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Past Episodes

CSUN 2017: Aira Visual Interpreter for The Blind

Allison interviews Michael Hingson from Aira about their visual interpreter system that helps people without vision. Aira consists of smart glasses with a camera, an app on an iPhone and a MiFi connection to provide good WiFi capability. The app is used to call specially trained agents who can see what the user “sees” through the smart glasses. The user asks the agent about their visual surroundings and in real time the agent provides the requested information. The setting is the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

Learn more at http://aira.io

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NC #620 Apple Watch Swimming, Standard Mac Apps, BrainPort Visualization Through the Tongue, eSight Low Vision Glasses, Non-tech Podcasts, GhostReader, BeatsX

Allister here standing in for Allison this week. I have a miniature review of using the Apple Watch Series 2 for swim workouts, I’ll quickly review 26 Mac Apps you didn’t know you already had, Allison will pop by with two more videos from the CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, I’ll make some recommendations for podcasts you might want to listen to that aren’t about technology, Terry delivers on his callout from Allison with a review of GhostReader text to speech software, and I’ll finish up with a review of the BeatsX Bluetooth earbuds with Apple W1 chip.


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GhostReader Text to Speech – Guest Review by Terry Vogelaar

GhostReader screenshotI am Terry from Holland and I would like to do a review of GhostReader from ConvenienceWare. Let me start by the problem to be solved. As a graphic designer, I am often the last person to see a text before it is multiplied in a huge quantity. So I need to be very good in proofreading. But whenever I just want to read, I am still scanning for typo’s, punctuation errors and grammar mistakes. It takes forever for me to finish a book. Fortunately, many books are available as audiobooks. But many other books are not. Of course my Mac comes with text-to-speech capability. For example, Pages can read its text out loud. But it is not easy to pause a long text and continue the next day. Wouldn’t it be great if you could turn longer texts into an audiobook? Read More

Elise Roy: When we design for disability, we all benefit (TEDx)

Now is an appropriate time to share that there will be no Chit Chat Across the Pond this week. Unfortunately, the scheduling gods were not in my corner this time around.

To somewhat make up for missing out, I’d like to bring the following TEDx video to your attention. There has been a wee bit of a buzz at work lately about Design Thinking.

In this TEDx MidAtlantic video, Elise Roy talks about losing her hearing as a child and how she now considers her disability to be the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She describes Design Thinking and how it can enable innovation that not only benefits the disabled but everyone.

It’s well worth thirteen minutes and seventeen seconds of your time.

Recommendations for podcasts NOT about technology

The majority of podcasts I listen to are on technology topics, because technology is both a hobby and a profession for me. Over the years I’ve continually found new tech podcasts by hearing about them on ones I’m already listening to. But I also have other hobbies and interests and I find it harder to pick up new podcasts on these topics, I guess because I don’t have a critical mass on any topic. So I thought I’d share with you a few podcasts I listen to that are not about technology. Read More

CSUN 2017: eSight 3 Low Vision Glasses

Allison interviews Frank Jones and Yvonne Felix from eSight about their new eSight 3 glasses composed of a wearable headmounted display and camera system that allows people with certain types of low vision to see better. The camera processes imagery, enhances it and displays the image on the inside of the glasses in a manner that is easier for the vision impaired user to see. The setting is the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

Learn more at http://esighteyewear.com

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BeatsX In-ear Bluetooth Earbuds with Apple W1

BeatsX Bluetooth earbudsI have long preferred in-ear earphones for two very important reasons. First, it’s just not possible to get a decent bass sound from lightweight earphones without creating a seal in the ear canal, and as my hearing is more sensitive to high frequencies, I need all the bass I can get, otherwise they sound feeble. Second, my typical listening environment is “out in the world.” I listen to podcasts or music on my 40 minute commute. This involves riding a train with other (sometimes noisy) commuters, and walking in a city with people and cars and buses and construction and wind. I tried EarPods for one day of commuting and confirmed that these two reasons are very good ones not to invest in AirPods, as cool as they are.

When Phil Schiller announced the AirPods, he also announced a few other products which would use the same W1 chip technology. The Beats Solo3 on-ear earphones would be an interesting proposition, but not for commuting –they’d be too bulky for me. The Powerbeats3 are a sport-style in-ear earphone solution. I’m not a fan of the over-ear hooks which secure these, and with their “sports” features, such as water resistance and an incredible 12 hour battery life (which I wouldn’t need), the price goes up, making them the most expensive of the in-ear products. That just leaves the cheapest product which includes the W1 chip – BeatsX. These are in-ear, designed for comfort, and last 8 hours on a charge. Read More

CSUN 2017: BrainPort Visualization Through the Tongue

Allison interviews Meesa Maeng from BrainPort about their extremely innovative V100 system that allows the user to “see” using their tongue. The V100 uses a sensory substitution device that allows the blind to use their tongue to feel the object they are looking at. The scene is captured by a special set of glasses with a camera worn by the user that processes and sends the image to the tongue sensor. With some training, the brain learns to interpret these impulses sensed by the tongue as a visual scene. The setting is the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego.

Learn more at http://wicab.com

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26 Mac Apps You Didn’t Know You Had

macOS Launchpad – Other folderOften when Allison puts out a call for material for the show, I’ll take a look at my installed Mac apps via Launchpad to see if there’s anything relatively new that’s worth a review. Faced with the prospect of sourcing an entire show, I did the same thing, but what I noticed was not something new. In fact, it’s a whole lot of somethings and they’re all quite old.

There’s a folder on the default Launchpad configuration called “Other” which contains all 17 applications from the Utility folder that lives inside your Applications folder, plus 9 other applications that aren’t usually featured in Apple promotional materials.

I thought it might be useful to listeners if I quickly ran through what’s in there and maybe you’ll discover something useful you didn’t know you had. Read More

Swimming with Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch Series 2 swim workoutI’ve seen and heard numerous reviews of Apple Watch Series 2, but not very many seem to mention the newly available swim workouts, so I thought I’d give a brief rundown of how they’ve been working for me. Read More