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Here it is, the last episode of Living Blindfully for 2023. Living Blindfully will be taking our customary break over the summer. Our final episode for the year will be available to Plus subscribers on 17 December and to the general public on the 20th. We’ll resume again with much replenished energy, vim and vigour on 28 January 2024.

A reminder that voting closes very soon indeed for the Mushroom FM holiday countdown. It has been very cool to see so many Living Blindfully listeners voting, and there are now over 330 songs in the countdown. We’ll only be able to play the top 100, so if you haven’t voted yet, make sure you, your family and friends influence the chart. https://MushroomFm.com/countdown2023. You only have until Midnight on Thursday Eastern time.

2023 has been the year that AI took the world by storm. There has been no escaping it, and we’ve covered various aspects of it from a blindness perspective. So it only seems fitting that in our final episode of the year, we revisit AI, this time with Suno.ai, a fun and pretty impressive way to generate songs. Supply your own lyrics if you fancy yourself as a bit of a poet, or just give the AI a rough idea. Either way, tell it the style of song you’re after, and the AI will compose it for you. You’ll hear a few demonstrations, I’ll go through the generation process, and show you some tips and tricks for making longer songs and influencing the AI’s behaviour.

In some parts of the blind community, there has been reluctance to adopt iPhones with Face ID. But as the newer phones become more capable, some have been dragged into it. By request, this week I’m playing an extract of a podcast I recorded live in 2017, when I encountered Face ID for the first time. I have 0 trouble with it now and find it very reliable, but this episode will show you that we all were beginners once and it probably frustrated the soup out of us for a while. As is often the case, Heidi offers some wise advice about working with Face ID.

Later this month, I’ll be celebrating 25 years of Internet broadcasting. It has been a pleasure to have worked with so many people and produced many thousands of hours of content. I’ll offer a few reflections and reminisce about how it all got started as we were ringing in the new year of 1999.

And while I’m getting all reflective, I’ll offer some thoughts and profound gratitude at the end of a truly remarkable year for this podcast.

When I think about how many podcasts you could listen to, I am honoured that anyone listens to this one. Thank you for being there, and for your generous support and encouragement. I look forward to being back with you in the new year and hope you have a joyous festive season.