Chromecast with Google TV

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.

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. ‘’

You can also find me on Twitter

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Tweets About Accessibility

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

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Accessible Android Apps June 2018 & Update For NFC Labels

This is the list of apps I’m currently using on my LG G6 which is now running Oreo.
I use a combination of a bluetooth keyboard and touch. It just depends on what I am doing in each app, its just a matter of what works easiest for me. That is why I consider them to be accessible. They may not be for you as we all have our own needs, abilities, & ways of doing things.

I’ve listed the app for our tempature & humidity sensor, thought I’d include some info for the sensor.
It is a little clunky in the first setup but once its setup and paired, its quick & easy to open the app, hear the average then a current reading. It uses bluetooth low energy. In pairing with the app, move the sensor over & around the screen. The sensor is a small square device you can put on a counter, on a desk, or anywhere out of the way. Talkback speaks the average and current readings just fine.

SensorPush Wireless Thermometer / Hygrometer for iPhone / Android – Humidity & Temperature Smart Sensor with Alerts

Here is a drop box link to my collection of .m3u files I use in the VLC app below. I keep them in a folder called AAA so its at the top of wherever I choose to copy the folder, internal or external storage on my phone.
Again, its a matter of how I do things for me, rename it or put the files in a place that works for you. You can also use these with a media player on your computer.

I’ve used different email apps such as Aqua Mail which worked great & I loved, I’ve just taken a more simple approach to things lately with using the Gmail app & others that are from Google instead. Just something I felt like doing for now.

One last update…
I was going to share a link to the NFC Tags I use with both the NFCLabeler app and the MacroDroid app but noticed Amazon, the place I bought them from is out of stock.
I contacted the company that makes the tags and they replied to me within about two minutes. You can buy the tags directly from their store by going to:

If I can be of any help, feel free to contact me on twitter (@blindbites) or you can email me (


Clipper Sync Plugin




Freemotion change



KNFB Reader





Music Folder Player Full

My App List


NFC Labeler

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher Prime

Pocket Casts



Skype Lite



The Weather Channel

Trusted Contacts

TuneIn Radio Pro



Uber Eats


Shared by ‘My App List’

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Accessible Android Apps March 2018

These are the apps that I’m using on my LG G6, which is still running Android 7.0 but I’ve heard sometime it’ll have Android 8.1.
I use a combination of an external keyboard (Logitech K380) and touch to do what I need or want to do.
That combination of options makes these apps accessible to me, so that is why I consider them accessible. Everyone is different & has different needs, so your mileage may vary.
I post this list of apps that I’m using for a couple of reasons. The first is for those either new to Android and looking for some accessible apps to install, or those looking to see what other people are using, maybe someone looking to try a different app. The other is if I ever have to do a factory reset on my phone, I’ve got a list of my installed apps online with links to the play store. I use the My App List app, which you’ll find below to generate the list.
If I can be of any assistance, you can contact me at @blindbites on twitter or via email.

Amazon Alexa


AquaMail Pro Unlocker


Be My Eyes


Clipper Sync Plugin


Files Go

Find My Device

Freemotion change

Google Opinion Rewards

Google Play Books




KNFB Reader




Music Folder Player Full

My App List


NFC Labeler

Nova Launcher

Nova Launcher Prime



Pocket Casts




Skype Lite

Storm Radar


Trusted Contacts

TuneIn Radio Pro



Uber Eats



Shared by ‘My App List’

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Notes Installing Windows 10 Creator Update With Narrator

I’ve been playing around with a desktop computer and installing Windows 10 Creators Update using Narrator.
For now, these are just some notes I want to share. I might work on putting something better together, just depends on how I’m feeling as I recover from carpal tunnel surgery.

I made a bootable USB drive with using the Media Creation Tool from Microsoft. This is an easy way to get the install files onto a USB drive.
In order to boot from a USB drive automatically you’ll need to have that selected in the boot order in the BIOS settings. There are other ways to boot from a USB drive by pressing certain keys but it seems sometimes those are different depending on which brand computer you are using.
Nothing is quite as easy as having that option set so it just happens automatically.
For those of us who are totally blind that means getting someone who can see to change the boot order setting in BIOS. Its one of those things that once its set, you don’t have to worry about it.

I booted from the drive I made and waited a few minutes before starting narrator with the control + WindowsKey + enter command.
I heard that nice Sara talking. I followed the prompts making settings and didn’t have any problems.
I used the external keyboard that I usually use on a computer. I like to use a keyboard I’m familiar with when setting things up.

One area of confusion I had was when all of the files were copied and the process was ready to restart the computer. I tried reading the screen with turning on scan mode capslock + space.
I’ve done this a few times and it doesn’t seem to either be anything else on the screen or maybe that any keystroke starts the reboot process. Next time I’m going to try the capslock w command to read the window.
It would be helpful to have some sort of a prompt that narrator speaks instructing the person to remove any bootable USB drives before selecting restart.

One thing I’d like to see done in a update is to have the install process automatically start narrator after the restart if it detects you used narrator in that first part of the install process when you booted from the USB drive and started narrator.

Maybe have that part of the install process create a file on the drive that after that first restart, windows sees the existence of that file and starts narrator automatically.
Maybe even with a dialog asking, I noticed you used narrator in the first part of installing Windows. Would you like to continue using narrator?

I think this would remove some of the not knowing what is going on after that first restart.

Cortana was helpful in setting things up but note that if you don’t have a microphone on your computer, she doesn’t, at least in my experiences offer to help. On one of my several times of doing this all over from scratch, I connected my logitech h800 headset. After I had that connected via its USB dongle, cortana spoke up and it was quite nice answering some yes or no questions.
Again, just some thoughts and notes. The biggest thing that will help is patience. It also helps if you are installing windows from a USB drive on a computer that isn’t your daily use computer that you depend on. If you have access to another computer that it isn’t the end of your online existence and loss of your cat pictures if something goes wrong and you can simply try again, that would be great.
Lastly, as always backup your data before installing Windows in this way or even a regular update from within Windows.

You can contact me on twitter @blindbites
email “”

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Long Term Storage #WLS Friendly Foods

My Wife and I are finally putting together a container of food and things in case of a several day power outage from ice or snow as it has happened before here in Kansas City.

I’m looking for ideas of foods that are post weight loss surgery friendly and can be stored for at least a year without growing anything inside.
We will replace things as they get close to an expiration date, but it’d be nice to not have to do that very often.

So far we’ve got canned chicken, canned tuna, bottled water, beef jerky, a manual can opener just to keep in the container, nuts and stuff like that.

Is there anything else you can think of to add to the box?
If so would you please contact me either on twitter ‘@blindbites‘ or email ‘’

Once we finish adding any other items, I’ll post the contents of our survival box. We aren’t preppers or anything like that. We just thought it would be a good idea to put some stuff together just in case the power goes out for several days and if conditions were bad from an ice storm, we wouldn’t have to worry about needing help for a week or so.

We’ve got plenty of blankets to keep us warm, several battery packs for phones etc… What would you put in your box?

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Nut Meeting Saturday November 12, 2016 10:00 – 11:30 AM

One shouldn’t send out reminders when a little kitty has deprived one from a few more hours of sleep. Steve

The next meeting of Northland Users Of Technology (NUT) is:
Saturday November 12, 2016
Time: 10:00 – 11:30 AM
Hy-Vee Club Room
5330 NW 64th Street
Kansas City, MO 64151
Store: 816-505-1311

Join us in a friendly conversation about technology as it relates to people who are blind or low vision. This is not a formal group with officers, by-laws or any of that stuff that prevents people from just talking with people.

Several people do arrive early to get a start on breakfast, however eating breakfast is not required to attend our meeting.

So bring yourself, bring a friend and bring your questions.
If you need help getting to the Club Room, just stop at Customer Service and they will assist you.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by email: “”
or by Twitter

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Creating Volume Shortcut In Windows 10

As with many things related to Microsoft Windows, there are many ways to do the same thing. This is how I setup a shortcut to adjust the volume in Windows 10.

I could of course, just go to the system tray and select volume and make changes from there, but I wanted something more convenient.

Copy the following to your clipboard.

%windir%\System32\SndVol.exe -f 49825268

We are going to make a shortcut in Windows 10 using the info above. I want this to also be easy to find, so I can add this to any of the other computers I use at home, so I am going to keep the shortcut stored in my Google Drive. You can of course, store this anywhere on your computer and it doesn’t have to be in Google Drive, I have that installed and synching files on all of my computers, so that was something easy for me.

Go into the folder where you want the shortcut file stored. When you open a folder, nothing in that folder is selected until you move the cursor keys or click on something with a mouse. That is what we want to happen to make this process easier.

Now without selecting anything in the folder, press your context or applications key and a menu will open. Arrow up to the item that says:
New Sub menu and either press enter or use your right cursor key to open the menu. Move to shortcut and press enter.

The create shortcut wizard opens and this is where you will paste the line from earlier in this message and press enter.

On the next screen you are asked to give the shortcut a name, I named it Volume and press enter or tab to finish and press enter.

From here you could press the context or applications key and go to the properties and assign a keyboard shortcut, but I chose something that requires less keystrokes to activate the shortcut and shouldn’t conflict with keys for any other program.

In Windows 10 you can pin programs, documents, or shortcuts to the task bar. The first item that gets pinned can be launched by pressing the Windows key and 1. The second item that is on the task bar can be launched with Windows 2 etc…

So anytime I need to adjust the volume, I simply press Windows and 1 and I’m in the volume settings.

If I want to remove my volume shortcut from the task bar I could either go to the Volume item on the task bar, press the context or applications key and select unpin from task bar.
I could also go to the volume shortcut that I keep stored in my google drive and do the same to unpin the shortcut from the task bar.

You can use this to quickly launch a program you use frequently. I could pin Firefox as the second item on the task bar and could open it by pressing the Windows key and 2.


Twitter @blindbites
22 year cancer survivor & 5 year obesity survivor

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Five years ago today I had Gastric Bypass Surgery and along with finding and marrying the love of my life its one of the best things I’ve done in my 43 years on this big spinning ball we call Earth.

I weighed 316 pounds on this day in 2011. I lost 20 pounds during the education process I went through before surgery. Before starting the program at Saint Luke’s in Kansas City, the only other time I was able to lose any amount of weight is when I was dealing with cancer in 1994. That is a weight loss method you won’t hear any celebrity pushing this Winter.

I weigh 170 pounds as of today. I know it isn’t just all about the number, but its a good way to measure how I’m doing in my fight against obesity.
I am no longer diabetic, no longer have sleep apnea, and none of the other weight related problems I had before surgery. I mentioned to my surgeon today that I haven’t even had a cold in the last year. I love my health, love my body and most important of all, I love me.

Something I’ve learned over my five years since surgery reminds me of something my Dad told me. If it is to be, its up to me. There is no going back to the things and ways I ate in my life before Gastric Bypass Surgery. You can’t decide after six months that it is okay to have just a bite of chocolate cake or just a taste of that hot fudge sundae. This starts a downhill roller coaster effect. Well one bite didn’t kill me last time, so I’ll try two bites this time. After all, I’ve worked hard to lose weight after surgery, I deserve a break, I have earned it.
If one thinks and chooses to do that after surgery, you will end up back where you were before except with a much more painful and horrible ride getting there.
Nobody is going to show up at your door when you make bad choices after having weight loss surgery to tell you to stop. At that point it is up to you to make choices.
I’m not talking about people who have had surgery and there was a complication but instead the people where everything was successful, they just made bad choices.

I love the journey of learning that this life saving, life changing tool has brought me. It is a never ending learning experience.One learns about their body and how it reacts to certain foods. You might do fine with a food item you love and then one day your body decides it doesn’t like that anymore. When that happens and you start to gain weight, its a sign to find something new. If you try and nothing changes, don’t be afraid to seek help from the place you had surgery. Their help doesn’t stop the day you go home from the hospital.
None of us are machines running a program that has been perfected over the years. We are all different and our bodies are different machines, sometimes the program needs to be modified to run in your system.

So thanks to all of the support I’ve had from friends, both in person and online. I learn so much from talking with others who have had surgery. Sometimes I learn things that I was never told about during my education process before surgery. Sometimes you do need to have ridden the roller coaster to experience the ride.

If I can be of any help to others, contact me. If you are also blind or low vision and are interested in talking with other people who have had weight loss surgery, join the blind-wls email list by sending an email to: “”

Twitter @blindbites
22 year cancer survivor & 5 year obesity survivor

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Clearing Up Confusion With Share-A-Fare notifications

This is in reference to the services I have created with IFTTT that will either call you or text you when the status of the KC Share-A-Fare program has changed.

For those who may not know, Share-A-Fare only changes their operational status when there is weather that delays or impacts their service. They don’t make these changes on a daily basis and the KCATA only sends a tweet when there is a status change. They don’t tweet that everything is a normal status. So you would only be getting a phone call or text message when the status is changed to one of the 4 levels.

I created these recipes as a way to help others to be more informed about any delays in Share-A-Fare related to weather or other issues that are causing a delay in service.
I have called several times in past years to ask if there was a delay related to weather and the travel coordinators had no idea of what I was asking about. This was after being on hold for ten or more minutes as many others were calling.

Just to avoid any confusion…

For the phone call recipe go to

For the text message recipe go to

They are different recipes. If you want both you have to go to each of the two links to add the recipe. Signing up for one doesn’t sign you up for the other.

You can confirm which of the recipe pages you are on by reading the title bar in your browser. In NVDA press insert t.

You can check or delete any recipe that you have added by going to

Signing up for either recipe for the first time is a multi-step process.
First you have to create a free account with IFTTT, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to create the services for you.

Each part of a recipe uses a channel. Once you tell IFTTT that you want to add a recipe, it will check to see if you have the necessary channels enabled. If not, it will walk you through enabling only the channels needed for the recipe. Think of this like enabling permissions for a smart phone app.

After you have enabled the channels, there will be an add button on the page.
Press space or enter on the add button and the recipe will be added to your personal recipes and will be activated.

If you need any assistance in signing up for either of these recipes, please contact me at:

Twitter: @blindbites
22 year cancer survivor & 5 year obesity survivor

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Hot & Yummy On A Cold Winter Day

Something hot and yummy on a cold winter day. Crustless Chicken Pot Pie. I just had this and it was great, one of my favorites.
Very friendly to those who have had weight loss surgery or just those wanting something yummy and healthy.

Net Carbs: 5g, Sugars 2g, and Protein 22g.

22+ year cancer survivor & 5+ year obesity survivor.
Learn more at my blog:
Follow me on twitter @blindbites
Blind & have had weight loss surgery or just interested? Join the blind-wls list

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Get Notified About Kansas City Share-A-Fare Status Changes

I posted this on Face Book this morning and wanted to share it here.

Steve Clark feeling frustrated with Ruthie Rayne Clark.

It was great to receive a phone call and a text message this morning about the status change for the paratransit system in Kansas City, share-a-fare.
I don’t understand why so many people who are blind in KC are so resistant in receiving this helpful information. I’ve been telling people about this great free service for 10 months now and Ruthie and I are the only ones who are using it.

Everyone thinks its a great idea when I tell people but nobody wants to sign up for this free service. I can only assume some would rather be dependant on others or maybe they just don’t care what is going on with their ride.

Here is the link to receive a phone call:

Here is the link to receive a text message on your smart phone. Due to the limitation in the size of text messages, there isn’t as much detail as you would get with the phone call, but enough to know what is going on.

22+ year cancer survivor & 5+ year obesity survivor.
Learn more at my blog:
Follow me on twitter @blindbites
Blind & have had weight loss surgery or just interested? Join the blind-wls list

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My Favorite Holiday Movies!

Two of my holiday favorites for your listening or viewing pleasure.

Olive The Other Reindeer

I am a fan of silliness, which this is full of. A penguin named Martini who doesn’t like to be shaken or stirred and much more, I don’t want to spoil it for you. If you are a fan of Michael Stipe, you will notice him as a reindeer in a bar.

The Muppets – A Muppet Family Christmas 1987

I was born in 1972 and grew up with the Muppets. I have very clear memories of watching them with my parents. Pay close attention to the person who comes in at the end to do dishes.

I hope your holiday is stress free. For me that means spending time with friends, instead of just doing the traditional family gathering.

As always, I’m happy to share what I’ve learned so far in life as it relates to blindness, weight loss, and technology. I don’t know it all and don’t want to know it all. I’m always learning something new as there is so much to learn in life.

You can contact me by sending email to:
or on twitter

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Use IFTTT to Get a Call When Share-A-Fare’s Inclement Weather Status Changes

This is for people in the Kansas City area who use Share-A-Fare.

You can receive a phone call or a text message when there is a change in the operational status. If there is weather such as snow or ice in the Winter that causes a delay or stoppage of Share-A-Fare, you will be notified within 15 minutes of the @KCATAMetro account sending the info on twitter.
You won’t need to call and wait on hold, only to find out that 30 other people are calling at the same time to ask if there is a delay in service.
This is especially helpful to know when you are waiting to return home and old man winter is being difficult.

For more info on how this works and to sign up for the phone call, go to:

To sign up for the text message option, go to:


22+ year cancer survivor & 5+ year obesity survivor.
Learn more at my blog:
Follow me on twitter @blindbites
Blind & have had weight loss surgery or just interested? Join the blind-wls list

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Christmas In The Trenches

I heard this while listening to Acoustic Sunrise this morning and want to share it, as it is well worth listening to.


22+ year cancer survivor & 5+ year obesity survivor.
Follow me on twitter @blindbites
Blind & have had weight loss surgery or just interested? Join the blind-wls list

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What’s New With Blindbites?

What’s New With Me?

I haven’t posted in about a month and thought it was time to send out an update on my life.

Nothing shocking or life changing has been going on, and that is a good thing.

I have changed my mind on which new phone I’m buying. I was interested in the 2015 Moto X Pure but there were a few things that changed my mind. I was excited about the price of the phone and that it is sold unlocked and not sold by a carrier. The two things that got me looking at another phone was the lack of a fingerprint sensor and the decision by Motorola to not support some of their recent phones which they promised there would be ongoing support for, as far as upgrades go.
How long until they decide to no longer support this new phone? It could be just a year as they have recently decided to do with some of last year’s new phones.

I’m going to get the Nexus 6P from Google. It is a better phone, with a fingerprint sensor and the price isn’t much different. Google does support their Nexus phones and its the best way to get Android updates to fix bugs. I’m also going to have Google as my phone & data provider through their Project FI program.
Right now this program only works with about three Nexus phones. The phones will switch between T-Mobile and Sprint, depending on which has the better signal at my current location. The pricing is excellent, a flat $20 a month and $10 per GB of data. If you don’t use a full GB, you are only charged for the part of that GB that you do use.

I gained a few pounds during the summer as my body decided it didn’t want to work with what I was eating anymore. This happens from time to time after I’ve had Gastric Bypass Surgery almost 5 years ago. Its no problem though, I monitor my weight and take action when those numbers start to creep up. I changed what I was eating and the numbers on the scale have gone back down again. I’m careful about what and how I eat, and know how to make a change when it is needed. There isn’t a need to wait a year for a follow-up visit with my Surgeon, just to be told I need to make some changes.

One of the things I’m eating on a regular basis again are the frozen Atkins meals. They have great nutritional numbers and taste great.
Part of the secret to weight loss, is everybody is different. One person may be able to do well with a certain food for awhile, and then one day their body doesn’t handle that food as well. Also, I could give the same food item to ten people, and not everybody is going to have the same results. So you have to figure out what will work for you, and know when to make changes.

I’ve been buying coffee from a company based in Saint Louis, Missouri, Kaldi’s Coffee. They donated a bag of their coffee that was an auction item at the Missouri Council Of The Blind convention. My Wife got the bag of coffee and it was so yummy that I have ordered two bags of their whole bean coffee in the past month or so.
Its a great company with great coffee and a nice selection of coffee, some blends of their own and some coffee from all over the world. My most recent order was a 12 ounce bag of guatemala san jose ocana.
It has an amazing taste and I’ve had it with sugar free caramel syrup and a few more with sugar free pumpkin pie syrup. Both syrups were great but the pumpkin pie was amazing.
This isn’t an advertisement for Kaldi’s Coffee and they aren’t sending me free coffee. I just like to spread the word about the yummy things in my life. You can take a look at what they have to offer at:

They have very fair pricing on shipping. I looked at a local roaster of coffee that wanted as much for shipping as they did for one bag of coffee and that is just to send it across the city to me.

Lastly, I wanted to report another great visit to Cracker Barrel. Besides the food tasting great, one thing on their menu sets them apart from some other restaurants.

“Kids of all ages are welcome to enjoy a smaller serving of our country favorites
Here at Cracker Barrel, we try to bring old-fashioned country cooking to new generations and kids of all ages, so bring out the whole family to enjoy some down-home fun.”

I usually get the grilled chicken tenderloin with green beans from the kids menu. That always fills me up. My Wife and I go there a few times a year and its our place for Thanksgiving dinner too. They have a great Thanksgiving dinner and the perfect sized portion for me on their kid’s Thanksgiving plate.
So for those who have had Gastric Bypass or another type of Weight Loss Surgery, consider Cracker Barrel, especially for Thanksgiving. No leftover food, no dishes, and no cooking tons of food. I think the location just a few miles from me starts serving Thanksgiving dinner around 11 am.

As always, I don’t know it all and never plan to. If I can help you by sharing what I’ve learned so far, please contact me. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and to share my blog with others.
I do appreciate that people take the time to read my blog and to follow me on Twitter.

You can contact me at:
@blindbites on Twitter.

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Apps On My Android Phone and Tablet

This is the current list of accessible apps that I am using on my first generation Moto X and my HP 10 tablet.
accessible has different meanings for each person. These apps are accessible for me by using touch, a Bluetooth keyboard, or sometimes a combination of both. If one of the links doesn’t work for you, you at least have the app name and can search in the google play store.

Acapela TTS Voices

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Music


AquaMail Pro Unlocker


Arcus Pro Key


Beep Hourly


chomp SMS

Commandr for Google Now


Easy Answer

Epson iPrint

Epson Print Enabler

ETI-Eloquence TTS

Fing – Network Tools


Google Voice

Hangouts Dialer


Music Folder Player Full

My App List

NOAA Weather


Office Lens


Podcast Addict

Podcast Addict – Donate

Point Finder

Pro Weather Alert



Scanner Radio Pro

Sex Offenders Search

Share Where




Total Commander

TuneIn Radio Pro


TWiT Pro

Vocalizer Voices

21+ year survivor of Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma & 4+ year obesity survivor Learn more at my blog: Follow me on twitter @blindbites

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Saturday Eating

My Wife, Ruthie, usually has her cheat day on Saturday. It is a required part of her diet. She changed her lifestyle to one based on The Slow Carb Diet. The way it works is 6 days a week you eat lean meats, low carb vegetables etc… What happens is your metabolism slows down and to get it going again, one day a week you have a cheat day. On her cheat day she can have whatever she wants and as much as she wants, then its back to six days of eating healthy again. This is required on The Slow Carb Diet and not just something she chooses to do for the fun of it.
Just as any lifestyle change it isn’t for everyone but it has worked great for her and she with it. She has lost more than 250 pounds and kept it off. Right now she’s in a maintenance mode and working on staying where she is with her weight.

Today for her cheat day she went to The Big Biscuit and we learned there is a Starbucks nearby. I’d been wanting to try a coffee from there for awhile but haven’t had a chance to go there until today.
I read many comments from people I follow on Twitter about the wonderful drinks they have at Starbucks. So before placing my first order, I thought I’d consult with my experts. I got suggestions from three wonderful people all involved in the weight loss surgery world and healthy living. I even got some of the Starbucks lingo explained to me so I could understand the options.
I also decided to get a Chicken Quesadilla from Big Biscuit as I do like those and its something I can eat part of and put the rest in the refrigerator for later in the day. Ruthie got biscuits and Sausage gravy, a grilled cheese, sweet biscuit, and a fruit bowl. She already had some ice cream waiting for her at home.

We both agreed with our thoughts on The Big Biscuit. If you like food with your grease, its the place to go. She hasn’t opened the fruit bowl yet and I’m hoping its not as greasy as the quesadilla and the biscuits were. I guess there is a favorite place for everyone and if you are a fan of grease, this is the place for you. I haven’t looked at their menu but for the real grease lovers, maybe they sell sides of grease with a meal.

Thanks to my experts I had a Skinny Mocha Grande with soy milk and no whip. It was very very very yummy and I plan to go there again. Ruthie had a Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino and she said it was good. Its not something she wants every week and said she prefers drinks from the Caribou Coffee location inside our favorite grocery store, Hy-vee.

Below are addresses of the places I mentioned, just in case you are in Kansas City and want to visit.

The Big Biscuit
6332 NW Barry Rd
Kansas City, MO 64154

6234 NW Barry Rd
Kansas City, MO 64154

5330 NW 64th Street
Kansas City, MO 64151

Blind & have had Weight Loss Surgery or interested? Join the blind-wls list by sending an email to:

Follow me on twitter: @blindbites

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

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Happy Four Year Anniversary

Happy Four Year Anniversary!!!

January 25, 2015 was the four year anniversary of when I had Gastric Bypass Surgery. Its one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.
Before I started the process and education at my weight loss center I weighed 336 pounds and wore size 48 pants. I was diabetic, had sleep Apnea, high cholesterol and was tired all of the time.

Here is a picture of me before surgery.

Currently I weigh 169 pounds and wear size 32 pants. I haven’t been diabetic since I left the surgery table and none of those obesity related medical issues. The only pills I take are multi vitamins, citracal, and vitamin D3. I have tons of energy, love life, the yummy foods I eat, and I also love me and the way I feel. Here is a current picture of me.

Gastric Bypass isn’t for everyone, but nothing is. It is a choice I made for me. I needed a permanent change in my life and not something that I could just give up and try something different. I was first aware that I was overweight when I was in the second grade. The only time in my life that I had any significant weight loss was when I was dealing with two very rare and very deadly forms of cancer in March of 1994. I lost about 80 pounds in about two weeks. That isn’t part of anyone’s weight loss plan.

That weight was put back on plus more after I became healthy again. I hadn’t given up on weight loss, I tried many different options, lost a few pounds here or there but put it back on plus more. The same cycle that I had been through my whole life.

The hard work was up to me as weight loss surgery is not an easy way out. There is no finish line in weight loss, regardless of whichever plan or option one chooses. Weight loss is a constant battle. You have to eat right, pay attention to nutritional info, work on making good choices, be able to learn from your mistakes, and then get up and do it all again tomorrow. You don’t just stop doing what you’ve been doing when you get to a goal or target weight. Weight Loss Surgery is just a tool to assist a person in becoming healthy. It is up to each person who uses that tool to use it correctly. The hard part of Weight Loss Surgery starts the day you come home from the hospital because now it is all up to you to make the right choices and to do what you are supposed to do.

The education you get from your center can’t make you do what you are supposed to do. They aren’t standing in your kitchen and blocking you from eating something that you shouldn’t have.

However, if you use the education about eating right, asking questions and having a great support network you can be successful. Part of this also requires that you do regular lab work and go to all of your scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon. They schedule the appointments so they can check on you to watch your progress, look for any problems, and to make any needed changes to what you are eating. They are there to help you, not just a reason to bill insurance for another appointment.
Also, if you feel that something isn’t right, call and make an appointment with your surgeon. They can’t help you unless you reach out and let them know you are concerned about something.

I want to thank all of the people that have supported me in my decision to have surgery, both the people who supported me before and the people who continue to support me. I include all of the people who blog or post on social media about their experiences with weight loss surgery.

I weigh the same as I did for my three year follow-up with my surgeon. My goal is to do the same next year. There is no magic involved in this, I have to pay attention to what I eat, get on the scale from time to time, and make changes as needed. There is nothing wrong in getting help or going back to basics to reset your brain and think about what you’ve been eating compared to what you should be eating.

If I can be of any help, please let me know. I am always learning and don’t know everything, nor am I perfect in any way. I am happy to share what I know and what I’ve learned.

Blind & have had Weight Loss Surgery or interested? Join the blind-wls list by sending an email to:
Follow me on twitter: @blindbites

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Update Healthy PB&J

Update Healthy PB&J

I thought I would update some info on one of my favorite things to have in my life after having Gastric Bypass Surgery almost 4 years ago. The anniversary is on January 25.

I’m using a different brand of whole wheat pita pockets for my healthy PB&J and thought I would share the info.
I like these pita pockets better than the brand I was buying. These are a little thinner, not so bread like. As with any of these pita pockets, be gentle when opening them to put something inside. Gently spread them open so you don’t tear the pocket.
These Toufayan whole wheat pita pockets are already split in half and are in a small plastic tray inside a bag.

Toufayan Bakeries – Smart Pocket 100% Whole Wheat
Total Carbohydrate
16 g
Dietary Fiber
4 g
1 g
5 g

Old Home Creamy Peanut Butter
Serving size
2 tbsp
Total Carbohydrate
7 g
Dietary Fiber
3 g
0 g
8 g

Smuckers Concord Grape Jam with Splenda, Sugar Free
Serving Size
1 tbsp
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber

Totals for this PB&J
Total Carbohydrate
28 g
Dietary Fiber
7 g
1 g
13 g
Net Carbs
21 g

The Old Home is the best tasting peanut butter I’ve had in my new life after surgery. It has 3 ingredients peanuts, peanut oil, and sea salt. It is very very yummy.
This is just one of the yummy things that I eat. Healthy eating can be yummy eating
Thank you so very much for reading my blog. If I can be of any assistance to you or someone you know, please contact me.

Blind & have had Weight Loss Surgery or interested? Join the blind-wls list by sending an email to:
Follow me on twitter: @blindbites

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My Chocolate Eggnog Protein Shake.

I made one of these last night and posted it to the blind-wls list.
It is 62 degrees in Kansas City, which is a bit above average for this time of year. Don’t worry, fall and winter will return later this week.

This was so good last night I decided to make another tonight.

My Chocolate Eggnog Protein Shake.

1 scoop Big Train FitFrappe Chocolate
2 cups Silk Unsweetened Soy Milk
4 pumps Davinci Gourmet Sugar Free Eggnog Syrup

Put the soy milk in a blender and add the chocolate protein powder.

Add the 4 pumps of the Eggnog syrup. This is where having the pump is really handy, just move the end of the pump over the blender and its just easy.

Blend for however long feels right to you, I usually do for about 45 seconds or so.

Pour into a mug or whatever you like drinking from. I’m a fan of the Bubba mugs.

Set it in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Sip and enjoy.

Between the powder and the soy milk this is 34 g protein.

Blind & have had Weight Loss Surgery or interested? Join the blind-wls list by sending an email to:

Follow me on twitter: @blindbites

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Weight Loss Surgery Podcast & More

I’ve mentioned in a previous post about how I’ve never stopped learning. This is nothing new for me as I learned way back in high school to always look at sources of learning other than the book the teacher is required to hand out.
This became even more important after having Gastric Bypass Surgery as the place where I had surgery doesn’t have anything in their book about life after six months post surgery. I looked for info online and from others who have had various weight loss surgeries.

My learning expanded again today after reading some tweets from those at the Obesity Action Coalition’s 2014 conference. I learned that there is a weight loss surgery podcast. The tweet talked about this lady named Dr Michelle May. I was very interested in what she had to say as I’ve always been interested in those who think differently. Something that challenges traditional thinking and shows that someone has gone outside the traditional thinking style of only this way, never anything different, just do what we say.



I encourage everyone, not just those who have had weight loss surgery to always keep learning. Look at what others are saying about a topic, find out what makes them different and make up your own mind. Just because someone has a different opinion than mine, that doesn’t make me right or them wrong. We all learn from each other.



Here is a link to this great podcast site. I’ve only listened to the one withMichelle May, but will be listening to others in the coming days.
Don’t forget the host of the podcast because I think she’s pretty amazing too. I’ve talked with her a little today via twitter and I wish every weight loss center had someone like her.


Weight Loss Surgery Podcast



After listening to the podcast I am going to get the following book this next week, so happy its available from Audible and with the author reading it too!

Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle [Unabridged] [Audible Audio Edition]
by Michelle May



If I can be of help to you or someone you know, please contact me. I’m a 20 year cancer survivor who is totally blind and had gastric bypass surgery in January 2011. Weight loss surgery can be a bit challenging when you can’t see. I have various places I go to for nutritional information and cooking directions. I’d be happy to share any of that info along with my experiences.
@blindbites via twitter

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