We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident—Do You?

Technology and education are two topics that get a great deal of attention today. The intersection of technology and education is viewed as an unprecedented opportunity to fully unlock the power of knowledge and make it more accessible than ever before in the history of mankind. Innovative applications of technology are thought to be instrumental to breaking down traditional barriers to teaching and learning, and many people are working to utilize technologies to expand the circle of participation. At the same time, education is frequently—and, we believe, correctly—thought to be the civil rights issue of our time.

Dropbox Dropped the Ball, but They Are Working to Recover it.

Broken.  Dropbox is broken.  More specifically, the Dropbox desktop client is broken.  I am just a little heartbroken, or possibly a lot.  
All right, let me back up the truck here, for those of you who don’t know what Dropbox is, it is (when it’s accessible,) a marvelous tool that allows users to store documents on the internet, and have them pushed to all of their devices.  Mac, PC, iPhone, Android, and Linux are all supported.  (I know I am actually forgetting a few other platforms here, but you get the point).  When folks are collaborating  on a project, or want to share something with friends, Dropbox allows them to set up general sharing folders, or ones specifically for sharing just between the collaborators.  It’s a great program that has been favorably received by massive swaths of the population, both sighted and blind.  

The Optelec App

At CSUN last week, Optelec released a free magnification app for iOS. Magnification apps are many, and so far what I have seen has failed to impress me - there's a reason why companies like Optelec can charge hundreds of dollars for portable digital magnifiers. The Apple hardware is not quite up to doing great magnification just yet. Ai Squared's $19.99 ZoomReader may be the best of a fairly bad lot, with a light, a few color contrast options, decent magnification and some OCR. That said, I had high hopes for Optelec, since they can usually be relied upon to make a good product. The app was swiftly installed and opened, and it soon explained why Optelec felt that this was a good investment at the low, low price of no money at all.

AFB’s AccessNote: Not quite the notetaker replacement we’ve been looking for

I love my iPhone, and my iPad.  I use them for all sorts of tasks.  I read documents; I do research on the web, read and post to Twitter, watch videos, and control my Apple TV.  They are great for almost every mobile task.  Unfortunately, there are a few tasks that have left me unable to give up more traditional solutions.  First, I cannot listen to books from NLS.  Second, reading Braille files, or for that matter, any long document, especially in Braille, is extremely frustrating as few programs offer a good search feature, so finding the information I want quickly is never simple, and there is no direct support for BRF files in the iOS universe that I am aware of.  Finally, and most irritatingly, I have never found an application that adequately meets my needs when I am writing, especially long documents.  Pages offers document search, but it’s slow and heavy to load, which is a de

Are you free to communicate with this free app?

For quite some time, deaf-blind users of iDevices have been able to use face to face communication with the public through the notes app. This consists typically of an iDevice (iPod, iPad, or iPhone) paired with a Braille display and Bluetooth keyboard. The deaf-blind person can then type using the Braille input keys on their display, while the sighted and hearing person types on the Bluetooth keyboard. All text shows up on both the Braille display and the screen of the iDevice. Now, there is another app on the market geared toward this specific purpose.

Movie Night with Solo DX

So, who doesn't love watching a good movie now and then?  It's fun to sit down with a bucket of popcorn, a couple of friends (or cats), and get really engaged in a good story.  

Amazon, Why Do You Keep Burning Blind Readers?

According to ZDNet and Engadget the Kindle Fire will be getting Explore by Touch and Voice Guide to provide accessibility features to blind and visually impaired customers.  

These features were first introduced in Google's Android, Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. (This is the basis of the OS for the Kindle Fire and Fire HD which has been heavily skinned by Amazon for the device.)  Google has since released Jelly Bean which has improved markedly on accessibility.  If this were Amazon's only weakness, an out-of-date OS, I would be disappointed, but I would understand. This is not, however, Amazon's only problem.

Low vision and books (and a few other things) on the iPad Mini and the Nexus 7

You know, I was going to write a blog post on low vision reading features on the Nexus 7 versus the iPad Mini. You’ll see that I have expanded a little on that brief. As it happened, I decided to test with the Humble Bundle books I’d acquired a little while ago. Humble Bundle lets you buy games and books (in my case, books) at a price you pick (really!) and with a distribution you pick. That is to say YOU get to decide how much of your money goes to the author, Humble Bundle, and a short list of charities they support. How cool is that, right?

Nook App for iOS

Barnes and Noble NOOK on iOS! Real, Usable Access to the Nook catalog for the First Time Ever! (at least mostly).  

The Barnes and Noble Nook app is Accessible to VoiceOver users on iOS!!!  Those of us who have been dancing impatiently in our chairs waiting for books to be made available that aren't presently offered on Blio or iBooks are understandably excited by this announcement.  It's been wending its way around Twitter all day.  It's the biggest news since all the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Giving Tuesday tweets of the last week.  

Nook Tablet, the Sequel: The Plot Thickens

Earlier today, the AT Team (or as we’re known in our more glamorous moments, the A Team) learned from the grapevine that there was more in the way of accessibility to be had from the Nook HD+/Tablet. You’ll remember that last time we searched and searched (manual, BN.com, Google of course), and came up empty handed. We also asked and asked, and got nothing. Well, we’re not infallible, and always glad to find more accessibility, so we figured we’d give it another go.


Subscribe to Access Technology