AppleVis Unlimited: What's New and Noteworthy for January 2022

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Welcome to the January 2022 edition of AppleVis Unlimited, our monthly series which highlights what's new and noteworthy on the AppleVis website. Below, you'll find a selection of content posted to AppleVis by members of the community - 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 word ladders (iOS/iPadOS, US$0.99)

If you like Word Ladders then you will love this

  • Thousands of puzzles in English,Espanol,Francais and Deutsch.
  • The puzzles range from 4 to 7 letters in length.
  • Choice of backgrounds which include sand ,grass and stone
  • Customizable tile themes such as White on black ,Black on white and others
  • Designed for blind , Vi and sighted users.
  • Fully accessible with Voiceover.

Current Version: 0.0.9 (August 9, 2021)

Read Accessible word ladders's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Accessible word ladders's App Store page 

Ballyland Magic Plus (iOS/iPadOS, US$5.99)

Ballyland Magic Plus teaches young students essential skills and concepts for VoiceOver accessibility, Apple’s built-in screen reader, while they are playing a fun game!

Join thousands of educators around the world and give your blind or visually impaired students a head-start in using an iPad. Ballyland Magic “Plus”, like the original Ballyland Magic app, teaches young students essential skills and concepts for VoiceOver accessibility, Apple’s built-in screen reader, while they are playing a fun game! Completely re-engineered, Ballyland Magic Plus offers additional features and even more learning, as well as improved interaction. The gestures incorporated in this app are: finger drag, split-tap, double tap, single finger flick right/left, and three-finger flick right/left. The popular Tap-tap song motivates even reluctant learners to successfully master the important ‘double tap’, tapping along with the rhythm. In line with the story of the cute Ballylanders who practice their ‘magic’ tricks, your student gradually builds ‘magic’ VoiceOver finger gesture skills, leading up to the Grand Finale: the Magic Show will only go ahead if the student takes charge and effectively performs the practiced gestures – a great way for you to assess a student’s progress!

  • From the award-winning Sonokids Ballyland suite of educational game apps
  • Original songs and real voices (built-in speech)
  • Re-engineered for improved and enhanced user experience
  • New accessible Options Menu with more Settings (incl. skip/replay intro speech)
  • Use at home or at school

Current Version: 1.0.1.400 (September 30, 2021)

Read Ballyland Magic Plus's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Ballyland Magic Plus's App Store page 

See also: Ballyland Rotor

CTMayor - City Simulation (iOS/iPadOS, Free)

Start the CTMayor app and take control. You are the Mayor and City Planner with complete authority. Be the undisputed ruler of a sophisticated real-time City Simulation. Create your own dream city from the ground up. The city may be a bustling megalopolis, lots of people, lots of cars, tall buildings: high-energy, high density living. Or it may be a small rural community, or a linked group of small communities providing slow-paced country living.

Also there are some scenarios prepared for you. Become the master of existing cities such as San Francisco, Hamburg and Bern, to solve horrible planning issues or rescue citizens from a natural disaster. If one strategy doesn't work, try another. There are a million stories in each city, and you write them.

Like a real mayor, focus on planning, layouting, budgeting and disaster rescuing, you do not need to do microtransactions like maintaining houses or factories, AI citizens manage zones themselves.

Current Version: 1.1.0 (December 25, 2021)

Read CTMayor - City Simulation's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit CTMayor - City Simulation's App Store page 

Diamond Chess Online (macOS, Free)

Play chess online at FICS or ICC, play the Pulsar Chess Engine on or offline with chess and variants like Chess960 with levels, and use the Openings Explorer with an opening tree book based on 345,000 over the board games and analysis which also works offline. There is In-App help. For online play, if no account, use the Connect as Guest button to play unrated. FICS accounts are life time free accounts. Diamond Chess supports Dark Mode and has no ads.

Diamond Chess seeks to be a complete chess app, not just online play. All games are logged that are played, and there is the ability to load and examine them with engine analysis to study and learn from last games. The Watch Game Board option watches a high rated game which is also designed as a way to improve in chess by watching. On FICS the Find a Game Board Option has a Training tab for endgame and puzzle studies that both guests and members can use.

The Explorer Tab which works offline or online with certain restrictions while playing, offers an Opening Tree based on 345K over the board games were both players are rated over 2300. The move table view can be toggled to show analysis and PGN games including the players log file can be loaded. The chess opening name is also given after a few moves are made. There are 10 PGN game collections available in app that include Morphy 1858, Fischer’s best games, a Capablanca and Kasparov collection, and a range of game collections from classical too modern to be viewed with the opening book and analysis, on and offline.

There is an on board multi level chess program that plays chess, chess960, a form of shuffle chess, and a few variants such as Crazyhouse, Atomic Chess and Loser's Chess. The engine option on the connect tab is available on and off line. On ICC there is an option for members to play 50 Chess Videos in app which trials can access too.

As a guest by moving between ICC and FICS users can experience two different playing pools. Guests on FICS can observe high rated games on FICS, and view theirs or other players recent games. On ICC guests can use the Play Bots option to play tactical and endgame bots, play other players, view games that are finished from important relays with Broadcast option, and view their recent games by the open log file option.

The Diamond Chess board features engine analysis with one click when observing a chess game or examining one. Diamond also has a load PGN option and logs all played games to PGN. Multiple games can be up at once and users click the next or previous buttons to move between them.

Diamond Chess supports both chess and the server's variants such as Crazyhouse, Losers, Atomic Chess, Giveaway or Suicide Chess.

Diamond has an accessible board to use with Voice Over for the visually impaired. On the settings tab in the Voice Over section, there is Voice Over help available with commands that can be used from the console.

Current Version: 1.30 (January 16, 2022)

Read Diamond Chess Online's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Diamond Chess Online's App Store page 

See also: ChessKing and Pulsar Chess Engine

lire (macOS, US$9.99)

Love RSS feeds? So do we!!

RSS feeds are a great way to follow updates on your favorite website. However, some sites set up their feeds to only show a portion of each entry, you know, to get you to click through to their actual website. We find that really annoying, and we're sure you do too.

Which is why, unlike other RSS feed readers, that either push you into a browser (in-app or otherwise), or depend on third party text parsing services and require you to be online to fetch the full text of one article at a time (which makes it no different from having to click/tap through to a website), in lire, you get your favorite RSS feeds as they should've been. You don't need to click through to any website (though, you do still have the option to, if you really wanted). It takes your favorite partial feeds, does it's magic, and converts them in to full feeds, so you don't have to click/tap on those annoying 'Read more' or 'Continue reading' links.

Once they're cached, you don't even need to be connected to read your full-text feeds.

Use as a standalone feed reader or sync with any of the several services: Feedly, Feedbin, FeedHQ, The Old Reader, Inoreader, BazQux Reader, Newsblur, Feed Wrangler, FreshRSS, Miniflux, Nextcloud News, Tiny Tiny RSS.

Current Version: 2.0.6 (January 26, 2022)

Read lire's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit lire's App Store page 

Sheet Music Scanner (iOS/iPadOS, US$4.99)

Scan sheet music and instantly listen with music with Sheet Music Scanner. Sheet Music Scanner makes it easy for you to scan or upload printed sheet music. Listen to the music printed on the page in a number of different formats and instruments, directly on your device.

Ever wanted to know how that interesting-looking piece of sheet music actually sounds? Now you can know instantly. Just point your iPhone or iPad at the sheet and let it play the notes for you.

Listen to the notes and help yourself learn along the way. Sheet Music Scanner lets you scan and playback from any part of the song, just tap the measure and listen to your sheet music.

You can even choose the instrument, pick the speed and enjoy!

Download Sheet Music Scanner and scan your sheet music today!

Current Version: 4.4.2 (January 31, 2022)

Read Sheet Music Scanner's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Sheet Music Scanner's App Store page 

Solve The Outbreak (iPadOS, Free)

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to get clues and analyze data to solve the outbreak and save lives! In this fun app, you get to be a Disease Detective.

Do you quarantine the village? Interview people who are sick? Run more lab tests? The better your answers, the higher your score - and the quicker you’ll climb the ranks to become a decorated Disease Detective. In level 1, you’ll start as a Trainee and earn badges by solving scenarios — with the goal of earning the top rank: Disease Detective.

Unlock Level 2 by mastering all the 12 outbreaks of Level 1. Then earn honors by solving new and more challenging scenarios. Earn recognitions like Surveillance and Treatment Honors.

New outbreaks happen every day and CDC's Disease Detectives are on the front lines — working 24/7 to save lives and protect people. When a new outbreak occurs, Disease Detectives are sent in to figure out how the outbreak started before it spreads further.

In this app, you'll also:

  • Learn about diseases and outbreaks in an engaging way.
  • See how CDC's Disease Detectives save lives around the world.
  • Have the option to post your scores on Facebook or Twitter and challenge your friends to play!

Current Version: 2.5.3 (December 28, 2021)

Read Solve The Outbreak's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Solve The Outbreak's App Store page 

All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:

iOS/iPadOS
Mac
Apple Watch
Apple TV

Notable App Updates

Blind Mahjong (iOS/iPadOS, Free)

Are you interested in traditional Chinese Mahjong? Try this accessible Mahjong game that can be played by everyone.

Traditional Chinese Mahjong was made accessible to everybody, including those who are blind or visually impaired. One player can play the game offline. Up to four players can play online. It is for all ages, allowing kids and adults to bond through playing together. Enjoy all the improved memorization, concentration, strategic thinking skills, and social skills that this relaxing game can bring you!

Current Version: 1.4 (January 14, 2022)

Changes in Version 1.3
  • Adjusted to make it easier for VoiceOver users to navigate the playing screen, especially for those who use braille displays;
  • Improved to allow better multi-player gaming experience;
  • Localized to include traditional Chinese.

Read Blind Mahjong's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Blind Mahjong's App Store page 

Sonar Islands (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Sonar Islands is a MULTIPLAYER ONLINE game, where all relevant events happen in your ears.

On various islands you explore and discover, seek hidden TREASURES and conquer OBSTACLES. Every new island has a special atmosphere and a different gameplay. Do your best to fortify your islands and be clever enough to take the gold from your opponents.

  • Visit the ancient TEMPLE island, the ancestors built, where snakes are biting and down falling parts may block your way.
  • Take a trip to the JUNGLE island, watch abandoned lions on your way, but be aware of the tree traps, set up by the natives. You can go up, but there is no coming down.
  • The FUN FAIR island is a happy place to be. You can shoot toys coming towards you. Some carry a treasure, some carry a bomb, that's the risk.
  • The VOLCANO island is a chilly place, for some too hot, especially if you step near the lava flows. Ash and stone rain down due to the eruptions of terraforming, raise your shield to protect you.
  • In the MACHINE HALL you will meet the friendly robots from Feer, but this time you carry a stun gun to short-circuit their brains, at least for a while, till their self-repair is complete.
  • On PING island you will get a sonar device for orientation, send out a tone and the echo tells you, where to go. That’s good, because you may discover, this island is a labyrinth.
  • High up on the TREETOP island you have to deal with wind and mosquitos. The wind is really disorientating, leaves are rustling, while the mosquitos chase you. And don't fall, while balancing on the twigs.
  • On the ELECTRO island you face the invisible power of ELECTRICITY. Tesla coils sparkle round their high voltage, better shoot some metal confetti to divert the current. The nice thing here are catapult plates, they make you fly all over the island. A pity, that you don’t know where you will end up.

Happy vacation!

Current Version: 1.1.1 (January 21, 2022)

Changes in Version 1.1.1

Chat with your tribe members now with speech recognition !!

Read Sonar Islands' AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Sonar Islands' App Store page 

Supersense - AI for Blind (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Supersense is the smartest and simplest scanner app made for the blind and visually impaired users to read any text format, currency or product details from a barcode independently.

With the power of AI, Supersense automatically figures out what you are trying to scan, guides you on how to point the camera, and reads the content in the right format. Its unique design minimizes the time and frustrations of scanning and reading text for a blind and visually impaired user.

Full features of Supersense:

  • Smart Scanner: The app automatically detects whether you are trying to quickly read a piece of text, a long document, a currency or a barcode.
  • Smart Guidance: The app guides you on how to point the camera and finds the best angle to have the most accurate results
  • Quick Read: Instantly read the text presented in front of the rear camera
  • Document: Read longer documents with the assistance of smart guidance. Once the text has been recognized, use VoiceOver commands to navigate through the recognized text and share it to other apps.
  • Multipage Scanning: Scan documents with multiple pages simultaneously and navigate through the text.
  • Currency: Recognize currencies and hear the value of a banknote
  • Barcode: Scan barcodes to hear the name and brand of the products with additional information
  • Object Explorer and Find: Scan your physical environment and hear about the objects that are around.
  • Import: Read and explore text from the images and PDF files. Also you can send them directly from any other apps with using "Recognize with Supersense" tool in your share menu.
  • Read History: Displays your recognition history in a single screen.

Current Version: 1.9.7 (January 18, 2022)

Changes in Version 1.9.7
  1. Cooking directions are added to the Barcode mode! If there are cooking directions available for a product you have scanned, you will hear an announcement after the product's name. Click on the show details button to open the Read screen and hear more about the cooking instructions
  2. Enhanced Document reader to recognize multi-column documents and order the text correctly even from different angles!
  3. With the new document reader model, guidance instructions are faster and more accurate than ever!
  4. Fixed bugs and made minor UI changes for a more stable experience

Read Supersense - AI for Blind's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Supersense - AI for Blind's App Store page 

Swordy Quest: An RPG Adventure (iOS/iPadOS, Free With In-App Purchases)

Exclusive to iOS & from the creators of Fantasy Worldcraft comes their latest global app. Fully VoiceOver compatible.

Imagine waking up with no name, food or supplies. Where are you? Lake to the East, Mountains to the South. It doesn't matter now. YOU NEED TO SURVIVE. Set in a Fantasy and Living World, your goal is clear: Save humanity. Find water and food while fending off the habitants of the world. Gather, craft, hunt & cast magic for rewards and progression. Can you unlock the secrets of the Multi-Award Winning Swordy Quest?

Current Version: 5.15 (January 30, 2022)

Changes in Version 5.15

RELEASE GOAL: The aim of this Release was to introduce a new sub-game called Academia into Universities.

FEATURES:

  • Added a new mini-game for gaining resources from Universities.
  • Fish now provides Sashimi, a more potent dish that also provides a little water to keep players hydrated in hotter climates.

ACCESSIBILITY:

  • Added full VoiceOver accessibility to the new Academia Game.

USABILITY:

  • Added new hints for the new Academia Game.
  • Double resource counts should no longer be even values.

BUG FIXES:

  • Slowed down the speed of eating during fighting slightly to increase realism & reduce the risk of app crashes, following community feedback.

Read Swordy Quest: An RPG Adventure's AppleVis App Directory entry for more information 

Visit Swordy Quest: An RPG Adventure's App Store page 

Recent News and Views

Rising from the Flames: New Life for an Old iPad

By Paul Martz | January 13, 2022

On December 30th 2021, a wildfire incinerated nearly a thousand homes and retail establishments in Boulder County Colorado. I live a safe 8 miles from the destruction, but others were not as fortunate. I know many families who lost everything.

My spouse and I decided to move into my father-in-law's guest suite and rent our house to one of the displaced families. Our new tenants tell a terrifying story. A police cruiser announced "get out, now!" over a loudspeaker as it drove through their neighborhood. The air was thick with smoke as they fled with other panicked families. They escaped with their smartphones, laptops, three cats, and little else. Their loss and grief is beyond words.

For many reasons, we left our wi-fi network in place. Our tenants had nothing and needed the wi-fi an printer. I also host a web server. It made sense for me to leave my Mac Mini desktop and drop by as-needed to help them with any tech issues and perform routine server maintenance. This meant I'd need to assemble a new computing environment from what I brought to my temporary home: my iPhone SE, a Bluetooth keyboard, a pair of wired earbuds, an Aftershockz headset, my Braille display - and my fourth-generation iPad from 2012.

Why do I still have this truly ancient iPad? A fair question. It's old, outdated, and heavy as a doorstop. It only has 16GB and won't upgrade beyond iOS 10.3.3. I kept it for the large screen, useful for trying to see photos or videos with my remaining crappy vision. At the same time, my eyesight has become so poor that I could not justify upgrading to a more recent model. It fell into disuse and I simply never got around to recycling it. So, here it is, and now I would find out if I could use this old iPad as a desktop replacement.

I'm retired and write for a hobby. I need Zoom on my iPhone to participate in my writing groups, and Scrivener and Google Docs on my iPad to write, review, edit, and make comments. I knew how to do all this on my Mac Mini with ease. Now I would need to re-learn everything. IOS wasn't foreign to me, but using Zoom, Scrivener, and Google Docs as iOS apps would challenge me with a user experience that was very different from my Mac.

Read more: “Rising from the Flames: New Life for an Old iPad”

Apple News

This Month in Podcasts

AppleVis Unleashed January 2022: What the Bonkers

In this month's edition of AppleVis Unleashed, Thomas Domville and Randy Rusnak discuss recent Apple news and other topics of interest. Topics featured in this podcast include:

  • AppleVis Announces 2021 Golden Apples Award Winners
  • iPhone turns 15!
  • Apple is no longer letting people stay on iOS 14
  • Latest News on the Release of iOS 15.3
  • Rumors on the Upcoming iOS 16
  • Apple rumored to launch an audiobooks service by the end of 2022
  • Apple's Hardware News for Early 2022
  • What's in this month AppleVis News

Listen to “AppleVis Unleashed January 2022: What the Bonkers”

Teach Vision Impaired Youngsters VoiceOver Skills and Concepts with the Ballyland Magic Plus app

In this podcast, Kushal Solanki gives us a walkthrough and demonstration of Ballyland Magic Plus, and iOS app that utilizes games to teach youngsters how to use VoiceOver.

From the App Store:

Join thousands of educators around the world and give your blind or visually impaired students a head-start in using an iPad. Ballyland Magic “Plus”, like the original Ballyland Magic app, teaches young students essential skills and concepts for VoiceOver accessibility, Apple’s built-in screen reader, while they are playing a fun game! Completely re-engineered, Ballyland Magic Plus offers additional features and even more learning, as well as improved interaction. The gestures incorporated in this app are: finger drag, split-tap, double tap, single finger flick right/left, and three-finger flick right/left. The popular Tap-tap song motivates even reluctant learners to successfully master the important ‘double tap’, tapping along with the rhythm. In line with the story of the cute Ballylanders who practice their ‘magic’ tricks, your student gradually builds ‘magic’ VoiceOver finger gesture skills, leading up to the Grand Finale: the Magic Show will only go ahead if the student takes charge and effectively performs the practiced gestures – a great way for you to assess a student’s progress!

Listen to “Teach Vision Impaired Youngsters VoiceOver Skills and Concepts with the Ballyland Magic Plus app”

See also: “Teach Vision Impaired Youngsters VoiceOver Rotor Skills and Concepts with the Ballyland Rotor app”

Hot AppleVis Content

Here are some of our forum topics which have got people talking in the past month:

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