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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: AssisTech SmartCane

Allison interviews Manshul Belani from AssisTech Labs about their new SmartCane device for those who are blind or visually impaired. SmartCane is an electronic travel aid which fits on the top fold of the white cane. It serves as an enhancement to the white cane and overcomes its limitations by detecting knee-above and hanging obstacles such as the railings, tree branches, inclined ladders, etc. These obstacles do not have significant footprint on the ground and thus can result in injury to the head or upper body parts. For safe mobility, it is important that they are detected early. The cane has other uses as a spatial awareness device as it can detect presence or absence of objects in the surroundings. The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at

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Seeing AI in the App Store

Seeing AI from Microsoft

Seeing AI scene laptopI’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.

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Dumb Question Corner – Why Do I Care About Accessibility?

braille symbolHarald sent in a lovely note and included a Dumb Question for the show. Here’s his note:

Dear Allison,

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?

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CSUN Assistive Tech Conference 2018: OrCam MyEye 2.0

Allison interviews Bryan Wolynski from OrCam about their new MyEye 2.0 artificial vision device for those who are blind or visually impaired. MyEye 2.0 is comprised of a 13 Mpixel camera that takes a photograph and speaks back to the wearer a description of the image contents, whether it be text, facial recognition or product recognition. The device also recognizes simple hand gestures, reads colors, identifies money notes, and tells the date and time with a turn of the wrist. The MyEye 2.0 device, about the size of a finger, magnetically attaches to the stem of your glasses. In addition to the camera, the device includes a processor and speaker which transmits the audio to the wearer’s ear. MyEye 2.0 is ideal for use at work or at school, at home or on the go. The setting is CSUN Assistive Technologies Conference in San Diego, CA. Learn more at

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NC #673 Dumb Mistakes, Monosnap Screencast, Worst Book Creation Apps, Security Bits

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.

mp3 download

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Security Bits – SESTA/FOSTA, CLOUD Act, Apple’s HSTS Clever Fix


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Monosnap Video Tutorial on ScreenCasts Online

Back in January I told you guys about a really slick tool called Monosnap. I explained that it’s so much more than a screen capture tool. Anyway, I am so enchanted with Monosnap that I decided to do a video tutorial for Don McAllister’s ScreenCasts Online. I had a blast making this video because the more I dug into Monosnap the more I realized it could do.

Here’s a teaser video for you. If you like what you see, you can go to… and sign up for a free 10 day trial and watch the entire video. I warn you though, ScreenCasts Online is addictive!

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Which is Worse: iBooks Author or Pages Book Creation?

Cover of paris book showing eiffel tower
Click to Open in iBooks on iOS or macOS

Every year when we go on vacation, especially if it’s to an exotic place, I write a travelogue of our adventures. I write a page a day while on the trip, and include photos from the day. I do this the old-fashioned way, in an email to my friends and family. Oddly, rather than people being annoyed by this, people actually ask to be on distribution.

At the risk of sounding particularly full of myself, people have told me that my writing style is engaging and even sparkling! All I can say is that I make myself laugh as I write these letters, so at least one person is entertained. It is definitely not your typical, “My Summer Vacation” report.

A few years ago after our huge Dubai, India, and Nepal trip, Wally Cherwinsky suggested that I try to make my travelogue into an iBook. He felt it would be a great way to have them all together as a keepsake of the trip. Well, I tried back then, but it was too hard.

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Mylio Photo Organizer and Editor by Tom Stewart

I am an amateur photographer and enjoy travelling and taking pictures, lots of pictures. One of the problems I had, and the reason for this review, was to find a product which allowed me to see all of my pictures on all of my devices. Both Apple and Adobe have products which address this but the developers who write these programs seem to feel that everyone has very high speed internet at all times and oodles of cloud storage. This isn’t the case for me.

When Photos was announced a few years ago I felt it would be the solution to the issue of distributing my images to all of my devices. I had two obstacles to get around. Primarily it was the number of images. When I am travelling I might take 3 – 4 thousand pictures each of which is a 50 Meg RAW file. I don’t want them all in the cloud at that point in my workflow as it would be incredibly slow and, in many locations, impossible.

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