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Allister’s Journey from Castblaster to MiX16 Pro

Sitting duck podcast logoThis piece started out as a simple review of one piece of software, but as I began writing, I realised it’s one of those times where a bit of storytelling is in order.

Some listeners will know that I once had a podcast of my own. Technically, I still do, but it’s a pretty rare release these days. I started right around the same time Allison did but instead of tech, my podcast was about music.

Continue reading “Allister’s Journey from Castblaster to MiX16 Pro”

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B2 – Affordable Longterm Storage from Backblaze

Allison reviewed the Backblaze cloud backup service earlier this year. In her review she explained why she had decided to abandon CrashPlan and how Backblaze was able to get her backed up in double quick time. I’ve been a fan of Backblaze since I also decided I had to quit CrashPlan. To date I have over 4TB of data in my Backblaze backup.

Continue reading “B2 – Affordable Longterm Storage from Backblaze”

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

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? Continue reading “GhostReader Text to Speech – Guest Review by Terry Vogelaar”

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.

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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. Continue reading “Recommendations for podcasts NOT about technology”

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. Continue reading “BeatsX In-ear Bluetooth Earbuds with Apple W1”

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. Continue reading “26 Mac Apps You Didn’t Know You Had”

Guest Review of the Tucano Elements Second Skin for MacBook 12″ by Allister

Greetings Allison and fellow NosillaCastaways. Allister here from New Zealand with a quick review of a product that won’t excite many, but will help prevent moments of horror.

Tucano MacBook sleeveThe problem to be solved is keeping my gorgeous gold 12″ MacBook looking gorgeous. I bought the laptop while travelling and so quickly became aware of just how easily it marked even carefully putting it in its own pocket in my work-provided laptop backpack. It clearly needed its own special protection.
Continue reading “Guest Review of the Tucano Elements Second Skin for MacBook 12″ by Allister”

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