June 2020 Update

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Since March 17th 2020, Illinois has been on lockdown and we are having to shelter in place due to COVID-19. Since then I thought I’d be bored out of my mind and just sit around and do nothing. Boy was I wrong. I was busier than ever! I have had a chance to work from home remotely and support my consumers. As an Adaptive Technology Trainer, I have had the opportunity to really try out teaching Blind people how to use their computers, iPhone and Android phones. It has been challenging, but rewarding! I mostly use Zoom Cloud Meetings to connect to my consumers using the computer. I have used Skype and Google Hangout too. It all depends on what the consumer wants to train on and feels right at home, or comfortable with.

One thing I have taught myself is how to use my new Smoker/grill. I was apprehensive at first playing around with such a hot machine, but I grew confident in using my new grill. I will start creating posts on what I have done with it and how a Blind person can use it. Other than that, I am enjoying the nicer weather!  Now, here are a few news or tips that you may enjoy for this month.

Tip of the month – Conference Calling

Here is a short tutorial on some of the Tips & tricks I use when I dial in a conference line. Please Click here to read on.

Meet Me In the Cloud

Since this shelter started, one thing a lot of people are using for social distancing is the popular Zoom Cloud meeting program. The best thing of all is that it is very accessible with a screen reader. I have been using this on a daily basis for work, remote training, and meeting together with friends, and family. I can use Zoom Cloud meeting on my Windows 10 computer, Macintosh computer, I-Phone, and Android phone. You can even call in via a phone line if you don’t wish to learn or use the Zoom app.

One really helpful thing is that a man named Jonathan Mosen has offered a very extensive and well prepared audiobook on how a Blind person using a screen reader can use Zoom Cloud meetings. Since this shelter in place started, Jonathan is now offering his audiobook for free to anyone. Click here to download it, or learn more!

Bookplayer for I-Phone

I have learned about a new app for my iPhone. It is called Bookplayer. It is a very well designed yet very simple app that can play mp3 or mp4 files. It is very reliable and I never lost my place throughout the book. My top favorite parts of this app is that after 10 minutes of not listening to it, when you play, it will rewind back 30 seconds so you can get a brief recap of what you are listening to. So far I find this more reliable than VLC. To top this off, it is free! Click here to check it out.

Supersense AI for both I-Phone and Android

There is another app that can help Blind people to identify things around them. There are some options that are free and some features that you will have to pay for at the end of the free trial week. The best feature is that this app can be on both  iPhone or Android. Click on the links to see the reviews.

Amazon Accessibility Hotline

I have always known about the Amazon Accessibility Hotline. But I decided to investigate it a bit more this month. I called the (888) 283-1678 number and asked a few questions. I was surprised at how much they can and will help you with shopping on Amazon. They can search any product except Amazon Fresh and describe it to you. Then they can add the product to your Wish List or Cart. However, their only limitation is they cannot process your Cart order. This is understandable so it gives you full control on what you are purchasing. However, if you have an Amazon Alexa device, or the app on your smartphone/tablet, you can just ask Alexa to Purchase Item in Cart. No computers skills required! This is very helpful for those who have limited technology skills or limited in their ability to shop online. Check out Amazon’s Accessibility page here for more details.


Top Tech Tidbits website where you can see a weekly Top tech News on Accessibility for the Blind. You can also subscribe to an email Newsletter. Weekly updates come on every Thursday.

Missouri DeafBlind Technical Assistance project Missouri’s website on various Deaf Blind resources are listed here.

Double tap Online Accessibility News and reviews on accessible technology for the Blind.





tips & tricks on Conference Calling

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many of us may want to call in a conference line, or do a video conference call. But for some, it can be a tedious method in dialing in the phone number and then you have to dial in the code. Here in this tutorial, we will show you an easier way to do that. If you have a Smartphone like an Apple iPhone, or an Android phone, you will be able to save your contacts with the code to call in a conference line. This makes dialing much easier. Read on to learn how.

Saving a Contact

Not a lot of people know this nifty trick, but this is the same for both iPhones and Android. If you add a comma after a phone number, there is a two second delay before the next number is dialed automatically. So, you can use your imagination in setting up your contact. You can have this setup to call in your work’s conference line for a staff meeting, or you can navigate your financial institution to check your bank balance. We are going to show you the steps to make a fictional conference number for you to save.


Step 1

Go to your phone’s contacts and tap on create New Contact.


Step 2

Go ahead and type in the Contact’s Name you want. For example, “Staff meeting Conference Line”


Step 3

Next let’s add a phone number. Below is what a fictional number will look like,


(555) 555-1234

Step 4

Now, here is the really cool part, once you type the full phone number for the conference line, you now can add the extra part where you will add the code for said line. You will first need to add a comma for that two second delay. So, below is the full number you will need to enter in which will look like this,


(555) 555-1234,123456#


Step 5

Notice I added the pound sign after that string of numbers. Most conference lines will need you to press the pound key to complete the code. Go ahead and save the contact.


Step 6

Test call. Now go ahead and see if you can do a test call. If it works, Woohoo!


Step 7

With some conference lines, you will need to press the pound key again once you say your name. So, for the above number, I will add about 4 to 5 extra commas and then add another pound key. This is how it will look:


(555) 555-1234,123456#,,,,,#


Step 8

You will may have to do a few test calls to see how many commas you will need. Sometimes it can be too long of a wait, or too short. Once you are satisfied with it, remember to save it and use it from now on. You also can share your contacts with others as a Contact Card so they can benefit from this great trick!

Conference Calling for Zoom Cloud Meetings

If you are going to call in for a Zoom Meeting, but do not want to use the Zoom application, you have the option to call in using your phone. When you get a Zoom meeting Invitation, you will received a Join website link, then below you will get a list of phone numbers you can choose from. Below that is the Zoom meeting ID, which is the code you use when you call in.

So, if you follow the above steps on how to add a conference line to your contacts, you can do the same with Zoom!  Here is an example number. If my Zoom ID is the code: 973-555-126, then  you can add in your contacts like this:

(312) 626-6799,973-555-126#,#

If you notice, the extra comma and pound sign is to start the call. At the end of putting in your code, Zoom will ask for your Participation ID. You don’t need to worry about it. Just press the pound key again. Once completed, save contact.


Thank you for taking the time to read the above tutorial. If you have any suggestions to add or like to ask a questions, feel free to fill out our Contact Form.

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