Tag Archives: Google

CES thoughts

I am out in Las Vegas for the 2019 CES Consumer electronic show. I am pretty people fatigued lol. Over 180 thousand people come this conference. I saw so much my brain is a bit mushy on it. If your company is making anything with a speaker on it I think you have a chance to do well.

One thing I observed on the first day was when I would ask for a card or paper the person would hand it to my coworker. I decided at that point I wanted to go around myself. I used AIRA and navigated perfectly. I’ve walked in NYC but this was awe full because people are looking at phones and shoulder to shoulder. A few times I lost my connection or the AIRA agent couldn’t see well enough to assist so I found things like an escalator or hallway. I actually met a lot of nice people doing this, but it’s always somehow focuses at first on the disability aspect. This nice man helped me around people just standing and he said my son has a disability. I honestly enjoy these moments though, because maybe for him it was eye opening that his son could be more independent or accomplish what he wants to do. I’ve said this before my parents didn’t really know anyone blind it really is a miracle they just raised me normal for the most part. I think parents try and be to protective at times and don’t let there kids experience life. My parents just let me get drug by a full grown steer. All over the yard

I met up with a friend of mine from CNET Jesica. I’ve known her for a long time from a podcast she and some other folks did. I used to tease her about Android boy did she give me some shit lol. Were going to hit up In and Out Tomorrow and say good-bye we met up last year. I told her she needs to come to a real state like Kentucky and meet Abby. I hear In and Out is incredible I’ll let you know.

Tonight I had some German food and a leader and a half of great beer. I’m doing well. I think this year I am going to learn German I need a new hobby other than headphones and cellphones so that might be one thing I try to learn. If anyone has any suggestions please feel free to contact me just remember it can’t be visual.

We were out walking last night, because after CES closed it was a hour and a half wait for a cab and ride sharing wasn’t much better. We decided to walk to get out of that area. I think about this from time to time, but honestly if I don’t entertain myself life is pretty boring. For example were walking by these water falls that are timed with the music. To me the music and the water fall are both annoying as hell, because it’s disturbing my traffic listening. But then I think on it and I realize I miss that beauty of things. It can be hard I’d like to say fuck it and move forward, but so many nice things I can’t appreciate. Even something like a sunset it’s just disappointing. Not to be rude, but I lately just want 5 minutes of quiet as a sighted person you can go drive somewhere to clear out your mind I get in a damn Uber and have to make small talk. I must have a friendly face or look like a shrink or something, because these drivers tell me an entire life story when I just want to sit in silence. I’ll be fine in the long run, but I just thought I’d share those thoughts.

I am just cranky I’m sure. I miss Abby being around and even Bancroft. Haha he can’t read this just kidding buddy. I’m only sleeping about 4 hours. I’m also pretty amped up. Today I spoke to Samsung about accessibility. They were pretty impressed on my opinions and changes I had. I do love my Samsung stuff as far as replacing Apple I am about 90% happy. I wish I had a way to read PDF’S I haven’t found an accessible client yet on Android. Also doc files from Word. That is somewhat irritating, because things I could do on the phone have become a bit more challenging. Teufel noch mal. For those wondering Google says that is damn it in German see I am already learning! Christ though that’s a mouth full damn it just sounds better and quicker. I’ll get there I promise. Anyway Samsung was pretty responsive and I think the future looks bright.

Sunglasses that have speakers are becoming a thing. Bose has some I want to see, but I couldn’t find them here. I did see some from Aftershocks which are bone conducting. I said if they could stick a camera and make it work with Seeing AI my department head would be over the moon.

I saw some accessibility gadgets too. I won’t mention the company do to where I work and I don’t want to have a conflict of interest or anything, but honestly I wish people would ask someone before assuming the product they make will work. To be fair maybe I needed more time with this, but let me explain. Someone here has this computer mouse looking device that has 1 Braille cell on it. You can change it by moving the device to the right. Basically the Braille changes below your finger but you only can read one letter at a time. Now the dev of this product is I’m sure a wonderful human and I mean no disrespect when I say the following statement. When I told him I can read the Braille but by the third letter I’ve forgotten the first letter alone trying to peace together a sentence. He goes well I met a girl earlier that could do it. Well great good for her proving again I am not the smartest rooster on the farm thanks sir. He goes you just need to change the way you read. Oh really are you an educator now? How about this what if I take you to a room and hold up flash cards with one print letter on it and see if you can read what I am trying to convey to you. Every suggestion I made he’s just like no can’t do that. I suggested maybe putting 4 cells on it so at least you could have some context. My other one was instead of moving the device maybe just put a sensor on the right that would advance once you moved your finger somewhat simulating reading Braille in the first place. Let’s not listen to the blind guy me over here with sight I know more than you about that bumpy stuff you read, and I just can’t figure out why reading one letter at a time would be freaking stupid. Okay I feel better now. For the record some sighted folks do know more about Braille than me I’m sure he isn’t one of them though, but again though I am a dumb rooster.

On that note I am wrapping this up. I do have one more story when I got to the Louisville airport I used Nearby Explorer with the indoor navigation to get to my gate. Before I talk about that I was going to Southwest because for some reason no one was outside for curb pick up. I walk in and this friendly gentleman from Delta started walking with me asking where I was trying to get to. I said I am going to the Southwest counter. He says man you walk fast. I guess in his mind I’m blind so I am supposed to be slow? I just responded yes sir. I didn’t ask for you to walk along side me I don’t care, but it just strange. Anyway once I checked my bag I used Nearby to get me to the gate it was so awesome doing it independently I can’t express enough it’s just me my skills and a computer voice telling me what I pass. I just wish it were everywhere. this time I used my cane no Frazier of course like last time I had done it by myself. I did find every damn rope bar thing in the airport, but besides that it was such a great walk and experience. It just makes me proud that I know the developers and get to test this for a living. I just hope one day blind people don’t have to ask where it is available it just is. I bid you Frieden which Google tells me it means peace in German. I now know 3 words before this blog post I knew 0 so that’s a hell of a start.

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Is this thing still on?

It’s been a minute since updating you all on things. Life is going well. I’ve had some hip pains I’m having doctors look in to that’s slowed me down a bit. I can only sleep for about 4 to 5 hours and then I have to move which then after a day of work I am just tired and sleep in my chair during a game. I’m early 30’s going on 76. Abby is doing well we are getting along really well. This year rather than buy each other Christmas gifts we decided to buy one thing we could both benefit from. We decided a robot vacuum would be nice to have. I found the Neato d5 on special at Best Buy and ordered it. I ran in to a few hiccups along the way cleaning the dirt tray the first time took about an hour. I could disconnect the thing, but good god lining it back up to put it back in took forever. I am becoming a master with it though slowly and does an incredible job.

A few weeks ago we went and saw Jerry, Lee, and Frazier out in Bardstown. We spent a night and had tons of fun. We played rook where Lee and I took down Jerry and Abby. We had a bit of a losing streak and it calme down to the last hand but you know I’m clutch.

Abby got sick in the night and Frazier herd her up and came back with us. He jumped up and laid against me. He slept with me for about an hour then moved over next to Abby and helped her sleep. I forgot my hat when we left and Lee noticed him going in to there room and sniffing the hat a few times. I miss him, but he has a great family and loves them too. I applied at a new school so maybe getting a dog will happen for me next year, but Frazier will always have a spot in my heart. I hate the new application process to a new place where I have to prove I need a dog or show them how blind I am lol. I miss having a dog having Robin and Frazier keeps me moving and gives me something to take care of. Now I come home sit in my chair and fall asleep. With a dog I have to brush them play with them take them out. Plus they make the walk to work and home more enjoyable. My confidence is down a bit on one crossing I don’t like doing without a dog, but I am getting through it. I will keep you up to date on any news also where once it happens.

I got a new IPad Pro 12.9 well I traded my old one in for it. Unlike the videos saying it isn’t durable I disagree. Why the hell are you bending an IPad? I love the square feel I really want to use it naked all the time. Seriously it fits the palms of my hand so nice. I can’t get over that. I did pick up a new keyboard case they charge way to much for that. I gifted my old case to a co-worker. I like the new keyboard case, but it leaves the sides exposed which kind of sucks. I also am not a huge fan of the keyboard folding back in video mode it doesn’t feels as good as the previous generation. I do love the IPad and need it for work and having the cellular one really helps at conferences where they just show the WiFi on the board and never announce it for blind folks. The device is so fast it’s amazing. It’s faster than any IPhone out. I do wish they gave you access to files more like a traditional computer. One thing I love about my Android phone is I can connect a thumb drive right to it and view files or even gasp move a file from the drive to my phone. Apple really needs to figure this out. At the end of the day though this IPad does nothing my last couldn’t so sorry again Apple I’m growing bored. It’s still great as my laptop though. I don’t want Windows and Android tabs are awe full and not really supported I just wish the IPad had a few more computer like functions. Maybe the pad OS concept tech journalists are putting out there would be great. I updated because other than getting the new keyboard it didn’t cost me anything and I got a bit bigger storage this time I’d say pass if you have the second gen IPad Pro. The square body is so nice though have I said that already? Overall though the IPad Pro is still one of my favorite devices. I think with an Android phone and Apple tab you have the best of both worlds.

I willl sit down next time and write up a 3 month report and be honest on my switching from IPhone to Samsung. I think even for the sighted folks reading you’ll enjoy hopefully.

Abby and I went to Lexington on Gray hound to attend her great grandmas 100th birthday party. I had gotten sick the day before but didn’t want to miss it. It was a lot of fun. I know some of you have never been on a bus let alone in a gray hound station, but boy is it a hoot. This lady got on with us in Louisville and she had a 20 pound garbage bag of stuff plus a backpack. She said she had just gotten out of prison where she did 6 months. I just ease droppped but I wanted to know what she did? You people who can drive really don’t know how lucky you are. The smells of people I run in to are just awful. I do enjoy traveling though so when your blind you don’t have many options to go to smaller cities.

I’ve been reading a lot again. Abby likes to read and so we often read similar books her a lot more than me, but then we talk about them. A Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts is a really good book. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, but my god what a good book overall. I highly recommend this. I am going to CES in January in Vegas where I will put money on the national title football game of course. Also I will see some awesome tech. I will try and write up some things I see and fill you guys in. I have one day off where I can just get lost in it the rest I have to work.

You must be newly blind?

I think it’s a wonderful time to be blind. For the first time in my life as far as technology goes you can go to any of the big companies and use their operating system Straight Out of the Box. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all offer options straight out of the box that are accessible to anyone who is blind. That really is a dream come true saying that statement. When I was a kid I would have to buy a laptop for example then pay around $1,000 to add on a screen reader. You couldn’t just buy a cheap computer back then no computers were really cheap but even the cheaper ones wouldn’t work with a screen reader you had to have extra Ram to make it work efficiently. So we would spend around $1,500 on a laptop plus then an extra thousand for the screen reader. That isn’t the end of it though unfortunately! What would happen is the screen reader would have to be updated every 6 months to a year depending on how fast technology was moving. So for that you would have to buy what’s called a maintenance agreement which would cost around $25athree upgrades. Things have gotten a lot better since then really we have apple to thank for making voiceover accessible and so good out of the box it has Force Google and now Microsoft to play catch-up and do the same. After seeing Microsoft I really feel that they are wanting to make they’re operating system accessible. This hadn’t been the case under the previous CEO but I really do feel they are trying hard to catch up and possibly become better than what we currently have. It will take time but meeting the people who are actually developing narrator and the other products I do believe in them. Four jobs we need them and Jaws to become better!

I had a few moments out there of just realizing how far technology has come for blind people and how affordable it’s becoming. I think I told you last post I switch to Android! I actually trade in my Galaxy S9 in for a new Galaxy Note 9. I did that because I wanted the bigger battery and even though I’m not thrilled with having the bigger phone the battery makes up for it. This note 9 simply is the best phone I’ve owned in 2 or 3 years! It’s fast and gets me through the day and then some. I used it the entire day once getting to the airport so I had a four and a half hour flight to Chicago and another hour to Louisville. It did amazing I still had 50% of my battery left when getting to the airport to call an Uber. Accessibility wise I do run into a few frustrations with apps however it’s nothing that I can’t manage I’ve pretty much replaced any app that I used on a regular basis on iOS besides games. I wish Android had a few more games that were developed for the blind or that were developed for everyone that worked with the screen readers! I miss my card games! I think though I’m going to stay with Android for the foreseeable future

It’s funny though I was at the airport waiting to fly to Chicago and I heard voice over coming from someone’s iPhone. I thought I wonder if I know them because you know all blind people know each other! See how I plan to the stereotypes? Anyway I heard the guy talking and I said George is that you? He said who is that? I said it’s me Joe. I had met this guy George at the world blind Union conference that was going on out there he works for the American Federation for the blind. I also met his colleague Matthew so I assumed Matthew was with him and I said Matthew are you there too? It was pretty cool recognizing them from afar.

I didn’t have a moment though we’re I realized as a blind person that we still need to push forward. I have contemplated ending the blog and not giving updates because honestly my life isn’t that interesting. However I met Chris in Chicago who changed my mind. So I get to Chicago from Seattle and ask for an agent to get me to my gate because I only have about 30 minutes and didn’t want to risk being late. So Chris meets me and asked me where I was coming from so I mentioned that I was coming from Seattle he asked if I was there on business or pleasure? I responded business. He said just out of curiosity what do you do? So I gave him the run-down and advised I was out at Microsoft for 4 days. He said wow you can work at Microsoft? I didn’t really know how to handle this question but basically what I actually do. He said oh so you must be recently blinded? Me know I have cancer when I was a year old. Chris damn dude you must be really smart! Me that may have been a? I apologize but I’m dictating. Anyway I said no I work with a lot of people who are smarter than me I’m just a tester. It really is true I’ve talked about this and other post I feel that the blind developers I work with do not get the same recognition they deserve for producing these products. Anyway it’s sort of irritates me that people still have this opinion that blind people just sit around and do nothing all day. It’s sort of baffling to me for someone who has worked their entire life! Well maybe not my entire life but most of my adulthood. I’ve had the struggle that most blind people face in finding employment but I’ve been fortunate I know there’s people out there who aren’t as fortunate and haven’t found work and it’s guys like Chris that really irritate me because unfortunately you have some of those same folks hiring. The problem is that I feel you go into an interview and people look at you and say wow how would he do this or how would she do that? They’re not looking at the realization and the abilities of person actually has their seeing themselves as a blind person. It was completely out of the normal for Chris to think that a blind person could actually work at Microsoft never mind that I had actually met three blind people who work at Microsoft while I was there.

I feel like the dictation so far is killing apples! I haven’t corrected anything yet. Any mess-ups probably are from me not speaking clearly. Anyway it’s been a crazy few months hard to believe I’ve been married for two already! Abby and I are doing well our heat went out today so I called and have a repairman coming tomorrow. This happened once before at my house and it was a cold night thankfully and Louisville it’s not that cold yet! It’ll probably get down to about! I’m enjoying being married though we are a good team! Her more so than I probably. I haven’t had to sleep on the couch yet so that’s saying something! The next entry I’ll be back to the keyboard well as long as Apple fixes their damn iPad keyboard issue. I bought an iPad to be a replacement for a laptop lately since iOS 12 though for some reason when I click on a box my keyboard refuses to type the thing it’s supposed to do the best! Too bad apple doesn’t hire me to be a quality assurance person for them I would have pointed this out and beta! It really is driving me nuts.

I’m going to be real with you guys for a minute. I recently just got back from a trip and I do like to travel but the older I get I realize there’s a sadness with that. As a blind person I don’t enjoy going places as much as I used to when I was a kid. I think as I’ve aged I miss some of the things people who can see get when they travel. For me all the sounds are the same. I think that’s why I enjoy Germany so much because it was actually different. I gained a lot of experience and her new things that I don’t often hear here. Seattle or Redmond felt just like Louisville! I used to flip on the radio and go up and down the dial listening to different shows or programs because city-to-city they would be different. Now radio is the same no matter where you are! So that’s gone. I didn’t even bother. However went out walking or driving around in a Uber. I noticed all of the same restaurants and the same things that Louisville has. I mean sure I could go to the Space Needle but what am I gaining from that? I don’t know maybe I’m just being a little grumpy but it is true the more we grow and become unified the more things are looking the same. I know that may not have hit you guys yet as people who can see, but for blind people it really is sort of becoming sad. I think that’s why I enjoy going to see Fraser in the country because it’s different it’s quiet not many people around and it’s just something I don’t get to experience every day. I also grew up on a farm so it reminds me a lot of my childhood but these are all feel the same to me for the most part. Other than being definitely more pine trees and sort of forest e feeling it was Louisville! I just had to travel five and a half hours to sort of be in the same place. I think some services are helping with describing different scenery and things, but at the end of the day it’s sort of his old the same to me. For example when Abby and I were in Chicago and we did our sailboat river cruise we learned a lot about the city’s architecture, but nothing really remain with me from that. The feelings of being on the water in the wind were incredible and that is what stuck with me. Mainly because it’s something I don’t experience every day here in Louisville. I’m sure though if you asked a majority of the people on that same Cruise they would point to a picture of something in the skyline from Chicago or something they salt. After that cruise really Chicago is just a big city experience. I don’t know it’s sort of made me sad in a weird way that I feel this way, but there’s not much I can do I’m just saying and sharing my experience. I wish that going to Seattle or going to anywhere else somehow felt different. I tried to go to some local restaurants while I was there and did. I had a great shrimp burrito for example, but most of the places that we were near were chain restaurants. Due to timing I ended up having to go to Red Robin one night and Jersey Mike’s the next. Maybe that also maybe just sort of feel like I could have been anywhere else or at home. I had a co-worker with me the first two days and he was walking around and describe some of the scenery to me which helped! One morning on his own and I met him at Microsoft. He was telling me about all the things he saw on campus which I thought was me but had I been with him I don’t think I would have felt any different than I do now. It’s great that they have a treehouse but I can’t see that..

I’m a pretty positive guy so I’m not sure I wanted to end with that. I don’t have much else to say other than it is a great time to be alive with all this technology! I know this might be hard for you to understand but I don’t honestly sit around and think about having sight at all. Just when reflecting in a forum like this and hearing people talk about visiting Seattle and things they did I realized that there are definitely disadvantages that I’m seeing. I’m very content with being blind I honestly if given the chance probably would not take Vision if it were available to get. I would have to relearn everything I’ve talked about that and other post. I will give you guys one break quote from me. I think that we’re all custom to what we know. The grew up in the country sometimes the city could be scary. If you grew up in the city sometimes you might think the country scary. Ultimately how we grew up the things around us develop the character we become. I’ve been blind since a child and to think about having sight randomly is sort of scary. When I sit in my chair and listen to a baseball game for example I have no light perception my brain is completely focused in on that game. Or an app. Anyway if I could see I would constantly have light hitting my eye Michael May talks about that in his book crashing through when he was able to get some Vision back.

Can it really do an ECG if it thinks I’m standing while rocking in my chair?

Tomorrow I make my Samsung Galaxy life official. I have had the IPhone for 8 years now, and it has changed my life so much. What used to take 3 or 4 devices now is just one. Below I will explain what I think Samsung and Android are doing well, and why I pulled the trigger.

Let me start off by saying there’s nothing wrong with Voiceover on the IPhone. For the sighted folks Voiceover is the software that comes on the Iphone that reads the screen to you in a quick explanation. Here are the reasons I started thinking of leaving.

Bugs Apple’s software over the years has become so buggy. In fact IOS 12 really doesn’t have hardly any new features, but is being put out to mainly fix the bugs of IOS 11. Poor Bluetooth support. One thing I have noticed of late is I get several Bluetooth dropouts. This is not the fault of my Bluetooth devices, but rather the phone. I have an HTC phone I started testing the same devices with at work and guess what the Iphone dropped connections 4 times an hour where the HTC and Samsung kept the signal the entire time. Yet when I go to the zoo or better known as the Apple Store they say nothings wrong.

This brings up a point. Apple was bragging that 6 million people visit Apple stores yearly. I don’’t know all are of them coming for education or learning? How many are coming in because they can’t remember there password to ICloud? Lol I just found that funny when Tim mentioned it yesterday.

On my Apple Watch it can’t tell when I am standing correctly. Yet one of the new features is it can detect if you fall? I can literally rock in my recliner and bend my arm at the elbow and the watch things I am standing. It even sometimes thinks I am exercising. I know I am blind but I don’t rock that hard. The watch is so bad at this I’m supposed to think or assume it will do a accurate ECG or detect my falling?

Changing sounds don’t actually always stay as they should. So lets say someone named Joe buys a sound for $2.00 in the ITunes Store. Then let’s say I make that sound new mail. Do you know some times that sound plays, but then randomly the default ding sound takes over and goes off 50% of the time. Basically saying f you and thanks for the $2.00. This has gone on for at least 2 versions of the OS.

The final one is dictation and Siri. What the hell is Apple doing with the data they collect from us? Maybe I’m the only one dictating. Because it is just bad. Shut the front door. Siri translation fuck the whore. Lol it would seriously be about that bad. Yet Apple year after year does nothing but they do give us a better camera. I’m sorry did taking pictures really suck that bad last year?

Finally the price has just gotten observed. I know the Galaxy note is up there too so this isn’t just an Apple thing. However I will say this I am getting a Samsung case silicone similar to something Apple would sell., It’s $12.00 at Best Buy now, while the Apple case is $34.00. Seriously it’s silicone!

Alright I think I have most of it out of my system. I just want the products to work as expected not being credited exercising while rocking in my chair eating buffalo wings that come from a chicken. Anyway on to what I like from the Galaxy!

I love the fact I have 2 different screen readers. With Apple if something doesn’t work with Voiceover I have no other options. On the Galaxy I actually have 3 options. Voice Assistant, TalkBack, and Shine plus. I’m mainly using Voice Assistant and Talkback. Similarly they also have to smart voice assistants. One called Google you may have heard of it! The other Bixbie. I think Google is by far better, but Bixbie has some compelling things. Instead of being an assistant like Siri, Alexa, or Google Bixbie wants to let you control anything on screen with your voice. They have a way to go here, but at least it is a start.

I have had some minor annoyances with finding accessible apps for everything, but slowly I am getting there. I’ll be honest I think this is doable! I would not have said this a year ago. I find the phone to be picking up on what I do and it’s getting smarter about what I want to do and accomplish. The speaker quality on it is much more pleasing than the IPhone’s was also. Guess what I changed a notification sound, and it stuck.

One app I find super useful on Android is called Move it. It’s a bus app. It’s also on IOS and used to work well, but still not as well as it does on the Galaxy. What it does is it tells me when my bus is 1 minute away from me. It then watches and notifies me when were 2 stops away. It then lets me know again to pull the bell and get off. If I am transferring bus’s like I have to in the afternoon once I exit it shows me on the lock screen how far my next bus is away from me. Madden football has something called beast mode. On Android this app is full on Beastmode man I’m telling you. It’s so useful having these notifications just testing it this week has been life changing.

Anyway that’s about it for now. I am keeping my IPad Pro,, but the Iphone 8plus gots to go! Lol sorry I had to rhyme. I think Apple can get it right, but do they care anymore? I am tired of waiting on things I find important. Will I buy another Iphone in the future? Some think I will, but I don’t know. It depends on how I feel Android and Samsung improve. For now I honestly have to say I’m 98% happy I switched.

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.
 

Update plus Google vs Alexa

My new job is going well! I get to play with technology, see some cool new things, and look for issues within the software, so really how can it get any better? I still think about Robin every day she crosses my mind. I imagine it’s like a parent losing a kid. I’ve never gone through that, but we were with each other so much I have this void. Even if I get a new dog I’ll miss her the new dog will be fine, and it will do great things, but there not replaceable. I went to a new shopping center over the weekend, and people really do not respond to a cane. I said sir excuse me could you help me or ma’am can I ask you a question? No one responded. Abby and I went to Kroger both with canes since Bancroft her dog, and my boy was getting a bath. We walked in, and got to the pharmacy ourselves with no one really taking notice of us. Finally, a person saw us and came over. Why Kroger do you guys put your customer service counters in weird places that have no cues for blind people to find you? Do you do this on purpose? Lol
 
My friend let me borrow his Google Home, so I thought I’d talk about what I like and dislike as well as compare it to the Echo. I think the Google Home is a solid product. It’s presentation as far as skill quality in my opinion dominates Alexa. For example, if you ask Google to flip a coin you hear a coin flip. If you ask Alexa to flip a coin she just gives you the result.
 
The Google Home just recently received IHeart radio as an option putting it on the same level as Alexa. They both have Tunein as well. I think purely on asking a device to play radio stations Alexa is dominating. I would ask Google Home to play WULF, and it could never get it. Alexa on the other hand got it every time. You can also ask Alexa to play local stations for example play 94.3 and she does it. It was hit and miss on the Google Home. Asking it to play 94.3 gave me a Spanish station from California.
 
Google home wins on directions as expected. Any place of business I asked it Google found it. Alexa wasn’t bad, but she would miss a few times. I asked Alexa once the address for Coals Artisan Pizza, and it gave me the address for the department store. Lol
 
One place where Alexa does beat Google in surprisingly is the calendar. Hello Google you control Google calendar right? At this time Google Home cannot add events or I cannot get it to read my calendar events even though it says it’s supposed too. Alexa on the other hand adds events tells me about my day, with no problem. This test shocked me.
 
Sports they’re about even. Both really don’t know a lot. I thought Google would be better, and I guess if I had to choose I’d pick Google, but both have a lot to learn here. Siri is really good with sports knowledge. For example, I will wait go ask your IPhone or Siri device who was on the 1975 Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team. It will give you the answer. Now ask the google home who plays on the team from this year, and it can’t help you neither can Alexa. Both do good with finding out a particular score.
 
As far as setting timers and alarms both do well, but I do like Google Home a bit more. Main reason is I can set two or more timers. For example, I can set one timer and call it kitchen, and then another timer for soaking my foot. With the Echo you only get one timer option. Alarms work the same. I was surprised however to find that the Google Home didn’t have a sleep timer. One feature I use constantly with Alexa is go to sleep in 2 hours. Google really needs to add this feature.
 
As far as actions go Alexa has so many. Google has some, and they do feel maybe more professional, but honestly there is just so few it’s hard to tell. One I love though is Weather Sky. This action allows you to get forecasts in great detail. Also you can ask it what was the forecast for Louisville KY on March 11, 1993, and you’ll hear the details for that day. I’ve looked for a skill like this for a long time. It’s amazing! To be fair to the Home Google has only been taking action submissions since December. Alexa has had 2 years. Amazon though seems to be working with a lot of top companies, and I haven’t heard much from Google. I love the MLB audio skill Alexa has I will be using that so much this year.
 
One thing I do like I wish Amazon would do with alexa is I do enjoy the casting ability. For example, I listen to a lot of podcasts, so if I’m in the middle of one when I get home I can cast it to the Google home, and continue where I was on my phone. On Alexa there really is no way to do this other than Bluetooth. I don’t mind Bluetooth, but Casting is just easier.
 
Amazon also has the advantage of getting Alexa in to so many devices. My baby got me a Fabriq speaker that has Alexa in it. They also have the Tap and Dot. Alexa this year will be coming to cars, lamps, clocks, and a lot more. Google is trying to figure out how to put their own assistant on all android devices still. Lol Let that sink in. Probabilities are that even if they do release it if you have an Android phone your carrier won’t let you get it. Okay I will stop bashing Google now, but seriously? It will take them a while to get this done I’m still not sure what it will look like. For example, we have a Pixel at work I’ve played with, and the assistant is on there, but you can’t play trivia on it like you can on the Home. I’m not really understanding what the differences are between Home and the Pixel’s assistant, because they say it’s supposed to be the same, but it isn’t. Long story short Amazon is getting Alexa everywhere true Google has the advantage of having so much market share on devices, but if you really don’t control how many devices will get the upgrades it will stunt growth for a while.
 
Amazon also really does a good job with their services. I signed up for Amazon unlimited music even though I’m an Apple guy normally. How can you beat $70 a year? Google really doesn’t offer me much on the Home besides Pandora which Alexa has also. The YouTube casting is a joke, because you have to sign up for YouTube red to do it. Also can Google make their subscriptions any more confusing? I mean I did a trial until July, but I think with a subscription I can get Google Play music as well? I don’t know then on YouTube red you still can’t cast just any old YouTube video. It’s annoying, and way more frustrating than its worth. Amazon has a much easier and less complex system. I really wish Google would improve on this either open up YouTube Red to everything on YouTube, or something I’m not really seeing the point to using it with the Home.
 
If I had to pick one at this point, I would choose Alexa. I think Amazon does a great job getting you in their ecosystem it’s also not so confusing. I also think Alexa just understands radio call letters better, and deals with media better. I do really enjoy Googles production, and it’s way more cheerful. Over time I don’t know which one will win, or if there even will be a winner, but for now it’s Alexa. If you can get a Google Home I would say get one also, because asking it to play different animal sounds is fun. I heard a Buffalo man I would not want to run in to a herd of those on the Prairie. Alexa is easier to say consistently.