My experiences switching to Android

By Karl Belanger

Introduction

I’ve used Apple devices since 2010, first an iPod Touch, and then several iPhone models. Over the years I’ve played with Android several times and have always been disappointed and frustrated with the experience. Recent updates to Talkback and Android have changed things considerably. As I detailed in my post in May, gestures are much more responsive, web navigation is much better, and the whole Android experience is the best it has been. So, I decided to take the plunge and switch to an Android phone full time. I settled on the Motorola Moto G Plus 4th Generation, as I felt it had reasonable specs, and a nearly stock (original) version of Android. Plus Motorola has a reputation for getting updates out faster than most other manufacturers.

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BrailleNote Touch: accessing and using third party apps

By Karl Belanger

The BrailleNote Touch (Touch) from HumanWare has full access to the Google Play Store. Many third party apps are made available in a notetaking device for the first time. While this provides a lot of opportunity, there are also many chances for things to go wrong when developers haven't made their apps accessible. The Touch handles many third party apps very well, but sometimes the Braille keyboard interface can cause some interesting interactions, and there are also the expected issues when encountering partially inaccessible apps. In general, the TalkBack gestures translate well to keyboard commands either with TouchBraille or the physical keyboard. It is also possible, by pressing the previous and next thumb keys together, to turn on explore by touch mode and access many of the usual gestures that Android users will be familiar with.

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The BrailleNote Touch as a Braille Notetaker- How Does It Stack Up?

By Amy Mason

The BrailleNote Touch is an impressive feat of hardware and software engineering. It is an Android tablet with full-fledged Braille support, a skinned and simplified interface running custom-built accessible programs, full visual display, and the option, but not requirement, of using an external Braille keyboard. It is also a Google certified Android device, capable of running the vast majority of applications in the Play store. Furthermore, it does what it sets out to do quite effectively. The BrailleNote is indisputably ambitious, and in some ways it is already an impressive device. That said, how does it handle the traditional tasks of a Braille Notetaker? Is it worth the $5500 asking price? Let’s take a closer look.

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KNFB Reader: The Convention Chronicles

From the Editor:

The KNFB Reader can be used in a variety of situations. Keep reading to learn how one might use the app at national convention. The KNFB Reader is a smartphone app which converts printed text into synthetic speech or Braille. Moments after taking a picture with the camera of a mobile device, the content of previously inaccessible documents can be read with ease.  As you will see below, KNFB Reader is a game changer for anyone who is blind or otherwise print disabled.  To find out more about KNFB Reader, go to www.knfbreader.com

 

By Joel Zimba

I was relieved to find the schedule for the airport shuttle on the company website.  I was only mildly dismayed to find it was an inaccessible PDF document.  One pass through KNFB Reader and I was good to go.

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Browsers: why it matters what you use

By Clara Van Gerven

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The B2G - This Is Not the Droid I’m Looking For… Yet.

By Amy Mason

Seldom have I come across a device that has left me so conflicted. As regular readers know, I have a tendency to gush, or condemn products pretty universally, often with little middle ground. Not so with today’s entry. The B2G is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a quandary for. I don’t know what to think of it. Hardware, software, and documentation all leave me scratching my head a little. There are things I love about each aspect of the device, and yet, I cannot give my love to it wholeheartedly as I often want to fling my hands up in desperation, and give up on the whole mad experiment of even reviewing it.

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Android 6.0 and Talkback 4.5 Accessibility Improvements

By Karl Belanger
With Android 6.0 and Talkback 4.5, some significant accessibility improvements have been made. The gestures seem more forgiving when inputs aren’t perfect, web browsing is much better, and the overall experience feels more fluid. I’ve attempted to use Android a few times in the past, but have always been frustrated by inconsistent interpretation of my gestures, random focus jumping if any other part of the screen is touched, and a lack of navigation granularity on the web and in other apps. With the current versions, things are much better. While the overall navigation is not as seamless as on iOS, the gap has narrowed significantly. Unfortunately, as Brailleback has not received an update since December and the introduction of Unified English Braille, Braille accessibility was not tested for this review.

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A brief look at the iPad Pro

By Karl Belanger

 

Introduction

I recently had a chance to use an iPad pro for a short time, and wanted to share some things I noticed as a VoiceOver user. The iPad Pro is Apple’s biggest tablet, and the first to have a specially designed keyboard and stylus, called the Apple Pencil. For the most part, using the iPad Pro is identical to using any other iOS device. All the gestures, buttons, and VoiceOver commands are identical. The iPad Pro, by virtue of having the largest screen size, fits the most on the screen and gives the most accurate positioning of items when exploring by touch. However, the device does have a few interesting benefits and drawbacks.

 

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A brief look at the iPad Pro

By Karl Belanger

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