keyboard (custom keyboard to navigate mobile platforms for iOs/VoiceOver, Android/Talks, and 

Samsung/Voice Assistant).

 

Orbit Reader 20 (first cost effective Braille Display).

 

Brailliant BI14 small Braille Display.

 

ElBraille Windows 10 docking station with a Focus 14 or 40 Braille Display.

Sort of reminds me of the Pac Mate in some ways.BrailleSense U2 (Braille note taker).

 

InsideOne Windows Braille Tablet with 32 cell Braille Display.

A unique take on a Braille note taker as the Braille input keys are moulded in to the glass as well as the controls.

 

Tap With Us Wearable Keyboard supporting VoiceOver for iOS.

 

Dot Watch (smart Braille watch).

 

Sunu Band (wearable sonar device for O&M).

 

Mini guide (hand held sonar O&M device).

 

Buzz Clip (attach to clothing or cane sonar O&M device).

 

O6 (navigate iOS with VoiceOver).

 

Orcam OCR etc wearable device.

 

Accessible Radio (Sangean Accessible Radio).

 

Accessible charging Power Bank (Energrid).

 

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

 

Code Jumper from APH for teaching coding.

Swift Playgrounds on iPad/Mac for teaching coding.

3D printing (Ballyland 3D objects to teach coding).

Dash robots for Swift Playgrounds

Tello Edu Drones for Swift Playgrounds.

 

Bose Frames (3D Audio Reality sun glasses).

 

Bone Conduction Head Phones (AfterShokz).

 

ID Mate stand alone Bar code scanner.

 

QBraille braille display and BT keyboard.

 

ViewPlus EmBraille, portable  embosser.

 

Amazon Echo Dot, Echo Plus, and Echo Show.

Google  Home, Google Mini, and original Google Hub.

HomePod.

 

Olitech EasyFlip 4G Feature Mobile Phone with speech/physical keyboard.

 

Smart Vision 2 Android phone with speech/physical keyboard.

 

Smart Home Tech: for example, AC Controller for Split AC, video doorbell, switch’s, weather sensors, vacuum cleaner etc.

 

Tile Tag Tracking devices.

 

Beyond the usual assistive tech of screen readers. Screen magnifiers, Braille displays, Braille note takers, reading machines or OCR software etc etc, the devices that have stood out for me have been (and a few add ins here):

Outspoken for Mac,

Braille & Speak,

The ABC Courier,

Artic Business Vision/Winvision,

Vocal-Eyes,

Master Touch,

IBM OS/2 Screen Reader,

Nomad Tactile Talking Diagrams,

Road Runner,

Arkenstone Easy Reader/OpenBook,

Mountbatten Brailler,

Talking Microwave,

Victor Reader Stream,

Victor Reader Trek,

ID Mate,

Talks for Symbian,

Talkback for Android/Voice Assistant for Samsung,

Speaking menus in iPod nano,

VoiceOver for Mac, iOS, Apple Watch, and Apple TV,

Hardware MacBooks, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, and Apple Watch,

AirPods

Swift Playgrounds,

Code Jumper,

3D printing,

Olitech 4G Easy Flip Phone,

Magic keyboards and Magic Trackpad,

App Store’s for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows,

QBraille,

Dot Watch,

Orcam,

RIVO Keyboard,

Tap With Us wearable keyboard,

Sunu Band and Mini Guide,

AfterShokz Bone Conduction head phones,

Bose Frames,

JAWS For Windows and Eloquence,

Narrator for Windows 10,

Smart Speakers,

Smart TVS (mainly Samsung),.

Be My Eyes and Aira,

Wireless charging, and

Tile Tracking Tags.

 

For me, I think the main technology 

advances were:

Microsoft Windows 3.1 access (keeping in mind Outspoken had been out for a while for Macs) mid 1990’s.

Mobile and Smart phone access in the 2000’s (Talks for Synbian and VoiceOver for iPhone) plus VoiceOver for the Mac in 2005, and

Smart speakers and Smart home tech in 2010-2020.

 

Things we still need to conquer:

On going message and change for accessibility across mobile/desktop apps, and the huge one, the web.

Access to self service kiosks.

Indoor navigation.

Accessibility in white goods.

Accessible EFTPOS terminals (Apple Pay sort of gets around this).

An accessible Foxtel cable box in Australia.

 

End of Document

In this demo, I demo and explain the correct orientation for the Nano SIMM in either the iPhone 11 or iPhone SE 2020 SIMM tray.

Simply, on the iPhone 11 the notch is on the top right hand side and on the iPhone SE 2020,the notch on the SiMM tray is on the top left hand side as it sits in the SIMM Tray.

 

In this demo, I take you through what it is like to use the iPhone SE 2020 with a Home Button and Touch ID, especially if you have got lost in the land of Face ID.

This is truly a modern phone in the classic form.

Give me Touch ID any day smile David.

In this demo, I take you through a demo of the AcousticSheep SleepPhones which are fantastic to help you relax or in my case, go to sleep at night time with a audio book, and not have to try and find my AirPods in the morning.

For more info go to:

https://www.sleepphones.com

 

In this demo, I show you how easy it is to create a contact within the Phone book, and then to call that entry.

In this demo, I show you how too Send a message using the T9 (alphabetical) way of typing on the keypad, and how to read successfully your received messages.

Simply, the more messages you have, the better Talkback will read as it can move and speak with the cursor, having only one message mean the cursor can't move to speak.

In this demo I show you how to start the phone up from being completely off, what the Talkback screen reader speaks when the phone is fully on at the home screen, making and receiving a phone call, brief explanation of the home screen menus, demo of the FM Radio, and what is spoken when you place the phone on or off charge.

Besides the Olitech, I was also using my large print button phone with base station/answering machine, and the handset which also talks, and of course my iPhone.

Olitech Easy Flip 4G Phone

 

Supplemental Guide to the Users Guide written by Vision Australia to assist people who are blind to use the phone independently with the Android screen reader Talkback.

 

Topics Covered in this Guide

What is in the Box,

Inserting the Battery and SIMM Card,

Charging the Phone,

Physical Description of the Phone,

Turning the Phone On, Airplane Mode, and Turning the Phone Off,

Silent and Wake Modes,

Answering and hanging Up a Call,

Caller ID,

Dialling a Number,

Speed Dialling,

Putting a Phone Call on Loud Speaker,

Amplify Receiver Volume,

Checking All Calls or Missed Calls Log,

Sending a Message,

Reading a Message,

Accessing the Menu Options on the Phone,

Adding and Using a Contact in the Phone Book,

Adjusting the Audio Settings (Volume and Tones),

Connecting a Bluetooth Headset (or external keyboard…),

Menu Display (visibility of Menu Options),

One Cool Feature of the phone (FM Radio),

Safety or SOS Mode,

Quick Settings,

Tips for Talkback Screen Reader Users,

Where to purchase the Olitech Easy Flip 4G Phone.

 

 The Olitech Easy Flip 4G Phone is a basic feature phone running Android 8, and amongst its low vision options (including Talking keypad) runs the Talkback screen reader usually found on Smart Phones running the Android operating system.

Note - Talking Keys only speaks the phone number keys, whilst Talkback allows access to the general phone plus the keypad, when using Talkback, Talking Keys should be turned off (see later in this guide).

 

What is in the Box

 

Olitech Easy Flip 4G Phone, battery, cradle, USB cable, USB wall adapter, 3.5mm head phones, and quick start users guide.

 

Inserting the Battery and the SIMM Card

 

Remove the cover from the back of the phone: it is just held in with clips (try lifting from the bottom left corner as you face the back of the phone, you should feel a small notch in the corner).

Remove the battery if already inserted (you can lift the battery up from the top of the battery where there is a notch), locate the SIMM tray and the top left hand side of the battery compartment, slide the tray back slightly to the left to allow the tray to be vertical, insert the Nano SIMM card, and close the tray back to vertical and push forward to lock back in to place.

Replace the battery.

Replace the back cover.

 

Charging the Phone

 

Connect the cradle via the Usb cable to the wall adapter and plug in to a power point.

When the cradle is facing you, the back of the cradle is higher than the front.

Put the phone in to the cradle with the screen facing you and the phone of course still folded up.

There is a small charger connecter on the bottom of the phone on the left hand side that connects with the charging points in the cradle.

 

It is recommended to give the phone at least 4 hours worth of charge before trying to use it.

 

The phone can be also charged by plugging in a Micro USB cable to the left side of the phone and plugging it in to the wall adapter, no need to use the cradle.

 

Once the phone is fully setup with the SIMM card, phone on, and Talkback turned on, when you place the phone in the cradle, it will announce via Talkback “charging started, battery level 35 percent”.  When you take the phone out of the charger, Talkback will announce “charging stopped, battery level 80 percent”.

 

Note - A person with Vision can setup Talkback by starting up the phone, going in to Settings, Phone Settings, Accessibility, Talkback, and toggling Talkback on.

If you want to make sure Talking Keys is off, Setttings, Audio Settings, Talking Keys, and toggle it off. 

 

  Physical Description of the Phone

 

Flip Phone opening out from bottom, hinge at top.  The body of the phone containing the keypad is on the bottom, whilst the two screens are on the outside and inside of the top.  The two screens are not touch screens, and can not be accessed by Talkback as found on smart phones with touch screens.  Any Talkback messages concerning swiping on the screen should be ignored.

When the phone is closed, the screen on the outside provides various bits of information.  At its basic, it has the product name “Olitech” and the current time.

Above the outside screen, is the camera (you will feel a small square to the left of which is the flash.

When the phone is open, the inside screen displays all the functionality of the phone itself. 

 

The Volume Up and Volume Down keys are on the right hand side towards top of phone, both keys have a tactile marker on them.  Top one is Volume Up, and the bottom one is Volume Down.

 

Head phone jack on left hand side towards top of phone. Above the head phone jack is the microphone, and below the head phone jack is a micro UsB cable port which can be used to charge the phone or when connected to a computer, transfer data to the phone.

 

Back of phone, (with the hinge on top) below top edge speaker grill on left (used for loud speaker on calls), multimedia and Talkback), and on right indented square SOS key.

The whole back of the phone is a plastic cover which can be lifted off to expose the battery, underneath which is the trays for the Nano SIMM and memory card.  The tray closest to the top of the phone within the battery compartment is the nano SIMM tray, the tray below this is the memory card.

 

Charging connecter on bottom left hand side of main body of phone, this connects up with the charging pins when plugged in to the charging cradle.

 

With phone open - Screen open and angled away from main body of phone.  Contains the inside screen plus speaker slot at top.

This speaker is for use when a call is in progress.  If the phone is switched to loud speaker, the speaker on the back of the phone is used.

 

In front of the keypad, you will feel a rectangular raised part of the phone, this is where the top of the phone rests when the phone is closed.

 

On the main body of the phone, standard keypad with tactile marker on key 5 with Star, and Hash to the left and right of key 0.

 

Above the keypad going up row by row are the function keys for the phone:

Message key, Magnifier Key (uses the camera), and the photo dialling key.

Positioned above the middle Magnifier key, is the cursors key (left, right, up and down), and the Select key in the middle.

To the left and right of the cursor keys, Green key above the Message key, and a Red key above the Photo dialling key.  Green key is to initiate a call, and the Red key is to hang up a call.

The top keys on the left and right of the cursor keys are the Options key on the left and the Back key on the right.

 

There is a good amount of space around the cursor keys, and between the top right Option Key, Back Key, and the other keys below it: i.e. Green key on Left, and Red key on right.  

 

Turning the Phone On, Airplane Mode, and Turning the Phone Off

 

Turning the Phone ON

 

Open up the phone.

If the phone is completely turned off, hold in the Red key (key in the middle to the right of the cursors) for 2 seconds, until a short vibration is felt.

After about 25 seconds, if Talkback has been previously turned on, the announcement “Talkback on, Portrait”, and after 5 seconds a 2nd announcement “Ringer volume 65%, System Multi Page view, 15:04, 26 April 2020 Saturday”.

Phone is ready to be used, you are at the Home screen of the phone.

 

If the phone is open after being turned on, Talkback will announce “System Unlocked”, and then announce the time “15:04”, and you will be placed at the Home screen.

 

Closing the phone, Talkback will announce “Screen Off”.

 

AirPlane Mode

 

To activate Airplane mode with phone on and opened, hold down the Red key for 2 seconds until a short vibration is felt, Talkback will Announce “System, Power, Off, Phone book”.

A pop up menu is now on the screen, which Talkback did not report, but is still usable.

Press the Down Arrow key twice to Airplane mode, Talkback will announce “Airplane mode is off, press Select key to activate”.

After pressing select key to turn on Airplane mode, you will be back at the Home screen.

To turn Airplane mode off, hold in the Red key for 2 seconds until a vibration is felt, press Down Arrow key twice, and press Select key to turn Airplane mode off.

 

Turning Phone Off (completely)

 

To turn phone off, with phone on and opened, hold down the Red key for 2 seconds until a short vibration is felt, Talkback will Announce “System, Power Off, Phone book”.

A pop up menu is now on the screen, which Talkback did not report, but is still usable.

The focus is now on Power Off, pressing Select key will turn off the phone completely.  You will hear the turning off tune followed by a longer vibration that was felt when you first turned the phone on from being completely turned off.

 

The 2nd option in the Power menu, is Reboot, this will restart the phone straight away with a short vibration being felt and go through the usual turning on sequence from scratch i.e. phone will be all the way on after 30 seconds.

 

Silent and Wake Modes

 

If you want to put the phone in silent mode so that the phone doesn’t ring but only vibrates with an incoming call, hold down the Hash key (to the right of 0) for 2 seconds, you will feel a very quick vibration, silent mode is turned on.

 

The best way to confirm if it is on with Talkback is to close the phone, and Talkback will announce “Screen Off, Ringer Vibrate”.

 

To turn off silent mode so that the phone will Ring with an incoming call, hold in the Hash key for 2 seconds, this time no vibration will be felt, and closing the phone this time the Talkback Announcement will only be “Screen Off’.

 

Answering and hanging Up a Call

 

Open the phone to answer a call.

 

Close the phone to hang up on a call.

 

If the phone is already open, press the Green key to answer call, and then either the Red key to hang up on the call or close the phone.

 

For the phone to answer the call when you open it, make sure in Settings, Phone Settings, Answer Mode, Flip Answer is checked”.

 

Caller ID

 

When an incoming call is being received, the Caller ID will be announced, either the contact name if in the Phone book or the number itself.

 

You can control your own Caller ID settings in Settings, Call Settings, Additional Settings, Caller ID..

 

Dialling a Number

 

At the Home screen, simply start entering the numbers on the keypad (remember there is a tactile marker on the 5 key), Talkback will announce each number as it is entered.

After the whole number has been entered, press the Green key (middle key to the left of the cursors) to dial the number.

You will feel two short vibrations as the call is placed and Talkback will announce the phone number or contact name (if the number is in the Phone book) as the phone is dialling.

 

To end the call, either close the phone or press the Red key, You will hear a short beep to let you know the call has ended.

 

You can delete numbers when you are putting them in with the Back key, and you can also review what numbers you have put in at any time with the Left or Right Arrow keys, just be careful as if you move with the Left or Right arrow keys and then you put in another number, it will be where you have moved to, and not at the end of the number (this will take some practise to work out where the entry point is when using the cursors).

Simply with the cursor movement with Left Arrow key, the entry point is to the left of the number you have just heard, and with the Right arrow key to the right of the number you have just heard.

 

Speed Dialling

 

You can hold in numbers from 1 to 9 for 2 seconds to automatically or speed dial a preset number.

The number 1 key by default will ring Voice Mail.

To enter in other speed dial numbers to associate with numbers 2 through to 9, you will have to use the Photo dialling function (not covered in this quick start guide), press the Photo dialling key above 3 on the keypad to access this function directly.

 

Putting a Call on Loud Speaker

 

When on a call to turn on loud speaker (or hands free mode) press the Options key, and press the Select key on Speaker.  This will turn on the speaker at the back of the phone and is quite loud.

 

To turn off loud speaker mode, press the Options key, press the Select key on Speaker and the speaker above the main screen will become active again for private conversation (ie. hold phone to your ear).

 

As noted below in Talkback tips, when on a call, Talkback will speak out of the same speaker the call is active on.

 

Amplify Receiver Volume

 

To Amplify the receiver volume, Settings, Audio Settings, Amplify Receiver Volume, and press Select key to toggle (check) on or off).

 

Checking All Calls or Missed Calls Log

 

All Calls

 

At the Home screen after you open the phone, press the Green key Talkback will announce the last phone or name called from your Phone book and then a count of how many numbers are in the list.

Simply use the Down or Up Arrow keys to navigate this list, press Back key to exit and return to the Home screen.

 

If you want to call any of the numbers or choose other options, press the Options key, from the menu, press the Select key on 

Send a Message, Details, Call, Add to Phone book, Add to Black List, Delete or Select to Delete.

To exit the menu, simply press the Back key.

 

Missed Calls

 

At the Home screen after you open the phone, press the Green key, Talkback will announce the last phone or name called from your Phone book and then a count of how many numbers are in the list, this is the All Calls list.

Simply press the Right Arrow key to move to the missed calls list, Up or Down Arrow keys to go through the list, and use the Options key to Send a Message, Call, Delete etc.

 

Sending a Message

 

Press the Message key (key directly above the number 1 on the keypad).

Press the Options key to bring up the Options menu, and press the Select key on the first option which is New Message.

Type in the number of the person you wish to send the message to or the name of the person if they are in your Phone book).

See keypad keys for letters or numbers at the end of this document.

Press The Down Arrow key, enter message via keypad, Press Right Arrow key to move to the Send button, and press the Select key to send message.

Press the Back key to return to the Home screen or simply close phone.

 

Reading a Message

 

Press the Message key.

Press the Down or Up Arrow keys to go through the list of messages.

If there is more than one message from a person, you will hear the phone number or name if they are in the phone book followed by the number of messages: eg Ellen 5.

Talkback will read out the message or the last message in a message thread, i.e. where there are multiple messages from the same contact).

To go in to a thread, press the Select key, then Up or Down Arrow key to navigate and hear all the messages.

Note, when you go in to a message or thread, you will be put in to a reply field at the bottom of the message, pressing Up Arrow key will take you to the message list.  The author of this guide finds it makes Talkback more responsive to read if you Up Arrow key to the top of the list, then Down Arrow key through each message as it speaks.

Also, when going up or down through this message list (like some other lists on the phone), you will hear a quiet descending tone when moving down or ascending tone when moving up with either the Down or Up Arrow keys.

To come out of a message list press the Back key until you get back to the main Home screen.

 

Accessing the Menu Options on the Phone

 

At the Home screen, the Arrow keys will allow you to navigate the options in the menu, and pressing the Select key will take you in to that option, and the Back key will take you back to the previous option or Back to the Home screen.

After opening the phone:

Press the Right Arrow key to start moving through the list of menu options or the left key to move back.

Note - as you will be on the first option in the menu, you will not hear it when you press the Right Arrow key, to hear it, simply press the Left Arrow key.

 

Options in the main menu are: Phone book, Message, Call log, Photo dial, Camera, Multimedia, Safety/SOS, Organiser, Settings, and App.

 

For example, to get to Settings, press the Right Arrow key until you hear Settings, press the Select key, Talkback will announce “Settings, 6 items”, use Up or Down Arrow keys to navigate these sub-menus, and press Select key on the option you want.  Pressing the Back key will take you back to the previous menu and eventually back to the Home screen (where the list of all of the options are).

 

Adding and Using a Contact in the Phone Book

 

From the Home screen, Select Phone book with the Select key from the main menu, Down Arrow key to Add Contact, and press the Select key.

Note - Phone Book is the first item in the main menu before Message.

You will then be presented with a number of fields in which you can enter text (use the Down or Up Arrow keys to move to the next or previous field) Which are:

Name,

Telephone,

Record the name (ignore if you like),

Ring tone (ignore and use default if you like),

Save button (press the Select key to save entry).

After adding a contact, you will be back at the main Phone book screen.

Now at any time, you can use the Phone book to Down or Up Arrow key to a contact, press the Options key, and press the Select key on Call, Send a message, View, Edit, Copy to SIMM card, Select to Delete, Black list management, Export or import.

 

Adjusting the Audio Settings (Volume and Tones)

 

To adjust the various volumes for media, alarm, and the tones or sounds that are played for the Ringer etc, Settings, Audio Settings, Tones and Volume.

 

 Down or Up Arrow key to go through the list for Media volume, Alarm volume, and Ring volume: for each one of these, use the Left or Right Arrow keys to adjust (the phone will play a sound to let you know the currently selected volume).

In the same Tones/Volume menu after the above volumes, there is vibrate for calls (toggle), Do Not Disturb Settings, Phone ring tone (up to 20 different ring tones), and Advanced notifications sounds (pressing the Select key on this will expand the current Tones/Volume menu to access other sounds for Alarm etc which you can Up or Down arrow key through and select with the Select key).

 

As you adjust the media, alarm or ringer volumes with the Left and Right Arrow keys, after the sound has been played to demonstrate how soft or loud the sound is, if you wait about a second after the sound is played, Talkback will let you know the actual percentage of the current volume.

 

Note - none of these volumes alter the volume of talkback, this can only be done via the volume keys where you can then adjust the ringer or accessibility (Talkback) volumes.

 

Selecting the Ringer Sound to Play when Receiving a Call

 

To select your own tone or sound to play when you have an incoming call, Settings, Audio Settings, Tones and Volume, Phone ring tone (current setting such as 02), press the Select key to bring up tones list (the current tone will start to play automatically).

To go through and hear each ring tone, use the Up or Down Arrow keys to go through each tone, and then press the Select key on the one you want to use.

 

Note - the author of this guide on the current phone used to write this guide can not get the tones to change using Talkback: the default sound of 02 stays as the default ring tone.

 

Menu Display (visibility of Menu Options))

 

One excellent feature of the phone is to uncheck or hide those options in the Main Menu that you may not want to use (you can always check or show them later).

 

This cuts down on how many times you have to press the Left or Right Arrow keys to navigate your Main Menu.

 

To hide the options in the Main menu from the Home screen, 

Settings, Menu Visibility, and then use the Select key to uncheck or check each of the options in the menu which includes Message, Call Logs, Photo Dial, Phone Book, Camera, Multimedia, Safety/SOS, Organiser, and App.

For example, the author of this guide unchecked Camera, and App.

 

One Cool Feature of the phone (FM Radio Under Multimedia)

 

If you would like to listen to FM radio on your phone like you would on a standard radio, from the Home screen menu, MultiMedia, Down Arrow key to FM Radio, and press the Select key.

 

If this is your first time using the FM Radio, press Options key, press the Select key on Auto Search and Save, and the phone will search for all the FM stations near you that it can pick up, and put them in a list that you can then Up or Down Arrow key through, then press the Select key on the station you want to listen to.

 

If you have been previously listening to a radio station before, when you go back in to FM Radio, that station will start to play automatically.

 

To stop or pause the station playing, press the Options key, Down Arrow key to Pause and press the Select key. 

 

If you exit the FM Radio whilst it is still playing, a pop up will ask you if you want to keep the radio in the Background or Quit, choose either one with the Left or Right Arrow keys and press the Select key.

You may find it hard to listen to both the Radio and Talkback in the background whilst getting used to the phone, so perhaps choose Quit to stop the Radio and exit.

 

If you close the phone whilst the FM Radio is playing, the radio will keep playing, when you open the phone, you will be back at the Home screen and you will have to go through Multimedia, Radio, and either another station or press Options key and select Pause with the Select key to stop the current station from playing.

 

A huge tip, if you have the phone on silent mode, whilst the phone will say its playing the radio station, it is but the sound is set to 0.  You will have to put the phone back in wake mode: i.e. to toggle between silent and wake (hold down the Hash key for 2 seconds, remember when you feel the very quick short vibrate, the ringer is on silent).

 

Safety or SOS Mode

 

The big square button on the back of the phone when pressed in for more than 4 seconds, will automatically sound a very loud warning personal alarm, and call the emergency contacts (set up in Safety from the main menu).

 

To set this up, choose Safety from the main menu, Press the Select key on SOS, make sure it is enabled (Talkback will say checked or unchecked, if unchecked press the Select key to check), then choose Emergency Contacts with the Select key when you move to it.

Within the Emergency Contacts menu, you have the ability to put in 5 contact mobile numbers, if the first can’t be reached, the 2nd will be dialled and so on.

If you go back with the Back key to the SOS menu, after the Enable checkbox and Emergency Contact options, you will also find Warning Tone checkbox (plays the warning alarm if checked), Send Location (GPS location) checkbox (to Emergency Contacts), and Emergency Message option that you can customise to also be sent to Emergency Contacts.

Finally, if you back up again with the Back key to where you first went in to Safety, after the SOS option, you also have a Low Battery Notification option where you have a number of options including Status checkbox, Notify Contacts, and Notification SMS Message (which can be customised).

 

Quick Settings

 

If you hold down the Options key for 1 second at any time whilst using the phone, the Quick Settings pop up will appear.

This comprises a brightness control at the top, then a 3 by 2 row grid of items, and a Close Quick Settings key.

Just a tip, if you try and move with the Left or Right Arrow keys on the Brightness control, it will decrease or increase the brightness of the screen, use the Down Arrow key to get to the actual grid of items.  Also, once you move focus from being on the grid to the right with the Right Arrow key to the Close Quick Setting Button, if you press Left Arrow key to go back to the grid, the focus will actually return to the brightness control, and you will have to press Down Arrow key to get back to the grid again.

When you are in the grid below, Left or Right Arrow keys will move between the 3 columns of the grid, and the Up or Down Arrow keys will move you between the 2 rows of the grid.

Note when you move in to the grid from the screen brightness control, you will be on the centre column, and then can move Left or Right to either side or of course down.

Each of the items on the grid is a toggle button, press the Select key to turn them on or off.

First row on the Grid from left to right - WiFi, Bluetooth, Do Not Disturb.

Second row on the grid from left to right - Mobile Data, Airplane mode, Hotspot.

To exit the Quick Settings screen either use the Close Quick Settings button or press the Back key.

 

Note - yes, your phone can also connect to a WiFi network, and be used as a Mobile Hotspot, in case you were wondering about these options in the Quick Settings screen.

Settings, Connectivity, and choose either WLAN or Mobile HotSpot with the Select key.

 

Connecting a Bluetooth Headset (or external keyboard)

 

As with most phones these days, you can connect a Bluetooth head phone or given the fact that the phone is also an Android phone, you can also connect an external Bluetooth keyboard.

 

Bluetooth connection to connect a head phone, Settings, Connectivity, Bluetooth, On (or Off switch, if off press the Select key to toggle Bluetooth on), Down Arrow key to Pair new device, after pressing Select, phone will scan for available devices, Down Arrow key to get to your device if shown, press Select to pair your device to the phone, head phones  will connect automatically in most cases.

Pressing Back key will take you back to the previous main Bluetooth menu where all the previously connected devices will be listed which you can connect to by Down or Up arrowing to and pressing the Select key.

The author of this guide has used the Trekz Titanium Bone conduction head phones with the 4G flip phone without any issues.

 

Connecting to a Bluetooth keyboard is mainly the same as the above.  However, when you Select the keyboard to connect, you will get a pop up dialog box with a checkbox that you will need to check to allow the keyboard access to your contacts (an Android permission thing), and then select the Pair button by moving to it with the Arrow keys and pressing the Select key.

Some points about using a Bluetooth keyboard with the 4G flip phone in particular:

All the BT keyboard Arrow keys will work in the correct direction and speak,

The Select key on the BT keyboard is the Enter key,

All alphabet keys on the BT keyboard from A to Z will work as expected (getting away from the fact that you don’t have to use the T9 or alphabetic way of inputting text in to a message etc).

Using numbers on the BT keyboard from 1 to 9 and 0, will work the way the T9 system works.  So if you press 1 you will enter . (Period), if you press 2 you will enter a, if you press 3 you will enter d and so on.  You may find it easier to just put in numbers on the phone keypad itself, if you really really want to, you could press say 2 for times to get the number 2.

The phone does alert to change the keyboard type when first going in to a new message, but the author of this guide has not found a way of changing the keyboard type.

The Escape key on the BT keyboard acts as the Back key.

Pressing the Control with the Escape key on the Bt keyboard is your Options key.

Sadly, when you are at the Home screen, whilst you can enter in numbers “normally” using the Bt keyboard and the row of numbers on your keyboard, there doesn’t appear to be any way to emulate the Green key to initiate a phone call from the keyboard itself. However, once you entered in the number on the BT keyboard, you could just press the Green key on the phone keypad itself if you wished.

 

The BT keyboard will allow you to navigate through the menus, change settings, and allow you to type in a message text or Contact name in the Phone book.

The author of this guide has used the Magic Keyboard from Apple with the 4G flip phone without any issues (remember the issue with entering in numbers).

 

Tips for Talkback Screen Reader users

 

As mentioned at the beginning of this guide, you will need some one with vision to turn on Talkback initially in Settings, Phone Settings, Accessibility, Talkback, and toggle it on.

At this point, make sure Talking Keys is also turned off as you will get the keypad itself speaking twice, Settings, Audio Settings, Talking Keys and toggle it off.

Note - Talking Keys is only really for low vision folks who want the keypad to speak, it does not speak anything else on the phone, this is what Talkback is for.

 

If you have Messages waiting or Phone calls that you have missed, please note that the Messages or Phone option in the main menu will show a number rather than the actual name of the Option.

For example, the 3 options next to each other would normally read as Phone, Message, Calls log, but if you have 2 unread messages and 3 missed calls, then this order would then be read as, Phone, 2, 3.

Until you read or clear the Messages or Call log, these numbers will stay the same and will not display the main menu option for Message or Call log.

 

When dialling a number manually at the Home screen, the first number being entered on the keypad may not sometimes be entered, press the number again and Talkback will announce the number as it is entered correctly.

The author of this guide believes it is the system bringing up the edit field where the number can be typed: i.e. the first key press wakes the phone to bring up the edit field.

 

If you want to change the Language of the speech that Talkback is speaking:

English Australia, India, United Kingdom or United States,

Settings, Phone Settings, Accessibility, Text to Speech Output, Language (current language such as United States), and elect desired language.

The voice will change straight away to the new language.  However, the first time the author of this guide tried this from United States to Australia, it took several minutes and then the voice changed whilst using the phone.

 

To change the Speech Rate or the Pitch of the Talkback voice:

Settings, Phone Settings, Accessibility, Text to Speech, and select either Speech Rate or Pitch.

When you are on either of these two options, press the Left Arrow key to decrease or Right Arrow key to increase the Speech Rate or Pitch.

You will not hear a change in the voice speech rate or pitch until you press the Up or Down Arrow keys to make the phone speak, you can also use the Play button at the bottom of this menu to test out the voice speech rate or pitch to see how it sounds.

 

If you are a low vision user or if you want to share the phone with other people who don’t need to use Talkback, you can enable the Volume keys shortcut in Settings, Phone Settings, Accessibility, Volume Keys, and toggle Talkback.  This will let you hold down the Volume Up and Volume Down keys for 3 seconds to enable or disable Talkback.

 

To adjust the Ringer volume or the Accessibility Volume (Talkback) takes a little bit of trial and error as when you press either the Volume Up or Volume Down keys on the right hand side of the phone, a Volume dialog pops up which Talkback will not speak beyond announcing Ring Volume Controls Shown, swipe up to dismiss (ignore this as the screen is not a touch screen).

Ringer Volume and Accessibility Volume are now shown on the screen.  

As Talkback is ignoring this popup menu, you will hear Talkback read the items underneath the pop up menu which you can ignore.  Trial and error here is the key.

A sequence could be to adjust the sound of Talkback Accessibility:

Press Volume Up key,

Press Right Arrow key twice,

Press Volume Up or Volume Down key to adjust volume,

If you hear “ringer volume”, press the Left Arrow key, and try adjusting the volume again (you should then hear accessibility volume is xx percent).

It does take a little bit of hit and miss, but it is certainly doable.  There does not appear to be any other way to adjust the volume of Talkback.

 

When on a phone call, both the sound of Talkback and the call are using the same speaker, either when in privacy mode (the front speaker) or when you Select Speaker from the Options menu (back speaker).

It is worth noting here to make it clear, when not on a phone call, Talkback speech is heard from the back speaker, but when on a call, is on the same speaker as the phone call.

 

If you hold down the Volume up key for more than 3 seconds, the torch will be turned on but you will not get notified by Talkback, but people around you may comment on the fact your phone appears to have its torch on.  To turn it off, hold the Volume Up key again for 3 seconds.

 

If you are on an automated telephone system (such as a bank phone service) where you press numbers to select different options, if you do not press any keys for 10 seconds, the keypad will go to sleep (and a slight sound will be heard).  Pressing any key will wake up the keyboard, but this key will not be entered to the service you are using, it has simply woken up the keypad.  Once the keypad is awake by pressing any number key, you can then use the phone service as before with each key press being recognised.

 

As you are using a physical keypad, unlike touch screen phones with screen readers, you can find the key you need by physically locating the key rather than having to listen to the screen reader whilst you read the flat touch screen to locate the correct key to use or have the system time out on you as you are taking to long.

 

If you are using the phone, you will be notified via a pop up message that the battery is going flat.  However, if you open the phone, the same message will pop up and will not be spoken until you press the Back key to dismiss the pop up message.

For folks who can’t see the screen, it may appear as if the phone is no longer working.

The Author of this guide recommends as soon as you hit below 20 percent battery power, that you plug the phone in to charge as the system alerts for low battery will start to get annoying.

 

When entering in numbers or letters via the T9 system or alphabetic keyboard where 2 equals a b c, 3 equals d e f etc, some confusion may happen when listening to Talkback.

For example, to enter the letter c in to a text field such as in a message or phone book, the number 2 key needs to be pressed 3 times.  However, what you will hear with Talkback will be: a B C replaced b.  This just means as the last sequence, this was the letter to be entered.

For the letter b, 2 is pressed twice.  Talkback will say, a b b has replaced a.

Talkback is actually doing the correct interpretation of what is going on.

The trick here is to more or less ignore what Talkback is saying, as you can use the left or right Arrow keys to find out what has actually been entered.

Remember, when entering in a letter that requires more than one press of a number key, you have to do it fairly quickly as the phone may think you have finished and put the character in that it thinks you want.

 

Not all of the options in the Organiser menu are accessible with Talkback.  For example,  the Calculator doesn’t work at all, and the Alarm function is certainly fiddly.

 

Every now and again, you may hear Talkback announce “system” before announcing an option.  This means the phone is busy, and in some situations the phone may become unstable and Talkback not work correctly.  At this point if you can, use the Red key to Power Off or Reboot the phone or take the battery out, pop it back in, and turn on with the Red key again (remembering to hold for 2 seconds).

The author of this guide, mainly found this issue when using the Magnification option from the main menu of the Home screen: eg the key above the number 2 key on the keypad.  This may be as result of too many resources being used on the phone between Talkback, the magnification function, and the camera itself.

 

Sometimes there may be an unknown pop up system message which for some reason will stop Talkback from talking, in these situations, usually pressing the Bak Key a few times will clear the screen and the phone will start talking again.

 

Overall stability of Talkback on the Olitech Easy Flip 4G phone the Author puts at about 92 percent.

 

Where to purchase the Olitech Easy Flip 4G phone 

 

You may purchase the Olitech Easy Flip 4G phone from the Vision Australia Vision Store for $199 Australian.

Simply go to the Vision Store shop at:

https://shop.visionaustralia.org or ring Vision Australia on 1300 847 466 if you have any questions about the phone.

 

Letters and numbers when Typing on the Keypad

 

To get to a character or letter, you have to press the number key a number of times to get to a specific letter or use the actual number of the key.

For example, to get to a, the number 2 has to be pressed one time, to enter the letter b the 2 key has to be pressed twice, to get to the letter c the number 2 key has to be pressed 3 times or to use the actual number 2 for putting in to a message, you would have to press the number 2 key 4 times.

This gets quite fast when your used to it, for example David would be:

3 pressed once for D,

2 pressed once for a,

8 pressed 3 times for v,

4 pressed for times for I, and finally

3 again pressed once for d.

To enter in a space, it is the 0 key pressed once, as pressing it a second time would put in a zero (0).

For capital letters, the Hash key will cycle between lower case and upper case (capitals).

 

The Keypad List for Using the T9 or Alphabetic Typing Mode

 

We’re leaving 1 to last as it’s probably the most difficult to use given how many times you have to press the key.

2 - a b c 2,

3 - d e f 3,

4 - g h I 4,

5 - j k l 5,

6 - m n o 6,

7 - p q r s 7,

8 - t u v 8,

9 - w x y z 9,

0 - Space 0.

 

Putting in 1 is tricky, as pressing 1 takes you through quite a few punctuation marks, and then the actual number 1.

 

Sequence is Period, at, comma, apostrophe, question mark, exclamation mark, slash, underscore, dash, and 1.

 

Luckily when the phone expects numbers to be entered such as at the Home screen for manual dialling or in the Phone book when putting in a contacts phone number, the keypad acts like a normal keypad with numbers from 1 to 9 and 0.

 

David Woodbridge April 26 2020

 

End of document

In this demo, I show you how to use Swift Playgrounds on the Mac using the Tello Space Travel template to give the Tello Edu Drone (in my case) commands to fly itself around my garden.

 

In this demo, I show you how VoiceOver access's the Trackpad when you are using VoiceOver on the iPad.

A little bit better than singing Happy Birthday to yourself twice.

Give it a go, just say "ok Google Help Me Wash My Hands".

 

In this demo, I show you the nifty Airfix Aluminum Bluetooth Transmitter adapter which by plugging it in to a 3.5mm head phone port, enables Bluetooth on that device.

You then simply pair the Airfix to something like a Google Home or Amazon Echo and off you go.

In this demo, I show you 3 devices that are avaialble from the Vision Australia Vision Store if you are interested in them which are the Envoy Connect Daisy player, Sangean Accessible Radio, and the Victor Reader Stream 2nd edition, all of which are non Bluetooth enabled devices themselves.

Here is the link to the Amazon store where I purchased the Airfix:

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B081YWKGTY?ref_=pe_2361882_295287342_301_E_DDE_dt_1

In this demo, I take you through this nifty little Accessories Kit that I use with my AirPods Pro including case, key ring, watch band/toggle, neck strap, and ear hooks.

I find the case is great for water proofing my charging case, attaching the case to my lanaird, the neck strap so I don't loose either AirPods Pro and/or the Ear Hooks to also keep them on my ears.

Here is the link to Amazon where I purchased them, I think for about $13 US:

https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0819NXZB9?ref_=pe_2361882_297267902_302_E_DDE_di_1

In this demo, I take you through the Code Jumper Kit, setting up the Code Jumper Hub, downloading the Code Jumper Windows 10 app, connecting the Hub to the PC, and take you through some coding exercises.

For more info:

http://www.codejumper.com

or to purchase in australia:

http://shop.visionaustralia.org

Enjoy

 

Using the Accessibility Apple TV option to switch the Apple TV remote from gestures to the traditional Up, Down, Left, Right, and Select buttons.

Visually on the screen these buttons appear as a cursor cross with select in the middle.

VoiceOver users can either flick left or right between these buttons or use explore by touch to navigate the cursor cross.

A few demos ago, I showed you how I split the Mac system sound and VoiceOver synthetic that speech to make it easier to focus on both at the same time.

I said in the demo, that I used my mixer or you could use a USB head set etc to do this.

I have just received my Aluminium UsB External stereo Sound card for use on both Mac and Windows from the ATGuys for $10 US and it works like a dream smile.

In this demo, I show you how easy it is to use the UsB sound card, in my case, on the Mac for System Sounds to go out through the card, and VoiceOver using the internal sound card.

note - as the UsB Sound Card has no speaker, you will have to plug in speakers etc to hear sound, plus it has a 3.5mm jack for a microphone as well.

Similar to my first drone demo, but this time it is on the Mac.

This accessible power bank solves 3 questions for me:

Is the power bank charging?

How much charge is left in the power bank?

Is the devices Ive plugged in to the power bank charging?

Through audio tones and vibrations, the Energrid Accessible portable Power Bank answers all of these 3 questions/issues.

A fantastic product.

Available from:

https://www.atguys.com

 

 

In this demo, I show you how to select the various Mac OS accessibility options so that you can use your preferred access options at the Login Prompt.

Note - this demo was done on the current beta of Mac OS Catalina at the time of recording Feb 18 2020.

As I said in the demo, I havne't looked at the Login options for quite a while, it used to be just VoiceOver, but now it is all the Accessibility options.

 

In this demo, I show you how to split VoiceOver Speech away from System Sound so that if your recording you don't get VoiceOver being part of the recording.

Another situation could be, if your listening to a Zoom Webinar for example, you can more easally take notes when you have separate sound sources between the webinar and you listening to VoiceOver.

After I did my Scanjig demo, I learned that apparently they were no longer being produced, so I am assuming because I was able to buy mine through Amazon, that the units were sitting in a warehouse somewhere and being sold whilst stocks last as it were.

Consequently, I thought I should do a demo of a current stand which is still being produced: the Belkin portable  Tablet Stage Stand which you can use with your iPhone, iPad etc via apps for OcR, video magnification, Zoom conferencing or what ever you would like to use a great solid portable fold up stand for.

In the demo, I do refer to the Belkin Portable as the Belkin mini as this is what a lot of people refer to it as: i.e. in relation to the full size Belkin Tablet Stage Stand which I mention in the demo.

https://www.belkin.com/us/p/p-b2b118/

Canute Chat and demo.

 

D - Hi Eden, and welcome to the podcast to talk and demo the Canute.

 

E - Thanks David.  The Canute is basically a 9 line by 40 cell Braille reader.  It has very crisp Braille.

 

D - have you ever felt the Orbit Reader 20 Braille?

 

E - Yes.

This Braille is better.

 

D - How big is the actual unit? 9 lines of Braille sounds quite large.

 

E - a bit wider than a braille book, depth almost like a cassette player, and is an inch or so high.  The Braille lines are spaced a bit further apart like on a Braille Page, but not too much, you can get used to it.

I was concerned about the refresh rate for the 9 lines which takes about  10 seconds, but am quite used to this now.

 

D - What are the controls on the unit?

 

E - so a bit of a description.

On the front of the unit, there are 3 buttons from left to right they are Back, Menu, and Forward with their associated labels on the top face of the unit in Braille.

On the right hand side, the power chord is wright next to the Power button (on the left), and if you are not careful, when you pick up the unit with the chord attached, you can bump the Power button.

The left hand side has an HDMI port to view content on a screen, head phone jack (not yet used), full sized SD card slot where you put your sD card with your books, above this is 2 USB ports for using UsB sticks (you still need the SD card if you want bookmarks), and a UsB B port (not yet functional).

On the top of the unit, on the top left hand side, is the Help context menu, and below this you have 9 buttons labelled 1 to 9 (shaped as a triangle)and then a 0 button (shaped as a square): these buttons are used for bookmarking, and in the menu.

When you turn the unit on, it can take up to 50 seconds for it to start up, at one stage, everything goes quiet, you think there is something wrong, and then the Braille page you have been working on appears.

It does not have any onboard translation, reading both BRF and PEF files.

Works with various Braille translation software produced files.

 

D - So does that mean you could download any BRF book, and have the unit read it?

 

E - Absolutely yes.

I got it mainly for Braille music.  I was thinking about using it for general reading, but I’m concerned on how noisy the Braille display actually is, and annoying people around me.

Another point, it ways 6 to 7 pounds, so it is quite heavy.  Then again, it feels extremely well made.

Besides the noise of the Braille displays, I’m still concerned about bumping the power button when I don’t mean to.

 

D - So what do you actually get in the Box besides the actual unit?

 

E - you get a power chord (although I got two as I think the other one is for Europe), you get a quick start page in Braille and in print.  However, the full manual is online, and it is only 4 pages: it is a very simple device, it does what it is designed to do. 

 

D - when you turn the unit on, how much help does the Help button give you?

 

E - the Help button is for contextual help depending on what you are doing, and is quite useful.  I found I didn’t need to use it at all as the unit is so easy to use.

 

D - you mentioned the Menu button, besides accessing Bookmarks, what else can you do in the menu?

E - you can as you say go to bookmarks, the system menu, go to page number. Each Bookmark gives you a line of braille where that bookmark was set.

 

D - I’m assuming as since you can not  edit, there is no auto cursoring buttons above each of the actual Braille cells?

 

E - No.

The unit is for reading only.

The developer has said they will be working with NVDA and Google to see if they can get some drivers developed, but I honestly don’t know how this would work out: I can’t imagine using the unit for fast navigation with a screen reader.

I think people need to except the unit for what it it is, a multi line Braille reader.

 

D - I’m assuming that when you are  reading, your moving forward or back 9 lines (page)at a time?

 

E - Yes.

One thing I wish they could add would be for you to just go forward or back perhaps one line to get the rest of the line you were reading and didn’t fit within the 9 lines being displayed.

I’m still impressed by the refresh rate, quality of the Braille, build quality of the unit, and the fact there were no promises made beyond what the unit was designed to do: read a Braille file.

 

D - So let’s say your reading Harry Potter, can you move to the beginning of the book or skip through the book?

 

E - Yes.

You can jump to the beginning, but this is where Bookmarks become so important, as they are your navigation markers for the book.

 

D - Ok, do we want to do the crash test as it were and turn the unit on?

 

E - Yes.

When you first turn it on, it displays “please wait” on the first line, makes quite a bit of noise, clears then any previous displayed Braille, goes quiet as far as the display is concerned, and then finally shows the document in this case of what I was working on last.  Takes up to 50 seconds, but I’ve found this time can very.

Now I’m on my document with very crisp Braille.

 

D - So if I was a new user, what would pressing the Help button give me?

 

E - it shows you in Braille contextual help of what you can do as as this point I’m in my document and it explains how to navigate.

If I press the Help button again, I return to my document being displayed on the unit with all lines being refreshed.

 

D - So how long does it take to change between the current 9 lines and the next 9 lines?

 

E - Let’s try it.

Takes about 9 or so seconds with each line making a noise as it pops up with the Braille.

 

D - So that clicking sound I was hearing was each line popping up?

 

E - Yes.

I find putting the unit on something soft tends to deaden the sound a bit.

 

D - Did it take a while not reaching for the panning button on a single line Braille display since you could read 9 lines?

 

E - No.

I’ve always disliked panning on single line Braille displays.

With my QBraille, I can use auto scroll, but sometimes you want to be reading at your own pace, this allows you to do that.

 

D - Is the unit battery operated?

 

E - Sadly no.

Having a battery inside would add more weight, and I don’t think it is the sort of thing you drop in your bag and flick out at a moments notice again due to size and weight.

I think we are a bit spoiled with all the portable solutions we currently have on the market.

 

D - What type of support have you gotten from where you purchased the unit with any issues you may have had?

 

E - I haven’t had any issues.

Usually when I get a new device, I can work out fairly quickly if anything is going wrong, this system has been excellent.

All of my questions were answered before I purchased the unit.

The only thing I wish the unit would have come with would have been some type of case.

 

D - Yes, that is a lot of Braille cells to keep clean.

When you have been reading your music Braille, how have you found reading on the 9 lines?

 

E - it has been very good.

I mess around playing the piano and harp.

I can actually use two lines to read the correct music notation on different lines which I couldn’t really do on a single line Braille display.

 

D - I was thinking about that USB B port you mentioned, I wonder if this is for connecting the unit to a PC so you can transfer files across.

 

E - It doesn’t work at the moment.

It could be used for that purpose.

This is very early days, and what it does, is very good.

Compared to the Orbit Reader 20 cells, this is an overall cheaper Braille display cels wise.

 

D - Yes agree.  It isn’t that hard any way to stick files on a SD card or UsB stick and use them on the unit.

 

E - Yes.

You do need some basic computer skills to copy the files on to a Sd card or USB stick.  However, you could always get someone else to put the files on to a Sd card etc for you.

 

D - So any final thoughts? Who is the Canute best for?

 

E - Good for:

musicians, maths, programmers, and reading/literacy.

 

D - So Eden, can you turn it off, I just want to hear what it does?

 

E - Yes.

Its now saying please wait, making a chunk chunk sound, and now I think it’s done.

I fond I have to wait for a minute or so to make sure its off.

Main hint is not to press the Power button again, as it’ll turn back on, and you’ll have to turn it off again.

 

D - Great.  Thanks for the chat, I think we covered a fair bit.

If people wanted to get in contact with you, is Twitter the best?

 

E - Yes.

Twitter would be good.

It is a bit long, My Twitter address is:

Linnea710420.

 

D - Thanks for that, and thank you for coming on to the program.

 

E - you are  welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the first demo of flying the Tello Edu Drone using Swift Playgrounds, the Tello Space Template, and VoiceOver.

As with my Dash Robot series, the Tello apps remain inaccessible to VoiceOver users, hence Swift Playgrounds.

Note - Swift Playgrounds only runs on an iPad.  In this initial demo, I am already inside the Tello Space Template going through the first instruction set, you download the template inside Swift Playgrounds and its free.

Enjoy the demo, more to come!!!!

In this demo, I show you how easy it is to customise your own VoiceOver gestures in iOS 13.

In the demo, to start off with when I am showing you my custom gestures, my Home button function is already set to 2 finger swipe left to save a bit of time whilst I go through the other 3 custom VoiceOver gestures.

 

In this demo, I show you how easy it is to navigate the menu driven self voicing Guide Connect software from Dolphin Systems using a physical Remote Control.

This software is excellent for folks who don't want the complexity of learning the computer, application, and screen reader, all they need to know is how to navigate and use Guide Connects simple menu driven structure.

Besides using the Remote Control, you can also use a mouse, touch screen (such as a Surface Pro) or the keyboard or any combination of the whole lot grin.

 

Enjoy

 

I know the Scanjig has been around for quite a while, but this is the first time I've played with one in

Australia.

 

Allows papers to be scanned via portrait mode or when tilted, allows books to be also scanned (not recommended for tablets in this mode).

 

About the size and thickness of an oldish scanner (eg Canon LIDE 200), made of white plastic, easy to assemble, and fits comfortably in a computer bag.

 

I used the Scanjig with my iPhone via the Seeing AI app with the Document Channel, and once placed on the stand, started the process of scanning straightaway once it was in the correct position (as I explain in the demo).

 

I purchased this Scanjig from Amazon for about $75 US.

 

For more info and a manual, you can go to:

http://www.scanjig.com

 

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).

 

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