In this demo, I show you how you can use the Nimbus Game Controller with BlindDrive, this really really brings the game to life. Remember, 12 years and above, but I chose a non swearing chapter in the game (Getting Through) to demonstrate the use of the NimbusSteel Series Game Controller. Enjoy.
Voice Control on iOS Using VoiceOver
Voice Control is very handy on the iPhone with VoiceOver.
You do get better results if you use head phones.
Turn on Voice Control in Settings, Accessibility, voice Control.
You may need to set Voice Control Language to United States rather than Uk in Voice Control Settings.
What can I Say? (Need to use VoiceOver to read screen
Go To Sleep
Scroll Left, Right, Up or Down
Open App Switcher
Open Notifications Centre
Open Control Centre
Tap or Press NameOfControl
Turn Up Volume
Turn Down Volume
Repeat X Times
Search for ItemName
VoiceOver Select Next Item
VoiceOver Select Previous Item
VoiceOver Read All
VoiceOver Stop Speaking
VoiceOver Select First Item
VoiceOver Select Last Item
VoiceOver Select Status Bar
VoiceOver Magic Tap
VoiceOver Select Next Rotor
Voiceover Select Previous Rotor
VoiceOver Select Next Rotor Option
VoiceOver Select Previous Rotor Option
VoiceOver Item Chooser
This is what I use all the time to get video files from the Camera/Photo apps on to my Mac, and articles from my Mac on to my iPhone.
As I have now scratched the stainless steel on meh iPhone 12 Pro only after less than 2 weeks after dropping it once, I've now gone for a MagSafe case and whilst I was at it a wallet.
Note - when the Wallet is on the back of the iPhone or on the back of the case with the iPhone in it, you can't charge via the MagSafe wireless charger, of course, you can still plug in a lightning cable.
In this demo, I take you through setting up my M1 Macbook Pro using VoiceOver.
In this demo, I show you the other onboarding accessibility options, but do not go through customising the Mac as I did in the M1 Macbook Air demo.
The bug is that left and right bracket are announced by VoiceOver as left and right parenthesis, so I show you a work around to make these two symbols announce correctly.
Excellent free fun game with hundreds of sound packs to choose from too test out your Beat Rhythm skills.
Download from https://oriolgomez.com.
Simply 3 steps:
In VoiceOver Utility/Navigation, choose Mouse to follow VoiceOver cursor,
Make sure VoiceOver Trackpad Commander is turned off by VO+2 finger rotate counter clockwise, and
Control+Click when in the Dock via VO+D to bring up the Context Menu.
Nice to see the functionality of Braille support back in Watch OS 7.
This is the demo I intended to do when I setup the my M1 Mac mini, but I got so bothered by having to work about having a monitor plugged in, I skipped it.
So in this M1 MacBook Air setup, you get the setup, Onboarding for Accessibility (just vision in this demo), and the changes I make to VoiceOver, Finder, Safari, and a few other things.
These are my review notes of the AirPod Max (funny in the podcast I may have slipped up a time or two or three and called the AirPods Max the AirPods Pro Max smile).
Apple - AirPods Max
Cost: $895.00 Australian.
Brief Product Description:
Apple’s over the ear version of the AirPods Pro with a lot of great features and sound. Stainless steel head band with mesh canopy, aluminium ear cups, and magnetically removable/replaceable ear cup fabric cushions.
What you Get in the Box:
Smart case (AirPods Max already inserted in to the case).
Lightning to USBC cable.
Getting started guide.
Lightning to 3.5mm TRS audio cable.
Note - plug AirPods Max in to chargers that you would usually plug your iPhone in to.
Audio cable is to allow AirPods Max to be plugged in to older devices purely for getting audio out of them, can’t use Siri etc with this cable plugged in.
Physical description and Details of the Head Phones:
Stainless steel frame head band with a soft to touch and stretchy canopy
to take weight off top of head.
Telescoping stainless steel ear cup arms to adjust ear cups to fit over ears.
Brushed aluminium rectangular ear cups with rounded corners.
Stainless steel had band colour to match iPhone 12 colour, and ear cups colour to match iPad Air or MacBook colour.
Ear cup cushions magnetically attached to ear cups, and can be replaced.
Sensors to detect if AirPods max removed from head and will stop media, continuing once head set back on.
Noise Control (Noise/transparency or Off) rectangular button Botton top front of right ear cup with round Digital Crown knob at back (either side of where the telescoping arm fits in to the ear cup).
Both Digital Crown Knob and Noise Control buttons are quite prominent and easy to locate by touch.
Nice touch with a bevelled edge on the Digital Crown to assist when physically rotating with fingers.
When taken off, both ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees to lay flat or to be inserted in to the smart case.
When wearing the head set, ear cups rotate slightly for a better and more comfortable fit.
Lightning connecter bottom middle of right ear cup.
9 microphones spread over both ear cups to deal with calls, noise/transparency modes, and wind noise reduction.
Microphone vents can be felt at both top from and back corners of each ear cup, back bottom corner, and the bottom middle.
In the middle of the left ear cup bottom, there is a small window to allow the radios within the ear cup to operate.
Each ear cup also contains the H1 chip and 10 core audio computational processor.
On the right ear cup, there is a light indicator to show different battery states or whether the head set is charging. However, when using the head set, hey Siri “what is the battery level?” Will also give battery status.
When the head set is at 10%, and about to turn off, an audio tone will be heard (also sent to the iOS device).
Note - Smart Case colour equals the head band colour.
Press Noise Control button to toggle between modes. Hold down this button for at least 10 seconds to force AirPods Max in to pairing mode.
Hold down Noise and Digital Crown buttons to reset.
When first taking head set out of the box, when positioned next to an iPhone or iPad, connection box pops up on screen to connect.
Like the AirPods Pro and Beats Flex, AirPods Max will be available on all Apple devices via iCloud (making accessing the head set extremely convenient).
When using noise cancellation, user can still hear own voice which prevents shouting at others around you.
Digital Crown works in similar manner to the original clicker on the wired Apple Ear Pods or the Beats Flex:
Press once - start/top media or answer/hang up call.
Press twice, next track.
Pressed three times - previous track.
Hold in the Digital Crown - evoke Siri. Hey Siri can be also used.
When adjusting volume, an audio click can be heard (like turning an old fashion dial with clicks). At the top and bottom of the volume range, a confirmation tone can be also heard.:
Settings for the AirPods Max:
In Settings, Bluetooth, AirPods Max info screen, the following can be changed:
Name (change name of the AirPods Max).
Noise Control - Noise Cancellation, off (no noise control at all) or Transparency.
Noise Control button cycles between (each can be selected) - Noise Cancellation, Transparency, and Off.
Digital Crown - can set front to back or back to front (for which way you turn the Digital Crown to adjust volume).
Automatic Head Detection toggle - transfers audio to head set when placed on head.
Connect to this iPhone - automatically or when last connected to this iPhone.
Spacial Audio toggle - immersive audio which follows the position of the iPhone.
About - Model Name, Model Number, Serial Number, and Version..
In Settings, Accessibility, Audio/Visual, Head Phone Accommodations - make adjustments to make AirPods Max even sound better - for Balance Tone, Vocal Range, and Brightness. Users can slo custom tune the audio by going through some voice and sample test.
In Settings, Accessibility, AirPods - adjust the:
press Speed - default, Slower or Slowest.
Press and Hold Duration - Default, Shorter or Shortest.
In Control Centre, you can also use the AirPods Max with Live Listen.
Battery Usage and Status:
AirPods Max are rated for 20 hours of use with Noise Cancellation and Transparency mode turned on.
After plugging in AirPods Max for only 5 minutes, an extra 1.5 hours of battery level will be available.
If charging AirPods in the smart case, both ear cups have to be facing forward in the case to allow the lightning port in the right ear cup to line up with the notch in the case to allow the user to easily plug in a lightning cable.
Battery status or charging status can be checked via Siri or from the Battery Widget on iOS.or when connecting from Mac, the battery level of the AirPods Max is shown after the device name when choosing to connect.
You can also check the battery status of the AirPods Max whilst not wearing them by bringing them close to the iOS device and pressing the Noice Cancellation button, AirPods battery level and charge case is shown.
User will receive a notification on their iPhone or iPad when the head set reach’s 20%, 10, 5%, and when they are about to turn off. In addition, an audible tone will be heard at 10% and when about to turn off.
Putting down the head set out of the case for more than 5 minutes, AirPods Max will go in to the low power mode to save battery.
From 0 to 95 percent charge takes about 2hrs when head set plugged in to a standard USB iPhone charger (not a fast charger).
The Smart Case only covers the actual ear cups of the AirPods Max according to some reviewers like a bra, leaving a portion of the top of each ear cup and all of the head band exposed.
Under each of the ear cup holders, the case is open with a single strap in the middle to support each ear cup in the case.
A user slides the ear cups of the AirPods Max in to the smart case with a divider in the middle separating each ear cup.
This middle divider contains magnets to determine when the AirPods Max are in or out of the case.
A flap comes from over the back to cover the middle of the Smart Case and is secured in front by a magnet.
If facing the front of the smart case where the flap comes over and magnetically attach’s, the bottom left edge of the right ear cup cover contains a notch where the user can locate the lightning port on the ear cup to plug in a lightning cable for charging.
Seems to be much easier to carry the smart case with the AirPods in them by holding the case with the hand under the case where the rest of the head set is underneath.
Note - when AirPods are in the smart case and not moved for 18hrs or not in the smart case and not moved for 72hrs, AirPods Max enter a lower battery saving mode where BT is turned off to further save battery(which will then prevent Find My from locating the headset. If AirPods are placed in to the smart case or taken off (and after 5 minutes), AirPods go in to a low power state to save battery as well.
This reviewer beliefs if the Smart Case was called a Smart Pouch, which suggests a small case just for conveniently accessing the head set, that expectations would have been better managed.
The AirPods Max can be located by Find My if not in the completely powered down state (in the Smart Case after 72 hours or 18 hours as stated above).
More of a jingle sound is played when using Play Sound to locate the head set than is traditionally used with Find My with other devices.
What they Sound Like:
Music is absolutely brilliant with individual instruments almost having their own space.
Spacial audio sound is amazing with the music surrounding the listener.
Not basie at all, only when music calls for it.
Excellent with Head Phone Accommodations that you can truly customise the sound.
Lovely to listen to audio books or podcasts.
Phone calls are clear, and callers report ease of listening. Video conferencing services such as Zoom worked just as well with audio quality.
Noise reduction even better than that of the AirPods Pro, this goes the same for the transparency mode.
VoiceOver is just as responsive with the AirPods Max as it is with the AirPods Pro.
Hey Siri is very responsive.
They just feel like very amazing head phones every time you touch them.
Extremely responsive with VoiceOver on iOS or Mac.
Very comfortable to wear, even though weight is 380 grams. As reviewer is a voiceOver user, wearing the head set all day is not an issue at all.
Telescoping arms allow the perfect position to be set, and take a little effort to adjust when is great as they then do not shorten or lengthen.
Ear cups feel very comfortable over ears, and do not seem to cause sweating etc.
When the AirPods Max are placed in to the Smart Case, magnets in the case put the head set in to a low power mode.
Instant reconnection to an Apple device when placed back on the head. Just simply convenient to turn a dial or press a button.
Easy to locate and use the Digital Crown (volume etc), and Noise Control buttons.
Easy to locate lightning port for charging or plugging in the not supplied audio cable. There is a notch in the smart case to allow a lightning cable to be plugged in to the head set as well.
The aluminium ear cups feel smooth and cool to the touch.
Unlike some head phone cushions, these cushions have a whole magnetic housing which magnetically clips in to the ear cups.
Works with Find My.
Like with AirPods Pro, when playing media or dictating, AirPods Max does not turn this off when using Siri, which it does on Mac OS.
When plugging head set in to a 20W UsBC fast charger, 1.5hours of battery is gained within 5 minutes.
When plugged in to a standard iPhone charger (not a fast charger), from 0 to 95% is achieved in 2hrs.
The aluminium used in the ear cups is the same in the iPod air or MacBook Pros, and is quite durable.
The not supplied Lightning to 3.5MM audio jack cable is purely to connect the head set to older 3.5MM audio devices and offers no benefit besides the physical connection.
Hey Siri and Announce Messages by Siri is also available.
Points to consider:
Note - a few software issues, but the hardware is excellent, software can be improved upon.
Supply own charger.
Supply own audio cable.
The 3.5MM audio cable takes its volume from the device, not the head set, maximum volume therefore on such devices such as the Victor Reader Stream, Victor Trek or the Envoy Connect are about half the volume that the AirPods can put out at maximum volume.
Head set is not water proof.
Smart case doesn’t offer that much protection especially if they are placed in a bag etc.
How durable the mesh is at the top of the head set remains to be seen.
Whilst head set automatically pops up for iPhone/iPad, this is not the case on the Mac if using VoiceOver, this has only happened once with the reviewer.
Same issue still happens on the Apple Watch with the AirPods Pro, when using AirPods Max on iPhone, when chime goes off on Apple Watch, audio is switched back to the Apple Watch, and may or may not come back to the iPhone.
Current issue for VoiceOver users, when sound is being played on the AirPods Max, VoiceOver is also sent to the head set making the iPhone currently being used with Find My unusable.
The battery status of the AirPods is not correctly reported by VoiceOver when the head set is brought near to an iOS device when not wearing them and the Noise Control button is pressed.
No notifications on iOS when AirPods Max reach 20%, 10% or are about to power down due to battery level. Also only an audio alert at 10%.
Given the cost, strongly suggest Apple Care.
Reviewer would suggest these are more for office/home use, rather than being out in the community.
Apple designed dynamic driver.
Active Noise Cancellation.
Spacial Audio with dynamic head tracking.
Optical Sensor each ear cup.
Position sensor each ear cup.
Case Detect sensor each ear cup.
Accelerometer each ear cup.
Gyroscope each ear cup.
8 mics for Noise Cancellation.
3 mics for voice pickup: 2 shared with Noise Cancellation and 1 additional mic).
H1 chip each ear cup.
Size and Weight
Width - 168.6MM, depth 83.4mm, and hight 187.3mm.
Weight - 384.6 grams.
David Woodbridge December 20 2020
In this demo, I give a physical description of the HomePod Mini, and take you through a number of Hey Siri functions including playing music/podcasts, radio stations, intercom, and transferring audio/phone call between my iPhone and the HomePod Mini band back again.
Great small speaker.
In this demo, I show you how to go about setting up an Apple Watch Face with multiple Time Zones.
I find this type of Watch Face handy when I have to contact folks in different Time Zones.
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.
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
Audio Books (from the iTunes library),
Blood Oxygen (S6 only),
Hand Washing (Hand Washing reminder when you come back home and/or to keep washing your hands for 20 seconds),
Now Playing (media),
Nike+ Run Club,
Noise (check environmental noise levels),
Phone (the Phone app for Recent calls etc),
Sleep (monitor your sleep),
Shortcuts (as in Siri Shortcuts),
Voice Memos (can use internal watch speaker),
Walkie Talkie (talk directly to another Apple Watch user),
Wallet (Apple Pay),
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),
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:
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:
or on specific accessibility features, visit the Apple Accessibility page:
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.
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.
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
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.
Extremely well written.
Documentation in brf, doc, pdf, and html formats.
Website for documentation - https://www.orbitresearch.com/support/orbit-writer-support/
16.0x 6.5 x 0.8 CM.
In the Box:
micro UsB cable,
And getting started in print and Braille.
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.
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.
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 -
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.
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
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.
Android/Samsung, and Windows in particular with NVDA, JAWS, and Narrator.
$99 US plus shipping.
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.
Vision Store should sell this product.
Initial Evaluation: September 3 2020.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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).
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 iPod touch.
Various Apple TV.
Various Apple Watch .
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.
There is just something nice about plonking your iPhone, AirPods or Appel watch on a wireless charger and not having to worry about cables.
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
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.
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,
IBM OS/2 Screen Reader,
Nomad Tactile Talking Diagrams,
Arkenstone Easy Reader/OpenBook,
Victor Reader Stream,
Victor Reader Trek,
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,
Olitech 4G Easy Flip Phone,
Magic keyboards and Magic Trackpad,
App Store’s for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows,
Tap With Us wearable keyboard,
Sunu Band and Mini Guide,
AfterShokz Bone Conduction head phones,
JAWS For Windows and Eloquence,
Narrator for Windows 10,
Smart TVS (mainly Samsung),.
Be My Eyes and Aira,
Wireless charging, and
Tile Tracking Tags.
For me, I think the main technology
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.
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:
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.