A Message from St. Nick
Shortly after a quick stop at the Island of Misfit Toys, I always visit the good little boys, girls, geeks and nerds of AppleVis Land. It is difficult to know exactly what to bring you every holiday season, but I am rather fortunate. Members of AppleVis Land love to share their opinions, and that is clear both from the forum postings, as well as their wish lists sent to the North Pole.
I reached into my mailbox and pulled out a few of the letters I've received from AppleVis bloggers and have presented them here. Please feel free to contribute your own lists in the comments section.
I'll be waiting to hear from you.
Ho, Ho, Ho!!
Twas the Night Before Crashing
From Morgan Watkins
Please pardon my betrayal,
Of this classic Christmas tale.
With deep and sincere apologies to Clement Clarke Moore.
A Feature Request for Saint Dropbox
Twas the Night before Crashing,
And all through the house,
Not a peripheral was whirring,
Not even my mouse.
My old drives were strung,
To my Mac mini with care,
In hopes that new hardware,
Soon would be there.
With Ma and her iPad,
And me with my phone,
We tapped in our own worlds,
Yet were never alone.
My files were nestled,
All snug in their tracks,
While I sat having visions,
Of disk failures and hacks.
When all of a sudden,
There arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair,
To see what was the matter.
I clicked a Mac window,
And knew in a flash,
That my old clunky drives,
Had decided to crash.
The clinking and clacking,
Of disk read write heads,
Let me know in an instant,
That my data was dead.
Still, I remained somewhat hopeful,
As I listened to knocks,
For just a year earlier,
I had paid for Dropbox.
I'd saved all my files,
From drives and some floppies,
And now I had hundreds,
Of duplicate copies.
I checked from my iPhone,
And what should I see,
But a terabyte of clones,
Just staring at me.
I knew there were tools,
I could use on my Mac.
But I lived on my iPhone,
And never looked back.
My Dropbox was packed,
And I'm solely to blame.
So I gritted my teeth,
And called them by name.
"Now Dasher, now Dasher, now Dasher again,”
Seven more Dashers,
And then I had ten.
The solution was simple,
Just find names repeated,
And then push a button,
And they'd all be deleted.
But Dropbox on iPhone,
Wouldn't list all the dupes,
So I went to the App Store,
And jumped through some hoops.
I found not one app,
That would answer my call.
"Now, trash away! Trash away!
Trash away all!"
I spoke not a word,
And I wasn't a jerk,
Sent a message to Dropbox,
And said, "Make this work!"
"What I want is quite simple,
An easy request,
"Help remove all our duplicates,
That would make you the Best!"
Oh, I hope they'll exclaim,
To this man without sight,
"Here's the feature you want!
Happy Holidays! Good night!"
Morgan Watkins lives in Texas with his family and guide dog, ever striving to stay on Santa's good side.
VoiceOver Punctuation Is Frightful, But Shortcuts Are So Delightful
From Lysette Chaproniere
For Christmas this year I'd like a phone where the HeySanta command works. I keep saying Hey Santa, but nothing happens. Santa isn't listening to me!
I would also like more control over VoiceOver's punctuality settings. Punctuality, is that the right word? I don't think it is. Punctuation, I think that's the right one. Where was I? My insertion point is between T and H at the 3724th position. Come on VoiceOver, can't you be a bit more helpful than that? Anyway, I was talking about punctuality. Punctuation. The way a sentence is punctuated can completely change the meaning, so I want it to tell me about more punctuation than it does by default, but I can apostrophe T listen to it not pausing at the end of a sentence and reading every apostrophe and generally destroying the flow of the text like it does in all punctuation mode. Let's put the punk back into punctuation!
I want some keyboard cut shorts to go with my new... what's the word? Eyepatch? No, that's not it. iPad! That's the word I was looking for! I wish I could automate something in Workflow and activate it from anywhere in the system with the press of a key, or set up keyboard commands to share whatever is currently open with a specific app, or have shortcuts for launching apps and URLs. I hope the new cut short key things can work on the iPhone too.
SIRI, Santa, whatever your name is, I've been really good this year, so I think I deserve a few extra presents that might be a bit out of the ordinary. How about getting me an app that can automatically record my dreams each night? Can I have an app that dispenses free food? I'll be expecting bits of turkey to come out of my lightning port on Christmas day.
Please deliver all the above presents via iCloud.
From Lysette. Age: in the words of Jeff Buckley, "Too young to hold on, and too old to just break free and run.”
Rudolph With Your Nose So Bright, Won’t You Scan My Braille Tonight?
From Paul Martz
I’ve put on a considerable amount of weight since I last sat on your lap, so I thought it best to communicate by letter this year. And while I do have a couple gift requests, I want to start this letter by talking about you, Santa. Last time I saw you, you were wearing bifocals, or maybe they were readers? And when you were checking that list twice, you were holding it really close to your face. Have you seen a low vision specialist lately?
The good news, Santa, is that iOS has a ton of low-vision features. You can enlarge text or make it bold, use zoom to make text even bigger, and even invert the colors. The iPhone has a flashlight, which should come in handy while you’re looking for cookies and milk. Finally, SIRI is great at making lists, so you won’t need that 20/20 pen to keep track of who’s naughty and who’s nice. I hope you give yourself an iPhone for Christmas this year, Santa. I think you’ll like it.
And now, on to my list.
How about a consistent keyboard shortcut for top and bottom of list or document? For some reason, the OS X Mail app uses command+up or down arrow to jump to top or bottom of an email or list of emails, while Finder and Pages use option+up or down arrow to move to top or bottom of a list of folder items or a document. In Windows, it’s control+home or end, and it works everywhere. I’m counting on you for this one, Santa, as Apple has been unable to pull it off.
My next gift? I’d love an app that converts Braille to text and speech. You might think Braille is already accessible. Well it all depends on how fast you can read it. Let’s bring Braille into the 21st century, Santa. Please get some elves working on this one.
I don’t think I’m ready for a guide dog yet, but I still enjoy taking my pet dog for a walk. The problem? It’s a real struggle for me to find the dog droppings, let alone someone else’s dog droppings—usually in the middle of the sidewalk. How about an app for my iPhone that identifies dog poop? I imagine some kind of radar beeping app, sort of like when Seeing AI gets close to a bar code, or maybe the light source detector in Seeing Assistant Home.
Let’s see… a consistent keyboard shortcut to jump to top and bottom of document or list, an app to scan Braille, and a dog poop identifier. That’s about it. As an adult, I can provide you a bonus incentive to visit my house this year. Instead of the usual milk and cookies, look for a cigar and a shot of scotch. Merry Christmas!
Paul, the nerdy little blind kid.
I’m Dreaming Of An Accessible Christmas
From Ted Nicholas, a grumpy old fan. Bah, humbug! :-)
The weather outside makes one cold and withers.
So to warm my heart and help fight the shivers,
I thought I would ask for a few smaller things.
And wait with anticipation for what Santa brings.
I’d like a more aware world where the web actually works.
Since my screen reader seems to find all of its quirks.
And apps that are made with less visual intention,
to help with my ongoing hair pulling prevention.
I want a Mac Mail app that wasn’t spawned in Hell,
So I can type a new message before it becomes HTML.
At the risk of ending up on the wrong side of the list,
The current implementation has me getting really, um, upset.
A new Mac laptop would fill me with hope.
And maybe more brain cells to help me cope.
Maybe more patience so I won’t be a grouch.
And a laptop for my wife so I won’t sleep on the couch.
I’d like some Air buds, though I don’t wish to pest.
It will help keep the new laptop to remain on my desk.
Sometimes standing up will send my Mac flying.
Or at least upgrade ‘my’ memory to keep me from crying.
I may be getting grouchy and a bit long in the sleeves.
But disregarding my age, my heart still believes.
In the joy of Christmas and all that it brings.
Especially if a laptop is one of the things.
Have a Merry Christmas and a warm season’s wishes.
From a grumpy old fan. SIRI, please do the dishes.
Darn it! That one never works. :-)
…And to All a Good Night!
Signing off, from Santa
To all the good AppleVis members and staff,
I shake my round belly and give a full laugh.
I am overjoyed with your info and warmest season's wishing,
just get it to me soon, for next month I'll be fishing.
I'm afraid I'm so busy, I may have to pass,
on the plate full of cookies and the warm milk glass.
Maybe you can message me with a photo of the treat?
But Mrs Santa likes me staying light on my feet.
For all your year-long wishes, I can promise you this,
The best place to post them is here on AppleVis.
Warm season's wishes from all the team members at AppleVis!
I enjoyed each story posted here. thanks for the giggles and for sharing your creative talents. I think I want a app that will not only search for that pesky guide dog poop hazard, but one that will also clean it up for me, as well.
Merry Christmas from very snowy Michigan.
Words by Fred Scott
traditional 12 bar blues
It’s Christmas time baby,
you stole my new pair of shoes,
It’s Christmas time baby,
you took my only pair of shoes.
Your new boyfriend got my Nikes,
I got these Christmas blues.
Well, I gave you a credit card for Christmas,
back in 2003.
Yeah, I gave you a new credit card for Christmas,
that should have been a lesson unto me.
a you took that credit card baby,
I got a chapter 11 bankruptcy
Well, I went down to the doctor,
oh doctor, I believe I got a stomach flu.
well, I went on down to the doctor,
thought I had a Christmas flu.
Doctor say it ain’t no Christmas virus,
that woman’s trying to poison you.
You say you like Christmas,
all the lights and festivities.
You say you like Christmas,
all the lights and festivities,
This Christmas, baby, I’ll be sitting alone,
watching Cops on a 7 inch tv.
I lost the lease on my apartment,
they stole my Salvation Army coat
My dentures fell in the toilet,
I found out they don’t even float.
It’s Christmas time baby,
I hope you have some Christmas cheer.
This Christmas I’ll be under the Board Walk,
with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.
Happy holidays to all.
Merry Christmas to all
I thank you too for the stories and poems. Love Applevis! Merry Christmas to the team!
Thanks for the Laughs
Subject line pretty much sums it up. Actually, the title of this original posting rings true for me, as I will indeed be getting 2 new front teeth as a somewhat belated Christmas gift. To cut a long story short, my dentist took more impressions yesterday and it looks like we're on track now. But that was probably more than y'all needed to know, lol! Anyway, I love AppleVis too and hope it is around for years to come. I also hope to get my first iPhone for Christmas or my birthday next year. Christmas would be better, but seeing as how there is virtually no in-person training on these things in my area I'll wait until late January 2018 if I have to. Of course my brother will be in town, and he is an iPhone user. He uses VoiceOver too.
Dear Santa, Yes, I got your name right this time,
I decided to write to you again because I have another request which I forgot to put in my first letter. I want VoiceOver on iOS to actually keep my place on the screen, and stop assuming I want to be taken back to the top all the time. Sometimes when I’m browsing the web, I’ll follow a link that’s supposed to take me to a specific place on the page. If the page loads slowly enough, VoiceOver will tell me where on the page I’ve landed, but as soon as it’s fully loaded it goes straight back to the top. That’s incredibly annoying. And when I’ve just pressed a back button, I want VoiceOver to land on the thing I’ve just backed out of, not at the top of the screen, because that would make it a lot easier to go through a list of files, settings screens, or whatever, and open them one by one without having to constantly find my place again. If you and the elves can sort that out for me, I’ll have a much less frustrating 2018.
Yet Another Letter
Good catch, Lysette. And I'll note that this seems to work OK on Windows with JAWS - if you back out of a page, focus lands on the link you are backing out of. C'mon, Apple! Get with the program!
Another thing I'd like for Christmas - A VoiceOver voice that is a bit more expressive. If a sentence ends with a question mark, then read it like a question, with a lift in intonation. If a word is all caps and clearly not an acronym, then read the word with emphasis. I've been using computer voices for 20 years and I'm rather surprised that simple expressive features like this don't yet exist.