Tech Hub Vision with David Woodbridge

Welcome to the Vision Australia Store Tech Hub Page

My name is David Woodbridge and I am in charge of the Tech Hub at the Vision Australia Vision Store at VA’s head office in Parramatta. I have 30 years of experience and knowledge to share with you.

On this page, you will find information on how to find and contact me and other staff within the Vision Store, what types of tech you can expect to experience in the tech hub, our hands-on Tech Fridays, discussion groups on various topics as we evolve, polls on various topics, and a news feed of documents as we explore current and future tech.

Besides the tech hub, I also produce a weekly Vision Australia Radio show called Talking Tech where I discuss main stream and assistive tech of interest to the general and blind/low vision community.

You can catch the program live on Vision Australia Radio every Tuesday at 4:30PM Sydney/Melbourne time. If you would like to catch up with the program on-demand, you can listen to the show via your favourite pod catcher, Vision Australia Library I-Access, iTunes, Google Home (just say “play Talking Tech from Vision Australia) or go to the Talking Tech podcast page at: http://talkingtech.podbean.com

As a way of researching for the Talking Tech radio show, I favourite/like a lot of potential story’s, some of which don’t make it on. If you would like to see all the Twitter storey’s that I have taken an interest in, you will find a twitter feed on this page (within a Twitter frame) of my current/past favourite/likes.

As a way of generating interesting tech to demo on Tech Fridays, and to write news articles about, I produce my own personal podcast called - iSee - technology from a Blind Persons Perspective, which you can find at: http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Like my Talking Tech show, you can listen to it in various ways.

The News Feed that I have included on this page, are the articles that I write as a basis of doing my personal podcasts, and work for Vision Australia.

At the end of the day, this is all about sharing information for all of us. Please take advantage of the discussion groups, polls, Twitter and news feeds, and feel free to contact me via the 1300 847-466 number for Vision Australia or email me at: david.woodbridge@visionaustralia.org


How to find and Contact Us

The Tech Hub is located within the Vision Australia Store:

Level 7

128 Marsden Street

Parramatta NSW 2250

The big tip is - the entrance to the building is off Argyle Street just past the coffee shop on the corner of Marsden/Argyle streets.

Operating hours for the store are 9AM to 5PM Monday to Friday with the Tech Fridays running from 10AM to 3PM.

visionstore@visionaustralia.org

What type of tech can you expect to find in the Tech Hub

You will be able to try out smart speakers, smart TBS, robot vacuum cleaners, wearable technology, Apple products, other mobile phones/tablets, talking microwaves, talking induction plates, electronic video magnifiers etc. Plus these and others, there will be specific tech on show for tryout and discussion on tech Fridays.

Just a note on Tech Fridays, whilst there will be a theme and associated tech for the day, you can still come in to the store and have a chat about any technology topic of interest to you as a blind or low vision person.

Request to sign up to our Tech Friday news and upcoming events by emailing visionstore@visionaustralia.org

Please fine below the discussion forums, my Twitter feed of favourites/likes, polls, and my news feed of interesting articles.

If you would like to sign the guest book whilst you are visiting,that would be great, but not necessary.

In his role as Adaptive Technology Advisor for VA and passion for technology, David Woodbridge admits he more tech than most people. Remember, this information is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for advice or a personal assessment. To be clear: You should seek personal advice before acting on any of this information or experience. Vision Australia


Welcome to the Vision Australia Store Tech Hub Page

My name is David Woodbridge and I am in charge of the Tech Hub at the Vision Australia Vision Store at VA’s head office in Parramatta. I have 30 years of experience and knowledge to share with you.

On this page, you will find information on how to find and contact me and other staff within the Vision Store, what types of tech you can expect to experience in the tech hub, our hands-on Tech Fridays, discussion groups on various topics as we evolve, polls on various topics, and a news feed of documents as we explore current and future tech.

Besides the tech hub, I also produce a weekly Vision Australia Radio show called Talking Tech where I discuss main stream and assistive tech of interest to the general and blind/low vision community.

You can catch the program live on Vision Australia Radio every Tuesday at 4:30PM Sydney/Melbourne time. If you would like to catch up with the program on-demand, you can listen to the show via your favourite pod catcher, Vision Australia Library I-Access, iTunes, Google Home (just say “play Talking Tech from Vision Australia) or go to the Talking Tech podcast page at: http://talkingtech.podbean.com

As a way of researching for the Talking Tech radio show, I favourite/like a lot of potential story’s, some of which don’t make it on. If you would like to see all the Twitter storey’s that I have taken an interest in, you will find a twitter feed on this page (within a Twitter frame) of my current/past favourite/likes.

As a way of generating interesting tech to demo on Tech Fridays, and to write news articles about, I produce my own personal podcast called - iSee - technology from a Blind Persons Perspective, which you can find at: http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com

Like my Talking Tech show, you can listen to it in various ways.

The News Feed that I have included on this page, are the articles that I write as a basis of doing my personal podcasts, and work for Vision Australia.

At the end of the day, this is all about sharing information for all of us. Please take advantage of the discussion groups, polls, Twitter and news feeds, and feel free to contact me via the 1300 847-466 number for Vision Australia or email me at: david.woodbridge@visionaustralia.org


How to find and Contact Us

The Tech Hub is located within the Vision Australia Store:

Level 7

128 Marsden Street

Parramatta NSW 2250

The big tip is - the entrance to the building is off Argyle Street just past the coffee shop on the corner of Marsden/Argyle streets.

Operating hours for the store are 9AM to 5PM Monday to Friday with the Tech Fridays running from 10AM to 3PM.

visionstore@visionaustralia.org

What type of tech can you expect to find in the Tech Hub

You will be able to try out smart speakers, smart TBS, robot vacuum cleaners, wearable technology, Apple products, other mobile phones/tablets, talking microwaves, talking induction plates, electronic video magnifiers etc. Plus these and others, there will be specific tech on show for tryout and discussion on tech Fridays.

Just a note on Tech Fridays, whilst there will be a theme and associated tech for the day, you can still come in to the store and have a chat about any technology topic of interest to you as a blind or low vision person.

Request to sign up to our Tech Friday news and upcoming events by emailing visionstore@visionaustralia.org

Please fine below the discussion forums, my Twitter feed of favourites/likes, polls, and my news feed of interesting articles.

If you would like to sign the guest book whilst you are visiting,that would be great, but not necessary.

In his role as Adaptive Technology Advisor for VA and passion for technology, David Woodbridge admits he more tech than most people. Remember, this information is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for advice or a personal assessment. To be clear: You should seek personal advice before acting on any of this information or experience. Vision Australia


  • Podcasts from Vision Australia

    5 months ago

    Many folks are aware of Vision Australia Radio, but what you may not realise, is that many of the programs aired are also available as podcasts.

    Vision Australia radio has a wide range of podcasts to offer our customers.

    To listen to the programs produced by Vision Australia Radio, you can either go directly to the VA Radio Podcast page, go in to each program and listen within your web browser:

    http://radio.visionaustralia.org/podcasts

    Or

    access the direct URLS for Talking Tech, Talking Vision, and Va Radio programming in general.

    Talking Tech from Vision Australia

    http://talkingtech.podbean.com/feed

    Talking Vision from Vision Australia

    http://talkingvision.podbean.com/feed

    ...

    Many folks are aware of Vision Australia Radio, but what you may not realise, is that many of the programs aired are also available as podcasts.

    Vision Australia radio has a wide range of podcasts to offer our customers.

    To listen to the programs produced by Vision Australia Radio, you can either go directly to the VA Radio Podcast page, go in to each program and listen within your web browser:

    http://radio.visionaustralia.org/podcasts

    Or

    access the direct URLS for Talking Tech, Talking Vision, and Va Radio programming in general.

    Talking Tech from Vision Australia

    http://talkingtech.podbean.com/feed

    Talking Vision from Vision Australia

    http://talkingvision.podbean.com/feed

    Vision Australia Radio General Programs from Vision Australia

    http://varadio.podbean.com/feed

    With the above URLS, you can subscribe to podcasts within iTunes (under the File menu, Subscribe to Podcast) on either Mac or Windows or in a mobile app on a smart phone or tablet.

    You can also access podcasts from the Vision Australia Library I-Access service by going to

    http://ia.va.org.au

    Login, select podcasts, and subscribe or show programs to download directly or add programs to your bookshelf.

    If you use the VA Connect app for iOS (iPhone, iPod touch or iPad), the podcasts that you subscribe to within I-Access, you can listen to within the app by going to the podcasts tab.

    The iOS link for Va Connect is

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/vision-australia-connect/id1051618020?mt=8

    And

    Android link is

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.visionaustralia.connect&hl=en_AU

    If you have an iOS device, you can use the Podcasts app that comes with iOS as well to enjoy Vision Australia Radio programming.

    For iOS another great podcast app is Overcast or for both iOs and Android Pocket Casts.

    Overcast App Store link is

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/overcast/id888422857?mt=8

    Pocket Casts on the App Store link is

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pocket-casts/id414834813?mt=8

    Pocket Casts on the Android play store link is

    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.shiftyjelly.pocketcasts&hl=en_AU

    As far as smart speakers go

    Hey Google “play podcast Talking Tech from Vision Australia”

    Hey Siri “play podcast Talking Tech from Vision Australia”

    Oddly, this doesn’t work at all on the Amazon Echo.

    However, on both the Google Home and Amazon Echo, you can listen to Vision Australia Radio live:

    Hey Google “or Alexa Play Vision Australia Radio Melbourne” or Hey Google or Alexa “Play Vision Australia Radio Adelaide”

    The Victor Reader Stream 2nd edition is also a great way of accessing podcasts. After you turn the unit on, press the online button, press the Bookshelf button until you get to Podcasts, press 6 to access Add Podcast Feed, press Hash, press Hash again on Title search, via the sms style keypad enter Talking Tech, and press Hash button to search. Press 6 to go through lists of search results, and press Hash to subscribe on Talking Tech from Vision Australia.

    Note - You must be on Wi-Fi for the online function to work on the Victor Reader Stream: i.e. connected to your Home Wi-Fi network.

    As with many other products, you can purchase the Victor Reader Stream directly from the Vision Store online website, the product page link is

    https://shop.visionaustralia.org/shop/product/victor-reader-stream

    Here are some main stream tech related podcasts that you can search for in iTunes, Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts or the Victor Stream.

    All About Android (TWiT)

    Daily Tech News (Tom Merritt)

    iOS Today (TWiT)

    MacBreak Weekly (TWiT)

    Windows Weekly (TWiT)

    Finally, if you would like to subscribe to my iSee - Use of Various Technology from a Bind Persons Perspective, use this link to subscribe directly

    http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/feed

    David Woodbridge December 2018


  • Common Android and iOS Apps

    8 months ago

    Most of the apps that are listed here I mainly use on my iOS device (iPhone or iPad). I can’t vouch for their accessibility 100 percent on Android, particularly for the main stream apps).

    I have also included apps that work with the hardware that I use in my smart home such as those for my Ring Video Doorbell, Samsung Smart TV or Powerbot Vacuum Cleaner, Google Home, Sensibo for use with the Air Conditioner.

    One other app that I have included for the hardware that I use is the Coffee Link app for my De’Longhi Primmadonna Touch coffee machine....

    Most of the apps that are listed here I mainly use on my iOS device (iPhone or iPad). I can’t vouch for their accessibility 100 percent on Android, particularly for the main stream apps).

    I have also included apps that work with the hardware that I use in my smart home such as those for my Ring Video Doorbell, Samsung Smart TV or Powerbot Vacuum Cleaner, Google Home, Sensibo for use with the Air Conditioner.

    One other app that I have included for the hardware that I use is the Coffee Link app for my De’Longhi Primmadonna Touch coffee machine. Oddly the iOS version is less accessible than the Android version mainly in accessing the popup Windows that come from the machine (eg out of water etc), can still use the app to select your coffee.

    Another app which deserves a note due to its lack of accessibility on iOS, and a bit on Android, is the Sensibo app for the Air Conditioner. There messy to use with a screen reader on iOS or Android, the Mode, Temp or Fan speed can’t be changed on iOS, not sure about Android. So what I do with this is I only use the app to turn the Air Con on or off and check its temperature reading for the room, then to change the Mode etc, I go and use the website www.sensibo.com which then allows me access.

    Where its not obvious what the apps listed are for, I’ve put a few descriptive words after the name.

    At the end of the common apps for iOS and Android, I have a list of the iOS apps that I use all the time and thus are my favourite.

    List Of Common Android and iOS Apps

    ABC iView (ABC online streaming)

    ABC Listen (ABC Radio stations)

    Aira (for the Aira service either via phone camera or purchased smart glasses)

    Amazon Alexa (for use with the Amazon Echo hardware and giving access to use Amazon’s digital assistant)

    Amazon Music

    Amazon Prime Video

    Audio Game Hub (various self voicing games)

    Audible (for use with Audible books - nice thing about Android version can buy within app)

    Chrome (web browser from Google)

    Coffee Link (for use with the De’Longhi Primmadonna Touch Coffee machine)

    Dropbox

    Facebook

    Fitbit (for use with the Fitbit bands - I use this with my Fitbit Charge 2)

    Google Assistant (Google’s digital assistant)

    Google Home (for use with the Google Home smart speaker hardware)

    Google maps

    Google News

    Google Play Music

    Kindle (Kindle eBooks)

    KNFB Reader (OCR specific blindness related app))

    Lazarillo GPS (specific blindness related GPS app)

    Lifx (for use with LIfx smart globes)

    MbMimic (for use with the Mount Batten Brailler)

    Microsoft Cortana (Microsoft’s digital assistant)

    Music Healing (relaxing music app)

    My Tuner Radio (various online radio stations)

    O6 (for use with the O6 remote controller for iOS/Android - iOS version works well with VoiceOver, can’t comment on Android/Talkback)

    Netflix:

    Pocket Cast (pod catcher)

    Ring Always Home (for use with the Ring Video Doorbell)

    Sensibo (for use with the Sensibo device to allow Air Conditioner access that use a physical remote control)

    Smart Things (for use with Samsung Devices such as the Power Bot vacuum cleaner or the accessible Smart TV)

    Spotify Music

    Sunu App (for use with the Sunu Band orientation & Mobility device))

    Seeing Assistant Home Lite (contains light detecter, colour identifier etc)

    Skype

    Text Grabber (OCR)

    Tile (for use with the Tile Tag tracking system)

    Twitter

    Vision Australia Connect (for the VA Library)

    Youtube

    Zoom (web meetings etc)

    Default eBook readers for iOs and Android:

    Books for iOS, and

    Play Books for Android.

    App Stores:

    App Store, iBooks Store, and iTunes Store for iOS, and

    Play Store for all for Android.

    My favourite iOS apps

    Before I give you my favourite iOS apps, there is one more bit of hardware that I wanted to include here as whilst it has a general app for both Android and iOS, the developer have only written a separate specific application for the use of the VoiceOver screen reader for iOS. This is the Tap With Us wearable keyboard and the accessible app is Tap Aloud (Tap Manager is the general app for the iOS/Android versions for the Tap Keyboard).

    Oh and just for the record, my most used digital assistant is still Siri whether its on my Apple Watch, HomePod, iPhone/iPad, Apple TV or Mac.

    My Favourite iOS Apps

    These are the ones that I at least use all the time and some do not have Android versions. Just remember what I wrote above for the Coffee Link and Sensibo apps.

    ABC Listen

    Aira

    Amazon Alexa (mainly for controlling the Amazon Echos around the house)

    Apple Store (purchasing from Apple Store online mainly seems to be for cables these days smile)

    Audible

    Books (Apple Books but I still like to use the term iBooks)

    Coffee Link

    Dropbox

    Eyes Free Fitness (specific exercise routines for the blind - really really excellent app for keeping healthy)

    Find My iPhone (for finding all of my Apple devices - just wish Apple would change the name to Find My Devices)

    Find My Friends (keep track of family and friends)

    FlickType (pattern typing recognition keyboard)

    Google Home

    Home (control my Apple Home Kit devices)

    Just Press Record (excellent recording app for iOS, Apple Watch, and the Mac)

    Kindle

    News (as in Apple News)

    Netflix

    O6 (for use with the O6 device)

    Outlook (as in Microsoft Outlook)

    Overcast (pod catcher)

    Smart Things (mainly with the Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner)

    Sensibo

    Seeing AI (short/log text OCR, bar code reader, light detecter, currency id etc from Microsoft)

    Sound Scape (3d Audio GPS app for the blind from Microsoft)

    Sunu App

    Tap Aloud (for the accessible version of the wearable keyboard app)

    Tile (Tile Tag tracking system)

    Trash Day (reminds me when to take out the garbage)

    Tripview Sydney (bus and trains also has a Melbourne version)

    TWIT TV (for the TWiT TV network)

    Twitter

    TV (for watching my iTunes movies, TV shows etc from Apple)

    Watch (the Apple Watch app)

    Water Reminder (keep track of your water intake for the day and get reminders)

    Weather Gods (excellent weather app with a lot of attention to accessibility for VoiceOver users)

    Zoom


  • Google Home

    9 months ago

    Installing and Using the Google Home

    Google Home was the first Smart speaker to be officially available in Australia.

    Retail price: $199.

    What you will need

    Google Home,

    Gmail email address and password,

    Wi-Fi network,

    Wi-Fi enabled phone or tablet, and

    Google Home app.

    These instructions for setting up and using the Google Home will also apply to the Google Home Mini. However, the Google Home Mini has different touch gestures, and the mute mic switch is a slider.

    What Is in the Box

    · Google Home

    · DC adapter

    · getting started guide

    Physical Description

    The speaker is about...

    Installing and Using the Google Home

    Google Home was the first Smart speaker to be officially available in Australia.

    Retail price: $199.

    What you will need

    Google Home,

    Gmail email address and password,

    Wi-Fi network,

    Wi-Fi enabled phone or tablet, and

    Google Home app.

    These instructions for setting up and using the Google Home will also apply to the Google Home Mini. However, the Google Home Mini has different touch gestures, and the mute mic switch is a slider.

    What Is in the Box

    · Google Home

    · DC adapter

    · getting started guide

    Physical Description

    The speaker is about 15CM high, and 10CM in diameter.

    To orientate to the speaker, when the DC adapter is plugged in, this is at the back and the furtherest away from you.

    The top of the speaker is a slanted touch surface with LED lights which indicate different states such as heard Ok Google, Google Home is thinking etc. There are two mic holes at 9 and 3 clock face) on the touch surface. Half of the speaker from the bottom is covered by a fabric/plastic shell which can be removed for another colour look (either white or slate).

    There is an Indented mic mute button on the back of the speaker just below the top. At the bottom back of the speaker is the port for the dedicated DC adapter (not micro UsB) (as with the Google Home Mini).

    Press the Mic Mute button to mute or unmute the mic.

    Setting up the Google Home

    Plug the Google Home in to power and wait for startup sounds and spoken welcome message (about 30 seconds from when plugged in to power).

    Setup welcome message - “Welcome to Google Home. To get started, download the Google Home app on a phone or tablet.

    To repeat similar setup welcome message, say “ok Google” or hold 1 finger down on touch surface at top of Google Home.

    Repeat start up message - “Your Google Home isn’t setup yet. To get started, download the Google Home app on a phone or tablet”.

    Download Google Home app

    Android

    Play Store

    iPhone, iPod touch or iPad

    iOS App Store

    After downloading and opening the Google Home app, take the following steps:

    1. Choose Get Started button from the Google Home welcome screen.

    2. At the Sign In screen, enter Gmail email address, and select Next link.

    3. Type in Password for Gmail email, and select Next link.

    4. At the Confirm account screen, tap on the Gmail email button to confirm, and select the Ok button.

    5. At the Search for Devices screen, - select the device you wish to setup: select the Google Home button, and select the Next button.

    6. A sound will play, and you will be ask to confirm that you heard it, select the Yes button or Try Again button.

    7. At the choose a location for the Google Home, select a default location such as Bathroom, bedroom etc. or select Add Custom Room button, and select Next button.

    8. At the Wi-Fi screen, select your home Wi-Fi network, and select the Next button.

    9. Enter the password for your Wi-Fi home network, and select Connect button.

    10. After successfully connecting to network, the Setup Your Google Assistant screen will appear with info and tips, and select the Next button.

    11. The Get Personal Results with Voice Match screen will then appear, not necessary to setup, select Skip button or Continue button to setup Personal voice Match. Choosing Skip button, will receive a warning about Google Home not being able to tell the difference between you and other people in your family, select Go Back button or I’m Sure button. Select I’m Sure button.

    12. At the Allow Personal Results screen, Choose Skip button or Allow Button. Select Allow button.

    13. Pop-up - allow Google Home to access your location whilst you are using the App? Select Allow button.

    14. Enter Your Address screen, type in address, and select Next button.

    15. Add Music services screen - select music service(s), type in any required user name and password settings, and choose Next button. Otherwise, select No Now button.

    16. Default music service screen - select music service, and select the Next button.

    17. Almost finished screen - presents summary of what has been chosen so far, select the Next button.

    18. Google Home is ready screen - select Continue button to find out what the Google Home can do. Google Home will speak with a welcome message.

    19. Suggestions on what to say after saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” screen will appear with tips. Flick through screen to read suggestions, and elect Finish Setup button.

    20. Will now be returned to the main Google Home app screen, Google Home itself ready to use.

    Touch Gestures for Use with Google Home

    On touch surface of speaker. Draw half circle clockwise to increase volume and counter clockwise to decrease volume.

    1 finger tap to stop or start audio.

    1 finger press activate speaker without saying “Ok Google” or “hey google”.

    Google Home Accessible Mode

    Turn Accessible sounds on for speaker listening within the Home app: i.e. after saying “Hey Google” you will hear traditional beeps to let you know that speaker is listening, say command, then beeps to let user know that speaker is processing command.

    1. Open the Google Home app.

    2. Select Devices button.

    3. Select Other Options button after the name of your Google Home.

    4. Select Settings Button from the pop-up.

    5. Under the Device Heading, select Accessibility who’s status will show Start Sound off, End Sound Off.

    6. In the Accessibility screen, select Start of Request and End of Request to change their status from off to On for each item.

    7. To test whether the Start and End sounds are on, say “ok Google”, receive the Start Sound, say “what is the time”, receive the End Sound, and the result of your request which is the current time. You can have both sounds on/off or one or the other - personal preference.

    8. Choose the Back button in the Google Home app to go back to the previous screens 3 times to arrive back at the Google Home main screen.

    9. If the Accessibility Sounds are on, you don’t have to wait for the Start sound, just say “Ok Google what is the time”, and if both sounds are on, receive the Start Sound, the current time, and the End Sound.

    To Reset Google Home

    To reset Google Home hold in the Mic Mute button at the back of Google Home for several seconds until you receive the spoken message “Your about to completely reset Google Home. To cancel release the button. To cancel reset, release the button or keep holding for another couple of seconds and receive the reset tones. Google Home will restart and after 30 seconds the “Welcome to Google Home” setup message will be voiced.

    Things You Can Do With Google Home

    Google Home has inbuilt functions called Actions.

    Vision Australia has an Action - try “Ok Google Talk to Vision Australia?”

    David Woodbridge has done a number of podcasts on Google Home. Use the following link to bring up the Google Home Category on David’s podcast feed to listen to his podcasts on Google Home:

    http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/category/google-home/

    Besides using Google Home as a smart speaker, you can also use it to control devices within your home such as switch’s to turn on/off fans, lamps etc, control a vacuum cleaner such as the Samsung Powerbot, stream music/video to an accessible TV such as the Samsung 32 inch 5500 via Chromecast, and of course group Google Homes together to play music around the house.

    Some useful commands after saying “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”

    What can I say?

    What is the time?

    What is the time in London?

    When is Sun Rise?

    When is Sunset?

    What is the date?

    How many days until Christmas Day?

    What is the weather?

    What is the weather like in Melbourne?

    Will it rain today?

    What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?

    What is the weather going to be like for the weekend?

    Check my Calendar? (Google Calendar).

    Tell me the news?

    Play ABC radio? (plays local ABC radio Sydney).

    Play podcast Talking Vision from Vision Australia? Or play podcast Talking Tech from Vision Australia?

    Play Vision Australia Radio Melbourne?

    Play Vision Australia Adelaide?

    READ audio book name? (Plays audio book purchased from play.google.com plus remembers last position) - whilst listening to a book - sleep in XX time?).

    Play chill out music?

    Play Album Name or Category?

    (Whilst playing music - what is this song? next song? previous song? go to sleep in XX time?).

    Where am I?

    When is the next bus from XX location to XX destination?

    When is the next train from XX location to XX destination?

    Turn (volume) it up or turn it down?

    What is the current volume?

    Set volume to 1 (through to) 10?

    Turn Bluetooth on? Turn Bluetooth off? (Can play media from smart phone etc to Google Home as a BT speaker).

    Set an alarm?

    Check alarm?

    Do I have any alarms?

    Snooze an alarm?

    When is my next alarm?

    Set name XX timer to XX time? (can do multiple timers).

    Check timer or check name XX timer?

    Cancel Timer? (Will prompt if multiple timers running).

    Add to shopping list?

    Check shopping list? (Shopping list managed via the Google Home App).

    How do I make dish name?

    What is 10 + 23? What is 100 divided by 3? etc.

    What is 20 metres in feet?

    What is 15 ounces in grams?

    How far is it from Sydney to Melbourne?

    How long would it take to fly to Melbourne?

    How long would it take to drive from Sydney to Melbourne?

    Convert $200 to US dollars?

    Translate “phrase’ in to another language - “Translate What is your name” to Italian) doesn’t always work.

    How do you spell the word XX? (and have it spelled out).

    What is the definition of word XX? (and have it spoken).

    What is the nearest restaurant?

    Are there any Italian restaurants nearby?

    What is the phone number for xx restaurant?

    What is the post code for XX location?

    What is the tallest mountain in the world?

    How many oceans are there?

    How far is the moon from earth?

    What is the cricket score between Australian and XX country? (Australia verses South Africa).

    What games can I play?

    Roll a dice?

    Give me a random number between XX and XX?

    Flip a coin?

    Tell me a joke?

    Tell me a knock knock joke? (Interactive).

    Play the Crystal Ball?

    Play Lucky Trivia? (Multiple players).

    Sing me a song?

    Sing Happy Birthday??

    Play Musical Chairs?


  • Smart Home

    9 months ago

    My Connected Home

    By David Woodbridge

    AT Adviser

    When people talk about a ‘Smart Home’, they generally mean an environment with a collection of various hardware and software products, controlled remotely by a smartphone or a computer.

    A Smart Home helps with things like lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment and electronic devices that make sure your dinner is cooked, the central heating is on, the curtains are drawn, and a gas fire is roaring in the grate when you get home.

    In my experience, a Smart Home is great, but it does take a bit of time and patience to...

    My Connected Home

    By David Woodbridge

    AT Adviser

    When people talk about a ‘Smart Home’, they generally mean an environment with a collection of various hardware and software products, controlled remotely by a smartphone or a computer.

    A Smart Home helps with things like lighting, heating and cooling, entertainment and electronic devices that make sure your dinner is cooked, the central heating is on, the curtains are drawn, and a gas fire is roaring in the grate when you get home.

    In my experience, a Smart Home is great, but it does take a bit of time and patience to get it right …

    You should start by examining the products that are in the market and what they do. A range of different manufacturers – big names like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft – make a selection of products that can help around the house in all sorts of ways.

    At my place, my devices are generally ‘smart’, but I’ve also been gradually replacing non accessible devices with accessible ones, or at least apps that I can run to make the actual hardware accessible.

    Whilst some devices within themselves are not smart home tech, they give me a complete house experience that is accessible or at least, super convenient.

    Make the most of phone apps

    The main device that I use to drive most of the tech in my house is my iPhone with the inbuilt screen reader VoiceOver feature.

    That way I can run apps on my iPhone. This allows me to do things like monitor the video doorbell at my front door, use the coffee machine (which in itself is not accessible due to the touch screen),, turn on and off the Home Kit switches for lights, fans, electric blankets, globes and weather stations (indoor and outdoor), use the smart lights at my front and back doors, play music to my Google Home/Mini/Chromecast audio speakers in all parts of the house, play movies or TV shows through the Apple TV either in my rumpus room or through another unit in the lounge room, listen to audio books via the HomePod in the dining room or rumpus room, control my split system air conditioner via the Sensibo device (although via a webpage as the app is not that accessible for directly controlling the AC),work my Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner, and use Tile Tag tracking to find my keys, computer bag and wallet.

    All really helpful.

    Speaking of apps on my iPhone … the app that I use for the coffee machine (Delongi Primadonna Touch) is sort of accessible on my iPhone, if I don’t get any pop-up messages from the machine like the water tank is empty. If these pop up, the app stops being accessible. To get around this, one of my Samsung One Tabs is permanently Bluetooth connected to the coffee machine via the Coffee Link app, which does allow me to read and dismiss messages from the machine.

    The Sensibo app is not great for directly controlling my AC. However, I have linked the account up to the Google Mini in the kitchen to allow me to turn the AC on or off, check temperature, and turn the temp up or down.

    I mainly use the Samsung Powerbot vacuum cleaner via the Google Mini in the kitchen to start and stop. However, the physical remote control for the unit is very well laid out and easy to use.

    USB points all over the house

    Since the whole family uses iPhones and iPads, we have installed USB power points in the master bedroom, lounge room, kitchen, dining room and study. All the USB ports have lightning cables permanently plugged in so anyone can easily charge their device. In my nook in the lounge room, I also have a few micro USB cables plugged into the USB ports to charge my Samsung tablet etc.

    The reason why I went for the Chromcast Audio devices to give me sound around the whole house is that I already had a number of AirPlay speakers (AQ audio Smart Speakers) which still work fine and happen to have 3.5MM jacks in the back which the Chromecast audio units plug in to. So rather than buying new general or Airplay 2 compatible speakers, I just re-used my existing ones.

    The 2 Google Homes and 3 Google Minis I have around the house not only play music by themselves or around the house generally, I also use the “broadcast” feature which plays a voice message on all speakers to get my boys’ attention to get ready for Karate etc. It works a treat!

    Entertainment options galore

    I also have a Chromecast linked up to my Samsung 32 inch (accessible) Smart TV in the boys’ rumpus room so that I can Chromecast from my iPhone or Netflix directly from one of the Google Home/Minis.

    The advantage of the accessible Samsung Smart TV with its inbuilt screen reader Voice Guide means that I can not only independently change channels, find out what’s on, schedule recordings etc., but it also allows me to change sources between the Xbox, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Whilst most of the internet-based apps on the Samsung are not accessible via Voice Guide, the apps that I need to use are fully supported with the inbuilt screen reader on the Apple TV VoiceOver including ABC iView, Netflix, Channel 9 etc.

    In case I feel like it, I have also paired the Google Home in the Rumpus room to be an external speaker to the Samsung TV, and of course, AirPlay from the Apple TV in the same room to the HomePod.

    As the Apple TV supports Bluetooth keyboards, I have an Apple keyboard linked up to both AppleTVs, should the family or visitors want to use them rather than the Siri Remote.

    I have three Amazon Echo Dots – one in the boys’ rumpus room, one in the kitchen and one in the study. I mainly use these to listen to my audible.com.au audio books, and my amazon.com.au Kindle books.

    The HomePod I use via Siri to send/read messages. I also use it as a speaker from the iPhone, control the Home Kit devices (including checking the weather stations), and listen to ABC Radio Sydney in the mornings.

    Unfortunately at this point in time the HomePod cannot do multiple timers, so my Google Home Mini in the kitchen gives me access to multiple timers. Another function which the HomePod doesn’t do and the Google Mini has to do is give me the next bus or train for me to catch.

    My Mac devices

    Having the HomePod and the Apple TV as remote hosts, I can turn lights on or off and do other things when I’m away from home.

    Of course, having Siri not only on my iPhone, but also on my Apple Watch, allows me to access the Home Kit devices. In addition, the Apple Watch allows me to “ping” my iPhone in the house so that if I have put it down somewhere, I can have the watch play a sound on it to find it.

    Mac OS 10.14 Mohave (beta as of writing) running on my various Macs in the house allows me to either use Siri to control Home Kit devices as well as using the Home app itself.

    With the Xbox on the Samsung Smart TV in the rumpus room (I have a second unit in the lounge room on a non-smart TV) running the inbuilt screen reader Narrator, so I can keep track of what my boys are doing on the consoles.

    What is currently not directly accessible in my house is my washing machine, dryer and dish washer. For the moment, these have just been marked up with tactile markers as have the oven and microwave.

    The large TV in the lounge room where the second Xbox and Apple TV are plugged in I’m waiting for it to stop working as it were so I can justify (smile) updating it to an accessible TV. I would also like an accessible smart lock for the front door.

    So, all in all, we’re getting there. You can see, my smart connected home is coming along well, but we still have a way to go.

  • Tech Fridays: In case you missed it- AIRA, Your Life, Your Schedule, Right Now

    9 months ago

    Thank you to all that attended our Tech Friday AIRA session, it was a great turn out, the VisionStore team look forward to having you join us again soon.

    As David promised, below is a link for a word document that David has put together on how to connect as a Guest with AIRA.

    How to connect as a Guest with AIRA

    David has also put together a podcast where he will walk you through the AIRA App and place a call through to an Aira Agent so that you are able to experience...

    Thank you to all that attended our Tech Friday AIRA session, it was a great turn out, the VisionStore team look forward to having you join us again soon.

    As David promised, below is a link for a word document that David has put together on how to connect as a Guest with AIRA.

    How to connect as a Guest with AIRA

    David has also put together a podcast where he will walk you through the AIRA App and place a call through to an Aira Agent so that you are able to experience what this is like.

    David's podcast

    Why choose AIRA?

    AIRA is making the world instantly more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.

    Using wearable smart glasses or a smart phone that beams live stream footage, AIRA connects people who are blind or have low vision to a trained professional agent who then becomes their ‘eyes’ by helping to navigate the built environment, colour match clothes, read a whiteboard, navigate a worksite, travel with confidence and so much more.

    AIRA promotes greater independence and access for people who are blind or have low vision because you get immediate assistance for almost anything you want to do without a sighted person nearby. It is access to information, anytime, anywhere.

    To sign up to be an Explorer go to http://aira.io/australia

    Don’t forget to drop in for this week’s Tech Friday!


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  • David's Experience with Setting Up and Using the Samsung Smart TV

    11 months ago

    Samsung Smart TV

    Samsung Series 5 32 inch M5500 full HD TV (AU32M5500AWXXY)

    To use the Samsung Smart TV you will need an aerial to access free to air digital content, Wi-Fi network to access the Internet, and if you use other Samsung smart devices, your Samsung account.

    Check with the store where you are purchasing a Samsung TV from that it does include Voice Guide in particular as its not available in all regions. The model at the top of this article was purchased in Australia and did include Voice Guide.

    You are able to plug in various HDMI...

    Samsung Smart TV

    Samsung Series 5 32 inch M5500 full HD TV (AU32M5500AWXXY)

    To use the Samsung Smart TV you will need an aerial to access free to air digital content, Wi-Fi network to access the Internet, and if you use other Samsung smart devices, your Samsung account.

    Check with the store where you are purchasing a Samsung TV from that it does include Voice Guide in particular as its not available in all regions. The model at the top of this article was purchased in Australia and did include Voice Guide.

    You are able to plug in various HDMI devices such as a Chromecast, Xbox One, Apple TV etc.

    An external hard drive can be connected for recording of programs - this was not tried. However, I was able to schedule and record to a UsB stick.

    Note - Both the Xbox One and the Apple TV have accessibility options including Narrator (speech output) for the Xbox One or VoiceOver (speech output) for the Apple TV).

    The Smart Remote for the Samsung TV can also be used to navigate the Apple TV

    If you are a Voice Guide user, you will have full control over your live tv watching experience (knowing what is on), changing channels with speech feedback, spoken Electronic Program Guide, all sources connected to the TV will have their device names spoken, parental control and scheduling is accessible with speech, and the general settings of the TV can be all accessed using Voice Guide.

    At the end of this article, I have the link to take you to the podcast on using the Samsung TV with Voice Guide.

    Set up of the Smart TV is reasonably straight forward:

    Connect the stand legs together, pull out the protective cover on the bottom middle of the TV, and insert the stand leg connecter.

    Put the two AA battery’s in the Smart Remote. Note - the whole back of the remote slides off.

    Plug the power cable in from the TV (left hand bottom side) if facing the TV) in to a power point.

    Turn the TV on via the Smart Remote (top left button) or the Power on/off button on the bottom right hand side of the TV.

    Note - sighted assistance will be required if you can’t see the screen to complete the initial setup of the TV.

    Set up process contains the Samsung welcome screen, language (choose English Australia), connecting to a Wi-Fi network, and logging in to your Samsung Account if you have one (this step can be skipped).

    To select the Accessibility Short-Cut menu on the Samsung TV to access the various accessibility options, press and hold the Volume rocker (left rectangle button on the smart remote), Press Up or Down buttons on the circular cursor keys, and press Select button in the middle of the circle to toggle the options on or off.

    To turn on Voice Guide, select the first option in this menu by pressing the Select button in the middle of the cursor circle.

    Note - from the Accessibility Short-Cut menu you can access Learn Remote which allows the smart remote to be explored without the buttons being acted upon when pressed. To exit the Learn Remote, press the Return button twice directly located above the volume rocker.

    Accessibility options include - Voice Guide (speech output), Audio Description, High Contrast (white on a black background for icons/text), enlarge (large fonts), Sub Titles, Learn Remote, and Menu Learning Screen.

    Main features of using the Samsung Smart TV, particularly for a Voice Guide user:

    Access the Smart Hub when pressing the Smart Hub button (directly above the Volume and Channel rocker buttons) - Live TV in the middle./ To the right of the Live TV option, Smart Hub icons added by default or user. To the left of the Live TV option, Apps (App Store - Voice Guide doesn’t work with most apps at this time), Search, Source (access connected HDMI devices), and Settings.

    Live TV - spoken channel number, program title, and program description.

    Channel change spoken with channel number/name, program name, and program start/end time.

    Electronic Program Guide - spoken channel number/name, program title, and Start/End time. Browse with Down or Up between channels or with Left or Right buttons within a channel.

    Settings - access all settings on Smart TV including Accessibility - Settings, General, Accessibility.

    Devices plugged in to the HDMI ports have their names spoken - Xbox One, Chromecast, Apple TV etc.

    Can use a Bluetooth speaker or head set with the TV.

    Voice Recognition - pressing/holding the Voice Recognition button (top middle of the Smart Remote) speak command, and then release to have spoken command carried out. For example - toggle accessibility features such as Turn Voice Guide On (off) or Turn High Contrast on (off), What is the Time, speak channel number (22, 24 etc), volume 10 or volume 50 etc, Apple TV (if plugged in.

    Mute - if TV muted, pressing mute (press the Volume rectangular rocker button) to turn sound back on or held down will bring up the Accessibility Short-Cut menu.

    Can voice dictate when searching.

    The apps that come pre-set on the TV - 7, 9, 10, ABC iView, and Internet - do not work with Voice Guide. These can be removed by pressing Down arrow button on the remote to Remove, Press Select button, and then confirm that you want to remove this item (tile) if you can’t or have no reason for them to sit on the Home Hub screen.

    Layout of Smart Remote going from Top to Bottom:

    Top left - Power On/Off button.

    Pointing up arrow made of 3 buttons - Left 123 (on-screen keyboard), Top of arrow Voice Recognition button, and Right Colour buttons button.

    Circular style button containing - Top of circle Up Arrow button, bottom Down Arrow button, left Left Arrow button, right Right Arrow button, and in the middle of the circle an indented button which is the Select button.

    Down pointing arrow made of 3 buttons - Left Return button, point of the down arrow Smart Hub Button, and Left Play/Pause button.

    Two rectangular rocker buttons side by side - Left Volume Rocker (push up or down), and Channel Change Rocker (push up or down).

    Genera layout of Ports on the Samsung Smart TV:

    Looking at the Back from Left to right:

    Left - left side towards the bottom is an indented area containing ports for aerial, HDMI, Optical Out etc.

    Right - right side towards the bottom is the port to plug in the power.

    Front of the TV

    Screen.

    Bottom of the TV in from the right edge, on/off button.

    https://s106.podbean.com/pb/8a610e772341be4f047a847baa059383/5ae9a871/data1/fs54/339150/uploads/Samsung_Series_5_32_inch_smart_TV_with_Voice_Guide.mp3?pbss=4173736a-ff1d-f2ef-e4de-162916a6ca93


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