In this week’s episode, I open with the sad news that Reggie Ashworth, author of the great apps AppDelete and VidConvert has passed away. We have a minor bit of news about Clarify that is slightly hopeful that it will survive into the next version of Mac App Store (but don’t get your heart set on it). Then we finally start having some fun as we play interviews from CSUN’s Assistive Technology Conference: Second Sight and Orcam MyEye 2.0. I answer a dumb question about why I care so much about accessibility. Then I’ll give you a multi-media tour of a free app from Microsoft called Seeing AI.
Hi, this is Allison Sheridan of the NosillaCast Apple Podcast, hosted at Podfeet.com, a technology geek podcast with an EVER so slight Apple bias. Today is Sunday, April 8, 2018, and this is show number 674.
I have some sad news to share and I’ve been fretting about how to tell the story, but here goes. George from Oklahoma City (not to be confused with George from Tulsa) wrote me a note last week asking if I’d heard from Reggie Ashworth recently. Reggie is the developer for two apps I really like and have recommended for years, AppDelete and VidConvert. George was concerned because while both apps are frequently updated he hadn’t seen an update in a really long time. I suggested George write to him and gave him Reggie’s email address.
George did so and got the worst possible answer, Reggie was killed in a car accident last year. I never met Reggie, but I somehow felt close to him. He didn’t answer support emails with a curt response but rather was friendly and fun in our conversations over the years. We always said we’d get together in person because we only lived a half hour apart, but we never made the time. I really feel like we lost a jewel in the Mac development community.
Reggie’s family is trying to figure out how to sell the business but they’re not developers and haven’t figured out how to even get to the source code yet so I don’t have super high hopes about it.
There are some good alternatives to AppDelete. I’ve heard both AppZapper from appzapper.com/… and AppCleaner from freemacsoft.net/…. I haven’t tried either one but I guess I’ll have to give them a try.
Update on Clarify
Many of you are big fans of the app Clarify from bluemangolearning.com. I advertised for them for years because of how often I use this software to create tutorials for the podcast and to help me remember how to do things. I announced a while ago that Blue Mango Learning was stopping active development of Clarify to focus on their business software, ScreenSteps.
The product is already awesome, so it wasn’t a devastating blow. But then we found out that Clarify is 32-bit software, and in the OS after High Sierra, Apple won’t be supporting 32-bit apps. At the time, Blue Mango wouldn’t commit either way to whether they were going to update it to 64-bit, leaving many of us nervous.
I wrote to Blue Mango this week with an email telling them that I was literally losing sleep over this. I know, it shows I live a charmed life if this is the thing that keeps me up at night. I’m not one to wallow in lost apps because there’s usually a reasonable alternative. I didn’t even belly ache (much) when Aperture was abandoned by Apple and moved on to Photos.
But there is nothing even close to Clarify out in the market. I tried out StepShot from stepshot.net/… which is similar but in my opinion it is a very poor substitute. It’s also $12/month, or $119/year. Even as many tutorials as I do that’s a pretty steep price.
I did a search for “screen snapshot documentation tool step by step”. I found Stepshot, and every single other hit on Google was either for Clarify or for ScreenSteps. You might think ScreenSteps itself is the answer, but they discontinued their desktop app and only have a cloud service and it’s $99/month for 5 user accounts. So, yeah, not quite priced for the home user.
The answer I got back from Blue Mango wasn’t definitive by any means, but it did give me a glimmer of hope. They told me that ScreenSteps (their main source of income) shares the same code base, and it’s also 32-bit so after they go through the process of upgrading ScreenSteps they’ll have a better idea of how hard it will be to upgrade Clarify.
That said, they did discontinue selling new licenses in January because it depended on a licensed software engine which I only just now discovered. So while there is a glimmer of hope that they’ll upgrade Clarify to 64-bit and it will keep working in the future, this isn’t a great situation. If anyone does find an alternative to Clarify, I’m all ears! Or if you’re a developer, go write one for me!
Chit Chat Across the Pond
In Chit Chat Across the Pond this week Joe Dugandzic from Smarter Home Life is back with a crossover episode between his show and Chit Chat. The first half of the show is him interviewing me about the genesis of my Home Automation efforts all the way through current day and my future plans to make my home smarter. Then we flip the tables and I play Stump the Home Automation Guy with questions from the NosillaCastaways. I’m really glad we did the Q and A part because I learned a lot of stuff I didn’t know. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it, go check it out at the link in the shownotes, or click on either Chit Chat logo at podfeet.com (lite or regular depending if you’re on a diet). If you do go to the website I’ve embedded Joe’s YouTube video for the show which is a fun way to see it rather than just listen. And of course, you can always just look for Chit Chat Across the Pond or Chit Chat Across the Pond Lite in your podcatcher of choice.
Steve and I are freshly back from CSUN’s Assistive Tech conference, the playground for accessible technology. We didn’t get a lot of interviews done this time, I think because we had just gotten back from Paris and we were pretty exhausted but we got a couple of great ones. Let’s get started with one of my favorite ones.
Patreon and Amazon
You’ve probably noticed by now that this show is not ad-supported. But it does cost money to produce the shows for you and that’s why we have two business models to help pay for hosting and gear. I’d like to thank James Tisdale for deciding to become a patron of the Podfeet Podcasts (which is just darn fun to say). Through Patreon, James was able to choose an amount per show that was right for him and his family.
The other way the show is supported is by people using the Amazon Affiliate Links when they buy things I talk about on Amazon. Here’s a little tip you may not know – if you’re in England, Canada or Germany, you can still use Amazon Affiliate Links to help the show. Go to podfeet.com/amazon and you’ll see the flag for your country. Click there and anything you buy may send a small percentage to support the podcasts.
I’d like to remind our UK and Canadian listeners to try to remember to use the Amazon Affiliate Links for your country. Our German listeners are really good about using theirs, but the UK and Canada are way behind Germany in remembering. You can’t let that happen, right?
After seeing the OrCam MyEye and several other similar products at CSUN, it got me thinking about whether these dedicated physical devices have a real place in accessibility going forward. I say this because there are now some apps for Android and iOS that provide a lot of the same functionality without the need for the dedicated device. Let’s take a look at one of them now.
There’s an article over at iaccessibility.net/… by Michael Doise comparing the Orcam MyEye and Seeing AI if you’re interested in hearing from someone without vision making the comparison.
That’s going to wind this up for this week. Don’t forget to send in your Dumb Questions, comments and suggestions by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on twitter @podfeet. Remember, everything good starts with podfeet.com/. podfeet.com/patreon, podfeet.com/facebook, podfeet.com/googleplus, podfeet.com/chat, podfeet.com/amazon! And 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.