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New Accessibilities coming to IOS

I believe I saw this yesterday, and decided to read it today. Apple Vis has an article called Apple Previews New Accessibility Features Coming Later This Year, Including Door Detection and More Languages, Locales, and Voices for VoiceOver which has lots of upcoming changes that might help all of us in the disability community.

For me, I like the door finding idea, especially with a new place. The list is lengthy and talks about a bunch of different accessibility things.

What do you think? Sound off there or here.

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Apple releasing IOS 15.3.1

Yesterday, Applevis released a post talking about IOS 15.3.1. Here is that blog post for people to look at.

It talks about how there is a fix that has made braille displays crash, and that’s really all the notes say. There could be other security things that may affect your use of the phone, but the main highlight was the braille display fix.

I know that when I got the new Orbit 40 replacing the one that somehow broke, while it paired with the phone, it never worked. Orbit never could duplicate it, but I tried the same steps with the same results. So, we’ll see if whatever the fix is for 15.3.1 is, will fix my issue.

I’m not blaming any of the manufacturers for the trouble, I explained the issue to Orbit the best I could. I guess we’ll see what happens. Technology is strange some times.

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Aira has a job opening

Ryan Bishop has been doing product development and IT work for Aira for awhile. They need a new product manager, and this job posting has all of the details.

Ryan is going to be the full time IT person at Aira and they’re looking. They sent an email to us in regards to this and asked us to post this.

Click through and if you fit the role, apply.

I have no mor knowledge than the email. Thanks for reading!

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An app developed to get us to bus stops

One of my buddies sent me this article titled Next Stop on the App Store: Artificial Intelligence Mobile App Helps People With Low Vision Find Bus Stops and I’m sending this to my team at Metro to see what they think.

I know of a couple of places where it could be benificial to me, one around here where we have multiple bus stops at the same area, and the potentials of multiple buses stopping at the same stop.

I don’t rely on Google Maps necessarily, but I rely on what vision I have to find benches and then wait near light, or if there is a pole nearby, wait there.

One driver got someone off because I wasn’t at the official stop when I wrote a report of a passup. I explained how we were trained and they asked whether I had someone to teach me.

Sadly, I had nobody to teach me, and I do not like getting drivers in trouble even for a passup. It doesn’t make me feel good, as I’m a rider like anyone else. I even was passed up early in the morning, as I was under the light, but they didn’t see me until they were across the street.

One driver even stopped to pick me up at a stop after they saw me and I was at the bench and near the pole, but I definitely wonder if this app could’ve helped me?

I’m curious on why I need sighted assistance to set up the app? Transit App, Metro’s official app, didn’t need to be set up by a sighted person for me to utalize its features.

I’ll see what my people think, but i’m curious on whether you nice people have used this app before or even read the article?

Get in touch.

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Apple has released updates

Hello folks, welcome to another post here on the blog. This time, its an Apple post.

They’ve been releasing updates to variuous operating systems as of late, fixing bugs and possibly adding some additional features.

Apple Releases iOS 15.1 and iPadOS 15.1; Bringing Many Fixes for VoiceOver and Braille Users

This has a long list of fixes that plagued us from the onset of IOS 15. While some may have been experienced by me, some have not. This is definitely great news, and I’ll be looking to upgrade to 15.1 at some point within the coming days.

Apple Releases watchOS 8.1, tvOS 15.1, and HomePod 15.1 Software

Since I don’t have a watch, I’m unable to comment on anything here, although there are fixes that may be of benefit to you.

The New Features, Changes, Improvements, and Bugs in macOS 12 Monterey for Blind and Low Vision Users

I’m not a Mac user, however, there is a lengthy list of changes and new features, especially if you use Voice Over.

If you’re ready to update, all AppleVis artices indicate how to update your specific product. Stay well!

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Apple releases updates yesterday

Late last night, I saw two posts in regards to apple updates. Both of these come from Apple Vis.

That’s it. These are the updates for now. Thanks for reading!

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Automated vehicles not ready for prime time, hit blind pedestrian

You’ll need to run this through a translator as the article is in German. Someone who followed me after I was in their room on Clubhouse sent me this today, and it is definitely scary.

Its definitely lengthy but an important read. A blind individual got hit by a fully automated bus, meaning that the driver was not responsible for anything, according to the article.

This is definitely going to be interesting, as i’ve been following the driving cars for years. The blind person was not killed, but missed where they were to go.

Read the article Autonomous driving
Look me in the eye, small car!
for all of the details.

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IOS 15.0.1 released Friday, brings a few fixes

Plugging Apple Vis in to my browser this evening gave me the news that IOS 15.0.1 is released as of Friday. It indicates that they are not aware of any fixes for blind and low vision users but does fix a watch issue. For complete details, please see this applevis post: Apple Releases iOS 15.0.1 and iPadOS 15.0.1; Minor Updates that Bring Fixes for ‘Unlock iPhone With Apple Watch’ and a Couple Other Issues and I hope that this information is of use to you.

I haven’t forgotten about blogging, just have been involved in other stuff as usual.

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IOS 15 is now released, lots of things to be aware of

AppleVis has a great writeup found by the article title Apple Releases iOS 15 and iPadOS 15; Bringing Focus Modes, Live Text, and Enhancements to Multitasking, Notifications, FaceTime, Safari, Privacy, and More that covers podcasts, blog posts for the blind and deaf blind, as well as Ipad specifics.

I did read the post The Accessibility Bugs Introduced and Resolved in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 for Blind and Low Vision Users which details the bugs AppleVis knows about that might impact users. The one that might be of concern details the wallet and multiple items and only having access to the first one, but the others may be of concern in the critical section if you use those options.

Under moderate, there are 9 potential issues including Voice Over not speaking apps while in the app switcher. It does it for a couple of them, but more than so many, it has problems. I try only to have two or three open at any given time, but this one does concern me.

If you use a braille display, the 2nd item in the list may be of importance.

Need to edit an alarm? You’ll probably have to delete it and recreate it, says the post. I personally don’t do this often but knowing this is annoying but at least we can work around it. I’ve not used alarms much since the Pandemic, and mine are pretty set anyway.

There are 12 different items under minor that might be of concern for people. I’m not sure what might be of importance to you, I didn’t see anything that might be a problem for me but we’ll see.

There are other bugs that have been reported but have not been seen that is also part of this post.

I’m only seeing this blog post titled What’s New in iOS 15 Accessibility for Blind and DeafBlind Users and as I write my own blog post, I’ll have to give this a perusal to see what is up that might be of value.


The main blog post linked above talks about how to update your IOS device, and I’ll probably do it after all of my meetings for the week conclude. I’d rather be stable on a version that I don’t have to worry about a lot of things while I deal with TSB, PSAC Wednesday night and the board meeting on Thursday.

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A new BARD express is out

In the better late than never department, although I’m not too far late.

This should already be out already, go to BARD for the link. I have forgotten about this address for email lists, I’m not way too late for it though.


BARD Express 2.5.54.16 will be released the week of May 31st. This version will be supported by Windows 8.1 through 10.X operating systems. Screen readers supporting this latest update of BARD Express are JAWS for Windows 2018 to the most current version and NVDA 2017.1 to the most current version.

Enhancements:

  • Within the Installation Type section, Private is now the default choice, and Public is the second choice, which will help keep users from mistakenly installing BARD Express on a shared
  • computer.

  • The font size of the Getting Started guide has been increased to 16 point for better viewing.
  • The Previous Downloads list can now be organized by Type, Subject, or Author, just like the Bookshelf.
  • Previous Downloads, Recently Added, and Most Popular Downloads will now display 100 titles at a time by default.
  • The keyboard shortcut Control + S can now be used to quickly navigate to the Search Field from within Search, the Book Details screen, or from anywhere within BARD Express (excluding the
  • menu bar).

  • All shortcut key combinations will be spoken by the screen reader and will be shown on braille displays. Focus now lands on the first book or magazine title in both the Bookshelf and Wish
  • List.

  • The Okay button is now the default action any time the Enter key is pressed from within the Library Information dialog.
  • A Cancel button has been created to enable a search to be canceled from within the Search menu. Pressing the Escape key will also cancel a search.
  • The Author label is now announced when a user tabs through the Book Details. If a user clicks on the name of an author, BARD Express will bring up a list of books on BARD by that author.
  • While in the Filter utility, a user can tap the letter S to jump directly into the Subject List.
  • Preferences that have been changed by users will carry over to newer versions of BARD Express when updating via the auto-updater.
  • Verbosity is reduced when NVDA speaks the status of checkboxes. NVDA now says, “Checkbox checked,” if a user has upgraded the screen reader to version 2020.4.
  • Screen readers now speak a notification when switching between Standard and Advanced modes when using the keyboard command Control+L.

Bug fixes:

  • JAWS now correctly reports the status of the radio buttons in the Filter utility when first letter navigation is used to move from All to Fiction and Nonfiction.
  • Subscription status is now correctly reported by screen readers in Browse by Series and in Browse Magazines.

This should be found on NLS’s BARD page when you log in, or through its auto updater. Since I don’t use it, I don’t know how to access it, but check its menus. The email came from the BARD support list which I’m a member.

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Firefox 87 has just been installed here

Hello folks,

Just running firefox as I wanted to do something and it popped up a notice that installed firefox 87/. Tjhere are some accessibility changes as well as security changes.

POne of the things they highlight is that they now work with the Mac’s Voiceover program. I don’t know if it works with IOS, I have not tried. Be that as it may, I think this is important for those who want a choice in browser.

My limited use of the Mac (2017) indicated that I could use Safari and Chrome and both seemed to work. Now you can add a third browser if you’re using the Mac.

To read all of the release notes from Mozilla, head on over to this link to read them and let me know what interested you in these notes.

Thanks so much for reading, and make it a great day!

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Hims announces new note taker

I saw this briefly either on Thursday or Friday when looking for something specific on blind bargains, but I didn’t get a chance to read it till now. Hims looks like they’ve been busy with a 32-cell version of their note taker. It succeeds the polaris, and this model looks like its got some awesome stuff.

Want to learn more? Breaking: Hims Announces BrailleSense 6 Notetaker at #CSUNATC21 was written by JJ over at blind bargains, so check it out if it interests you.

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BARD and Older iOS Devices

The following was sent to the BARD email list. The JRN is passing this along for those who are not on this list. Please contact NLS or your library for more information about the following announcement. It is between the ruler markers.


With regret, we write to confirm that BARD no longer supports iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices running any version of iOS earlier than 11.0. NLS staff worked hard to find a way around this situation, but after an exhaustive search, we have found none. We realize that, especially in these difficult times, this poses a very real hardship for some of you, since the only solution for continuing to use BARD Mobile is to purchase a newer device. You can find a list of all devices that run iOS 11 at this apple support page.

Any newer iOS device will also work. Since the current version of iOS is 14, some of these devices are quite inexpensive.

There are many low-cost Android devices and Fire tablets, also known as Kindle Fires, that can run BARD Mobile as well. If you opt for one of these, make sure that the Android device is running Android OS 7 or later, or that the Fire is running Fire OS 7 or later, which means eighth generation or later.

If replacing your iOS device is not an option for you, we can suggest a couple of alternatives:

  1. If you have access to a computer, you can download books and transfer them to a flash drive or cartridge for use with the free NLS Digital Talking Book Player available from your regional NLS library. If your computer is running Windows 7 or 10, BARD Express makes downloading books and copying them to flash drives particularly easy. Follow the BARD Express link on the BARD main page to learn more.
  2. If you don’t have access to a computer, you can ask your regional library to mail cartridges to you with books of your choosing that you can play on that same player. If you like, your library can copy books from a series or multiple books by the same author to a single cartridge.

For more information regarding either of these options, please contact your regional NLS library. You can obtain contact information by following the link “Find Your Library” at The NLOS main web page.

We apologize for any inconvenience or hardship this situation has created for you and hope you will find a way to continue enjoying BARD.

Sincerely,

The BARD Support Team


We hope this information is of value to users, and thanks for reading!

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Blind Bargains report that the ID mate is being discontinued

Hello folks,

Its never great to share a little bit of sad news, and I’ve complated on buying this device but with mhy phone, it isn’t necessarily necessary because there are bar code readers as part of apps like Seeing AI and maybe others.

The post I’m linking to is 3 days old, and I look from time to time to see if any news of interest could be passed along to my readers. Joe does a great job with deceminating the information in their post.

The item The I.D. Mate Is Being Discontinued shoould be read from Blind Bargain’s Joe Steinkamp for complete details.

I know that people may not have the necessary means to get a device whether smart or this device. I’m happy that they were able to offer a payment plan for the product, but they aren’t offering that anymore due to the announcement linked here.

I hope that this information is of value to people, and thanks for reading.


P.S. A telephone number for the company is at the bottom of the post linked within.

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Another Jaws update for January, minor changes

Jaws got another update in January, as I had an issue in which I needed to restart Jaws. I’ve not gotten a chance to look until now, but these changes are minor.


Enhancements in JAWS 2021.2012.57 (January 19, 2021)

This update addresses a few key issues that were reported shortly after the January 2021 release.
To download the latest release, visit the Downloads web page.

You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

  • • A new feature was introduced earlier this month, designed to let a user change the volume of JAWS speaking or the system volume itself using a layered
    keystroke: INSERT+SPACE, V followed by J for JAWS or S for System. Since this change, Eloquence users reported hearing Ticks when reading and typing, especially
    around the letter O. We also had reports of the volume randomly changing when reading documents or web pages. These issues are now resolved. ,
  • • Resolved an issue where pressing INSERT+ALT+SPACEBAR was not starting the Voice Assistant in JAWS or Fusion.
  • • The JAWS voice commands to speak faster or slower now adjusts the speech in larger increments.
  • • Addressed an issue where JAWS was not reading table headings in Excel.
  • • Added a new JAWS Dictionary entry for “DocuSign.”
  • • When spell checking a document in Word, resolved an issue where JAWS was not reading as expected when navigating by word through the text containing
    the error. ,
  • • Resolved an issue where attachments were not being reported correctly in the Danish version of Outlook 2019.
  • • In the Italian version of JAWS, addressed an issue where the keystrokes to access the Braille and Text Viewer layer, as well as the Volume layer, were
    not working as expected.

For complete details, links and more, Go on over to this Jaws 2021 web page and thanks for reading!

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Accessible Apps releases new version of Chicken Nugget with updated features

I’m a few days behind on this, but Blind Bargains is reporting that Chicken Nugget got a major update with new features and some changes in some keystrokes. I used to use Chicken Nuget until it stopped working.

The apps that were used for the blind are inclusive to Chicken Nuget, TW Blue and Qwitter Client. Qwitter Client has not been heard from in quite awhile, and when Chicken Nuget didn’t get authenticated after a twitter change, a lot of us abandoned Nugget in favor of TW Blue.

While I have used all of the apps in the above paragraph, I can’t say which one I like better since they all pretty much work the same. To read more from Blind Bargains, click on: It’s Back! Accessible Apps releases Chicken Nugget version 4.71, bringing AI image descriptions, new sounds, and More and feel free to comment. Hope you all enjoy the great news of this once popular app.

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IOS 14.4 is out, bad news for braille readers

I’m saddened at the lack of responsibility of Apple when it comes to braille support. While I don’t have a braille device to use with IOS, there are a lot of people that use braille on all of their devices because they need to. The voice support is awesome, and yes, there could be bugs in this release that could degrade the usability of the device, but that comes with the territory.

Apple Vis talks about a braille display made by APH, who advises not to update to IOS 14.4 until they resolve the issue. While apple vis is a small team, braille users who rely on IOS need to tell apple how important it is they fix these issues.

For complete details on IOS 14.4 and what is fixed and broken for the disabled, [Updated With Important Warning for Braille Display Users] Apple Releases iOS 14.4 and iPadOS 14.4; Bringing a New Direct Touch Setting for VoiceOver Users and thanks for reading. Do make it a great day!

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BARD message of interest, January 9, 2021

Bard maintenance notice

The following comes from Bard’s web site, and may be of interest to patrons of BARD.

I went up to look up something, and saw this.


Alert Message

NLS is planning routine maintenance that will begin 11:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Tuesday, January 12, lasting 17 hours or less, with the expectation that BARD will resume normal operation by 4:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday, January 13. The NLS main public and Network Library Services websites, Voyager catalog, Text-Only catalog searches, and ThatAllMayRead website will remain available. This maintenance work includes our long-expected move of BARD to a cloud environment. Once operation resumes, patrons will experience no functional change to BARD, but these users accessing the system via a high-speed Internet connections may notice faster download speeds. Don Olson


I hope this message may be of benefit to those using BARD, and thanks for reading!

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Enhancements in JAWS 2021.2012.48 (January 2021)

Jaws just got released with a new update for January. Below is information on that update with links to the original source and the downloads page.


The following is a list of improvements made between the initial 2021 release and the January 2021 update.
To download the latest release, visit the Downloads web page. You must be logged on as an administrator to install this software.

New Layered Keystrokes for Adjusting JAWS and System Volume

Many users working with conferencing applications like Zoom and Teams have raised the issue of JAWS volume blocking their ability to hear a meeting or
webinar while trying to navigate in other applications. To solve this issue, we have introduced a new feature that lets you easily adjust the volume of
JAWS independently from the volume in other applications, such as Zoom, Teams, Skype, YouTube, or other apps that play audio.
JAWS and Fusion now offer a set of layered keystrokes for quickly adjusting volume. To access this layer, press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by V. Next, press
J to control the volume of JAWS speech or S to control the main system volume. After pressing J or S, use the ARROW keys to raise or lower the volume in
small increments, or PAGE UP or PAGE DOWN to raise or lower the volume in larger increments. Press ESC to exit the layer when finished. Volume changes
remain in effect until you later adjust them using the same commands.
Note: When adjusting volume with the ARROW keys or PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN, the lowest level that can be set is 10 percent.

New Voice Assistant Option for Selecting the Microphone

You now have the option to choose which microphone the Voice Assistant uses when listening for commands. By designating a different microphone for this
feature than what is being used for other applications such as Teams or Zoom, it allows you to mute those applications during meetings and still use the
Voice Assistant with JAWS, ZoomText, or Fusion. You can find the Microphone input device combo box under the Voice Assistant group in Settings Center.

Support for Native Math Equations in Microsoft Word

JAWS and Fusion now supports reading math content in Word documents inserted through the Office ribbon without the need for additional extensions. While
you can still use the MathType extension from Design Science to create math content, you now have the option to also use the built-in math creation functionality
in Word. Whether math content was inserted in a document using the MathType extension or directly through the Insert tab of the ribbon, when you encounter
a math equation or formula, JAWS reads the problem and then says “Math Content.” You can then press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by EQUALS to open the JAWS
Math Viewer so you can study the equation in greater detail.
Once the Math Viewer is opened, you can navigate individual parts of an equation, such as variables, terms, coefficients, or exponents. As you navigate
to the various components, pressing DOWN ARROW lets you drill down into and navigate within that level of the equation using LEFT and RIGHT ARROW. Pressing
UP ARROW moves you back to the prior level. In addition, if you have a Braille display and JAWS is set to United States English or Unified English Braille
Grade 1 or Grade 2, math equations or formulas are displayed in Nemeth Braille. Pressing ESC closes the Math Viewer and return to the document.

Other Changes

• To accommodate the new Volume layer keystrokes, the layered command to access the Braille and Text Viewer layer is now INSERT+SPACEBAR, B.
• When using the Convenient OCR feature to recognize the current control, screen, or window, you now have the option to use the Microsoft OCR engine as
this may provide better OCR results for onscreen images than OmniPage, which is the default. For example, if you press INSERT+SPACEBAR, followed by O,
and then W to recognize the graphical window in an application and you find the results less than satisfactory, open Settings Center, select the Use Microsoft
OCR For Screen Recognitions check box, and then try the OCR again.
• You can now have both the Avoid speech cut off when using Bluetooth headphones or some sound cards and Lower audio volume of programs while JAWS speaks
options enabled at the same time in Settings Center. Previously, these two features could not be used together.
• When using the mouse to select text in Outlook messages, resolved a long standing issue where pressing CTRL+C was not copying the selected text to the
Clipboard as expected. This only worked if text was selected using the keyboard.
• Resolved issues where JAWS and Fusion were not reading as expected when tabbing through links in Outlook messages.
• In response to customer feedback, improved the description of the Speak Window Titles for Read-Only Messages Automatically Quick Settings option.
• JAWS no longer says “no selection” while navigating through slides while editing a PowerPoint presentation.
• In Excel, you can now select a range of cells on the current worksheet similar to how you select a block of text using a PlaceMarker in Word. To do this
in Excel, press INSERT+WINDOWS+K to set a cell marker on the cell where you want to begin the selection, move to another location on the same worksheet,
and then press INSERT+SPACEBAR followed by M to select the cells between the mark and the current location.
• Resolved an issue where the Windows 10 Mail app would close unexpectedly when replying to a forwarded message and you navigate the message contents using
JAWS.
• Addressed a reported issue where JAWS was not always correctly reading content inside of an HTML span tag in some situations.
• JAWS now continuously announces autocomplete information in the web browser address bar as you type.
• Addressed a reported issue where JAWS was not reading properly in the edit window of the TextPad application on certain systems with higher DPI display
settings.
• Addressed an issue with Libre Office Writer where JAWS focus was not in the document when the application was first opened.
• Added an updated 64-bit braille display driver from Handy Tech and also added a new driver from Eurobraille for their Esys and Iris braille displays.
• Resolved an intermittent issue where JAWS would unexpectedly close when attempting to connect to a braille display over Bluetooth.
• Improved the user experience when using JAWS with the Visual Studio Code application. This includes turning off the Virtual PC Cursor by default, eliminating
the announcement of ARIA regions, and removing the announcement of a long URL when the program is launched.

We took this information from the Whats new page for Jaws. We hope that you find this information of inteerest.

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Weather apps for IOS

I posted this on a site called Apple Vis, and I’m sure I’ll hear from them, but if you aren’t over there, I’ll post here so it gets some attention. I’m in no rush to switch, just looking around.


Hello folks,

I’m writing today as I’ve thought about this long and hard. I was recommended Weather Radio which I’ve enjoyed. I had written them about some issues which they confirmed via voiceover this year. Sadly, when I wrote through the app to find out about the status of the bug which has to do with reading the alerts and the constant back reading it does, I was informed that the app was removed from the app store.

I got to thinking about what app to use as I liked weather radio and the way it gave alerts. I did try and podcasted about Weather Underground but I agree with the presenter, it doesn’t feel that great, and the alerts are vague. It took me a bit to set up locations, the current, plus two others I have people in.

Then I got to looking at Dark Sky which is a paid app. I’m not opposed for paying for an app, but the developer of this app says Apple. I remember reading on this site from someone from this app that was going to make changes, which were then implemented. I also saw something here called Carrot Weather which I only read here.

What I’d like to do is find something similar to weather radio where I can customize the alerts I get like weather radio did. Weather Underground doesn’t seem to cut it, the alerts they do have are good, and the forecast is nice, but am just looking to see what people are using.

I would greatly appreciate if someone can assist me in this endeavor so I can make the best choice. Thanks for reading!

I’m using an Iphone 11 gotten at the beginning of 2020, latest IOS 14.3 and use voice over exclusively with no braille.

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