Tech Tips

Welcome to our Technology Tips section! The NFB Jernigan Institute Access Technology team is always on the lookout for new and better ways to give blind people access to technology, as the ever-growing International Braille and Technology Center attests. In these tips we want to share some of the pointers manufacturers and developers share with us to help you learn about new applications and new programs, and to help you find new functionality in familiar products. The Access Technology team works with the relevant manufacturers and developers to obtain the tips listed here, to make sure that you get the best and latest about anything new in the world of non-visual access technology.

 

If you have any feedback on the tips, please contact Clara Van Gerven at cvangerven@nfb.org.

Banquet Listening Parties Create Convention Feel at Home

The National Federation of the Blind National Convention is an experience like none other. From the informative seminars on all types of topics to the excitement of being surrounded by more than 2,000 other blind people. From hearing so many canes tapping and guide dogs working, to the energy of the room on the day of opening session.

All of these experiences cannot be captured easily in words, nor can they fully be appreciated unless you are there in person. However, for a variety of reasons, being there is not always possible.

Luckily we now have the option of listening to the convention online, which at least means you can hear various presentations and catch some of the excitement.

Plug and Play Braille Display? Not Today, But Soon They Say

Last year, Karl Belanger and I reviewed the state of Braille support across a number of different screen reader and operating system combinations.

One of the biggest difficulties we encountered had to do with the installation and stability of Braille display drivers. Another difficulty was having to locate drivers when a device was heavily optimized for a specific screen reader or operating system, but we wanted to use it with a different piece of screen access software.

In other words, one of the hardest things about using Braille displays is just setting the silly things up in the first place.

Rideshare Testing: After One Year, How Are Uber and Lyft Doing?

In May 2017, NFB initiated a rideshare testing program in response to our new settlement agreements with Uber and Lyft. Both rideshare companies had committed to changes intended to eliminate driver discrimination against travelers with service animals. So now, one year into our three-year testing program, are Uber and Lyft demonstrating improvement?

The answer is complicated.

Ask Maura Gay, and she might tell you how on February 21, before she could enter the car, a driver locked his car doors, announced that he doesn’t take dogs, and then sat and waited until he could claim Maura’s request as a “no show” and cancel the ride.

Disturbing Developments at the Department of Education

The National Federation of the Blind is actively engaged in improving access to education for blind students. Our activities on this front include our push for passage of the AIM HIGH Act, our self-advocacy in Higher Education Toolkit to help students assert their rights, and, when necessary, the filing of discrimination complaints against colleges and universities. In the past, the Office for Civil Rights within the United States Department of Education (OCR) has often been an ally in the struggle to make colleges and universities meet their legal and ethical obligations to blind students. But the recent activities of OCR show troubling indications that we can no longer count on such an alliance.

What’s That? The Art of Bird Listening

We stop short, folks whisper, “What’s that?” It’s the unmistakable rattle of the beloved kingfisher, the rascal of the water birds, zooming along the river. It went by too fast; my restricted peripheral vision couldn’t locate it, but it caused me to smile.

National Federation of the Blind Member Makes History at the 122nd Running of the Boston Marathon

I am a long-time member of the National Federation of the Blind and have served as treasurer of the Tidewater Chapter of the NFB of Hampton Roads since 2009. Mr. Stewart Prost serves as our current chapter president. I want to tell all of you how much I appreciate being a part of the National Federation of the Blind.

Introducing Amazon’s New Talking Locker Feature

Amazon Lockers are secure, self-service kiosks where customers can pick up Amazon.com packages at a time and place that is convenient for them. Amazon Locker was introduced in 2011, and has since expanded to over 2,000 locations across 50 plus major metropolitan areas in the US.

Introducing KNFB Reader Version 3 for iOS

KNFB Reader, the mobile app which has provided immediate access to printed information to the blind since 2014, has gotten an upgrade! Tinkering with the features or the user-interface of an app should never be undertaken lightly.

A Talking Locker

The National Federation of the Blind is the voice of the nation’s blind. We work to ensure that blind people can be fully participating members of our communities. More and more, our ability to participate in our communities and live the lives we want depends on the accessibility of the commonplace technologies being implemented throughout our environments.

Equal Treatment in the Workplace Means Equal Access to Technology

The National Federation of the Blind engages in strategic legal action to defend the rights and advance the equality of blind people. While we do not have the financial resources to assist every blind individual who experiences discrimination, we help individuals bring legal action where we believe that the result is likely to be important systemic change.

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