Tag Archives: Apple

AirPods and Robins birthday!

Time gets away, and I don’t blog as much as I’d like. Abby and I are doing well. I’m excited to take her to her first MLB game in a few weeks. Pretty soon we will be celebrating 2 years together which is pretty cool. It’s gone by so fast. I had pneumonia two weeks ago, and that wasn’t any fun. Abby came over and helped take care of things. I tell you what when you have that you can’t do anything but sleep. I’d try to stay up, but couldn’t. I am feeling better, but it’s taken awhile.
Abby and I both got a pair of AirPods recently. I tell you what they are some pretty cool technology. Basically what they are is a wireless earbud. You don’t even know you need them until you start using them. I have Bluetooth headphones, but sometimes you just want to wear something smaller. As a blind person traveling on the street an earbud is easier to deal with than an over the ear headphone, because it allows you to hear more. With my Iphone they pair so seamlessly! Then once paired it’s connected to my Icloud for pairing on any other Apple device. For my Mac all I have to do is click on Bluetooth and then Joes AirPods and sound comes through them.
 
Battery Life is decent for a little earbud they get 5 hours music playback, and 2 hours for talk time. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but they also come with a charging case you drop them in there and with in 15 minutes they have 3 more hours of charge. They do well, and battery hasn’t been an issue in my wee trial. For comparison the Samsung Earbuds only get 1.5 hours of battery life when using them to play music from your phone. With those however they do have onboard storage where you can play music without a phone however battery life playback is still only 3.5 hours of play time. They also cost more than the AirPods,.
 
I am really enjoying my new job it’s fun being able to test new applications, and also see new tech. I honestly can’t believe they pay me for it. Lol Larry and I are going to be starting a website for Android TV soon, so I am excited to be involved with that. I don’t think I’ve talked about it here, but I bought a Sony Bravia® TV recently which for the first time I could set it up entirely myself, because it has speech on it. Even just being able to play with the picture settings is so neat. Before I had no idea what my tv offered as far as picture settings, because it didn’t talk. I honestly have no idea why or how it’s not required that every tv at this point doesn’t have to have some sort of screen reader built in. I am happy to see Amazon is going to make the new 4k fire tv they’re selling with Alexa also have Voiceview on it so a totally blind user should be able to set it up from scratch themselves also.
 
This month would have been Robin’s 11th birthday! Also it is 6 months from her passing. I think about her in some way every day. I did apply for a new dog, but It will probably be next year until I can do it. The pneumonia wiped out any chance I’d have enough vacation time to be able to go out and get a new dog if they had one to offer me. The school has to first have a dog that matches your speed and personality first you can’t just use any dog. I’m going to Vegas for a tech show, and really wish I had Robin, because there is tons and tons of people at this thing, and using a cane will be a nightmare. I know I’ve posted this sentiment before, but the way a dog can weave you in and out while in a large crowd is just breathtaking. I don’t give a damn how good of a cane user you are or think you can be you just can’t have that same freedom in an event like that.
 
I just want to say happy birthday to Robin on the 18th. Thank you for being the best Seeing-eye dog you could be. Thanks for the service you provided, and wanting to do it until the end. Thanks for being my friend and partner moving from Muncie to Louisville and several apartments to eventually my house. I know I wasn’t always easy to live with, but no matter what you never seemed to mind. I’m glad I had those 8 years with you, and we created lots of memories. I’ll never forget one time I had to leave her to go to a camp for work. I was gone 4 days, and when I walked out to the parking lot to get her she jumped out of the window of the car to get to me. When I was sick I thought a lot about how she would come lay on my legs, or on the floor by the bed. I miss that companionship a lot! I’ll probably have some desert for her day, and make the best of it.
 
 
 

Why Android is important to the blind. 

In this world we now basically have 2 different types of people. One who likes Android, and One that likes IOS. I’m just kidding. I’m an Apple guy, because I still think as a blind person I can be more productive on my IPhone than an Android phone. The gap is closing, but Android still has a ways to go. In applications so many unlabeled buttons I repeat so many. Ken and I go back and forth on this he says that Android has 3 apps that work better, and somehow that is supposed to win an argument? Haha I will have to give him a link to this, because I think what I’m about to say would surprise him.
 
Android needs and has to keep becoming more accessible to the blind. Not so much for phones, but for other things. I bought a Sony 4k TV. Okay I don’t want 4k, don’t need 4k, and honestly 4k looks as good to 780p to me, but this TV has something that not many other TV sets have offered Android TV with Talkback. For those who don’t know Talkback is a screen reader on Android much like Apple’s Voiceover. With this TV I can change picture and sound settings. I can set timers do anything and everything imaginable which is amazing. As a blind person I’ve never been able to adjust settings on a TV without memorizing something or asking someone for help. I know Abby probably thinks I’m crazy for buying the technology I do, but man I love the fact I can pick up my remote and navigate it like anyone else. The cool thing about this TV is even if you have a cable box that isn’t accessible you can pull a guide through Android. I like it, because my Dish’s speech is painfully slow. I can’t set a dvr recording with it at least that I’ve found but the guide is nice. It even comes with a IR blaster so once you find something you like it changes my dishes box automatically. I will put up a Facebook video for those who are wondering.
 
Android is going to be powering many devices. For the blind people who get caught up in Apple vs Google that’s cool and all, but android will be powering many appliances in the future. Unfortunately because of Apples closed environment you won’t see Voiceover on an ATM machine or in a Washer. I’m to this point where I’m rooting for accessibility just to be an option in as many things as we could get, and so should you. That’s why when I see the NFB propose only Apple should make every app accessible it frustrates me. Again Apple things are not going, and will not in the future not work on non-Apple things. I’m no longer anti google like I may have been at one point. I still don’t like some of what they do, but they also are pushing boundaries of what tech can do. It’s a shame things like talking Microwaves are so hard to find anymore. A few blind living websites have them, but you’ll pay $350. It’s not fair that just to cook pizza rolls I have to ask someone sighted to set up a Microwave with bump dots. What that is for people who don’t know they’re little dots that are raised that stick on to things. When I moved in to my house I had them put on my Microwave, and oven. I’ve not had any fall off yet but it is possible.
 
At work they got me a fablet to test on. It runs Google Tango, and some of what Google is doing with Tango is cool. It has a lot more sensor’s in it than your common phone. On the back it actually has 2 cameras, and can do things like measure depth perception. As I said I wouldn’t buy an Android phone yet personally, but I’m glad it’s an option and some feel that it is better than Apples offering.
 

Blind people are excited and think it’s the Jetsons but I wonder if were even at the Flintstones yet?

I don’t know where to even start with this post. I’ve been blind for 27 years. Cancer took my eye sight when I was about a year old, so I remember nothing. In my life time technology has made leaps and bounds, but yet on most things were stuck in the past. I don’t dream to one day have sight, because my optic nerve is gone, so for me the realization is that I’ll probably never have sight, and that is okay with me. Most things I read about dealing with blind people isn’t a story on things they overcome or focus on what is possible it’s usually some feel good peace, or about how someone received there sight back. These stories don’t continue on or actually focus on the fact they get a limited amount of it back its just they’re saved from being blind. It’s actually varied insulting. I feel the way that blindness is portrayed is that without sight your somehow less. I wrote Tim Cook recently; because blind people in general do things that I can’t understand at times. I’m not saying Apple shouldn’t have some critics, but here is a story that happened to me recently and maybe it will bring my point home.

Every week I have to call in to a service and book my rides for the week to and from work. I decided I would check in to a subscription which is basically a set in stone ride. I talked with the lady who sets these up and she says I will mail you a form you have to sign and return. I said well I live alone am there any other way? I do have an app that will read my mail, but signing is another story. I could just draw all over it and send it back. She said there was no other way to do this. I know I could just conform and bring the paper in to Mel, and she’d show me where to sign, but seriously? This again is a company that works and deals with people strictly with disabilities, and you have no web form or even a record and I say yes on the phone method? Even if you want to mail me find paperclip a signature guide to the paper and maybe that would work. I just don’t get it honestly. We all don’t have a sighted person at our disposal all the time.

As a group we are so excited about the new technology and focus more on what could be rather than where we actually are. Case and point the car that drives itself. Even if this thing happens with in the next 10 to 20 years I don’t believe instantaneously a blind person will be handed a set of keys. Guns have been a big debate in the news with blind people, and whether or not we should be able to even own one. You have people like former CNN host Pierce Morgan laughing about it. I think having a blind driver sparks a whole different debate. Furthermore being independent I just want to be able to sign a document I could care less at this point about actually driving. I feel are focus is so far out of the realm of reality, but no one talks about it. Here have these car keys, oh wait you’ll have to sign for them.

I hate asking sighted people for things. I was raised to be a man and take care of things. I know it’s silly to think like this, but the point of life is to remain independent, and this notion we have to run and find someone to assist me with signing documents is crazy. Not to mention touchscreens in restaurants that have no accessibility which just make you feel awkward waiting around for help. These things will become more prevalent in the future because they can cut down on staff. Yet were focused on what could be rather than what is. You see this lot of times at universities or in some restaurants where I encountered one.

I was reading the ACB’s fight against accessible currency, and it’s amazing how much the government and treasury fought back against denying blind people the ability to feel the different bills. I’ll post the link to a blog that goes over the battle they’ve had. The funny thing to me is by 2020 if corporations would just allow NFC to take over rather than try to all get a piece of the pie by developing their own systems cash will be irrelevant anyway. If you look at Europe and Australia NFC is quickly taking over. If a hacker had the right set just walking with your credit card in your pocket would be enough for someone to get your information.

http://www.visionaware.org/blog/visionaware-blog/progress-update-united-states-accessible-currency-project-for-blind-and-visually-impaired-persons/12

I remember buying my house was a bit nerve-racking because not all the documents were readable. People at work mainly my committee checked over the papers and found errors that otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to see. My family lives 5 1/2 hours away and have their own lives and I’m just irritated by this notion that we do have all this excess ability and technology available but most of society fights against it. At least for me when I date someone who can see I don’t want to bother them with having to read things and clean up things I can’t do if that makes sense? They have their own things going on I don’t know I’m just frustrated. tomorrow for Valentine’s Day my friend Kevin who struggle with cancer and is having a pretty rough time I’m meeting him and going to the Kentucky game. Our friendship is pretty cool he’s in a wheelchair and we relate on so many different levels. We talked on the phone a few months ago and he hasn’t had a great history of Valentines days either. he joke with me when it’s hard to go to the bathroom on your own it’s pretty difficult to impress a lady. I’m going to get some sleep and prepare to greyhound to Lexington. I’m not trying to be negative on the progress it just makes me scratch my head sometimes when things aren’t accessible or it’s difficult to make them.

My letter to Tim Cook

This is a rough draft but pretty much about what I’m going to send. Dear Mr. Cook,

I went to college at Ball State University, and the year I graduated you released Voiceover on the Mac and IPhone. I applied for a job with Apple, and was hired. I remember being real excited, because this was going to be my first job. I couldn’t sleep the night before I went to work, and I caught the bus to go out to the facility. On my way in a mile from work actually my phone rang, and I was told the job I’d applied for wouldn’t be accessible with Voiceover. I was told to not even bother going to training, since nothing would work for me. I had to call and get a ride home while others were checking in to go to work.

I remember feeling defeated, and this was the first experience I really had outside Ball State of working. What really upset me was I’m totally blind I had been in contact with programmers and my Supervisor for a week before letting them know what accommodations I would need. This means they had at least a week before to know if things would be accessible why wait until the morning that I’m to report.

I’m not asking you to do anything about my situation I’ve moved on, and have a job of my own now. My concern is for blind and visually impaired people that would be hiring in today. I hope Voiceover now works with your systems, and that working with Apple would be achievable now. I just wanted to bring my story to your attention. Even though my experience wasn’t good with going to work with Apple it prepared me for the future. No one ever in my life had a conversation with me about how difficult the job market is, and it’s not often reported. I was going through life like anyone else just looking for a job to support myself, and then that happened and it toughened me up a little. Again I’m not excusing what happened, but things worked out.

I bought my first IPhone in 2009, and haven’t looked back. As you know Apple really was the first company to actually bring accessibility to a mainstream device, and a touch screen to boot. The device has changed my life in so many ways, and it’s hard for me to remember before I had it. I can play games with family members, identify my money, access my network drive from the go, and use GPS while out walking. My first day in college before handheld GPS I used to carry one that had cables all down my body, and I’m sure I looked like a space man, so it’s unbelievable that one device can do so much.

I now have an iPhone, IPad, Apple TV, Mac Air, and Time capsule. Man I didn’t know how many products I had until I just read them wow. Voiceover and Safari it seems is the buggiest part of the new IOS. It’s still useable, but is frustrating, and you have to do a lot of refreshes. Sometimes the phone just crashes and you have to hit the power button 6 times to do a soft reboot. A few months ago I was pretty upset to read one of the National Federation for the Blinds NFB resolutions was to put a lawsuit together to try and make every app accessible. While I would dream of a world where this could be the case logically I don’t get it. Plus why not make the same resolution towards Microsoft and Google don’t they not make phones as well? They upset me only doing things for money not the end result of betterment for blind people I could bring up numerous examples, but I digress.

Recently for home use I bought a MacBook Air. I love it. I don’t know why I waited so long actually I do. I bought a Mac Minnie in 2012, and thought I would love it. Tim it is a box that is so small, but the drawback to it is without a screen Voiceover doesn’t work well. It comes across with a busy message. It was disappointing that I had to by a screen with it, because I just wanted small and simple. I am glad I tried again because my air is amazing. I live in Louisville and my parents live near Fort Wayne Indiana so on Christmas I facetimed them from my Mac. I answer messages on it, take calls from it, and actually get work done as well in fact this message I’m composing on pages. I know you may get a lot of these, but I’ve been meaning to say thank you. There are some bugs, but overall I love my experience and not having to pay thousands of dollars for less technology like we had to do in the older days from things not being accessible. When I went to school for a simple word processer that kept losing my files it cost $1500. I would carry it in my backpack to school when I was in the first grade. To think a kid these days could receive an IPad and do way more with it than I had access to its mind-blowing. I also hope now a blind person could work at an Apple support center and it is accessible today. I would love to work at Apple one day, and I hope this finds you well!

Joe

Almost 24

I took today off because I have to work Christmas Eve and the day after, so I thought I would party. yesterday I went over to the casino with a few friends and we played blackjack. They did not allow me to use braille cards or offer any but they did allow hey staff worker to sit beside me and read the cards. it’s not my ideal situation but it worked. around 230 we went up to the hotel room that they had rented and we play with braille cards and I drink Miller light until about 530 this morning. I got about an hours sleep and I really wanted to go to Lexington and meet Matt Jones today. Taylor drove me while I slept. I really enjoyed meeting Mat and Ryan. Besides Opie and Jimmy and of course aunt I have a really paid much attention to radio for the last six months. The last few months though I’ve needed a few laughs to get through the day and listening to Matt has provided that one reason myself I always wanted to do radio.

I also got to meet Derek Anderson I probably shouldn’t of made a paragraph but I’m too lazy to fix it. Now to my blind problem of the day. So I have an apple time capsule oh which runs over my wireless network and backs up or did back up my mac mini at one time. I sold my Mac so now it pretty much is a network drive. i’ve wanted for a long time or about the month I’ve had Sonos to connect it to that unit and play some files off of it. I did some searching and found a few articles and could not get it to connect so I called tech support around 430 and the only thing I had wrong was I left the name of the system blank. I don’t know what I thought when I saw username but I never thought just right time capsule. It was pretty cool though they were able to remote into my home computer and fix the issue for me. I love technology and to tinker with it once in a while it outsmarts me and that’s why am a communication major, not a computer science major. Anyway on this drive I have music from literally the day I started downloading music on Napster so tonight I’m going to listen to a lot of old hip-hop. Ja Rule hahaha I almost forgot about him. music has been making me feel really old lately.

Monday night look for the end of the year post called a year in review I’m hoping it will be done by then either Monday or Tuesday. I’m going to do a little dancing to some DMX or Mos Def and then maybe get some sleep. i’m really just waiting for Taylor to get back with some carry out I’m starving.