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Welcome to 290.. 2

Living Blindfully Has a WhatsApp Announcements Channel 2

Facebook Hallucination.. 4

The Be My Eyes Inclusive Language Guide.. 5

X for iOS Is Accessible Again.. 12

Workaround for Clipped Audio Announcements with Some Bluetooth Headphones. 13

Accessibility of Parkinson’s Pumps and Other Medical Devices. 14

Demonstration and Review of the Todoist Task Management Software.. 16

Todoist Terminology. 18

Exploring Todoist for iOS.. 18

Searching for a Task. 29

Todoist and Fantastical 30

Todoist and Drafts. 33

Working With Todoist for Windows. 36

Extensions for Windows Browsers. 41

Todoist and AI 42

Forwarding Email to Todoist 42

Microsoft Outlook Integration.. 43

Pricing and Closing Thoughts. 44

Scanning QR Codes and Airline Travel 45

Windows 11 Bitlocker Concerns. 47

Looking for a JAWS Scripter. 47

Sonos. 49

Horizon IX Hearing Aids. 50

iOS 18.. 50

Thermomix Becoming Inaccessible.. 51

Getting the Meta Smart Glasses Paired With iPhone.. 52

Closing and Contact Info.. 53




Welcome to 290


Voiceover: From Wellington, New Zealand, to the world, it’s Living Blindfully – living your best life with blindness or low vision. Here is your host, Jonathan Mosen.

On the show this week: listen to feedback on the Be My Eyes Inclusive Language Guide, a personal account demonstrating how important it is that medical devices are required to be accessible, and a review and demonstration of the powerful multi-platform Todoist task management app.

It’s wonderful to be back with you for episode 290.

I’ve got some shocking news for you. There is no North American area code that starts with 29 anything. So should we just get that out of the way? While we are in the 290s for the episodes of Living Blindfully, there’s no North American area code to tell you about. Man, they’re trying to spoil all my fun, aren’t they?

But never fear, because we are back onto country codes now. St Helena has the country code 290. Now, if St Helena rings a bell, well, it could be because you’re calling country code 290. [laughs] Now, if it rings a bell from your history classes, it’s because this is the small island in the South Atlantic that Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled to. And it’s got a rich cultural history, they tell me.

So if you happen to be listening from that part of the world, a very warm welcome to you in Country Code 290.

Living Blindfully Has a WhatsApp Announcements Channel

Now, we have more WhatsApp innovation to tell you about as we start this episode.

Last week, I mentioned that we’re now on WhatsApp. And we have a lot of listener contributions coming in. Some of them are just saying hello, testing, testing, 1 2 3, and that’s great. I appreciate all of it. We probably won’t play all of that, but I appreciate you getting in touch and making sure that it works, and you adding the number.

If you haven’t got the number, you can check out where all of the contact methods are on display on one simple page, so you can pick the contact method that’s best for you at any particular time. It’s all listed there.

We’ve added another thing as well, and this is a way to get announcements about Living Blindfully via a WhatsApp channel.

Now, my understanding is that WhatsApp channels are still being rolled out, so a lot of people do have access to WhatsApp channels now, but not everybody does. If you do, you’ll find a bunch of channels in the Updates tab of WhatsApp. This does not appear to work on the desktop version. It’s only available in the mobile versions of the app – iOS and Android, and you may have to wait patiently as it gets rolled out to you. But if you have it, you’ll find the channels there in the WhatsApp Updates tab, and they are highlighting certain popular channels.

But you can search for things there. And if you search for Living Blindfully Announcements in the search field on the WhatsApp Updates page, hopefully, it’ll come up. If not, you can also go to the website at, and we do have a page that contains a link that allows you to subscribe to our WhatsApp channel. I will also put a link to the WhatsApp channel in the show notes from now on.

Now, for the most part, the WhatsApp channel is going to give you the same information that subscribers to our email announcements list get. So we’ll tell you about forthcoming episodes and what you can expect, invite you to give your opinion in advance on certain issues before an episode is published. We’ve been doing that since the beginning via email, so we’ll do all of that on the WhatsApp channel.

We may also be in a position to do a little bit more because, of course, WhatsApp is multimedia, and it makes it easy to publish audio and video, so you may get a few extra things.

I would suggest that it’s probably overkill to be subscribed to the announcements list and the WhatsApp channel. So if you want to, you can unsubscribe from the announcements list and subscribe to the WhatsApp channel instead which may, in future, give you a little bit more rich multimedia content.

The choice of how you keep up with Living Blindfully is all yours. I just appreciate the fact that you’re interested enough to do so, and I’m really thrilled with how WhatsApp is working out so far. So thanks to all our listeners who are making this such a success.

I remind you that Living Blindfully’s transcripts are brought to you by Pneuma Solutions. We really appreciate Pneuma Solutions doing this because I hear from so many people at conventions and all over the place. “I don’t always have the chance to listen to you waffling on, Jonathan, every week. But I do make a point of checking out the transcripts.”

I started this whole transcripts thing because it was really important to me that deaf-blind people were not shut out of the conversations that we have because far too often, they are, and that’s not acceptable to me. And it’s great that the deaf-blind community can participate with equality in our conversations.

But like a lot of accessibility benefits, others benefit, too.

Some people like to go back. And when we do a tutorial on a particular subject, or we discuss a particular subject, you can search on for that episode, and read the transcript quickly. I must admit, I use it myself from time to time.

So thank you to Pneuma Solutions week in, week out, for making the podcast more accessible.

And we do this the good old-fashioned human way with the incredible Hannah the human [laughs], who transcribes every week, and we appreciate all the effort that Hannah puts in every week to make these transcripts so intelligible.

And by the way, everybody who works on Living Blindfully is a blind person, and it will stay that way.

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Facebook Hallucination

Voice message: Hello, everyone – Jonathan and listeners. This is Stefanie Magura from Asheville, North Carolina.

I’m doing this recording because I have a really funny story (at least, I think it’s funny) about how Facebook hallucinated what was in an image.

I live where there are a lot of bears and a lot of bear sightings (black bears, not brown bears), so these don’t eat you.

My aunt was visiting last week, and I think she saw a bear trying to get into her parking spot. And her status update on it was really funny, because she is a funny person, but I’m not going to share it unless I get permission from her.

[laughs] But I was looking at this status, and Facebook said that it might be a rhinoceros. [laughs] Now, I have not seen a rhinoceros (Of course, I haven’t seen anything), but I have not seen or touched a rhinoceros, and I’m pretty sure that there are no rhinos in the wild here. So this [laughs] really made me laugh. And as you can tell, it’s still making me laugh.

I told my aunt about it. I don’t think she knew that maybe she should have added a caption to her image, but she also thought it was funny.

And now, if someone mentions a rhinoceros to me, I might start laughing.

Jonathan: Yes, the bear necessities, or the rhinoceros necessities from Stefanie. There you go.

Thank you for that, Stefanie. Some of those hallucinations are just epic, aren’t they?

I did ask the Amazon Soup Drinker what the plural of rhinoceros is, because I thought it would be rhinoceri. But the Drinker tells me it’s rhinoceroses. Now, I’ve got the Gayla Peevey song in my head, and it’s too early for it.

The Be My Eyes Inclusive Language Guide

Let’s circle back to this hot topic of the Be My Eyes Inclusive Language Guide.

“Hi, Jonathan,

This is JS from episode 287, where I wrote in about the Be My Eyes Inclusive Language Guide.

I really enjoyed hearing Mr. Bashin’s point of view, and Jonathan’s take as well. I agree with a lot of what was said, actually, especially when it comes to organizations avoiding the word blind and seeing blindness as a tragedy.

But I still feel that some of the phrases mentioned in the guide are simply not as harmful as they are made out to be in real life, unless you really dig for something problematic and ignore any other interpretation.

Maybe we should judge people on the actions surrounding their speech rather than the exact words they use, especially in cases where there is little agreement about their level of harm.

Before I go any further though, I must apologise to Mr. Bashin for the way in which I overreacted and used hurtful language in my previous email. I let myself believe that this language guide was just like all the previous incidents where people I didn’t know spoke authoritatively on my behalf. In reality though, I’ve seen much more harmful advocacy before, and it was unfair of me to lump it in with the worst of the worst. I know further how much it can hurt to be dragged by another blind person while trying to help, and I believe that it’s important for us to stick together. I should have kept that in mind when making my opinion known.

So this time, I’ll go over the issues I have with the guide properly, as I should have done in the first place.

  1. At the top of the blog entry, it says: “Join Be My Eyes on our mission to redefine communication norms and promote respectful and modern language practices.” To me, this implies that Be My Eyes wants to help lead the way on inclusive language practices, even outside of their own business and its partners. In the age of AIs scraping information from the web and delivering it as fact, it’s nearly impossible to write something like this without it potentially becoming a major source of knowledge on a niche subject. And while I understand how hard it can be to get any sort of consensus, I still feel that the phrase nothing about us without us can apply just as equally within the community as it can outside of it. Mr. Bashin and many of his colleagues may completely agree with these guidelines, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of us do. So in a community as diverse as ours, and with a global language like English, there are bound to be many different opinions outside of the organisation. If this blog entry is not intended to be cited as an objective source on the subject, then perhaps, that should be stated at the top of the article. And if this guidance is primarily meant to apply within professional environments, then maybe that should be included as well.
  2. I think that most of the guide is written in a reasonable and polite way. But what bothers me personally is the use of terms such as grossly ableist and strongly inappropriate. I much prefer when the guide sticks to more objective language because for many of us, phrases like visually impaired or vision loss rarely, if ever, truly get under our skin. As I said before, I know that language does have power, but this still feels like making mountains out of molehills. Based on my own circles, I imagine that many of us feel that modifiers like suffering from and impacted by, also mentioned in the guide, are far more of an annoyance. Some of the phrasing here also seems to assume negative intent or imply universal agreement. For example, “totally blind. This term conveys a maudlin sense of catastrophe”. “High functioning and low functioning. This judgmental term is an affront to blind people everywhere, and should always be avoided”. “Went blind, lost their vision. These terms imply that someone’s whole being has somehow changed”. I understand that effective advocacy is a delicate balance of being firm in your convictions, while also trying not to be overly confrontational. But I liked it much better when modifiers like many, can, and sometimes were used elsewhere in the guide. It makes these statements feel a lot less authoritative, the way a set of suggestions without objective evidence to support them should sound, in my opinion.
  3. To me and many of the blind people I know, there is no functional difference between words like impairment or challenge, and the word disability itself. If we’re going to be adamant that the word disabled should come before the word person because we aren’t ashamed of it, then why would we tell people to stop using the word impairment? I think that we ourselves should figure out whether or not we’re at a disadvantage as blind people and whether or not that’s a negative thing, before demanding any consensus from the wider public. Otherwise, we put people in a very unfair position. Similarly, if we do as the guide instructs and avoid talking about obtaining independence by instead focusing on the tools we use, calling them “useful, powerful, and cool”, does that not carry the potential consequence of sounding inspiring? And if we place such a large importance on having good blind role models to look up to, why is it then acceptable to tell non-disabled people that they aren’t allowed to express how much we inspire them, too? I feel that the situation matters a lot here. If someone is using sappy piano music and infantilizing language while showing a blind person’s everyday routine as inspiring, and you don’t like it, go ahead and say so. This holds even more true if you are yourself the target of others’ inspiration, because you absolutely have the right to express your displeasure with that. But pushing for a blanket ban on all use of the word inspiring by sighted people in regard to blindness seems like an overreach.

I don’t have any inherent problem with pushing for wider change in language, but I do feel that there should be a well-demonstrated wish for it in the community first. And if there isn’t, we should campaign internationally to try and obtain a consensus before attempting to dictate what is and isn’t appropriate to the wider world. Some of the other phrases from the guide like listen to TV or handy capable are good examples of terms that most of us seem to agree need to die.

But we still need to be careful about who speaks for us and how. Because any time we change what is considered acceptable, it inevitably means that some of us will end up feeling alienated by our own community.

There have been times where people have told me how I should refer to myself, or used progressive language that I found just as annoying as many of the things listed in this guide. And if I ask them not to use said language, it can send very mixed signals. But if I keep my mouth shut, I have no voice with which to push back.

I believe that it’s the policy setters, not so much the followers of that policy, who should be challenged. And that’s why I wrote this.”

Well thank you for writing in, JS, with such a detailed explanation of your concerns about the guide.

I first of all want to acknowledge that it takes a lot of guts to apologize on a podcast with an audience as large as this for the tone of your previous email. I can’t speak for Bryan, of course. But Bryan and I have been around a long time, so we’re pretty robust when it comes to this sort of thing. I doubt that he took it personally [laughs], but good on you for elaborating further on your perspective on this guide.

I think there is some consensus on this topic, at least in the United States. The National Federation of the Blind has passed various resolutions over the years on language, and anyone is free to join a consumer organization and vote on those sorts of resolutions. So that’s a pretty compelling mechanism there. It is quite difficult to have conversations with people from the United States about the whole disability versus impairment thing.

In New Zealand, this is now barely contentious. Disabled people told the government what we want, and it’s now used pretty much everywhere.

It’s really quite simple, as I tried to explain to Bryan in the interview. Impairments in New Zealand are the medical condition that you have. So my impairment’s a total blindness and a partial hearing impairment. So impairment is the term that we use here in New Zealand when we talk about the medical side of things.

When we talk about being a disabled person, we’re talking about the barriers that society has either chosen not to eliminate, or actually put up, that prevent a person with an impairment from functioning. So here, it’s really straightforward, and disability and impairment are not controversial terms. They are very different things.

This all stems from the social model of disability. And in the United States, that has really not gained a huge amount of traction.

You and I will obviously continue to disagree respectfully, I’m pleased to say, on some of these terms and whether they’re appropriate or not. And I had my say on that in episode 287, so I won’t repeat myself here. But I do appreciate the elaboration. That was very useful.

Let’s hear from Holger on this topic. He says:

“I was listening to the recent episode from the podcast about the interview with the gentleman from Be My Eyes regarding the guide developed about words regarding blindness.

It seems that progressives focus more on words and the effect, instead of solving problems in their app.

Recently, I was listening to an audiobook by Jonathan Kellerman, part of the series of the Alex Delaware novels. In the book, the main character was discussing how some in LA now are using unhome to describe homeless people, and became upset when people refer to them as homeless instead of unhome. Like this would solve the problem.

When I tell people about when I lost my sight, I let people know that I lost my sight at the age of 19. Now, I state I am totally blind, or 100% blind.

In the interview, when you asked questions about specific words, he agreed with you and explained why that was not correct. He sounded like he was the parent correcting you, and he was so knowledgeable that he was right.

We do not need someone who will try to educate us on how wrong we are and how correct he is.

Be My Eyes needs to focus on making sure that the app works and does a great job in describing pictures to us blind people, and also pay attention to recent discussion about data and privacy that some in the community were having on AppleVis about this.

I am becoming concerned that extremists are focusing more on what someone should be called, pronouns, and labels, instead of finding real solutions to problems.”

Thanks for writing in, Holger.

Well, in Bryan’s defense, I asked him to come on the podcast and I put some questions to him. He was defending Be My Eyes’ position. So I didn’t really, as the interviewer, feel that I was being talked down to. He was merely defending his position, and that’s what I invited him on the show to do. But how he came across will of course vary, depending on the person listening.

But the responses that we’re getting illustrate the point that I was making to Bryan – that it is a bit of a risk for Be My Eyes, which is such a strong brand and a much-loved brand, to take this on.

I actually think it’s courageous and the right thing for them to take this on. For me, as someone who deplores ableist language and knows the harm that it does in terms of our employment prospects, the way that we’re perceived in society, I’m feeling more favorably disposed towards Be My Eyes as a result of what they’ve done than I did before. And I liked them before, but I applaud them for taking this on.

But as we’ve just heard, others will view it very differently.

Of course, there is an irony in Holger’s comment, and you hear this a lot from people who try to shut people down who are saying things they disagree with. And it goes like this. I don’t agree with what you’re saying. I think it’s rubbish. Therefore, you should concentrate on something else.

I don’t think there’s any evidence that Bryan Bashin, or anyone else at Be My Eyes, are spending 24/7 thinking about this. It’s one thing that they’ve contributed to the community.

And I don’t see any evidence that they’re not taking issues of quality or data integrity seriously. It is possible to do both things at the same time – to talk about inclusive language, and also to continue to provide a quality service and develop that service.

And Haya Simkin says:

“Hi, Jonathan,

I just finished listening to the interview with Bryan Bashin of Be My Eyes.

Like you, I generally approve of his language guide.

Like you, I don’t really get the difference between totally blind and fully blind. And although I am totally or fully blind, I actually prefer terms like partial sight, or maybe even partial blindness to low visionn, since low has negative connotations.

I went through a horrible vocational program at the local subsidiary of the Lighthouse organization, which has direct links to the American Lighthouse organization that date back to the 1950s, I believe.

As part of that program, in order to simulate an office setting, I spent 5 hours, 1 day a week calling people, telling them that they had an appointment soon.

The place that I did this was called the Institute for Declining Vision. I detested that name.

Most of the people I had to call were elderly. In fact, they were so old that sometimes, I would find out that partial sight was the least of their worries, but they insisted on trying to have it improved.

Other people I had to call were parents of partially sighted children who had always had partial sight, and their vision had never declined.

The elderly people in particular would probably have been very worried about their sight. Maybe the parents of the children, too. But there’s no need to impress upon them the fact that their sight is deteriorating, and entrench all their negative beliefs about it. What message are they sending to the children who have always been that way, and will probably always be that way for the rest of their lives, if not more partially sighted?

The one thing about the interview that actually made me quite angry was the idea that blind people face attitudinal barriers, but they actually lack confidence or a belief in themselves, and that’s what’s holding them back. I am not saying that there are some blind people who have low self-esteem.

However, I agree with you that the one thing that is holding us back more than anything else is the attitude problems that cannot be solved by technology.

I have had the experience many times of going to a job interview and bringing my adaptive, or shall I say, access technology with me, even though it’s fragile. I show people rather than tell them how I access the internet, or how I write an email, or a document. I put on the charm a bit. I turn up my confidence a bit.

Interviews are scripted anyway, and don’t fully reflect reality. I’ve been told by every single person who interviewed with me that I am charming, nice, intelligent, funny, interesting. I have been told that access technology is cool, and it is. I was even told at the worst interview of my life, the story of which I think I have told on this podcast, that the interviewer was proud of me.

Yet, I have never once passed a job interview. Whenever I answered genuine questions about how I do something or how I would approach a situation, I am greeted with hesitation that seems to indicate disbelief, even if I have already shown them exactly what I would do.

Don’t ever tell me that my confidence, or lack thereof, is holding me back. That is an easy excuse to make, instead of doing things that might actually make a difference such as lobbying for laws that require and encourage equal job access and their enforcement.

I actually don’t know how attitudinal problems can be overcome if those holding the attitudes don’t believe what they are being told. Perhaps you could invite an expert on stigmas to the podcast.

Every piece of advice that I was given at the Lighthouse program was worthless. It made me angry to know that someone who was a former director of one of these agencies put the ball back in our court.

On a more positive note, I did enjoy the interview.”

Thanks for writing in, Haya!

Obviously, there’s no one solution to the problems that we face. I mean, in much of the world now, we do have laws which prohibit discrimination in employment on the grounds of disability. And yet, it doesn’t really seem to have moved the needle. And I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to a time where we didn’t have such laws.

But I think one potential downside is that it has moved a lot of the discrimination underground. 30 or 40 years ago, when these laws were less common, they’d just tell you outright, “I’m not hiring a blind person. I don’t believe that you can do it.”

Now, it’s a lot more subtle, and it can be quite difficult to have the conversation.

In the description of this podcast, I write there that sight is a highly dominant sense and that when you have it, naturally, you depend on it. And it’s hard for people who have it to imagine how a fulfilling life is possible without it. And that’s why we call this podcast Living Blindfully.

But I think what does happen is that people who perhaps go blind later in life, or who, like you, get rejection after rejection, eventually, that does affect you and it does dent your confidence, and it requires incredible tenacity to keep going. And sometimes, that tenacity just eludes people.

I think there is a desperate need for more public education that is positive and blindness-driven. The worst thing we can do is have these agencies that are driven by sighted people going out there and talking about the needs and the capabilities of blind people. It doesn’t resonate because it’s a natural conclusion for a potential employer to reach to say, well, if blind people are this capable, why have you got a sighted person speaking on their behalf? A lot of these agencies that are providing services in our name have now become incredibly corporate, and they are dominated by people who are not blind. And we’re paying the price for that as well.

We also have another destructive influence in our community, and that is those blind people who have done okay for themselves, for whatever reason. It could be just sheer luck. It could be family circumstances. It could be that they just possess certain traits that allow them to succeed despite the odds. And they consider themselves so much better than the rest of us, so superior to the rest of us. And frankly, that attitude, that behavior is utterly contemptible.

You will always get members of a minority who succeed despite the circumstances, as I say, for a variety of reasons. There are people who will just always do okay. But that doesn’t change the reality that it is much more difficult for the average blind person to get a job, and to get ahead, and to be respected for who they are, and to be given a chance. It’s much harder for the average blind person to get all those things than the average sighted person.

And of course, the same applies to other disadvantaged groups including ethnic minorities, members of the LGBTQ community, it is still more difficult for women in many situations. So there are a number of reasons why people discriminate in terms of employment and opportunity.

And if somebody has succeeded against the odds and been able to get ahead in their chosen career, then I congratulate them and I salute them. But when they consider that they have done okay so why can’t every other blind person, and they look down their nose at those blind people who are struggling, and somehow consider that those blind people are all mooches, and losers, and they’re not doing it right, that really does make me angry.

Kathy Blackburn says:

“I have been totally blind all my life. The term legally blind does not describe me. I do not have light perception. I do not see shapes or shadows.

Due to a recent stay in a hospital and a rehab facility because I broke my arm, I have been asked a lot about whether I’m legally blind. I push back against this description. It’s wonderful if believing that a person can see shapes or shadows makes a sighted interrogator feel better. Why should I go along with this nonsense?”

I’m quite happy to own the totally blind thing, Kathy. That’s one thing that I didn’t quite understand about the interview with Bryan. I’m very cool about being totally blind.

Most important though, I’m really sorry to hear about you breaking your arm, and I hope that you’re doing better now, and well and truly on the mend. Do look after yourself.

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X for iOS Is Accessible Again

There is a happy conclusion to the matter that we raised in episode 289, when Francisco from Argentina got in touch and let us know that the X app for iOS had been severely broken in terms of its accessibility.

Well, even before the last episode was published, but after recording had concluded, X rushed out a fix. So credit where it’s due. Congratulations to them for responding so quickly.

Now, everybody can use X again, and it’s working like it did before the bug was introduced.

Workaround for Clipped Audio Announcements with Some Bluetooth Headphones

Mike May says:

“Jonathan, your tip about the silence background sounds for hearing aids solves an age-old problem I have been grossing about for years.

In GPS apps, the announcements are constantly being clipped at the beginning of a word for a quarter of a second because the Bluetooth headphones go to sleep before announcements. I believe JAWS dealt with this by generating silent audio, but that doesn’t help on the phone.

Your suggestion under the hearing aid setting is brilliant! Yes, punctuate that brilliance in that New Zealand accent.” [laughs]

“Not all headphones go to sleep. I don’t think the Apple models do.

I’m a big fan of the Shokz, and they definitely go to sleep on the job, probably to save battery.

I hope, there are no drawbacks to this adjustment.”

Well, there probably is, a little bit, in terms of the Bluetooth battery life and the phone battery life. But I imagine it’s negligible. But it’s worth just bearing that in mind because you’ve got your GPS chip running as well, so any more drain on the battery may not be ideal.

But if it annoys you immensely, then it may be a trade-off you’re willing to make.

Mike continues:

“Here are the details of making the adjustments.”

Here, this is what I talked about in episode 286, in our Apple recap. Mike’s going through the step-by-step for you here.

“Open accessibility settings.

Choose audio and visual.

Choose background sounds.

Switch background sounds from off to on.

Select sound, and choose dark noise.

Change dark noise volume to 0.

Change volume with media to 0.”

Thanks, Mike!

And you can also add this to your Control Center. So if you want it, you can have it in control center and toggle it on pretty readily.

Accessibility of Parkinson’s Pumps and Other Medical Devices

We’re talking about the accessibility of Parkinson’s pumps and other medical devices. And I know that in the United States, this is something that’s been given a lot of advocacy right now.

Peter says:

“About 14 years ago, my daughter, who was a trained physio, drew my attention to the way I was walking unevenly. She said, ‘Dad, you might have Parkinson’s.’ I guess my journey started there.

The first few years were fairly uneventful, as I visited a neurologist at Box Hill Hospital every 3 months and took medications which were fairly good at suppressing the symptoms, such as tremor in the right hand and uneven walking.

However, as time went on, the symptoms became a lot worse and the medication was increased but became less effective, to the point where I needed a Parkinson’s medication pump which had to be attached to a needle which was inserted into my stomach each day first thing, and removed at bedtime.

The pump was not accessible, as instructions were in pictorial form. And I could not understand the instructions, even by using special apps such as Seeing AI, or even through volunteers at Be My Eyes.

I could turn it on and off most of the time. But occasionally, the pump would do something unexpected.

I had access to a Parkinson’s nurse who could be rung in emergency situations, who could fix problems if I connected her to FaceTime video. Cathy, my wife, was wonderful and became the pump operator and injector due to the inaccessible design of the device.

The nights were difficult because there was a needle pen which I needed, which replaced the daytime pump. The first type of needle pen was quite good because it lasted 2 or 3 days, and only a vial had to be replaced. But then, this pen was replaced by a disposable pen which only lasted 24 hours, and was much harder to use.

And the waste of resources by this method was unbelievable. Every month, we would fill a shopping bag with the waste.

I had not been happy with my neurologist for quite some time, so I got another referral to one based at the Austin Hospital, and she managed to get me referred to the neurosurgeon who specialized in DBS (deep brain stimulation). He did 2 public patients per month at the Austin Hospital in the Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg.

To be eligible for DBS, you have to pass various tests including a low and high performance test. This meant doing tests without being on medication for 12 hours (low function), and then, repeating the same test when you were functioning at your best with medication (high function). The improvement has to be at least 40% to justify the DBS surgery. You also have to be interviewed by a psychiatrist to ensure mental stability. An ECG, MRI, and blood tests are also required. This process took many hospital visits over a 4 to 5 month period.

For weeks before the proposed date of the operation, we had to isolate ourselves so we weren’t exposed to potential infections.

But finally, the big day arrived.

The first part of the operation is done while the patient is awake. So my head is clamped into a device, and needles are put into my skull to numb the skin. Then, a hole is drilled through the skull for about 40 seconds. The sound is extremely loud because it is bone induction. Then, a tube is bolted into the hole and a probe is lowered, to try and find the spot where dopamine is normally produced. Hypothalamus, which is deep inside the brain and the size of a grain of rice, using imaging from an MRI scan to guide the surgeon. When the probe is lowered, it is counted down. 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, target, minus 1, minus 2. They take it below the target and give you a jolt of electricity, then raise the probe and give you another electric shock. When the electric pulse gives you no reaction, they know the probe is in the right place. Then the other side of your head is drilled, and the same procedure follows. This process is about 3 hours.

When both sides of the brain are satisfactorily concluded, the neurologist hands you over to the other surgeon. You are then put under a general anesthetic, and the surgeon threads the wires down under the skin of your neck and attaches them to the battery which is inserted under your skin below the collarbone. This process is about 1 hour.

Back in recovery in neuro ward, to ensure no infection and to ensure the settings are working and that minimal parkinson’s tablets are needed. Then, there are several months of adjustment of settings required.

I am feeling great now, and am feeling almost back to normal.

The only issue now is the inaccessible device, which can be used to change the settings which controls the amount of electric pulse put through the probes in the left and right side of my brain. This is, again, totally inaccessible, and only Cathy or someone sighted can use it. Fortunately, the settings do not require altering very often so it is much less of a problem than the Parkinson’s pump.

This is made and distributed worldwide by Ever Pharma,” (that’s P-H-A-R-M-A) “headquartered in Austria.

I now have reduction or complete elimination of Parkinson’s symptoms. Parkinson’s is not cured and you will progress, but with less debilitating symptoms.

The device which is embedded in my brain, and the battery under my collarbone which continuously produces a small electric pulse to stimulate dopamine continuously, is made and distributed worldwide by Boston Scientific. I have written to Ever Pharma and Boston Scientific, asking if there is any possibility of their devices being made accessible, but no response so far. So if there is anyone out there who has similar experiences, or has a more direct line to the people who could make change, I would like to hear from them.

By the way, I love your podcast and also, Mushroom FM, which I listen to a lot. All your presenters from all around the world do a great job.

I was most interested in your presentation on the history of Braille.” (with an uppercase B) “I am only a basic Braille reader but wish I had learned it earlier in life, as it is much more difficult to master as one gets older.”

Peter, thank you very much for writing that up, and just conveying what a difficult time you have had. I’m so pleased you managed to get that surgery, and that it’s making a difference.

But this is such a compelling example of why the medical device work that’s being done in the United States is so important for you, and many others like you, who rely, literally rely on this sort of technology. It should not be inaccessible. There must be a law that makes it illegal for this sort of equipment to be inaccessible.

More power to everybody working on it.

And if anyone has anything to share on those manufacturers that Peter mentioned, or you’ve had similar experiences with inaccessible medical devices, do be in touch on this. It’s such an important subject.


Voiceover: Something on the show got you thinking? Want to raise a new topic for discussion?

Dude, knock yourself out. Share your thoughts with us via email, WhatsApp, or phone.

For all the info about how to get in touch, just visit That’s

Demonstration and Review of the Todoist Task Management Software

Today, I’d like to take you on a tour of Todoist (that is spelled T-O-D-O-I-S-T), and it’s one of several accessible task management apps on the market.

I’ll talk first about why you might consider choosing a task manager app as a category. And then, I’ll look specifically at Todoist, and why I’ve returned to it after a break of several years.

Whether it’s work-related assignments, personal projects, household chores, or simply remembering to buy groceries, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And that’s where task management apps come in. This category of app allows you to get tasks of various kinds out of your head, and into your device.

The very act of entering a task into one of these apps can be a great stress management tool because you know you no longer have to remember numerous critical things. You can organize your tasks into various groups (sometimes called projects, sometimes called lists), depending on the app that you choose. You can then prioritize those tasks. Some apps let you assign a priority level to each task, and all of them allow you to set a due date, with the option to be reminded of when a task is due.

Most task management apps allow you to collaborate with others. You might use them in a work setting for complex business-related projects where tasks are assigned to specific people,or you might use them with those you live with to keep track of tasks like restocking your fridge, or chores like taking out the recycling. Some task management apps lend themselves well to maintaining shopping lists, which you can share with your household.

The good news is that there are several excellent task management apps that are accessible.

Because of my rather busy life, I am a task management app junkie. I’ve used various tools over the years, including the task features of Microsoft Outlook, an excellent iOS app called OmniFocus which is also available for Mac, the Apple Reminders app which has become increasingly capable, and the app I’m featuring today – Todoist.

I liked Todoist a lot. But a few years ago, they went through a period where the quality of screen reader accessibility on iOS declined.

Over my summer break, I tried it again and found to my delight that it not only had improved a lot on iOS. The Windows experience is very good, too.

There are several reasons that I’ve adopted Todoist again.

The first is that you’re not going to use one of these apps unless it’s super easy to get information into it. And with its robust natural language input method, it is easy to get tasks into Todoist.

Second, ideally, I want access to my tasks on all the devices I use. Todoist gives me access on my phone, my watch, and my PC. If you have a Mac or an iPad, you can use it there as well. And if you use Android, Todoist is available on that, although I can’t vouch for its accessibility. You can also get tasks into the app through email. Todoist also integrates with Microsoft Teams and with Outlook. There’s a Todoist share sheet extension for your iPhone and iPad, and I use this a lot. For example, if I come across a story when I’m scanning blindness-related or tech-related information that I want to follow up, I can send it to Todoist so that it’s easily accessible in my Living Blindfully project. There’s also an extension for most browsers. There are many more integrations including with Google Calendar and Dropbox. In short, it’s pretty much everywhere, and that’s going to encourage you to use a task manager regularly.

Third, Todoist has tight integration with 2 apps I use regularly – Fantastical and Drafts, both of which we’ve talked about in past episodes of Living Blindfully. I’ll discuss this later, but the Drafts integration is particularly impressive.

If there’s a downside to Todoist, it’s that it operates on a subscription model, so you pay for it annually. Although there is a free version, and that may be sufficient for you if your requirements aren’t too great. The free version also means you can at least try it before you commit. But the app has been around for a long time, the support is good, and development is consistent and frequent.

Todoist Terminology

So let’s get acquainted with Todoist concepts.

The inbox is where all your tasks go by default. If you don’t have too many tasks, or you don’t have a need to further categorize tasks, Leaving your tasks in the inbox may be all you need to do. Otherwise, if you want to organize your tasks, the inbox can be a holding place where you can quickly get your tasks into the app and assign them to projects later.

So what are projects? Well, they are a way to group tasks that belong together. For example, Living Blindfully has its own project for me in Todoist. So does Mushroom FM. So do various boards I’m on. and Bonnie and I have one that we share for household tasks.

If necessary, you may want to create subprojects. For example, if I’m working on a major new initiative like integrating WhatsApp into Living Blindfully, there’ll be a number of tasks that are associated with getting that up and running, and I can put all of them in a subproject.

You may wish also to create subtasks. So the way you structure your tasks is very flexible.

You can also assign labels to tasks. And where I find this helpful is if I’m talking with someone about a range of tasks that might span multiple projects. In that case, with every task that involves that person, I might just use their name as a label. The next time I’m going to meet with that person, I can bring up the label, which shows all the tasks across all the projects with that label in it. And I’ve got an agenda all ready to go for my meeting.

Exploring Todoist for iOS

So time to stop talking about it and start demonstrating it.

You’ll obviously want to start, if you’re new to Todoist, by downloading it for the platform or platforms you’re going to use it on. They are in all the usual places such as the iOS App Store, Google Play, and in the Microsoft Store as well. But you can also find some downloadable versions on, if you prefer to go there.

When you install your first Todoist on whatever platform you choose, you can create an account to get going. And once you’ve done that, you will use that account on all devices, and your reminders and tasks will be synced across all those devices seamlessly. It just works.

I’m going to demonstrate some aspects of the app on iPhone. And then, we’ll move to Windows to take a look at that.

So let’s launch it on the iPhone.

[Siri listen sound]

Open Todoist.

I’m now on the Todoist main screen. So if I go to the top of it, …

VoiceOver: More actions, button.

Jonathan: And we’ll just flick through.

I’m on my today screen by default. Where you appear when you launch the app is configurable in settings.

VoiceOver: Today, heading.

Have a marvelous day off, Jonathan. Rest and recharge your batteries. You deserve it.

Jonathan: Well, thank you very much!

I don’t have any tasks due today. I’m producing this while I’m on my break, and so my task list is gloriously empty at the moment, in terms of tasks that have a specific due date.

However, when things are busier, What will happen is when you launch the app, you are in the today view by default, and that will show you any tasks that have a due date or due time pertaining to today’s date.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Help, button.

Jonathan: I won’t demonstrate the help, but I’ll give a shout out to it because in my experience, it’s some of the most context-sensitive help that I’ve ever seen in an iOS app. When you double tap help from any of the screens that offer it, you are likely to get a screen that’s pertinent to where you are.

And if I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Quick add, button.

Jonathan: This is the quick add button. And once you understand the syntax of how to add things, you can indeed add things very quickly.

This quick add button is also context-sensitive. So if I were to invoke the quick add button from here, the today screen, it will automatically set the task due date to be today. You can, of course, manually override that. And in fact, do so in any of the quick add screens.

If you were to go into a project (and I’ll show you some of those in a moment), then when you invoke the quick add screen from the project, then the project that has focus will be the one that the task is automatically assigned to. As I say, all these things are overrideable.

But because if I invoke quick add from here, it will automatically set the due date to today, I’m not going to invoke it from here. Instead, I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Tab bar. Selected. Today tab, 1 of 4.

Jonathan: If I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Inbox tab, 2 of 4.

Search tab, 3 of 4.

Browse tab, 4 of 4.

Jonathan: We’ll look at these at length in a moment.

I’ll flick back now.

VoiceOver: Search tab, 3 of 4.

Inbox tab, 2 of 4.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

Todoist doesn’t give us any kind of feedback, but we are now in the inbox. I’ll go to the top of the screen, …

VoiceOver: More actions, button.

Jonathan: and flick right.

VoiceOver: Inbox, heading.

Jonathan: Now I’m a bit of a neat freak, so my inbox is empty at the moment. All of the tasks that I have have been assigned to their appropriate project.

But there is a bit of a syntax involved in assigning tasks to the right project. And sometimes, when you’re in the middle of a meeting or you’re under some pressure, you just need to get the task into your task manager. And in that case, here’s where all the unassigned tasks, if I had any, would be sitting, for me to take action on.

But since there are none at the moment, if I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Quick add, button.

Jonathan: And now, let’s double tap the quick add from the inbox.

VoiceOver: Keyboard visible.

Jonathan: What I’d like to do is take you through entering tasks with increasing complexity. So we’re going to start with a basic one. This has no due date, it has no particular importance. It’s just something you want to write down so you don’t forget about doing it, but it doesn’t matter when you get it done.

And I’m going to pick one I’m going to write.

Watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix.

I’ll read that back.

VoiceOver: Watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix.

Jonathan: And that’s all there is to it in this case.

There are other fields here. And if I flick right, we’ll see those

VoiceOver: Description, text field.

Due date, button.

Set priority, button.

Reminder, button.

More task actions, button.

Project inbox, button.

Add, button.

Jonathan: And now, I’ll just double tap the add button.

VoiceOver: Task name, text field. Is editing. Character mode. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: I could also have pressed enter.

So it’s added the task.

And now, I’m back on the edit field where I can type another task. Let’s increase the complexity by using natural language. So I will type…

Start preparation of ICEB address on 1 February.

Now, if I flick right at this point, …

VoiceOver: Description, text field.

Jonathan: That field is blank.

VoiceOver: Due date, the 1st of February, button.

Jonathan: Just by entering on 1 February in my task name, it has assigned that as a date that the task is due.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Set priority, button.

Jonathan: And you can set a priority here. I’ll leave that unassigned at the moment, but there are 4 levels of priority. A priority 1 task is the highest.

If you want to assign a priority to a task, you can do it this way. Or you can just type the letter P, followed by a number from 1 through 4 in that main field where we entered the task details. So in addition to on 1 February, I could just write P4, and that would set it as a priority 4.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Reminder, button.

Jonathan: You can set a reminder where you’ll get a push notification about this task. You’ll find later that if I set a specific time for a task, then it’s going to set a reminder. When you get that reminder, it’s configurable in settings. You can have a reminder at the exact time that you nominate, or you can have a reminder that pops through, say, 15 minutes or 30 minutes before the task is due. You can even have a reminder, say, a day before a task is due.

In addition to double tapping the handy reminders button and getting some assistance to configure the reminder you want, you can also add metadata to that main Todoist input field. You really can do a lot with this input field. And while that sounds overwhelming to begin with, once you start using these things and they become second nature, man, it’s really efficient. It’s kind of like a command line interface.

So let’s talk a bit about how reminder commands work in that input field. They all begin with an exclamation mark. So you should still be able to use exclamation marks in the normal course of events if you want to, because what’s required here is a space, and then you start something with an exclamation mark followed by a series of specific commands.

So what are those commands? If you write an exclamation mark, and then, say, 30 minutes (or 30m will also do the job), you will get a reminder about the task that you’re entering 30 minutes after you’ve entered the task.

An example use case for this one is let’s say you give someone a call, and they say look, I’m really sorry. I can’t talk with you right now. But if you call me back in a couple of hours, I’ll have plenty of time to talk. So you could enter a task saying, call the person back, you’d write an exclamation mark and then 2H, and that will set a reminder 2 hours from when you entered the task to call that person back.

If you want to receive a reminder, be it by push notification or via email (they can do that too, and that’s configurable in settings) Before the task is due, then you can do that by typing an exclamation mark, and then for example if you want 1 hour before, you can simply type 1HB, which stands for 1 hour before.

These are just some common examples. There are many more that you can use. And for those infrequent ones, this handy reminders screen can be the most efficient way to set it up. But if you really want to become proficient with the command line, there is documentation on the Todoist website that will help you make the most of all of the metadata that you can use, like a command line.

VoiceOver: More task actions, button.

Jonathan: If we double tap this button, we can find a screen where you can assign labels to different tasks. But you can also type the @ sign, followed by the name of the label in that main input field. And that’s a very efficient way of doing it.

Another really cool feature that’s available in the more options screen is the ability to set location-based reminders. You will have to give Todoist access to location services. And obviously, this is only going to work on mobile devices. So it only works on iOS and Android, although you can configure location-based reminders on other devices.

You can elect to have a reminder when you arrive somewhere, or when you leave. We have a security system, for example, here. And sometimes, I might rush out the door and not set it. So when Todoist knows that I have left home, I might be able to have a location-based reminder sent to me to say oi, make sure you’ve switched on the security system. And of course, when you arrive at the office, you may have specific things that you need to do the moment you get there.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Project inbox, button.

Jonathan: We can assign a project. And we’ll come to assigning something to a project later.

VoiceOvedr: Add, button.

Jonathan: And there’s the add button. But again, we can just press enter, which I’ll do now.

VoiceOver: Task name, text field. Is editing. Character mode. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: And I can enter another task at this point.

So last time, we added a date. This time, I’m going to add a time, and we’ll also add a project to assign it to.

I’m going to write…

Produce promo message for episode 263 on 26 January, at 12 PM.

I’ll do it in my lunch hour.

And then, I’m going to type the # sign, and then podcast.

Now when I typed the # sign, a list of projects actually popped up. So I can then move through that list of projects. The more I type, the narrower the list will get.

I’ve typed podcast. And now, …

VoiceOver: Selected. Podcast.

Jonathan: Podcast is selected, so I’ll double tap it.

VoiceOver: Task name, text field. Is editing. Produce promo message for episode 263.

Due date, the 26th of January, [12:00] PM.

Project, podcast.

Insertion point at end.

Jonathan: And it’s told me everything I need to know, but I’ll flick right anyway.

VoiceOver: Description, text field.

Jonathan: That’s blank.

VoiceOver: Due date, the 26th of January, [12:00] PM, button.

Jonathan: We’ve got a time this time, and that will affect what happens next.

VoiceOver: Set priority, button.

Reminder. 1, button.

Jonathan: And we’re getting 1 reminder. And because of the way that I have Todoist set up, that reminder will happen at the time that the task is due. But I can add additional reminders.

What we’ve got here is fine for this sort of task where you don’t really have to think about it much. You just have to do it on the due date. But if you’ve got a big project that has to be complete by a certain time, you may want a series of reminders ahead of the time that the project has to be completed by, to make sure that you’re on track for the completion date.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: More task actions, button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Project. Podcast, button.

Jonathan: And it’s in the podcast project. I will press enter.

VoiceOver: Task name, text field. Is editing.

Jonathan: That task is added, and I’m now on a blank task. But I can escape out of this, or perform a 2-finger scrub.

VoiceOver: More actions, button.

Jonathan: Now, let’s have a look at what’s on the screen. I’m on the top of it, which is the more actions button.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Inbox, heading.

Watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: That’s a task that we just added.

That noise means that actions are available. So I can flick down, and we’ll see what the actions are.

VoiceOver: Complete.

Jonathan: Obviously, that’s a critical one in a task management app. If I double tap this, then the task will be complete and it will disappear from my inbox.

VoiceOver: Reschedule.

Drag item.

Activate. Default.

Jonathan: You can reorder these tasks if you want, by using drag and drop.

And there’s a context menu available for each task as well, which you can invoke on your iPhone by triple tapping the task. And then, you’ll get other options including the ability to delete the task.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Start preparation of ICEB address. The 1st of February, button.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right again.

VoiceOver: Quick add, button.

Jonathan: And we’re back to quick add.

So why didn’t the task relating to preparing the promotional message for episode 263 of Living Blindfully appear when we spent all that time adding it? It’s not in the inbox, because we added it directly to the podcast project.

So I’m going to flick right, and we’ll get back to the tab bar.

VoiceOver: Tab bar. Today tab, 1 of 4.

Selected. Inbox tab, 2 of 4.

Search tab, 3 of 4.

Browse tab, 4 of 4.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap.

Now, we’re on the browse screen, and this is where you will find all your projects that you have set up.

I’ll go to the top of it, …

VoiceOver: Productivity. Daily goal. 0/0 tasks, button.

Jonathan: And flick right.

VoiceOver: Notifications, button.

Settings, button.

Upcoming, button.

Jonathan: Now, we’re in different views, and you’ll hear that actions are available from that noise that iOS was making. And what you can do here, if you want, is drag the order that these views appear in.

Upcoming is very useful because while it’s handy to take a look at your today view which you’ll probably want to do by default and know what’s happening immediately, you may well want to say okay, what tasks have I got coming up for the remainder of the week?, for instance.

VoiceOver: Filters and labels, button.

Jonathan: This can be very handy because then, you can double tap this labels view, and you will find all the different labels that you’re working with. If you double tap on the name of any label, you will see all the tasks with that label assigned to it. It’s a super handy feature.

VoiceOver: Favorites, heading.

Jonathan: We’re on favorites now. You will have heard that heading. So you can navigate straight to favorites on the screen by navigating by heading. And if you have something assigned to your favorites, for example, I have a board project assigned to my favorites, I can flick down and get all these options.

VoiceOver: Hide from favorites.




Drag item.

Activate. Default.

Jonathan: I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Projects, heading.

Jonathan: And now, we’re in the projects heading.

[more actions sound]

There are actions even on the headings. So if I flick down here, …

VoiceOver: Collapse.

Add project.

Activate. Default.

Jonathan: But I’ll flick right, and we’ll have a look at some of the projects here.

VoiceOver: Mushroom FM. 6 tasks, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: There’s the Mushroom FM project.

VoiceOver: Mosen Towers. 3 tasks, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: Bonnie has Todoist as well, and she’s been using it to keep track of her tasks. But we also have a shared project called Mosen Towers, and this pertains to boring but necessary things like making sure that we get the right recycling out on the right day and all of that sort of palaver. So we both can take charge of that.

We can assign tasks to one another, so that we get notified of that. And if you want to do that in that very impressive natural language screen where you can just type everything in one go, you can use a + character, followed by the name of the person you want to assign, to assign a task. This one’s only going to work in projects that are shared.

You can go ahead and share a project with someone by sending them an invitation. If they have Todoist installed, it’s a pretty simple process to accept that invitation. And then, you’ll be sharing a project together.

So this is a great way for consumer organizations, people working on a common series of tasks to collaborate with one another. Primarily, of course, this feature is designed for businesses, and Todoist has a whole team plan available where they charge businesses on a per user basis.

The good thing is that if you don’t use one of these functions very often, it’s not essential to commit these things (like the # sign for a project, or the @ sign for a label, or anything like that) to memory because there are other ways to get it done. You can just flick through the screen. But if you are using some of these functions regularly, it’s incredibly fast.

For example, I might be in a board meeting where I have to pay attention. The thing about those sorts of roles is you need to be dependable. People need to know they can rely on you to do things when you say you’re going to do them.

But also in a meeting, you’ve got to pay attention. And I think this is one of the challenges that many of us face if we’re using text-to-speech. I’m very fortunate that I’m a Braille user, so I can listen to a meeting and be fully present – listening to the meeting, as well as ingesting and inputting information via Braille.

But what I have found is that using this natural language thing is so cool because I can just quickly go to the quick ad screen, be it on my computer or on my phone. I can type a task, the project that should be assigned to, when it’s due, any assignees, and it’s done. And I don’t have to navigate the screen to think about it because I’ve become so conversant with the way that Todoist works. But I can do it all from the one natural language input screen. It’s become second nature. I can enter quite a complex task within seconds, and then know that I’m not going to forget. I’m not going to let anybody down. I’m not going to come across as a flake because it is going to get done. It’s in my task manager.

I’ll flick right past the Mosen Towers project. And next we’ve got…

VoiceOver: Podcast. 21 tasks, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: A lot of tasks there at the moment. Not surprising, given that I’m recording this on my summer break and I’ve got some time to pay attention to the podcast.

But this is where having Todoist on the iOS share sheet can be so handy. Because as I mentioned in the introduction, if I find a news story and I think there’s a Living Blindfully angle here, I’d like to follow up on this. I can share the story with Todoist and it sits there. So it kind of can perform the same function as Instapaper, or Pocket, or one of those read later services. But I like having it in my task management app because I can group all my podcast-related tasks together.

So I’ll double tap this one.

VoiceOver: Interview Ryan Jones, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: So this task has no due date. It’s simply, I really should catch up with Ryan again from Vispero and find out what he is up to. And at the time that I’m putting this together, we’ve actually got a recording all scheduled with him. But I’ll keep the task here until that is safely in the can.

Now, there are lots of other tasks here, and I won’t go through them all because they’ll kind of be spoilers for what might be coming up in the podcast. But we will find at the bottom of this list…

VoiceOver: Produce promo message for episode 263, the 26th of January, [12:00] PM. Has at least 1reminder, button.

Jonathan: Because I typed the # sign, and then podcast, and then confirmed that that was the project I was after, it didn’t even put this task in the inbox. It went straight to the podcast project. And that is the power and the beauty of the Todoist natural language input model.

And that syntax that I’ve showed you is the same, no matter which operating system you’re using Todoist with. So if you don’t intend using this on your iPhone but you have an interest in using it in Windows, this syntax will be exactly the same. And I like that too, as somebody using this on Windows and iPhone, that it’s consistent.

Searching for a Task

I’m going to go to the bottom of the screen,

VoiceOver: Tab bar. Selected. Browse tab, 4 of 4.

Jonathan: and flick left.

VoiceOver: Search tab, 3 of 4.

Jonathan: We’ll have a quick look at searching. Once again, we get no feedback once that tab is invoked. But I’ll go to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: Search, heading.

Tasks, projects, and more. Search field.

Jonathan: And if we continue to flick right, there’s a heading, and we can look at recently viewed tasks. But I’m going to double tap.

VoiceOver: Keyboard visible. Search field. Is editing. Tasks, projects, and more. Character mode. Insertion point at start.

Jonathan: I need to see whether there are any tasks left pertaining to Bonnie’s ThinkPad because it is my responsibility to make sure that’s all set up properly. So I’m going to type ThinkPad, and press enter. And now, I will flick right.

VoiceOver: Cancel, button.

Selected. Top, button.

Tasks, button.

Descriptions, button.

Projects, button.

Sections, button.

Tasks, heading.

Jonathan: So you can narrow down, if you want, to searching specific fields.

I’ll flick right.

VoiceOver: Mention setting up Bonnie’s ThinkPad in the accessible BIOS configuration.

Swap control and FN keys.

Project. Podcast, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: And if I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Search completed tasks, button.

Jonathan: Now, if I were to search completed tasks, we would find a lot of tasks pertaining to this, in terms of applications that I needed to make sure I installed. And when I ordered the ThinkPad for Bonnie, I just wrote down as things came into my head what I would need to do to get that ThinkPad configured optimally for Bonnie’s use, so there are a lot of completed tasks. But as it turns out, the only task that is not completed that it came up with there is that I wanted to make a note to mention in Living Blindfully some aspects of setting up that ThinkPad.

And I do this as well if I think that oh, gosh, there’s something here that’s happened that I should mention in some way on Living Blindfully. I immediately get it into Todoist, so I don’t forget it. And it means that I’m seldom short of ideas of things to talk about on the show because they’re out of my head and in Todoist, the moment I think of them.

There’s plenty more to explore in Todoist for iOS including the settings, but I’ll leave that for you to explore if you’re interested. The online help for Todoist is very thorough. It’s detailed. And as I say, there’s a high degree of context sensitivity about it. So I can leave that for you to explore if you would like to learn more.

Todoist and Fantastical

What I’d like to do now, while we have the iPhone up and running, is talk about integration with a couple of my favorite apps; the first of which is Fantastical, which is a powerful, accessible calendar app for iOS, iPadOS, and Mac.

I gave you a comprehensive overview of Fantastical back in episode 173 of this podcast, if you would like to check that out.

Fantastical has awesome Todoist integration, and it works both ways. In other words, if you are using Fantastical, you can get a reminder in Todoist. And you can also see your reminders in conjunction with your appointments right in Fantastical. So all your appointments and tasks are in the one place.

I’m going to open Fantastical, …

VoiceOver: Fantastical.

Menu, button.

Jonathan: and we’ll have a look at what’s coming up.

VoiceOver: Date picker. Sunday, the 14th of January, 2024. 1 event. 1 task, button.

Jonathan: And we’ll have a look at what’s here for that date, which is actually tomorrow. I’m recording this on Saturday, the 13th of January.

VoiceOver: Out of office. All day. Calendar, button.

Jonathan: I’ve got my work calendar set to out of office, so people know not to make appointments with me while I’m away.

And then, …

VoiceOver: Reset the mushroom Pot. Due at 2 PM, incomplete. Repeating task.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: Now, keep in mind, this is in Fantastical, but this is coming from my Mushroom FM project. I find that it is handy, and it avoids all sorts of hassles if, when Mushroom FM has a live broadcaster on, I go ahead and check for Windows updates. I restart the machine since it’s Windows, and you know, you don’t want to leave Windows unattended for too long, or weird things can happen. And we don’t want that, with something as important as an internet radio station. So I make a point of doing that every week.

If I flick down here in Fantastical, …

VoiceOver: Delete.


Drag item.

Activate. Default.

Jonathan: But if I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Reset the Mushroom Pot, unchecked.

Jonathan: If I check this, if I double tap, it will mark the task as complete.

It’s a recurring task, and that means that it will just pop up again next Sunday.

So how do you make a recurring task in Todoist using the natural language input? It’s quite simple. you can say something like reset the Mushroom Pot every Sunday at 2 PM, and that’s enough to make it work. It will create the recurring task for you.

You can even do things like every other Monday. I do that for recycling because glass goes out every second week, and plastics and paper go out every other second week. So I’ve got that set up in Todoist as well so that I don’t forget, and Bonnie doesn’t forget either, because this is in our collective Mosen Towers project which recycling goes out when.

So if I want to, I can enter a task that will be recurring in Todoist. And to show you that, I’m going to press Command N in Fantastical, …

VoiceOver: Keyboard visible.

Jonathan: and I’m just going to type reminder. And you hear the phone making a bit of a noise there, which indicates that Fantastical understands now that we’re talking reminders and not an appointment. And I’ll just do something like record episode of Living Blindfully every Saturday. And I’ll press enter.

VoiceOver: Keyboard visible.

Jonathan: And if I flick right, …

VoiceOver: Record episode of Living Blindfully. 13/1/2024 at [12:00:00] AM.

Item type, task, button.

Show more.

Jonathan: Fantastical processes things slightly differently.

It also does have natural language input. So when I have put every Saturday, it’s created a task that has a due time of midnight on the Saturday. I don’t know whether I want to be recording an episode of the podcast at that time of night. But you know, with the non-24, anything might be possible.

But it has now entered that task. And if I were to submit this and confirm it, it would end up in the inbox of Todoist.

There are all sorts of other things you can learn about how to get tasks from Todoist in specific places. The integration between Fantastical and Todoist is very close, and tight, and effective. And because both use natural language input, it’s kind of a match made in heaven, really, to use Fantastical and Todoist together.

There’s a one-off setup process. You do that from within Fantastical, where you configure accounts. You provide your Todoist credentials, the Todoist API will make sure that you understand what you are granting Fantastical, and then it all just works.

I’m going to go to the top of the screen, though, …

VoiceOver: Cancel, button.

Jonathan: and cancel this.

VoiceOver: Alert. Discard task, button.

Menu, button.

Todoist and Drafts

Jonathan: Now, I want to talk about an app I have come to appreciate very much. We talked about it extensively in episode 238. That’s the Drafts app. The place, as they call it, where text starts.

Now, this absolutely takes your use of Todoist to the next level, but there is a little bit of setup involved.

There are various ways that you can have Drafts talk to Todoist. Some of them are as simple as installing an action from Drafts Action Directory, and others require you to sign in and give Drafts access to the Todoist account via their API. I have done the latter because while I did not use Drafts the last time I used Todoist, I can see that as I look for efficiency gains throughout my busy year, this is going to be huge.

Let’s take ourselves back to that board meeting that I was talking about before, where I’m either chairing a board or I am an employee of a board. I want to make sure that I get the tasks that have come from that meeting into Todoist.

What I can now do with Drafts is open a blank draft, write each task on its own line complete with any kind of syntax that I want like the project that it belongs to, any labels that should be assigned to the task, and I can just keep writing task after task in this Drafts document.

And when I’m ready, say when the board meeting is over, I can press one keystroke that I can assign (In my case, I’ve assigned option R for reminder.), and all those tasks get submitted in one go to Todoist.

I’ve been testing this since I set it up. It has worked flawlessly for me so far. And it is just so efficient, in terms of getting content into it.

So let’s go. First of all, we’ll go home.

VoiceOver: Messages.

Jonathan: And because I’ve come to use Drafts so much, it’s in the bottom right-hand corner in my dock.

VoiceOver: Dock. Drafts.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: I’ll double tap, and we are placed in a blank draft immediately.

So let’s just try this. I’m going to type…

This is task 1.,

and I’ll press enter. And then, …

This is task 2.

I’ll press enter again.

This is yet another task.

And just to mix it up a bit, I’ll press enter, and I will type…

Write promotional message for the Mosen Explosion on 21 January.,

we will write the # sign, and MushroomFM, all joined together, which is the name of the Mushroom FM project, and I’ll press enter.

Now, I’m going to press the key that I have assigned to this particular Todoist action, which can take a text file and pass it through to Todoist. To find out about how to get this set up, Drafts has a series of what they call integration guides. You’ll find that there are a lot of integration guides for your favorite apps on your iPhone or your iPad, and I presume your Mac as well. So you might want to see what other apps Drafts can integrate with.

There’s an excellent one on Todoist that describes several methods to integrate with Todoist. This is the most complex to set up, but it’s not really that difficult. You’ve just got to authorize access and do a few things.

And when you run the action for the first time, you’ll be asked to enter the credentials for your Todoist account. But once it’s done, it’s all set up and you can forget about it.

So I’m going to press option R for reminder. Listen what happens.


VoiceOver: Success! Tasks in Todoist.

Jonathan: It has, hopefully, sent all those tasks to Todoist. And to find out if that is true, we will go back to Todoist.

[Siri listen sound]

Open Todoist.

Because I didn’t specify any project for most of those tasks, they’ll have ended up in the inbox.

VoiceOver: Tab bar.


Selected. Search.

Inbox tab, 2 of 4.

Jonathan: I’ll double tap. Let’s get to the top of the screen.

VoiceOver: More actions, button.

Inbox, heading.

Watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix, button.

Start preparation of ICEB address. The 1st of February.

This is task 1, button.

Jonathan: And there’s the first task from Drafts.

VoiceOver: This is task 2, button.

This is yet another task, button.

Quick add, button.

Jonathan: But the Mushroom FM-related task is not here, and that is what we want. So I’m going to go to browse.

VoiceOver: Tab bar.


Selected. Inbox.

Search tab.

Browse tab.

Jonathan: And it remembers that we were last looking at the podcast project. So I’ll go back.

VoiceOver: Upcoming, button.

Filters and labels.

Jonathan: And then, we’ll navigate by heading, actually.

VoiceOver: Favorites, heading.

Projects, heading.

Mushroom FM. 7 tasks, button.

Jonathan: Sounds like it’s worked. Because when we last looked, you’ll recall it had 6 tasks. And now, it has 7.

But we’ll verify. We’ll go to the bottom.

VoiceOver: Write promotional message for the Mosen Explosion. The 21st of January, button.

[more actions sound]

Jonathan: And just by typing that into Drafts on a series of lines, we got 4 tasks into the app so effortlessly.

Working With Todoist for Windows

Let’s switch operating systems now and take a brief look at Todoist for Windows.

There are 2 ways that you can get this. You can download it from the Microsoft Store, or you can go to and grab it from there.

There’s some initial setup involved. You’ll need to sign in with your Todoist account, and then you can get up and running.

So I’m going to launch this on a Windows 11 PC.

JAWS: search box, edit.

Jonathan: And we’ll go to Todoist.

JAWS: Todoist, app.

Press right to switch preview.

Jonathan: I’ll press enter.

JAWS: Todoist. Todoist document.

No links.


0, progress bar. Indeterminate.

Today – Todoist.

5 regions, 3 headings, and 9 links.

Today – Todoist.

Jonathan: And what we find is that we’re in a web page kind of screen. And this is typical of some of these modern apps that have an interface that can appear to the JAWS virtual cursor, or I presume, NVDA’s browse mode, as a web page.

but you actually may be better off not viewing it as a web page. You may want to explore this for a wee while and find out what’s on the screen. But ultimately, I reckon you will want to get rid of the virtual cursor or browse mode.

I’m going to do this in JAWS now. I’m going to invoke the JAWS Configuration Manager by pressing the JAWS key with the number 6 on the number row.

JAWS: Todoist.

Add new configuration, dialog.

Application, edit. Todoist.

Jonathan: I really should do something in the JAWS pronunciation dictionary about that.

We’ve not created a configuration for this app before, and one doesn’t exist with JAWS, so I’m going to press Enter to create it.

JAWS: Today – Todoist.

Skip to task list, same page link.

Todoist. JAWS settings center dialog.

Search box, edit.

Jonathan: Now, we’re in a search box in the JAWS Configuration Manager, and I’m going to type use virtual PC, and press tab.

JAWS: 1 search result, list box.

Use virtual PC cursor, checked. Miscellaneous.

Jonathan: I’ll uncheck that.

JAWS: Not checked.

Jonathan: I’ll press alt F4.

JAWS: JAWS settings center, dialog. You have made changes to Todoist settings. Do you want to save them?

Yes, button.

Jonathan: Yes, I do.

JAWS: Today – Todoist, document.

Jonathan: Now, we don’t have the virtual cursor on anymore. I like it that way because I’m now in my today view of Todoist. And if I down arrow, …

JAWS: Add task, button.

Jonathan: We’re on the add task button. The reason for that is that there are no tasks present.

So we want to go to the inbox. And to do this, we can introduce you to the concept of going to certain parts of Todoist with the G command, followed by another letter. If I want to go to the inbox, I can press G for go, and then I for inbox.

JAWS: Inbox – Todoist. Inbox – Todoist, document.

Jonathan: Now, I can arrow through my tasks.

JAWS: Watch All the Light We Cannot See on Netflix, button.

Start preparation of ICEB address, button.

Jonathan: You’ll notice that the due date is not being spoken automatically in the same way that it is on the iPhone. I suspect that that could be changed with a bit of JAWS scripting.

But there are ways around it. You can edit the task by pressing Control E, or we can press Tab and cycle through some options here.

JAWS: Mark task as complete checkbox, not checked.

Jonathan: That’s another way of marking the task complete. just press tab, mark it complete by pressing the space bar. But by far, the easiest way to mark a task complete is just to press the letter E when you’ve arrowed to it.

We’ll press tab again.

JAWS: February 1st, button. Collapsed. Thursday, February 1st, 2024, [11:59] PM, 19 days left, 1 task due.

Jonathan: And there we go. That is telling you the due date of that particular task, which pertains to the ICEB.

We can continue to tab around, but I’m going to shift tab.

JAWS: Start preparation of ICEB address, button.

Jonathan: Now, I can down arrow again.

JAWS: This is task 1, button.

Jonathan: And there are these tasks that I really don’t need to keep because they were Example tasks from Drafts. So to delete the task, I can press Shift with Delete. Delete on its own doesn’t work.

JAWS: Confirmation, dialog. Delete, button.

Jonathan: And I’ll just press the spacebar.

JAWS: Inbox – Todoist, document.

Jonathan: Focus has gone back to the top, unfortunately, but I can go down.

JAWS: Watch All the Light We Cannot See.

Start preparation of ICEB…

This is task 2, button.

Jonathan: As you can hear, task one has been deleted. It can be a bit tedious to delete a whole bunch of tasks this way because unfortunately, the traditional text selection methods don’t seem to work. I believe it is possible to select multiple tasks with the mouse. But from the keyboard, we’re at least not getting feedback and it doesn’t appear to work.

But let’s keep this in perspective. Normally, you wouldn’t be deleting tasks, you would be completing them. So if I go down, …

JAWS: This is yet another task, button.

Jonathan: and I press the letter E,

JAWS: Alert. 1 task completed.



Add task, button.

Jonathan: And now, it has completed that task.

If you want to quickly invoke the quick add feature, you can press Q anywhere in Todoist. And just like the iOS version that we showed you earlier, it is sensitive to where you’re invoking it from, and will pick some defaults based on where it has been invoked from.

There are also some universal commands that you can invoke wherever you are when Todoist is running in the background in the system tray. This again is very useful. If you’re on a meeting, and you just quickly want to get a task into the system, you can use that command as well. And that is Windows+Alt+Q.

But I’m in Todoist at the moment, so I’ll just press the letter Q.

JAWS: Task name, edit.

Jonathan: And now, we are in that familiar screen which says task name. If I tab through, …

JAWS: Description, edit.

Set due date, button.

Task name, edit.

Jonathan: So it’s all very familiar. It’s just like we saw on the iPhone.

And the same syntax applies. I can use all those abbreviations, all that natural language input to enter a task into this field, and then I can press enter or control enter, and you’ll get different responses.

So let’s try this. I will type something like…

Demonstrate Todoist on the PC.

And we’ll write a # sign, and then podcast.

So we’ve got…

JAWS: Demonstrate misspelled Todoist on the PC. .

Jonathan: Now, I’ll press control enter.

JAWS: Add task, button.

Task added to podcast.


Jonathan: It’s already done it.

And we’re back.

JAWS: Start preparation of ICEB…

Jonathan: in the inbox.

If we want to go to a specific project, we can press G for go, and then P for project.

JAWS: Search or type a command, edit combe. Expanded. #

Jonathan: This is an edit combo, so I can just type the name of the project, or I can down arrow.

JAWS: Project, inbox.

Project, MushroomFM.

Project Mosen Towers.

Project, podcast. 5 of 8.

Jonathan: And there’s the podcast project, so I’ll press enter.

JAWS: Podcast – Todoist, document.

Jonathan: One limitation I’ve found is that I’ve not found a way to get to the bottom of the list of tasks. End doesn’t seem to work. Control End doesn’t seem to work. But I’m just holding down the down arrow key.

JAWS: Add task, button.

Jonathan: And now, we’re at the add task button.

So if I up arrow, we’ll get the most recent task that I just added.

JAWS: Demonstrate Todoist on the PC, button.

Jonathan: There it is, demonstrate Todoist on the PC.

And since I’m about to have done that, I’m going to press the letter E.

JAWS: Alert. One task completed.



Add task, button.

Jonathan: And the task has been completed.

There are a lot of keyboard commands here. We’ve got a kind of a layered command syntax going on where you press G, followed by things like P for projects, or I for the inbox. You can press T for the today view, and on and on it goes.

If you want quick access to those commands to learn what they are, we can just type a question mark.

JAWS: General.

Open task view, enter.

Select task, X.

Move focus up, upwards arrow, or K.

Move focus down, downwards…

Jonathan: This is probably one occasion where you do want the virtual PC cursor on, and there’s no harm in turning it on when you find it handy. I just find that I get most things done by having it switched off by default.

But it’s still there to invoke. I can press the JAWS key with Zed to do that, or Z.


Jonathan: And it’s on.

JAWS: Separator. Open quick find, Control K. Separator.

Jonathan: I don’t have tables in this document. But you can go to the Todoist website, and you can see all the keyboard commands nicely laid out in accessible navigable tables, if you prefer.

If I press the escape key, the help has gone away.

JAWS: Add task, button.

Jonathan: The virtual PC cursor is still on, …

JAWS: Off.

Jonathan: so I’ll just turn that off.

Extensions for Windows Browsers

You can also get browser extensions for your Windows-based browsers. There’s one for Chromium browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Brave, among others. I’m pretty sure there’s a Firefox extension as well. That will allow you to save certain websites to Todoist, if you wish to do that from your PC.

So if you like to do what I do, (you might find some articles that are of interest to you, perhaps in the work that you do, or maybe you are a podcaster too), and you want to send those to Todoist, you’ll be able to do that once you enable the browser extension. I would recommend adding it to the toolbar of your browser, which is probably a bit beyond the scope of this demonstration. But if you know your browser well, you will know how to add an extension to your browser. And then, it’s just going to be easily accessible to you so you can get things off the web and into Todoist.

Todoist and AI

Todoist also now has some AI capability. Well, I mean, of course it does. Doesn’t everything these days?

The idea behind their AI (which is available to Pro subscribers) is that you can write down a key thing that you want to do. And one of the examples they give is learning Spanish, for example. That’s a big job. You can’t just complete that task quickly. The AI assistant will then break that rather large task down into manageable tasks.

To make this work, you’ll need a Pro account of Todoist. You will go on your computer to the Todoist integrations, and choose to install the AI assistant. When you’ve done that, you can enter a big gargantuan kind of task like learn Spanish. And then in the project menu, there’ll be an option called suggest tasks using AI. And as you would expect, you’ll get a whole bunch of tasks which aim to help you get to where you need to be.

This is not something I have played with very much. But if you use it, I’d be interested to know whether you truly find it valuable.

Forwarding Email to Todoist

You can also forward emails to a Todoist project.

To make this work, you do need to set this up either on the web (and yes, you can use Todoist via its website as well), or via one of the desktop clients. In other words, for Windows and for Mac.

Even the inbox has its own email address, but these are not available through platforms such as iPhone, Android, and iPadOS.

So how do we get to them? Well, let’s go back to our Windows client.

I’m going to turn the virtual PC cursor back on.


Jonathan: I’m going to navigate by heading level 1.

JAWS: Podcast, heading level 1.

Jonathan: Now, we’ve got right to the podcast project, which is currently the one that has focus.

I’m going to up arrow.

JAWS: Project options menu, button. Collapsed.

Jonathan: Right there is a menu called Project Options, and I’m going to press the space bar to invoke it.

JAWS: Context menu.

Project options menu.

Edit menu. 1 of 11.

Add to favorites menu. 2 of 11.

Duplicate menu. 3 of 11.

Add section(s) menu. 4 of 11.

Import from template menu. 5 of 11.

Export as a template menu. 6 of 11.

Email tasks to this project menu. 7 of 11.

Jonathan: If I were to press enter, I would get the email address that allows me to email tasks to this project. I’m obviously not going to do that because that would be a bit of a disaster to expose that email address, but I do have it in my contacts. And that means that if anything comes up in an email pertaining to the podcast, I can just forward it to my podcast project by using the address that’s now safely in my contacts.

The subject line is used as the body of the main task, so I can enter the task name in the subject line.

And then, anything that’s in the body of the email will be comments.

It is sensitive to the various commands like setting priorities, setting a due date, and you can add that in the subject line. So this is quite a nifty way of getting content into your Todoist project.

Microsoft Outlook Integration

In addition, there’s a Microsoft Outlook integration. It does not work with IMAP or POP3 accounts, so you’re going to have to have some sort of Microsoft account for this to work such as an Office 365 account, or perhaps a Microsoft Outlook account on the web.

I haven’t really bothered setting this up, because I find that the email forwarding does virtually the same thing. When you’ve got this installed, you can’t browse your tasks from within Microsoft Outlook, for example. It just provides the ability for you to open an email, and then have that email assigned to a project in Todoist. So I’m quite happy to use email forwarding.

There are a lot of integrations. It’s very similar to Drafts in that regard.

So as we’ve seen, it is very simple to use Todoist, but you can also get very geeky and use tools like IFTTT and similar to integrate applications with each other.

There’s also a lot of integration guides on the Todoist website, if you want to find out whether an app that you use can integrate in some way with Todoist to help you manage your life.

Pricing and Closing Thoughts

Finally, let’s talk about the pricing.

There is a pretty generous free plan with Todoist, and it allows you to have 5 personal projects set up. You’ve got a week’s worth of history. The quick add also works, and there are integrations with a wide range of applications. So if your needs are fairly simple, the free Todoist may be all you need, and you can use that indefinitely for free.

If you want the Pro plan and you’re able to pay yearly, then it breaks down to $4 a month.

A couple of features that really stand out for me of Pro is that you can have up to 300 different projects. That’s a lot of projects.

You do need to be Pro to get task reminders, where you get a push notification about tasks that are coming up. And that’s a pretty important feature for me. I wouldn’t want to be without that.

You can access the AI assistant, and there are some other features as well that are limited to Pro that you can check out by going to

They also have business plans if you manage a team, and you want to get everybody on Todoist.

I have found their support to be very good. Their documentation is thorough.

And for me, now that accessibility is largely under control (although I think, there could be a few improvements with the Windows app, but it’s not in bad shape), I’m very happy to once again be back in the Todoist ecosystem and pay my yearly subscription, which only breaks down to $4 a month.

If you use Todoist, I’d be really interested to hear your feedback on how well it’s working for you, and any other tips that you might like to share with the Living Blindfully community. And if you start using Todoist, I’d be interested to know how you get on with it.

I hope you found this helpful, and that Todoist can help you improve your productivity, and perhaps de-stress your life, make you feel more on top of all you have to get done.


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Scanning QR Codes and Airline Travel

Caller: Hello, Jonathan and everyone! This is Jim from Florida.

I’m going to have a new tagline today. I’m thinking about Jim, the RV guy. It’s a recreational vehicle.

I’m finding out that more and more of us that are blind and visually impaired are living in RVs. And so I’m one of them, which I think is kind of neat. It’s a motorhome. And no, I don’t drive it. It’s not a self-driving vehicle yet, but you know, my family and I are really enjoying it. And it’s cheaper than the rent.

So anyway, 2 quick things I want to talk about today, and I’ll be as brief as I can.

First, I wanted to share that I went with a family member to a public service organization the other day, and was given a document that had a resource list, and it had a QR code. We hear about them on tv and all that all the time.

And I thought, how the heck am I going to do that? And no, it’s not available yet through Seeing AI at this time. At least that’s what I’ve been told.

But you can go into settings. Then, you can go into your… I’m going to call it the control screen. Jonathan can correct me. Control Center, excuse me. And you can go down to what’s included, and you can select it to include it.

And then later on, after you’ve made that change, when you go to the Control Center, you can swipe down through the control center, and then type on the code reader, and it opens up a page that also gives you an opportunity to turn on a flashlight, which is nice.

So that may have been a rough translation, Jonathan. I ask you to please fix that. I’m not the best at doing these, especially in a brief time. But hopefully, I got that right.

The thing i wanted to briefly talk about was air travel. I know we talk about that a lot.

But I wanted to share that I was on Delta West, which is a partner carrier of Delta Airlines, several years ago when I was flying to O Canada. It was a 17-minute flight, the shortest flight I’ve ever been on, from Seattle to Vancouver Island. That’s great.

And the chief flight attendant, whatever they call them, brought the implements that they hold up in front of the cabin, (which many of us have no clue what those things look or feel like). They brought me the oxygen mask thing. She let me feel it, showed me how I would put it on my mouth. I didn’t actually do it because I’m being sterile. This was pre-COVID.

And she said, make sure, if you have time, and if they’re not too late for pushback, that you remind the staff to show you hands-on what they’re going to be showing everyone else.

They didn’t bring the little life jacket thing. I felt kind of bummed about that. But that’s okay. I know what a life jacket looks like.

But I just want to say that the crew on Delta Southwest, when I got the survey, I gave them high marks.

So that was my most positive experience in air travel.

Jonathan: Well thank you, Jim, the RV guy, also for reminding us about the QR scanner that you can add to Control Center. I use this a lot.

But it does seem to be a hidden feature. It’s one of those things not everybody realizes is there.

While we’re talking about air travel, let us hear from Imke.

Now, I’ve got 2 apologies to make here.

Imke already told me before how to pronounce her name, and I got it wrong again. So I am so sorry, Imke.

And what makes it worse is that I misgendered you as well. See, there is some value to this personal pronoun thing, you see, when there’s a name that you might not be familiar with, and you’re not sure what gender it belongs to.

So Imke is writing in and she says: (there we go. I hope I’ve redeemed myself now, Imke).

“Regarding experiences with airline assistants, on a recent trip, my mother and I had a short layover between 2 international Swiss Air flights in Zürich, Switzerland.”

That’s a nice place to be. Very smoky, though. One thing I noticed about going to Switzerland, there’s a lot of smoking that still goes on there.

Anyway, she says:

“At the time of check in at our originating airport, we requested assistance to be sure that we would make the connection, given our combined physical challenges at the time.

Our assistant approached us as we exited the airplane into the jetway, and proceeded to guide us through the airport to a crossing airfield bus for special assistance passengers. He rode the bus as well, though he did not sit with us.

After we had exited the bus, he met us after and guided us to the gate. He was extremely friendly and courteous. It was one of the best assistance experiences I have ever had.

The only downside was we did not get to ride the airport train in Zurich, which has its own unique auditory entertainment.”

Windows 11 Bitlocker Concerns

Voice message: Hi, Living Blindfully! It’s Marvin here from Seaford Railway, South Australia.

I’d like to bring up about if you, Jonathan, you’ve tried Windows 11 24H2 insider, or maybe on a virtual machine.

I was listening to the Pure InfoTech newsletter, which I subscribed to. And they said basically, the new updates coming in September, October, or the new ones coming out this week, whether you still have to do a full install or maybe in-device upgrade, maybe you can clarify. If a full install, that means you get locked out by BitLocker, if that’s accurate. Please let us know.

I will use Windows Narrator with setup, or JAWS NVDA.

Jonathan: Marvin, I haven’t heard that this is the case. And I can’t imagine that it is the case, that you would get locked out of your system and the BitLocker would lock you out, because that would be such a user-unfriendly thing for Microsoft to do, that I imagine there’d be an absolute outcry.

So to the best of my knowledge, this is not a thing. If anyone knows differently, please let us know.

Looking for a JAWS Scripter

I know there are people making a living out of being a freelance JAWS scripter. And if that’s you, this may be of interest to you.

Charles Okello is writing in again and says:

“Dear Jonathan,

I hope this email finds you well.

I am Charles Okello, and I am a visually impaired researcher based in Uganda. I have been actively involved in disability-inclusive research projects, particularly in the field of parenting.

Recently, I have been working on research tasks for local organizations, and one of the challenges I have encountered is the lack of accessibility and software tools commonly used for data manipulation, analysis, and tabulation. Specifically, we rely on NVIVO” (It might be pronounced Invivo, possibly, but it’s N-V-I-V-O) “14 for managing academic research tasks. This software is a powerful qualitative data analysis software.

But unfortunately, it poses accessibility barriers for users who rely on screen readers like JAWS. The issue lies in the lack of JAWS-friendly scripts for NVIVO 14.

As a result, tasks such as organizing, manipulating, coding, querying, analyzing, and exploring data become cumbersome and time-consuming.

My organization has tasked me with finding a JAWS scripter who can create custom scripts to enhance NVIVO’s accessibility. These scripts would allow blind researchers like me to navigate the software efficiently, ensuring equal access to its features. However, locating a skilled scripter has proven challenging.

This is where your influential platform, the Living Blindfully podcast, comes into play. I believe that among your vast audience, there are software programmers, JAWS scripters, developers, and enthusiasts who could contribute to solving this issue.

Could you recommend a skilled scripter who can develop these scripts? Additionally, any advice you can offer on navigating this issue would be invaluable.”

Well, thank you very much for writing in, Charles!

There may be someone listening who would like to take this work on. So if you get in touch with me if you are a JAWS scripter and you’ve got some credentials that suggest that you might be able to help out, I’ll happily pass on Charles’s email. And you never know, we might be able to work some Living Blindfully magic.

Find out how to be in touch with me by going to All the contact methods are listed there.

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This Sonos topic isn’t going away, and rightly so.

To Colombia we go to hear from Luis, who says:

“Hi, Jonathan,

First of all, I want to thank you for your strong advocacy regarding the accessibility of the Sonos app.

In spite of the fact that Sonos has made important improvements to the new app, I am still disappointed at this new version. There are 2 problems with this app that were not present in the previous version.

  1. The magic tap doesn’t work in this version. And
  2. I have Sonos speakers at my home and at my office. In the past, switching speakers was done automatically by the Sonos app. Now, I have to do it manually. For example, if I use the app at home and then I want to use it at my office, I need to go to the settings section and link the speakers in this new session. And when I go back home, I have to repeat this procedure. This is pretty annoying.

Finally, I have never understood why the volume control doesn’t work within the Sonos app. Now, this happens in spite of the fact that VoiceOver is disabled. Having to configure the volume within the app is time-consuming, and now more difficult in this new version of the app. Actually, I had to get a couple of remote controls to accomplish this task. I wonder why Sonos has never built its own remote control, something that is present in all Bose speakers.”

I think they may have had one a long time ago, Luis, like well over a decade ago now, but I may be wrong about that.

I share your frustrations. It’s great to see some accessibility improvements. There is a difference between accessibility, efficiency, and usability, and they’ve got quite a long way to go with this app.

We’ll keep plugging away.

Horizon IX Hearing Aids

Byron Sykes says:

“Wondering if you consider the Horizon IM from If it is as good as the hype, I am seriously considering getting one.

Thanks to hearing rock concerts in my misspent youth, I know I have some hearing loss. And crowded, tall, ceilinged restaurants are becoming a challenge.”

Byron, I had a look online for this, and I think we’re talking the Horizon IX rather than IM. Because when I search for Horizon IM, I get corrected and pointed to Horizon IX.

I have not heard of this hearing aid manufacturer before. But one thing I feel confident in saying after, what, about 30 years of wearing hearing aids, no hearing aid lives up to the hype. [laughs] None that I’ve found, anyway.

It sounds like a pretty new brand, a bit of an untested brand. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, though.

You do get common players like Phonak, Oticon, Starkey, Resound, Widex. There’ll be some other ones that I have probably forgotten, but I haven’t heard of this one before.

So if you get them, let us know how you get on.

And if anyone else has tried these Horizon IX hearing aids, … They look pretty cheap as a price point. So I think they may be one of those over-the-counter hearing aid brands that are becoming common in the United States, and it’s possible that it’s some other technology rebranded, although I couldn’t find any evidence of that. So if anyone has any more info on this, do be in touch. Whether you prefer to be in touch on WhatsApp, email, or good old-fashioned phone, all the contact information is available at That’s

iOS 18

Rebecca Skipper is writing in on iOS 18 and says:

“I’m disappointed in the fact that you have to purchase the iPhone 15 Pro, just to get all of the features Apple touted in its latest WWDC event.

What features can users with older devices expect? Will we be able to monitor Uber and Lyft rides again on the Apple Watch? Uber used to have an app on the Apple Watch.”

They did indeed, Rebecca. And like a number of other providers, they have pulled that app. I haven’t had any word that it’s coming back.

Essentially, if you want the Apple Intelligence features, then you need an iPhone 15 Pro or higher. It’s not even an iPhone 15 you need. It’s got to be a 15 Pro, or higher. Or outside Apple’s phone products, anything with an M processor will do the job as well.

I was reading in an article the other day that seemed to know what it was talking about, that it’s not just the chip that’s required. It’s also RAM. And Apple in the past has been a little bit stingy on the RAM allocation side, and that’s having an impact on who can get Apple Intelligence as well.

Also, one of the bits of fine print that people seem to have missed is that at least initially, US English is required. So people who are outside of the United States who want to use Apple Intelligence, even if they have a compatible device, will initially, at least, have to use US English.

And I understand that the Apple Intelligence features may be rolled out progressively in order to handle demand. So there was a lot of hype about features that will take a while to get here. And when they do get here, will only be available to a select number of Apple users.

Thermomix Becoming Inaccessible

Let’s go to Barcelona in Spain, where Teresa Codina is writing in, and she says:

“I’m a faithful listener of your podcast, Living Blindfully. First, because you cover all things that concern all the blind community, of which I am part, because I am totally blind. Second, because your presentations are good for everybody and not only for the most expert people. In an informative intention, that is greatly appreciated.

This leads me to ask if you have heard of the thermomix food processor. In Spain, many blind people have the latest usable model – the TM31.

The thermomix company Vorwerk” (that is V-O-R-W-E-R-K) “has never thought about the blind when making their product. But we blind have been using the TM31 since they launched it in 2004.

I know many friends who have this robot. It has useful beeps to set the time, and has a button for each temperature. A small mark can be added to a speed wheel. And there is no problem choosing the speed, since it is a machine that even crushes the ice to make ice creams.

But since Vorwerk has made the latest model, the TM5 and TM6, it is impossible for blind people to interact with the robot because all actions and information are presented on a visual screen, and the actions to be carried out in the robot must be accepted on the visual screen, as well as many moments in the step-by-step preparation of the dish to be cooked.

It seems that in September 2024, Vorwerk will stop making spare parts for the TM31, in case of breakdowns. It is understandable after 20 years that this moment has come. But as the machines can no longer be used due to the passage of time, blind people will be left without a durable, reliable, and usable robot, which I know is the only one that existed on the market.

I wonder if you know if some blind people in the States or other countries have been in contact with Vorwerk to raise awareness about our problems. In Spain, many people have written to them. We have written to the radio programs. We have communicated our problem to the presenters who sell the robots to try and get these sellers to escalate the problem to their superiors, with no luck.

But I would be very surprised if the blind English speakers who have achieved so many things have not tried to fight for Vorwerk to know our problems and change their attitude.

If you have some information about this topic, I would like to learn if something could be done to change Vorwerk’s attitude. If there is a chance to continue asking for our needs if more people from other countries join us in this problem.

Thank you, Jonathan, for reading, and keep up your excellent work.”

That sounds like quite the food processor. I’ve not heard of it, but I really hope that other listeners have, and can discuss whether they own one of these older food processors.

Are there alternatives, I guess, in the short-term? Because if your food processor breaks down, it would be nice to think there’s somewhere else you can go.

And what else might be done to try and raise awareness of this issue? I would like to know more.

Go to And on that page, you can find all the ways to be in touch with us.


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Getting the Meta Smart Glasses Paired With iPhone

Caller: Hey, jonathan and Living Blindfully listeners. This is Jane Corona from Silver Spring, Maryland in the US.

I took the plunge yesterday. After listening to the review of the Meta Ray-Ban Smart Glasses on episode 283, and then there was a nice community call on ACB Community about it, so I decided to get it.

I ordered them yesterday. And with the wonders of Amazon, it came today.

But I’m having a problem. I don’t know whether anybody else has tried to set up the glasses and is having the same thing.

I was on with Apple for 2 hours today. And there’s a bug, but they won’t admit it.

Anyway, I was trying to link my glasses to my contacts on my iPhone. You have to go to Settings, and My Devices, and you see the glasses, and they’re connected.

But then, it says you have to make sure all of the choices are toggled on. But apparently, for every connected device in your settings, my devices, has a little circle with an I in it. And you have to tap that. And then, you can get to do things like forget this device and whatever other things that Meta wants me to do with these toggles.

I couldn’t do it. It just goes right over it.

Apple does not admit that this is a bug. And I said well, why? This lady I had was like, she’d been there for 9 years, and she knew about accessibility. And I said well, if a VoiceOver user can’t access this little circle with an I inside it, wouldn’t that be a VoiceOver bug?

And she said no, it’s not a bug. And she got very insistent with me that it’s not a bug.

Well, I’m going to have to wait until Wednesday, when a sighted person comes to my house. And maybe, she can access this little circle with an I inside it.

Has anybody else who’ve gotten the Meta glasses and have tried to connect them to contacts on an iPhone? How did you handle the little circle with an I inside it?

Everything else is working fine, though. I found out that the bush outside my back door is a boxwood bush.

[Amazon sound]

And it’s time for the ACB auction, so Amazon is telling me.

Anyway, so that’s my quandary at the moment. And so if anybody has done that, maybe you can give me some pointers.

Jonathan: I don’t have the Meta Smart Glasses, Jane. But if it’s like any other Bluetooth peripheral, then what you do is when you’re on the name of the device, you use the actions rotor, and you flick up, and there’s an option there called more info. And when you double tap that more info button that appears on the actions rotor, then you’ll find things like disconnect device, forget device, and there may be other options such as being able to link to contacts.

I did this, for example, when I set Phone Link up on my PC, and I was able to do it by flicking up to more info, double tapping, and all those options reveal themselves.

Closing and Contact Info

And that’s where we wrap it up for another week.

Thank you so much for your interesting messages and your contributions. We look forward to doing it again next week.

Remember that when you’re out there with your guide dog, you’ve harnessed success. And with your cane, you’re able.


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