Staying Home: Already a Pro

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

Like most folks, I have always been a bit of a social animal. I delighted in dining with friends at our local Periodic Table Supper Club. I liked walking around the block with a neighbor friend and talking to others in their front yards. I enjoyed traveling with my wife wherever and whenever we wanted. And, we absolutely loved it when our kids dropped by the house. That was then, this is now.

A new abnormal has descended upon all of us. An unwanted virus has invaded our lives. It was just two months ago when my wife and I were happily looking to buy a new minivan. Fortunately, we did not find the exact model and color we were hunting. We sure don't need it now. We are staying at home, all the time, because it is the smartest and safest thing to do.

This pandemic is a huge change in all our lives. Because of our own age and circumstances, we decided to hunker down and stay inside our house beginning this month on Friday the 13th. Now, everyone else in Austin is doing the same. We no longer go shopping, attend religious services, or stray past the end of our driveway. And, mostly, we don't even wander onto our large front porch. Our back patio is isolated and we get all our fresh air out there.

Regardless of how strange our personal circumstances are right now, we are embracing this new lifestyle. We are hoping that our sheltering in place will keep us, our neighbors and our community healthier. So, at this very moment, I'm sitting in my comfy chair, with my iPhone and a Bluetooth keyboard. Now, a reality check. I've been writing for AppleVis for nearly five years, and it is always from this very chair. When I think about it, not too terribly much has changed. I still communicate with my friends via phone calls, text messages and email. I continue to read lots of books with Audible, Bard and Voice Dream Reader. I play my mandolin and violin in tandem with my favorite tunes on Apple Music. I review AppleVis, along with our local and a national newspaper all from my iPhone. I may not travel around the city or walk as many miles, but I am not forgotten and I am not alone. Even though I am fortunate to share my home with my wife of 40 years and my goofy guide dog, I feel very connected to so many other people whom I care about. In truth, I am actually spending more time communicating with the important people in my life. My iPhone is how I safely keep friends close. I stay at home and stay in touch.

The most important thing in my life is my family, friends, community and dog. Although we are no longer venturing out, we have a great way to escape the confines of our house. I go sit in my happy place and reach out with this handy piece of technology. We have so much to be thankful for, and that includes my iPhone.

I hope to use this time at home to discover more apps and services on my Apple devices. What I learn, I plan to share with you. We can make this time a great learning experience together. And, I do intend to get back to the lighter side of things. There's time for smiling.

I have written 23 other blogs for AppleVis, including "Hot Pants and the iPhone 11," "Say What? : Hearing Aids, iPhones and My Apple Watch" and "Off My Chest: Confessions Of An Apple Watch Lover."

Please feel free to share in the comments how your own technology is helping you stay connected during these challenging times. And, dear friends, please stay safe and stay healthy.



Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, March 27, 2020

Well I have over 300 audiobooks that I am revisiting. You can get audiobooks from audible for $1 or $7 if you have kindle. Staying home is OK for me. No big issues. Also I have close to 500 movies in my PC, Bella the cat who is letting me pet her. We just need to adjust to this and hope things get better. Forgot youtube is good for documentaries. Keep safe.

Submitted by PaulMartz on Friday, March 27, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

With our weekly espresso habit tabled, I get together for morning coffee with friends via FaceTime.

Submitted by roman on Friday, March 27, 2020

Hello my applevis community. I hope that you all are safe at your house. It is not a big deal for me to stay at my house. I am enjoing my time. But I kind of miss the social interaction. Other then that, I am doing fine.

Submitted by Brad on Saturday, March 28, 2020

I have my PC for Harry Potter fan fiction and youtube and audiobooks and my Iphone for reddit and vorail.

I don't want to think about what I'd do without the internet, probably be bored stiff and hating life but because of these great peaces of tech; I can make this time a happier one.

Here's my OPML, podcast list, file:

I hope those that have podcast apps that can import these kind of files can get something out of it.

I don't think we're meant to talk about windows apps on here but I'll mention one and see what happens.

There's an app for windows called pontes media downloader, it will allow you to download youtube videos and convert them too with eas.

I hope with the podcast link and the program, you can have a safe happy time.

I agree with all but Vorail. I stop in Dec. Some of the people are just.... Podcast if you like history, check the history of the world podcast.

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo


It is always great to hear from you. I'm glad you have a very special cat in your life. Back before my guide dogs, we were Cat People. Ours were named Kink, Boo-Boo and Scuzz. No one ever accused me of conjuring up good kitty names. Now, I have my third guide dog, Grandin. He was named after Temple Grandin, the truly brilliant animal behaviorist. .

During our Stay in the House phase, Grandin waits for his meal times, challenges me to wrestling matches upstairs, and reminds me that he needs periodic quick trips to the backyard. And, then he sleeps a lot, whith his head on my foot. Although it will admittedly be nice to get out some day, we are content, happy and ready for the long viral winter.

Give Bella our best wishes!

By the way, we are also big Audible fans.

Stay safe and stay healthy,


Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hello everyone. I have been camped out here at my parents' 2-flat since a week ago Friday. I of course brought both my Mac and iPhone with, and couldn't be happier. I've gotten in some informal tech training sessions with a sister who also uses VoiceOver, so that is good. Her tutor has been instructed by upper management to stay home during this time of social distancing. I've kept in touch with my neighbors back at the pad, and with some other friends. Thanks to Dean Martineau, I just discovered that 3 books from National Braille Press are being offered for free for another month or so. So I'm going to purchase those. Two of them are about iOS, so I'm particularly excited to read those and discover even more cool stuff about my iPhone. You know, the more I use it the more I'm in agreement with those who say it is a game-changer throughout the blindness community. Please everybody stay safe and healthy.

Submitted by Jimmy V on Sunday, March 29, 2020

I been using this time to learn spanish with duolingo. I was doing it before we were all to stay home, but now I've made a spanish lesson in the morning a normal thing. I love it

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Sunday, March 29, 2020

Good Morning Morgan and all. I actually am already a stay at home pro. I haven't worked with the IRS for over 10 years now, due to many personal life changes. Prior to the loss of my job, I was fulltime involved with my churches worship team for over 10 years and being a wife of over 25 years. Now, things are much slower, without my husband or worship team. But, I can say that, because of my beloved iPhone, Apple TV, Apple watch, and other media sources, I have managed to remain productive and not go completely insane. Praying that all of you remain safe and healthy. If anyone finds other great games, give us all a shout. I know we are all looking for more fun during isolation.

Submitted by Jimmy V on Sunday, March 29, 2020

I love trivia crack. Any of you that want to start a game I think i'm jimmyv1130 on there. I am always up for one. Lets all have fun

Submitted by OldBear on Monday, March 30, 2020

Reading a lot of books, some on Dream Reader, but mostly I've been pruning my fruit trees, there's about thirty of them, working on raised beds, building a new compost bin, etc. Kind of live like a hermit anyway.
Does seem like the people living around me are at home a lot more working on their own yards. I'm planning on using a very loud wood chipper a couple of times this week, and it will probably bother them.

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Monday, March 30, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by PaulMartz


Always wonderful to hear from you!

I have yet to try using Face Time as I have always been concerned that I will forget that I can be seen by the other party. I certainly do not forget that other people can see me when we are all seated around a table in public, but I would not think twice about being unshaven and a bit disheveled on a phone call. I guess part of my experimentation during this new abnormal will be giving Face Time a whirl and learning to shave and comb my hair even when I am hanging around the house. So much to learn..

I am really happy to see how technology is helping us stay healthy and together. My youngest sister is a Special Ed teacher and was sponsoring their very first prom for this month. When her school closed because of the pandemic, I assumed that the prom would not happen. I was wrong. They had their prom, last night from the safety of their homes, using Zoom. It was a wonderful example of how we can stay close together while maintaining safe distances. A joyous memory!

Paul, I really appreciate your writing. And, thanks for the many excellent blogs that you contribute to AppleVis. You have quite a talent.

Enjoy your coffee with friends, and stay healthy,


Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, March 30, 2020

If you have kindle unlimited, you can get the ebook for free and audiobook for $1.90. There are 10 books. B.B. Larson Undying Mercenaries Series

Submitted by BlackCat on Monday, March 30, 2020

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

South-Africa has national lockdown from 27 March until 16 April. My iPhone PC, radio, guide dog and old BookSense bring me loads of joy during this sad times. Keep my mind of worrying. My office closed down and dog walking is not aloud during this lockdown period. Although I miss my daily walks to work and back with my beloved dog, I realize this measure is needed. In our own interest. May the Lord bless us all.

Submitted by That Blind Canuck on Monday, March 30, 2020

Hi Morgan, I'm happy to hear that you and your family are safe and sound at home.

As for myself, since I work for the Government, I've been setup to work from home for years now and have only been doing so on bad days, like huge snow storms or extremely hot days, as during that time, I had my second guide dog whom, at the time, was close to retirement. So when those crappy days would pop up, he'd enjoy a nice day off resting in his bed.

Sadly, he has since retired and I do have to admit, kind of miss him at times, but after having two guide dogs in a span of 16 years, I thought of taking a break for a couple of years to see how I could handle using just a white cane.

Now with this whole Covid-19 business, our department told us to work from home, but since our bandwidth can't support everyone connecting through VPN all at the same time, we've been told to only connect to get what we need, then disconnect and work offline.

Since we had a bed bug issue back in February, I've pretty much been working from home since then, and although it can be a bit lonely at times, especially since my last guide dog retired, I've been doing fairly well.

I have to admit, if it wasn't for technology, I'd probably be going insane by now, but with my iPhone and Mac, I've been keeping busy with Audible, podcasts, games and described content.

As for supplies, thankfully, my brother and parents live in the same town as me, so my brother kind of volunteered as the official gatherer of groceries for my parents and I.

I hope that you all are doing alright and surviving during this pandemic. Hopefully we'll all be able to weather the storm and get through this.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, March 30, 2020

FYI now CBS is giving away one month free. If you have amazon you can sign via them and you have CBS free. FYI. If you do so, after you subscribe, and you get your email saying so, go to amazon, and unsubscribe so you do not need to remember. You will have CBS for free for a month. I did it this morning and my will end April 29.


I am glad you are doing well. Like you, I miss the interactions of my neighborhood and the ability to just go where I'd like. Even so, I am staying in touch with people via my iPhone until this viral mess dissipates. Although the drawbridge is temporarily up, my home really is my castle. I choose to make this time productive and special.

Roman, stay healthy and enjoy the AppleVis community. I'm glad you are a part of it. Thanks for writing!


Submitted by gailisaiah on Monday, March 30, 2020

Hi Morgan, Our dogs are wonderful company during this time. Fortunately, for now, me and my big Shepherd guide, Isaiah, and I are still able to go in to the office. But it is very quiet. So taking trainings, keeping caught up on Applevis, etc. Everyone stay safe and healthy!


Whata thoughtful note. Thank you for sharing some of the ways you are staying engaged during this strange moment in our history.

I, too, am a Harry Potter fan. I have all seven volumes in English, all seven in French, and the first volume in Italian. My Italian is so poor, that I am unlikely to finish the first book before forgetting how it began. Even so, I do enjoy the stories and how they sound in each language.

I also enjoy podcasts, but books are my favorite diversion.

Thanks for sharing so many great ideas. Stay healthy and stay safe,



I really enjoyed your entire uplifting note, and I truly loved the title of your message where you refer to your parents as "the 'rents." Our son has occasionally referred to my wife and me as his "parental units." Just thinking about it makes us smile.

It sounds like you are putting this extra time at home to very good use. That's wonderful. Thank you very much for sharing your positive outlook. I also have a sibling, my younger brother, who uses VoiceOver. Although he lives about 200 miles away, we talk and text regularly. We both learn from each other. It's fun!

I agree with your assessment of the iPhone. Our connectivity has really helped lessen the impact of social distancing. It's wonderful that we can continue to interact and learn during our stays at home.

Enjoy your family and stay safe,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Monday, March 30, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Jimmy V


What a great idea! Learning another language during this unexpected vacation at home is fantastic!

I should have tackled Spanish, too. I live in Texas, and that would make sense. But, as a Junior High student, I fell in love with French. I studied it in junior high, high school and college. And, then I did not use it. However, in 2015, my family decided to travel in France. I took lots and lots of French lessons, all on my iPhone. By the time we visited Paris, I was once again fluent and thinking in French. I wish you great success with your studying Spanish. Your enthusiasm is inspiring.
What a great way to use all this free time!



Submitted by J.P. on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

I’ve been lucky to have so many options at home. Helps keep my anxiety in check. It’s constant through this.
Since grocery items are scarce, learning new recipes in my IP, with the items I have.
A KU book subscription, and Overdrive for local library... No shortage of books.
This time has given me a lot of time with relearning Windows. Went back about 7 months ago, after a decade on Mac.
Many things from Netflix, Prime Video, CBS, and Apple TV have been playing on iPhone, iPad, Fire TV, and Apple TV.


As always, I really enjoy hearing from you. I am glad you are safe and that you have the right technology to keep in touch, to stay informed and to be entertained. These tools are powerfully good. They do make a difference.

Even as we live through this viral mess, we have so much to be thankful for. We are safe, healthy and we have very special people in our lives. Life is good.

Roxann, please take care of yourself. My wife and I always look forward to hearing from you.

Sending prayers and warm wishes your way,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by OldBear

Howdy OldBear,

I really like your screen name. Somehow, I feel like that moniker could fit me as well.

Thanks for the picturesque message. I can imagine all your trees and your diligently pruning them just right. Your property description reminds me of my grandparents home in Mount Pleasant, Michigan from a very long time ago. Fun memories -- I used to buy a bottled Coke for a nickel at the nearby drugstore.

You sound like a person with an independent flair. That will serve you well as we all just do our time waiting for this viral mess to subside. Enjoy your trees, your books and stay healthy.

Now, start up that chipper,


Submitted by Siobhan on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Hi Morgan. I like your blogs they are very descriptive. I'm living with my dad who's high risk because of his age and other issues. altlhough the vodka soda I made him last night, might just kill anything. i was a bit to heavy handed. Oops? I swear i didn't mean too. ;) Anyway I have bard, I'd kill for Audible because some of the narrators are better on there. Plus an author I am fond of, Molly Harper, only is narrated by Amanda Ronconi, so check her stuff out. It's a paranormal romance, which usually isn't my thing, but she describes things as instantaneous, so it's person, vampire. Anyway besides that, I'm looking at getting an IP so when this virus clears up i can really get cooking more than I am right now which isn't much. I want to stay away from the processed chicken patties, meals that you microwave. I try not to eat a lot of that anyway, but I'm also thinking about the future. Old man won't be around forever, much as I wish him to be. And I haven't killed him yet, so that's a plus right? I get outside in my complex, walk a little and sit on the steps. There's a pond where the fish jump and on the other side is an aligator so I enjoy the wind, sun, saying hello to neighbors who drop by as they pass. I grew up in a house, so I'm never going to quite get used to hearing voices pass by as someone walks. I'd used to voices, when someone comes to the door. Stay safe, and if anyone wants to give me instant pot advice, contact me off here. :) Have a good one, hope this breaks soon.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Dean Koontz new ook is out. Devoted. Audible has it. If you love dogs, this one has smart dogs. Bella the cat is not happy with me because I am listening.

Dear BlackCat,

I'm really happy that you have some quality distractions and a wonderful guide dog to ease the "lock down" feelings that so many people are dealing with right now. Although most folks understand the import of our social distancing, it is so very different. My wife and I have been staying in our home without seeing family or friends since March 13 and it is admittedly strange. However, we are communicating with our phones, email and text messages. We also leave a small TV softly playing with happy shows , like the food channel, just for pleasant background noise during the day. Both of us are reading quite a bit, working inside the house, and I play my mandolin quite a bit in the early afternoon. We keep ourselves so busy doing things we enjoy that we do not feel quite so isolated. Although none of us really expected this pandemic, it will only take time for things to settle back down. I know it may take longer than any of us would prefer, but I sure am glad you have your guide dog to share the time with you. My own guide dog, who is smacking his lips as I type, keeps me happy and smiling all day. Of course, his smacking lips right now is his signal that he would really like to be fed. Right now! Guess I'd better go do that...

I'm glad that one of your communities is AppleVis. We are from all around the world and all sharing in this recent change to our routines. We will make it through this together.

Best wishes from Texas,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by That Blind Canuck

Dear Blinken223,

Staying home, all the time, presents some interesting challenges. Like you, we are also faring better because we have such incredible technology. Our iPhones make the difference. We stay inside, and still stay in touch. And, importantly, I can read all the audio books I want. I really enjoy Audible. I'm a platinum member, which means I read a lot. Access to thousands of books on my iPhone makes this viral mess much easier to weather.

I really appreciated your note. It is really nice to get to know you a little better. And, I loved hearing about your brother. What a good soul! Thanks for writing and sharing. Please take care and stay healthy.

Best wishes to you and your family,


Hi Morgan
Thanks for your kind words. Apart from my guide dog, both my parents are here to. Thanks tuns for their company. During the first 3 days of Lockdown, the almost complete silence in the streets of our neighborhood was disturbing, but now I'm use to it. Grateful that family and technology are our solvation.
Please stay well and healthy and send my regards to your wife and guide dog

Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo


I enjoyed your suggestion about a trial subscription to CBS.

I did this very thing with Apple's News+. I signed up, paid for a month, and then immediately cancelled so I would not forget when those thirty days ran out. Well, that month zipped by and I discovered how much I liked News+ the day it went away. I started it up again within hours and this time, I did not cancel.



Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by gailisaiah

Dear Gailisaiah,

Thank you for writing. During those days when I happened to be in the office when it was nearly empty were actually pretty nice. Circumstances were very different back then, but the quiet made it easy to get work done. Even so, there is nothing quite like working with a big, happy guide dog at your feet.

It sounds like you are doing pretty good with all these recent changes. I hope you and Isaiah keep enjoying the great team work.

Best wishes from my guide dog, Grandin, and me,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by J.P.


Wow! It sounds like you have quite a setup and plenty of ways to learn new things and be entertained. Our iPhones and other technologies are definitely helping people wait out this viral mess.

Although I must admit that I have also felt some anxiety, I am doing well because I am regularly communicating with family and friends, and I'm doing the kinds of things that I have always enjoyed at home. Like, writing this letter. Staying busy while staying home works.

J.P., please take care of yourself and stay healthy. And, stay in touch.

Best wishes,


Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Thursday, April 2, 2020

To Morgan and all. Who would have ever dreamed that a forum like this one would find two people who share the same hometown. Morgan and I share the same one, in Mount Pleasant Michigan, from which I am writing this note. It truly amazes me how that, through a forum where I first came to find some help for my new iPhone 4, that I would eventually find someone who knows my town. So cool.

As I sit here writing to all of you, I too, am so pleased that I have my fourth Leader dog basically at my feet. I first received a Leader dog at the age of 16. I had Bear for eight years, then Jack for 11 years, Indy for 11 years, and currently, my Rocky for 10 years. Wow do I feel old This means that I have been using Leader dogs for 39 years. I certainly would not change a thing. My life is truly so much better because I have a dog in it, and a Leader dog, with all that this mode of travel affords me, just makes it so so much better. Anyway, I am praying that we all stay safe, healthy, and entertained until the quarantine passes. Remember this too shall pass.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Well goodness me what a lot of comments! I would be lying if I were to say I had read them all, but I've read a selection.

Morgan, I very much enjoy your blogs. Perhaps, though, this one will go down as the most valuable of all given the context in which it is written.

So, what am I doing with myself? Well, I work for a professional education provider and so we have moved entirely online. In fact, given we've had to bring some of our projects forward, I'm busier than ever! Microsoft Teams, SharePoint and Zoom are being put through their paces. outside work there's the iPhone and Echo for audible books, the Apple Watch for keeping track of indoor cycle workouts (a poor but necessary substitute for swimming), and the iPhone again for Kindle books, newspapers and catching up with the daily Boris Briefing (which for the past week has been without Boris Johnson as he self-isolates).

I have two recommendations for everyone on here:
1. Singers, check out the self-isolation choir at and join if you are up for singing Handel's Messiah at home.
2. My lock-down reading of choice is the John Pearce series of novels. I forget by whom, but the first is By The Mast Divided. Great if you are a fan of historical fiction set at about the time of the Napoleonic Wars.
3. I almost forgot! Virtual pubs are great! My friends and I have already organised two using Zoom - The Earl of bleedershire, and the smuggler's Bottom. These are both in-jokes but my point is it's very important your virtual pub has a name.
4. I almost forgot again! Cribbage Pro is a fantastic iPhone app to have installed. it has a multi-player setting which my partner and I very much enjoy.

Right, back to work....

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Thursday, April 2, 2020

If you have kindle unlimited, you can get the audiobooks series of Undying Mercenaries audiobook for $1.90. The kindle book for free with unlimited.Last book of 13 are $7 and sadlythe last audiobook is not. Good scifi books.

Howdy Siobhan,

Great hearing from you!

How lucky you and your Dad are to be with each other during a time like this. What a surprisingly fast change in our lifestyles.

Sounds like you get to spend time relaxing in your current surroundings. That's great. I like to step out on my back patio and listen to the bird song. It is very relaxing. Even so, I'm glad I never think about alligators in the neighborhood.

I share your enthusiasm for Bard, the Talking Book app for the United States Library of Congress. I felt so liberated when I was able to retire my dependable, but aging Book Port so many years ago. I'm a one device in my shirt pocket kind of guy and having everything I need on my iPhone is still a thrill after ten years of carrying one.

I hope you and your father continue to do very well. Take care of each other.

Best wishes,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Thursday, April 2, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo


Thanks for the name of another book I can download to my iPhone. I will check it out.

Tell Bella we said "Howdy!"

Best wishes,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Friday, April 3, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by BlackCat


It was great to hear that you were enjoying the company of both your parents and your guide. And, toss in the wonderful connectivity of your iPhone and you are in good shape during this staying at home phase.

My wife is also happy to hear from you. We both wish you many relaxing and peaceful days while we all take care to stay healthy.

Best wishes to you, your folks and your pup,


Submitted by Khushi on Friday, April 3, 2020

@Morgan Watkins your posts are always beautiful and lovely to read.
stay safe and keep writing!
love and best wishes from India :)

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Friday, April 3, 2020

For those who like sci-fi books amazon are releasing All 3 Kindle version volumes of Man of War series on sale until April 30 for $0.99 each. "This is possibly the best sci-fi space opera/interstellar. I got the audiobooks and is also well done.


Mount Pleasant will always b special to me. Back in the 1950s and early 1960s, I used to spend precious time in my Grandparent's home on East High Street. Although I never lived in a house with a basement, my grandparents did. It had and old wringer washing tub, it also had the most glorious earthy smell. And, they had a huge attic that was outfitted with beds like a dorm, all meant for grandchildren. That house had fruit trees in the back and once had a Victory Garden during World War II. I still love that house! It was just as much fun for me to discover that you lived in the town where I could buy five cent bottled Cokes so long ago.

As I was writing this note, I remembered a family story about my Mom's time in Mount Pleasant as a young girl during the War. She was working in a drug store and she remembers a brand new candy that had just come out. It was in very short supply as much of it was shipped to the soldiers. However, with the small amount they received, the drug store owner let my Mom buy a few pounds of M and M candies for her to make a Christmas present of them for her family. I imagine Mom was very popular that holiday!

Thanks for sharing the names of your Leader Dogs. I used a white cane for a long time, one that I named "Raisin." However, in 1995, I switched to warm-blooded mobility. My guides have all been Golden Retrievers. Their names were Fantom, Will and now, Grandin. Grandin serves a special new role these days, keeping me playing with him while we all stay indoors. He is a dear and quite our angel in residence.

I always enjoy hearing from you, Roxann. Take care, stay safe and remain healthy.

Warm wishes are directed towards Mount Pleasant,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Friday, April 3, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Bingo Little

Dear Bingo Little,

Thank you. Your note was very kind and full of great ideas. And, I loved your really positive approach to these challenging times. It sounds very much like you have this Stay at Home regimen figured out. For me, I will have to check out the Cribbage game you suggested. My father and I used to play Cribbage when I was a kid.

I enjoyed your detailed , entertaining and informative note. It was a real pleasure to read.

Best wishes from Austin,


Submitted by Bingo Little on Friday, April 3, 2020

I shall regret this, but while I finish my last whisky I thought I'd write down some further observations about lock-down laughs. Well, the Papal Bull (the latest pub) is closed for the evening, and what a splendid pub it was. The beer was excellent - I myself partook of four bottles of Porthleven and a brace of Bitter and Twisted before rounding off the evening with two large whiskies. great company to. Well, yes. Three hours, something like that. That's how long it lasted. On Zoom, you understand. One matter upon which we reflected was how the abnormal has become so rapidly normal. So come on, you working from home merchants, be honest: do you start your nine to five shift at 4pm and pretend that you're home schooling when your kid is actualy far more proficient at eLearning than you can ever hope to be? or are you one of the folks that tries one's best to forego the commute between bed and desk? Amusing, isn't it, to reflect on that conversation with your boss? 'No, seriously, on a bad day it's a two-minute round trip....this morning was a nightmare; there are roadworks in the hall and all traffic is being diverted via the kitchen, with all trains and buses stopping at the fridge and the coffee machine.' I nearly got caught out today when I was meant to be teaching online....was all togged out in jeans and a t-shirt, which is not very professional I'm afraid. Only realised two minutes before the class that the students would see me in that manner and that my employers would no doubt make their displeasure known. Funny, too, how the daily governmental briefing has become a mut view event for so many people? One can perhaps visualise the untold multitude of hands diving for pockets as that longed for notification comes through on the iPhone: 'daily governmental briefing to begin shortly; watch live here'. These devotees, indeed, are folk who all things being equal would show absolutely no interest in the news whatsoever! Have ever so many members of the british public known who the Secretary of State for Health is, for example? For our UsS, Commonwealth, EU and international readers not versed in British politics, it's Matt Hancock.

But talking of matt Hancock, isn't it odd how this new normal generates headlines? Some of tomorrow's newspapers, available via EasyReader or Kindle on your dear old iPhone (see how clever a wheeze I am using to kep this on topic?), are making quite a big deal of what a snotfest Hancock's Half Hour has become. Again, to fill in our international friends, Matt Hancock was tested positive for Coronavirus last Thursday, and Boris Johnson (who I hope has penetrated your world as being our Prime Minister) was tested positive last Friday. Boris is still self-Isolating. Matt Hancock, on the other hand, was back yesterday heading up the daily Coronavirus briefing alongside the obligatory two or three medical experts. Hancock, my dear friends, is not recovered. Watching the video on my iPhone with my partner, using good old airplay functionality so we could both hear in surround sound while she watched pictures on my iPhone, apparently looked in a right old two and eight. Snot everywhere, apparently! I tell you, it's a good job he gentlemen (and ladies, ad one now has obligatorily to add in this age of snowflakery) of the press were in attendance on Her majesty's Minister the Right-Honourable Matthew Hancock remotely. Elsewise there'd be a lawsuit or two knocking about the place, albeit with minimal chance of success. still, better to be connected with the snotfest than for the germs to be scattered, like the good seed on the land, in one's ignorance, I say.

But folks, honestly, it's not all good. it's not all about staying connected with your family thousands os of miles away or having a drink with mates in a virtual pub more often than I'd actually have drinks with them in a normal pub in normal times. I warn you, sometimes the technological influence will be malign. I doubt many of you have read this far, but please read on if you still are, for what I have to say might save you a great deal of anguish. YOu see, I had a dream. no, not that one from 1963, but a dream which I doubt will ever be the stuff of an inspirational speech. Last night I dreamt that there was a Coronavirus-checking app which not only told you how many suspected cases there were in your current location but which also told you when you were wandering into a location where the virus had struck. Needless to say I grabbed this tool from the AppStore at once, and found much to my delight that it was accessible! That's right, Voiceover read all page elements, all buttons were clearly labelled, and the app was fully accessible with Voiceover and easy to navigate and use. I clicked on 'check current location' while standing in the lounge of my aparemtne. Hurrah! The app reported: 'congratulations! No Coronavirus cases have been found in High Barnet!' how relieved I was! I could get on with my work in peace. With that, I hot-footed it to my desk in the study, only to receive a notification from the app: 'Warning! Warning! You are now entering a high-risk Coronavirus area! Click for detailed report.' alas I woke up before being able to carry out this instruction, but it took a long while in these troubled times to shake that dream off.

With that, I have fnished my whisky. I apologise that this unco-ordinated ramble has transpired to be, well, an unco-ordiated ramble. That is because several beers and whiskies, not to mention a fine 2010 St Amelion with dinner, would tend to induce such a consequence. Don't sey I haven't kept it on topic because I have. Such arguments won't even make it before the judge. Application refused on the papers. There was something else I forgot to mention, but I can't recall it now. t was to thank Morgan for his reply, which in any case I should do in the vain hope that he has read up to this point. Good night.

Submitted by Bingo Little on Friday, April 3, 2020

perhaps I meant, perhaps. perhaps it was to thank Morgan for his reply. How on earth did the remainder of the word perhaps after the p in the last sentence of the foregoing post get chopped off? Happy lock-down all.

Dear Khushi,

Thank you for such a kind message. I'm glad you enjoyed the blog, and yes, I do intend to keep writing.

I'm glad you mentioned that you live in India. I visited Nagpur, India for a month in late 2016 and early 2017. We have many beautiful memories of our time in India.

Please keep yourself safe and healthy as we all wait together for this virus mess to end. That time will come!

Best wishes to you and your family,


Submitted by Morgan Watkins on Sunday, April 5, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Blog Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo


I suspect you and I both keep Audible very busy with all our downloads. My own tastes are all over the map. I've included a link to a previous AppleVis blog where I share my own joy with Audible.

Blind Santa: Audible Books from Me to Me.

Thanks for sharing how you use your iPhone to keep entertained during these Stay at Home days.

Keep on reading and stay healthy,


Submitted by BobP on Friday, April 10, 2020

Hi Morgan,

I, too, write using my iPhone and a bluetooth keyboard. Which brand & model of keyboard do you use? Is it reliable — keeping up with your typing speed and remaining connected?

These are problems I experience with every bluetooth keyboard. I tried 4 different models, but they either don’t keep up or their key pressure is mushy.
folding keyboards seem to be the worst to me, and both have died. I’m relying upon my older backup keyboard until I can find one that is more reliable and lasts more than a few months. Btw, I’m not hard on my tech as I also write from my comfy chair in our living room.

Apple’s VoiceOver functionality On my iPhone 8 is far superior, I believe, than clunky old JAWS on my laptop. Having said that, Windows XP, MS Word, and JAWS was my perfect writing environment.

I wrote and self-published 8 novels using those tools. Up against my iPhone’s VoiceOver, JAWS within Windows 10 and Office 365’s Word drain my patience and eagerness to write.

The iPhone equivalent has its own problems — not just with the iPhone’s bugginess, but also the complicated version of MS Word (Office 365 still) created for the iPhone OS.

What am I missing? I’m stuck between keyboard inefficiencies and frustrating Word on my iPhone and Word & JAWS in Windows 10’s graphic-menus environment.

Is there a user-friendly hardware and software solution for the iPhone that is capable, robust, and supportive for those of us who enjoy writing?

I eagerly await your reply.



Howdy Bob,

I used to be a huge fan of the Logitech Keys-To-Go keyboard, but gave them up when they changed the protective layer over the keys from something that felt like a fabric to something else that felt like rubber. Although the latter keyboard held up better, I really did not like the new feel. For me, it was like typing on a car tire. It was also harder for me to know exactly where my hands were placed.

I switched a year or so ago to the Apple Magic keyboard. The one I have does not have a numeric keypad. Actually, I should note that I now have multiple Apple Magic keyboards as that is my new standard.

Here are a few thoughts about the Apple Magic keyboard.

* The bottom side of the keyboard is very slick. They tend to slide around on your slacks if you type with the keyboard in your lap.

* I can carry the keyboard in my front pants pocket, although a few inches of the keyboard will be above the pocket.

* Unlike many Bluetooth keyboards, you can check the charge of an Apple Magic keyboard. Easy to know how much power is left from the iPhone, and it does use a Lightning connector.

* iOS 13.4 has caused some problems with the Apple Magic keyboard when using VoiceOver. For instance, in Messages, Mail and News, pressing the Vo keys and the spacebar do not always work the way they always have. You can get around it by pressing the UpArrow and DownArrow simultaneously, but that is a pain and easy to forget. Apple acknowledged that they knew of the problem. Unfortunately, iOS 13.4.1 did not fix the issue.

* The old Apple specs for Bluetooth keyboard editing inside a text field used to work pretty well, but that delight has been gone a long time. I just took a quick look through some of my old email and found me expressing my concerns in writing shortly after iOS 9.2 came out. Text editing with a Bluetooth keyboard has only slowly gotten worse since. I still hope for fixes, but it has been over four years since I raised my concerns. (The imperfect keyboard editing problems might go back even farther, but I did not do an exhaustive search of old messages.)

* My hearing aids, the Oticon Opn S 1 miniRITE model, does not play nice with my keyboard. However, I have tried lots of Bluetooth keyboards with my hearing aids and none of them are good buddies. A fix that works almost all of the time is to turn off the keyboard and my hearing aids. I then turn on the keyboard and wait several seconds. I then turn on the hearing aids, by closing the battery doors, and while my hearing aids are booting up, I press some keys on the keyboard that will not goof up whatever I happen to be doing. I generally just repeatedly hit F1. When everything is online, I usually can hear everything clearly. If I do not follow this procedure, reception on my hearing aids is nasty and scratchy.

* Another hiccup with my hearing aids is leaving the room with my iPhone and hearing aids, but leaving my keyboard turned on in the original room. I notice that reception on my hearing aids gets scratchy until I return to the first room and turn off the keyboard.

Now, to word processing...

I used to love Voice Dream Writer, in large part because it was very blind guy friendly and the spell checker is great. Unfortunately, text editing inside Voice Dream Writer is subject to the same text editing limitations noted above when using a Bluetooth keyboard. I might switch to another word processor, if I knew of a better option, but really have not found anything I like better. I still hold hope that the developer of Voice Dream Writer will give us a better word processor that more seamlessly integrates with Bluetooth keyboards, but I have not a clue as to when that might be.

By the way, many moons ago, I also loved Windows XP, Microsoft Word and Jaws. I loved how fast I could write and edit. Nowadays, I choose to use the iPhone for everything, primarily because it is convenient to always have my computer, the iPhone, with me everywhere.

You wrote, "Is there a user-friendly hardware and software solution for the iPhone that is capable, robust, and supportive for those of us who enjoy writing?"

I don't know.

OK, that wasn't terribly helpful. I do not need a full function word processor to be happy. I am from the Plain Text era where everyone knew what ASCII characters were. I have simple needs. I really want the ability to move easily by character, word, line, sentence and paragraph when editing a document. I want a dictionary and thesaurus. I want to be able to save to several different clouds, especially iCloud and DropBox. If you know of something that works really well for you on the iPhone with a Bluetooth keyboard, I would love to know!

I enjoyed hearing from you. Thanks!

Stay healthy and take care,


Good to know I'm not the only vision impaired person who reads fanfic. If you like, there's an accessible app called fanfiction plus you can use to read fics offline on IOS.

Submitted by mcox on Sunday, May 10, 2020

It's really good to see what everyone is doing during this difficult time.
I am an avid book reader, everything from fanfiction to biographies. But I have yet to find a way to read all the ebooks I downloaded in single html files from various places on the internet using both Macbook and Dell Pc on my iPhone.
I do, however have a ton of audio books (Yess I'm 28, but love all the Harry Potter Books) Pluss an insane amount of TV shows I extracted into Mp3 So...
Regards and best wishes to everyone.
Melissa Cox