My First Chromebook – What I’ve learned

My First Chromebook

I recently got a Samsung Chromebook Plus and I am loving it more each day I learn to use it.

This, as with many things, isn’t for every person. It is basically the Google Chrome Browser inside a laptop. The difference between a Chromebook and running the Chrome Browser on your desktop or laptop is the Chromebook is much more secure.
You are also in a limited environment which is part of what makes it more secure than running Chrome on Windows or a Mac.
There isn’t the chance to get a virus or malware as easy as on a computer. If something gets messed up on your Chromebook, its very easy to reset it to factory settings, then once you log in again, all of your settings are there.

Current model Chromebooks will also run most Android apps.
One way to test if you might like a Chromebook is to spend time only using the Chrome Browser on your computer.

There is a bit of a learning curve involved, but its the same with anything new and different. Don’t be one of those people who uses commands from one platform on another platform, then complain it doesn’t work the same. You can’t use the same commands for Windows 10 on a MacBook. You can’t use your Samsung TV remote on your LG TV.

I’ve been watching Netflix, streaming audio, getting weather information from my favorite app I use on my phone, using Aqua Mail to send & receive email, etc…
My Chromebook has a USB C port, microsd card slot, headphone jack and it has a touch screen.

There are lots of tutorials and guides out there. Here are a few I’ve collected in my learning process, which by the way is just getting started. I wanted to share what I’ve found so far.

First a few keyboard commands I’ve found to be very helpful.
When you hear reference to the search key, it is the same as the caps lock key on a regular keyboard.
If you press the search key twice, it will lock the key so you can then use just the web page navigation keys when browsing a web site. Press the search key twice again, to toggle it off.

Listen to what ChromeVox is telling you when navigating to items. You might hear it say to press search and space bar to enter text or press search and enter to click or activate an item.

If after you login and don’t seem to be finding the Chrome Browser, try opening a new tab by pressing Control t.

One way of getting to the Chrome Book settings is to press control shift backspace.
That will take you to the section to delete data, but if you press the escape key, you will be in the settings.

Here are some more ways of getting to settings, thanks to some helpful people online.
Type:
chrome://settings/
in the OmnyBar
(The address bar)
NOTE:
chrome://extensions
will also get you to your extensions.
you can also tap “alt” and press up/down until you hear “settings”.

 

To get to the shelf area at the bottom where there are items for the launcher, chrome, docs etc is to press alt shift l. You might need to press the tab key or press the search key and an arrow key to move around. You’ll just have to find what works best for you.

If you have a current Android phone you can use it to login to your Chromebook after everything is setup. There will be more info provided by ChromeVox. This is in the settings section.

Remember, you are not going to break anything by messing up a setting. Don’t be afraid to power wash and reset it to factory defaults if something stops working.

Getting Started with ChromeVox on Chrome OS
http://www.chromevox.com/chromeos/getting_started.html

Using ChromeVox on your Chromebook: Fundamentals

Using ChromeVox on your Chromebook: Intermediate Skills

Master Chrome OS With These Chromebook Keyboard Shortcuts
https://www.howtogeek.com/189324/master-chrome-os-with-these-chromebook-keyboard-shortcuts/

Here’s Every Chromebook Shortcut You’ll Ever Need
http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/heres-every-chromebook-shortcut-youll-ever-need/

40 Chromebook tips for maximum productivity
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3237230/chromebooks/chromebook-tips-for-maximum-productivity.html

If you have any questions or suggestions, send an email to: steve@blindbites.com.

 

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A Dollar Can Go A Long Way

A Dollar Can Go A Long Way

It seems like everybody and their group are asking for donations these days. Here is some information on two places I make a monthly donation to, and if you are someone who has a couple of extra dollars at the end of the month, maybe you can do the same. I’m not asking you to go broke helping others, just if you want to help make a difference and you are able to do so, just consider.

TWBlue
There are very few Twitter clients for Windows that are accessible to people like myself, who are blind and use screen reading software. Sure, there are many Twitter clients for Windows, but only a few work well with screen reading software.
My choice of clients is TWBlue. The developers are open to user requests and feedback. Just to show a few examples of this, I sent a tweet to the TWBlue developers asking if there could be an option to make a monthly donation. They already had things setup for a one time donation and for some reason it wasn’t displaying in English. About an hour later I got a reply saying the option for a monthly donation was now in the form and it would now display in my language.

I and many others asked them if they could provide an easy way to use a snapshot version of TW Blue so we can experience recent updates and also help provide feedback with issues in the software that are found. This request was answered just a few days later and they now offer a download of the program with recent updates but may not be ready for prime time.
This is the kind of developer I like to support when I can. I’m not wealthy, but I happen to have a couple of dollars that I can send their way to help with the behind the scenes cost of developing software. I want to help keep this great accessible program going for years to come.
So if you are in a position where you want to help by donating a dollar a month, or for those who can, even more, consider this great and needed project. You can setup a monthly or even just a one time donation at the following link. https://twblue.es/donate/

NVDA
The other place I send a dollar or two each month is to the developers of a wonderful and free screen reading program. There are non-free options out there but they are expensive, requiring many people to get a state agency to purchase the program and to purchase updates.
NVDA or Non Visual Desktop Access is totally free. They receive donations that help with the costs involved in developing the program, just as with TWBlue.
Many people who are blind don’t have $895 to purchase commercial screen reading software and have to pay ongoing fees for updates. NVDA is totally free and is used by people in many countries. It is updated several times each year and new features are always being added, even features that those commercial screen reading programs haven’t quite figured out just yet.
So, again, even a dollar or two will help. You can setup a donation for NVDA by going to: https://www.nvaccess.org/donate/

You can download TWBlue at:
https://twblue.es/

You can download NVDA at:
https://www.nvaccess.org/

Please, there is no need to feel bad if you can’t make a monthly or even a one time donation. Both of these programs are free. One needs to take care of things at home before you can be able to send money to others, I understand that. You can still help by sharing this information with others. Maybe you’ll help someone discover TWBlue or NVDA and enhance someone else’s life.

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An Open Letter To The Blind Community

The following was written by a friend and I totally agree.
Steve

An Open Letter To The Blind Community

As a member of the blind community, I wanted to weigh in on this issue that Apple had with the developer of Blindfold games.

It is my understanding that Apple simply wished for the developer to adhere to their App store guidelines. I am going to take an educated guess that these guidelines were probably known upon the onset of this app relationship with Apple. Even if they weren’t, they are still the guidelines that Apple has put forth. When you get a job or go to school, you have rules to uphold. Why is it that we can’t see ther easoning for upholding such guidelines that Apple and other company’s may have in place?

It is my opinion that we as VI members of society should not have special sets of rules applied to us simply because we want to play accessible games. Rather than Apple having to bow down and bend over to make these games continue to be available to us, the developer should have simply agreed to do the right thing. From a legal standpoint doing the right thing is abiding by the wishes of your contractors or those who agree to house your games.

For blind people to jump on this band wagon so that they can continue to play games because this developer refuses to adhere to Apple’s wishes is appalling to me. One of these days, people are going to stop bending because of the blind card. Keep that in mind when you shout and scream for Apple and other organizations to bend over for you. Someday the issue is going to be more important and they are going to be tired of giving in.

Apple has always been a big proponent of accessibility for the blind. Remember this the next time you want spoon fed like a child.

April

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Accessible Android Apps November 2017

Below is a list of accessible apps that I am using on my LG G6.
I use a combination of either touch or a Bluetooth keyboard to interact with the apps on my phone.
I can do what I want in these apps, so I consider them accessible, at least for me. Your mileage may vary.
I use a Logitech K380 Bluetooth keyboard.
Note the app listed below as “Authenticator” is the LastPass app to verify its you logging in on a new device. Its very accessible to use but a pain to setup, I got help with that.

Allo
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.fireball

Amazon Alexa
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.dee.app

AquaMail
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.AquaMail

AquaMail Pro Unlocker
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.AquaMail.UnlockerMarket

Authenticator
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lastpass.authenticator

Be My Eyes
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bemyeyes.bemyeyes

Calendar
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.calendar

Clipper Sync Plugin
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.clippersync.android.plugin

Clipper+
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fi.rojekti.clipper

Files Go
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.nbu.files

Freemotion change
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visionandroid.apps.motionsensor

Google Opinion Rewards
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.paidtasks

Google TalkBack
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.marvin.talkback&hl=en

Google Text-to-speech
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.tts&hl=en

iHeartRadio
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.clearchannel.iheartradio.controller

KNFB Reader
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sensotec.knfbreader

LastPass
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lastpass.lpandroid

Lyft
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.lyft.android

MacroDroid
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arlosoft.macrodroid

Music Folder Player Full
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.zorillasoft.musicfolderplayer.donate

My App List
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.projectsexception.myapplist

Netflix
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.netflix.mediaclient

NFC Labeler
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hu.gersoft.nfclabeler

Nova Launcher
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher

Nova Launcher Prime
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher.prime

OneDrive
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.skydrive

ParcelTrack
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.uberblic.parceltrack

Pocket Casts
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts

RideKCFreedom
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mtdata.ridekcfreedom

Shouter
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bhkapps.proshouter

TapTapSee
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.msearcher.taptapsee.android

Trusted Contacts
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.emergencyassist

TuneIn Radio Pro
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=radiotime.player

Tweetings
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dwdesign.tweetings

Uber
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab

UberEATS
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab.eats

VLC
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.videolan.vlc

Vocalizer Voices
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.codefactory.vocalizertts

Weather Timeline
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samruston.weather

Here is a DropBox link to my collection of .m3u files that I use VLC to play on my phone. I keep them in a folder on my phone called AAA that way its always at the top. https://www.dropbox.com/s/ncwuvp7giwik7aq/AAA.zip?dl=0

Make Accessible Labels With NFC Tags
https://goo.gl/hyfi9n

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Example of going to a link in Tweetings

I wrote this as a post to the Eyes-Free Google Group and thought I’d share the info on my blog for those who might be interested and are not on the Eyes-Free email list.

There was a discussion about the accessibility of Android Twitter apps and the ability to click on a link that is in a tweet.
The info below is what I sent to the list, so those who don’t use Tweetings, the app I use can get a look into how accessible clicking on a link is with Tweetings.

I thought I’d try to share the experience I have with Tweetings.

The contents of the tweet below was copied using the copy last utterance in TalkBack.

I’m not going to promise someone, it is this way in each and every tweet every single time, just an example of a tweet I opened.

I Opened Tweetings, opened the menu in the upper right corner and selected Jump To Top.
That is where that option is based on the layout I’m using.
I moved my finger down the list of tweets and heard this:

BlindBeader, New blog post: Your Fear is Not my Reality
blindbeader.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/you… #Disability #Employment #ND… less than a minute ago

I double tapped on that to open the tweet.
Talkback read the title and I started moving my finger down the screen.

New blog post: Your Fear is Not my Reality
blindbeader.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/you… #Disability #Employment #NDEAM

After reading that, TalkBack said Double Tap To Activate, Double Tap & Hold To Long Press.
Double Tapping on the text of the tweet opened the blog post in Chrome.

If I move further down the screen with my finger I hear the number of likes for this tweet.
Talkback reads:

3, Likes, Out of list
Then says Double Tap to Activate.
If I double tap on that, Tweetings opens a screen showing the 3 people who have liked it and info from their profile next to their name.

I used the back gesture to go back to the previous screen.

Moving down to the next item, TalkBack reads:
View on blindbeader.wordpress.com
and I hear Talkback say Double Tap To Activate.
Double tapping on the above info also took me to the blog post in Chrome.

I tried this with four other tweets that had a link to a web page and had the same experience.
Oh, forgot to mention, all of the details of the tweets were in a list.

Just sharing my experience,
Steve

Here is a link to Tweetings For Twitter on the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dwdesign.tweetings&hl=en

Here is a email address you can send a new message to & join the Eyes-Free Google Group. Its a list of people using Android phones, tablets & sometimes other devices. Its a great group of people with a wide range of devices and also a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. “eyes-free+subscribe@googlegroups.com”

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List Of Accessible Android Apps October 2017

This is a list of accessible apps I’m currently using on my LG G6. I use a Logitech K380 keyboard along with touch with these apps. I am able to do what I need to do in these apps, so I consider them accessible, your mileage may vary.

Allo
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.fireball

Amazon Alexa
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.dee.app

AquaMail
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.AquaMail

Be My Eyes
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bemyeyes.bemyeyes

Calendar
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.calendar

Clipper Sync Plugin
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.clippersync.android.plugin

Clipper+
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=fi.rojekti.clipper

Freemotion change
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.visionandroid.apps.motionsensor

Google Opinion Rewards
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.paidtasks

iHeartRadio
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.clearchannel.iheartradio.controller

KNFB Reader
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sensotec.knfbreader

LastPass
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lastpass.lpandroid

Lyft
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.lyft.android

MacroDroid
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arlosoft.macrodroid

Music Folder Player Full
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.zorillasoft.musicfolderplayer.donate

My App List
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.projectsexception.myapplist

Netflix
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.netflix.mediaclient

NFC Labeler
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hu.gersoft.nfclabeler

Nova Launcher
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher

Nova Launcher Prime
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teslacoilsw.launcher.prime

OneDrive
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.skydrive

ParcelTrack
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.uberblic.parceltrack

Pocket Casts
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts

RideKCFreedom
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mtdata.ridekcfreedom

Shouter
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bhkapps.proshouter

TapTapSee
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.msearcher.taptapsee.android

Trusted Contacts
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.emergencyassist

Tweetings
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dwdesign.tweetings

Uber
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab

UberEATS
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab.eats

VLC
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.videolan.vlc

Vocalizer Voices
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.codefactory.vocalizertts

Weather Timeline
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samruston.weather

Shared by ‘My App List’
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.projectsexception.myapplist

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A Brief Trial Of Hulu

A Brief Trial Of Hulu

Yesterday I did a brief trial of Hulu. I’m calling it brief because I encountered enough to know it isn’t a service for me.

I knew going in that Hulu doesn’t have television shows or movies that are described like Netflix and Amazon Video offers, so my disappointment isn’t related to that.

I created my trial account on the hulu web site then added the app to my Fire TV.

One thing that I noticed with the Hulu app on Fire TV is they offered an easy way to sign in, that I wish other apps would offer. Other than signing in the normal way with an email address and password, the Hulu App has an option to let you sign in on a computer and it gives you a code to enter on the web site.
The instant that I pressed enter from the web site, I could tell the app on Fire TV was activated.

Navigating the Hulu app worked the same as the Netflix app and the Fire TV. The exception with the Hulu app is only so many shows or movies were able to be in a list at a time. After that there is a more button. When you press select and down arrow, using the Fire TV remote, you hear nothing. There are items there, if I press select, something is selected but I have no idea what.
In the Netflix app and in Fire TV everything is available for you to scroll or arrow through, everything is spoken by Voice View.

The other big show stopper for me is trying to play previous seasons of a tv show. I can play the current season of The Simpsons or South Park just fine, but I couldn’t find a way in the Hulu app on Fire TV to do this.
I know its possible because its available in the Netflix app and also shows that are on Fire TV.

I felt like I was more restricted in what I could do using the Hulu app compared to what I can do with the Netflix app or content available on Fire TV.

Lastly, I tried to cancel my trial subscription on the Hulu web site. The option was there on the screen to cancel a subscription but there was no way I could activate it using screen reading software. I had to get my Wife to cancel the subscription for me. She told me it wasn’t an easy process as Hulu tries hard to not let you cancel even a trial membership. After several questions and surveys and are you really really really sure, she was finally able to cancel.

Hulu has got some work to do if they want my business. I’m willing to pay for a subscription, even a higher priced one for no ads. First they need to make their Fire TV app fully accessible. Anyone from Hulu only needs to use the Netflix app with Voice View to see how its done right.

Hulu should at least pass along the audio description for shows & movies that already have it. The Simpsons has been described for many years and to hold it back is just a slap in the face to their customers who are blind or visually impaired. It is their choice to not include description on shows or movies they produce, but at least allow that content to get to your customers if its already part of the program.

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