While Steve and I were in France on vacation, we took a day trip over to Belgium to meet up with friends. It all started when Helma from the Netherlands pointed out that it was only an hour and a half drive from her to get to Brussels and the same time for us to take a bullet train from Paris.
I’ve been trying to get Helma together with our crazy friend Knightwise and his lovely wife Nyana from Belgium so this looked like a great excuse. Well, we couldn’t go to Brussels and not see good friend of the show Peter Boodts.
When we got to Brussels, it was 27F outside and some of us (particularly Knightwise) were not adequately clothed for the weather, so we kept stopping in coffee shops and restaurants every time we got chilly. Steve and I actually ate 7 times that day.
Anyway, while in one of the restaurants, Peter said he had a product review for us. He showed us the Polaroid ZIP Mobile Printer. I recorded his review on my iPhone and shortly after Peter and I started to talk, Knightwise decided to record it on video. The full interview is a bit longer in audio where you’ll hear the voices of Knightwise, Nyana, Helma, and Steve introduce themselves and we do a bit of silliness. That full-length audio interview will play in the audio podcast.
In this “Lite” version of Chit Chat Across the Pond (within a NosillaCastaway’s definition of Lite), Bart teaches us about DNS Resolvers and helps give us the information to choose the right one for us. To get us there he starts by explaining the background technologies. He explains DNS and how there’s two kinds of servers, he explains DNS Name resolution and why caching is important, and the security problems (and solutions) of DNS. Then he explains how third-party DNS providers can solve some of these problems. He explains their motivations which will inform your own decision. Finally (at about the 1 hour mark) he walks through the solutions offered by OpenDNS, Google, Quad9 and Cloudflare. I loved this episode and you can tell Bart really loves talking about DNS.
In January I wrote a post entitled Nite Ize Taglit Might Save Your Life. I explained that I was nearly hit by a car twice while walking Tesla in the early evening hours. I figured that I might live a bit longer if I lit myself up with blinky lights. At Bart’s recommendation, I bought the Taglits from Nite Ize and I’ve had several people actually stop their cars to tell me that they saw me because of them.
But Bart had an idea for yet another addition to my ensemble. He bought a pair of LED shoe clip lights for when he’s cycling at night. He was so pleased with their effectiveness that he bought me a pair and sent them across the pond. The design is quite simple. It’s a C-shaped band that clamps around the upper heel of your shoe, and it has a big button you push to turn on the LED. The LED itself goes all around the C so you’ve got a big area of your shoe lit up when they’re on.
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.
I’m going to talk about an accessibility app called Seeing AI developed by Microsoft and while you might not need this yourself, it’s a fascinating, free tool for iOS that has huge capabilities. I’m going to walk through how I heard about it and the problem it originally solved and then I’m going to do some crazy multi-media. I took a series of short videos using iOS’s built-in recording function of each of the tools within Seeing AI. The videos will be embedded in the blog post as I go along and I’ll play the audio from them for the podcast, setting up what’s going on in each segment.
I was alerted to Seeing AI by Kevin Jones (@kevinrj) after I did the review of the NiteIze Taglit, the little LED lights I clamp on my shirt for walking Tesla in the evening to keep from being plowed down by an unobservant motorist. Kevin is blind and wanted to know if there was any physical indicator to tell him whether the light was on, off, or blinking.
Since there wasn’t a physical indicator on the Taglits, he asked if I’d test a free app called Seeing AI from Microsoft. This app does a ton of cool stuff and I’ll walk you through all of it, but let’s start with the problem Kevin wanted to solve.
Harald sent in a lovely note and included a Dumb Question for the show. Here’s his note:
Several months ago I started listening to the NosillaCast after discovering, and listening to all episodes of Taming The Terminal. I haven’t skipped a single week ever since. Many thanks for putting a big smile on my face every week when I listen to your podcast. It is such a pleasure to listen to you and Bart. My wife also started listening. She is a happy MAC user while I am enjoying Windows. We both love using our iPhone.
My Dumb Question is why are you so interested in accessibility?
Joe Dugandzic of smarterhomelife.com joins us again, this time in a crossover episode. We start by him asking me to describe my progression in Home Automation from my first smart lightbulb to the more advanced capabilities Steve and I enjoy today. But then we turn the table around and I ask Joe a series of questions submitted by NosillaCastaways.
As many times as I’ve talked to Joe about Home Automation, I continue to learn from him. There are at least two moments in this episode where I had an “aha” moment of learning.
We start with how wrong I was last week, with two huge mistakes. I posted a teaser video about a Monosnap screencast I did for ScreenCasts Online, and how I was on Daily Tech News Show #3248 where we talked about whether the announcements from Apple will help them get back in the game with education. Then I’ll walk you through the harrowing tale of how awful both iBooks Author and Pages are at creating ebooks. Then Bart joins us to give a follow up on the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook kerfuffle, he’ll tell us about two new laws in the US called SESTA/FOSTA and the CLOUD act, and he’ll tell us about the very clever fix Apple came up with for the HSTS vulnerability that’s plaguing all browsers.
It’s been revealed that Facebook scraped call and text data from Android phones for years. Technically users did opt in to the collection, but it doesn’t seem to have been informed consent based on the public reaction to the reporting: