Top Tech Tidbits for Thursday, September 28, 2023 - Volume 930
The Week's News in Adaptive Technology
A Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd. Publication
Top Tech Tidbits. The world's #1 online resource for current news and trends in adaptive technology.
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Dear Tidbits Subscriber,
1) Top 5 Most Clicked Tidbits From Last Week
A.) A Voiceover Feature You May Want To Change in iOS 17 | Accessibility Matters
If you have updated to iOS 17, as a Voiceover user you may have noticed a change in how notifications are spoken. When I was using iOS 16, Voiceover would speak every notification that came in while the phone was unlocked. In IOS 17, Voiceover doesn't speak any notifications, which can lead to missing important information like a text message. However, you can change that behavior in Voiceover settings:
B.) What's New In iOS 17 Accessibility For Blind and Deaf-Blind Users | Scott Davert | AppleVis
It's difficult to believe that iOS will be turning into a legal adult next fall, though the iOS 17 upgrade is far from being minor. Many new features and functions will be available for everyone. To check out some of the mainstream changes, Apple's official iOS 17 preview page may help. Alternatively, our main post announcing iOS 17 offers a large list of mainstream enhancements as well as a list of changes in accessibility. Not all devices which supported iOS 16 will support iOS 17; for a list of devices which will, check out this CNET article. The goal of this article is not to repeat the information widely available from other sources, but to look at it in a bit more detail where new accessibility features are concerned. I would like to thank my colleague Juan Ramos for his contributions to the article from a visual perspective:
C.) At Long Last, Amazon Brings AI Features To Alexa | Digital Trends
Nearly a year after ChatGPT introduced the world to the uncannily human possibilities of generative AI, Amazon has unveiled new Alexa features powered by large language models (LLM). At the annual Amazon Devices Event hosted at its new Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, the company announced some major Alexa improvements that will attempt to make replies much more conversational and lifelike, with less waiting time between your interactions and more meaningful replies:
D.) Quickly Send Texts Without Typing a Word On iPhone | Accessibility Matters
I have a family member who was recently diagnosed with Huntington's disease. It impacts the person both mentally and physically. Lately, conversating by text message can be challenging at times. This family member will, for instance, send me every step of what he is doing when he is running an errand. I don't have much to say when I respond to these short texts. In fact, I feel like I've had to repeat myself so many times in the day. Fortunately, there is a shortcut that I'd like to discuss that helps with automating text messages:
E.) JAWS with Microsoft Office Power Tip: How To Apply a Style to a Word Document
A style is a set of formatting attributes you can apply to text, lists, and tables in a document. This applies a group of formatting attributes all at once to maximize productivity. Here's how:
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6) AI Updates
Skip this Tidbit to skip all updates on AI.
A) You Can Now Prompt ChatGPT With Pictures And Voice Commands | September 25, 2023 | The Verge
The company is rolling out a new version of the service that allows you to prompt the AI bot not just by typing sentences into a text box but by either speaking aloud or just uploading a picture. The ability to talk to ChatGPT draws on two separate models. Whisper, OpenAI's existing speech-to-text model, converts what you say into text, which is then fed to the chatbot. And a new text-to-speech model converts ChatGPT's responses into spoken words. The new personas for ChatGPT are named Sky, Ember, Breeze, Juniper and Cove. Each of the personas has a different tone and accent. "Sky" sounds somewhat similar to Scarlett Johansson, the actor who voiced the AI that Joaquin Phoenix's character falls in love with in the movie "Her." The new features are rolling out to those who pay for ChatGPT in the next two weeks, and everyone else will get it "soon after," according to OpenAI:
B) ChatGPT Can Now Talk to You — and Look Into Your Life | September 25, 2023 | Wired: Subscription Required
ChatGPT inches closer to feature parity with the seductive AI assistant from Her, thanks to an upgrade that adds voice and image recognition to the chatbot:
C) ChatGPT Can Talk Now, Threatening Alexa And Siri | September 25, 2023 | The Washington Post: Subscription Required
ChatGPT can respond to queries from users with one of five "personas," in a tone that sounds generally more conversational compared with popular voice assistants such as Alexa and Siri. OpenAI said adding voice was a key way for it to get more people to interact with and use ChatGPT:
D) OpenAI's GPT-4 With Vision Still Has Flaws, Paper Reveals | TechCrunch
When OpenAI first unveiled GPT-4, its flagship text-generating AI model, the company touted the model's multimodality — in other words, its ability to understand the context of images as well as text. GPT-4 could caption — and even interpret — relatively complex images, OpenAI said, for example identifying a Lightning Cable adapter from a picture of a plugged-in iPhone. But since GPT-4's announcement in late March, OpenAI has held back the model's image features, reportedly on fears about abuse and privacy issues. Until recently, the exact nature of those fears remained a mystery. But early this week, OpenAI published a technical paper detailing its work to mitigate the more problematic aspects of GPT-4's image-analyzing tools. To date, GPT-4 with vision, abbreviated "GPT-4V" by OpenAI internally, has only been used regularly by a few thousand users of Be My Eyes, an app to help low-vision and blind people navigate the environments around them. Over the past few months, however, OpenAI also began to engage with "red teamers" to probe the model for signs of unintended behavior, according to the paper:
E) I Went Hands-On With Microsoft's New AI Features, And These 5 Are The Most Useful | Sabrina Ortiz | ZDNet
Here are the new Microsoft AI features that will likely make it into my own daily workflows:
F) A Boy Saw 17 Doctors Over 3 Years For Chronic Pain. ChatGPT Found The Diagnosis | Today
Publisher (Di Blasi): It is stories such as these that I believe will only proliferate as AI becomes better understood by more and more people. No, I do not believe AI is poised to replace doctors anytime soon, but for complex diagnoses I believe that AI already has a very strong capability that no human doctor currently possesses. The ability to consider hundreds, or thousands, or even millions of points of information about a health problem, and search it for patterns that might resemble known diseases.
G) I Secretly Let ChatGPT Take My Final Exam — The Results Were Stunning | Dan Arena | Slate
Publisher (Di Blasi): Dearest fellow readers. I would like to introduce you to Glenn Peter Thompson. Current and future student in residence.
H) Real AI Solutions for Accessibility Challenges | September 26, 2023 | Equal Entry
This article is based on a talk Kevin Berg, VP of solution engineering at Evinced , gave at A11yNYC. Artificial intelligence (AI) can help solve the digital accessibility problem. In fact, GitHub did a controlled study on the impact of using an AI tool like GitHub Co-pilot can have on productivity and satisfaction when it comes to developers. In doing the study, they split 100 developers in half. Half used GitHub Co-Pilot to write a web server. The other half didn't. The study's researchers expected AI would help the work move faster. But not to the point they found. The average time with Co-Pilot was 71 minutes. The average time without was 161 minutes. Being able to increase that amount of speed is a huge productivity booster:
7) Apple Updates
Skip this Tidbit to skip all updates on Apple.
A) macOS Sonoma: New Features, Changes, Improvements, and Bugs for Blind and Low Vision Users | September 26, 2023 | AppleVis
Apple has today released macOS 14 Sonoma to the public. As usual, we won't cover the mainstream features here, concentrating instead on what's new and changed for blind and low vision users. For an overview of the mainstream changes, we recommend this in-depth review by MacStories:
B) Amazon Gives Alexa An AI Facelift As It Launches New Smart Speakers | CNBC
The new Alexa will have a more human-like voice and will be able to hold more natural conversations without being prompted by a wake word:
C) Review: Apple Watch Series 9 | Wired: Subscription Required
Apple's latest wearable has a new chip, new interactions, and some serious OS updates to help you log your mental health:
D) What's New With Siri In iOS 17? | Joe Lonergan | National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)
Siri got some notable updates in iOS 17. In previous iOS updates, you might have noticed that you can use the Siri voices as your VoiceOver voices if you wish. But you could not customize these voices. Now in iOS 17, you can select a Siri Voice of your choice to use with VoiceOver and you can speed up or slow down the voice to suit your preference:
8) JAWS with Microsoft Office Power Tip: How To Apply a Style to a Word Document | Freedom Scientific
Comments provide information from reviewers or collaborators without altering the text. Use them to ask a question or make a suggestion. Here's how:
9) How to Use Text Detection in the iOS Magnifier App | AppleVis
Thomas Domville introduces us to the Text Detection feature added to the Magnifier app in iOS 17. This tool can read text aloud that is detected in real-time by your device camera or display it on the screen, making it a valuable resource for those with visual impairments or difficulties reading small or challenging text. Here are the steps to access Text Detection:
10) Auto-Verify: How to Browse the Web Without CAPTCHAs on Chrome | MakeUseOf
Hate filling out CAPTCHAs when you browse? One Google Chrome feature could help you skip them. Here's how to browse without them on Chrome:
11) How To Use The Mac Accessibility Assistant Shortcut | Apple Tips and Tricks
You can use the Mac Accessibility Assistant in the Shortcuts app to help you or a loved one with built-in accessibility features. Answer a few questions about your accessibility needs, and the Notes app launches with a customized list of accessibility features and resources that you might find helpful:
12) BrailleSense 6: The Essentials | Sight & Sound Technology Limited | YouTube
This series of online tutorials, brought to you by Sight and Sound Technology is aimed at parents/guardians, students, teachers, Visiting Teachers, QTVIs and Special Needs Assistants, to help every student get the most from their BrailleSense 6 device. We have picked what we think are the essential features for school, but, if something isn't covered, we'll have plenty of time in each session for your questions as well:
13) Forza Motorsport (2023) May Be One Of The Most Popular Simulation Racers Ever For One Reason: Accessibility | Windows Central
Approachable game design and endlessly customizable accessibility settings open Forza Motorsport to more players than ever:
14) The Official Forza Motorsport Accessibility Support Guide | Forza Motor Sport
We want each of our players around the world to experience Forza Motorsport in a way that works best for them. We embrace Xbox's philosophy that gaming is for everyone and should be inclusive and accessible. You can navigate to Forza Motorsport's accessibility and driving assistance settings directly from the main menu every time you start up the game. Here you will find the following options that can be tweaked to fit your needs and play style:
15) Announcing 'Be My AI,' Soon Available for Hundreds of Thousands of Be My Eyes Users | September 25, 2023 | Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes' AI assistant, powered by GPT-4, is rolling out to hundreds of thousands of iOS users over the next several weeks:
16) Did Your Device Get The Windows 11 2023 Update On September 26, 2023? | Windows Central
Microsoft is rolling out the Windows 11 version 23H2, but not all devices may get it on day one:
17) Windows 11 Version 23H2: All The New Features And Upgrades Coming In Microsoft's Next Big OS Update | Windows Central
Microsoft has already unveiled a bunch of new features that will ship as part of this release, and this article aims to detail those plus even more features that have been added to the Windows 11 preview builds since:
18) Everything (Besides Copilot) Included In The Windows 11 Moments 2 Update
Microsoft's September 21, 2023 event focused heavily on Copilot features coming to Windows 11 this week, but even the hour-long showcase couldn't detail all the company's operating system-based generative AI developments destined for PCs soon, so here is comprehensive list to explore:
19) Amazon Alexa Introduces Real-Time Call Translation for Enhanced Communication | Cool Blind Tech
In an exciting development aimed at fostering communication among dispersed and multicultural families, Amazon has unveiled a groundbreaking feature for Alexa known as "Call Translation." This remarkable addition to the Alexa ecosystem was announced at Amazon's Devices & Services Fall Event, held at its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia:
20) Android 14 Features: Everything You Need To Know | Android Authority
From privacy to accessibility and more, here's what you should know now that Android 14 betas are out:
21) Mastodon 4.2 | Eugen Rochko
A new search experience and more!
22) What Is Microsoft Copilot? Here's Everything You Need To Know | ZDNet
Microsoft Copilot refers to Microsoft's AI companion that will span across all of Microsoft's applications and experiences, including Microsoft 365, Windows 11, Edge, and Bing. With Copilot, users will be able to get AI assistance in virtually every aspect of their workflows across the different Microsoft applications:
23) Microsoft's New Text-To-Speech Voices Are More 'Realistic, Lifelike, And Engaging' | Windows Central
The new Text-to-Speech (TTS) voices promise more realistic and lifelike user interactions:
24) A Universal Remote for All Your Tech Needs: A User Perspective on Remote Incident Manager | Casey Matthews
As a technical support specialist operating in both Windows and Mac environments, I'm no stranger to the jigsaw puzzle that is remote access software. Each piece flaunts its own quirks and idiosyncrasies, demanding its own time and space. It often feels like I'm attempting to conduct an orchestra where each instrument is playing from a different sheet of music. But as a Windows user, a person who's blind, and a steadfast believer in efficiency, my introduction to the Remote Incident Manager (RIM) was akin to finding that elusive conductor's baton:
25) Google Nest Hub Max Accessibility Review | Peter Claridge-Bowler | National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)
The Google Nest Hub Max is a smart display developed by Google. It's designed to be a central hub for controlling smart home devices, accessing information, and interacting with Google Assistant, which is Google's virtual voice assistant:
26) Why You Should Update Your Samsung Devices To An Update With A Security Patch Greater Than June If You're Running Android 13 And How To Fix The Issue Of Your Phone Being Unable To Download Updates | Accessible Android
27) My Top Five Apps I Use As A Blind Person | Blind Girl Blogs
Technology has played a pivotal role in enhancing my independence, confidence, and mobility. Here are my top five daily go-to apps that have empowered me to lead a fulfilling life independently:
28) Linkedin Adds Accessibility Features With The Help Of Microsoft's Immersive Reader
Publisher (Di Blasi): Here at Top Tech Tidbits we concur with David Goldfield's commentary around these updates, that while appreciated, the LinkedIn experience still provides a poor and awkward navigation experience to non-sighted users. And the experience for sighted users is not an awful lot better. LinkedIn serves up one of the most complex sighted user interfaces that I have ever used. And as a Marketing Manager I use them all.
29) Important Release Of Libreoffice 7.6.2 Community And Libreoffice 7.5.7 Community With Key Security Fix
30) NVDA 2023.3beta3 Available For Testing
➜ Featured Surveys
Closing: Ongoing | Surveys From APH
Surveys help inform APH of the greatest needs in the community so they can gear their efforts toward making sure those needs are met. Ongoing APH surveys can be found here:
Closing: September 29, 2023 | Designing Future Privacy Technologies With Blind and Low Vision People | University of Michigan
Blind and low vision adults age 18 or older needed for study. Hello. We are a team of accessibility researchers at the University of Michigan interested in researching and improving AI-enabled visual assistance technologies (e.g., Seeing AI, Envision AI, TapTapSee, Be My Eyes AI and more) through a compensated interview and focus group study. We are recruiting adult participants who are Blind, low vision, or have a visual disability, live in the United States, and are at least 18 years old to take part in a 60-90 minute interview study conducted via Zoom. Additionally, participants may be invited to a subsequent focus group that lasts up to 90 minutes. For your valuable time and participation, you will receive $90 Amazon Gift Card as compensation if you complete all parts of the study. To elaborate, you will receive $5 for sharing screenshots or written examples of using visual assistance technologies, $30 for completing the interview, and an additional $55 for participation in the focus group. All compensation will be provided in the form of Amazon Gift cards. The purpose of the screening is to verify eligibility for the research study. If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the lead researcher, Rahaf Alharbi, at email@example.com ✉. If you are interested in participating, please complete this quick (5 to 10 minute) screening survey:
➜ Featured Podcast Episodes
September 18, 2023 | LBPD TUG: The Low Vision Shop
On Saturday, September 9, 2023 the Technology User Group (TUG) welcomes The Low Vision Shop. This company offers the BlindShell mobile phone, the All-Terrain Cane, and a wide array of other low vision and blindness products. In addition, they offer training, a podcast, a support group and so much more:
September 20, 2023 | AppleVis: How to Modify the iOS 'Fast' Long-Press Speed Option to Open Context Menus More Quickly
In this episode, Thomas Domville demonstrates how to enable the Fast long-press speed option on iOS 17. This new feature allows for quicker access to context menus and other Haptic Touch actions, enhancing your workflow and making your iPhone feel more responsive. Here's how you can activate the Fast Long-Press Speed Option: Launch the Settings app. Navigate to Accessibility. Select Touch. Choose Haptic Touch. Under Touch Duration, opt for Fast. You can gauge the new response time by long-pressing on the flower image displayed on the same screen. This simple adjustment can significantly boost your iPhone's responsiveness:
September 23, 2023 | Blind Android Users Podcast Episode 146: Samsung One UI Part 4 The Quick Panel and Android 14 QPR 1 Beta 1
We first show you how to manage the notifications and edit the quick settings bar on UneUI 5 and OneUI 6 Beta. Then we talk about the just released android 14 QPR1 beta 1 (December feature drop for Pixels) and tell you what's new in it, some of the bugs, and show you how to check the battery cycles of your phone. In the tip of the week, we show you the help me write or create for me feature that uses AI introduced into Gmail and Google Messages:
September 25, 2023 | Technically Working Episode 27: Gravity of the Forms
This episode delves into a spirited conversation about the challenges and frustrations of using Gravity Forms, with Michael and Damashe sharing their experiences and thanks to Taylor because now we can move form fields! The episode also delves into the intricacies of using calendar apps like Fantastical, with the hosts sharing valuable tips and discussing the potential of a Fantastical Android version. The conversation then shifts to the limitations of Apple's family subscriptions and the advantages of Fantastical's family plan. Wrapping up the episode, Damashe and Michael invite listeners to share their own tips for Windows or Mac setup, encouraging them to reach out via Mastodon or email:
September 25, 2023 | Transferring Content to your Braille Display
Have you ever downloaded a book from Bookshare or Reading Services, but struggled to extract the zip file? Have you ever had a BRF file emailed to you, but not been able to copy it to your braille display? Does your braille display only support text or BRF files, but you want to read Word or PDF files on it?
September 27, 2023 | Eyes on Success Episode 2339: Accessibility of Amazon Products
Amazon is dedicated to making their devices and services not only user friendly but also accessible to everyone no matter what their individual challenges might be. Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Peter Korn, director of accessibility for Amazon's devices and services business, about how their design philosophy enhances the experience for all:
September 28, 2023 | Top Tech Tidbits Podcast for Thursday, September 28, 2023
Tune in each week as we announce the Top 5 Most Clicked Tidbits of the week. These 5 news items represent the most popular news and trends in adaptive technology today, as voted on by Top Tech Tidbits readers:
➜ Featured Webinars, Training Courses and Events
September 29, 2023 | Blindness and Mental Health Webinar | Accessible Pharmacy
9AM PT, 10AM MT, 11AM CT, 12PM ET, 4PM GMT
October 4, 2023 | Creating Accessible PDF Fillable Forms: Part 2 - Understanding the Tags Tree (Digital Accessibility Webinar) | Access Ingenuity
10AM PT, 11AM MT, 12PM CT, 1PM ET, 5PM GMT
October 4, 2023 | FEMA Nationwide EAS Test
11:20AM PT, 12:20PM MT, 1:20PM CT, 2:20PM ET, 6:20PM GMT
October 10, 2023 | Modernizing the Patient Experience with Self Check-in
9AM PT, 10AM MT, 11AM CT, 12PM ET, 4PM GMT
October 11, 2023 | Five Screen Reader Accessibility Tests You Should Always Do | TPGi
9AM PT, 10AM MT, 11AM CT, 12PM ET, 4PM GMT
October 11, 2023 | Envision Glasses: New Features and Advancements (Assistive Technology Webinar) | Access Ingenuity
XXX PT, XXX MT, XXX CT, XXX ET, XXX GMT
October 13, 2023 | Blindness and Clinical Trials Webinar | Accessible Pharmacy
9AM PT, 10AM MT, 11AM CT, 12PM ET, 4PM GMT
October 14, 2023 | TUG Meeting: AppleVis
7AM PT, 8AM MT, 9AM CT, 10AM ET, 2PM GMT
October 18, 2023 | Web Accessibility Overview (Digital Accessibility Webinar) | Access Ingenuity
10AM PT, 11AM MT, 12PM CT, 1PM ET, 5PM GMT
October 24, 2023 | Creating a Sustainable Digital Accessibility Business Plan | Accessibility.com
10AM PT, 11AM MT, 12PM CT, 1PM ET, 5PM GMT
October 24, 2023 | Tech It Out | Monthly Hadley Discussion Group
11AM PT, 12PM MT, 1PM CT, 2PM ET, 6PM GMT
October 25, 2023 | Menus v. Ribbons with JAWS (Assistive Technology Webinar) | Access Ingenuity
10AM PT, 11AM MT, 12PM CT, 1PM ET, 5PM GMT
November 6, 2023 through November 10, 2023 | Accessing Higher Ground | Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD)
Accessible Media, Web and Technology Conference. Hilton Denver City Center, Denver, Colorado:
November 14, 2023 through November 17, 2023 | The Design+ Accessibility Summit By CreativePro
Join us at the 3rd annual Design + Accessibility Summit, the essential HOW-TO event for design professionals who need to master accessibility, coming to a device near you November 14-17, 2023. It's no secret that accessibility is a hot topic. In fact, ensuring your documents are accessible is not just a good idea: it's the law. Whether you're extending your company's DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) focus, expanding your market to include the estimated 25% of the population who have disabilities, or safeguarding your company against legal risks, it's important to make accessibility a business priority. Creative professionals must learn how to design documents that are accessible for people with vision and hearing impairments, mobility challenges, cognitive, and other disabilities. And those who ramp up their knowledge and expertise in accessibility will find themselves in high demand supporting their business' efforts; while those who don't will risk falling behind. At The Design + Accessibility Summit, you will learn practical techniques for building accessible documents with InDesign, Acrobat, PowerPoint, and other tools widely used by creative professionals:
November 28, 2023 | Tech It Out | Monthly Hadley Discussion Group
11AM PT, 12PM MT, 1PM CT, 2PM ET, 6PM GMT
December 1, 2023 and December 2, 2023 | Blind Health Expo 2023 | Exhibitor and Attendee Registration Now Open
The Blind Health Expo is the largest virtual event of healthcare information, products, services, and medication for individuals in the blind, low vision, and disability communities. Exhibitors can: Register for free. Interact with thousands of attendees. Showcase their products and services:
December 6, 2023 and December 7, 2023 | Sight Tech Global — Shaping New Technologies to Create a More Accessible World for People with Blindness and Visual Impairments
December 26, 2023 | Tech It Out | Monthly Hadley Discussion Group
11AM PT, 12PM MT, 1PM CT, 2PM ET, 6PM GMT
April 8, 2024 and April 9, 2023 | 24th Annual Multiple Perspective On Access, Inclusion & Disability Conference | The Ohio State University — Columbus, Ohio
To be on the mailing list for the conference, send email to:
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1) FOR SALE: One New HumanWare Brailliant BI40X Talking Braille Display With Built-In Notetaker And Book Reader and Internet
Listing Date: 9/28/2023 | Price: $1,940.00 USD | Condition: New | Description: Hi, we have an extra Humanware Brailliant BI40X 40 cell talking Braille display and notetaker with book reader and other capabilities we can sell and save you from the big retail price. Just make an offer. Thank you. | Contact: Joe via email at: GoASU492@gmail.com ✉. |
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It has been carefully crafted to be playable by everyone, and it includes multiple accessibility features for people with blindness and other disabilities.
For players with unhindered sight, the game will play exactly as you expect. You can drag and drop tiles to form words on the board and rack up points.
For everyone else, the game is fully compatible with popular screen readers and can be played with a number of different input methods including keyboards, assistive technology, and even game controllers.
Play Game (Web Browser): https://www.themisgames.com/wordvoyance/menu
Play Game (iOS App Store): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/wordvoyance/id1672135719
Play Game (Google Play Store): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.exceptionullgames.wordvoyance
Play Game (Other): For iOS users outside of our soft launch regions you can download the app via Apple's TestFlight Store at: https://testflight.apple.com/join/UsNLOulZ
Game Manual: https://www.themisgames.com/wordvoyance/manual
Sponsor Since: August 3, 2023
Website: https://theaccessibilityguy.com/ 🌐
YouTube: https://youtube.com/@TheAccessibilityGuy 📹
About: My name is Shawn Jordison and I love helping others learn the ins and outs of digital accessibility.
I have made over 100 thousand documents accessible, provided hundreds of trainings in the areas of accessibility and document remediation, and reviewed many websites and mobile applications for accessibility.
I have developed and reviewed VPATs, LMS courses, and other pieces of training. I am the accessibility Swiss army knife. Let me be your personal accessibility expert.
➜ Over 13 years of experience in the field of accessibility.
➜ Passionate about providing equal access to information for everyone.
➜ Wide range of project experience, including document accessibility, training, and more.
➜ Expertise in captioning, assistive technology, and accessibility best practices. I'm here to help you create a more accessible world.
The Blog: This blog covers topics like making Word, PDF & PowerPoint files accessible, Closed Captioning, assistive technology, and other important accessibility topics.
Training and Consulting: Offering customized training and consulting for implementing accessibility best practices.
Accessible Document Service: Providing top-tier document remediation services for all types of files, ensuring compliance with WCAG, 508, and PDF UA standards.
Sponsor Since: July 20th 2023
Website: https://glidance.io/ 🌐
About: Fun and easy, you'll just love going out. You walk with confidence, and Glide will simply guide you where you want to go.
Just Grab Your Glide And Walk With Confidence
Portable, Light And Versatile
Easy To Use
Quick To Learn
Get started with Glide today at: https://glidance.io/.
Sponsor Since: July 20th 2023
Website: https://echobatix.com/ 🌐
App: Download the Echobatix App from the Apple App Store here.
About: Echobatix develops accessibility products and indoor navigation systems for the blind, deafblind, and those with low vision. Our technology complements the use of a cane or guide dog and your existing Orientation and Mobility (O&M) skills. Our first app is an accessibility tool for printed text, touch screens, kiosks, and signage. Read what's at the end of your finger. Speak to search for a word.
Sponsor Since: March 16th 2023
Website: https://ayes.ai/ 🌐
App: Download the OKO App from the Apple App Store here.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ✉
About: AYES was founded by three experienced AI engineers that are defining autonomous navigation for blind and visually impaired people.
Simply point the back camera of the phone towards the intersection that you want to cross and the OKO application will instantly detect the traffic light and inform the user through audio and haptic feedback.
The OKO application can provide multiple services for your company, city or your country, all independent of physical infrastructure. This can increase your accessibility to 100%, overnight. OKO provides an accessible traffic light at every intersection. And, best of all, all OKO data is completely anonymized, ensuring your personal privacy at all times.
The OKO app is fully independent from infrastructure and does not require a Wi-Fi or Cellular connection to operate at full capacity. The algorithm runs locally on your device, meaning that it works consistently and reliably every single time. The application has been trained on more than 150,000 images and continues to improve. Download the app today.
Sponsor Since: March 9th 2023
Website: https://sterlingadaptives.com/ 🌐
Phone: (415) 878-2922 ☎
Email: email@example.com ✉
Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, Pacific Standard Time
About: Based in California, Sterling Adaptives supplies the most technologically advanced equipment and software currently available. We serve those who are blind or have visual impairment and also others with disabilities.
We have a showroom in Santa Rosa and can also meet in the comfort of your home. We supply a full range of computer hardware, software, peripherals, and assistive technology products. We are able to provide demonstrations, installations, troubleshooting, and ongoing product training.
We work with private individuals, non-profit agencies, private organizations, educational establishments, and commercial enterprises. We help our customers fully realize their potential.
We are known for providing you and your clients with the standards of service that you demand and that result in the right product at the right time and with the right backup service.
We look forward to hearing from you and being afforded the opportunity to show you just how Sterling our service is!
Sponsor Since: December 29th 2022
Website: https://lhblind.org/ 🌐
Phone: (800) 914-7307 ☎
Fax: (206) 329-3397 ░
Contact Us: https://lhblind.org/contact-us/
About: The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. is a private, not-for-profit social enterprise providing employment, support, and training opportunities for people who are blind, deafblind, and blind with other disabilities. The Lighthouse has provided employment and support to people who are blind in our community since 1918.
The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. is a successful manufacturing organization with over 60 years of experience in precision machining. We produce an array of machined parts and plastic injection molding for various aerospace manufacturers, as well as a host of office products and hydration equipment sold to the Federal Government and the U.S. Military. We also own and operate stores on military bases along the West Coast. Our products and services include:
• Manufacturing: We are a successful manufacturing organization committed to making jobs accessible to individuals who are blind. Our manufacturing operations center on making quality products for the Federal Government under the AbilityOne Program and producing parts for aerospace manufacturers.
• Managed Services: The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc. offers a variety of services to our commercial, federal, and military customers. These include Contract Management Support (CMS) services for government contracting offices.
• Base Supply Centers: We operate 12 AbilityOne Base Supply Centers (BSCs) that offer easy customer access to Lighthouse products, direct feedback and communication with customers, and employment opportunities for individuals who are blind in geographic areas not served by larger nonprofit agencies.
Sponsor Since: January 5, 2023
Website: https://www.wayaround.com/ 🌐
General Sales & Support: (888) 898-4465 ☎
Business Sales & Support: (888) 898-4465 ☎
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ✉
About: WayAround is the app for your smart device that provides on-demand details about everyday things. The simple tag-and-scan approach lets you quickly and easily identify things around you. It also provides extra details, like how something works or when it expires. The result? Doing more of the things you want, with more confidence and more independence.
All the information you want with just a tap of your phone. No more waiting around to ask someone. You need just two things to get started: The free mobile app for iOS or Android and some of our smart WayTags®.
Accessible labels for the blind, deafblind, and anyone with vision loss. Your biggest problem isn't poor eyesight. It's that so much of the information in the world is visual. But you shouldn't have to wait around for someone else to get the information you need. Or carry around a bulky, outdated device. There is a better way to get accurate and complete information every time. So you can reduce stress and gain independence.
Download The App (Apple): https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wayaround-tag-and-scan/id1294361140?mt=8
Download The App (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.wayaround.wayaround
Sponsor Since: August 4th 2022
Website: https://aira.io/ 🌐
Plans and Pricing: https://aira.io/pricing/
Email: email@example.com ✉
About: Aira's mission is to remove barriers and make the world more accessible with visual interpreting.
We provide a live, human-to-human professional assistance service, an accommodation or productivity tool, that enhances independence by delivering on-demand, skilled and reliable visual interpreting for just about any task. Using the powerful combination of a camera and the Aira app on someone's device of 'choice', a professionally-trained agent will assist by visually interpreting what is in the camera's view or on screen, from describing to reading, from explaining to navigating - just about anything, safely and securely. Aira supports a growing range of devices including smart and tactile button phones, desktop computers and soon, wearables.
Whether you are involved in the work of business, the work of school or the work of life, Aira enhances everyday efficiency, engagement, and independence. Used by employees and customers of hundreds of organizations including airports, banks, the largest software companies, financial firms, retailers and universities, we invite you to join the community, access the Aira app today and try it for free.
Step One: Subscribe and Download. Pick the plan that lets you explore on your terms and on your time, sign up in a few minutes, and download the Aira app to your smartphone. Plans shown are for the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Add or cancel at any time.
Step Two: Connect with an Aira Agent. On the first call, connect with one of our certified, specially-trained Agents and learn how everything works.
Step Three: Real-time Assistance. At the touch of a button, Aira delivers instant access to visual information, when and where you want it.
Sponsor Since: June 30th 2022
Website: https://fablepathways.com/ 🌐
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ✉
Phone: (888) 212-3532 ☎ Extension 810
About: Just like curb cuts help everyone get on and off sidewalks, designing digital products with accessibility in mind helps make the internet more accessible for everyone. Fable is an accessibility platform powered by people with disabilities. Fable connects people with disabilities to accessibility managers, user researchers, designers, and developers to build incredible and accessible user experiences.
➜ Fable Pathways: Fable Pathways is a free skill development program for people with disabilities interested in working in the tech sector. Sign up to take your career to the next level. Courses include "Getting started in web development" taught by Kelly Ford, a screen reader user, and Senior Program Manager at Microsoft, and "Becoming a manager" taught by Fable's Head of Accessibility Innovation, Kate Kalcevich. Instructors are subject matter experts in their fields and have lived experience with disability. Pathways courses are free, self-paced and assistive-technology-friendly. Sign up now at https://fablepathways.com/.
➜ Fable's Community of Accessibility Testers: Work from home to contribute to real changes in digital accessibility and make the internet a more accessible place for everyone. Ever leave a website because it was too hard to navigate? Because it was missing button labels? Because it didn't respond to voice commands? Us too. Our community of testers who use assistive technologies work from home and contribute to real changes in digital accessibility with recognizable brands. Earn money to share your feedback on websites and apps of your favorite brands and work with companies that care. No experience required and no resume required. Fable is looking for assistive technology users in the USA and Canada to work the hours that they want, from the comfort of their own homes. Learn more at https://fablepathways.com/community/.
Sponsor Since: June 9th 2022
Website: https://clusiv.io/ 🌐
About: As there are many challenges people in the blind community face in employment and education, Clusiv has built the world's first e-learning platform designed for the blind to provide the training, tools, and resources needed to remove barriers to the modern workforce. Our courses teach you occupational and technology skills you need towards employment. Plus, we are working to connect our graduates to internship and job opportunities. Our courses are remote, self-paced, and we provide support throughout your whole journey through our student success team, and even provide lifetime access to our courses so you can keep up to date as technology evolves. You can request Clusiv training through your vocational rehabilitation counselor and fill out the form in the link below on our website. If you are a counselor wanting to learn more about Clusiv for your clients, or an employer looking to hire Clusiv graduates, click the respective link below and fill out a form to get more info.
Sponsor Since: December 23rd 2021
Email: email@example.com ✉
Apple Podcasts: https://bit.ly/3BQmUTl
About: Double Tap TV is a weekly tech show on AMI-tv, (also available on CBC Gem in Canada and YouTube). Each week join hosts Steven Scott (@blindguytech) and Marc Aflalo (@marcaflalo) as they help viewers better understand how technology can assist in everyday life. Its tech from an accessible point of view! The show features interviews with some of the biggest names in consumer tech and features up and coming companies and services.
Sponsor Since: September 30th 2021
Website: https://hims-inc.com/ 🌐
Shop All Products: https://hims-inc.com/shop-all-products/ 🛒
Phone: (512) 837-2000 ☎
About: HIMS, Inc. is a global manufacturer and distributor that has provided braille, magnification and accessible healthcare devices since 1999.
Sponsor Since: August 5th 2021
Website: https://carroll.org/ 🌐
Phone: (617) 969-6200 ☎Fax: (617) 969-6204 ░
Shop: https://carroll.org/store/ 🛒
Donate: https://carroll.org/donate ❤
About: The Carroll Center for the Blind is the foremost leader in vision rehabilitation services for individuals confronted by the challenges of vision loss. Our mission is to empower those who are blind or visually impaired to achieve independence and to lead a fulfilling life. Established in 1936, the renowned Carroll Center for the Blind has been serving those with vision impairment for over eight decades; we are known nationally as a premier Vision Rehabilitation Center. Located just outside of Boston on a sprawling campus in Newton, Massachusetts, we proudly serve ALL ages and ALL stages of vision loss. With the ongoing promise of improving the lives of people with vision-related problems, The Carroll Center for the Blind has pioneered many innovative services allowing people who are blind or have low vision to learn the skills to be independent in their homes, in class settings, and in their work places. Our services include vision rehabilitation, vocational and transition programs, assistive technology training, educational support, and recreation opportunities for individuals who are visually impaired of all ages. For over 80 years, the expertise of Carroll Center staff has provided help for thousands of blind and visually impaired persons with diverse opportunities for success and independent living.
Sponsor Since: June 3rd 2021
Website: https://pneumasolutions.com/ 🌐
Email Newsletter: Click here to receive periodic news via email concerning Pneuma Solutions products for business, consumers and education.
Sales: (866) 202-0520 ☎
Support: (650) 249-1000 ☎
About: Backed by two decades of creating award-winning accessible cloud technologies for people with visual impairments, Pneuma Solutions is the global leader in accessible cloud-based solutions. Pneuma Solutions was founded by long-time accessibility developers Mike Calvo and Matt Campbell. For more information on their individual profiles, click on their respective bio pages. We're proud to be the first company to develop cloud-based accessibility at the network level. Our tools provide organizations, like yours, a way to deliver secure, accessible information right from your network or from our secure servers. You can provide your print disabled consumers, students, employees, and citizens with a multitude of accessible options. Additionally, we offer a suite of cloud-based applications to blind and print disabled consumers directly from our website. Our consumer products are designed to make the day-to-day lives of blind and print disabled individuals more accessible and simpler to manage. Access to information is not a privilege, it's a right. It's also your right to obtain affordable, accessible cloud solutions to serve your end user. When organizations like yours implement our tools, together we help make it a more inclusive world for people with disabilities. Want to know more about how we can help you become more inclusive?
Contact us here. We'll be happy to discuss how our tools can help with your accessibility needs.
Top Tech Tidbits is the world's leading adaptive technology news publication that reaches over 10,000 blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, neurodivergent and/or disabled professionals, educators and enthusiasts, all over the world, each week.
Adaptive Technology Information refers to items that are specifically designed for people with disabilities. Adaptive Technology is a subset of Assistive Technology. Adaptive Technology often refers specifically to electronic and information technology access.
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➜ Top Tech Tidbits News Team
Volunteer Publisher Since: June 4th 2020
Location: Mayfield Heights, Ohio
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time (EST/EDT) (GMT-5/GMT-4)
In addition to serving as Publisher for Top Tech Tidbits Aaron also serves as Publisher for the Access Information News Publication and is also the President and Senior Project Management Professional for Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd.
As Publisher Aaron oversees the weekly distribution of Top Tech Tidbits as a not-for-profit project on behalf of Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd.
Aaron also serves as a Volunteer Editor to Top Tech Tidbits.
Aaron Di Blasi, PMP
Sr. Project Management Professional (2006 - Present)
Email: email@example.com ✉
Volunteer Editor Since: June 4th 2020
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Time Zone: Mountain Standard Time (MST/MDT) (GMT-7/GMT-6)
In addition to serving as an Editor to Top Tech Tidbits, John also serves as an Editor to the Access Information News Publication and is also an attorney-at-law specializing in long-term disability claims for blind and visually impaired persons.
John is also a long-time contractor and member of the Board of Trustees at Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd.
John Hanlin, Esq.
Board of Trustees (2006 - Present)
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ✉
Volunteer Editor Since: June 4th 2020
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Time Zone: Central Standard Time (CST/CDT) (GMT-6/GMT-5)
In addition to serving as an Editor to Top Tech Tidbits, Jenna also serves as an Editor to the Access Information News Publication and runs her own Digital Marketing Firm.
Jenna also serves as a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) for Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd.
Jenna's son was born blind and she is always seeking new and innovative ways to empower him through technology.
Jenna Lang, PMP
Project Management Professional (2022 - Present)
Email: email@example.com ✉
Editor Since: October 7th 2021
Location: Los Angeles, California
Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time (PST/PDT) (GMT-6/GMT-7)
In addition to serving as an Editor to Top Tech Tidbits, Alex is also an Accessible Technology Coordinator for California State University, Dominguez Hills. He has worked in accessibility in higher education since 2005, is certified by the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, and in his spare time plays for the San Gabriel Valley Panthers Beep Baseball Team. He can be reached on twitter at: @samarositz.
Stephen (Alex) Marositz
Accessible Technology Coordinator
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ✉
Editor Since: January 1st 2022
Location: Newcastle, Australia
Time Zone: Australia Eastern Standard Time (AEST/AEDT) (GMT+10)
In addition to serving as an Editor to Top Tech Tidbits, Ben is also an Access and Technology Advisor for Guide Dogs, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT).
Hi, Tidbits readers, my name's Ben Moxey and I'm based in Newcastle, Australia. I'm really happy to be part of the Tidbits Team and look forward to supporting this valuable publication.
A bit about me and how I came to work in the BVI area. I grew up with very low vision in one eye due to retinal issues and relied on magnification and speech throughout school. They also tried to teach me Braille, but let's just say that I wasn't the best student! I was determined to use my remaining vision, no matter how impractical it was becoming.
When I was 20, the other retina came off and I've now been totally blind for about 21 years. This is when my love for assistive technology, and technology in general, really kicked in. I'll be honest, I was a bit of a computer nerd anyway, but I could quickly see how technology was my key to enhanced independence and lifestyle. I embraced screen readers, early smart phones and mobility aids. I even finally realised the huge value of Braille and finished off the course, though I'm still pretty slow!
Long story short (not one of my strong points), I've worked in the BVI area for 12 years with much of that spent reviewing, recommending and teaching assistive technology that suits the individual. I'm currently a proud employee of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT where I was the Practice Lead for the assistive technology service, and I've now moved into an Access and Technology Advisor role. Basically, this involves a strong focus on accessibility and technology innovation.
Feel free to look me up on LinkedIn, but I'll warn you in advance that I haven't given my profile the recommended attention!
All the best and happy reading!
Access and Technology Advisor
Volunteer Editorial Contributor Since: February 6, 2023
Location: Central Coast, New South Wales, Australia
Time Zone: Australia Eastern Standard Time (AEST/AEDT) (GMT+10)
In addition to serving as an Editor to Top Tech Tidbits, David also serves as an Editor to the Access Information News Publication and is also the National Commercial Assistive Technology Advisor for Vision Australia where he has worked since 1990. Over this time he has assisted people who are blind or vision impaired in their home, education, and work settings to take advantage of the benefits of using assistive and main stream technology.
In the last seventeen years, he has also been involved with evaluating technology for use by people who are blind or vision impaired covering both low and high tech equipment (including Microsoft, Samsung, Google, Amazon, and Apple). David is also one of the key spokespersons for Vision Australia relating to technology.
He has been an Apple Ambassador for Apple Australia since 2009 with a group of other Ambassadors / Apple Distinguished Educators (ADE)'s covering the range of Apple's Accessibility solutions throughout Australia.
David produces a range of podcasts (since 2011) covering Apple and other technologies which are distributed on his own podcast (http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com). In addition, he also has a regular Talking Tech program (since 2013) which can be heard every Tuesday at 4:30 Eastern Summer Time on Vision Australia Radio Melbourne (available online) or via https://omny.fm/shows/talking-tech-vision-australia-radio
David also runs a weekly Tech Monday where people can chat about assistive and main stream technology, share information, and any tips and tricks.
David lost his sight when he was 8 years old and had to learn Braille. Since then, he completed high school, went to Sydney University receiving a Social Work degree, spent 4 years drug and alcohol counselling, and then moved into his current job.
As a person who is blind, David believes that as a user of the technology that he recommends to others, that he is well situated to look at the strengths and shortcomings of the assistive technology that he comes across in both his professional and personal life, in particular, mainstream technology that is accessible.
X (Formerly Twitter): @dwoodbridge
In addition to his weekly contributions to Top Tech Tidbits and Access Information News, David's regularly occurring activities are his weekly tech radio show, bi-monthly exploring tech webinars for Vision Australia, his iSee podcast when something of note grabs his attention, and the weekly Tech Monday chat sessions.
Editorial Contributor (2023-Present)
Editorial Contributor (2023-Present)
National Commercial Assistive Technology Advisor (1990 - Present)
Email: email@example.com ✉
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Top Tech Tidbits is the world's leading adaptive technology news publication that reaches over 10,000 blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, neurodivergent and/or disabled professionals, educators and enthusiasts, all over the world, each week. Sign up here. Review the archive here. Adaptive Technology refers to items that are specifically designed for people with disabilities. Adaptive Technology is a subset of Assistive Technology. Adaptive Technology often refers specifically to electronic and information technology access. Top Tech Tidbits is a Mind Vault Solutions, Ltd. Publication. Publisher: Aaron Di Blasi. Contributing Editors: John Hanlin, Jenna Lang, Stephen (Alex) Marositz, Ben Moxey, and David Woodbridge. Top Tech Tidbits is a sponsor and reader supported publication.
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