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Blind Bargains Qast 110: Audio Eclipses And Blast Processing

You might be wondering how Blind and Low Vision people can enjoy the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st. In this episode we speak to Dr. Henry Winter, a real honest to goodness astrophysicist who tells us how we can participate in the big cosmic event. We also sync our Google Home calendars, talk more about the Orbit Reader and we strap on our red shoes for the "Last Word".

Sponsor: HIMS

Braille sense Polaris is shipping! The future is now. Check out the first Google certified futureproof notetaker with no touchscreen required. Visit us on the web at to learn more.

In The News:

The Onkyo Braille Essay Contest Returns with $2,000 Top Prize for Braille Essays

Humanware and APH release the Matt Connect video magnifier

Here's a story we didn't get to last week when we were discussing news out of Orlando.
Alexa, Open NFB-Newsline

Our friend @AccessAna turned us onto the latest with Brailleback in this tweet:

New beta of #BrailleBack for #Android, featuring contracted Braille input, grade switching on the Fly, and wordwrap.

And, after we recorded this episode, it seems Android O is almost here according to this ArsTechnica article.

How fast can you process words? Participate in a 10 minute Research Study to F

Be sure to catch up on your summer reading with the July and August issues of Access World.

Navigate the Playa Accessibly with Updated Burning Man Maps

Interview: Eclipse Soundscapes

Dr. Henry Trae Winter, an astrophysicist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, sits down with J.J. to talk about Eclipse Soundscapes. Learn how you can use this free app for iOS and Android to experience the solar eclipse on Monday, and how you can participate as a citizen scientist by providing audio of the event. There's more coming up after the eclipse as well, so don't delete the app after Monday.

Tip: Google Home Calendar

The ability to add appointments to your calendar from your Google Home arrived during our time away at Summer Conventions. Joe walks us through the process. However, here is an article that outlines the steps as well.

Sound Off:

Here are three emails that touch upon some of our thoughts from episode 109. Firstly, from long time listener Rebecca Skipper, an email entitled "Welcome Back".


Episode 109 is one of my favorites from the BBQ.

I share Joe s concerns about the potential loss of choice, but I m even more concerned about affordability if the government purchases Braille displays on bulk.

Yes, I ve received AT from VR, but once I started working, I discovered just how empowering it can be if you, the consumer, purchase your own products.

I bought my second Braille Notetaker after the first one crashed.

I look forward to the opportunity to buy my own technology in the future.

Please remember how the Orbit Reader 20 was launched from a group of nonprofit organizations who wanted to keep the price down so that more people have access to Braille.

That major milestone should not be overlooked.

What an amazing accomplishment!

Get twelve organizations to agree to and stick with a goal!

That is amazing!

So, I would rather see the consumer become empowered like I did.

Let's give the affordable Braille display market a chance to thrive in the consumer market.

The government can do good things and try to improve access to AT, but prices seem to go up.

Give vouchers to consumers if you have to.

It would be nice if every library system had access to a 40 cell refreshable Braille display, but it would be used very little in some areas to the point where staff would forget how to connect the device.

I wish the blind community truly understood how fortunate we are right now.


From Bonnie Lucas,

"Loved your show on bridges and when J.J demoed the App, I was reminded that when I got it to read a can it said cranberry juice and we do not buy cranberry juice. The can was actually fire roasted tomatoes.

Listening right now and I think there ought to be a way to have a game show at the NFB convention! Listened and loved it!

And lastly from Stanley Littrell...

"While I was listening to the section of your podcast concerning Seeing AI, I was reminded of trying a recent experiment. When I used my ID mate to read a bag of mixed nuts that I purchased through Amazon I couldn't read the barcode because it wasn't in the database. I then used the short reading text mode to read the bag using the Seeing AI app. I was able to read the contents of the bag. I will still proudly use the ID Mate. This app is just one more tool in the tool kit."

Last Word:

From Flying Battery Zone, via Sonic Mania, to just plain batteries. We always finish with some crazy stuff at the end of the show.
Green Hill Zone Act 1 2017

Green Hill Zone Act 2 2017

Samsung copycat Xiaomi has a phone called Note and it just exploded in someone's pants

We're just returning to stride with this week's show. It is good to be back and even better to know we have a lot more to talk about before the end of the year. See you next week!

Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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Alexa, Open NFB-Newsline

NFB-Newsline subscribers soon will be able to use the service hands-free. Beta applications are now being accepted to use the new NFB-Newsline skill for Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot, and other voice-enabled hardware.

The feature was introduced during the 2017 Presidential Report given by Mark Riccobono at the NFB Convention in Orlando. Here's a small portion of that report.:
"We want NFB-NEWSLINE, like KNFB Reader, to be in all of the places where it is needed and to be as easy to access as possible. At this convention, we are widely rolling out beta testing on a device that you do not have to touch in order to get access to all of the rich NFB-NEWSLINE content "you need only ask for it. We are now seeking NFB-NEWSLINE users to beta test our NFB-NEWSLINE skill for the Amazon Echo. This is the first time the service interface is enabled through the spoken word. We will need to learn what works, what does not, and what innovations blind people will imagine through this new interface. Our future is only limited by our ability to imagine and build the solutions we seek."
To apply to become a beta tester, send a message to

Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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Freedom Scientific Focuses on Ruggedness with Updated 40-cell Display

Freedom Scientific has introduced the latest generation of its Focus 40 Blue braille display with an emphasis on durability.

The new Blue takes a page out of the playbook of competitors by allowing users to connect to up to 6 devices at once (5 Bluetooth and 1 USB). But the focus (no pun intended) of their announcement is ruggedness and protection against drops.
"Thanks to an aluminum extrusion on a steel base, the housing of the Focus 40 Blue is stronger than ever before. This eliminates any torsion that could be transmitted to the Braille cells, or other internal components. The housing also incorporates bumpers that deform to absorb shock when the unit is dropped on its end or accidentally knocked against a wall or door," according to the press release.
It also uses the recently-released USBC 3.1 Micro cable for charging which can be used in either direction, similar to Lightning cables on iOS. Updated Focus 14 and Focus 80 models are also promised.
The new Focus 40 Blue is available now for $2,995. Check the source link to learn more.

Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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And we’re back!

I just wanted to write this to let everyone know that we’re back. There are a few things we’re still working on fixing so please be patient with us.

I personally have been working on some things while this site has been down and I hope to start posting them shortly. However, one of the things I have been working on is our patreon page.So if you would like to help us reach any of our future goals please join us. Depending on which tier you choose you could get lots of neat little rewards including: mention in a podcast, Early access to blogs and podcasts,, you could even become a guest blogger or guest podcaster for us, and so much more. So please come join us. You won’t regret it.

Hopefully we’ll be back to our regular schedule on Monday. See you in the next post! Thanks for reading!

FSCast Episode 142 – Winners of SMA upgrade competition, new generation Focus 40 Blue refreshable Braille display, support for Microsoft Edge in JAWS and in a JAWS byte, we revisit the key labels feature

We announce the three lucky winners in our SMA upgrade competition.

Ron Miller introduces the new generation of Focus 40 Blue refreshable Braille display, and discusses 40-cell options for ElBraille.

Jonathan Mosen reports progress on, and demonstrates, support for Microsoft Edge in JAWS.

And in a JAWS byte, we revisit the key labels feature, showing you how to mute the echo of characters but retain echo of numbers.

Show Host: Jonathan Mosen

Winners of SMA upgrade competition, new generation Focus 40 Blue refreshable Braille display, support for Microsoft Edge in JAWS and in a JAWS byte, we revisit the key labels feature

Legislation Would ‘Move the Needle’ on Accessibility in N.L.: Advocate

Provincial government committed to making it happen, says consultations will happen in the next year Louis Power
Published on August 16, 2017

Barrier-Free Newfoundland and Labrador is a new group whose sole purpose is to lobby for accessibility legislation.

The conversation about accessibility in our communities has been going on for decades, and it’s time for action through legislation, some advocates say.

Debbie Ryan of CNIB Newfoundland and Labrador is among the members of Barrier-Free Newfoundland and Labrador, a group whose sole purpose is to lobby for accessibility legislation. The local chapter was formed in November, after Barrier-Free Canada co-chair David Lepovsky visited St. John’s as part of consultations on federal accessibility legislation.

“David talked about civil and constitutional law. He talked about the fact that people with disabilities … live in a society that is designed as if we’re not there. And when you look at the fact that across this country, there are four million Canadians living with a disability, that’s scary,” said Ryan.

To give a little local perspective, she said there are currently 3,600 people in the province registered with CNIB and at least 20,000 more living with vision loss.

For those residents, and residents living with other disabilities, progress has been slow when it comes to knocking down accessibility barriers.

That’s what Ryan is referring to when she says the province needs to “move the needle.” She said making accessibility in public spaces law, with a timeline in mind Nova Scotia’s Accessibility Act, which aims for an accessible province by 2030, for instance would help our communities get there quicker.

“It has to be a much faster process. We need to look at what needs to be done, set timelines and meet those timelines, but that, unfortunately, has not been the case.

For example, right here in Metro St. John’s we, as an organization, have 1,100 clients that we provide services to, but there are only three accessible pedestrian signals in the City of St. John’s,” she said.

“That’s just a small example of why I feel there’s a necessity to move the whole conversation about legislation to the forefront, so that people will understand that … with legislation comes education. Because in order to implement legislation, you have to inform the people in the community of how they are to follow that legislation. So there’s automatically an education component to it.”

Not replacing Charter

Ryan said people often say legislation shouldn’t be necessary to prevent discrimination, as there’s already a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and human rights codes, to protect people who feel they’ve been victims of discrimination.

“But the Charter of Rights and the human rights code really, while it tells us you can’t discriminate, and you need to accommodate the needs of people with disabilities up to the point of undue hardship, it doesn’t have enforcement. It’s not out there ensuring that people are doing what they should be doing, so what it does is it forces people who are living with disabilities to become, as David called them, ‘accessibility cops.’ And they have to fight their own cases, and there’s something fundamentally wrong with that. People with disabilities should not have to go and fight for themselves, and oftentimes, somebody living with a disability has barriers to employment, and often don’t have the resources to take on those issues,” Ryan said.
“That’s another reason why we think we need a law that will not one that will replace human rights or the charter of rights, but one that will actually make them work. One that will get us action without us having to fight one barrier at a time, or one organization at a time.”

The Government of Canada consulted with groups and individuals around the country this year on federal accessibility legislation. But federal laws don’t cover everything, Ryan says, and provincial laws are needed to effect change in communities. She points to other provinces, likeNova Scotia, that have similar legislation in place, and says Newfoundland and Labrador doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel in order to set our own goals.

Province committed

Lisa Dempster, minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development and the province’s minister responsible for the status of persons with disabilities, said it’s her mandate to review existing laws and implement inclusion-based legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador.

“Inclusion-based or broad-based accessibility legislation is a growing trend across the country. It goes beyond making our buildings accessible to making sure all aspects of our communities and private and public services are accessible to everyone,” she wrote to The Telegram.

“Our commitment to inclusion-based legislation demonstrates the seriousness and necessity of designing and providing inclusive, services, buildings, facilities, communities. It is about removing barriers and preventing new barriers.”

Dempster said the provincial government will consult with people with disabilities, organizations and municipal governments in the coming year.

“Individuals and groups are already turning their minds to what legislation could look like. The Provincial Advisory Council for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities has begun discussions on legislative options.”

She said the province is paying attention to what’s happening elsewhere in Canada Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia all have legislation in place, and others including Newfoundland and Labrador have committed to doing the same.

“Legislation in other provinces includes regulated and mandatory standards in specific areas, such as customer service, information and communications, employment, transportation, and the built environment,” Dempster wrote.

“We want to hear from people in the province, and work with community organizations and other stakeholders. We want to create inclusion-based legislation that works for this province a ‘made in Newfoundland and Labrador’ legislation, not necessarily a replica of what is happening in other provinces or federally.”

Ryan said Barrier-Free NL wants to be at the table to help guide that process. She said she knows it’s not going to be easy, and she knows it’s going to take time; there are many aspects to accessibility, from paratransport to painting sidewalks to help people with low vision. She feels setting a date, like other provinces have, will give the community time to make adjustments and help move things along.

“We need to establish a goal to work towards one that will force us to move that needle that’s been basically sitting there for far too long,” she said.
Twitter: @TelyLouis

Original at—advo.html

Advocates Recognised Through Victorian Disability Awards

MELBOURNE: Leading disability advocates from across Victoria have been recognised at an awards ceremony in Melbourne yesterday. The Victorian Disability Awards formally recognise individuals, teams and organisations that make a difference in the lives of people with disability and who champion equality for all Victorians. Presenting the awards, Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing Martin […]

Team Wins Award for Armenian Sign Language App

YEREVAN: Students from the Vahan Tekeyan School in the Karbi village of Aragatsotn Province were selected as finalists of the 2017 Technovation Challenge, an all-girls international competition, winning the People’s Choice Award for an app to help people learn Armenian Sign Language. The competition was held from August 7 to 11 in Silicon Valley. The […]

ATU325 – BrightSign Glove – Hadeel Ayoub & Phoenix Marcon |

Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Show notes: BrightSign Glove – Hadeel Ayoub & Phoenix Marcon CEO of Re-Voice | RESNA NewsBrief —————————— If you have an AT question, leave […]

The post ATU325 – BrightSign Glove – Hadeel Ayoub & Phoenix Marcon | appeared first on Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads.

May 2017 Breeder’s Digest

Litter Announcements

Labrador Retrievers

Golden Retrievers

Labrador/Golden Retriever Crosses

New Breeders

Labrador Retrievers
  • Agnes – CA
  • Celtic – CA
  • Corinne – CO
  • Kent – CA
  • Oasis – CA
  • Urvek – NV
  • Zenith – CA