#377 Fleksy Keyboard for the Blind, Motion X GPS for Geotagging, Jason Howell of Tech News Today

Next week’s live show is on Saturday the 4th, not Sunday the 5th so join us at https://podfeet.com/live and I’m going on vacation so please send in your own recordings to air on the show August 12th. Fleksy from fleksy.com brings a magical keyboard to the blind (but it’s pretty darn cool for the sighted too!) Allister Jenks does an unsolicited testimonial for ScreenSteps with his his tutorial on geotagging photos with $0.99 Motion X GPS on the iPhone and a digital camera: http://zkarj.clarify-it.com/d/7mp99c. In Chit Chat Across the Pond, Jason Howell of Tech News Today on the TWiT network joins us to talk about video and audio production. You can find Tech News Today at twit.tv/tnt.


Hi this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Mac Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Macintosh bias. Today is Sunday July 29, 2012 and this is show number 377. This week we’ve got a review of Fleksy a magical iOS keyboard, and in Chit Chat Across the Pond we’ve got Jason Howell from Tech News Today on the TWiT network.

Before we kick into gear here, I wanted to tell you that there was a new Mac Roundtable posted yesterday with me, Katie Floyd, Tim Verpoorten, John F. Braun and Bart Busschots. We had a go at Mountain Lion discussion what annoys us and then actually making room for what makes us happy. We had a bit of a debate about whether the Mac App Store is going in a bad direction with the sandboxing restrictions…or not. We had great fun, so check it out over at macroundtable.com.

I need your help

Last week I mentioned that we’re taking off for a week vacation next weekend so the live show will be on SATURDAY night August 4th at 5pm pacific, not Sunday night as it usually is. Mark your calendars! That following week I’ll be sipping maitais while a cabana boy waves a palm frond to cool my brow so I have no intention of doing any work on the show. If you think you’d like there to BE a show, I need you to send in recordings! 3-5 minutes is the expected norm, can be emailed or drop boxed to me – in aiff or even m4a. The iPhone actually makes a great recorder so you can use that if you like. We will have Chit Chat Across the Pond with Bart but if you want a fun filled show, put on your thinking caps and come up with something that blows your dress up that you’d like to tell all of us about! The LATEST you can send them in is probably Saturday the 11th, but sending them in this week is even better so I can start placing them. Thanks – I know you guys won’t let me down!

Disability Mistake

Remember last week when I was talking about how Patrick Henebry can text way faster than me because he uses dictation, but I was finally able to keep up using dictation on the Nexus 7? Well I made a pretty major mistake in that – I said that he has multiple sclerosis, and that’s not right at all, he has cerebral palsy. This is an important distinction because Patrick really likes to help people out, and if I left this error uncorrected, someone with multiple sclerosis might think that voice dictation is a great idea for them, when in fact it’s not [during periods when the MS is affecting their speech. He also says that it’s not a good fit if your speech is affected by cerebral palsy (his speech is not affected).] I apologized to Patrick for the mistake – I make mistakes from time to time but this must be my biggest. Thanks again, Patrick for all the teaching you’re doing on the side about motor impairments and the effects on computing, I hope you’ll keep helping me understand – I promise to pay attention!


If you’ve been playing along with our home game, you know that I taught myself to type using VoiceOver, the built in accessibility feature for the blind on iOS. I practiced my little heart out to get faster and more accurate and after about two months of practice I got up to a blazing 6 words a minute. The reason it’s so slow is that you touch each letter, wait for the nice lady to say the key name and then lift your finger to select it. You don’t actually have to wait very long but you definitely can’t just tap the letters. It’s awesome that we can do this but it’s pretty painful as a way to type. Most of my blind friends told me that they either use a bluetooth keyboard or a Braille Display instead.

fleksy iconJeff Bishop (@JeffBishop) told me about an intriguing solution to the problem of typing on the iPhone. It’s an app called Fleksy from fleksy.com. Fleksy is essentially an application designed to allow you to type very quickly, even missing most of the letters, and like magic Fleksy figures out what you meant to type. I’m not kidding about the magic, when I’m typing with Fleksy I’m typing absolute gibberish and it almost always knows what I was trying to type.

fleksy screens showing glop typed and corrected wordGetting used to Fleksy takes a few minutes, because each time you finish typing a word, you swipe to the right with one finger and it guesses the word. If it guessed correctly, you just start typing the next word. If it guessed wrong, simply swipe down and it will start suggesting different words you might have meant. In all the time I played with Fleksy, only once did it not find the right word for me. To add punctuation, simply swipe twice to the right (like a double space) and Fleksy will insert a period. swipe down to switch it to comma, question mark, etc. Getting to numbers is a little bit tricky but not too hard once you figure it out. Simple hold down on any letter, slide your finger up and to the far right and you’ll hear Fleksy say 5. swipe down or up to go to the next number in the sequence. A lot easier than getting the “more numbers” key to trigger on the traditional keyboard.

Let me step back a bit now that you get what Fleksy does. The assumption is that you’re blind so you would have VoiceOver on, and that you use the triple click home trick to toggle VoiceOver on and off. When you first launch Fleksy, it tells you to triple click home to enter Fleksy, actually turning off VoiceOver. When you’re done typing your masterpiece, you triple click home to bring up a menu of options of what to do with it. You can email, text message, tweet, copy or just clear out what you wrote.

I read most of the instructions (which are pretty necessary to figure out how to use Fleksy) and it said that if you want to listen back what you’ve typed, all you have to do is hold the phone up to your head. This is a really clever feature and I was disappointed that it didn’t work. But luckily I just happened to be chatting with @summer72h and she mentioned playing with the different options in Settings. Turns out “raise to speak” is a toggle in settings! I was so happy when I found that. .

I should tell you that if you’ve tried Fleksy in the past and found that it took too long to launch, please download the lastest version because that problem has been removed in the latest version. In my tests it went from 79 seconds to load down to just a few seconds, which makes it completely usable now. I think this is a fantastic app and I’m intrigued with what else they decide to do with their patent pending technology for on screen typing.

If you’re visually impaired and you need to be able to use the onscreen keyboard on the iPhone but find it far to slow to type for practical use, I highly encourage you to check out Fleksy. You can get it from the iTunes Store (and of course there’s a link in the shownotes) for $14.99. You can also view a video (if you’re sighted of course) of how magical this is over at fleksy.com.


This week I got a spontaneous letter from Allister Jenks (aka @zkarj (spell out)) that I’d like to read to you.

Hi Allison. Since I know how you love talking about ScreenSteps every week, I thought I’d butt in and offer my own testimonial on this great piece of software.

As you can imagine, there was a problem to be solved. Some months ago I tweeted that I had figured out how to easily geotag my photos by using my iPhone alongside my DSLR and using Aperture to bring them together. Tim Chaten of iWake Podcast fame demanded a screencast of how to do it. Goodness! I’ve never done a screencast before and it sounds like a lot of work. Not only that but, to be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly how to replicate the process. And even if I were to do a screencast, I’d need to first record the steps on how to do it so I have a script. Hmmm. How to do this?

While out taking photos today I had already done some screen captures from my iPhone in preparation for the task and of course I was going to need many shots of the relevant parts of Aperture. If only there were an application that would allow me to easily incorporate existing graphics and take new screen captures. D’oh! Of course, there is ScreenSteps.

Seriously, though, ScreenSteps allowed me one very important flexibility in capturing the process. I basically rediscovered how to do it and how not to do it while capturing everything I did. Once I had succeeded in tagging the photos, I was able to go into ScreenSteps, add the iPhone captures, remove the missteps and reorder what was left so that it shows how to do it right the first time!

Once I had all the steps in the right order it was a simple case of going through each step and adding the odd arrow, number or oval to highlight the important bits and plenty of text to describe the process. Then at the end of it all, I simply clicked Share and sent it to Clarify-it.com where anybody can now go to learn this marvelous trick.

The only way this could have been easier would be to have known what I was doing. But that’s not a requirement for ScreenSteps. Thank goodness!

Allister’s tutorial on geotagging photos with $0.99 Motion X GPS on the iPhone and a digital camera: http://zkarj.clarify-it.com/d/7mp99c

Chit Chat Across the Pond

jason on skype video with mejason on skype video with meJason Howell of Tech News Today on the TWiT network joins us to talk about video and audio production. You can find Tech News Today at twit.tv/tnt. You can find Jason at about.me/jasonhowell

Questions I asked Jason:

  • I would love to learn about how the show is produced, and what a producer actually does.
  • How are the various sources piped to the displays around you? – Is this where a Tricaster comes into play?
  • How do you match the audio sources?
  • Audio sources seem to go bad all on their own when I swear I didn’t touch them!
  • Do you do a sound check before every show? or can you see the levels live? or do you do it all by ear?
  • How did you learn to do all of this? Is the equipment very different at TWiT vs. CNET? (loved BOL)
  • So what’s this you’re doing in creating your own punk rock album?

That’s going to wind this up for this week, many thanks to our sponsor for helping to pay the bills, Blue Mango Learning at bluemangolearning.com makers of ScreenSteps and Clarify. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at [email protected], follow me on twitter at @podfeet. I contribute a fair amount over on Google Plus nowadays so just search for me by name if you want to circle me up. If you want to join in the fun of the live show, head on over to podfeet.com/live on Sunday nights at 5pm Pacific Time and join the friendly and enthusiastic NosillaCastaways. Thanks for listening, and stay subscribed.

7 thoughts on “#377 Fleksy Keyboard for the Blind, Motion X GPS for Geotagging, Jason Howell of Tech News Today

  1. Darren - July 30, 2012

    Eek. Downcast has downloaded last weeks audio (but this weeks show notes) with this podcast.

  2. Allison - July 30, 2012

    My apologies! I fixed the feed at 5am Pacific but it looks like you got the feed before that. To fix on your end you have to unsubscribe (the horrors!) and resubscribe. My apologies!!!!

  3. Jonathan - July 30, 2012

    A great interview with a lot of insight into how Jason works and his background.

    As a future first-time Android user (aka tomorrow) I think I need to checkout All About Android

  4. Kermonk - July 30, 2012

    How about a proper RSS link as well, so we don’t have to install Itunes…

  5. Darren - July 30, 2012

    Thanks so much Allison. I deleted the episode from downcast, rescanned and downloaded again and it was fine!

    I’m in the uk and usually listen during my Monday lunchtime walk. I really look forward to it.

    Thanks for all you do 🙂

  6. podfeet - July 30, 2012

    Yay Darren! thanks for the thanks, made my day.

    Kermonk – there IS a “proper” RSS link. In the menu bar click on Subscribe and you’ll see “alternate methods to subscribe”. In there a bunch of other ways. it clutters up the page too much to show it on every post!

  7. website - February 10, 2013

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