AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for February 2018
Welcome to the February 2018 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which aims to highlight what's new and noteworthy on the AppleVis website. Below, you'll find a selection of the best content posted to AppleVis - from new app entries, to app updates, to the latest news and podcasts. For easier navigation, the major sections of this post are at heading level 3, and each individual item is at heading level 4.
New and Noteworthy App Entries
Accessible flash cards (iOS, US$1.99)
Study and improve your knowledge using Accessible Flash Cards.
A flash card is a card containing information usually on both sides, following the question-and-answer format or term-and-definition. They serve as a learning tool when we want to learn something or go over any topics or subjects of our interest. They may include texts, images or a combination of both on either side and their main purpose is knowledge acquisition memorizing their content by training sessions.
Write the term on the front of the card and write the definition on the back.
Create your own collections of flash cards covering topics in language, chemistry, spelling, geography or anything that you want to study or go over.
Create your daily or weekly training session choosing how many cards you want to use in the session and the method to move between cards:
- Fast: Read the term, then read the definition and finally go to the next card.
- Normal: Read the term, read and spell the definition and go to the next card.
- Slow: Read the term, read and spell the definition, read the term and the definition again and finally go to the next card.
- Manual: Manage the session using the toolbar to turn, spell, speak and go to next card.
Export your collections via e-Mail to share them among your devices or your friends.
Current Version: 1.1 (February 15, 2018)
Blindfold Crossword (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Crossword is a fully accessible crossword game, for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play. It is based on the standard crossword puzzle that is a grid 15 rows by 15 columns.
In Blindfold Crossword, you are given a set of hints and its location in the grid, and you have to come up with the answer - a word or words - that fits into the gird, either horizontally or vertically. When entering a word, it might share letters with other words, so you must pick answer carefully.
To make the puzzles easier, you can set the difficulty level of the puzzles, and ask for hints. You can also have the puzzle partially completed, which helps you learn how to solve a crossword puzzle.
Blindfold Crossword Puzzle comes with a practice puzzle, and there are upgrade packs of 100 puzzles each.
Blindfold Shape Puzzle (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Blindfold Shape Puzzle is a fully accessible tile deduction game for both sighted and visually impaired people, designed for rapid audio play, inspired by a Windows game called LAP.
The objective of the game is to identify the colors of the tiles on the board in as few moves as possible. All color groups are contiguous - in other words, there will never be a blue tile surrounded by green tiles. By determining the border between each of the color groups, you'll know the color of every tile on the board.
Board sizes range from 2 by 3 to 6 by 6 to 8 by 8 to 10 by 10, and colors range from 2 colors to 3 colors to 4 colors to 5 colors.
You are only penalized in this game, so your score will be negative, but you want to get the highest score as you can. You are penalized four points for each wrong guess. You are penalized one point for each hint.
Upgrade packs include unlimited play and tile alternatives such as animal names and sounds.
Current Version: 1.2.6 (January 27, 2018)
Downdetector (iOS, Free With In-App Purchase)
The Downdetector app offers real-time status and uptime monitoring for hundreds of services, including telecommunication outages (internet, phone and TV service), online banking problems, websites that go down and apps that aren’t working. The service monitors over 2,700 services in 25 countries.
Our outage detection is based on a real-time analysis of user reports from multiple sources, including social media such as Twitter, the Downdetector website and reports filed through this app.
Current Version: 3.0 (August 30, 2017)
EveryCord – Record & Broadcast (iOS, Free)
EveryCord, by the makers of iRec, flawlessly records your iOS 11 screen and saves it locally on the device at full HD and 60 FPS. Our app supports device-wide screen capture/recording – it IS NOT a “web browser recorder” that cannot record out of the app. With EveryCord, you can record your entire screen, including your favorite games, moments, and funny videos on the fly with fully customizable settings.
We also support live-streaming directly to YouTube, Twitch, and more services that support the RTMP Protocol!
Current Version: 1.1.2 (February 19, 2018)
Glucose - Blood Sugar Tracker (iOS, Free)
Glucose allows users to store a history of their blood sugar records. This makes it easy to identify trends and retain your data. You can also schedule reminders to ensure that you are diligent about checking your blood sugar.
The app also tracks what time of day you are checking your blood sugar, such as first thing in the morning, before a meal, or before bed. You can also add a note to each record.
Glucose also integrates with HealthKit by writing all inputted entries to the Health app.
Current Version: 1.7.8 (February 9, 2018)
Power Thesaurus (iOS, Free)
The application has been developed and driven by PowerThesaurus.org (popular online thesaurus).
20 million synonyms and antonyms.
- Lighting fast, convenient and comprehensive
- Easy-to-follow look & feel - with powerful assisting tools
- Real-time data
- Quick search - with auto-correction
- Filter synonyms and antonyms - by parts of speech or topics
- Flexible sorting - by rating, alphabetically, number of syllables or length
- Visitors rate suggested words with handy voting, helping other writers to find the best term
- Crowdsourced, meaning it has been built by a community of writers for writers
Power Thesaurus is a constantly growing and improving synonym finder with the collective power of its users and editorial team!
Current Version: 1.1 (January 18, 2017)
WayAround Tag and Scan (iOS, Free)
WayAround is the smart assistant that gives on-demand details about everyday things for anyone with blindness or vision loss. The simple tag-and-scan approach lets you quickly and easily identify what’s around you. The result? Better information, faster!
Use the app with our smart WayTags™ to add a description and other helpful information to items around your home and office. WayTags come as stickers, magnets, buttons, or clips, so you can tag anything and everything. It also works as an audio labeling system for those with good eyesight.
How does it work?
WayAround uses NFC technology (that’s Near Field Communication) to give you information when you need it. Use the app in Tagger mode to add a description and other details to your WayTags. Once you've listed everything you want to know, just hold your device close to the WayTag to write your information.
After tagging an item, use Scanner mode to scan a WayTag anytime to hear the description and details. You can scan with your NFC-enabled smart device or a WayLink™.
WayAround works seamlessly with VoiceOver and other accessibility devices, including braille displays. The interface uses high-contrast colors, icons, and large font, making WayAround accessible for anyone with any degree of vision loss, including those who are blind, low vision, vision impaired, deafblind, colorblind, and sighted.
Current Version: 1.0.3 (January 30, 2018)
When Was My Last? - Track Life's Important Events (iOS, US$0.99)
When was your last tetanus shot? Oil change? Hair cut? Dental cleaning? Job performance review?
We need to remember -- and possibly be reminded of -- lots of life events, but the built-in Calendar isn't ideal for that sort of thing. (It's too hard to find your old events, and many times old events don't even sync to your phone. Just entered something and it synced into the void? Ugh!) Some events are recurring, and we'd like to be reminded to do them again, such as a hair cut or an oil change.
"When Was My Last" sits at the intersection of the built-in Calendar app and Reminders app. When an event happens where you'll want to recall the date later, just quicky enter it in the app. With or without a reminder. Use tags for easy grouping and filtering. You can even keep notes.
When a doctor asks you when you last had a tetanus shot, you want to know the answer. And, you don't want to forget to spit-shine your Hummel figurines every month. You need this app.
Current Version: 1.10 (February 28, 2017)
Writers App - Basic (iOS, Free With In-App Purchase)
Writers App is the ultimate notepad for writers. It offers you an adjusted user interface to easily put all your thoughts and ideas about your story into one single place. Writers App gives you complete flexibility about the attributes and information you want to enter for all the parts of your story, regardless of whether you’re editing a chapter, character, place or item.
I like to call Writers App „Writers little helper“. It is the perfect supplement in your creative writing process which helps you to outline your thoughts and ideas and to plan the story you work on; nothing more, nothing less. Writers App is developed for passionate writers to help and support them in their daily work.
The main features of Writers App at a glance:
- Create your stories in Writers App and outline all important parts like the chapters, characters, places and items
- Export the contents of Writers App as TXT file or print them directly from your iOS device via AirPrint
- Customize the app the way you want with given fonts, font sizes and background images
You can also unlock the following PRO features with a onetime in app purchase:
- Synchronize your contents between all your iOS devices with iCloud
- Organize all categories within the app the way you want to gain total flexibility in planning and outlining your story
- Add additional notes to all the elements to your story to capture extra information
- Customize your stories by adding own cover images to them
- Export the contents of Writers App as TXT file with additional with Markdown formatting
- Lock the app with a passcode or even Touch ID
- Use automatically created backups to restore contents and to keep all your work save
Current Version: 2.1.5 (December 9, 2015)
All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:
Notable App Updates
Fiery Feeds (iOS, Free With In-App Purchase)
Fiery Feeds is a feed reader built for power users.
Smart Views: Fiery Feeds finds the most linked to websites in your articles, to give you the most important news at a glance. The Low Frequency folder shows feeds, that only rarely post new articles, making it easy to not miss them when you're catching up on your news. The High Frequency folder shows only feeds, that post often, allowing you to mark those articles read without loosing any others. The Must Read folder is a specially highlighted folder, where you can put the most important feeds.
Safari Extension: You can subscribe to new feeds straight from Safari with the included extension.
Article View Modes: Fiery Feeds supports three different article view modes: Article, Web, Text. The selected article view mode is saved per feed.
- Article displays the articles as it is contained in the RSS feed.
- Web displays the linked website inline.
- Text parses the website using Fiery Feeds’ server to display just the content.
Feed Management: You can subscribe to new feeds, unsubscribe, move or rename them. You can add new folders, delete, move or rename them.
Sync: Fiery Feeds syncs with Feedly, Feedbin, Minimal Reader, Feed Wrangler, Fever, Feedja, NewsBlur, AOL Reader, Tiny Tiny RSS, Inoreader, Bazqux, and The Old Reader. Additionally it syncs with the read-it-later services Pocket, Instapaper and Wallabag.
Sharing: Included sharing services are Pinboard, Instapaper, Pocket, Delicious, Evernote, SendToReader, Buffer, OneNote, Copy URL, Messages, Safari Reading List, Copy Image, 1Password, Star Article, Twitter, Facebook. Fiery also supports sharing to other apps and websites using URL schemes that you can create yourself or install from the action directory and customisable email templates.
Modern App: Fiery Feeds now supports everything you'd expect from a modern iOS app: 3D Touch, Peek and Pop previews, Drag and Drop from the article list, Haptic Feedback, it restores it's state after a relaunch, and it even supports Continuity / Hand Off, which offers you to open the current article on another device.
Today Widget: Fiery Feeds includes a Today Widget that displays the newest articles across all services, including preview images.
Keyboard Shortcuts: Fiery Feeds fully supports external keyboards and keyboard shortcuts. You can navigate the entire app using only the keyboard if you want to.
VoiceOver: Every feature is accessible via VoiceOver.
Customisable: Almost every aspect of Fiery Feeds is customisable. Color Themes, Fonts, Text sizes. If you want a leisurely reading environment, just the headlines, or anything in between, Fiery Feeds has you covered.
Horizontal article swiping: You can swipe to the next or previous article by swiping horizontally, instead of vertically. This avoids having to scroll down the entire (long) article just to get to the next one.
Marking All Read: Fiery Feeds can mark all articles read by the time the article was published. It’s possible to mark all articles as read, or all articles that are older then a day, week or month. Additionally it’s possible to mark all articles above or below a specific article as read by swiping right on an article to show more options. It is also possible to mark articles as read automatically when scrolling by then in the article list.
Fiery Feeds Premium: A subscription to Fiery Feeds Premium is to use feed management, custom URL actions and email templates, the text view mode, Smart Views, custom themes and to select an alternative app icon. Fiery Feeds Premium is available for 12 months for $4.99. Fiery Feeds Premium automatically renews, unless cancelled at least 24 hours before the date of renewal. Apple does not currently allow cancellations of the current subscription period.
Current Version: 2.0.2 (February 27, 2018)
Changes in Version 2.0
2.0 is a big update to Fiery Feeds. The marquee features include:
- New App Layout: Redesigned almost every aspect of the app, with a larger article list on the iPad for a more modern look.
- Modernized App: Fiery Feeds now supports everything you'd expect from a modern iOS app: 3D Touch, Peek and Pop previews, Drag and Drop from the article list, Haptic Feedback, it restores it's state after a relaunch, and it even supports Continuity / Hand Off, which offers you to open the current article on another device.
- Hot Links: Fiery Feeds now shows you a list of the most important links in your articles and the posts that link to them.
- High and Low Frequency Feeds: Fiery Feeds can now show you all posts from low frequency feeds, so you don't miss any of these posts. And from your high frequency feeds, making it easier to mark only them as read.
- Offline Full Text: Fiery Feeds can now download the text versions of truncated articles during sync.
Forza Football (iOS, Free)
Live scores and push notifications, opinion polls and video highlights for more than 560 football leagues and cups around the world. As well as being a live score app known and loved internationally, Forza Football is simultaneously changing the face of football by liberating and sharing the collective opinion of fans from all over the world.
Current Version: 4.0.0 (February 16, 2018)
Changes in Version 4.0.0
News in Forza Football 4.0!
We got Tabs! New controls in the bottom of the screen makes it easier to move around. Also it looks nice.
A new Home: Choose the team closest to your heart. Never miss matches for the teams that matters the most.
So fresh, so clean: We cleaned up the app to make it super duper readable. It’s very readable now.
Searching all day, every day: Who is in the top of the Danish second division these days? A new search makes it easier to find the answers you are looking for.
It has been 2222 days since 1.0 was released back in 2012 - that is pretty cool.
One more thing: During the last two years we have also been able to build up a football academy in Cambodia with 800 children in practice. This would not be possible without you guys using the app and for this we and our players are forever grateful.
Land of Livia (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Periodically escape your busy life and immerse yourself in a land yearning to be explored. Experience a game that takes the core elements of the role playing and adventure games you love and distills them into a mobile game you can play throughout the day.
Welcome to Land of Livia, an idle RPG and adventure game in which you try your luck at unlocking the mysteries of the land, discovering items of legend, and competing with your friends.
Land of Livia is a different kind of experience that is designed for relaxed gameplay to fit in around your busy day. You only need to touch base periodically to gather rewards or continue on.
Current Version: 3.1.2 (February 20, 2018)
Changes in Version 3.1.0-3.1.2
Land of Livia is now fully accessible with VoiceOver. Thanks to all the players who emailed me directly or took part in the conversation on AppleVis! This is a huge accessibility update but there will of course be further room for improvement - please let me know if you have any issues.
- Greatly simplified the accessibility of the map
- Updated the map HUD elements to be accessible
- Updated the tutorials to be accessible
- Updated Gem Cutting to be accessible - listen for the audio cue to know when to cut
- Updated Lore Researching to be accessible
- Removed several item elements that were no longer relevant and should not have been read by VoiceOver
- The items in quest completion alert are now all accessible
- Plenty more smaller quality of life improvements
- Due to popular demand, you can now travel to new locations (locked or unlocked) from any other location on the map, rather than only when you are adjacent to them - this improves usability for new players and also has large benefits for players using VoiceOver
- Fixed bugs with tutorials for iPad that were introduced in the previous release
For continued discussion of the accessibility of the game, head to AppleVis.
Prizmo Go - Instant Text OCR (iOS, Free With In-App Purchases)
Aim at text. Shoot. It's yours! Prizmo Go lets you quickly grab text with the camera. After text is recognized in a blink of an eye, you can interact with it in many useful ways. Or just send it to other apps. And if you've got a Mac, you can even copy/paste it there (*). No more retyping. Feels like magic, just at your fingertips.
Additionally, Prizmo Go provides rich interactions with the captured text. After shooting, text from the original picture is revealed, and swiping through it allows fast and accurate text selection directly from the image. Selected text can then be read aloud, or you can tap to browse to any printed website address, call phone numbers, trigger Mail app from an email address, or even reveal physical address in Apple Maps and initiate navigation to that place.
Prizmo Go comes with enhancements specifically built for VoiceOver, in addition to spoken guidance prior to shooting. That, combined with its text-to-speech capabilities, make it a great companion in case you need help reading printed documents.
Current Version: 2.0.1 (February 27, 2018)
Changes in Version 2.0
Prizmo Go 2.0 brings handwriting recognition (English only), translation to 59 languages, and a new, more powerful, built-in neural network-based OCR in more languages.
TED (iOS, Free)
Feed your curiosity and expand your world with TED Talks.
Explore more than 2,000 free videos and learn from the world's most remarkable people. Search by any mood or topic, from tech and science to the surprises of your own psychology.
Features on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch:
- Browse the free TED Talks video library, with subtitles in over 100 languages
- Sign in to your TED.com account and sync your downloaded and favorited talks
- Play videos on your device or send to your home entertainment system via AirPlay or Chromecast
- Discover inspiring, funny, or jaw-dropping free talks
- Let us build you a custom playlist -- tailored to your time frame
- Bookmark talks to watch later
- Download talks to watch offline
Current Version: 4.5 (February 7, 2018)
Changes in Version 4.5
This release of TED for iOS is focused on accessibility and improving our universal link support. After the last few releases, we are excited to have achieved near 100% VoiceOver support in our app. If you're a VoiceOver or Switch Control user, please get in touch and let us know how we can continue to improve our support for you!
Here's what's changed since our last release:
- The number of search results found will be announced via VoiceOver as you type in the search field.
- When the "Reduce Transparency" accessibility setting is enabled, the contrast between a talk's poster image and any text appearing atop it will be increased.
- The TED logo is now an accessibility element when used in a navigation bar.
- We improved the format of our accessibility labels for the duration of a talk or playlist.
- The structure of accessibility elements on the playlist screen has been improved.
- The accessibility label for a featured talk's play button has been improved to provide more detail and additional context.
- In the video player, the quick seek buttons now have accessibility labels that indicate the seek duration.
- Our audio player is now accessible using VoiceOver and Switch Control.
- Direct manipulation of the video player's playhead position slider is now possible when using VoiceOver.
- Video playback controls will no longer auto-hide after a delay when using VoiceOver or Switch Control. Controls will hide when playback is resumed.
- An accessibility label has been provided for the playlist "Play all" button.
- There was a crash that could occur while rotating an iPad, so we fixed that.
- We fixed a few visual issues in our audio player.
- We improved our universal link support so that any content we can't load in-app will push you to a Safari view.
Twitterrific 5 for Twitter (Mac, US$19.99)
Re-imagined from the ground up to be the Mac's most friendly, powerful and modern Twitter client. Twitterrific makes Twitter fun.
A clean, uncluttered timeline featuring just the content you care about. Tweets are presented in chronological order and other people's likes aren't placed in your timeline.
Twitterrific feels right at home on the Mac. Support for Notification Center, Retina displays, built-in sharing, beautiful animations, full-screen mode & more.
Take control of your tweets with multiple timeline windows from the same account or multiple accounts, all organized on your Mac’s desktop.
Navigate the timeline, compose tweets, and even attach image descriptions quickly and easily using Voice Over.
Twitterrific's appearance panel supports themes, lets you customize fonts & type sizes, and even lets you control how media appears in the timeline.
Whether you use Twitterrific on your iPhone, iPad, or another Mac, the app automatically syncs your reading position for a seamless Twitter experience.
Current Version: 5.2.4 (February 19, 2018)
Changes in Version 5.2.4
Expanded options in user profiles, verified badges on avatars, the ability to quickly reply, like, quote or retweet from any account, a new font, and a host of fixes.
- User profiles display lists of people they follow and their followers
- Added badges to user avatars:
- Displays if the account is verified or protected
- Option to turn badges off under Appearance preferences
- New features for multi-account users:
- Click your avatar when composing a tweet to switch and post from any account
- Right-click on a tweet's Reply, Quote, Retweet, or Like buttons to perform the action with any account
- Added Georgia to Appearance preferences - a classic serif typeface with great readability
- Reduced the number of clicks necessary to properly select and act upon a tweet when activating Twitterrific from the background
- Twitterrific is smarter about removing previously deleted tweets from the timeline
- Clicking the title of a navigation stack (not just the back arrow) goes back
- Added a shortcut on user profiles to quickly create a muffle via the Actions menu
- The bottom bar on profiles stays anchored on the bottom & doesn't scroll
- Improved performance when importing messages and tweets
- Improved performance when loading long discussion threads
- Option under General Preferences to disable streaming (recommended when using Twitterrific with VoiceOver)
- Fixed an issue causing streaming to disconnect after hiding a timeline window
- Fixed a problem that sometimes prevented URL's from being properly copied
- Fixed problems that could cause tweets to not be properly selected
- Fixed an issue that could cause a discussion popup to appear when double clicking a thumbnail image
- Fixed another issue preventing delete/edit from appearing in tweet actions menu
- Fixed an issue that could prevent the reading position from syncing at launch
- Fixed an issue causing the preferences window to move when switching tabs
- Fixed a few crashers
VocalEyes AI (iOS, Free)
VocalEyes uses artificial intelligence to make the world more accessible for the blind and visually impaired.
Created at MIT, VocalEyes uses proprietary computer vision algorithms to:
- Identify Objects
- Read Text
- Describe Environments
- Label Logos and Brands
- Detect Faces
- Classify Emotions
- Recognize Ages
- Distinguish Currency Denominations
VocalEyes achieves all this using an intuitive and buttonless interface. Just tap the screen once and VocalEyes will return an audio response describing the scene.
Current Version: 3.0 (February 18, 2018)
Changes in Version 3.0
- 35+ New languages supported
- Improved text recognition
- Voiceover button labels
Weather Gods (iOS, US$2.99)
Meet the Gods: Fire, Ice, Water, Air & Moon delivering you the Weather as you have never experienced it before. Weather Gods redefines the weather app with painstakingly crafted data visualizations, procedural graphics and audio that enable you to literally see, hear and feel the weather. With no more weather icons to decode, the Weather Gods is simply the quickest, most engaging, most enjoyable way to get the accurate weather information you need.
The Weather Gods skillfully integrates premium weather data into an elegant, iOS Exclusive, easy-to-use interface that will delight casual users and weather enthusiasts alike.
With a wealth of rich weather data from the world’s most respected providers, the Weather Gods provide detailed site-based forecasts for over a million locations worldwide. Our advanced, next-generation notifications are easy to setup and bring you exactly the information you want right when you need it.
Current Version: 1.6.1 (February 27, 2018)
Changes in Version 1.6-1.6.1
Our biggest update to date! We’ve improved, tweaked, polished, honed & fettled so many things to list them all would risk crashing Apple’s servers. The entire interface has had a major overhaul, cleaner, crisper & clearer, with a new font, and no more big black headers. Start-up is much faster, GPS more precise, charts more accurate, and the weather wheel turbo charged for performance. Offline mode is much more accurate, follow mode now uses less energy, and after countless hours, we are confident that our weather notifications are now the best in the business.
We’ve re-written nearly half of the App in readiness for version 2.0 (you wait!) squashed more bugs than starship troopers, and made the App really shine on the (already very shiny) iPhone X. Our weather data hasn’t missed out either, with improvements to wind, rain & frost reporting, better text summaries, and a new way of representing daily temperature extremes. Last but not least, big update to the Apple Watch as well, which now includes reporting of sleet, hail & frost, as well as a slew of small improvements.
As always with the Weather Gods, we’ve dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s when it comes to accessibility: and we’d like to thank the AppleVis community for all their fabulous support, encouragement, and of course awarding us with their iOS App of the Year Award!
- Follow me notifications. Weather Gods will post a notification for a place that you visit. The notification includes a localised weather summary for the next 24 hours, split into 6 hour time periods.
- Enhancements to the Apple Watch multi-colour modular complication
- Many bug fixes
- Support for the accessibility option to use 'Dark System Colors'
Zello Walkie Talkie (iOS, Free)
Zello turns your phone into a walkie talkie and works anywhere in the world as long as you are connected to the internet!
Join millions of people who use Zello instead of texting and calls. You can use it one-on-one with a friend, for a live group call with your family or soccer team. The Zello app can even replace 2-way radios at work.
Zello is the only place for live open group communication – old school CB Radio style. Create a live Zello channel for your forum or customers, or enjoy conversations from across the globe.
Current Version: 3.50 (February 26, 2018)
Changes in Versions3.47-3.50
- Added support for themes
- Improved VoiceOver support
- Improved support for AINA PTT speaker mic
- Fixed Bluetooth LE wireless button discovery
- Fixed several bugs
Recent News and Views
Microsoft Partners With Be My Eyes to Offer Specialized Help to its Blind and Low Vision customers Via Live Video Chat
By AppleVis | February 21, 2018
Be My Eyes, the popular iOS and Android app that connects blind and low vision users with sighted volunteers for assistance via live video chat, has today launched an exciting new feature for users needing specialized or technical help.
Following today's update to the Be My Eyes app, users will find a new menu option on the app's main screen titled “Specialized Help”.
In its announcement of this new feature Be My Eyes stated that this is a response to the growing number of technology-related requests to volunteers.
Be My Eyes has taken careful note of these kinds of calls and wondered if representatives from the given company itself would be best suited to assist in these scenarios. Contacting customer support through email or by phone isn’t always ideal. Direct communication with a business’s customer support agent could be a vision-friendly alternative and less time consuming for users. If someone from the company could see the issue in real time, issues with their products or service could be resolved more efficiently.
The first company to partner with Be My Eyes is Microsoft:
Microsoft is the first company to be highlighted in Specialized Help, offering Be My Eyes customers a direct connection to receive technical assistance from the Disability Answer Desk, a free consumer service for Microsoft’s customers with disabilities.
The app will work the same, connecting customers through video; but instead of reaching out to volunteers, customers will work directly with a member of the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk to get support on questions about their Microsoft product or service.
HomePod Review: Is it Really Worth the Price Tag?
By Serina Gilbert | February 5, 2018
On February 9, 2018, Apple finally released the highly anticipated HomePod to the general public. I was lucky enough to receive one as a gift from Cupid for Valentine’s Day and I thought that I would share my first impressions of Apple’s latest gadget.
The HomePod is Apple’s smart speaker which, according to Apple, takes the listening experience to a whole new level. It comes equipped with Apple’s virtual assistant SIRI and a subwoofer and 7 tweeters to enhance the listening experience. It also has technology built into the speaker that allows for it to adapt to any room to customize the listening experience. The retail price for the HomePod is currently US$349.
Physically the best way that I can describe the shape and feel of the HomePod is a warehouse sized pickle jar. It is quite heavy and surrounded by mesh fabric. The top of the HomePod has a touch screen that has volume up/down buttons and a play/pause button that appear when content is playing, and yes the touch screen is totally accessible with Voice Over.
My First Tentative Steps Into The World Of Smart Home Technology
By Dave82 | February 5, 2018
Without a doubt, one of the biggest areas of growth in technology currently is in home automation, or smart home technology. Over the recent Christmas holiday I decided to take my own first tentative steps into this world.
Up to this point, to some extent, I have been skeptical about smart home technology, asking myself for example "Isn't it actually easier to flip a light-switch on the wall as I enter the room than to invoke a smart assistant such as Siri, or to take my phone out of my pocket?" In addition, there are a lot of different manufacturers offering products, and a lot of difficult language and references to hubs and bridges, so getting started seemed quite a daunting task. But in truth I know there are benefits to be had, and I am someone who likes to stay up to date with the latest tech, so decided it was time to take a closer look.
My situation is a tricky one when it comes to this, as I live in a rented apartment and have very limited ability to make changes, so things like smart door locks and perhaps some other items are out of the question for the time being at least.
Without going into unnecessary detail, the central heating system is very poor here, so I and most of my neighbours rely instead on plug-in electric radiators. Mine do not have an ability to set timers, at least not an accessible way, so I often have to wake up to, or arrive home to, a cold apartment. This makes them the perfect place to start my smart home technology journey.
Trimming the Tech, a Snappier VoiceOver
By Nicholas | February 5, 2018
Many options available on Mac and iOS can be processor intensive causing not only battery drain, but slowing down VoiceOver's response time over all. Choosing the ones that are best suited for my needs and turning off the ones that are not, can help. It can save battery life and give my device less to do, allowing it to pay quicker attention to me. :-)
Okay I admit it, I am a picky old-school techie. I am always trying to make my Mac a lean, clean, processing machine. I probably spend more time than I save, but constantly looking for areas to trim off a few milliseconds here or there is totally normal, right?
With that in mind, below find several places that I tweak to reduce unneeded items and allow a faster response from everything else. Keep in mind, I no longer have a need for the visual aspects of my interface. I tend to reduce or turn off everything I can for better response from VoiceOver. The response I am referring to is, press a key, how long does it take for VoiceOver to respond? How much lag is there between pressing and the resulting action? If you still use a portion of your eyesight however, you may wish to use some of the items that I do not. This main idea applies to more than just use of VoiceOver. It also applies to any open-ended interface, especially the processor heavy ones like audio or video engineering, gaming or any platform that involves a snappy response.
This Month in Podcasts
AppleVis Unleashed February 2018: The Villain
In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville, Randy Rusnakk and Mike Malarsie get together to talk about recent Apple news and topics of interest.
Topics featured in this podcast include:
Apple Q1 2018 Results: $88.3 Billion Revenue, 77.3 Million iPhones, 13.2 Million iPads Sold
App Store, Apple Music, iCloud and Apple Pay Set All Time Quarterly Revenue Records in Q1 2018
Apple Releases iOS 11.2.6, macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update, watchOS 4.2.3, and tvOS 11.2.6
Apple previews iOS 11.3
Apple Has Delayed Some Planned iOS 12 Features Until Next Year to Focus on Performance and Quality
Here's what Apple's got planned for iOS 12
Twitter Discontinues Twitter for Mac App
HomePod Review: Is it Really Worth the Price Tag?
Microsoft Partners With Be My Eyes to Offer Specialized Help to its Blind and Low Vision customers Via Live Video Chat
Land of Livia
How to recover files deleted from your iCloud Drive
How to Temporarily Disable Touch ID and Face ID with Siri on iPhone or iPad
You can contact the Unleashed Team with feedback or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
XPress Yourself In New Ways With The Animoji Feature ON The iPhone X
In this podcast, Seyoon Choi demonstrates a use of the Animoji feature that was recently introduced with the iPhone X. He walks us through how the feature works with VoiceOver, as well as addressing current concerns about this unique feature within the Messages app.
Carrot Weather; for People who Like an Accurate and Detailed Weather Forecast Delivered with Personality
In this podcast, Thomas Domville gives us a walk-through of CARROT Weather, an iOS app described by it's developer as “a crazy-powerful weather app that delivers hilariously twisted forecasts”.
- Beautifully minimalist weather app
- Dark Sky’s super accurate weather data
- Weather Underground data source available as an upgrade
- Notifications via CARROT Weather for Apple Watch or CARROT Weather for Mac
- Radar and satellite maps
- Apple Watch app with complications
- Support for Celsius and metric measurements
- Customizable widget with light and dark modes
- 5,000+ lines of hilarious spoken dialogue
- 25+ secret locations
Carrot Weather is a US$4.99 download from the App Store, offering an in-app purchase to unlock additional features.
Want A Cookie While Blindfolded? If So, This Is The Game For You
In this podcast, Abby demonstrates BlindFold Word Cookie, which is one of the latest game titles available from Kid Friendly Software.
Your objective is to create as many words as possible using a set of letters.
In each cookie, there are from 5 to 20 levels. Each level has a set of letters, and you have to find all the words that can be created from those letters. You can use the letters multiple times.
For example, the practice cookie has one level, and has the letters "C", "A", "T". Words must be at least 2 letters long, so you can easily create the words CAT, ACT, and AT. Since you can use a letter multiple times, you can also create the word TAT by using the letter "T" twice and the word TATA by using the letters "T" and "A" twice.
Once you have completed a level, you move on to the next level. Once you have completed all the levels for a cookie, you move on to the next cookie.
Other podcasts by Abby this month:
A complete list of all podcasts posted to the AppleVis website can be found at www.applevis.com/podcasts