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Jonathan: I’m Jonathan Mosen, and this is Mosen At Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. This week the most bizarre windows experience I’ve ever had. The real-world impact of iOS bugs, how to keep your battery help on your iPhone at 100% for years, and audiobooks on the BlindShell Classic 2. Mosen At Large Podcast.
Hello again. It is that time of the week, it is episode 205. As we tour the area codes during this phase of the show, I can tell you that episode 205 brings that old American song into my head about I come from Alabama with Susanna on my knee. I think that’s how it goes. It’s Southwestern and Central Alabama, I understand it’s certainly bits of Alabama. Hi, y’all, over there in Alabama, a special welcome to you for this episode of Mosen At Large.
My most bizarre Windows experience ever
Now, I’ve got an extraordinary story to begin the show with this week. You may not know, but there was an old gag that used to run in old British music halls and that comedy where the guy would get on the stage and he’d say, a funny thing happened on my way to the theater tonight. Well, I have to tell you that a funny thing happened to my Lenovo ThinkPad about a week ago. I tell you it wasn’t funny at the time, but it’s an extraordinary thing. Funny, peculiar I think is what I’m saying. I will tell you what happened and what I was doing when it happened, but I should emphasize that what I was doing may not have had any bearing on it. I’ll explain why I say that in a little bit.
It was Saturday morning of last week, and I like to take it easy on Saturday morning. Sunday is often when I start working really hard on next week’s edition of Mosen At Large because on Sunday morning New Zealand’s time, the current episode goes out. If I have been able to do enough work in the mornings and the evenings during the week, it’s ready to go by Saturday and I can have a we break. That is important. I decided to do a bit of window shopping. It’s free.
Bonnie and I have been talking about getting Bonnie back to a ThinkPad. She likes mine; she likes the keyboard on it. I’m also curious in a technical sense about these new ThinkPads with arm processors, if you want to check this out. There’s one called the ThinkPad X13s that has an arm processor. I thought, all right, I’ll have a look at this and just see how people are finding it. There were some initial reviews when it was announced, but it’s been in the wild for a while now.
I was doing some Googling and I found the page on the Lenovo website for this laptop, and I pressed enter and the page loaded, and then it said, “Note, we have an accessibility menu.” I thought, “Oh brother, is it one of those overlays?” I thought I’ve not seen this prompt before. It said, “Press control F10 for an accessibility menu.” I thought, “Well, that’s interesting.” I’ll have a look at this and see what it does. When I pressed control F10, windows said, “Signing you out.” I thought to myself, whoa, that’s pretty peculiar. I signed myself back in and I thought, I’ll go back to Microsoft Edge and keep having a look at this ThinkPadX13 laptop.
Now, when I opened Microsoft Edge, my computer was in a state that I have never seen anything like before, and it’s actually quite hard to describe it, but I’ll have a go. Let’s say that you open a webpage and you’re going to press H to navigate by headings. Well, when I started pressing H, seemingly random things started to happen. I certainly wasn’t navigating by headings. I thought, “What on earth is going on here?” I closed down Edge, I shut down JAWS, I restarted JAWS, started Edge again, the same problem persisted.
I thought, “All right, I’ll bring up Narrator.” Microsoft’s built-in screen reader. I brought that up and the same thing was happening in Narrator. I thought, “How widespread is this issue?” I went to Word, I opened Outlook, I went to Adobe Reader, and it was all working fine, but when I opened Microsoft Edge, it was behaving very strangely. I decided, “Well, I’ll have to bite the bullet and reset my Microsoft Edge settings.” I did that and still no joy with any screen reader. Navigation keys were doing very peculiar things. I worked out eventually what it was doing, but it took me a lot longer to work out why it was doing it.
When I pressed any key, I’m using H as an example, but it could be any key on the QWERTY bit of the keyboard that is any letter and any number on the number row and any punctuation key, it would seemingly start at some predetermined place and with every press of the same key it would press the next key in sequence. For example, I might press the letter H and it would enter an A, which when you’re in the virtual cursor mode, tries to take you to a radio button. I would then press the letter H again and it would enter an S, press H again, and it would enter a D. On and on it went.
Of course, if you combine that with the JAWS key, you can get some really interesting things going on because eventually, you get to the number one, and that turns keyboard learn mode on. The only way I could really get out of it was to switch the computer off and back on again. It was extraordinary and it was actually pretty stressful. I went into troubleshooting mode. I went into accessibility settings and windows to make sure that no sticky keys or switch control type technology was enabled. I thought that’s unlikely because why would it just work in a browser?
Then I thought, “Okay let me just install another browser for now as a workaround.” I installed Chrome. I actually didn’t have Chrome on my ThinkPad, I just had Edge. I installed Chrome and I thought, “That I’ll do it, at least I’ll be up and running for a bit while I figure this out.” Opened Chrome exactly the same behavior. Well, then I thought, “Okay, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge both use the chromium engine.” I installed Firefox, which does not, opened it up. Again, exactly the same problems. I’m thinking, “Why is this happening with all browsers?”
I called the Microsoft Disability Answer desk, and I tend not to call places like that unless it’s a really weird problem. They were no help, but I can’t really blame them for that because I’ve never heard of this problem. It was very peculiar. The rep suggested I do a repair of Windows. It’s slightly complicated by the fact that I’m running an insider build, but luckily then the next insider build dropped and I thought, “Well that’s essentially like doing a repair if you’re upgrading to the next insider build.” It upgraded and still the problem persisted.
I got on the phone and had a chat to a knowledgeable and very logical friend of mine to get some advice, and he suggested, why don’t you put your antivirus software on pause? This is relatively new antivirus software for me. For many years now, I have been running Windows Defender and I’ve had no problems with Windows Defender except that a few months ago I was doing some extensive beta testing, and Windows Defender was falsely flagging as positive new builds of the product that I was beta testing.
To try and be helpful, I thought, “All right, I’ll bite the bullet.” I bought a four-machine license of ESET.
I understand that’s how you’re supposed to pronounce it. My text-to-speech engines have always said asset, now I can’t do it. It’s like Bonnie’s saying, covered, because her TTS says Covered. Anyway, I’m told it is ESET and I got this and put it on all the machines that I regularly use or administer, including Bonnie’s little HP Specter machine, and it’s gone since I installed it.
I went to the ESET thing in the system tray and I put it on pause until the next restart, and still the problem persisted. I thought, “Okay it’s not ESET, I’ll go back to square one.” Then my friend contacted me on the email and he’d kindly done a bit of research for me and he said, “I think it is ESET.” I said I’ve paused it, but I’ll try uninstalling it. I uninstalled ESET. Sure enough, the problem cleared up. I was just so relieved because I thought that I had some reimage on my hands.
Then I reinstalled ESET and I thought maybe a reinstall will just fix it all up. It did not. It did its virus scan, it set itself up. The problem came back again, I uninstalled it, and this time I nuked deleted the folder that in the app data roaming bit of windows where settings tend to be installed. I reinstalled it again and the problem still persists. I am back to Windows Defender on that machine. There are more aggressive uninstall options
I understand, where you can put the computer in safe mode and dig deep into the registry and I may do that.
I thought, “Okay, for giggles, let’s see if I can reproduce this problem.” With much trepidation, I went down to the studio here on my desktop machine. I found the exact same page on the Lenovo website. I got the message about the menu, I pressed control F10, and nothing at all happened. I can’t be sure that pressing that pressing the key combination did it because at the same time, the ThinkPad was pulling down some new drivers, and I could try rolling back some of those driver updates, but that’s quite a process. I may get in touch with ESET and see what they say about this. This was seriously one of the most bizarre computer experiences I have ever had. Oh, and I’ll tell you something else just to add to the bizarreness. I had Heidi come in with a RIM session a remote incident manager session from Pneuma Solutions because I wanted to see if there was anything visual that she could notice on the machine.
Now, when she pressed keys on her remote machine that made it to mine, everything worked fine. It’s a curious business. Now, I know that Eset does have a secure browser mode for banking and other protection, but that was disabled because that’s not a very accessible experience. I disabled that at the setup process. Really strange.
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Now some feedback from Episode 204 where Joel Snyder was on Mosen At Large Petra is in first from Oklahoma. She says, “Hello, Jonathan I have just finished listening to Episode 204 of Mosen At Large, and it was wonderful. As you well know, I am still in the dark ages when it comes to technology.” Well, I don’t know about that Petra, I think you’re a bit of a pioneer. “I really appreciate your podcasts when it comes to technology because I almost always learned something I can use. This podcast was wonderful for me because you talked about something that is very important to me audio description.
Many years ago when there was such things as drive-in movie theaters, we would go to one whenever possible, so whoever was with me could describe without disturbing others. As far as television was concerned, my sister and daughter became very good at describing the shows. It’s true that sighted people can get value from audio descriptions. My husband, who was the cook in the family did exactly as was said. He could be in the kitchen cooking, not watching the screen, and enjoying the program as much as I did. Several friends have said that the description pointed out elements they missed. I also feel that site is wasted on the sighted.
How much more would we see if we could see, I can tell you that I will be listening to this podcast again, and again. Thank you as always, for the time and work you put into everything you do. It is appreciated.” Well, thank you, Petra I really appreciate you’re always generous and kind comments. We’ve got an email from Canada from none other than Andrew Tutty, who says, “Hello, Jonathan, congratulations on your forthcoming grandfatherhood.” Thank you very much. I’m excited about that. “Very exciting to be sure,” he says.”
“I was listening to Episode 204 and your interview with Joel Snyder at the audio description project. It was a fascinating discussion. As I did not know that audio description was initiated early in the 1980s. It is great to hear that this feature is becoming more mainstream but as your interview highlighted, there is a way to go yet. While listening to the podcast, I was reminded that a few years ago, my wife and I went to see a play with my late father at the Shakespeare festival here in Stratford, Ontario.” That’s a jolly good place to have a Shakespeare festival, Andrew.
He says, “I had discovered that they were utilizing audio description for performance of The Merchant of Venice. I was delighted to attend this performance as it was live described. I had some vision left to me, but it was not enough for me to have really enjoyed the show without this added necessity. It was a modern adaptation with the setting in 1930s Italy with the added darkness of miscellanies ever-present black shirts. My wife and I were going to attend new offerings with my sister, who was also blind as the pandemic hit in 2020 and had to put those plans on hold.
We did not want our money back for the tickets, as we are waiting to see what performances will be on offer in the upcoming season. I really enjoyed live theater over the years, and the audio description has allowed me to once again enjoy such performances with family and friends. Thanks for all you do in bringing much-needed information to our community, and a wonderful platform for sharing ideas and knowledge about blindness and disabilities in general.”
Tim Mehok says, “Hi, Jonathan, let me first say that the primary movies I would watch are the classics. Your interview with Joel Snyder reminded me of my frustration of trying to find DVS for several classic movies. One that I have been looking for for years is a described version of a Hitchcock masterpiece Money. I recently married,” well, congratulations. “I would love to introduce her to the original Star Trek, however, it does not seem to be available in both video, and DVS any longer. If you or your listeners know a source of these two program types, I would be grateful to know that source, have the best of days.” Says Tim.
Alyssa: Hey, Jonathan, this is Alyssa coming in from Florida again, I love your podcast. I listened to this past week podcast about the audio description and the app spectrum access. Now, I wonder if there’s actually an option that’s going to come out in the future to basically only play the audio description soundtrack instead of the audio from the movie. The reason for this is because for me, I can already hear the audio through the TV so I don’t really have a need for the audio to come through my phone as well. It’s just very interesting how audio description has developed over the years.
I just wonder if there’s ever going to be that option to sparse out the audio from the movie itself, and the audio description track. The thing that I’m having is that sometimes it doesn’t automatically sync up right, so I’d basically get repetition from the movie and from the spectrum access app to make me really annoying because sometimes, my fiance doesn’t want to hear audio description. I just play you in my headphones, and how distraction relaxes that. Again, it just doesn’t sync up right away, so it takes a while to get it, and just that repetition of the movie on the TV, and then the same audio coming out of my headphones.
Jonathan: We don’t have the spectrum access app here in New Zealand, unfortunately, Alyssa, but it sounds like based on the descriptions that I’ve heard of it, it’s quite similar to one that Disney were doing for a while, but it was then discontinued. Where it tries to work out where you are in the movie when you start the app and tries to sync it up. I agree there are real advantages of an approach like this, because it means that you can have the audio description.
If you’re watching with family who would prefer not to have the audio, it also means that you may be spared from this debacle of a situation that I spoke with Joel about. Where because you have audio description on, you have an inferior version of the audio. We have this in the weekend. Actually, we watched the Elvis movie finally, we quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t quite as bad as the get-back movie that I was talking to Joel about. Because on the wee blurb about the movie, which we got from Apple, we bought it from iTunes. It said that there was Dolby Atmos but when we got the audio description going it was playing it in 5.1.
Not ideal, but certainly not as bad as stereo or even mono. I definitely liked this idea a lot, and I hope that these sorts of apps expand. If you’re getting duplication, then it sounds like what you need to do is just switch audio description off on the TV if I’m understanding you right, so that you just switch the language back to English without audio description. Then you won’t get the double up because you’ll hear the audio description in your headphones in your family won’t. As for it staying in sync so that you are actually assured of getting a description of what’s actually going on right now.
I don’t know whether there are any apps doing that or not because as I say I don’t have access to the app here. If anyone who’s used spectrum access can comment on that, that would be great. Also, perhaps on the variety of titles that are available, and how often titles are added, are there a lot there, it’s just an app that I’m not familiar with so I look forward to other listener feedback on that. Here is an email from Rod Karn and it’s extraordinary in so many ways. First of all, it says, “Hi, Jonathan, recently, I somehow got permission from the management to install a Dolby Atmos system in our lounge dining area, seven surround speakers, four in-ceiling speakers, and two subs.” What incredible management you have Rod. Incredible. He says, ”I’m not a great moviegoer, but films do seem to give one a great experience with Dolby Atmos, isn’t it fantastic?” Now, the Crunch, he says, ”How to discover when buying or renting a movie, which ones that state both Dolby Atmos and also audio description. Can you actually benefit from both at the same time? Whilst Apple TV and Netflix seem to be most reliable, and some programs on BBC TV and Channel 4 are also providing a good experience.
I recently searched for a movie on the Apple TV app. The result did not state purchase or rent, but said ”Amazon Prime and an option to play, knowing that Amazon Prime was not going to provide audio description and Dolby Atmos together, I looked to rent the movie via iTunes expecting the Apple experience. Sadly, however, this was not forthcoming and did not have the desired result. Yes, there was a very good ad track, but to get Dolby Atmos, I had to turn it off. Somehow we need to establish a resource of titles of movies which are known to give us the result that we want.”
Well, you are the guy with the answers, and so look forward to your advice. Thank you very much, Rod. Wow, that sounds like a cool system that you’ve got there. In my experience, most movies that you rent from anywhere or buy from anywhere or stream from anywhere will downgrade you from Atmos, when you switch audio description on, it’s possible that some Netflix content is doing the right thing now, I’m not sure, but with every Apple TV+ title that I have tried, you get Atmos when audio description is on. It’s consistent. I haven’t tried every single Apple TV+ title, but everyone I have, if it’s an Atmos for cited people, it’s also an Atmos for blind people and you can’t say that many other places.
What I would suggest is that if you are not subscribed to Apple TV+ at the moment, it’s worth a subscription on a system like yours, you will love it. Then furthermore, I would recommend watching For All Mankind, which is Bonnie’s and my favorite TV show at the moment, and this is the one that hypothesizes about what might have happened had Russia landed on the moon and the United States was behind them. You’ve got lots of rocket chips and space sounds and stuff with this, and it is so immersive and amazing on a good Atmos system.
If anyone else has discovered titles elsewhere, where you get Dolby Atmos with the audio description, please let us know about that. The trouble we’ve got, Rod, is that when you rent a movie from iTunes, you’re actually just renting it from the studio, this movie title hasn’t actually been produced by Apple. When Apple is in charge, in other words, they’re commissioning the project, they do seem to be insisting that the Dolby Atmos carries across to audio description, it is a great plus for Apple that they have done that and they deserve considerable credit for it.
I’m grateful to Pneuma Solutions for sponsoring the transcripts of Mosen At Large, so the podcast can be as inclusive as possible. Inclusivity is a good word to describe all that Pneuma Solutions is about, and if you’re employed, you’ll know that RIM and Scribe for Meetings can make a significant difference to accessibility and productivity in the workplace. We know it, but how do we convince the boss or the person holding the purse strings in our workplace of that.
Pneuma Solutions takes some of the pain of this process away through their self-advocacy kits. For Scribe for Meetings and for RIM, simply visit the Pneuma Solutions website, find the self-advocacy template that works for you for either product, fill it in and send it to the person who makes the decision. It really is that simple to get the conversation started at your workplace. If the person you’re talking with has questions, Pneuma Solutions are on standby to help. If you know you could benefit from Scribe for Meetings or RIM in your workplace, don’t hesitate. Use the advocacy templates and start a conversation. To find out more, head over to pneumasolutions.com. That’s P-N-E-U-M-Asolutions.com.
New iPhone setup experience and iOS 16 thoughts
Randy: Hi, Jonathan. This is Randy Shelton from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and I wanted to put my two cents in about iOS 16 and Apple in general. I decided to upgrade from the SE20 to the iPhone 14 when I found out that all the models have the start and shutdown sound, and my carrier was offering it at such a good price that I couldn’t resist. I got my phone and last week I took it to Apple to get help setting it up. Well, my experience for the first time ever was less-than-stellar.
The tech that I had was clueless when it came to voiceover. Not only that, but she started off the session arguing with me about my password. I’ve been using the same password since I started using iTunes on a Windows PC probably 10 or 11 years ago, and I haven’t had to change it, and it’s simple. Until I have to change it, I will keep it that way, and she started arguing with me, insisting that it wouldn’t work. Well, guess what? It worked. That started everything off on the wrong foot, and then when she didn’t know voiceover, things just went from bad to worse quickly.
She tried to set up Face ID without voiceover being on, and then when voiceover was on, it didn’t work for obvious reasons. I actually set it up myself a couple of days later and I love Face ID. It is just so cool and so slick. Generally have had good experiences with Apple, so hopefully, that was just a one-time thing. I love my phone, I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed for me is the way it connects with my hearing aids. I don’t have made-for-iPhone hearing aids, so I don’t experience the drop in volume with voiceover calls like you do.
With my previous phone and my hearing aids, I used to have to reboot both the phone and the hearing aids every morning when I initially turned on my aids because there was static. Not anymore, I put them on, they connect to the phone, no static. It’s wonderful, and it seems like they’re even more responsive when I answer the phone it’s just very quick with them. I’m very pleased about that. iOS 16, however, I’m not one who complains about updates, but this one did me in.
When I got my phone last week, we upgraded to 188.8.131.52, and I am a Braille user, a high-power user. I like to be able to turn speech off and use the Braille display, but I personally think Braille is worse now than it’s ever been. The other thing is I also have a couple of Bluetooth keyboards that I bought to use. I bought a Logitech and then I have my Magic keyboard for the Mac, but I bought the Logitech specifically to take to use with my iPhone here at home or sometimes if I travel.
When I went to the beach this summer I took the keyboard rather than taking the Braille display because it was just easier and more practical. I could not use my Logitech keyboard with the 184.108.40.206 update. It was very strange. I could type, but the space bar wouldn’t work, and I tried it with my Magic keyboard. The same thing happened, but 16.1 thankfully has corrected that. I’ve heard you talk on your podcast about the new Braille displays, the HID displays, and I’m curious to know more about that.
Do they connect via Bluetooth or USB to your phone? I know you use your Mantis, I’m guessing you use it with your phone too, so I’d be curious to know a little more about that. I just find that Braille is very clunky. When I want to type in Braille, I’m having to change the input and output on the fly so that I can type the way I want to because it’s just so quirky.
Jonathan: Thanks for your feedback. Grandi. I may be missing out on some of these goodies in terms of Braille because I have that QWERTY keyboard on my Mantis. In terms of how it pairs, usually, you would pair it with Bluetooth, it’s actually in the main Bluetooth settings, unlike a lot of the older Braille displays. In the case of the Mantis, it’s appearing as a standard Bluetooth keyboard as well as a Braille display. There are some nice advantages of having the QWERTY input of the Mantis.
More on VoiceOver being extremely quiet on calls
Now, the person who has started quite a conversation on the show and quite an investigation on my part, it’s Jana Schroeder again and says, “Hello, Jonathan. Thanks for reading my email and for all of the follow-up provided by other listeners and you. I wanted to report on my experience as it is somewhat different, and I’m sorry to tell you better than your experience.
First, I tried all of the rotor volume steps that was suggested by a listener. Like you, this did not make a difference for me. I then tried your suggestion of plugging in assertive earbuds via the lightning port and toggling voiceover often back on. I was delighted to discover that this significantly boosted not only the voiceover volume but also the overall volume of other sounds and outputs from apps like BARD and my podcast app. I don’t think I ever would have discovered the solution on my own because it has been years since I connected wired earbuds to my phone.
Like you and other made-for-iPhone hearing aid users, I have experienced the quiet voiceover bug on calls even when using other Bluetooth headphones. Later in the day that I performed your magic trick, I needed to turn off voiceover so a sighted person could use my phone for a moment. I did this without thinking and then immediately realized I’d have to do your trick again. I decided to test first and to my surprise and delight, voiceover was still intelligible on calls.
I have since updated my phone to iOS 16.1 which causes the phone to restart and again, to my gratification, I found that voiceover volume on calls has not changed. This afternoon, I had a real-world chance to put the improved situation to the test when a doctor’s office called and asked for a list of the medications I take. This list is stored on my phone and I was able to open the app, listen to the list of medications and dosages and relay this information to the caller.
I never would have been able to do that before. I would’ve had to hang up, access the information and call back after memorizing it or writing it down outside of my phone. Since I’m the kind of person who wants it all, I do still have a complaint because voiceover, while quite audible is still quite noticeably softer than other sounds on the phone. A caller or audio from an app can be too loud and voiceover at its maximum is just audible. Since it’s obvious, the phone and my hearing aids are capable of a loud volume, I don’t understand why voiceover can’t go to an equal volume but it is still significantly softer even at max.
I would still love to have the ability to independently adjust the volumes of voiceover and other sounds, shouldn’t the user have the ability to decide if they prefer voiceover to be as loud as or even louder than the other audio outputs. It seems that someone at Apple decided it would be best for voiceover to be somewhat quieter when it and another audio source are simultaneously activated but that is not necessarily true for all users or all use cases.
Despite this quibble, I am still delighted that I am at last, again, able to hear voiceover on calls. I will be at a location without my laptop in a couple of weeks and need to be on a Zoom call for work. I am excited that I may actually be able to mute and unmute myself and otherwise be able to confidently and professionally participate in the meeting. I will be reporting these experiences to Apple, and encourage them to ensure that made-for-iPhone hearing aid users don’t have to continue to rely on an obscure and possibly unreliable workaround fix for this problem.
Thanks again for going above and beyond what I expected when I sent my lament your way.” Thanks, Jana, I’m glad that you are having that outcome. Let me comment on your second point though. I don’t experience this. When I do my work around, voiceover is very loud, and also at least since I got my iPhone 14 Pro Max, the audio on calls ducks. I presume that you do have audio ducking turned on because if you are listening to music and audiobook, any other source and voiceover talks, when audio ducking is on, the volume of the other source noticeably decreases, and then when voiceover stops speaking, the volume pops up again.
If that’s not happening for you, then you must have audio ducking off. I hope I haven’t misunderstood what you are saying, but I’m glad that you are getting some progress there.
New iPhone 14 doesn’t work with my hearing aids
From a good news story with hearing aids to a not-so-good one, this is Sally from Auckland here in New Zealand. She says, “I just wanted to mention that since I upgraded to an iPhone 14 Pro Max a while back, my hearing aids aren’t working for streaming at all. I have the Starkey Levo Edge2 hearing aids. Now, any connection with the phone is just static, so streaming doesn’t work, and anytime there are keyboard clicks, it doesn’t work.
I’ve done some extensive research and there’s quite a few people with both the Starkey and Oticon hearing aids having the same problem. There’s no Apple fix as yet. This has been going on for a while. It looks like the issue first popped up in the iPhone 12 and iOS 14 I think. However, it resolved itself and now it seems to have returned. The latest post I have seen is dated September 2022 with someone complaining of a similar problem to me but with an iPhone 13 plus.
I have put the bug report into Apple but there are a number of people actually complaining that they put it into Apple and nothing’s come out of it since 2020. I can’t remember which year it was but it may well have been when I got the iPhone 12 Pro Max with iOS 14. I do remember it well. It was so bad that I seriously considered returning the phone and I contacted Apple Accessibility and they promised me that they knew about it and that it would be fixed, and for me, it was fixed quite quickly.
It was actually a health and safety issue because what I was getting at that time was the most disturbing, very, very loud burst of unpleasant static, and it could just pop up at random. You could just flick through. Voiceover would be fine and then voiceover would pause. You’d stop and do something else. You’d touch the screen again to get voiceover to say something and you were greeted by this awful long burst of static.” The good thing is there are a lot more hearing aid users than there are voiceover users, and it was affecting a lot of people. That bug did get fixed very quickly and I haven’t seen it since.
If that one is resurfacing its ugly head, then that’s a serious concern.
VoiceOver focus issue affecting recent contacts causes embarrassment
We have been talking about the issue, which clearly is a significant problem for a good number of people relating to focus issues, causing voiceover to do the wrong thing and one of the most impactful examples of this is in the recent cause list where you double tap the name of a contact and it goes ahead and calls somebody that you didn’t want to call. Addie is in touch with a real-life story of the chaos that this bug can create and it’s humorously told, but it’s got a serious message underlying it.
He says, “Hello, mate.” Not many people I hear in India saying, Mate, so that’s pretty cool. “Trust you continue to remain well. Well, this was on some Sunday in June 2022. I was to meet Nikita for a date.” Hey, Nikita, “She is sighted and was aware of my blindness. We had not met in person before and were chatting for a few days on WhatsApp. I had booked Uber rentals for four hours. I generally do that as it saves me the hassle of booking multiple cabs and the same cab remains with you for the entire duration. Of course, it has limitations on the number of kilometers one can use during the specified duration but no cab on the number of destinations or stops during the said period.
We met at a beautiful cafe known as The French Window Patisserie.” That sounds glorious. I must say.
“The cab driver also shared his contact number with me and asked me to call him once I am done so that he can come at the entrance of the cafe to pick me up. We had a wonderful meal of mushroom on toast and spiced beans. I relished the steaming cup of classic hot chocolate and Nikita had a slice of chocolate lava cake. We had an interesting conversation and she seemed quite interested as to how someone blind can use an iPhone effectively.
While leaving, Nikita checked with me in case I can drop her as I had booked Uber rentals. I was fine and added her drop location in the app. I called the cab driver and he came to the entrance to pick me up. So far so good. Once in the cab, I thought I needed to inform my folks as I will be a little delayed. I dialed my home landline number from my recent list. The cab driver turned back and asked me why was I calling him as I was already seated in the back seat. Nikita asked me if all was well, and if I needed help dialing my home landline number. I was flustered, was not sure what had happened. I thought I dialed the cab driver mistakenly. I informed Nikita that may be a cross-connection and I will try again. I dialed my home landline again and guess what? The voice on the other end sounded quite familiar. It was my boss in the office that particular Sunday, and not in a good mood.
He asked me what I wanted and I was speechless. Why was the call going to someone else? Never a good idea to call one’s boss when he or she ain’t in a good mood. I apologized and disconnected the call. I am sure Nikita was staring at me. She then asked me, if it was actually me chatting with her on WhatsApp for the previous few days or was I taking help from someone. I protested that it was me and I am a decent iPhone user with voiceover. I am not sure if she believed me.
I called my home landline again but this time using Siri. This is my not-too-short experience with the bug while calling from the recents list in the phone app. At that time I had no clue about this bug and it was not a pleasant experience to find out.” “Well, mate,” says Addie. “I am sure no one wants to have such an embarrassing experience. It took me quite a few weeks to find some workable solution,” and Addie is about to share it with us now.
“Work around/solution. Go to the recent list. Go to the particular number on the list to whom you need to contact. Activate the context menu by doing a one-finger triple tap. This will activate the context menu and provide you with a couple of options. It also mentions the particular context name. We can choose the call option. I have tried and tested this option for several weeks now, and it has worked always.” Happy dating and better experiences. What I want to know Addie is did Nikita ever get in touch with you or did that put her off?
Are you still chatting away with Nikita on the WhatsApp? I feel like I need resolution here. I need closure. Oh my God. Now, Addie’s also talking about something not iPhone-related, but since I am reading his email I’ll cover that and then we’ll get back to iPhone things. Sony 1000 XM 5. Recently in September the latest from Sony over the ear headphones were available for pre-order. The waiting time for delivery was approximately three weeks. I was looking for one good pair but was also on the fence as these were too pricey.
I have a pretty decent collection of headphones/AirPods bone conduction frames. My use case also for the Sony 1000 XM5 was limited. However, these have received very good reviews from the mainstream media. You were also quite happy with yours. I did bit the bullet and took the plunge. How’s that for two cliches in a single sentence? Wow. At the end of the day, anyway, when all is said and done. Now [laughs] as I write this, I have used them for approximately four hours. There are quite a few things to like about these, however, I have had very limited use as for now.
There is one feature known as Speak to Chat, which can be very handy. From what I understand we need to activate or deactivate this feature from the Sony app. I found this tedious and not very user-friendly. One tip I discovered regarding the Speak-to-Chat feature is that we can activate and deactivate this feature without using the app sharing here just in case someone is not aware. Just keep two fingers slightly apart on the right ear cup and hold them for less than a second. We will get a verbal announcement that Speak-to-Chat is enabled and if we repeat this gesture, we get another audible feedback informing us Speak-to-Chat is disabled.
I found this quite convenient and time-saving. Thank you very much Addie, and yes, it’s good to read them manual, isn’t it? Because I found that in there when I got mine.
Scott Davit’s back in touch this time with an email and he says, “Hi Jonathan, and listeners, I wanted to comment on two iOS 16 bugs. I have also encountered the bug in the recent tab where voiceover will select a random call to contact. I experienced it for the first time on Friday while trying to place a FaceTime audio call to a colleague in San Diego, California.
While it was [4:00] PM there, the person the phone chose to call was a friend of mine in Belgium where it was [1:00] AM. Thankfully, like this bug, he was also buzzed and was happy to hear from me. I have also reported this to Apple and hope there will be a resolution soon. The challenge in finding a solution to this and many other bugs is that it doesn’t happen all the time. It only happens often enough for me to start all of my calls through Siri. Karen wrote in inquiring about a bug she found on the Brailliant where pressing dot 8 will launch a menu instead of inserting a new line or activating the send button in chat applications.
I have experienced this as well. The best solution I’ve found is to press dot two seven and then follow it up immediately with dot eight. Often, this will create a new line as expected. As for activating that send button instead of pressing dot eight press space with dot four once to get to the send button and activate it. For me, the biggest challenge has been muscle memory. This bug seems to be happening mostly to users of the Brailliant and other associated displays that run Firmware 2.0 from human wear.
I speculate this after testing several other displays without the Brailliant being connected and not encountering the issue. I suspect it’s a Firmware 2.0 problem because I was able to connect a Brailliant running version 1.2 and was able to enter new lines without any trouble. I hope this info was helpful and we’ll follow up if I notice the bug has finally been zapped for Brailliant users. Thank you, Jonathan, for your continued hard work and dedication to the podcast, and also a big thank you to Pneuma Solutions for sponsoring the production of transcripts.”
Good on you, Scott. Thanks to their sponsorship, it means you can participate fully in the way that’s most accessible for you, and we love that. Thank you for the information as well.
Problem with Braille auto-panning in Apple Books
Let’s stick with Braille and go to Sydney and hear from Dawn Ramos who says, “Hi, Jonathan. I just thought I would note a problem I am having with my Mantis when reading Apple Books. Maybe others have noticed this and could give me some feedback. I usually download Apple Books onto my phone and then Bluetooth it to my Mantis to read.
What has been happening lately is that when I get to the bottom of a page, the cursor will skip all the way down to the bottom of the page and I have to carefully scroll back up to the top, being careful not to go too far or the same thing will happen and I will be back down at the bottom of the page. This was temporarily fixed in one of the laser versions of iOS 15, but has recurred in 16. I think it is an Apple problem, but I’m wondering if anyone else has found this and whether they have found a solution.”
Dawn, I remember this in iOS 15 point something and we had quite a discussion about it and it was finally fixed and I cannot reproduce it myself. I am running just to be clear, the first beta of iOS 16.2, so it’s possible that this is resolved in 16.2. I don’t have an earlier version obviously to go back and check, but that is a nasty old one, and if anybody else has experienced it, do let us know. 86460- Mosen of course, is the number in the US.
864-606-6736. You can email an audio attachment or something written down like Dawn just did to Jonathan. That’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com.
Treating your battery right can keep it healthy for a long time
Here is a truly inspirational email from Chris Chaffin and it says, “Hi, Jonathan. I just wanted to confirm that what is said regarding the sweet spot when it comes to charging your iPhone is definitely true, and I would say that it is actually true for all Apple devices. If you keep your devices charged between 20% and 80% to 85%, you will help prolong the health of your battery.
I have been doing this for the life of my iPhone and for the past year for my Apple Watch. I used to charge my Apple Watch while I was sleeping, so it was always at 100% the next morning, but for the past year, I just charged my watch between 75% and 85% before bed and wear it while sleeping. Here is the astonishing result. I have an iPhone 11 Pro that I bought in November 2019 and my battery health is at, that’s my low-budget drum roll again, 100%.
Speaker 2: Dude.
Jonathan: You heard that right. 100%.
Speaker 2: Dude.
Jonathan: It is like my battery is basically as good as when I bought it three years ago. Now up to about nine months ago, I still used the slower USB to lightning charger because I was not sure about how fast charging would affect the battery but I have been using USBC fast charging now for six months and as you can see, it has not affected my battery. Now for the Apple Watch, I have an Apple Watch six that I bought in November 2020. Now after one year of normal charging to 100% every night, my battery health was at 91%. Now after the second year of keeping the battery charged between 20% and 80% to 85%, my battery health has remained at 91%.
Making the changes in how I charge my Apple Watch has definitely helped its battery health. Like you and many others, I am a pretty heavy user when it comes to my devices. I do basically everything on my iPhone. If I am not reading or writing emails or playing a game, I am either listening to podcasts or sports. I also use my Apple Watch just as heavily. I normally do a couple of daily workouts and then use it for notifications and messages while I am listening to things on my phone. So even though it sometimes might take a little more effort and time to keep your devices between that sweet spot of charging, it does help with its battery health.
Thanks for the great informative podcast. All of the time and effort that you have dedicated to putting it together each week is greatly appreciated.
Well, thank you for that encouraging email. Chris. I am doing this. Sometimes I haven’t been as good at it as I should have been, but I have been so far with this current iPhone because the battery life is just so phenomenal. Keeping it between 80% and 20% is really not a hardship at all and I’ll look forward to long battery health.
Voice-over: What’s on your mind? Send an email with a recording of your voice or just write it down. Jonathan@mushroomfm.com. That’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com or phone our listener line. The number in the United States is 86460-MOSEN. That’s 864 606 6736.
Envision Smart Glasses feedback
Jonathan: More feedback and questions on the Envision Smart Glasses, Inca’s in touch and says, “Hello, Jonathan, I found your comprehensive demonstration and review of the Envision AI glasses extremely informative. Thank you for taking the time to explore them and report on your findings. I have been watching as a variety of navigation aids have come to the market in the last few years and have not yet convinced myself that any one of them will meet my needs. Regarding the glasses, I have some follow-up questions for you. One, were you able to wear the glasses in all types of weather including rain?”
Well, Inca, I was conscious that I had these on loan and I wanted to be super careful with them so I went out of my way not to expose them to any elements, but I did check what Envision has to say about this and they said they are water resistant but not waterproof.
They say you shouldn’t submerge the glasses. They don’t comment specifically on the rain, but I think you’re probably wanting to be cautious there. Two, when the glasses announce the presence of various objects or signs in your vicinity, how useful is that given that they do not give any indication of distance or direction? I have walked around experimentally with the Soundscape app announcing objects in my vicinity and found that it announced items that were across the street from me along with items that were very near me. That makes it very difficult to sort out what one should really pay attention to when the announcements are not accompanied by any indication of distance or direction.
Yes, I think this is a fair point. It’s good to know what’s around, but if you can’t tell exactly where it is in relation to you, that slightly diminishes the utility of the information.
Three. How well did you get along with wearing the glasses along with your hearing aids? I did mention this at the beginning of the review and no problem at all. I expected there might be a problem, but actually as it’s turned out with my behind-the-ear hearing aids, one of them, the right one was very close to the speaker and so I didn’t have any difficulty in hearing them in normal environments. I think anybody, whether they’re a hearing aid user or not, might have difficulty hearing them in a crowded environment because the speaker is quite quiet and tinny-sounding.
Graham: Hello, Jonathan. Graham Inus here from Australia answering a couple of the questions you had on the Envision glasses. Firstly, the look at the Smith Optics version of the glasses, I reviewed with my wife and daughter who are my two fashion consultants and consultants in many other areas of my life. The two looked and decided on the Smith Optics look. They do look far less geeky and more professional, although there is a significant price increase and they actually come with lenses already in the glasses.
The second question you asked about the comparison between the iPhone camera and the glasses camera. I’m currently using an iPhone 12 Pro and all of the Aira agents I’ve spoken to tell me that the vision is far less grainy in the iPhone camera than in the glasses camera. It’s one of those situations where you just have to trade off the advantage of having the camera on your head and giving you two hands-free against the quality of the photo, but there have been a couple of use cases where I’ve just decided to default to the phone.
Jonathan: Thanks, Graham, and I understand that the work is ongoing between Aira and Envision to optimize the video feed. This is the experience of somebody in November 2022, but these things stay in the archives. You may want to check subsequently, I understand that there is ongoing work here.
Flip 4 and Android thoughts
Joe: Hey Jonathan, it’s Joe Hodge from Louisville, Kentucky. I wanted to answer Alyssa who had a question about the Flip 4 and wondering your thoughts on it. I recently bought a Flip 4 and I will say Samsung has some pretty cool value to get the Flip 4 or get a new phone through Samsung. A lot of times, they offer you free headphones or a free watch. They definitely incentivize the purchase where obviously, anyone who’s bought Apple for years, you pay for everything. There is some nicety there.
I was in a hospital, had to do s surgery, and wanted a nicer form factor than the iPhone. Something that wasn’t just a big brick and I thought why not get the Flip 4? So I got it. Every year, I tend to go through this phase where I get the grass as greener on the other side type of moment and every year, I ultimately go back to iOS.
It’s really because of a few things that I want to highlight here. I think we take for granted sometimes the innovation that Apple is doing. When you’re using it every day, you don’t stop and think about how many things on the phone are adding value to your life. It’s why we use technology, right? I’m not saying that Android doesn’t have some of these features, but they don’t innovate quite as often and they often tend to be behind.
Take, for example, Braille is a huge one for anyone who’s a Braille user. They did do an update where they added Braille in TalkBack 13. Of course, they forgot the HID standard, but a lot of people don’t talk about this in that if you have a Perkins Braille keyboard, iOS gives you tons of customization. For example, I can do things like add a shortcut for Siri or move by container, or move by headings.
I can set whatever custom shortcuts I want on my Braille display. You can’t do that on Android. The other thing is I often hear people talk about how Apple is ignoring us and I just want to comment that I’ve sent Google and Samsung several emails over the last three or four years to never receive a response on any of them. I’ve also went to the Samsung Members app and never have heard back.
It is a very, very unorganized system on Android that a lot of people don’t talk about. Yes, you can submit feedback right from the operating system a lot of times, or you a lot of these apps like talk back, but oftentimes, they go unanswered or you don’t know if it’s been seen, so that’s frustrating. Even if I get a chain response from Apple, I know that they’ve at least seen it or it’s somewhere.
The other thing is I can always reach out to an accessibility person at Apple through the phone number. I just feel like at least they’re hearing the problems. Android, I feel like it goes in a black hole. The other thing is with betas, so Androids betas are typically closed off, which is interesting for something that’s supposed to be open. They have a secret group of testers that test talk-back betas. They often don’t put those out to the public.
They did it with Braille because I think a lot of their testers don’t use Braille would be my guess or they wanted more feedback than they provided, but it’s oftentimes the case that as a blind user, I don’t have any input in the beta process on Android, which is frustrating.
Those things I think, some differences people need to think about and realistically look at and say, who’s actually listening to me? Maybe it’s nobody but the point is I just think there is some of that out there that you have to take into accountability for some of these companies. My thoughts on the Flip. The Flip is a nice form factor. It really does feel like a Polaroid camera that you would’ve gotten from a family dollar or something like that in the ’90s. Folded up, it’s a nice little brick, it just has a great feel overall. One of the things I like is being able to use like Aira or Google Lookout on the lock screen or even like a TV app because it’s such a small screen, I think it takes less battery power.
The only problem is you can’t run every app from the lock screen. There’s two cover screen launchers. The first one is completely inaccessible. That’s cover screen OS, it’s made by a third-party developer. I had reached out to him, he was aware I guess another blind person had reached out to him as well. He really just didn’t understand how blind people used their smartphones.
I had a few interactions with him explaining things, but in all fairness to him, TalkBack isn’t necessarily optimized the best for the cover screen. It works, you can do things, but at the end of the day, I think that because Google doesn’t have a flip phone, they’re not really going to spend a lot of time to make something like that work in the case for Samsung. You basically can only use up to two-finger gestures and it’s sort of hit and miss whether or not TalkBack really gives you a good experience.
For example, if you’re on the normal cover screen and you do a flick down up type gesture to move your rotor, if you have that set to your rotor actions, oftentimes, it just scrolls to the next page. If you’re in the cover screen launcher, which I’m going to talk about here in a second, and you launch an app, then once the app is launched, you can do your down-up gesture and it will move by granularity.
There is just some weirdness there that you have to get used to. Here’s one of the biggest problems I found within Samsung and Android and that is a lot of times, they don’t optimize their apps or do just normal accessibility checks. Take, for example, Good Lock from Samsung. This is how you customize a lot of your phone. This is how you would add the cover screen launcher where you can put five apps on to launch, a lot of buttons in this Good Lock app are unlabeled, so you have to guess or you have to download commentary, which is a 3rd party screen reader, pay for it, and do a screen recognition to see if that works.
It’s crazy how lazy Samsung is with developing apps. I feel like they could do so much better and I’ve emailed them over the years to no response to nothing. I get the sense that they don’t care and that’s just my take on it.
Sound Assistant is another app that you can control individually at volumes, which is super handy on Bluetooth. You can make TalkBack be the loudest thing without audio ducking and every little slider in there is unlabeled. You literally have to know which slider is which, or just slide them up and down to see which volume adjust. It could just be labeled and made so much easier as a blind user with just minimal work from a developer.
Back to the Good Lock and the cover screen launcher from Samsung. You can put five apps on this launcher. Now when you’re doing it, everything is pretty much unlabeled. Thankfully with TalkBack’s OCR, I was able to hear an ad at the end of one. I was able to go in and add my five apps. Then I went to the cover screen to the launcher and basically, as you drag your finger across, you hear button, button, button, button, button, so you have to memorize which button is which app, which is not complicated because there’s only five, but still, it’s just one of these subtle things that I don’t necessarily see from Apple when they release a new feature.
I mean yes, for example Dynamic Island was a bit buggy in the beginning. They’re getting it figured out, I don’t know. This has been out, this cover screen launcher has nothing new. This has been out since the Flip 3. Again, this is nothing new that they’ve never like looked at or fixed for accessibility.
I do like the form factor of the Flip 4. My only problem is I just get annoyed with the lack of accessibility care from Google or Samsung. The other thing that’s interesting that’s happening on Android right now when it comes to Samsung is TalkBack-13 has been out for about two months now, I believe on the Google side or just normal Android side, but Samsung devices has yet to see it. I have the Flip 4 which has the most newest One UI because it was released recently from Samsung. There is no TalkBack-13 yet. It’s supposedly coming with One UI Five from when I hear. Again, why is it taking them two or three months to put out a update to TalkBack?
That was one of Android’s Allures was that you could literally use TalkBack separate from an app update like iOS so you didn’t have to update the whole OS to get a update to TalkBack. On the Samsung side, that’s seeming to be the case now and I don’t quite understand why that is. As you mentioned Jonathan, long story short, sometimes the grass is always greener when we think about things, but when you actually go to use it, in all actuality, I end up missing iOS and I miss a lot of the little things that you don’t think about until they’re not there. I mean the scroll bar on the right-hand side is a prime example of this. You’re on Safari, the content you want to read is 50% down the page. I can quickly scroll that.
On Android, if you do a two-finger scroll, it’s not necessarily a page every time, it’s just something random. I don’t know how you reliably scroll to something you want to see on Android and then even within app, sometimes moving by headings don’t work. Yes, they have made improvements but it still seems so, so premature. That’s where I’ll leave you today. Needless to say, I’m selling my Flip 4, putting it up on Swappa as of today actually, just because it did get me through the hospital, it was nice, there were certain parts I liked about it but not enough to keep it and leave iOS.
Jonathan: Thanks, what an interesting message Joe, and I hope that you are recovering okay.
I’ve got to agree with you about the tech support experience based on the inquiries that I made after it became apparent that the Braille improvements in TalkBack did not include Braille HID support despite Google having signed on to the HID standard and taking advantage of all the good PR when Braille HID was announced and people can go through the archives if they weren’t listening then and hear the ridiculous ludicrous responses I was getting from Google on Twitter.
Now at least they are on Twitter. To be fair, Apple accessibility is not, although perhaps they’re better off not being on Twitter when their responses are just so stupid. Actually, people from Google reached out to me to say, “We are really embarrassed about this. We’re so sorry that you got that kind of response and we know it’s a problem and we wish it could be fixed.”
There are people at Google unhappy about the kind of response that I was getting on that Braille HID question and it took a lot of activism to get a definitive response on this issue. I read verbatim, not just the tweets, but the emails that I sent and the responses that I got to those emails. They were diabolical, I would be interested to know from TalkBack users who’ve got the latest version, are the multi-finger gestures more open to other devices than they used to be because apparently, they were proprietary to Google and Samsung devices.
I found that out the hard way by purchasing a stock Android Nokia device, only to find that I couldn’t get my multi-finger gestures working. In the end, I got the Samsung Galaxy S-21 to have a play specifically because of the multi-finger gestures.
You mentioned Android being behind and you rightly cite Braille as an example. Multi-finger gestures are another example. It’s taken a very long time for Multi-finger gestures to be available on any Android device. It’s not a perfect situation in either company and I guess people just have to decide what they’re personally content with, what’s most important to them in terms of feature set and accessibility offerings.
Voice-over: Transcripts of Mosen At Large are brought to you by Pneuma Solutions, a global leader in accessible cloud technologies on the web at pneumasolutions.com. That’s P-N-E-U-M-A solutions.com
The BlindShellClassic 2 and audiobooks
Jonathan: Since Chris graded his demonstration of the BlindShell Classic two some episodes ago in Mosen At Large, there’s been some interest in this phone. If you weren’t listening to the show then, the BlindShell Classic two is a smartphone that’s designed specifically for blind people and those with low vision, it does have a screen, it’s got built-in speech, and a numeric keypad.
The vast majority of listeners to this show use a smartphone of some kind, be it an iOS or Android device, and usually, they use them with a touchscreen, but there are some people who don’t get on so well with touchscreens or there are people who make a conscious choice to simplify their life and use a device that is designed specifically for blind or low-vision users.
Now, Pam McNeil has recently listened to the demonstrations that Chris Gray put together and she’s got some questions specifically about how the BlindShell Classic two works with audiobooks. Now, I’m very pleased to say that the BlindShell Classic two US distributors have sent me a device so I can do demonstrations like this and I’m happy to go into this further.
If you want to play audiobooks on your BlindShell Classic two, how do you do it? The BlindShell Classic two comes with a book reader application and that will play MP3 audiobooks and other unencrypted audiobook content. They also have a service where you can get public domain audiobooks into the book reader and I’ll demonstrate that in just a minute but there are commercial services that offer audiobooks in an unencrypted format and that means that the book reader in the BlindShell Classic two will play those.
We discussed a service called Libre.fm some time ago, which is a competitor to audible.com, but prides itself on the fact that it doesn’t use any kind of encryption, and books from there work very well with that player in the BlindShell Classic two. If you want to copy content of this nature to the book reader, it’s very simple to do. You just have to cable your BlindShell Classic two to your computer and it’ll pop up as a drive because under the hood, the BlindShell Classic two is an Android device.
Let’s have a look at how to do that now. The BlindShell Classic two is unlocked and I’m going to plug a USB-C cable, which is connected to my computer into the bottom of the BlindShell Classic two. There’s a USB-C port here [phone beeps] and that’s the pretty little tune telling me that the BlindShell Classic two has detected that there’s a computer at the other end of that USB cable. Now, we can go to File Explorer in Windows
Computer: Home. Items view, multi-select list box. Quick Access, expanded.
Jonathan: I haven’t pinned the BlindShell Classic two to my Quick Access at this point, although I would do that if I were using it every day, but I’m going to press shift-tab to get into my main list of items.
Computer: Navigation pane treeview. Home.
Jonathan: I’m going to type the abbreviation, BS.
Computer: Brailliant BI20 B-S zero two, closed one of five.
Jonathan: We’ll press enter, and then tab to explore this directory structure.
Computer: Items view multi-select list box, not selected internal shared storage. Internal shared storage 27%, 6.34 gigabytes free of 8.63 gigabytes, one of one.
Jonathan: I don’t, at this stage, have an SD card in the BlindShell Classic two, but you can insert one and give yourself a lot of storage. At this stage, I’m using the onboard storage. I’ll just select there.
Computer: Internally shared.
Jonathan: Press enter.
Computer: This PCBs zero two. Internal shared storage. Unavailable. Explorer pane, items view, multi-select list box, not selected, alarms. Alarms, one of four.
Jonathan: When you contrast the stress and frustration that many people feel trying to get content onto their iPhone because of the proprietary nature of iTunes. Some people do resort to third-party applications, but it’s nowhere near as easy as this. Cabling up your phone and finding it in File Explorer. At the moment, this is in grid form, so I’ll right arrow.
Computer: Android, 2 of 12 BlindShell, 3 of 12 DCIM, 4 of 12, download 5 of 12, movies, 6 of 12 music, 7 of 12, notifications, 8 of 12, pictures, 9 of 12, podcasts, 10 of 12, ring tones, 11 of 12, line logs, 12 of 12.
Jonathan: Those are the main folders in the route of the BlindShell Classic two. If you’re wondering, well where do you put books, music, that’s clear. Movies, that’s clear Ring tones, et cetera, what you do is you go into the BlindShell folder.
Computer: BlindShell 3 of 12.
Jonathan: I’ll press Enter.
Computer: This PCBS zero two internal shared storage BlindShell. Items view multi-select list box, not selected books. Books one of one.
Jonathan: There’s a folder called books because it belongs to one of the internal applications of the BlindShell Classic two. I’ll select it-
Jonathan: – and press enter.
Computer: These PCBs zero two.
Jonathan: We’ll have a look at what we’ve got.
Computer: Not selected Tale of Two Cities, Tale of Two Cities, one of one.
Jonathan: This is something I’ve downloaded from the internet to have a play with this. It’s A Tale of Two Cities.
Computer: Wag, Tale of Two City.
Jonathan: I will press enter-
Computer: This PCBs zero two.
Jonathan: – and have a look at this.
Computer: Not selected, Tale of Two Cities zero one Dickens 64 Kilobits dot mp3. Tale of two Cities zero two Dickens 64 Kilobits dot.
Jonathan: There they all are. These are just standard MP3 files and I will show you in just a minute the tool that I used to get this book onto the BlindShell Classic two. If you have got any MP3 files or presumably, it plays things like M4A and standard file formats and you have audiobooks, you can just copy them here and they will show up in the book Reader app. It is that simple. I’m going to wake up the BlindShell Classic two now. I’ll touch a key.
Computer: [9:37] AM from USB.
Jonathan: I can disconnect the USB now actually so I’ll do that. Now I can down arrow.
Computer: Call, messages, contacts, applications.
Jonathan: Let’s go into applications. I’ll press the confirm button.
Computer: Internet browser, tools, communication, media, books.
Jonathan: We’ll go into books.
Computer: Book reader.
Jonathan: Here’s the book reader app. I’ll press confirm again.
Computer: Last book, books list, bookmarks, last book.
Jonathan: If I choose this option, it will go into the last book that I was reading, and since I only have one book at this point, it will be A Tale of Two Cities.
Computer: Tale of Two Cities, Dickens Charles.
Jonathan: I’ll press confirm again.
Computer: Continue reading.
Jonathan: Let’s have a look at the menu.
Computer: Read from the beginning, browse content, bookmark, information about the book, delete book, continue reading.
Jonathan: Now, we’ve wrapped around to continue reading. If I press the confirm key.
Narrator: – and a queen with a plain face on the throne of England, there was a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face on the throne of France. In both countries, it was clearer–
Computer: Jump to percent of the book.
Jonathan: Now, I’ve brought up the menu from the book player and here are the options. First, we can jump to the percent of the book.
Computer: Play next chapter, play previous chapter, add bookmark.
Jonathan: I presume that the next chapter in the previous chapter features work based on the MP3 file. If you take a zip file and it’s full of MP3 books, it seems to unzip the book, and then it will know based on the far naming conventions, what constitutes the next chapter. I’ll go back.
Narrator: [unintelligible [01:17:14].
Computer: Underscore underscore underscore.
Jonathan: We’re back again.
Computer: Paused, tale underscore of underscore to underscore city’s underscore a one underscore Dickens underscore 64 kilobits. One minute, 40 seconds of six minutes, 49 seconds, 0%.
Jonathan: I’ll go back.
Computer: Continue reading. Tale of Two Cities, Dickens Charles, last book.
Jonathan: I’m just pressing the back button repeatedly to work my way through the menu structure. Now we’re back at that main menu for the book player and we’re on the last book. We’ll go back.
Computer: Book reader.
Jonathan: We’re back out of the book reader app and we’re in the books category of apps. How did I get this book? Well, if I down arrow, you will hear–
Jonathan: Let’s have a look at LibriVox.
Computer: Search book.
Jonathan: Search books are the only item here. LibriVox is a service where volunteers read books that are now in the public domain. We can search for something here. I will press confirm.
Jonathan: We can select the criterion on which we want a search.
Computer: Author, keyword, title.
Jonathan: Let’s go back to the author and I will press confirm.
Jonathan: Another keyboard has popped up. If you remember the days of Symbian phones with number pads or even Windows mobile phones with number pads, this method of text entry will be familiar. The number pad has come up. You can also connect a USB-C keyboard to this if you prefer. I’m going to press the letter D, which happens to be just a single press of the number three.
Computer: Capital D.
Jonathan: Then six three times to get the letter O.
Jonathan: Then Y.
Jonathan: I’ll press confirm
Computer: Floating, Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
Jonathan: Let’s see if there are any others. I’ll down Arrow
Computer: Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Lost World, Doyle Sir Arthur Conan, Parasite, Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Hound of the Baskervilles. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Tales of Terror and Mystery. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Sign of the Four. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Study in Scarlet Version Two. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Return of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle Sir Arthur Conan, His Last Vow, some reminiscences of Sherlock Holmes. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Lost World Version Two. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, White Company. Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, Study in Scarlet.
Jonathan: There are a few here and sometimes there are two versions of the same title because these are being read by volunteers. Just for an example, I’ll choose this version of the Study in Scarlet. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Download book.
Jonathan: We’ve got download book.
Computer: Book info.
Jonathan: If we want to know a bit more about the book, we can check the information. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Title study in Scarlet author Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. Description, A Study in Scarlet, a short novel published in 1887 was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Sherlock Holmes story. At the beginning of the book Drive, Watson meets the detective for the first time and we ride along with them to the scene of a murder. The crime baffles the Scotland Yard detectives, but of course, Holmes solves it easily.
In the second half of the story, the scene shifts to Utah as we learn the murder’s history, the action returns to London in the last two chapters. In his first adventure, Holmes demonstrates many of the traits for which he later became well known. Meticulous study of a crime scene, brilliant deductive reasoning, aptitude for chemistry and music, and the somewhat annoying habit of withholding crucial facts from Watson and consequently the reader until the conclusion of the case. Summary by Laurie Ann Walden.
Jonathan: Go back.
Computer: Book info.
Jonathan: Then down arrow.
Computer: Download book.
Jonathan: We’re back up to download book. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Downloading, please wait. It may take a while. 0% downloaded.
Jonathan: The download can indeed take a while. I’m on a gigabit connection and we’ve got five.
Computer: 7% download.
Jonathan: Gigahertz WiFi, but it’s actually not going too slowly. I will pause the recording while the download completes and by the magic of editing, the download now has completed. We’re back out of the LibriVox app.
Computer: Search book, LibriVox.
Jonathan: We’ll up arrow to the book reader.
Computer: Book reader.
Jonathan: If all is well when I go into the book reader app by pressing the confirm button, we should be able to find another book.
Computer: Last book. Books list.
Jonathan: Let’s go into the books list.
Computer: Study in Scarlet Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan.
Jonathan: There it is. If we down Arrow.
Computer: Tale of Two Cities, Dickens Charles.
Jonathan: There’s the book that I had before, Tale of Two Cities.
Computer: Search. Study in Scarlet Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan.
Jonathan: I’ll open the book by pressing confirm.
Computer: Load read from the beginning.
Jonathan: We’ll do that.
Speaker 5: Part one chapter one of a Study in Scarlet. This is a LibriVox recording. All LibriVox recordings are in the public domain. For more information or to volunteer, please visit LibriVox.org.
Jonathan: All right.
Computer: Jump to percent of the book.
Jonathan: Then when I press confirm again, we’ve got that menu that pops up. I’m going to hold down the back button.
Computer: [6:41] AM.
Jonathan: I’m back on the main menu of the Blind Shell Classic. To recap briefly, you can copy books into the Books app by turning your BlindShell Classic two into a drive on your phone. You can download from LibriVox. I think the question many people will be asking is this, “I have a large audible collection, can I use Audible on the BlindShell Classic two?” The answer is yes, you can. There is an app for that and this gives me an opportunity to demonstrate how you would install apps on the BlindShell Classic two. I’m going to up arrow from the main screen.
Computer: Call, turn off the phone, manual settings, applications.
Jonathan: We’ve got applications. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Internet browser.
Jonathan: I’m going to up arrow again.
Computer: App catalog.
Jonathan: There, we have the app catalog and I’ll press confirm to go in.
Computer: Browse catalog.
Jonathan: This is essentially the same as the app store. I think Apple might have trademarked that. We want to browse catalog, but we’ll look at the other options here.
Computer: Installed packages, update catalog settings, browse catalog.
Jonathan: I’ll do that. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Recommended packages.
Jonathan: The first item is recommended packages. I’m going to go in there.
Computer: All categories.
Jonathan: Choose all categories and this will give us a list of recommended apps in alphabetical order.
Computer: Loading. Aira Explorer.
Jonathan: If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, you will recall that we had Jenine Stanley on the podcast talking about Aira coming to the BlindShell Classic and now it is, and that’s a great thing because it makes Aira available to a whole new segment of the blind community. I’ll down arrow.
Computer: Amazon Alexa.
Jonathan: There is Amazon’s popular and capable virtual assistant right there. You can install this amp if you want.
Computer: Amazon Shopping. Audible.
Jonathan: That’s what we’re interested in. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Install package.
Jonathan: Let’s just go down and have a look at the other options.
Computer: Information about package.
Jonathan: We’ll find out what that says by pressing confirm.
Computer: Description. Audible is an American online audiobook and podcast service that allows users to purchase and stream audiobooks and other forms of spoken word. Content. The service is owned by Audible, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon com inc.
Jonathan: I’ll go back.
Computer: Information about package.
Jonathan: Down arrow.
Computer: View, history of changes, install package.
Jonathan: We want to install this package. I’ll press confirm.
Computer: Downloading 0% downloaded.
Jonathan: Once again, while this download takes place, I will pause the recording and we’ll come back when it’s done. Well, the download is done now. If the phone now sounds a bit different from how it did before, that’s because I’ve been through a bit of a process. Obviously, I’m not here to sell you the BlindShell Classic two. I’m really here to report how I have found it working and the Audible app when I first installed it was a bit problematic.
I couldn’t get it to behave in the way that I was expecting and that even BlindShell USA were expecting. They were super responsive in terms of answering my questions about this. In the end, I reset the BlindShell Classic two to factory defaults and set it up again. If it sounds a little bit different, it’s because I’ve essentially had to reconfigure everything since the earlier part of my demo, but I think we’ve got the Audible app into reasonable shape now. I’m going to run this and take you through how it works, because it’s installed, I now have-
Jonathan: – in the list of installed apps. I will press confirm.
Computer: Run application.
Jonathan: We’ve got a screen here where you have some options. We can run the application.
Computer: Uninstall package, information about package, view history of changes, advanced options, run application.
Jonathan: There’s run application. That’s what I want to do. I’ll press confirm once again.
Computer: Audible, image, Audible.
Jonathan: Because it’s saying image there, what I think is happening is that we’ve essentially got some basic screen reading functionality going on to make this possible. I believe what we’ve got is sort of a skin on top of the regular Android app for Audible. Just bear in mind that I’m pretty confident in saying that BlindShell have not completely written this app. It’s possible they’ve done a skin for it or they’ve modified it in some way, but it’s not a proprietary BlindShell user interface. I’m going to down arrow.
Computer: Get started. Sign in, marketplace, audible.com. Marketplace drop-down list. audible.com is currently selected.
Jonathan: You can choose the marketplace for Audible. That’s important because Audible’s available in various markets, but my account is with audible.com and so that’s what I want selected. I’ll up arrow.
Computer: Sign in.
Jonathan: Now I’ll press confirm to sign in.
Computer: Sign in, Amazon off portal, edit text, email, or phone number.
Jonathan: I’ll have to press confirm to bring the keyboard up, and now I can type in the email address associated with my Amazon account and password. Before I do that, something that I have discovered was this, if you have two-factor authentication or sometimes called two-step authentication enabled in your Amazon account, and I highly recommend that under normal circumstances, you do this to protect your Amazon account, then there is a bit of an issue here.
When you enter your email address for your Amazon account and then the password and you press confirm to sign in, that’s all good. Then you get onto the screen where you can enter your confirmation code. That confirmation code will be texted to you but if you’re particularly security conscious, you can use an authentication app instead, which is more secure than a text message.
Google and Microsoft among others publish such authentication apps and once you’ve got them set up, they’ll give you a lot more security and actually reliability than text messages. You enter the code from wherever you’ve got it. The trouble is then that the submit button is not accessible, and this is what I mean when I talk about this being some sort of skin on top of what I suspect is the Audible Android app because the BlindShell Classic two is Android under the hood. Now Diane from BlindShell USA very handly gave me a tip about this, but I’ve actually disabled authentication for now just while I sign in.
What you can also do is once you’ve entered your password and you got to that screen, if you go back to the previous screen where the password is and at the end of the password string, without any comma or punctuation or space or anything, right at the end, you type in that authentication code. It does, according to Diane, who knows about these things work, and then you can sign in that way. That’s a bit of a workaround. Perhaps there will be some way at some point to enter that submit button from the confirmation screen but right now, I am going to enter my Amazon email address and password, so I’ll stop recording. Whoosh, I’ve entered those things, and now I can go down-
Computer: Button sign-in.
Jonathan: -to the sign-in button. This is very screen-reader-like at this point, but, of course, with the BlindShell user interface. I’ll press “Confirm” on the sign-in button.
Computer: Amazon sign-in.
Jonathan: I think things are still happening.
Computer: Search. Audible.
Jonathan: Now we are on the Audible main screen. I’m signed in. The first item we have is search. I’ll go down.
Computer: You’re getting a free Audible book.
Jonathan: Yes. [chuckles] The reason for that is that Bonnie and I have a plan, quite a large one, I think, on her Audible account. We buy the books on her account and our two accounts are connected.
Computer: In-labeled item. Listen history. Image. You belong by Sebene Selassie. You Belong.
Jonathan: That’s a book that I’m reading at the moment by a meditation teacher called Sebene Selassie. She’s great value. You can also find her on the Calm app. That book is called You Belong. I’m going to go up at this point.
Computer: Listen history in-labeled item. You’re getting a free odd search.
Jonathan: There’s a search option, so I’ll press “Confirm”-
Jonathan: -and down arrow.
Computer: Edit text. Search.
Jonathan: Now I’ll bring up the keyboard-
Computer: Keyboard shown. Search.
Jonathan: -by pressing “Confirm.” Now, when we last entered text, when we were looking at LibriVox, I used the input method available on the number pad. This time we will use dictation. I will hold down the side button. [beep] John Grisham.
Computer: John Grisham.
Jonathan: That dictated fine. Now, I’m going to press the “Confirm” key to dismiss the keyboard-
Computer: Keyboard hidden.
Jonathan: -and go down.
Computer: Clear query. Search the entire catalog. “All” selected.
Jonathan: I don’t want to do that, actually. I’ll go down.
Computer: Search for just audiobooks. Audiobooks.
Jonathan: That’s what I want to do, so I’ll press “Confirm.”
Jonathan: Down arrow.
Computer: Search for just podcast shows. Podcast shows. Search for just podcast episodes. Episodes. Audiobooks, 230.
Jonathan: He is prolific, that John Grisham, isn’t he? Down arrow.
Computer: Sort by featured. Featured. Zero filters applied to results. Filter. The Boys from Biloxi, by John Grisham. Rating, 4.5 stars. 1592 reviews.
Jonathan: What happens if I want to investigate this book? I’ll press confirm. Very simple user interface.
Computer: The Boy— back.
Jonathan: Now I’ll go down.
Computer: Share. Play. Sample, The Boys from Biloxi: A Legal Thriller by John Grisham, narrated by Michael Beck. Audiobook, 17 hours, 22 minutes. 4.6 out of 5 stars. 1592 ratings. Title not for sale in this country/region.
Jonathan: Duh. We get that a lot with Audible these days.
Computer: We’re sorry, Audible is not authorized to sell this title in your country/region. Please– Browse Catalog. Summary. >P<>V>#1<V><V><I>The New York Times<I><V><V>bestselling author “John Grisham returns to Mississippi in his most gripping legal thriller yet. The riveting story of two sons of immigrant families who grow up as friends, but ultimately find themselves on opposite sides of the law. Grisham’s trademark twists and turns will keep you listening until the stunning conclusion>V><P><P>For most of the last 100 years. Biloxi was known for its beaches, resorts, and seafood industry, but it had a darker side.
It was also notorious for corruption and vice. Everything from gambling, prostitution, bootleg liquor, and drugs to contract killings. The vice was controlled by small cabal of mobsters, many of them rumored to be members of the Dixie Mafia<P><P><P>Keith Rudy and Hugh Malco grew up in Biloxi in the ’60s and were childhood friends.
Jonathan: We could keep reading that, but we’ll stop there. You can hear some HTML characters bleeding through there, the paragraph tag, and a couple of other things, but it’s not in a show-stopping way, you can still get that full description. It does read it without you having to do anything. Once you’ve arrowed there, it’ll read as long a description as there is. I’ll just go back up.
Computer: Browse– We’re sorry. In-labeled item. Title not for sale– 4.6– Audiobook 17– Narrated by Michael Beck. By John Grisham. A Legal Thriller. The Boys from Biloxi. Play. Sample.
Jonathan: Let’s just see if we can play the sample. I’ll press “Confirm.”
Computer: Sample. The Boys from Biloxi. Play. Sample. Selected. “As always, unchecked vice proved contagious. Gambling joined drinking as the–”
Jonathan: I’ll stop that-
Computer: Four meters, 51s.
Jonathan: -because we don’t want to get pinged. It did take a while to stream and I wondered whether I needed to do something else, but it did eventually stream and it was playing the sample, so that does work. If I press the back button,-
Computer: Edit text. John Grisham. Search.
Jonathan: -we’re back on the search results screen, and if we want to, we can investigate other books that are by John Grisham. On the main screen, I can eventually go down. It’s not talking to me at the moment. I think we’ll see if we can–
Jonathan: There we go.
Computer: You’re getting a free audible book.
Jonathan: It’s just got a bit unresponsive at this point. We’ll just see if it will sort itself out. Huh? I’m going to go back-
Computer: Run application.
Jonathan: -and run the application again.
Computer: In-labeled item. Sample. Jump back 30 seconds. Image. Play. Home. Selected. One of four.
Jonathan: We’re on the home tab now. This is like a tab control.
Computer: Library, two of four. Discover, three of four. Profile, four of four.
Jonathan: I go back to Library-
Computer: Discover. Library, two of four.
Jonathan: -and I can press “Confirm.”
Jonathan: I think it may take a bit to load. I’ll just let it do that and see if we get any response. I don’t think I am getting response, so I’ll go up.
Computer: Discover, three of– [inaudible [01:36:42] Image. Play. Jump back 30– Sample. More options. The Witches’ Blade by A. K.– Your library is sorted by recent. Recent. 345 titles. Your library. The Witches’ Blade by A. K. Mulford, narrated by Mela Lee, 16 hours 25 minutes.
Jonathan: I have no idea what that is. It is a book that Bonnie is reading, so maybe she can come and describe it to you some time.
Computer: More options. Here’s the Deal by Kellyanne Conway, narrated by Kellyanne Conway. Finished.
Jonathan: That is one of mine.
Computer: More options. The Sixes by Kate White, narrated by Jennifer Cohn.
Jonathan: That’s one of Bonnie’s.
Computer: 12 more options. Hush Little Baby by R. H.–
Jonathan: That’s also one of Bonnie’s. I don’t read a lot of audiobooks anymore. What happens if we go to More Options?
Computer: The Sixes by Kate White. More options. Title details. Kellyanne Conway. Download.
Jonathan: We can download the book to the phone.
Computer: Share. Mark as unfinished. Rate and review. Add to favorites. Add to– Play next. Archive this title. Close. Last item.
Jonathan: We’ll go-
Computer: Archive this title. Close.
Jonathan: -to close.
Computer: More options.
Jonathan: Now, if we want to, we can choose “Download this title,” it will download to your phone. If you are going to read a lot of audible books or books from any audible source, you will want to have an SD card inserted into the device to give you more space. There is one final thing you might want to do, and I will hold down the back button-
Computer: [3:05] PM.
Jonathan: -and that gets me to the main menu, and now I can tap the side button. This is the same button on the right-hand side of the phone that you would use when you are dictating. You hold that down to dictate, but if you just tap it–
Computer: List of favorite applications is empty. Add favorite application.
Jonathan: We’ve got an empty list of applications. This is a quick way to get to your favorite applications without having to traverse the menu. If you’re going to use Audible a lot, you may want to add it here. To do that, we just press “Confirm” on it-
Jonathan: -and there’s a list of applications here in alphabetical order.
Jonathan: Luckily, Audible is towards the top. I’ll press “Confirm.”
Computer: Audible has been added to favorites.
Jonathan: That’s all there is to it. We’ve now got the Audible app. If I go back to the main menu-
Computer: [3:06] PM.
Jonathan: -and I tap the button-
Jonathan: -it’s right there. Easy to get at YourBooks and whatever apps you use regularly on the BlindShell Classic 2. It hasn’t been a 100% smooth experience for me. The Audible app does seem a little bit idiosyncratic, but the support that I got when I found those idiosyncrasies was really good. I don’t think that the Audible app experience, which is a little bit rough and ready, is symptomatic of some of the other experiences I’ve had which have been very smooth on the device. Pam, I hope that answers your question about using Audible and reading books in general, in fact, with the BlindShell Classic 2.
Voice-over: Jonathan Mosen, Mosen at Large podcast.
Positive news on a discrimination complaint
Jonathan: You may recall that Afiq from Israel has shared with us the discrimination issues he’s faced with his university and he has a very pleasing update, which goes to show that it is important to be tenacious, to stand your ground, and to fight for what you believe in. He says, “I want to share with you and with your listeners, happy news about my story about the college discrimination.
On September the 12th, 2022, I was present in the first hearing of the court in Bat Yam about my case.
The judge, Mrs. Runit Ofir, was very nice and asked the ADV of the college, I’m not sure what ADV stands for. If everyone is testing from their own homes without any help, why Afiq can’t do it. He doesn’t want a scriber and I really can understand his point. He wants to be independent. The ADV mumbled something about the ethics of the tests and blah blah blah, but he forgot something. The email is the same email no matter if I’m going to the college or not, I’ll get it by email. Eventually, they accepted to send me the word files of the tests as requested even before the lawsuit was submitted.
Why it took up to a year of anger, frustration, and a lot of bad feelings if I got at the end, the same thing I wanted from the start word and zoom watching? We’re insisting about the financial compensation I need to get by law after this terrible journey. I really think I should get compensation. I’ve needed to go to the college itself six times while everyone else did the tests from their comfortable own homes. What do you think about that?
Congratulations, Afiq. It’s a good outcome. It’s the right outcome and congratulations for persisting. So many people don’t. If people just give way and fold in situations like this, we never get progress and that essentially passes this on to the next generation, the next student who encounters this discrimination to deal with, so congratulations for standing your ground.
High Tech hot water bottle
Grace: Hello Jonathan, it’s Grace here is to tell you about a gadget that I bought. It’s a rechargeable hot water bottle. It’s absolutely brilliant. I really like it. I used it last night for a little while just to try it out and oh, it’s really good. I thought that it’s great for blind people because it saves us using a kettle to try and fill the thing. Sometimes it can be difficult.
Jonathan: I suppose so. Do you know, I haven’t thought about hot water bottles for a long time. I presume by hot water bottles Grace, you’re talking about those things that you take in the bed with you and they warm up the bed. As a child many years ago now, I do remember my parents filling up the hot water bottle. We used to call it a hottie for short [laughs] and we’d put it in the bed and it would warm it up, and I guess this was when we didn’t have electric blankets and that sort of stuff. I don’t know how common these things are around the world, but I haven’t thought about them, as I say for a very long time, but it’s a pretty cool idea, a rechargeable hot water bottle. What will they think of next?
Using the word sight when you actually mean blind
Juan: Hi Jonathan. My name is Juan Mohena. I love your podcast. I listen to it as much as I can. I find it very informative, very helpful. Right now I’m living in Pennsylvania. I moved here from New Jersey in 2007 and I was working in New York as a special-ed teacher. I was commuting from New York to Pennsylvania every day for seven years until I retired. Here I am in Pennsylvania, I retired and I belong to this organization that serves the blind, but the problem is that this organization seems to negate the term blind because I’ve been on their website sightsforhope.org.
There is no mention of the word blind anywhere in their website, and it’s purported that the president has stated that the word blind is not PC. What I would like to know from your listeners is how do I deal with this? How do I address this? Do I confront the guy? I don’t know how to do it because I find it very, very insulting and they do serve the blind because obviously, I have other people that I have different activities with. I sent the president an email saying, “Why doesn’t the word blind appear anywhere on your website? Why is this?” Anyway, thank you very much in advance for any help you or your listeners can give me since I do fully believe in blind pride.
Jonathan: Good to hear from you, Juan. Thank you for getting in touch. I can certainly hear that Tri-state accent going on there. This is a continuum, isn’t it? Some of us are at different points in the continuum. Some people perceive blindness to be this immense tragedy from which there is no recovery. Other people are on the complete opposite side of the spectrum like me, the blind pride side of the spectrum. I don’t believe in the phrase that says, “I’m not going to let my blindness define me.” I’m happy to let my blindness define me. It’s a characteristic I’m proud of. There are probably people who fall somewhere in the middle.
I think the NFB actually put it best when they repeatedly say it is respectable to be blind. If it’s respectable to be blind, and I certainly agree with that, it’s respectable to use the word blind, but I also accept that it’s important to meet people where they are on this journey. I’ve had a lot of experience with this in my present job where I’m chief executive of an employment agency in New Zealand that provide services to disabled people.
Now, I’m quite happy to be called a disabled person because as we’ve discussed at length on this podcast, when we in New Zealand talk about disabled people, we do so because we subscribe to the social model of disability. We’re saying that a disabled person is disabled by society’s failure to accommodate them, so it’s not a point of shame. However, there are some people who don’t like the term disabled person. They don’t even consider themselves a person with a disability. In that case, what do you do? I’m super proud of our team that facilitates the employment of people.
We all know that there’s a sense of dignity that comes from being able to sit up a little bit straighter, look someone in the eye virtually or otherwise, and give a positive answer to the question, what do you do for a living? If people who qualified for that service missed out on it because of the language we use, then that really would be sad. On our website, we are quite careful to use very inclusive language. We don’t shy away from the term disabled person because we’re not ashamed of it, but we also know that there are some people who do not self-identify as disabled people who are entitled to receive services from us.
We don’t want to frighten them away either. Where I’m going with this is that there may be some people who don’t consider themselves blind. I looked at that site and by the way, for those who are interested in it, it is Sights For Hope. That S-I-G-H-T-S-F-O-R hope.org. When I went there, I felt actually there’s quite a strong low vision emphasis on the site and I noticed they talk about people with visual impairments on the site.
I don’t know, you know the organization better than I do, but it just seemed like it was more of a low-vision organization. If in fact, they do cater to totally blind people, then I think they do have an obligation to be inclusive. Sure, there are some people who don’t like the word blind. We can debate that as much as we like, but that shouldn’t stop people who aren’t there yet or who may never get there from accessing the services. We had this debate a few years ago in New Zealand when the Blind Foundation decided to change its name because some people did not identify with the word blind.
There were people who were entitled to receive services from the blind foundation who didn’t because there was a stigma associated with the term blind. Now, we can and should fight that stigma, but we do also have a juicy, I think those of us in service provision to accept and meet people where they are. Now, on the other hand, across the ditch, across the Tasman Sea from me, you’ve got Vision Australia, which is the name I find deeply objectionable because it completely shuns the word blind in the name. In New Zealand, we came up with the compromise of calling it Blind Low Vision NZ.
A bit unwieldy, a bit cumbersome, but it is inclusive and I can live with that. I do not think there is a place for banning the word blind. You mentioned that the person you spoke to said that the term blind isn’t PC and I do wonder if that person is sighted. That would be interesting to know. I hope you can have a constructive dialogue with the people involved and say, “Sure, okay, maybe there are some people that might be frightened if you used the blind word exclusively, but you shouldn’t avoid using it altogether because that alienates people too.
When I hear the RNIB in the UK, the Royal National Institute of Blind people constantly talking about people with sight loss, and I believe the CNIB in Canada is doing this too now, that makes me think, “They’re not talking about me. I don’t have sight loss. I’ve never had sight, so how can I lose it? I’m blind. I’m happy with it.” Maybe those of us who feel that way can’t rule the world, but we sure as heck shouldn’t be excluded either. Anyone else with thoughts to share is of course welcome to share them. 86460 Mosen is my phone number. That’s a US number. 864-606-6736. email@example.com is my email. Attach an audio clip or write it down.
The Bonnie Bulletin. Should we go back after a discriminatory experience?
Jonathan: It has been some time since we heard that familiar tune, but we are well overdue for an update. A Bonnie bulletin with a one and only Bonnie rona free Mosen.
Bonnie: Hi, guys.
Jonathan: You are rona free, right?
Bonnie: Think so. Getting there. I think I’m just about done getting there, I think.
Jonathan: Now we’ve got Eclipse in the studio. Since people want to hear more about Eclipse, Angus does anyway. Angus sends us an email every so often. He says he wants more Eclipse content. I’ve got this game that I have had going on with Eclipse for a while where she likes to lie outside the studio door and wait for me. She just lies there and she can lie there for hours because I can be here in the studio for hours. Then I open the door and she’s just lying there. I used to make a fuss of her and stuff like that, so I could just ever so slightly creep ahead and then race her up the two flights of stairs.
It’s quite a nice little track, but when I get a head start, it’s very difficult for her to catch up because it’s quite a narrow corridor. Now she’s onto it. She lies there in wait and the moment that I open the door, she leaps up and sprints off. Just hurtles up the stairs. [chuckles]
Bonnie: She figured it out.
Jonathan: It’s hilarious.
Bonnie: It’s funny. She likes to play it.
Jonathan: She’s got a lot of character that dog.
Bonnie: She just celebrated her 6th birthday.
Jonathan: Yes. That’s amazing, isn’t it?
Bonnie: Yes. She’s 42 in human years and Lizzy will be 15 in March.
Jonathan: That’s just incredible. 15 times seven. Do you think that’s accurate?
Bonnie: They claim it is because they can see their anatomy. Cats supposedly are three years or something, I’m not sure. Horses are three years.
Jonathan: We thought we would discuss this dilemma because it’s probably a dilemma that other people have experience-
Bonnie: Oh, I’m sure they have.
Jonathan: -as well. It is Eclipse related. It’s a nice little segway. Who invented the segway? Dean, what was his last name? The segway guy.
Bonnie: I don’t remember. I rode one once.
Jonathan: They’re funny little things.
Bonnie: They didn’t take off like they thought they would.
Jonathan: They overhyped it so much. Up ahead of the announcement, they said, ‘Oh, this is going to be this big game-changing announcement. Everybody thought, “Wow, what is it?” It was the segway thing. Anyway, segway, which is not spelled the same way into this discussion. I think we must have mentioned, surely on the show, that we had a pretty upsetting experience at what should have been a happy time when David and Joe got married in January and we went to Whanganui and we had a hotel booked. The funny thing is, we’d been at this hotel before.
Bonnie: Yes, a few times.
Jonathan: Without any issue whatsoever. Then what happened when we tried to check in?
Bonnie: They didn’t want the dog because they had had another dog before, another alleged guide dog that had brought fleas or mites, they said, into the hotel, and they had just updated their hotel. They were worried about the dog getting close to the furniture and all this stuff. I pretty much said, “You have to take the dog, it’s the law. I’m sorry this happened, but it’s not my problem.” [chuckles] Essentially, it’s not.
Jonathan: It’s like saying we won’t have anybody in a room because we had this uncleanly person or whatever. People can be unclean, dogs can be–
Bonnie: Children or a person of color. You’re not going to stay here because of this other person. If it was that person or other dog, then they should have had the person pay, because you can do that if you can prove it came from the dog.
Jonathan: We felt really unwelcome. They let us in. I understand from was it Heidi that was with us when we checked in, that there was a bit of visual interplay going on where somebody who had been around a lot longer in the hotel and knew us was pretty disgusted with the way that we were being treated and tried to get this person to back off and they didn’t get the message. We felt really uncomfortable. my response to it was, “I want to stay somewhere else,” but they had some special activity on that weekend and there was just no other accommodation. We were stuck there.
Bonnie: There was no hotels.
Jonathan: In the end, because Whanganui is such a small town, we found a lawyer who was actually in some way connected with-
Jonathan: -ownership of the hotel, and we did get a groveling apology, but it took about 24 hours, I think. We got a groveling apology. We got chocolates. Did you get flowers?
Bonnie: Yes, we did.
Jonathan: “We are so sorry.”
Bonnie: We had the head of the Guide Dog Services here in New Zealand call them.
Jonathan: Yes, that’s right. We had Guide Dogs call them as well. Man, we sent the entourage on them. [chuckles] They claimed to have got the message and they seemed genuinely remorseful. As I say, we’ve got the chocolates and the flowers say, “Here’s why we’re telling you this,” because I think we probably must have talked about this at the time.
Bonnie: Oh, we did, yes.
Jonathan: The reason why we bring it up now is we are making plans for the birth of the Grand Banana.
Jonathan: Florence, we believe. Sometimes when the child’s born, when a child is born, they change the name. At the moment, the working title, the name, and visa is Florence. We got it all worked out. We’re going to be ready to go, we’re going to be packed. We’ll just jump in an Uber. This is going to be one massive Uber fare, dude.
Bonnie: Hopefully she’ll be in labor a while.
Jonathan: No, hopefully, she won’t be in labor a while.
Bonnie: She probably will be.
Jonathan: That is awful.
Bonnie: Usually they’re in labor a while.
Jonathan: No, not necessarily. You don’t want to wish a long labor on anybody. God. Anyway, we’re going back there, and you said they said they said they’re sorry. They seem genuinely to have learned their lesson, so why don’t we stay there? It makes me feel very uncomfortable. It’s not like I’m holding a grudge, but I just don’t feel safe going back there. I really don’t. I’d feel very uncomfortable about it. I guess the question we’re asking is, would you do this? Would you go back?
Bonnie: Would you go back to a business that had been unwelcoming to your guide dog or hotel?
Jonathan: Or discriminated against you?
Bonnie: The reason we’re bringing this up is there’s not that many places to stay in Whanganui. Whanganui is very small, and you have to look at what’s the most comfortable for the guide dog, where’s the grass? The thing about this hotel I liked and it was another thing they lied about that they didn’t have grass, which they did.
Jonathan: That’s another thing. Can you just go through that?
Bonnie: Yes. I said, “Where’s the–” “Oh, we don’t have any grass.” I’m like, “Really? That’s interesting.” I said, “We had lots of grass the last time I stayed here. We stayed in this other part of the hotel.” “Oh, yes. There’s grass there.” I’m like, “I told you there was.” They lied about that.”
Jonathan: Yet you’re the one who wants to go and stay there when they made us feel like pariahs. Like we had the covid or something. Now I’m doing it. I’m doing the covid. They made us feel awful. It felt like I’ve never felt so uncomfortable because there was nowhere else to go. We were staying there for, I think it was three nights, and it was really bad. I hated it. I just don’t think that we should go back to an environment like that. Would they really want us back, do you think? It might make them feel pretty uncomfortable given all the argy-bargy we created.
Bonnie: I guess the way I feel is that I don’t care. It’s like an F you to them.
Jonathan: You can’t say that on Mosen At Large.
Bonnie: I just said F you.
Jonathan: What does it stand for?
Bonnie: F you.
Bonnie: I’m bigger than they are. If that’s where I choose to stay because it’s the most accommodating for me, because there’s nowhere else really to stay in Whanganui. Of course, the baby will probably be born there.
Jonathan: It sounds for fundamentally upsetting.
Bonnie: That’s it. There’s just not anywhere. We used to have a really great place to stay in Whanganui.
Jonathan: Unless you’re saying the you as Y-O-U rather than the letter U.
Bonnie: There used to be another hotel we stayed at.
Jonathan: I’m trying to get you out of a bind here.
Bonnie: They changed it into a pilot training center.
Jonathan: We can’t go there?
Jonathan: No, but there are other places that you can go.
Bonnie: They don’t have restaurants.
Jonathan: We’ll get Delivereasy.
Bonnie: Do they have that in Whanganui?
Jonathan: Yes. Part of it, a little bit of it is I don’t want to give them my money because they were so horrible, but they did apologize, and I accept that they apologized and they at least– do you think it was a genuine apology?
Bonnie: I think the lawyer was pretty [crosstalk]
Jonathan: [chuckles] That’s what I’m saying. [laughs]
Bonnie: The thing is, the lawyer, her nephew, or step-nephew is blind.
Jonathan: Yes, I know.
Bonnie: He said, “Do you want someone to treat, whatever the little boy’s name is, like that when he grows up?” I think she was pretty upset about that. Maybe she’s not there anymore. Maybe she got fired.
Jonathan: What’s it going to be like going into that check-in place with all that history between us?
Bonnie: I just hold my head high and say, Hi, I’m here. This is the place I want to stay. There’s grass unless you’ve cemented it over since last year.” Unless we can find somewhere that the grass is equally as close.
Jonathan: I hope we can. I hope we can maybe find a Airbnb somewhere.
Bonnie: Gosh. That could raise a whole other kettle of problems.
Jonathan: A whole other kettle of problems. I’d be interested to see what people think about this. Would you stay or would you go?
Bonnie: Yes, it’s a good song.
Jonathan: It is a great song. I’d love to hear from you. If you have any comments you want to contribute to the show, drop me an email written down or with an audio attachment to Jonathan, J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N, @mushroomfm.com. If you’d rather call in, use the listener line number in the United States, 864-606-6736. Mosen At Large podcast.
[02:01:02] [END OF AUDIO]