Follow us on
Connect

Blind

Why Everyone Should Care About DRM’s Punishment Of The Visually Impaired
October 1, 2012 | 4:39 pm

Techdirt writes a lot about the problems with DRM, and how inefficient and inconvenient it is. But for millions of visually-impaired people, those "inconveniences" represent something much deeper, and much worse. Somebody who has started writing eloquently about this issue is Rupert Goodwins. He is one of the UK's most respected technology journalists and also, sadly, is losing his sight. As he points out in a powerful new piece, things ought to be getting better for the visually impaired in the Internet age:... Read Full Article ... Source: Techdirt...

Haptic Braille device could let blind read print books in braille
December 10, 2010 | 2:12 pm

haptic-brailleAnyone who has seen the movie Sneakers is familiar with the idea of braille screens for reading by the blind. In the real world, however, braille screens are gimmicky, expensive, non-portable devices prone to mechanical failure, and I am told most blind computer users make do with speech-synthesizers instead (be it on their computer, or via hand-held devices like the Intel or LookTel gadgets I’ve mentioned before). But speech-synth does have some drawbacks, especially for reading a book—the voice can be annoying, for one thing, getting in the way of immersion into the book (which is why I...

The iPhone is the greatest thing to happen to the blind, says Austin Seraphin
September 29, 2010 | 6:40 pm

images.jpgThis is a post from Austin Seraphin's Behind the Curtain blog from back in June. It's well worth reading the whole thing: Last Wednesday, my life changed forever. I got an iPhone. I consider it the greatest thing to happen to the blind for a very long time, possibly ever. It offers unparalleled access to properly made applications, and changed my life in twenty-four hours. The iPhone only has one thing holding it back: iTunes. Nevertheless, I have fallen in love. ... I have seen a lot of technology for the blind, and I can safely say that the iPhone represents...

Ereaders and accessibility – Kindle and iPad take the lead
August 6, 2010 | 11:38 am

images.jpgArs Technica has an overview article about current ereaders and accessibility - the Kindle and the iPad lead and the Nook and Sony aren't in the running. We already covered the National Federation of the Blind commending Amazon on the new accessibility features of the 3rd generation Kindle. Here's what Ars has to day about the iPad: Similarly, the iPad excels in this area, thanks largely to its sort-of-computer status and Apple's accessibility support in the OS. Screen reading is not a setting within the iBooks app, but the iPad itself—users can turn on VoiceOver so that every object, menu item,...

National Federation of the Blind commends Amazon on new accessible Kindle
August 5, 2010 | 7:48 am

images.jpgFrom the press release: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today commended Amazon on the unveiling of a new, accessible Kindle. Amazon announced Wednesday that the new Kindle will come equipped with a voice guide that reads all menu options aloud so blind and other print-disabled people can navigate the device menus. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "We commend Amazon on the unveiling of a new Kindle that blind and print-disabled people can use. In order to compete in today's digital society, blind and print-disabled people must be able to access the...

How to use an iPhone 4 with a braille display
July 13, 2010 | 9:47 am

More information available in the Engadget article this is taken from....

iPod Touch to get cameras, FaceTime?
July 11, 2010 | 2:39 pm

itouch-rumor A part listing from an iPod replacement parts vendor has led to speculation that this fall’s iPod Touch refresh will include not only the higher-resolution “retina display” of the iPhone 4, but also the iPhone 4’s front and back cameras and FaceTime video chat. Our sister blog AppleTell has more details on the rumor. The notion of a camera coming to the iPod Touch is not a new one. Rumors of an iPod Touch camera abounded last year, sparked by an Apple job posting “looking for a Camera Engineering Project Manager (EPM) to drive the design, development and...

Royal National Institute of Blind People praises Apple and the iPad
June 4, 2010 | 11:20 am

rnib.jpegThat is what The Telegraph is reporting today. According to the article: "When it comes to embedding accessibility, Apple has set the standard in recent years," said Robin Spinks, principal manager of digital accessibility at the RNIB. "It is now up to other manufacturers to follow their lead." The features cited include the ability to increase the size of text, option to change the color of the screen background and text and the ability to read out the words on the screen....

Technology overtakes braille in Canada
April 30, 2010 | 7:10 am

braille.jpegBack in January we did an article: “Listening to Braille” : Braille advocates at odds with new audio technologies. Now an article in CTV News, of Canada, discusses the same issue. Less than 10 percent of Canada's 830,000 vision impaired people can read braille. New technology, such as JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is gaining popularity and obviating the need for braille in many cases. Nevertheless, the braille advocates are still there: "What braille allows is for someone to gain literacy, to gain an understanding of sentence structure and grammar. Computer technology doesn't replace how to learn to write, to spell, what...

The iPad and reading for the blind – a real boon
April 14, 2010 | 9:22 am

Screen shot 2010-04-14 at 9.20.22 AM.pngForbes talks about this and points out how the Kindle could have been a great boon to the blind and visually disabled, but missed the opportunity because of its setup and even incurred a lawsuit from advocacy groups. However, the iPad is a boon to the blind, says the article. I must admit that I didn't know this about the Apple interface, even though I have two MacBooks. The picture above is a screen shot from my MacBook Air: ... all iPads have a standard application called VoiceOver, which allows for audible control of every single menu, even...

Looktel bringing hand-held text-to-speech to Windows Mobile smartphones
March 31, 2010 | 9:00 am

looktel Remember the Intel Reader, the $1500 handheld device that acts as a hand-held portable scanner/OCR/text-to-speech device for the blind? A company called LookTel is in the beta stage of bringing something similar to Windows Mobile camera phones. The device will speak aloud text (package labels or street signs) or identify currency within its field of vision; snapshot-OCR magazine articles, book pages, and so forth; and allow adding voice tags to patterned labels that can be applied to containers and other objects without speakable text. According to the article, it will even allow the user to provide...

Digital talking book internet service delivers one millionth download
March 27, 2010 | 8:20 am

images.jpegFrom the press release by the Library of Congress: ... [a recent download] marked the one millionth piece of reading material delivered by the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service, a new initiative from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. Formally launched on April 30, 2009, BARD quickly became popular. Today more than 15,000 of NLS’s more than 800,000 patrons are registered for access. ... The next stage in BARD’s development is to transfer administrative control from NLS to state and local libraries serving blind and physically handicapped readers. ... (via Resource Shelf)...

Quick Note: Free books for braille and DAISY readers
February 1, 2010 | 11:23 am

Screen shot 2009-11-05 at 8.58.43 AM.pngMore free stuff today. Download 20 free first chapters of contemporary titles, as well as 5 complete Classics titles at www.readhowyouwant.com/humanware. Classics titles selected for the February Free Download Program are Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper, and Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. ...

Webcast on digital accessibility available
January 14, 2010 | 4:41 pm

blind.jpegThis free webcast is now available. It is a discussion of the philosophy, research, planning, and development of the next generation of Library-Services-provided free talking books. Speakers are: Frank Kurt Cylke, Michael Katzmann, John Bryant, Michael Martys, Donald Olson, Edmund O’Reilly. You will need Real Player to listen. (via Resource Shelf) ...

Blindness Organizations and Arizona State University Resolve Litigation Over Kindle
January 12, 2010 | 9:16 am

suit.jpegFrom the press release: The settlement agreement among the parties was reached in light of several factors, including: (1) ASU's commitment to providing access to all programs and facilities for students with disabilities, including students who are blind or have low vision; (2) the fact that the pilot program will end in the Spring of 2010; (3) Amazon and others are making improvements to and progress in the accessibility of e-book readers; and (4) the university's agreement that should ASU deploy e-book readers in future classes over the next two years, it will strive to use devices that are accessible to...

“Listening to Braille” : Braille advocates at odds with new audio technologies
January 3, 2010 | 12:56 pm

images.jpegThe New York Times Magazine has a long article on Braille and the conflict Braille advocates are having with those who are using new audio technologies. Who would have thought! Everybody has their own axe to grind. Braille readers do not deny that new reading technology has been transformative, but Braille looms so large in the mythology of blindness that it has assumed a kind of talismanic status. Those who have residual vision and still try to read print — very slowly or by holding the page an inch or two from their faces — are generally frowned upon...

US government supports copyright exemptions for the blind
December 31, 2009 | 6:13 am

E-books have long been recognized as a reading format that is particularly friendly to the disabled—at least when DRM is not involved. Blind readers can pass these files directly to their braille readers or speech synthesizers and enjoy “reading” a good book much the same as the rest of us. Ars Technica has a most interesting article about the US government’s support of a proposed WIPO treaty that mandates copyright exemptions (otherwise known as “compulsory licensing”) and DRM-breaking permissions for organizations that provide reading material to the disabled. In other words, these organizations would be permitted to...

wordpress analytics