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.