Monthly Tech Talk Announcement for May

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Talk for May 18th. May’s call will start off with a discussion about Global Accessibility Awareness Day. The purpose of GAAD is to raise awareness about accessibility of our digital lives. Apple establishes a special segment in its app stores to highlight the best apps for individuals with disabilities. The second focus of our call will review the different ways one digital records meetings to quick notes. Fortunately one needs to only reach into their pocket and pull our their iOS device, Hims Blaze, or Victor Reader to capture the audio, so the possibilities on how, why, and what one uses is endless.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, May 18
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

MacOS Talk Announcement for May 11

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk for May 11. This call will enable participants the chance to discuss anything related to MacOS. Participation just requires one to use the below details.

  • Thursday, May 11
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Blind Vet Tech’s April 20th Monthly Tech Talk Announcement

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Talk for April 20. April’s call will focus on the different devices, apps, and other solutions to read digital documents. The VA’s blind rehab services often issue Veterans devices like the Victor Reader or Hims Blaze as one of the first stand alone blindness devices. These products enables one to listen to selections from NLS BARD, Bookshare, podcasts, and streaming internet radio. However, your iOS and Android possess these same capabilities through apps, like Voice Dream Reader, NLS BARD Mobile, TuneIn Radio, and Podcasts.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, April 20
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

April’s Monthly MacOS Talk

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk for April 13th. We will start the call with a discussion on the latest updates to the MacOS and iWorks productivity suite. Afterwards the session will be open for many of your questions about our favorite OP, MacOS.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, April 13
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

April’s Hines Blind Center Alumni’s Tech Teleconferences

This is an announcement for April’s Hines Blind Center Alumni tech related teleconferences. These are open forum discussions for Veterans with visual impairments to learn more and share their experiences related to tech. The Hines Blind Center Alumni tech teleconferences will occur:

  • iDevices and GPS Users
  • Tuesday, April 4th

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125
  • Windows Computer Users
  • Thursday, April 6th

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125

If you have any difficulties entering the conference room, please dial 0 for the Operator.
The conference call will begin promptly at 1000 (10:00 a.m., and you are asked to start entering the conference room at 0950 (9:50 a.m.). The conference call will conclude at 1120 (11:20 a.m.). This is Central Standard Time.
We will observe the Roberts Rules of Order. Please direct your question or answer to the Moderator of the call so the Moderator can properly identify you for the continuation of your question/answer. You are asked to not speak over or interrupt a fellow Blinded Veteran who is providing a question or providing an answer to a question. Participants are asked to limit their questions to 2 and with time permitting at the end of the conference call, you may ask additional questions. You are also asked to do a star 6 to mute out any and all background noise, then if you have a question star 6 again and give your name to the recognized moderator.

March’s Monthly Talk Announcement

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Talk for March 16th. March’s talk will focus on office and productivity solutions for home and business usage. The two leading suites include Apple iWork’s, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and Mail; and Microsoft Office 365, Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook.

The amazing part of the Apple iWorks suite stems from the deep integration with all MacOS and iOS devices. iCloud Drive ensures files and format synchronizes seamlessly. This allows you to start drafting a Pages document on your iPad, preform some formatting tweaks on your Mac, do a quick document check on your Windows computer through iCloud.com, and share the document through your iPhone. If you and a partner are both on a MacOS computer, then you can skip sending documents via email and collaborate in realtime, even as a Voice Over or Zoom user.

The only true competitor is Microsoft Office’s 365. Office 365 is a subscription b based office suite. No longer must you wait for updates, since Office 365 pushes all updates to you. Office 365 is the only true cross platform productivity suite, offering a very usable platform for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Windows mobile devices. So imagine checking your Outlook mail on your iOS devices and receiving a .docx. You can open this up in Word, save it to One Drive, edit it on your Mac or Windows computer with Word, and share it through Outlook on your Surface. All of this is achievable with Voice Over, Zoom, Fusion, NVDA, Narrator, and any other windows based assistive tech software.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, March 16th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Announcement for March's MacOS Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk for March 9th. March’s talk will focus on office and productivity solutions for home and business usage. The two leading suites include Apple iWork’s, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, and Mail; and Microsoft Office 365, Word, Excel, Power Point, and Outlook. Both are fully accessible with Voice Over and Zoom, offering visually impaired individuals true choice.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, March 9th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Blind Vet Tech News Update: Accessibility and Usability – Blind Vet Tech

Welcome to the first Blind Vet Tech News Update, the podcast presenting news, information, and thoughts related to expansive tech world. In this episode, Terry and I introduce ourselves, review Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, introduce the Web Accessibility Initiative, debate accessibility versus usability, and how these items formed the Information and Communications Technologies Refresh.

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act established the core accessibility requirements for electronic and digital informational technologies for Federal, state, and similar entities. Originally established in 1986, the regulations received only two updates. The 1998 update established requirements for items like federal and state websites, web-based services, and other items based on the type of technology. The href=”http://blindvettech.blindnotalone.com/tremendous-victory-for-digital-accessibility-advocates/”>Information and Communications Technologies Refresh redefined web accessibility requirements by adopting the Web Accessibility Initiative’s guidelines and reclassifying technology categories based on their function.

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is a collective of industry leaders, disability advocates, and governmental representatives under the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). The aim is to establish a fluid set of accessibility guidelines for the world wide web and anything interacting with it. This becomes more important as devices, like smart phones, wearables, and VR/AR, change how we interact with not just the world wide web by the greater internet. Without a baseline set of accessibility recommendations, we as disabled consumers would be lost.

Both Section 508 and the WAI struggle in one area, what does accessibility and usability mean. Yes, something may be completely accessible but not usable, demonstrating the objective versus subjective nature of the debate. In the comment fields below, what does accessibility and usability mean to you?

The href=”http://blindvettech.blindnotalone.com/tremendous-victory-for-digital-accessibility-advocates/”>Information and Communications Technologies Refresh pulls these three items together and redefines Section 508, Section 255 of the communications act, and so much more. The US Access Board overseen this update, presenting the update in January 2017 with an publication date in March 2017. Federal and State entities have until January2018 to release their updated policies and bring their services into compliance.

Thank you for listening to the Blind Vet Tech News Update. The focus on Section 508, WAI, accessibility versus usability, and the ICT Refresh provided an overview of the accessibility menace in the evolving digital world.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

March's Hines Blind Center Alumni Tech Teleconferences – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for March’s Hines Blind Center Alumni tech related teleconferences. These are open forum discussions for Veterans with visual impairments to learn more and share their experiences related to tech. The Hines Blind Center Alumni tech teleconferences will occur:

  • iDevices and GPS Users
  • Tuesday, March 7th

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125
  • Windows Computer Users
  • Thursday, March 2nd

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125

If you have any difficulties entering the conference room, please dial 0 for the Operator.
The conference call will begin promptly at 1000 (10:00 a.m., and you are asked to start entering the conference room at 0950 (9:50 a.m.). The conference call will conclude at 1120 (11:20 a.m.). This is Central Standard Time.
We will observe the Roberts Rules of Order. Please direct your question or answer to the Moderator of the call so the Moderator can properly identify you for the continuation of your question/answer. You are asked to not speak over or interrupt a fellow Blinded Veteran who is providing a question or providing an answer to a question. Participants are asked to limit their questions to 2 and with time permitting at the end of the conference call, you may ask additional questions. You are also asked to do a star 6 to mute out any and all background noise, then if you have a question star 6 again and give your name to the recognized moderator.

Announcement for February's Monthly MacOS Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk for February 9th. February’s call will focus on how we each use cloud services. Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s One Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Cloud services enables one to synchronize contacts, calendar events, notes, files, photos and so much more across your computers, smart phones, and tablets.

In addition, participants will be able to learn about how the new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar improves my workflow.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, February 9th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Announcement for February's Monthly Tech Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for February 16th. February’s call will focus on how we each use cloud services. Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s One Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Cloud services enables one to synchronize contacts, calendar events, notes, files, photos and so much more across your computers, smart phones, and tablets. Even if you do not directly use cloud services, you might indirectly benefit from cloud computing. For example Serotek’s DocuScan Plus OCR’s documents through the cloud while many electronic health records are stored on cloud systems.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, February 16th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Announcement for February's Monthly Tech Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for February 16th. February’s call will focus on how we each use cloud services. Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft’s One Drive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Cloud services enables one to synchronize contacts, calendar events, notes, files, photos and so much more across your computers, smart phones, and tablets. Even if you do not directly use cloud services, you might indirectly benefit from cloud computing. For example Serotek’s DocuScan Plus OCR’s documents through the cloud while many electronic health records are stored on cloud systems.

This calls participation details are:

  • Thursday, February 16th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Increasing Independence Through Voice Activated Home Automation – Blind Vet Tech

Blind veterans could find benefits in the use of an emerging category of systems that use voice commands to control one’s home.. The control is accomplished by wireless switches and plug receptacles that interface with devices like The three best-known systems at present: Alexa with Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, Google Now with Google Home and Siri with the Apple Home Kit with which one can use an iPhone and/or iPad for voice input portals.

This control is accomplished to a great extent using wireless switches and plug receptacles that interface with the voice input systems. By voice command one can turn lights off and on, dim and brighten lights throughout the house from wherever you are in the house. You can control lamps and plug-in appliances and even your coffee pot by voice. Imagine waking up and giving the command “turn on coffee pot.”

To take it a bit farther, these systems allow one to control not just lights, but also door locks, a garage door, a thermostat, ceiling fans, and other appliances in the home. Think of being able to close your drapes in the evening by voice command. .

. Such control can be an effective component of a home security system
The potential exists to use voice to activate and disarm your alarm system, as well as lock and unlock entry and garage doors

At the center of the system is a hub, which routes the commands to the correct device. All the component hardware is connected wirelessly to each other via wifi, bluetooth, or other wireless technology.

I have such a system in my home, and I use the Amazon Echo as my voice input portal. To expand my voice input coverage beyond a central point and room, I use Echo Dot to extend coverage. The Echo devices all work together without interference. Another option is to expand command input capability using remotes available to sync with any of the Echo family of devices.

My system started out with control of the front door lock, a couple of lights, activation of the alarm system, , and control of the garage door. I have added control of additional lights indoors, as well as outdoor lighting control, and control of motorized drapes and shades. I can turn on my entertainment system, including turning on TV, changing stations, and switching to Apple TV, all using voice.

Another feature of these systems is that of creating what are called scenes. for instance, my Good Night scene turns off all lights and TV, ceiling fan, goes through the sequences to lock the front door and garage door, and sets the alarm. I have set up other scenes to cover other events.

I did my system in stages, adding as I desired more features. Systems can vary, of course, depending on the range and scope of control desired, the number of control switches and outlets used, and the addition of wireless door lock systems which are becoming more numerous and less expensive.

Blind Rehab Centers are issuing iPhone, iPads, and Echo Dots to veterans, but not home automation accessories. At the present time such systems are not available using the Adapted Home Grant through VA. as electronics improve and expand their capabilities, well-written justifications may be accepted in the future. To find out more about devices or systems for home control, search on amazon.com, google.com, and apple.com to compare the features of the options. Accessories from other vendors are available at Home depot and Best buy, just to start.

This article comes from Paul, who is the current Secretary of the Blinded Veterans Association.

February's Hines Blind Center Alumni Tech Teleconferences – Blind Vet Tech

As February draws near, the latest Hines Blind Center Alumni’s tech teleconferences draws right behind it. This month features Larry Lewis of the VA’s Section 508 Team on both the iOS and GPS users, and the Windows computer users teleconferences. If you ever wonder how the VA ensures compliance with federal accessibility requirements for any type of digital or electronic content or interface, this is the call for you. If you are new to the terms, Section 508 and accessibility, review the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk’s January’s session summary. Even the most advance screen reader and magnifier user would not be able to access many websites, if not for regulations and guidelines like Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act or the accessibility guidelines from the World Wide Web Consortium.

The Hines Blind Center Alumni tech teleconferences will occur:

  • iDevices and GPS Users
  • Tuesday, February 7th

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125
  • Windows Computer Users
  • Thursday, February 2nd

  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125

If you have any difficulties entering the conference room, please dial 0 for the Operator.
The conference call will begin promptly at 1000 (10:00 a.m., and you are asked to start entering the conference room at 0950 (9:50 a.m.). The conference call will conclude at 1120 (11:20 a.m.). This is Central Standard Time.
We will observe the Roberts Rules of Order. Please direct your question or answer to the Moderator of the call so the Moderator can properly identify you for the continuation of your question/answer. You are asked to not speak over or interrupt a fellow Blinded Veteran who is providing a question or providing an answer to a question. Participants are asked to limit their questions to 2 and with time permitting at the end of the conference call, you may ask additional questions. You are also asked to do a star 6 to mute out any and all background noise, then if you have a question star 6 again and give your name to be recognized by the moderator.

Recap of the January 19th Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk – Blind Vet Tech

The January 19th Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech talk featured two topics, review of the VA’s Section 508 Team and using the Voice Over Rotor. Larry from the VA Section 508 Team discussed:

  • Duties and responsibilities of the VA Section 508 Team
  • The difference between usability and accessibility under Section 508
  • The position of the Section 508 Team in the VA’s acquisition of electronic and digital content and interfaces
  • Methods the Section 508 Team tests and strives to enhance the accessibility of VA digital and electronic content and interfaces
  • Discussed the Information and Communications Technologies refresh to Section 508 as it relates to the VA

If you have any questions about the accessibility of digital and electronic content and interfaces, feel free to contact Larry and the Section 508 Team at larry.lewis3@va.gov or section508@va.gov.

The second part of the session enabled participants to discuss how we each use the Voice Over Rotor. The Voice Over Rotor may be activated with either a two finger gesture or through a paired keyboard. For more information about the Voice Over Rotor, listen to our Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides and Tutorials podcasts on the Voice Over Rotor.

Did you miss this teleconference? Visit the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk to see a full list of upcoming teleconferences, topics, recordings of past teleconferences, podcasts information, and announcements.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Tremendous Victory for Digital Accessibility Advocates – Blind Vet Tech

Disability digital accessibility advocates rejoiced on January 18, 2017, when the US Access Board Updated rules for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Communications Act. March 20, 2017 might be the effective date of the update, but compliance is delayed until January 18, 2018 for Section 508 and the Federal Communications Committee must first adopt the new Section 255 rules. The change advances accessibility of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) employed by federal and other agencies abiding by these acts. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act pertains to computers, telephonic communications methods, copier printers, websites, published software, kiosks, transaction devices, and any electronic documents. 255 of the Communications Act covers telephones, mobile and smart phones, routers, set-top boxes, computers with modems, Voice Over IP (VOIP) software, and the underlying software for these items.

The update’s chief results empower individuals with disabilities to access digital, electronic, and telecommunications services and programs under Section 508 and Section 255. This occurs through easier to understand accessibility standards crafted by industry leaders. The most important aspects include:

For Veterans with visual impairments, the accessibility of digital content and interfaces will increase within the Department of Veterans Affairs, Medicare, and Social Security. Most notably, the VA’s check-in kiosks lack sufficient accessibility options for low vision and blinded Veterans. The Section 508 Team at the VA diligently works to correct this problem; the new rules will decrease the chances for this to happen again. The WAI guidelines for web interfaces and media content will advance accessibility guidelines to usability requirements for individuals with disabilities, a chief complaint of many accessing VA websites to Social Security online forms. Finally, provisions acknowledge and usher guidelines for emerging technologies, like smart phones and mobile devices, by noting their roles in the lives of individuals with disabilities and focusing on the how we use these items in accessing digital materials. Section 4 of the overview contains a complete list of each change and outcomes.

The ICT refresh represents the first steps into a world consistent with universal design principals. While this we celebrate this long fought victory, we need to remain active in advocating for digital accessibility throughout our entire digital life. We still face an uphill climb ensuring those covered under Section 508 and Section 255 comply with these rules and guidelines. While we evaluate implementation of the ICT, we also need to continue to pressure the Depart of Justice to adopt similar requirements, like WAIG, for entities under Section 2 and Section 3 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, like online stores to streaming media platforms.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

AI Square ZoomText and Window Eyes Users Be Warned – Blind Vet Tech

If you rely on AI Square’s ZoomText or Window Eyes to access your computer, you may face serious issues accessing your assistive technology. On January 16th, AI Squared issued an urgent warning for all of its users. The cause involves a compromised certificate which may prompt the Windows error message, “A referral was returned from the server,” to appear upon launching the affected AI Square products. This will happen to the below list of AI Square products if not updated prior to February 26, 2017:

  • ZoomText Magnifier – Build numbers 10.10.8 to 10.11.6
  • Window-Eyes v9.5 – Build numbers 9.5.1 and 9.5.3
  • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader v10.1 – Build numbers 10.10.8 to 10.11.6
  • ZoomText Fusion v10.1 – Build numbers 10.11.1 to 10.11.5
  • ZoomText Keyboard v4 – Build numbers 4.0.0 to 4.1.0

If you use any of these AI Square products, start checking for updates. You can find the update in the update wizard for your software or by visiting this link.

If you have any questions or require any assistance updating or confirming you may be impacted by this issue, contact the AI Square support team at:

  • (727) 803-8600, and select Option 2
  • support@aisquared.com

Windows 10 and Office 365 Review – Blind Vet Tech

It is not always clear what operating system is best. In my case, Windows 10 with Office 365 is the best choice. This is because I can use Windows solution as a cross platform along with my iOS devices. Below is a list of the computers and mobile solutions promoting my independence through tech.

  • Laptop with 32gb of RAM and 512gb SSD
    • Windows 10
    • Microsoft Office 365
    • Internet Explorer 11
    • JAWS 18
    • Microsoft One Drive as the cloud storage solution
  • Wireless keyboard and headset
  • 128gb iPhone 6S Plus and 64gb iPod Touch
    • iOS 10.2
    • Microsoft Office 365 apps, i.e. Word, Excel, Power Point, and Office Lens
    • Microsoft One Drive as the cloud storage solution

Let’s talk about my access needs. I work virtually at home or on the road. Working at two very different locations requires different hardware and software configurations. At home the use of a laptop and wired input devices, lets me work anywhere within range of the wired devices. With Office 365, I always have the current software and security updates installed. Using One Drive with one terabyte of cloud storage, the need for a large hard drive (which is prone to failures) is not required. My data is secured and backed up in the Cloud, and it’s available on any of my devices.

When I’m on the road, whether I’m traveling for pleasure or supporting the disabled community through support groups, I have everything I need in my shoulder bag. I can keep up with emails, text messaging, social media with my iPhone. I can give presentations with my iPod Touch that is connected to a projector and PA system so I do not have to worry about being interrupted by any notification on my iPhone.

But take note! There is always a learning curve when migrating to new software. In updating to Windows 10 and Office 365, there are new concepts that need to be understood and learned, such as Startup menu, Windows short cut key, Screen Reader, Office16 with 365.

Migrating from Windows 7 to Windows 10, can be a challenge if you don’t understand the Start Menu and Windows Short Cut Keys! Once you know this information, you will need to learn the JAWS Keys.

Here’s how to configure the Start Menu:

Use the following website as a tutorial to help learn the Start Menu:

http://www.blind.training/free-training/windows-training/windows-10-start-menu

The Start Menu of Windows10 is a powerful tool that provides access to your computer and the Web.

The Start Menu consists of the following elements that you need to learn:

  • The Search Edit Field
  • Start Menu List
  • Applications

Use the following website as a tutorial to help learn the list of Windows 10 Short Cut Keys
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/keyboard-shortcuts#narrator-keyboard-shortcuts

Some examples of Windows logo shortcut keys are:

  • Windows logo key to Open or close Start Menu
  • Windows logo key + I to Open Settings
  • Windows logo key + X to Open the Quick Link menu
  • Windows logo key + Enter to Open Narrator

There are a host of other keyboard shortcuts. Command prompt keyboard shortcuts are the standard keyboard shortcuts used throughout Windows. Some of these includes Control plus C, V, and X to copy, paste, and cut text respectively.

Common Dialog box keyboard shortcuts include Ctrl plus Tab to move forward through tabs, Tab to move forward through options, and Spacebar to select or clear the check box. Some examples of File Explorer keyboard shortcuts are Alt plus D to jump to the address bar, Ctrl plus E to select the search box, Ctrl plus N to open a new window, and Ctrl plus W to close the active window.

It is also important to review the new features in the most current version of JAWS. There are new keystrokes that makes navigating and reading easier. The following links a great tutorial for these keystrokes.

http://doccenter.freedomscientific.com/doccenter/archives/training/jawskeystrokes.htm

JAWs employs Layered keystrokes, which are key strokes requiring you to first press Insert plus Spacebar and releasing prior to pressing the modifier key. Layered keystrokes are easy to use and remember, and they do not interfere with native keystrokes within applications. Once you enter a layer, press the QUESTION MARK key to get a list of available keyboard commands within that layer.

Navigation Quick Keys for HTML: Radio Button tap A, Button tap B, Combo Box tap C, Edit Box tap E

Office 365 is an online subscription service. With Office 365, you automatically get the latest versions of Office programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Office 365 is even fully accessible online through its web interface. This makes its accessibility features work a little differently than Office desktop programs; shortcuts might not be the same and the page layouts are different. However, all the keyboard shortcuts and other accessibility features that you know from the browser work in Office Online. The below link is a wonderful tutorial to learn how to extract the most from Office 365.

https://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/office365/default.aspx

OneDrive is free online storage that comes with your Microsoft account. Save your files there and you’ll be able to get to them from any PC, tablet, or phone. Use the following as a tutorial for One Drive: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/17184/windows-10-onedrive

The basics
To save a document you’re working on to OneDrive, select a OneDrive folder from the list of save locations. To move files to OneDrive, open File Explorer and then copy them into a OneDrive folder. This automatically synchronizes files with your computer.

OTHER NOTES and COMMENTS
With the Anniversary release of Windows 10, the Windows embedded screen reader, called Narrator, is evolving into an alternative screen reader. While lacking the complete features of JAWS, Narrator steadily improves with each update to Windows. Currently it is feasible to rely on Narrator to conduct anything from simple emailing and web surfing goals to drafting documents in Word and other applications. If you are using One Drive, your documents are available. The below links provide tutoring on the use of Narrator.

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22798/windows-10-narrator-get-started
http://forumspotz.xyz/view/windows-10-tutorial-narrator-settings-microsoft-training/3sEjJh9OxZI
https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22798/windows-10-narrator-get-started

In conclusion, just updating to Windows 10 is worth the effort, as an upgrade. However, as a total solution it is exceptional. I have selected a hardware and software platform that meets my needs: simple updates to the operating systems with little or no interaction, automatic version updates of applications software, automatic saving and backup to the Cloud and the right platform for working at home or away. With all that said, the solution was worth the time and money invested.

Other Reference links:
 
Windows 10

https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/5213/complete-guide-to-windows-
http://reviews.gizmodo.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-windows-10-keyboard-shortcuts-1720656591
https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/accessibility/2016/08/09/new-accessibility-documentation-for-the-windows-10-anniversary-update/

Videos:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sEjJh9OxZI
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2016
https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2016/P541
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZqKyhfD7-E
 

JAWS
 
http://www.jaws-users.com/text/Windows/10/index.html
http://www.jaws-users.com/help/

Announcement for January's Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is the announcement for January 12th’s Blind Vet Tech Monthly MacOS Talk. This month’s call will focus on how we each access email within MacOS. While Apple packages Mail onto every installation of MacOS, this is not the only solution available to manage your emailing needs. The details for the call are:

  • Thursday, January 12th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Announcement for January's Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for January 19th. With the holiday season slowly fading into the past, I hope one of your resolutions involve socializing and talking with your fellow Veterans with a visual impairment. If so, our Blind Vet Tech monthly teleconferences, along with the Hines Blind Center Alumni’s calls, are an entertaining and educational way to accomplish this goal.

Our call for January features two components. The first is a guest presentation from the VA Section 508 team about their duties and responsibilities, usability workarounds, and how we each may contribute to increasing the accessibility of VA digital interfaces. The second piece will be a discussion about how we each use the Voice Over Rotor, which you can learn more about by listening to this podcast.
The details for the call are:

  • Thursday, January 19th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

Announcement for January's Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the Blind Vet Tech Monthly Tech Talk for January 19th. With the holiday season slowly fading into the past, I hope one of your resolutions involve socializing and talking with your fellow Veterans with a visual impairment. If so, our Blind Vet Tech monthly teleconferences, along with the Hines Blind Center Alumni’s calls, are an entertaining and educational way to accomplish this goal.

Our call for January features two components. The first is a guest presentation from the VA Section 508 team about their duties and responsibilities, usability workarounds, and how we each may contribute to increasing the accessibility of VA digital interfaces. The second piece will be a discussion about how we each use the Voice Over Rotor, which you can learn more about by listening to this podcast.
The details for the call are:

  • Thursday, January 19th
  • 1900 Central Time
  • (866) 820-9940

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com

Don’t miss another Blind Vet Tech teleconference, click here to see a list of our teleconferences and others we support.

January's HBCA Monthly iDevices and GPS Call – Blind Vet Tech

This is an announcement for the January 3rd Hines Blind Center Alumni iDevices and GPS users teleconference. The holiday season is a time for all of us to share with our friends and families, and there is no better way to achieve this goal then by joining your fellow Veterans on the HBCA monthly iDevices and GPS teleconference. The details for the call are:

  • Tuesday, January 3rd
  • 1000 AM Central Time
  • (800) 767-1750, ext 44125

If you have any difficulties entering the conference room, please dial 0 for the Operator.
The conference call will begin promptly at 1000 (10:00 a.m., and you are asked to start entering the conference room at 0950 (9:50 a.m.). The conference call will conclude at 1120 (11:20 a.m.). This is Central Standard Time.
We will observe the Roberts Rules of Order. Please direct your question or answer to the Moderator of the call so the Moderator can properly identify you for the continuation of your question/answer. You are asked to not speak over or interrupt a fellow Blinded Veteran who is providing a question or providing an answer to a question. Participants are asked to limit their questions to 2 and with time permitting at the end of the conference call, you may ask additional questions. You are also asked to do a star 6 to mute out any and all background noise, then if you have a question star 6 again and give your name to be recognized by the moderator.

Blinded Veterans new to I Devices will have an opportunity to have their questions answered first.
Please share this information with other Blinded Veterans as the information we share on the conference call can be very helpful.
call.

Stay Informed

Stay up to date with the latest news and announcements from the Blind Vet Tech team, by doing one of the following:

  • Subscribe and like the Blind Vet Tech News and Announcements podcast through your Victor Reader, Hims Blaze, or favorite podcast app on your smart phone or tablet
  • Receive an email about any posts by subscribing to our blog

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com Looking for more information about when we host our monthly teleconferences for Visually Impaired Veterans, click here.

Blind Vet Tech News and Announcements Introductary Podcasts – Blind Vet Tech

A suspension bridge spans the logo with the acronym BVT in the middle. Beneath the bridge the words Blind Vet Tech appears. The bottom of the logo contains morse code reading TAVVI.
Welcome to the Blind Vet Tech News and Announcements blog and podcasts channel. This is your number one location to learn more about the Blind Vet Tech team, receive alerts and announcements about upcoming blind Vet Tech teleconferences or listen to recordings of many of our teleconferences, or stay informed about the greater world of assistive tech and devices.

Blind Vet Tech is right for you if you answer yes to any of the following questions:

  • Are you a Veteran with a visual impairment interested in learning more about assistive technologies and devices which will increase your independence?
  • Have you recently attended a Blind Rehab Center and wish to learn more about the devices you received?
  • Would you like to join your fellow blinded Veterans in discussing the various technologies we each use on a regular basis?

The Blind Vet Tech team and community is open to everyone. It matters not if you are a newly blinded Veteran just taking their first steps into the world of blindness or are a long time user of assistive tech, we are here for you. Its our belief learning by sharing experiences increases your confidence and proficiency using and integrating the myriad of software and hardware solutions you might receive.

Joining only requires you to be informed about how to participate in our teleconferences, Facebook discussion group, and email lists. Our podcasts and blog posts will inform you about upcoming teleconferences, how to chime in, and the subject for the session.

You can receive this information through several different methods:

  • Subscribe and like the Blind Vet Tech News and Announcements podcast through your Victor Reader, Hims Blaze, or favorite podcast app on your smart phone or tablet
  • Receive an email about any posts by subscribing to our blog

If you have any questions, comments, or requests, feel free to send us an email here. All of our podcasts and other information related to Veterans, blindness, acceptance of a disability, and other resources may be found at BlindNotAlone.com Looking for more information about when we host our monthly teleconferences for Visually Impaired Veterans, click here.

Enhance the Accessibility of Your Microsoft Office Documents with the Accessibility Checker – Blind Vet Tech

If you are wondering how to increase the accessibility of your Word, Excel, or Power Point documents, check out the new Accessibility Checker. This handy tool may be located in the ribbon under the Review tab on Microsoft Office 2013 or newer on Windows and MacOS.

When you select the Accessibility Checker, a table will pop out, providing suggestions to increase usability for a wide range of disabilities. While composing a research paper using the APA style template, the Accessibility Checker identified the lack of headings throughout the document. Reviewing a Power Point Presentation, the checker flagged the image files which lacked alt tags. Even more amazing is these test occurred on my MacBook Pro, and the checker worked flawlessly with Voice Over.

For more information about increasing the accessibility of your Word documents, visit this link. It matters not if you are drafting an internal memorandum to writing your memoirs, all documents should include many of these incredibly simple formatting edits to enhance readability for everyone.

Enhance the Accessibility of Your Microsoft Office Documents with the Accessibility Checker – Blind Vet Tech

If you are wondering how to increase the accessibility of your Word, Excel, or Power Point documents, check out the new Accessibility Checker. This handy tool may be located in the ribbon under the Review tab on Microsoft Office 2013 or newer on Windows and MacOS.

When you select the Accessibility Checker, a table will pop out, providing suggestions to increase usability for a wide range of disabilities. While composing a research paper using the APA style template, the Accessibility Checker identified the lack of headings throughout the document. Reviewing a Power Point Presentation, the checker flagged the image files which lacked alt tags. Even more amazing is these test occurred on my MacBook Pro, and the checker worked flawlessly with Voice Over.

For more information about increasing the accessibility of your Word documents, visit this link. It matters not if you are drafting an internal memorandum to writing your memoirs, all documents should include many of these incredibly simple formatting edits to enhance readability for everyone.