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Blind Access Journal Posts

CSUN: LookTel Recognizer for iOS

March 6, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Joe Soderquist and explore the new LookTel Recognizer object identification app for blind users of iOS devices. Follow LookTel (@LookTel) on Twitter for the latest news on Money Reader, Recognizer and the company’s upcoming products.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Nancy Miracle – Digit-Eyes Bar Code Scanner for iOS

March 6, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 29-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Nancy Miracle about the Digit-Eyes bar code scanning and labeling app for iOS. Nancy assures us the product is alive and well and lets us know that an update will be released in the near future. Follow Digit-eyes (@digit_eyes) on Twitter for the latest news.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: iHealth Scale and Blood Pressure Monitor

March 6, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 13-minute podcast, Allison Hilliker, Darrell Shandrow and Peter Cantisani demonstrate a Bluetooth scale and a dockable blood pressure monitor for iOS devices from iHealth Labs.

iHealth HS-309 Digital Scale

The scale’s maximum weight capacity is 330 pounds. Pricing is $69.95 directly from iHealth Labs. Check sources like Amazon for lower pricing. Review these specifications for more product information. Email support@iHealth99.com to ask about improved app accessibility and the ability to keep the scale paired with the iOS device when it is not in use.

iHealth iPhone, iPad BP3 Blood Pressure Monitor

The blood pressure monitor docks with the iOS device. Pricing is $99.95 directly from iHealth. Check Amazon and other sources for lower pricing. Review these specifications for more product information. Email support@iHealth99.com to ask about improved app accessibility.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Kevin Chao on Moving Accessibility Forward

March 5, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 33-minute show, Darrell Shandrow chats with Kevin Chao about advocacy, Android, electronic books, iOS, podcasting, product testing and the rest of his work to move the accessibility industry forward. We congratulate Kevin (@kevinchao89) on his new position with the Alternative Media Access Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Check out these interesting resources Kevin mentions during our interview.

Paul J. Adam (@pauljadam) joins us near the end of the show for a fascinating conversation about how the Android operating system works and compares with iOS.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Milestone 312 Accessible MP3 Player from Bones, Inc.

March 5, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Bones Inc. founder Stephan Knecht talks with Darrell Shandrow and demonstrates the company’s Milestone 312 multipurpose MP3 player. This product supports fascinating add-ons including a color detector and an RFID tag reader, both of which are featured in this podcast.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: ScripTalk Accessible Prescription Labels from En-Vision America

March 5, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Darrell Shandrow interviews Anna McClure from En-Vision America about the company’s talking prescription labeling system.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Allison Sheridan – A Sighted Geek’s Adventure in Computers and Accessibility

March 4, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In this approximately 28-minute show, Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow chat with accessibility evangelist, engineer, tech geek extraordinaire and all-around amazing Allison Sheridan all about her adventures with computer technology in general and accessibility in particular.

Allison Sheridan (@podfeet) hosts a weekly show called the Nosillacast Podcast, “A technology geek podcast with an ever-so-slight Macintosh bias.”

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Perkins Products Mini Braille Display

March 4, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow chat with Gayle Yarnall and learn all about the Perkins Products Mini Braille display.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

CSUN: Freedom Scientific Focus 14 Blue Braille Display

March 4, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Allison Hilliker and Darrell Shandrow talk with Ryan Jones all about Freedom Scientific’s soon-to-be-released Focus 14 Blue Braille display.

We thank Jeff Bishop (@jeffbishop) for his tireless hours of dedicated work on the audio editing of our CSUN podcasts. These efforts made it possible for us to share our CSUN experience with all of you and expand our knowledge of the assistive technology field.

We love hearing from our listeners! Please feel free to talk with us in the comments. What do you like? How could we make the show better? What topics would you like us to cover on future shows?

If you use Twitter, let’s get connected! Please follow Allison (@AlliTalk) and Darrell (@darrell).

World Radio Day: What Radio Means in a Technology World

February 13, 2012 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared Feb. 13 World Radio Day to emphasize the ongoing value radio contributes to an ever-changing technological world. Despite the proliferation of the Internet, radio remains the single most important medium for communication and information access to the widest possible audience. Radio still goes many places the Internet infrastructure can’t, especially in many of the world’s developing nations. So, why do we need to give special emphasis to radio and what does the technology mean to us?

Have we taken radio for granted in our high-tech world? I think the answer is an emphatic “yes!” We may not realize this, but many of us are constantly on the air nowadays. It’s no longer just about the DJ on the broadcast radio airwaves, the ham radio operator keying Morse Code on a primitive transmitter or the pilot talking with her air traffic controllers to ensure a safe flight.

The world is now comprised of an uncountable number of tiny radios found in many electronic devices we have come to enjoy and use every day. We know, for instance, that an iPhone 4S contains at least six distinct radios: a radio capable of receiving and transmitting signals on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band, a radio that can talk to Bluetooth devices such as headsets and keyboards, two different radios for talking on the CDMA and GSM cellular frequencies, another radio to facilitate Internet access through the cellular data networks and, finally, a GPS receiver. When you use your iPhone, it is safe to say you are probably using at least two, if not more, different radios all at the same time!

How is it we have come to forget about radio and take it for granted in our highly-developed technological society? I think the answer is that radios are not as obvious as they were once upon a time. In the not-too-distant past, if you listened to the radio, you were looking at a separate box with buttons, dials and switches and a set of headphones or a pair of speakers. If you were a radio star, you held a microphone and faced a bewildering panel of carts and controls. If you talked on a two-way radio, you probably had a special license or it was part of your job and you either held a small walkie-talkie type box or you sat in front of a bunch of equipment with lots of buttons, dials, knobs, meters and switches. In any case, the radio part of the task you were performing was front and center. That’s not so now.

When do you think about radio today? Perhaps, most of us really give it serious thought when we’re riding in our cars or listening to our stereos at home. Otherwise, although the radios in our lives are present, they’re usually buried. When I was talking with a friend about the radios in the iPhone, she thought I was referring to all the radio apps out there for listening to broadcast stations streamed on the Internet. Despite the shrinking of radios into tiny chips on circuit boards hidden inside our favorite electronic devices, we’re using them more often today than we ever have at any time in the past. When we talk on a cordless or cell phone, we’re talking on a radio. When we use a laptop computer to go online from our favorite coffee shop, we’re on the air. Believe it or not, we are all radio stars!

What does all this mean for the world? I think we’re slowly forgetting about radio’s past and, in the process, we may be leaving many people in disadvantaged populations and developing nations behind. The advent of Internet streaming and satellite radio has been cited as justification for massive cutbacks in the availability of programming on the shortwave radio broadcast bands, despite the fact that these radios are the only way hundreds of millions of people may be able to gain timely access to entertainment and important information about their world.

The long-time switch from the inherently non-visual radio medium to television and, now, streaming video on the Internet has meant that it can be more challenging for blind people to enjoy many forms of entertainment that were once more accessible. This is probably a significant reason for the resurgence of old-time-radio listening in the blind community.

How about emergency communication? What happens when the cell towers are blown down in a hurricane? What would happen if a significant number of the satellites we rely on for communication and navigation suddenly became unavailable? What would the world’s survivors do in the event of a massive electromagnetic pulse or nuclear war? The uber-geeky amateur (ham) radio operators have the enthusiasm, innovative spirit, qualifications and access to older equipment it would take to communicate during an emergency and coordinate the reorganization of the world when our high-tech gadgets and infrastructure become useless.

Unfortunately, the world’s governments continue to deemphasize radio. Shortwave broadcasts to many parts of the world are cut every year. Fewer and fewer people are interested in ham radio and there’s no longer a Morse Code requirement for any class of amateur radio license in America and many other countries. Morse Code can cut through radio noise like no other mode of radio transmission, but who is going to know how to use it when it is needed most?

How can we continue to move forward into the bright future of a technology-driven world while ensuring our safety and promoting stability and security? I think one small thing we can do is to keep radio in our minds and think about it a little each day. When you’re checking your email, talking or tweeting on your iPhone, remember that you are using several tiny radios to make it all happen. When you’re listening to satellite radio or streaming your favorite station through ooTunes, think about all the people in the developing world who don’t have access to this content and remember that an older technology called shortwave radio can reach them if we ensure its continued existence. Finally, think about those of us who have passed numerous qualification exams and learned Morse Code to earn our ham radio licenses, which we may someday need to use as a means of providing life-saving communications services in the event of a disaster.

I’d love to hear from readers. What does radio mean to you? Please feel free to post your story in the comments or mention me, darrell on Twitter.