My Chromebook Accessories

Chromebook Accessories
Below are items I have purchased as accessories to my Samsung Chromebook Plus. They are items that either make things easier or just are helpful to have.

This is just my personal opinion, not anything based on personal use. There are USB Flash Drives from several brands that have a USB C connection on them. If you read the reviews for each brand, there is one thing in common. Several reports of part of the drive’s case breaking off after a short time. So I decided to just use a regular USB 3.0 Flash Drive and use an adapter so it will connect with a USB C port.

All of the items below were purchased at Amazon.com. The shortened links will take you to the product page for each item. I’ve tested all of the links, but just in case one doesn’t work for you, a search of the item name should help you find the item. Prices are current as of the day this is posted.

AmazonBasics USB 3.1 Type-C to 3 Port USB Hub with Ethernet Adapter.

$23.99
https://goo.gl/fygEg3

This hub has three regular USB connections on top, along with an Ethernet connection on one end, and on the other end is a wire with a USB C connector on it. This will allow you to use a wired network connection with your Chromebook along with connecting three USB devices all from one USB C port.
Often I will have my wired headset (see below) into one of the USB ports on top and maybe a Flash Drive if I need to copy a file to or from my Chromebook.

AUKEY USB C Adapter, USB C to USB 3.0 Adapter 2 Pack
$7.49
https://goo.gl/fiCREK

These will attach to the end of a regular USB Flash Drive and will let you plug it into a USB C port.

Logitech USB Headset H390 with Noise Cancelling Mic
$32.95
https://goo.gl/j1sDYQ

I use this headset with the hub I mentioned above. Its great for Skype calls or voice conversations on my Chromebook. The Chromebook I have along with most newer models available will run Android apps. Skype is also available from their web site interface, which is very accessible.

USB C to HDMI Adapter (4K@60Hz) by uni
$19.99
https://goo.gl/F4KxeY

This will let me connect my Chromebook to a larger monitor or television. I don’t do that often. The main reason I bought this, if I ever need my Wife to look at something on the screen for me, I can put it on a larger display which makes it easier for her to see.

HSEOK Laptop Sleeve Case for 13-13.3 Inch
$9.99
https://goo.gl/hnKQLA

This is the sleeve I put my Chromebook in when I take it out of the house. My Chromebook Plus fits in there and its not so tight that one has to stretch the case in order to close the zippers but at the same time there isn’t so much free room inside that the Chromebook is going to be in constant motion. Its just right. There is an outside zippered pocket that has plenty of room for your charger, a few extra cables, the hub, the HDMI adapter and a few USB drives.

Sandisk Ultra 128GB Micro SDXC UHS-I Card with Adapter.
$39.99
https://goo.gl/2Ebn59

Most modern Chromebooks will accept up to a 256 GB Micro SD card but for my needs the 128 GB cards are just fine. There is a big price difference between the 128 GB and the 256 GB cards and for now, I’ve got plenty of space available on my smaller 128 GB card.

If you have any questions or if I can be of any further help, please feel free to send an email to: “steve@blindbites.com”

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Accessible Android Apps I’m Using & A Rant About Accessibility

Below is a list of apps that I’m currently using with my LG G6. As of when I’m writing this, my phone is still running Android 7.0.
I use a combination of touch and an external bluetooth keyboard (Logitech K380) and that is what makes these apps accessible to me.

I want to take a moment and talk about some thoughts and beliefs I’ve seen going around lately as I think this is important.
First, as a person who is totally blind I believe that both smartphone platforms, Android & IOS are accessible. Accessible can mean many things to different people. That is because we all have abilities and skills that may vary as we are all different in one way or another.
That in no way indicates that one person is better than another because they have a skill somebody else doesn’t have, its just part of what makes us individuals.

I’ve read many messages and tweets from a person who has been using one smartphone platform for many years, then they briefly try to use the other one. Some people will think they should be able to use the same way of interacting with the phone as they are used to with their own device. The person will soon become frustrated as this other device doesn’t work the same. They’ll soon give up and declare the different device needs to be fixed before they would call it accessible or even useful. This goes both ways with Android & IOS, as I’ve seen it from both sides.

Just because they are both smartphones should not imply that they work the same. That would be like giving someone who has used one brand & model of coffee maker for the past five years, a different brand and model of coffee maker to use. The buttons are different, they do different things and if you use the thinking of, I pushed the top left button on my old coffee maker, I’ll just push the top button on this new coffee maker and it should do the same.

The person needs to take the time to learn how to use the new coffee maker as they realize pushing that top button does not give them the same results.
There are some people that choose to not learn how to use the new coffee maker and make a decision that it doesn’t work right and it needs to be fixed. There is no way a person could make coffee with this piece of junk.
They will tell people, Oh I used that coffee maker once, it doesn’t work, so I went back to my coffee maker I’ve been using for the past five years, it works great and is accessible.

However, that coffee maker they say is accessible, may not be accessible to you. Maybe you cannot lift your hands high enough to press the buttons, or maybe you don’t have the feeling in your fingers to know if you pushed the button or not. The person claiming it is accessible doesn’t know that it is not that way for you.
It takes time and learning to use something different. To use something different from what you are used to and not learn how to work with the new device then claim it doesn’t work is not fair to others as they read your comments and that person isn’t being fair to them self.

One last example and I’ll end this rant.

A person has been driving a car with automatic transmission for the past 10 years. Their car needs some repair and while their car is in the shop, you loan them your car that has manual transmission. Its the car you have been driving for the past ten years.
Your friend has never driven a car with manual transmission and they think it should work just like their car with automatic transmission does. They don’t ask any questions or check to see if there is anything different they need to do.
They get in the car with manual transmission, turn the key and the engine doesn’t start. They start pushing the gas pedal, moving levers and switches and can’t get the car running. After several tries and several words, they get the engine started but don’t know what this stick coming out of the floor is used for. They take another 10 minutes as steam is rising from their ears, bang their fists on the dash, and say this thing doesn’t work. It isn’t accessible and has a long way to go before it would be useful. They turn the car off, remove the keys and go inside.

This is what I’ve been reading lately in email and on Twitter and this sort of thinking needs to stop.

Now on with the apps that I’m using.

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

Find My Device
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.adm

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

Keep
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.keep

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

Skype Lite
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skype.m2

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

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

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

Voice
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.googlevoice

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

A Request To Online Sources Of Tech News & Information

My Request To Popular Tech Sources

I have a request for places like Twit.tv, The Verge, arstechnica, and other popular sources for tech information. Produce a few articles or segments now and then about the technology making lives better for people with a disability.
I’m not asking for a weekly or even monthly item, but maybe focus on one area of disability a couple times a year.

This is why I’m asking. There was a time in my life when I did not have a disability. Contrary to what some out there may think, not every person who is blind was born that way.
I had a job at a small alarm company here in Kansas City. I usually worked the midnight shift and things were often pretty quiet around 4 AM, especially on a Sunday morning. I would have the television on, just for some background noise, as I was the only person in the office at that hour.

I remember a early morning, community interest show one Sunday. They interviewed a local guy who is blind and showed how he could still use a computer. Remember, at the time I had 20/20 vision and no disabilities.

That show stuck in my head, as I was a long time computer geek. I said to myself, if I ever become blind, at least I’ll still be able to use a computer, life won’t be so bad.

Fast forward about two years and I’m in the emergency room after going from perfect eyesight without glasses, to having no vision in one eye. That happened in less than twenty four hours. Another twelve hours or so later and I was totally blind in both eyes.

The one thing that stuck in my mind was that early morning community interest show and I told myself, you can still use a computer, life isn’t so bad.

That was all twenty four years ago and while the two rare forms of lymphoma I had back in 1994 are long gone, I’m still totally blind and am still using a computer. Yes, life isn’t that bad.

So I’m asking these popular sources of technology information to help share info from time to time. There are many disabilities out there and technology that can help make life better for each category, even things for people who have more than one disability.

Maybe there will be someone like me, or a friend or family member who sees your article or episode and files it away in their brain until the time comes they can share it with someone.

This is an amazing time in history to have a disability. My focus of course is what I know and use. To live in a time when both smartphone platforms have free built-in accessibility services, broadcast television has tv shows that include a descriptive audio channel so I know what is happening visually in what I’m listening to. Even streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Video produce new shows & movies and include description for their content. Talking thermostats, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, digital assistants like the Amazon Echo or Google home are all available.
I use many of the same smartphone apps that you use. I send & receive text messages, help whoever is driving navigate to our destination, and even sometimes make a phone call.

Many people who have a life changing event may not know of what is available. When I became blind in 1994, I didn’t know anything about being blind. I didn’t have any family members or friends who are blind. It was that one show that got me started and that is why I ask these sources of tech info to produce and share the information to help others.

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Talkback’s Global Context Menu

Global Context Menu
I wanted to take a moment and show non android users the powerful options that are available in the Global Context Menu.
This is available from anywhere you are while using an Android device, assuming you are using Talkback.

To open it, just move down on the screen then move right. Some people make the gestures more difficult than they need to be. This doesn’t have to be a perfect 90 degree angle, Talkback is very forgiving. So move down the screen then without picking up your finger, move right.

you will hear

Global Context Menu.
These are the items available.

Read From Top
Read From Next Item
Repeat Last Utterance
Spell Last Utterance
Copy Last Utterance To Clipboard
Pause Feedback
Talkback Settings
Text To Speech Settings
Dim Screen

A couple very time saving items are accessing the Talkback settings or the Text To Speech settings. One could get there by going into the settings menu, then either to Accessibility and then to Talkback to get to its settings, but the Global Context Menu makes that easier to access. Its the same with Text To Speech.

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Copy & Paste With Talkback

I helped someone with copy & paste using Talkback and just sharing the tip I sent. Hi,
Here’s what I do for copy and paste.
Have Talkback speak whatever you want to copy.
Open the global context menu with the down then right gesture. Double tap on copy last utterance to clipboard.
Go to wherever you want to paste the text that was just copied. For example a text message.
Double tap on the edit box as if you were going to type in there with the on screen keyboard. Open the local context menu with the up then right gesture.
The first item there is paste. Double tap on that and the text that was just copied will be pasted into the edit box.

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The CAT User’s Manual

I saw this being passed around on twitter, its so great, I had to share it here.
I did spend some time trying to find the name of whoever wrote this great manual but did not find any name in other sites that had the same document. Just know it wasn’t me, as I’m only passing it along.

The CAT User’s Manual
CAT v. 7.0: Completely Autonomous Tester
User Installation and Documentation
CAT System Specifications
• User Friendly
• Mouse Driven
• Self Cleaning
• Energy Saving Standby Mode When Not In Use
• Self Portable Operation
• Dual Video
• Bi-directional Audio Input/Output
• Primary and secondary output ports: high-speed serial port for streaming data and standard parallel port for data blocks. • Auto search Routines for Input Data
• Autocracy for Output Bin
• Instant Transition (<2 nanoseconds) Between Standby and Full Power Mode • Manufactured by MOMCAT in batch mode

Production Details
After basic KIT construction, the unit undergoes six weeks of onside ROM programming and burn-in testing. Listed features are installed during this period. Since MOMCAT uses local suppliers, there may be variations between units. MOMCAT’s quality assurance may reject inferior units. Users may sometimes salvage rejected units. Beware of Far East clones. These may violate import restrictions.

Transporting Your CAT
A suitable transportation case should be used for transportation to the operating site. Failure to properly ship a CAT unit may result in loss or damage to the unit and serious injury to the user.

Installation Procedures
Upon receiving the CAT unit, the user should examine the unit to verify that all I/O channels are operational. Look for minor bugs in or on the system. Bugs are indicative of the MOMCAT production environment. The user may manually remove any bugs.
Bring the CAT to operation in an environment temperature at 20º C (±3º tolerance). Use a quiet room with the primary user(s) present. Open the transportation case and let the CAT unit auto exit. Initialize the self learning program catfind() by displaying the input bins. These should contain H2O (liquid state, room temperature, 99% purity) and dry energy pellets. Immediately afterwards, display the output bin.
If the user already has a CAT unit successfully installed, it may be possible to download BASIC routines to the new CAT. For the first day or two, the CAT will stay in self learning mode. When the learn buffer overflows, the CAT will auto switch to sleep() mode. This is normal. The MMU system will store the new information to permanent memory. After 72 hours, the CAT will be interacting with the operating environment.
The unit may be placed in direct sunlight. CAT units are operational in all axis: standing, sitting, or laying down. If all basic environment requirements are satisfied, the CAT system will produce a slight hum. This is normal.
A new CAT should not exit the primary site facility. Full portability comes after extensive burn in. Some users never let the CAT unit auto exit the site. The advantages are longer unit life and fewer bugs. Contact with pirate CAT units may lead to unplanned BATCH iteration. Contact with untested CATs may lead to virus infection. If allowed to exit, some CAT units may try to port across a street. Fatal errors may happen. If you decide to let your CAT out, it should have a READ_ME.TXT file with a system address and URL which identifies the host site.
Your CAT should have a system name. The name may need to be reinitialized repeatedly until the system can read it correctly. This lets you issue voice commands to bring the unit to an online state. Many owners give their CATs a secret password as well. You can also get the CAT’s attention by booting the system. While this is effective, it is discouraged. Too much booting will abuse the system. Such units will sit across the room with its back to you.

Applications for Your CAT Unit
At present, there are few productivity applications for CAT. MOUSE is a killer app. This is pre-installed.
Many owners use their system for game playing. CATs play best when they are young. Older units suffer a system timing decay which leads to reduced response and flexibility. Some CAT games are:
• CACHE: The CAT will CACHE a data string. Similar to the K9 unit game, but the object must be smaller.
• JUMP: Move the data string through the air. The CAT unit will reach new heights of operation.
• MIRROR: Place the unit in front of a mirror and watch it attempt to parse itself. Some units may ESCape. Reboot the system by calling its name.
• CHASE: Played between two CAT units or a CAT and a K9 unit. Units take turns as one is the data and the other attempts to parse it. • SING: Offer fishy data code to elicit a range of audio output. • BUGHUNT: Some CAT units are very efficient bug hunters.

Maintenance
• CATs will self-recharge. This takes 20 hours in a 24 hour cycle.
• CATs are self cleaning and require little user maintenance. Do not clean the unit with alcohol or benzine-based solvents. This may lead to a violent explosion.
• A CAT unit should be taken once a year to a VET (Very Expensive Technician) for a system checkup.
• Do not attempt to open a CAT. There are no user serviceable parts inside. If a unit emits strange smells or sounds, it should be serviced immediately by a VET.
• You may examine the rear of the CAT unit to determine if it has a male or female scuzzy port. CATs with a male port may emit a non-toxic aerosol. The VET can remove this component. CATs with female ports are plagued by periodic heating problems. The VET can fix this permanently by removing an internal part. Such systems run unix.
• In senior CAT units, male scuzzy ports can become blocked, leading to extensive VET visits and serious performance limitations.

Warning Notices
• CAT systems are user-friendly. However, in certain documented situations, a CAT may pose a danger to the user. Repeated jamming or obstruction of I/O ports may lead to deployment of auto-defense systems. Never attempt a first strike on a CAT system. Its CPU clock rate made to milspecs and thus classified, but JANE’S FIGHTING FELINES notes that a unit was seen by ham radio operators to be apparently moving at 500 mHz. Twin D-shaped five-pin spike connectors have an average seek rate of 3 nanoseconds. The manufacturer is not responsible for injuries to the user. These spike connectors require monthly maintenance to avoid damage to site furniture. • Do not poke anything into the CAT’s I/O ports. CAT may BYTE.
• In dry, cold weather, a surface electrostatic charge may build up. To avoid electric shock, stand on an insulated surface. • Do not operate the CAT above water. This may lead to end-user damage. • Carry a CAT firmly. Do not swing it by its “tail”.
• The self-programming feature of the CAT unit may introduce functions that are not user-friendly. For example, the CAT will quickly associate display of the transportation case with a trip to the VET or the offsite storage facility. In such instances, the CAT will self-initiate the ESCAPE mode. This requires the user to employ SEEK and CAPTURE programs to reestablish control of the CAT in order to place it in the transportion case.

Unit Service Life
• As CATs become older, the learn program will recognize every situation. The CAT may become too smart for its own good.
• CATs like to have their own toys. They often have hobbies, such as bird watching or studying tropical fish.
• If you properly care for your CAT, it will give you years of loyal service. Many users get a second unit. Most users don’t need the extra capacity, but they enjoy the ability to run complex simulation games.

Downtime Storage
If the user will be absent from the host site for an extended period, provision for CAT maintainence must be provided. Options are:
• Offsite storage. This may cause errors in user-associated CAT programs. Some reprogramming may be required.
• Onsite maintainence by contractors. Contractors must have full access to the host site. They should provide full I/O service to the CAT and forbidden to boot the system.

Lifetime Warranty
• The CAT unit is guaranteed against catastrophic failure. Nine coupons are included.
• If the unit operates in networks that experience heavy traffic, some units may use all nine coupons in one confrontation. This can lead to system failure.

Documented Problems
• The Ctrl key on many CAT units is defective. This may lead to serious command-and-control problems.
• Do not install a BIRD unit at a site which has an operational CAT unit. These systems are not compatible. The BIRD unit may be erased permanently.
• The CAT unit’s self-cleaning feature has a capacity limitation. The unit’s recycle bin eventually fills and then empties without warning.
• CAT units have an internal clock. These normally initialize automatic programs (CLEAN, etc.) These cannot be reset by the user. The internal alarm clock often goes off 30 minutes before the user’s alarm clock.

System Features
• Models = Main frame, desktop and laptop models (smallest footprint in the industry). Available in 15 inch, 17 inch, and 19 inch sizes. • Interface = Touch sensitive interface for maximum user friendliness. • Memory = Not much. Upgrades available real soon now.
• Expected Lifetime = 15 years with ± 72 months (although 20 years are common). • Weight = 3-6 kilograms without optional cables.
• Speed = 3 nanoseconds search/find with self-uprighting supertwist technology.
• Color Graphics = Either paper white, monochrome (black/white), 64 grey shades, or maximum of 16 million colors with 40 terrabits of high resolution floating point pixels. • Sound Chip = 16 octaves, digital MIDI output (MI/OU).
• Power Consumpution = 250 grams protein daily (2 micrograms per second.) • Operating Range = -30º to +45º C (-22º to 105º)
• Vibration = 5-500 Hz, one octave/min, dwell at all resonance points.

Contacting CAT Technical Support
It’s not a bug, it’s a flea. Our highly trained technicians are ready to help you. As soon as they wake up from their nap.

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A Few Christmas Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite Christmas things.

This song has very special meaning to me. A few years ago, this wonderful lady & musician I followed on Facebook asked for suggestions for Christmas songs for her and her Sister to record.
I told her that with her voice, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas would sound wonderful.
A couple of weeks later, I logged on to FB and had a notice saying this song is dedicated to Steve Clark, because he asked for it. Merry Christmas Susan & Caroline, wherever you are and thank you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WTF3ATEWEE

This song has a great story behind it. Its one that everyone needs to hear, especially in times of conflict. The lesson can apply to more than just those at war. Christmas In The Trenches

I am a very silly person, it is what keeps me still a kid at 45 years old. This movie is one of my favorites. It has things like a penguin named Martini, who doesn’t like to be shaken or stirred. People with names like Richard Stands, who thought the Pledge Of Allegiance was about him. Another person named Round John Virgin and Olive, the dog even has a pet flea named Fido. Olive, The Other Reindeer

As a kid born in 1972, the Muppets were a part of my life. I have memories of laying on the floor in front of the television watching The Muppet Show.
I remember when A Muppet Family Christmas was on television. Pay attention at the end to the guy who comes in to do dishes, its Jim Henson. That part always brings a few tears to my eyes. A Muppet Family Christmas

 

Due to a high level of spam on comments, I’ve had to turn those off.
If you would like to contact me, send email to:
“steve@blindbites.com”

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