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.
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.
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!
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.
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.