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WWDC, my thoughts

Hello folks,

While the Apple Vis coverage of WWDC isn’t what is usual, they do link to the press and other information that might be of interest. This blog post WWDC 23 Keynote: Apple Unveils Platform Updates and Introduces Apple Vision Pro Headset and New Macs covers this by linking to Apple and other sources instead.

This post from AppleVis titled apple vision pro VoiceOver support links to a demo with Voice over and the new glasses.

Here’s the thing, while my room I held wasn’t the most popular on Clubhouse, that’s ok. The people who were in there did have the same concern as I did when we were listening to the event. Apple Vision may become a very interesting problem.

Picture someone deciding to drive, then decide to watch a game on their glasses. Maybe they’re walking instead. We’ve got a problem with stupid already where people don’t pay attention in these modes of daily life, but this theoretical scenario is possible.

I am not saying that people will in fact do this, but it crossed my mind. Maybe its an over reaction, but I’ve had close calls with drivers through the years.

Some of the other things were interesting, especially with messages. Having pictures of folks as part of the contact card can be done, bbut what they talked about could be interesting. I’m not much of a memogy person, and I hate emogies as they stand now, although I do use a few emogies but not all the time. But the idea is cool where memogies can be used as part of the card too.

This is going to get interesting, and we’ll see what happens during the IOS 17 betas and whether they actually decide to start fixing some of the long standing issues with Voice Over and other accessibility issues I’ve seen on AppleVis.

Keep in touch!

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Haling a ride using uber is now here

A man stands in front of an Uber logo

While I saw something similar, it wasn’t widely available for those riders. Now, it seems to be more widely available, says this tech crunch article from several days ago.

You can now hail an Uber by calling a number is the article.

The article talks about what number to use, and the fact it is available in English and Spanish.

This may be a game changer for those who may not know how to use a smart phone, but need to book rides. The agent creates the account fo you, and you can, if you have an account, tell them to use a payment method.

I hope that this info may be of value to you!

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A guide on social media ediquet

This was a very interesting guide from a site I’m not familiar with. Social media etiquette for accessibility is the article.

Lots of headings herre but appropriate.

Do you think something is missing?

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New accessibility features coming to IOS 17

9 to 5 Mac and Apple Vis have posts on what is coming accessibility wise to IOS 17.

is written by 9 to 5 Mac. I saw this through Mastodon and is the first official article. I did see the post by Apple Vis also on Mastodon and I did see it on their site as well when I browsed it before getting to Mastodon.

Apple Vis has this post titled Apple Previews Upcoming Accessibility Features and Enhancements, Including Point and Speak and More Natural, Expressive Siri Voices for VoiceOver Users.

This article by Applevis has more details on some of these with quoted portions from elsewhere from around the web. Check out both articles and determine what might meet your needs for information or read them both.

Happy global accessibility day!

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Firefox 113 brings better accessibility to screen readers

This is an interesting find, as I didn’t even know I was running 113,. I do notice that I can go heading to heading on this blog, but the screen doesn’t change like it does in Chrome. This makes selecting the context key to copy a link to a blog post quite interesting in this version, but for casual reading, it is nice and fast.

Their blog post titled Firefox 113 Significantly Boosts Accessibility Performance has all of the details on their latest accessibility initiative.

Brandon: Boosting Jamie Teh (jcsteh): I’m very pleased to announce that Cache the World, our re-architecture of the Firefox accessibility engine to improve performance, reliability and correctness, is now enabled by default on all platforms with today’s release of Firefox 113. https://blog.mozilla.org/accessibility/firefox-113-accessibility-performance/ #accessibility #a11y

Jamie was at one company, then left to join mozilla. I believe my memory tells me he was once at the NVDA project, but I can be corrected.

He and the team are doing a great job here. Keep up the great work!

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Someone gets owned, tells disabled person to go home or use hot spot to get work done

Its time for a musing. I’m not here to complain about how one uses social media, and usually I read and move along. This, however, caught my interest as a tech person, and nothing more.

I normally don’t comment on things on social media, but this is a little much. As you’ll see, the issue is going to get itself resolved, and I’m not going to say that it was a mistake of the college or anyone else. That’s for them to decide and not for this blog.

Blocking domains without proper notification of policy violations is not going to go well with folks. Especially if you don’t even know there’s a policy to begin with and its allowed.

This can be for anywhere such as a college or even an employer at work. I believe that blocking should be told to the users, and should be done before it is to take place unless its against policy which you agreed to when signing up for the employer or college or even school of any type.

Here’s the first toot, mind you, there will be strong language and I’m not going to edit what they say.

Munchkinbear: wait, what the fuck, I come back to the colege, log onto the network to find they blocked trailhead.salesforce.com, login.salesforce.com and canvas.instructure.com. I call the help desk to file a ticket. Their response, we don’t care and aren’t gonna fix it, it’s not a college resource, if you want to do something from those websites go home or use a hotspot. and not ours. your not allowed to do courses unrelated to the college on this network anymore. What a crock of shit.

While I don’t blame this individual for posting on social media, I have seen too many of these types of things through the years. No, I don’t have any control of any social media, but this got me interested slightly on what was going on.

Posting later, they toot:

Munchkinbear: so connect to the VPN at home, and the sites mentioned previously work, because now the college firewall can’t distinguish the traffic because all it sees is the encrypted VPN tunnel. That doesn’t make what their doing morally right, nor does it mean I’m gonna stop screaming and crusading to get the stupid, unwritten policy they implimented without a single notification to students overturned, it just means I have a work around for now.

In the meantime, they send an email somewhere to file a formal complaint about the block with no knowledge to students or staff, and this is where someone got owned.

The toot says:

Munchkinbear: whoops! Someone is about to get owned.
From “ISNS, Lorain County Community College”

To “Popplestone, Shane”
Date 5/9/2023 1:15:46 PM
subject: re: blocking specific domains, a policy now? and treatment by help desk representatives.

Dear Shane,
Thanks for reaching out to ISNS with your concerns. Firstly, how you were treated by Michael at the help desk is most certainly not how you should have been treated and I’ll personally be speaking to that individual today.
As for blocking those salesforce.com and instructure.com domains being policy? This is incorrect and will be resolved immediately. We do not discourage students from taking courses and learning outside the college, and you being told to basically go home or use a hotspot to get your work done? Is also most certainly inappropriate.
These restrictions will be removed by the end of the day, and all staff involved in this behaviour will be disciplined.
Thank you for letting us know of this issue.
John at ISNS

Now, I have had dealings with Shane, who is identified here, and people can say what they want about him. But this isn’t about him. He has a right to be mad, post if he wants to social media, and let people know about what is going on in case he has followers in the same boat at the same location.

By this toot, sounds like someone is going to get owned, as there didn’t seem to be any policy, the work is getting done on free time and probably not during class time, and nobody told anyone about the policy change.

I would highly suggest that if you are going to block a domain on your network, tell people about the policy change and give people time to read it. Otherwise, there’s going to be backlash like this. Whoops!

I did tell Shane, that regardless on what people think of what they do on social media, sending an email was the right thing to do. I personally wouldn’t have done it this way, but then again, social media isn’t my life. If I chose to write about it on my personal journal OK, but even then, it would be done afterword.

Shane did respond that a pinned post and his bio indicate that he’ll vent, and if people use social media for that, I’m OK with it. Just write the email, get it resolved, and that’s what he did. I know one thing, I wouldn’t have blocked domains without letting my people who use my network know, that’s for sure.

End of Muse

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Freedom scientific now on Mastodon

Slowly but surely, the people we need on Mastodon will be coming over. The latest boost I saw was Freedom Scientific.

As a lot of people know, Freedom Scientific is one of the largest assistive companies out there with screen reader, magnification and teaching web accessibility.

They have 5 posts and was created on the first of this month.

Learn more about freedom scientific through their website.

Welcome aboard, Freedom!

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Alt Text is important, this is not funny

BBC Newsbeat's logo

I learned something new out of this article coming off of mastodon. The alt text attribute can have 1,000 characters. I did not know this.

GW Micro assisted me with some coding assistance when I was using their product and got stuck because my forms were not talking when tabbing through it.

I know that Freedom Scientific can possibly assist where needed if I contact them for help, or even other assistive tech company.

But this article also touches on something that sighted people should learn about and that is the alternitive text attribute.

This does two different things. For someone sighted, who may have issues with seeing the image clearly, it could describe the image to them by just hovering the mouse over it. Just like links now giving you the URL just by hovering it, alt text can be used in forms to clarify for example only enter numbers, or please enter a full email address.

Those types of items are part of the title tag within forms, and can have required in the place of the star which is not spoken for those who have punctuation turned completely off like I do.

To be honest, I have never understood meme’s, and i honestly have no interest in them, just because I can’t see them myself.

Coming across this article, I could understand now how they could be of use, but I don’t see myself using them, just like I don’t use emogies much if at all. I occasionally use a thumbs up or down or something, but it is very rare.

The BBC article talking about the alt text, how valuable is, and how companies responded to the joke that wasn’t is titled Click here: Twitter alt text meme that isn’t funny for blind people and should be read if you’re sighted.

Mastodon and this community are pushing for alt text in image descriptions for that reason. I tend to skip a lot of these, frankly because I don’t care, but if I find something of interest, I appreciate it and may boost it.

I know there are people who post art, and alt text describing it is the right thing to do. This is one reason why i am not one in to art and don’t care for it much.

Let’s give the sighted the tools to understand why it is important to use alternitive text. Thanks for reading, make it a great day!

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Western Digital apparently suffer databreach, sends email to customers in inaccessible way

I just spotted the following boost from a follower on Mastodon. Apparently, Western Digital suffered a databreach. I haven’t seen one about a breach, but sent them the blog posts talking about zero-days and other stuff from the past. Here’s the boost I saw.

Munchkinbear: Boosting Andre Louis (FreakyFwoof): Today I am disappointed and disgusted to say that #WesternDigital have sent me an email that has very important content in it, but it’s inaccessible.
They’ve suffered a data breach, but the information about said breach has been put into the email as an image.
A #ScreenReader user without some level of tech knowledge would be unable to read that, and may actually think it’s spam. To us, it goes straight to the line that says ‘Copyright 2023 Western Digital’ and skips all the salient points.
Utterly disgusting behaviour from such a large company about such an important topic.
If you’re of a mind to do so, please boost to raise awareness.
This email is seemingly *not* a drill.
Image 1: Image shows a screenshot of an emailed picture sent regarding a data breech and the implications this could have. The information is shown in an inaccessible format for screen reader users.

If you are a public company, it is important that when you communicate about breaches, you give everyone the email in a format everyone can read.

People may not be able to see. They may have other disabilities that do not allow them to see pictures well, including reading disabilities. I am not sure if people who can see but have reading disabilities will be able to discern this type of a message.

According to the boost quoted above, a screen reader user only saw the copyright information but nothing else.

Can you close your eyes and run something like NVDA for Windows or Voiceover for IOS nnd tell me if you can read your own message?

I reported this to my dentist as I got an email from them while I was there and I said that I only see the footer at the bottom and said it had to be in text.

They want to make this look pretty, but there are people with disabilities whether they use a reader or not that may have a hard time. You must do better.

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If TikTok survives, they’re rolling accessibility changes although the article is old and is it still viable?

Text To Speech and Translations tools are great things for any platform like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and other services where audio may be used. It gives people with other disabilities to enjoy the same content as much as we do.

The tech press and this podcast have talked about TikTok in the past and their journey through U.S. scrutiny, as well as states just flat out banning the app because of their practices.

Kim Komando has been calling for the flat out ban of the app and the company recently has gone so far as to rename itself, change its location and continue to develop apps under its name to evade what they are really up to.

This particular news has been posted on the Kim Komando daily tech minute, which you can subscribe to iusing your favorite podcast client of choice.

Today’s article is titled TikTok rolls out new accessibility and translation tools to bring its content to more users which seems to be a 2022 article.

I think even though this article is well past a month or so I’d like to blog, it highlights that they’re trying to do the right thing. Whether they survive after the scrutiny, I don’t know. That’s not for me to decide.

The market as well as industry pressure will dictate whether this app survives with all of the recent news we’ve covered on it.

I don’t blame the booster on Mastodon to the fact that this is an older article, and we’ll see if people report if these things are still in the app if they decided to use it after hearing all of the things we’ve covered.

Let’s see what the people say.

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National Federation for the Blind Joins Mastodon, twitter limited

Just like the JRN, although I’m on tweesecake.social, I am not posting much there although I still have dlvr.it there for now. NFB is of course a lot larger than we are, and like a lot of this community I serve, there’s definitely a lot to learn about Mastodon.

Their press release talks about how they have decided to cut back on twitter, and asks for input on how they can take advantage of the fedaverse

The fedaverse is a lot different, and when we got started, especially on the mix, it was smooth with a few learning curves of course.

Hopefully, we can praise their efforts and communicate with other organizations to come and join as they’re right, we have more accessibility here now than we have now on Twitter.

Let’s spread this news out there and show our other organizations that serve us where we are.

To read the NFB press release, use this link. Its titled National Federation of the Blind Moves Away from Twitter, Establishes Mastodon Server and Account and take that link with you.

We hope to see more of our companies on Mastodon. NFB, Aira and a few others are over here, how many more will join?

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Clubdeck version 2.5.4

I opened Clubdeck to deal with some things and it pingged to say it needed an update to 2.5.4.

Version 2.5.4

  • Added RSVP to events tab
  • Fixed start a room button starting a public house room by default
  • Added a confirmation popup when deleting an event
  • Fixed bug where you couldn’t join an open house

On Windows, when running it and it needs an update, it’ll tell you. Say yes to install when prompted.

Also, the events list ctrl+e now lists events in your houses and allows you to say yes or no for attending as now it sends invites when you create events. Its known in the links as RSVP to events instead. You can then start the event from there if I get things right. It is letting me start my July 6th event now if I wish. Interesting.

The create event button (ctrl+shft+e) doesn’t seem to do anything anymore. Just things to pass along.

Make it a great day!

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Voice Dream going subscription, current users not affected, prices being worked out

I’ve been seeing boosts from Apple Vis about this notice titled Voice Dream Reader for iOS is now 59.99$/year which needs to be sent around.

The initial person who posted this said the price was $59.99 a year.

In the discussion, the voice dream team indicate that they appreciate the feedback and even will perpose a monthly subscription model. They have made it clear that existing users will not need to go to the subscription model.

I understand both sides and have been monitoring the chatter I’ve seen coming across my desk here at the JRN. While I don’t offer a subscription for this blog, I do offer donation amounts on my donations page. When working with someone with it, I decided on $1, $5, $10 $20, $50 and $100 amounts to be directly paid to me one time. Paypal is also an option for recurring donations of any amount, and while it has been tested, only one user has used it.

I understand that money is tight, and for developing a program like Voice Dream, there are costs that go in to making sure the app is running including licensing fees that must be paid to the people who have the voices. They are not free to just put on your device because the programmer puts them there.

I am under the impression that they have to pay fees for each download, and if they come across this and I’m wrong, they can correct the record. I don’t believe that I know everything and that’s fine.

Most of the community expect paid products to be affordable and I understand that. Just take my dental bill for example to replace fillings from many years ago. $575 is a lot of money, and one was one price and one was another; based on type of filling. I’m not going to disclose the amounts, but I only disclosed the total.

$60 a year is not necessarily bad, although Password Manager Lastpass is $36 a year, which is $2 a month. So yes, I see why someone mentioned why it was a little high.

Hopefully we’ll learn more about the subscription model and it works out. We don’t want to see the app gone. That’s how I connect to Bookshare, as I have heard their app is aweful.

Hope everyone is doing well.

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Clubdeck version 2.5.3 is now available

This morning, as I normally do before TSB, I ran Clubdeck to make sure that I’m up to date. I figure if there are issues, get them resolved before TSB. Here’s what’s new.

Version 2.5.3

  • Added pinned houses
  • Added leader role in houses
  • Updated wording “Up to 3 topics” for houses
  • Fixed Youtube window not showing for audio effects exports
  • Fixed bug where admins couldn’t change house settings

Just running the application should bring up a dialogue asking if you want to update. Funny thing is, and I haven’t done this since, saying no still seems to apply the app update, but don’t know if that was a fluke on my end or if there’s another bug somewhere. Normally I tell it yes, but one day I wasn’t either ready or having the time and I think it did it anyway.

If anyone experiences that, let them know but I bring it up as I don’t know if it does that now or not.

Make it a great day!

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Envision comes out with Ask Envision

Envision is a company I have heard of for a very long time. I spotted a post talking about a service called Ask Envision. It uses the latest GP4 model of the language model to help us with doing daily tasks.

I don’t remember if it was this company or another one my father wanted to get me glasses for but I never did get them.

This blog from Envision is titled Introducing ‘Ask Envision’: A Gamechanger for the Blind and Low Vision Community and I hope people find this of interest like I did.

We’ve definitely come a long way and I could see this a value. Thanks so much for looking at the blog!

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Clubdeck 2.5.2 now released

Hello folks,

I hope everyone is doing well. Version 2.5.2 of Club Deck has been released.

The biggest thing is houses. All clubs are becoming houses.

The only item in the release notes says: “Updated Clubdeck for Clubhouse “Houses” edition – too many things to list there ;)”

I personally have created an open forum for TSB in this new club format using clubdeck and it works great. I reported some issues last week, and I understand what they were saying to me although I was only trying to report stuff and asking questions.

We’ll see how this works starting next week as this week has already been scheduled as part of the transition.

Have a good one.

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An open letter to get accessibility companies and those who work with the disabled on Mastodon

I’ve been seeing this boosted quite a number of times on my Mastodon.

I’m normally not known to sign many petitions and letters, but this one should be a must.

This is the link to the open letter An open letter to organisations engaging with the online blind community. Twitter has abandoned us, many of us have abandoned Twitter, join us on Mastodon which the tech blog is passing along.

We have over 11 million people on Mastodon, we’ve had a million people through the past month after the last exidus from Twitter.

This is not about Twitter’s issues. This is about getting companies who assist us disabled people whether mainstream or otherwise.

Thanks for reading.

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IOS 16.4.1 and Mac 13.3.1

I see someone who boosted Apple Vis’s blog Apple Releases iOS 16.4.1 and MacOS Ventura 13.3.1 With Emoji, Siri, and Auto Unlock Bug Fixes which talks about bug fixes for both Mac and IOS users.

This is a minor update, and it is not known if anything has been fixed for blind or low vision users.

Apple Vis has more.

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Some twitter keystrokes

I saw the following boost on Mastodon. Figured people might want these.

Celeste, AKA DJ Celrock!: Boosting Chris C (ChrisChaffin): For those still wanting to use Twitter, I just learned that there is keystrokes that you can use with the iOS Twitter app and a bluetooth keyboard. Here are the keystrokes I found. And this is for an Apple keyboard. For windows keyboard, the command key is the same as the windows key. OK, here you go. 1, Command key, gives a list of all keystrokes. 2, Command N, New Tweet. 3, Command W, Close Compose window. 4, Command 1, Go to Home. 5, Command 2, Go to Notifications. 6, Command 3, Go to Moments. 7, Command 4, Go to messages. 8, Command 5, Go to me. 9, Shift Command left bracket, Go left one tab. 10, Shift Command right bracket, Go right one tab. 11, Command R, Reply to tweet or direct message. 12, Command Enter, Send Tweet. Hope this is helpful. #iOS #Twitter #Bluetooth #Keyboard #Keystrokes #blind

Thanks for sharing!

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Tweesecake 0.15.1 is now out, fixes mastodon issues, Twitter uses Mac key on both platforms, … more

Tweesecake has pingged and said it has an update available.

One of the updates is a twitter fix whereby it uses the mac key, who knows how long that lasts.

As a side note, I’ve deleted my twitters, i figure its all going downhill anyway. If I really need twitter, I’ve got the phone.

Here are the list of changes in 0.15.1.

  • File explorer: Fix file encoding when opening text files in TweeseCake.
  • Homeassistant: Added support for pressing buttons.
  • Mastodon: Fix bookmarks buffer not pulling new bookmarks.
  • Telegram: Fix copying messages.
  • Telegram: Fix forwarding messages.
  • Twitter: Use Mac key on both platforms. Probably won’t last for long.

To update, go to the config session, general, version. For Windows, hit alt+win+return and follow the prompts. I would assume its cmd+option+return for Windows but someone on a Mac will have to tell me.

In any case, I’m going to update mine while I’m writing as there are a few mastodon things.

Thanks for reading, make it a great day!

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