We Have Moved
It was time for a change as I’m focusing on Android these days. You can now find me at:
We Have Moved
It was time for a change as I’m focusing on Android these days. You can now find me at:
Here is a collection of tweets I wrote about watching out for yourself when it comes to big discounts on Amazon’s Prime Day or incredible savings you’ll see from your favorite tech news sources.
1. If an item has a list price of $200, you’ve been watching the price and for the past month it would cost you $100, when that store has a special sale & it is $95, you are not saving $105, you are saving $5. Nobody charges that list price its meant to deceive you. Compare prices.
2. It is okay if you have been fooled by a store before, they try hard. I knew someone who was certain Amazon really sold it on a regular day for $200 & they were getting $105 off the list price on this special sales day.
3. I bring this up because Amazon day in 2021 is approaching. The biggest sales will be on Amazon products & older model items which have been selling less, ever since the new model was available. Don’t let them fool you.
4. The other thing that happens with Prime Day sales, you wait til then to buy the outdoor cameras, lights, & everything for a homemade security system your Son, or friend promised to setup. Except 6 months later that never happened, but look at how much you saved.
5. One last thing to watch. Amazon Affiliates can’t include the actual price of an item, but using the example I gave earlier, they can say today you save $105 off of the list price. All of your trusted tech news sources do this. Its done in tweets & special newsletter deals.
So, before I tell this story, all through my life, its been a common thing to check the time and its either 1:11 or 11:11, AM or PM it doesn’t matter.
I wouldn’t check the time trying for it to be one of those times, it just randomly happened.
So once upon a time… I went on a trip with a friend that I was working for.
We went from Kansas City, Missouri to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a visit with a company who’s software I used at the time. It was based on a friendly invite from one of their employees we met at a info fair that we were also part of.
Back then there was a regular airplane flight between Kansas City & St. Louis. It took about 40 minutes. From there we took a slightly longer flight to Fort Wayne.
I hadn’t been in Fort Wayne since I was a little kid visiting my Great Grandpa & my friend, the sighted one of us had never been there. So while signing paperwork for the car rental, we made sure to get directions to the motel we had reservations at.
They told us to get on the highway and take exit 111.
We did that and easily found the Super 8 motel. Got checked in & given the key to our room, room 111.
The two of us relaxed as our scheduled time with that company wasn’t until a couple of hours later.
We are watching TV and the phone in our room rings. It wasn’t the regular ringing pattern though. It went ring,
Like it was ringing 1, 1, 1. I picked up the phone and there was just a dial tone.
I said they must have dialed the wrong room number. A few minutes later, the same thing happened. Ring, Ring, Ring.
This time my friend answered it but again, just a dial tone. He called up to the front desk. They said it wasn’t them calling & they’ve never heard of that happening.
At this point we start talking and are saying how strange this is with the highway exit, our room number & now this thing with the phone.
The time came to leave for our appointment. I got to play around with a new version of their software that was going to be making some changes in how one made adjustments in settings. I also got to meet some people there that I had been communicating with for a few years, but never got to meet in person.
The time came as we were finishing our visit and my friend bought some software using the company checkbook.
The next check in the checkbook was check 1110. We looked at each other and said this is just too strange. Keeping the events to ourself at that point, we ended our visit.
We went to have dinner which thankfully was without any number events.
We went back to our motel, yes still room 111 and watched tv again until it was time to retire for the night. No more ringing phones though.
We had an alarm set for the morning, grabbed something that was free there at the motel for breakfast, pastries or something & left for the airport.
Flew back to St. Louis and went to the gate for our flight back to Kansas City. At this point, once we were sitting down, my friend informs me of the flight number, yeah, you guessed it, 111.
He said there is one more thing I need to tell you.
Of course knowing I was totally blind, he knew I couldn’t see his drivers license but he said I could scan it once we get back to my apartment.
His birthday, January 11.
We are thinking something really odd is going on but don’t want to talk about it.
Thankfully we had a safe short flight back home & nothing like that ever happened again.
I was reading a review of Weather apps today and noticed there was no mention of the types of weather and severe weather we have here in Kansas City.
While my suggestions are not a review, this is what I use to stay weather aware.
First, we have two Midland emergency alert weather radios in our apartment. We learned soon after we moved in, during a weekly test, the weather radio in the bedroom could not be heard in the living room.
This is because of how our new apartment is laid out. So we purchased a second radio just for the living room.
If you are totally blind like me, you’ll need some assistance in the first setup of these radios. Its a matter of selecting your state & county and enabling the weekly test.
These radios are just too simple of devices to expect them to have screen reading software built in. The good thing though, once its setup the first time, the radio remembers your choices, even through power outages. I’ve known some people who have used Be My Eyes to get help.
Here is this radio at Amazon. It can be purchased at other places though. Also make sure you select voice alerts so it will sound an alert tone then will start playing the emergency info.
The other thing I use, & I do believe in having both is the Accuweather app. Its available for both Android & IOS devices. It will use your location and alert you of any severe weather along with current conditions and forecast based on where you are.
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that I will get an alert from the Accuweather app about 30 seconds before the weather radio sounds its alert. Sometimes it might be at the same time, but its nice knowing this is how accurate they are at getting out the alert information.
I use an Android phone and can say it is a very accessible experience. I hope its just the same on IOS.
Chromecast with Google TV
After more recent problems with my Mi Box S, such as having to power cycle it twice for everything to start correctly, I decided to try the new Chromecast with Google TV. The Mi Box was no big loss, I got it for $29 when it was on sale. It was something to mess around with and see what I could get to work. It wasn’t a total loss though, as it gave me experience with the Android TV platform.
I should mention what the Mi Box S & Chromecast with Google TV devices are and what they do.
They are not televisions, as one might think when seeing TV as part of the name. Each of these connect to a HDMI port on a television and add streaming services to your TV. They have their own remotes, you can install apps to the device, and both of these are running a version of the Android TV operating system.
The Chromecast with Google TV that I just got is running Android TV version 10. It has accessibility services built in, which are very similar to what you would find on an Android Smart Phone. Usually you don’t get quite everything though on a device which is limited in physical size and the amount of memory & storage when compared to that of a phone.
One of the first things I encountered is I was going to need help in order to setup the Chromecast with Google TV. That is okay though, as I also had to get some help with the Mi Box S. My Wife assisted me in selecting the language on screen and the first couple of settings.
From there, setup was ready for me to connect the device to the Google Home app. I did that part, easily got the home app to find the QR code on the screen & get the device connected to WiFi.
Next, I needed assistance again as it did its first set of downloading updates, restarting, then a few more accepting of terms and conditions. Finally, my Wife turned on TalkBack for me, then I was on my own.
I’ll be providing some feedback to Google on this as I had a totally different experience when setting up my TCL Roku TV. That was totally accessible as after powering the TV on I was able to activate the audio guide with pressing a button on the remote 4 times. I did similar things such as connecting the TV to WiFi, installing updates, doing those first selection things such as language settings & more, all on my own. I don’t think it would take much effort for the setup to be like this on the Chromecast with Google TV.
I’m just going to call it, Google TV, to save typing the full name from here on.
Its much like the layout of a Fire TV Stick where you have rows of categories that you move up or down to navigate, & many items to select or interact with that you move left or right to navigate.
One of the benefits of the Google TV is it brings together the content from all of your streaming services and puts it all in one place. So if you are looking through the Drama category, there will be content in there from AmazonPrime, Netflicks, Disney, Tubi & more. You press the button in the center of the navigation pad on the remote to interact with that movie or show. You do need to have a subscription to the paid services, but you aren’t required to have them all. The Google TV will work with whatever services you setup. I’m not sure how, maybe a little of magic between Google & Netflix, it had my Netflicks account already signed in for me.
I’ve learned from my experience with Android TV that not every app is accessible. For some of those apps though, there is a benefit of having it installed on your Google TV. The Tubi app for example will add its free shows & movies to the options available. You don’t need to be signed into an account with Tubi to play these items.
I’ve found the Netflix app and the Prime Video app to be totally accessible and a great experience. No problem selecting or playing content with audio description or other options.
I found one feature that the Prime Video app on Google TV offers that isn’t even available on a Fire TV Stick. When you are browsing through tv shows & movies, in each description of the show, if the show has Audio Description, it will be listed. You don’t have to go looking anywhere else, or even just play it to find out. As you move to each item you’ll hear it along with info on Captions, & video quality.
One of the other things I did with my previous device & the Google TV is watch content from my collection I have stored on Google Drive. I use an app, File Commander which can access the device’s files, & it can also access files on cloud drives. The only accessibility issue I have is when going into the file structure on my Google Drive. Its a very easy work around though.
When on the name of a folder for the first time, its read as “unlabeled”. All you need to do is arrow down a couple of times, arrow to the right, & then when you move back over to the left, the files or folder names are read correctly. This will happen again when you go into a folder. I’ll be providing feedback to the developer of this app.
One other thing the Google TV has is a built in ChromeCast. Its because of the use of being able to send audio or video to the Google TV from the Chrome desktop browser or from many apps on my phone, that the non-accessible apps don’t bother me.
I can start something streaming in the Chrome browser on my computer, then send it to be playing on the Google TV, where our great sounding sound bar is connected. I can also do this with the Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and many other apps on my phone.
The Chrome cast on Google TV has a built in Google Assistant and a button on the remote. You can do those same things such as getting weather, jokes, upcoming appointments as well as asking things like “listen to CNN on TuneIn” or “listen to twit live on TuneIn”
I think that even with the non-accessible part of the setup, the Google TV is well worth your money. I like how it brings content from many sources together and its so easy to browse around in one place & find something to watch. I feel the same about the apps such as Spotify & Peacock which are not accessible. I can cast Spotify from my phone to the Google TV when I want to play it through the sound bar connected to our TV. There are many ways to play the content you want.
The Chrome cast with Google TV is available from places like Walmart, Best Buy, & the Google Store, online. I paid $49 and found it at the same price in the other places I checked.
One other note, the Google TV can include content from Youtube TV, which is an online subscription television service. I don’t use that & don’t have any information on how accessible that is.
I found an excellent description of the buttons on the remote from Google.
Here is a link to File Commander on the Play Store.
If you are going to play files from your Google or other online Drive, you’ll need a program to play the files. I use VLC. Its one of those apps you just need to install and when you select to play a file VLC will just start playing it. VLC for Android
Information on turning on Talkback, & other accessibility options. https://support.google.com/googletv/answer/10070337?hl=en
Here is an audio walk through that I did of navigating the Chromecast with Google TV. It is a Drop Box link set to download.
Here is the Chrome cast with Google TV at Walmart
Here it is at BestBuy
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email. ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’
You can also find me on Twitter
My Wife has created a Go Fun Me Page to try to get some assistance in recovering financially from the last leg of a loved kitty’s life. When a cat is just been a part of your life for many years, trying to save their life is the only important thing.
This is the cat that many years ago saw me lay down on the couch because I had a headache & she got on the couch with me, put a paw on my forehead and stayed with me until I got up an hour or so later.
Here is a tweet that my Wife sent with a link to the page with more info.
@RayneyDaze: Please help us get back on track. Sissy was a wonderful member of our family.
Her care in her last months put us in a good bit of debt.
Any little bit helps and gives us the opportunity to have the funds for our other two cats.
This is the layout of the Voice remote for a TCL Roku television, or Roku Device.
This is assuming you are holding the remote with the small, round, power button at the top.
There will be a small cloth feeling tag at the bottom of the remote.
On the right edge of the remote, on top is the volume up/down and below is the mute button.
(up) (down) (left) (right) (ok in middle)
(previous channel) (microphone) (options)
(rewind) (play/pause) (forward)
Cloth feeling tag at the bottom of the voice remote.
In some online directions, especially when turning on or off the audio guide, you may see to press the star key four times in a row. This is also the options key.
The only differences in the remote that comes with the TCL Roku TV & the voice remote is there is no microphone button & no cloth tag at bottom on the included remote.
The voice remote has more rubber like feeling buttons while the included remote has more of a plastic feel to the buttons.
To use the microphone on the voice remote hold down the microphone & you will hear a small beep. Speak your command and let go of the button. You can say things like change to channel 41.2, or change to HDMI1.
Hold the remote close to your face but it doesn’t need to be so close that its in your face, this will depend on the noise level around you.
The voice remote is about a $20 accessory that I find to be helpful. You can also do most of the same voice commands through Alexa. Here’s a link to the voice remote on Amazon:
The voice remote is super easy to connect to the TCL Roku TV. Insert the batteries & your TV or Roku device should automatically detect the remote, unless that option has been turned off.
The Roku Voice Remote has been out of stock lately on Amazon.
Here it is on Walmart & you can find it other places too.
Here is an article that will help you connect Alexa to your Roku TV or Device.
How to connect your Roku to Amazon Alexa
Just a note for reference…
I am using NVDA 2019.3 on a computer running Windows 10 with all current updates as of when this is posted.
If you have seen one of my recent tweets about ripping DVD’s, you’ll know I’m very thankful to Android Police for an article they wrote that has made this process possible for me.
I’ve tried verious tips & read articles over the years, but things just didn’t come out right.
Here is the article you need to read to get the software you need & information, as I’m just supplying some tips as a blind guy to assist with things.
How to rip your movie collection to watch anywhere
You should get all three of those programs & the beta key for MakeMKV.
After you have inserted a DVD and verified your computer can see there is media in the drive (you can check in File Explorer by pressing windows key plus e.) you will want to open MakeMKV.
Once it opens let things just sit for about 30 – 60 seconds, based on the speed of your computer. You might hear the DVD stop spinning when its okay to proceed to the next step, if you don’t want to wait.
Press the Tab key until you are on Open Disk and press the space bar. You’ll hear the DVD start to spin again as the program examines the DVD.
Depending on the speed of your computer this process could take about a minute or longer. You’ll know the program is done processing the DVD when the drive slows down & you might hear the identification of an Edit Box being spoken at this point.
MakeMKV is very smart at identifying what on the disk is video longer than two minutes & will automatically select it for you. I choose to just let it do the work and after its done you might find it extracted other video tracks such as Directors notes or other clips of a movie.
Its just easier to delete any extra things I don’t want to keep instead of trying to remove those from being extracted.
Your next step is to press alt + f to open the File menu. Arrow down to Save Selected and press enter.
A dialog box will pop up soon after. In NVDA you can press insert b to read the box.
The info in the box will tell you a folder for your extraction doesn’t exist & asks if you want the program to make one. You can just press enter and a folder will be created. Its default is to store these in the C:\Video folder.
Things will now get busy as its extracting the data from the DVD. This isn’t processor intensive, but it is time consuming. Depending on the amount of data this process can take 25 to 45 minutes.
I like to minimize the program and watch in the “Running Applications” part of the desktop to monitor progress.
When it gets to about 90% or so, alt tab back into MakeMKV. When the program is done it will pop up another dialog letting you know it was successful.
Navigate to your C:\Video folder and locate the newly extracted movie or program & press enter.
The main file you will need is almost always the first file, if there is more than one file there you might want to make sure things are in a list by pressing Control + Shift + 6.
Navigate to that top file, which also should be the largest, sometimes up to 5 GB or more.
While on that file hold down the shift key and press your context or applications key.
You can let go of the context key after pressing shift & the key but keep holding down shift until you hear your screen reader announce the “Context Menu” Arrow down to Save As Path and press enter.
You just copied the full path to the file that you need for Handbrake. You can close this & any other windows and return to your desktop.
This next part in the process of ripping your DVD is going to be very labor intensive on your computer, so its best to have any other programs such as your browser, email, or other type programs not running.
Open Handbrake and give it a few seconds to get settled.
Press control + o to open a file.
In the box press control v to paste in the path to the file we are working with but don’t press enter just yet.
When we copied that path in the previous step, Windows adds quote marks to the start & end of the path.
We need to delete those before pressing enter. So press the home key to go to the beginning. Arrow over to the quote mark and press delete.
Now press the end key to go to the end of the edit box. Arrow to the other quote mark and press delete.
What is left is the path name to the file and will be something like this: C:\Video\Grinch\filename.ext
You can now press enter so Handbrake can open the file.
Leave all of the settings to their default, unless the movie or show has a audio description track. For that, you’ll need to move to the audio part of the settings and may have to experiment a bit to select the correct audio track. It won’t be the one that is selected & it might be another audio choice in English that might only show as Stereo.
Press tab until you get to Start Encode and press space.
NVDA & other screen readers should give you progress updates while the work is being done to compress that large file into another format.
Other than listening to your computer & hearing the progress bars, you’ll know Handbrake is done by pressing the Tab key. If after everything has settled down and you find the Start Encode button again, you are all done at this point.
You can find the finished file in the Video folder of your User folder in Windows. Press windows key plus r and type c: & press enter.
Next go to the Users folder & press enter. Arrow to your username and press enter.
The Video folder & your file will be in there.
This is a list of apps that I find to be accessible on my Android phone.
I’m currently using a OnePlus 7 Pro that is on the International version of the Oxygen software.
I understand accessible has different meanings to people. I consider these apps to be accessible to me as I use a combination of touch & a bluetooth keyboard, depending on what I need or want to do.
Your milage may be different.
I’m using a Logitech K380 multi device keyboard. I’ve also been using my QBraille XL with my phone. Its a QWERTY keyboard & also a 40 cell braille display.
Here is a review from The Wirecutter of the Logitech K380 multi device bluetooth keyboard. https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-bluetooth-keyboard/
This is the case I have for my Logitech K380 keyboard. It will keep the keyboard safe, especially when in a backpack. https://is.gd/6VNscz
Music Folder Player Full
Podcast Addict – Donate
Samsung Portable SSD
TuneIn Radio Pro
Shared by ‘My App List’
This is a list of files to play audio favorites that I keep on my computer. These files & shortcuts are just a handy way to get something going and is not intended to keep you from enjoying these same items when visiting the sources they come from. I’ve provided links to the sources, when that is available.
First, some notes on listening to the items contained in audiofavorites.zip.
The items that have the file extension of “.m3u” will open in the default player on your computer, such as Windows Media Player.
The items from PlutoTV will open in your default browser such as Google Chrome or Firefox.
A note about playing these. If you have never listened to something from PlutoTV before or have cleared any cookies or web files recently, there are a couple of things you may need to do in order to get the channels playing in your browser.
1. Navigate around the top of the page and if you find a link to Accept terms & continue, click on that.
2. Especially on your first visit, its often necessary to toggle the mute button a couple of times to get the audio playing. This can be done by navigating to the mute button, and pressing the space bar a few times. Once the audio is playing, you will not need to do this on future visits. Note: With many screen reading programs you can get to the mute button by pressing b when starting from the top of the page.
The two items that start with “web” are web page shortcuts that will take you to the web site & should start playing its audio automatically. Sometimes you need to refresh your browser by pressing F5 to get things going.
You may find other items to watch or listen to on these sites. As I said, the files in audiofavorites.zip are just my collection, so please explore those sites to find more.
Bananavision Putting the Vision back in Television
Pluto TV It’s Free TV
The Listen Factor Listening With Friends
TWiT | Podcasts you love from people you trust
Below is a DropBox Link that will download audiofavorites.zip to your computer. Copy the Audio Favorites folder out of the .zip file and paste it into a location of your choice.
There are a few people I want to say thanks to because without them, my Wife and I wouldn’t have been able to do a couple of things to our phones as easily as we did.
We both have OnePlus 7 Pro phones from TMobile. Previously we both had the OnePlus 6T from Tmobile. We have both been using Android phones since 2012 and enjoying being able to customize our phones in a way that works for each of us, as we have individual needs in the area of accessibility.
Don’t listen to those who want to tell you that Android phones are not accessible as those folks either didn’t take the time to make the phone accessible for them, maybe they are wanting it to be just like a phone from another operating system, or maybe they forget that accessibility means different things to people and it isn’t about which software your phone uses, its about what works for each person. It isn’t about device x works for this group of people over here, so its what you should use too.
I found some articles mentioning how the OnePlus 7 Pro was no longer on TMobile sites for sale & that they are going to focus on the OnePlus 7T instead. I started to plan for the future and knew I wanted to change the version of the operating system on my phone to an international version so the updates would come from OnePlus and not be dependent on TMobile.
I went looking and found great info and help from the person who made the below video.
How to convert a T-Mobile OnePlus 7Pro to an International Version: Tutorial
The creator of the video gave great tips which helped me make the changes to both of our phones.
I wanted to mention another thanks. Just before I followed the steps in the above video, we called TMobile support, which I was reminded we have our own support team & will get the same people when we call again. The rep spoke with their local expert & confirmed that even though TMobile was no longer selling the phone that it would still be supported. I mentioned switching to the International version & was told I’m welcome to do that.
After following the directions exactly as they were given in the video and related web pages, we now had an International version of the OnePlus software on our phones and not the version from TMobile.
Later that same evening I got a tweet from Android Authority. Their article talked about how the OnePlus 7 Pro still had not received an update to Android 10. The article explained that with the International version of the OnePlus software there are methods for updating the software on our own. We took the easy way and downloaded an Android app from the play store, Oxygen Updater. Their article explained how the app works. So we downloaded Oxygen Updater and after it identified our phone model, it said an update that would install the Android 10 Oxygen update was available. The app explained how the update process worked and what we needed to do.
Here’s how to update OnePlus software as quickly as possible
I was happy to learn that after downloading the install file that the app verifies the download to make sure it was free of any errors.
We followed the easy directions and a few minutes later, the phones restarted and are now running the Android 10 update supplied by OnePlus.
So again, thank you to all of the people who were involved in this process. I’m also thankful to all who are involved in the Android community.
We also paid the $0.99 to remove ads in the Oxygen Updater app for each phone, which is another way to say thank you to an app developer. Here is a link to Oxygen Updater on the play store
The following are several tweets written by my Wife (@Imloti). I’ve just copied them in order and pasted the text.
So many people fall into this trap of, “If it doesn’t work exactly how I expect it to/I can’t figure out how it works in the first 5 seconds, it isn’t accessible.” Remember a few things, and overall your frustration level will go down and you’ll be able to discuss #A11y better 1/
First, accessibility isn’t about you specifically. Different people have different needs. What’s accessible for the deaf may not be accessible for the blind, what’s accessible for someone total may not be accessible for someone VI, & your needs may be different from mine. 2/
Second, try something for awhile. Experiment a little. And remember that just because you can’t figure it out yet doesn’t mean it isn’t accessible. It just means you don’t have all the tools in your toolbox that you need. 3/
Not knowing how to use a feature of your adaptive tech (mouse cursors or whatever they’re called these days being an example) doesn’t mean that something that requires it isn’t accessible. It just means you don’t have knowledge all the necessary tools. 4/
I’ve seen people go on and on about how this thing or that thing isn’t accessible while my husband @blindbites, who is much better with screen reader stuff than I am, does the exact same task with no trouble at all. It’s not just the tools you have, it’s how you use them. 5/
When in doubt, find someone else who uses the same tech you do. Even if usability is a factor (they’re different! – more on that in a minute), someone else may have come up with a solution that makes it a lot easier, or even doable. We’re here for each other. Reach out! 6/
Usability and accessibility are different things. Usability can be a problem for someone who has no accessibility needs. Something that’s technically accessible can have usability problems. This is an issue for even people who are experts & designers. 7/
Designing for usability includes accessibility. You can make something completely accessible that’s a pain to use, or you can make something usable that is just accessible by default because you designed for use already. There was a few years back, a shift toward this starting 8/
To wrap it all up, remember that not everyone has the same ability & the same knowledge. My accessibility needs are very different from many others. My skills and adeptness at using my chosen accessibility adaptations are also different from others. Don’t jump to conclusions! 9/9
I have a history of not always doing something the easy way. For awhile now, whenever I’ve done a factory reset on my phone or setup a new phone, I skip the option to connect to WiFi & to login to my Google account. I have a long password as everyone should and I don’t want to type it on an on screen keyboard. I usually wait to connect & sign in until I connect my Bluetooth keyboard.
The down side to doing things this way is I don’t get the automatic restore of apps, settings, & account info. I’ve always just done all of that manually later on.
The other day I had a cartoon moment where a light bulb appeared above my head. I realized that I have several USB to USB C adapters. I can easily attach one to the wired keyboard I use with my desktop computer. Its just a matter of connecting the keyboard to the USB C port on my phone. When I do that, I hear a notification that a keyboard is connected.
You may find on a wired keyboard, there may be a key combination now and then that the phone doesn’t recognize. These are rare & I can usually work around those issues with on screen gestures.
These adapters are fairly generic. Below is a shortened link to the ones I use.
aukey usb c adapter
If you are not familiar with the keyboard commands in Talkback, here are a few to get you started. The modifier key is the alt key.
Move to next item, alt right arrow.
Move to previous item, alt left arrow.
You can open the Global Context menu with alt spacebar.
Talkback has an option that is on by default to give you keyboard hints.
One tip in the Netflix app on Android. I learned the other day that while something is playing, you can press tab on an external keyboard and you can navigate to the various options that are available such as settings for audio language etc.. You can press alt enter to activate an item.
This is an annoying notification that I used to get on my OnePlus 6T and found some tips online on how to stop that.
It seems, maybe from updates, those tips just don’t get me where I need to be to disable that on my OnePlus 7 Pro.
So below are the steps I took to disable that notification. I’m writing this from the point of view as a guy who is blind and using TalkBack. If you aren’t using TalkBack, adjust the taps accordingly.
Open Settings and go to Apps & Notifications.
Move past the recently opened apps and double tap on See all 75 apps. The number is based on how many apps you have installed, so it’ll be different on yours.
Once the list of installed apps open, go to the upper right corner and double tap on MoreOptions. Double tap on Show System.
You will now have over 200 apps showing in your apps list.
Move down to Android System and double tap to open.
Double tap on Notifications.
Move to the GPS item and double tap.
Double tap on Show Notification to turn this off.
If you ever want to enable this again, just double tap to change from off to on.
Either move back or double tap on Navigate up.
Do that one more time to keep moving back to the big list of installed apps.
Double tap on the More Options button in the upper right corner. Double tap on Hide System.
The app list is now back to the installed apps that you have installed, for me, its back to 75. Move back one more time to exit the list.
This should remove the annoying message that this app is using GPS that I would hear randomly and also each time I opened an app such as Lyft, Maps, or Uber.
This is a list of apps that I am currently using on my OnePlus 6T.
I know accessible means different things to people, as we are all different and have our own needs. I am totally blind and use a combination of touch and an external bluetooth keyboard. Its a matter of which option I choose to use for what I want or need to do. This is what makes these apps accessible to me.
I’m also using the default launcher on my OnePlus 6T. It is very accessible for me as its easy to move apps around on each home screen and also place apps in the dock.
TalkBack has a great set of keyboard commands that just make sense, plus you can customize them to your needs.
Music Folder Player Full
Podcast Addict – Donate
Samsung Portable SSD
TuneIn Radio Pro
Shared by ‘My App List’ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.projectsexception.myapplist
This is an example of how well a job Envision AI for Android does with scanning an image from email.
We receive a free service from the Post Office called Informed Delivery. They send an email with the scanned image of an envelope to let us know what is coming in the mail delivery.
In the email you would find text like this:
“Scanned image of your mail piece”
I can double tap on the scanned image part & open the picture on my phone.
After selecting view image, I can go to the “more Options” button in the upper right and select to share the image. I’ve got it set to always share with Envision AI.
The image opens in the Envision AI app and is done with the conversion before I can even move to that part of the screen.
Below is the text from a recent email. I only changed the street names & numbers in the address to protect my privacy, no other changes were made. I used the copy button in Envision AI for Android and pasted it in a new email message to myself.
PRSRT STD U . S . POSTAGE
5820 Westown Parkway West Des Moines , IA 50266
Hy – Vee Inc
Pleasa deliver August 5 – 7 2019
LOW PRICE LOCKDOWN
STEVEN CLARK 2995 ANYSTREET APT 1474 KANSAS CITY , MO 54321 – 2345 LOWERED 100 ‘ S
OF PRICES . LOCKED ‘ EM IN AND THREW AWAY THE KEY .
One thing to keep in mind, the images that the Post Office sends are not of the highest quality or resolution. They are used in sorting the mail & not meant for photo quality.
Envision AI is available for both Android & IOS.
You can learn more about Envision AI at:
I posted this review on Amazon & thought I’d share it on my blog.
Excellent Vacuum & Support
We Love Our RoboVac 30c!
We’ve had ours for about a month & a half at this point. Its quiet & works great. I empty its bin after each use & usually use the automatic or quick mode daily. We only use the other vacuum about every two weeks in those few odd places of our apartment.
My Wife & I are blind / low vision. We have received great feedback from sighted friends on how clean our carpet & floors are thanks to RoboVac.
The Android app works well, giving feedback on if the RoboVac is cleaning, charging, or if there is an error like side brushes stuck or main roller and suction problem.
Ours is connected to both our Amazon Echo Dots & our Google Home devices. Both do the same, so no need to do both unless you want. Easy to find RoboVac with the assistants, tell it to go home, & pause or resume cleaning.
We recently had an error with the bumper and couldn’t figure out the problem. I contacted Eufy support via email & got tips & a video showing how to remove the bumper & clean it out. They also said if none of that helped, to let them know.
I think our cats were trying to feed RoboVac some of their treats, mistaking its bumper for its mouth. They were trying to see if they could make him sick.
After removing the bumper and the couple of cat treats, all was working as normal again.
We always tell our RoboVac “Good Boy” when it returns to its charging base. BTW That does work best on a hardwood floor. The charging base is between a small deep freezer and a pantry that also sits on the kitchen floor.
For those who are blind, a quick description of the buttons on the remote for the 30C. Top Left return to home.
Top Right change suction.
Standard remote arrow keys for manually moving RoboVac & pause / resume button in middle. Four buttons at bottom of remote.
Top Left Automatic Cleaning.
Top Right edge cleaning.
Bottom Left spot cleaning.
Bottom Right quick cleaning.
My Wife & I recently moved 22 miles across Kansas City. At the previous apartment, we had a great signal from T-Mobile on a regular basis.
We noticed inside the new apartment, we were each only getting one bar, using Signal Spy it showed the signal strength at -120 DB. For those who might not know, that is very weak.
I looked around and found the T-Mobile Cell Spot. It is a device you connect to your Internet router and place its GPS antenna near a window. It creates a personal cell tower in your home with 3,000 square feet coverage.
After the easy install I checked using the Signal Spy app again, not only did we have a full signal, the strength was now -60 DB.
T-Mobile offers this device for Free to its customers who are in a situation like ours. Outside our new apartment, & the old one too, signal strength is excellent, its just something with the building at our new apartment.
It does require a $25 deposit, which is refundable when you return the Cell Spot to T-Mobile. We called T-Mobile customer service on a Sunday afternoon and the Cell Spot was delivered Tuesday afternoon.
BTW: Every test I’ve done with Signal Spy since installing the device shows -60 DB every time.
Most carriers have a solution like this, however some charge for their device. Just wanted to pass that info along for anyone having signal problems inside. Here’s a link for more info:
After a few people on Twitter told my Wife of the accessibility of Hulu, I decided to give it a second try.
I had a free trial a year or two ago, which was long enough to decide I didn’t like the experience.
Hulu has made improvements but still has work to do. It was easier on this second time to navigate their main page & shows using screen reading software. (NVDA for me)
It was also easier than last time to select an episode and while a bit tricky, I figured out how to change seasons.
I am hoping that at least selecting a season will be done in the future by a standard combo box or something easier to access. I also didn’t have any problem playing an episode or selecting pause while watching a show.
These are things that were just about impossible for me to do the last time I gave Hulu a try. So thank you, Hulu, for the changes that have been made so far.
There is still no way to listen to a described audio feed, even for a show like The Simpsons which is available when watching the show on Fox.
I was also able to cancel the trial on my own, which I could not do last time. I used a link that was provided in my welcome e-mail from Hulu, there didn’t seem to be an easy way to get to those account settings from the web page.
So I’ll give Hulu a try again sometime in the future.
These are the apps I’m using on my OnePlus 6T wich is running Android Pie.
I use a combination of touch and an external bluetooth keyboard with my phone.
Since accessible has different meanings to people, your mileage may vary.
I use Google TTS with Talkback & also use the default Gmail app.
Amazing MP3 Recorder
Clipper Sync Plugin
Nova Launcher Prime
Podcast Addict – Donate
The Weather Channel
TuneIn Radio Pro
Shared by ‘My App List’ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.projectsexception.myapplist
Hey, The Crossing at Barry Road, if you want us to, you know, pay our rent on time, you might actually consider updating the website. I mean…I can wait until you get to the office today, but can you? My lack of payment isn’t for lack of trying. But my balance has shown as zero since I paid last month. I wouldn’t mind a free month of rent, but I doubt that’s really your intent. I do wonder why this process isn’t automated. Just seems so antiquated to wait through a weekend and a holiday for someone to come into the office and push a button so I can pay you.
A friend asked me the other day about Android Tablets and wanted to know which one would be the best to ask for as a Christmas present later this year.
I haven’t used a tablet since I got my Chromebook. The Chromebook is my favorite thing to use other than my phone and laptop, but that doesn’t have to mean that is best for everyone.
Thankfully I’m a weekly listener to the All About Android show from twit.tv. In the most recent show they talked about news of new Android Tablets from Lenovo. One thing that really got my interest is they will be running Android Oreo and hopefully for my friend, will be available this fall / Christmas.
The two best tablets from the recent news I suggested are the Lenovo P10 & the Lenovo M10.
If you are interested in a tablet possibly this fall, here is the article from The Verge that I sent to my friend. I have also found a reference that the Lenovo P10 & M10 will be available from Amazon.
If you are an Android user & fan like me, you might enjoy listening to All About Android. It is recorded live every Tuesday starting around 7 PM central time. You can listen to the live feed at https://twit.tv/live
If you can’t catch the show live, you can subscribe to the podcast in just about any client or go to the show’s site at https://twit.tv/shows/all-about-android
Below is a list of Android apps that I am currently using on my LG G6 from Sprint which is running Android 8.0
I use an external bluetooth keyboard (Logitech K380) along with touch to do things I want and need to do on my phone. Its with this combination that I consider these apps accessible. While the term accessible means different things based on what each person may need, you might find your mileage may vary.
I love Talkback and also use its great list of keyboard shortcuts. Here is a link to my blog with a list of Talkback Keyboard Shortcuts. https://blindbites.wordpress.com/2017/06/03/talkback-keyboard-shortcuts/
I’m fairly certain my next phone will be the OnePlus 6T later this or early next year. That depends on the Sprint / T-Mobile merger and my current lease with Sprint. I’m liking what I’ve read about the T-Mobile version of the OnePlus 6T as it will be customized to use the 600 MHZ. frequency that T-Mobile has available.
I like that the OnePlus 6T has a system wide dark theme. This is an accessibility need for some such as my Wife, who is low vision. I wish Google would get the clue that it isn’t just a customization choice and make it a regular part of Android.
I love making accessible labels with NFC tags. The ones I buy have a small section that is punched out and I loop a rubber band through to attach the tag to bottles of syrup, bags of coffee, laundry detergent and so much more. I buy them directly from Go To Tags. Here is a link to the tags I use along with NFC Labeler which is further down in this list.
I do try other apps and modify my list as I find ones that I like, so check back often.
Express (Google Express)
Grocery (Walmart Grocery)
Music Folder Player Full
Nova Launcher Prime
The Weather Channel
TuneIn Radio Pro
I got a new coffee maker a few weeks ago and thought I’d share the info and give a few tips on using it as a guy who is blind.
Hamilton-Proctor 46896 10-Cup Thermal Coffee Maker
This makes very yummy coffee and its pretty easy to use. One of the things I like about it is the insulated carafe keeps the coffee hot, and not a heating element on the coffee maker. Once its done brewing, unplug the coffee maker, as it serves no other purpose.
There is a small display on the front, but its not a touch screen as some really fancy coffee makers have. There is a button on the left side of the display and a button on the right side. They are both large buttons and are easy to feel.
There are three small buttons under the display but those are only needed for setting the time on the display. The left button sets the brew mode and the button on the right starts brewing.
There are two covers on top of the coffee maker. The one closest to the front covers the filter basket and the one in back covers where you will add water.
So here’s my routine for making coffee.
I buy whole bean coffee & grind it with an inexpensive KitchenAid coffee grinder.
KitchenAid Blade Coffee Grinder BCG111OB – Onyx Black
While the shortened link is to Google Express, I’ve seen it as low as $20 from time to time on Amazon. The link is just to make things easier, I get nothing in return, so shop around.
The metal grinding cup will lock into position by placing it into the groove and turning the cup clockwise to lock or counterclockwise to unlock. You turn the grinder on or off by pressing down on the lid or lifting up from pressing the lid.
It may take a couple times of inserting & removing the grinding cup to get the feel of the right position to lock the cup into the rest of the grinder.
Using a 1/4 measuring cup I place 3/4 of a cup of coffee beans into the grinder. I prefer a more coarse grind, so once I place the lid on the grinder & plug it in, its just three or four quick presses on the lid to grind the beans. Its one of those things it will take a few times to get the grinding to your liking. Buy a bag or two of some really cheap coffee at the grocery store to play around with. Unplug the grinder, as its job is done, and slide it to the side.
The coffee maker uses a #4 cone coffee filter that you can buy in any grocery or department store, there are about six that come with the coffee maker.
Place the cone coffee filter into the brew basket with its handle facing you. Open up the filter and gently spread it open as you lower the filter into the basket.
Take the lid off of the grinder if you haven’t already. Grab the metal grinding cup, and twist it counter clockwise to unlock. Lift it off of the grinder’s base and set it on the counter.
Take the brewing basket with filter inserted and place it upside down on the top of the grinder cup.
Flip it upside down, dumping the ground coffee from the grinding cup into the filter.
Place the basket with filter & ground coffee into its place on the coffee maker, handle side of the basket towards you and close its lid.
One of the things I like about the insulated carafe is it has a place on top of its handle where one would press down to pour the coffee into a mug, if you don’t press down on this small lever, nothing comes out of the carafe.
You can take the lid with lever off of the carafe by turning it in a counter clockwise motion. This is how you will put water into the carafe so you can pour it into the coffee maker.
Fill it up almost to the top of the carafe, leaving a little extra space, no need to totally fill the carafe.
Place the lid & lever part back onto the carafe so that the lever part is near the carafe’s handle and turn it clockwise. It doesn’t turn far and will be in the right place so you can pour the coffee later.
Play around with that step a few times of filling it up, replacing the lid and then press down on the lever and pour the water back into the sink if that helps you figure out the right levels and what it all feels like before making coffee.
Open the back cover on top of the coffee maker. Feel the opening on the left side. I place a finger there to help guide the carafe in my other hand and after feeling the small lip on the carafe, I line it all up with where the opening is on the coffee maker. Gently press down on the button near the carafe’s handle and water will come out. Slowly pour the water into the coffee maker. If you feel that you don’t have things lined up just right and you are spilling water, just take your finger off of that dispensing button and it will stop.
When the carafe is empty close the lid on the back of the coffee maker. In case any water dripped onto where the carafe goes, just wipe that area dry with a paper towel. Place the carafe into its place on the coffee maker. It may take a few times of inserting and removing the carafe to get it into place.
Plug in the coffee maker and move it around to a safe place on your counter where it won’t get bumped or knocked over.
One of the benefits of unplugging the coffee maker when its done making coffee is you get to start out with the default settings each time you make coffee and don’t have to wonder what it is set to.
By default it is on the regular brew setting. If you press the large button to the left of the display once it will be on the bold setting. Pressing that button twice puts it on the robust setting.
If you press the button too many times, just unplug the coffee maker for about 45 seconds and plug it in again.
The three modes, normal, bold, and robust control how fast water is placed into the brew basket. Normal is fastest and robust is slowest. This is something you will have to find your preference and maybe adjust it when making coffee for others.
I prefer the robust setting. You’ll hear the coffee maker dispense some water into the basket, take a break for a little bit and repeating this process until brewing is done. The three settings will control the fullness or strength of the coffee.
After selecting the brew strength, press the button on the right side of the display and brewing will begin.
You can get coffee before the maker is totally done by removing the carafe, pouring coffee into a mug, and returning the carafe back to the coffee maker. I choose not to do this as you only have about 20 seconds of time to have the carafe removed before the coffee maker will overflow and make a big hot mess. I choose to just play it safe and wait until its done.
You’ll know its done when you don’t hear the sounds of water being put into the basket and that common gurgling sound of a coffee maker as it gets near the end. One very minor thing I’d like to have as with my other coffee makers, a beep when its done but its not a deal breaker for me. A typical estimate of about 14 – 15 minutes on the slowest setting, robust might help you get an idea of how long it takes.
I bought it on Google Express. I’m providing a shortened link to make it easier to find. I don’t get anything in return for you buying it from Google Express.