Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Playing Around with the Google Home

These are a few of the things I do with my Google Home, Google Home Mini, Chromecast Audio, Chromecast, and other devices that I have used over the years and continue to use.

 

1. Using multiple timers on Google Home/Mini.

2. Checking the weather.

3. Playing music on Google H/M and Chromcast audio devices organised in to groups around the house.

4. Watching shows from Netflix on Chromecast.

5. Broadcasting on Google H/M or via the Google Assistant app when out and about or at home to all Google H/M speakers.

6. Controlling the air conditioner via Sensibo hardware via Google H/M.

7. Controlling the Samsung Powerbot Vacuum cleaner via Google H/M.

8. Reading (listening) to audio books from Play Store.

9. Listening to podcasts such as Talking Tech from Vision Australia..

10. Listening to Radio such as Vision Australia Radio Melbourne.

11. Asking for next bus or train on Google H/M.

12. Using the Google H/M as a Bleutooth speaker from my iPhone.

13. Using the Google H/m to play to a Bluetooth speaker.

14. Switching lamps on or off via WeMo switch using Google H/M.

 

Overall, I still find the Google Home easier to use with the touch surface than I do with trying to tap on the correct spot on either side of the Google Home Mini.

 

As I did with the HomePod, I will be adding all my Google Home demos that I have done up to this point at:

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

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Playing Around with the HomePod - My Thoughts, Suggestions, and Podcasts

Notes on the HomePod from an Accessibility and User Perspective

 

This post will be added to as I play more with the HomePod which I’ve now had since Feb 9 2018 when it became available.

 

Thoughts and Suggestions

 

Great to see a sound played on HomePod when speaker first turned on.

 

After setting up the HomePod with the pop-up dialog, there is then no indication to then go to the Home app, Rooms, HomePod to complete configuration of the HomePod.  At least , nothing was spoken by VoiceOver on my iPhone 8 plus.  Initially my iPhone was about 30CMS away from HomePod (pop-up not triggered), wasn’t until I put iPhone on HomePod that pop-up came up to start 

setting up the speaker.

 

I was quite surprised when HomePod announced “VoiceOver on”.  I really should stop being surprised by Apple’s inbuilt accessibility after all this time, and the fact that if your iPhone is running Voiceover, the HomePod will turn it on automatically: very very nice.

 

Two accessibility modes available for the HomePod in the Accessibility settings within the Home app under Details for HomePod - VoiceOver and Touch Accommodations.

 

The touch surface on the HomePod reacts promptly when dragging finger across controls using VoiceOver, particularly when playing music.

 

VoiceOver settings within the Home app for HomePod, does not have the basic instructions for using VoiceOver.  I.e. a tip for dragging finger around screen to read rather than swiping would have been beneficial.

 

Two change the speech rate of VoiceOver for the HomePod, go to Home app, Room, HomePod, Details, Accessibility, VoiceOver, and adjust speech rate.

 

When HomePod static, like the fact that there is just the Pause (Play) control on the touch surface.

 

When playing music, very easy to drag or directly touch using VoiceOver from left to right (orientation of HomePod with power chord facing away) Decrease volume, middle Pause/Play, and right Increase volume.

 

When playing music, tap or drag finger to Pause/Play button in the middle so that its in focus as far as VoiceOver is concerned, then perform the following gestures:

1 finger double tap - start and stop media.

1 finger double tap and hold - bring up Siri.

1 finger triple tap - go to next track.

1 finger quad tap (4 times) - previous track.

 

Find it odd that you can’t AirpLay directly from music on the Apple Watch to HomePod, only via the Now Playing screen controlling what the iPhone is playing to HomePod.

 

Being able to toggle VoiceOver on or off via Siri on the HomePod was useful.  I.e. Hey Siri “turn on VoiceOver” or “turn off VoiceOver.”

 

Sending a iMessage  worked as expected.  However, once or twice HomePod announced that my iOS connected device needed to be on the same network which it was.

 

When I asked about the weather, HomePod reported a few times that my Location need to be turned on (which it was), this has only happened once.

 

Transferring a current call to HomePod via Audio button worked well without any issues.  I.e. Hide keypad for other controls such as Mute to become visible.  This pop-up dialog box that appears after choosing Audio button seems to only stay on the screen for a short time, had to work fast to locate HomePod.

Really like the call hang up on the HomePod when on a call.

 

To control media playing on iPhone and HomePod, bring up Control Centre, 3D Touch on Media Controls, you will have title of track iPhone and title of track NameOfHomePod, select either source to control the media playing such as Rewind, Pause/Play, Fast Forward, Volume etc.

 

Using Airfoil to send audio from Mac to HomePod and other AirPlay, Google Home/Mini, and Chromecast speakers works extremely well.

 

When using Reminders on the HomePod, the Reminder notification only comes up on the iPhone and not the HomePod itself.  This would have been handy.  However, to get around this and perhaps use Reminders as a multiple timer reminder when cooking, set “Speak All Notifications” to on in VoiceOver settings on iPhone, this way, when a Reminder pops up it will speak automatically.

 

Asking Hey Siri “to stop listening” works as expected, prompts you to confirm yes or no, then announces to reactivate Siri, touch the top of the HomePod.  For VoiceOver users, 1 finger double tap and hold on the Play button which will bring up Siri, then say “start listening” and this will turn back on Hey Siri functionality.

 

I find the Timer sound and the alarm sound are very similar.  Looking forward to being able to choose own alarm sounds.

 

 

Oddly when checking the status of an alarm that is set to repeat for the week, the status is read backwards: i.e. Friday, Thursday, Wednesday, Tuesday, and Monday.

 

Sending music via Airplay from iPhone to HomePod worked well.  I.e. benefit of this for VoiceOver users is that you can have audio going out to the HomePod and have VoiceOver remain on your local device: the iPhone.  Controlling HomePod via Apple Watch when AirPlaying from iPhone was brilliant.

 

When asking to play a podcast on the HomePod, you do not have to be subscribed to the podcast within the Podcasts app on your iPhone.

 

Setting an Alarm and Checking current alarms worked as expected.  Really nice gentle alarm when using it either via the HomePod itself or via the Home app when setting up repeat alarms.

 

Other iOS devices keep grabbing the Hey Siri trigger word for HomePod, have had to move all of them out of the same room where HomePod is located.

 

The fabric chord that pluggs in to the HomePod can (but not advisable) be removed with a bit of force, and put back in again with more force.  If you damage the chord you will be up for replacement cost and of course if you damage the HomePod (the internal connecter), without Apple Care you are looking at $279 US to fix the HomePod.  So I guess in other words, leave it alone.

 

Certainly don’t have to yell at HomePod for Siri to listen - just talk in a normal voice.  Oddly, when the music is at 100%, and I give Siri a command, I can’t quite hear myself speak but Siri picks it up fine.

 

I think the HomePod is a music speaker first (which sounds really really nice), and a smart speaker second (Siri).

 

Would like to see:

*Siri have multiple timers.

*Play audio books from iTunes library.

*Play iBooks from iTunes library.

 

For a 1.0 release of a product really happy.

 

My Podcasts on the HomePod

 Setting Up and Playing with the HomePod

 

http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/a-play-around-with-homepod-using-voiceover-setup-configuring-via-the-home-app-and-a-play-around-with-siri/ 

How to Use the HomePod as a Speaker Phone

 

http://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/e/how-to-use-homepod-as-a-speaker-phone/

 
HomePod Demo - Playing Around with Podcasts

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/3yx7je/HomePod_playing_around_with_Podcasts.mp3

 

 

 HomePod demo - Controlling iPhone and HomePod media from the iOS Control Panel/Media Controls

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/sd3pcy/HomePod_demo_switching_between_iPhone_media_and_HomePod_media_using_the_Iphone_Control_Centre.mp3

 

 How to Stop and Start Siri Listening to “Hey Siri” on HomePod

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/asbwc8/HomePod_demo_how_to_mute_and_unmute_Siri_on_the_HomePod_using_Voiceover.mp3

 

Apple’s Support page for Using HomePod with VoiceOver

 

https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT208434

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Starting Up My Blog Again

After a year, I’m going to start up my blog again mainly for me commenting on playing with new tech that I come across, and a place to link my podcasts as I do them.

 

First one off the rank for 2018 will be the HomePod when I get my hands on it after the 9th of Feb 2018.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Talking Tech for Feb 7 and 14 2017

Melbourne University Develops Device that Detects Obstacles

 

This will be a fantastic mobility aid if it comes to market for cane and Guide Dog users, detecting non protruding hazards such as descending stairs, pot holes, curbs, and the edges of railway station platforms will be of great benefit.

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/inventions/move-over-white-cane-australian-engineers-have-developed-a-device-that-can-help-the-blind-and-vision-impaired-navigate-the-world/news-story/7e94ba5a4521267f6a20435653161bf8

 

Blind People See Microscope images Using Touch Feedback Device

 

This story reminds me of the old Opticon.

 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2120245-blind-people-see-microscope-images-using-touch-feedback-device/

 

My Playing around with Windows Preview 15025 with a Braille Display

 

Windows 10 15025 is looking promising with Braille display access.

 

Using Yammer with a Screen Reader from Microsoft

 

I was quite surprise how well Yammer for the web and the iOS version of the App works with screen readers.  Now using Microsoft office, Yammer, and Skype for Business on my Mac.

 

https://twitter.com/msftenable/status/825222186822676480

 

VA Connect Update

 

What’s New:

·   Ability to read text based content including all of the Newspapers and Magazines available through i-access®.

·   Displays the full text of a title when it is available, including Newspapers, with sentence highlighting.

·   Improved messaging feature to receive important messages from Vision Australia.

·   Improved usability and numerous bug fixes in response to feedback from Users.

New Vision Australia branding

 

h

 

The Apple Support App Now Available in the Australian App Store

 

Get help, read help documents or book an appointment for assistance.

 

h

 

The Talking Microwave Now Available From Vision Australia

 

Not yet on the online store, but apparently available for sale, retailing for $623.

 

iPad turned 7 last Week

 

The iPad was announced in January 2010, and I remember doing the Australian launch for it in May at the Spectronics conference in Brisbane.

 

AirPods get a Firmware Update

 

If you have the AirPods in their case, over the last week or so, when connected, you’ll notice in Settings, General, About that the version number will be 3.51.  Apple has not said what the update contains, but my bug with the keyboard talking louder when inputing text has be fixed.

 

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-update-the-firmware-of-apples-airpods/?ftag=COS-05-10aaa0g&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5892ded0f6d7a100077f0de2&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

 

Find my iPhone beta for Finding the AirPods

 

Like other devices for Find My iPhone, you can get a map reference or play a sound on the AirPods: which actually works quite well as I usually put an AirPod down where I am usually sitting.

 

Siri Beta Gives Cricket Info

 

The beta version of Siri with iOS 10.3 will give you the current scores for a cricket game in progress or tell you wen the next match is on for a particular country.

 

The Complete List of 3D Touch Short-Cuts

 

You never know how complete these lists are, but its a dual thing to have if you have an iPhone with 3D Touch.

 

http://www.iphonehacks.com/2017/01/complete-list-3d-touch-shortcuts-iphone.html

 

Another Tip on Using the KNFB Reader: Reading the Computer Screen

 

When I’ve been updating Windows Preview to the next release, KnfB Reader has come in very handy for reading the screen when rebooting several times.

 

How to Identify Incoming Calls without Looking at Your iPhone

 

For VoiceOver users probably not useful, fbut for folks that don’t use speech output as such this feature is quite handy.

 

https://appadvice.com/post/identify-incoming-calls-iphone/737137?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AppAdvice+%28AppAdvice%29

 

How to Disable the Tech Bar on the MacBook Pro for Taking Exams

 

Some States in the Us were the Bar exam is held, requires students to disable the touch bar for the examination.

 

http://www.imore.com/how-disable-touch-bar-macbook-pro-so-you-can-take-your-exams?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

 

NVDA Changing Lives in India

 

Always a good reminder how this free screen reader is changing lives for people who are blind who live in India and other country’s.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cQiTv-pno0&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 31 2017

Synapptic Update

 

Please note that Synapptic version 6 has been released and is available to update via the settings menu in Synapptic. It could take 5 to 10 minutes to download and you will be taken to the Android screen where you need to press the install button after it has been downloaded.  Naturally when you go out to Android you will need to turn on Talkback or Voice Assist depending on what phone you are using. When you go back into Synapptic please remember to turn off  Talkback or Voice Assist again.

 

Following are the list of changes in version 6.

 

A new simplified calendar makes finding dates and typing appointments quicker and easier. The enhanced Agenda View allows upcoming appointments to be easily viewed, edited or deleted.

 

The new weather forecast option in the Tools Menu gives accurate forecasts and current weather details for anywhere in the world.

 

Android apps can now be launched directly from Synapptic. Find this new option in the Tools menu. This new feature, in combination with the triple tap feature to start or stop TalkBack, provides simple and powerful access to the more complex parts of Android.

 

The new magnifier option converts your phone or tablet into a premium hand-held electronic magnifier and has options to freeze, zoom up to x100, save, rename, switch colours/contrast, and also gives direct access to the reading machine!

 

A new line-view reading mode makes eccentric reading easy with text automatically scrolling across the screen at an adjustable speed. This can be used to read emails, text messages, reading machine documents, notes, etc.

 

If you use the Synapptic Radio player, you'll really appreciate the new features we've added to make it quicker and easier to find your favourite radio stations. A new search feature allows you to search easily though the thousands of stations, and a favourites list makes it quick and simple to play your favourite ones.

 

Get the most out of every photograph and image with the super-powerful photo viewer. It can now magnify up to x100 and is easily operated with pinch and zoom.

 

To make it easier to group and find photos, each photo you take can now be given a name. The list of photos can be quickly and easily searched to find the photo or group of photos required.

 

If you take lots of photos the new photo viewer is now super-quick to operate and allows many unwanted photos to be deleted at once.

 

The reading machine now has two new modes. Normal Mode is great for normal text from books, magazines and newspapers. Ignore Columns Mode will ignore any columns of text and just reads from left to right. This mode is particularly useful for things like bank statements.

 

Reading machine text can now be saved and the file given a specific name.

 

A new Reading Machine search option makes it quick and easy to find previous text.

 

Reading machine text can now also be transferred to the Notepad for further editing.

 

When you have lots of Voice Memos, the new rename and search features allow you to easily organise memos and quickly find specific or groups of memos.

 

To help keep Synapptic even more simple to operate we have made the bottom left of the screen the standard location for buttons to continue or confirm a selection of emails, photos or folders, etc.

 

With an ever increasing number of emails being sent and received we have introduced a new feature to make it quicker and easier to delete multiple emails at the same time.

 

Synapptic can automatically fetch new emails, but a new Fetch Emails menu option towards the top of the Email Menu now makes it quicker and easier to fetch emails manually.

 

No one likes to suddenly loose an email, note or text message they're in the middle of working on. To help make sure this never happens, we've introduced a new prompt which asks if you are sure you wish to exit a Synapptic screen without saving the text.

 

To help with organising and quickly finding specific notes in the Notepad, we've added the ability to rename notes and to search for notes with a specific name or containing specific words.

 

When there are hundreds of contacts in your address book, we've improved the speed and responsiveness of screens that allow you to pick a contact.

 

If you like to write long emails, this new feature will definitely help! A new email drafts feature allows an email to be saved and worked on over several days.

 

To help make voice recognition easier, the button to turn voice recognition on and off for the keyboard has been enlarged, so it's easier to locate.

 

It's now easier to manage text you have spoken in with voice recognition. The delete key has two functions. It first deletes the complete last utterance, then continues to function as a normal delete key, deleting one character at a time.

 

If you use Synapptic in Double Tap mode, it can be slow and frustrating when using the keyboard. A new setting allows the keyboard to work in normal Single Tap mode, independently of the menus working in double tap mode.

 

If you're new to a computer keyboard, the QWERTY layout can be confusing and make it slow to type. A new keyboard setting now allows the keyboard to be configured as an ABC style keyboard or a QWERTY style keyboard.

 

Want to customise your Main Menu and add shortcuts for quick access, or delete options for an even simpler menu? The new Customise option in the Settings Menu makes this much quicker and easier. Move an option to a new location, add in an extra option or delete an unwanted option. Certain sub-menu items, like the new  Magnifier, Weather and App Launcher options can also be added directly to the Main Menu for quick access.

 

The comma key on the keyboard now changes to an at ( @ ) sign when typing an email address. This saves time and means you don't need to switch to the numbers keyboard to complete an address.

 

The option to password protect the Settings Menu has been removed due to the new lock screen options. A new lock screen adds new security and protection features. Set the lock screen to be operated by either a PIN, Swipe or disabled altogether.

 

With the line between Smartphones and Tablets becoming ever more blurred, a new setting allows you to manually select the type of device (Tablet or Smartphone) that Synapptic is running on, if it's not been detected automatically.

 

For overseas customers, a new feature is available to automatically detect, or manually set, the required language for menus and other text within Synapptic.

 

New stations have been added to both the Radio Player and Digital TV player.

 

Various other minor enhancements have also been made to version 6.

 

How to Get Siri to Read an Article Out Loud on iPhone or iPad

 

Siri can read any screen of your iPhone with the Speak screen command if this is turned on in Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech, Speak Screen.  Note - this doesn’t work on the Home screens.

 

http://osxdaily.com/2016/10/31/have-siri-read-screen-ios/

 

 

How to Factory Reset the New AirPods from Apple

 

https://www.macobserver.com/tips/quick-tip/factory-reset-apple-airpods-may-help-battery-pairing-issues/?utm_campaign=rss_applenews&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=macobserver

 

Where do AirDrop Files Go To

 

http://osxdaily.com/2017/01/20/where-airdrop-files-go-located/

 

How to Use Skype to Spy on Your Pets

 

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-use-skype-to-spy-on-your-cats-or-dogs/?ftag=COS-05-10aaa0g&utm_campaign=trueAnthem:+Trending+Content&utm_content=5878983f19d6ba0007ecb142&utm_medium=trueAnthem&utm_source=twitter

 

Windows 10 Insider Preview Build 1502: Narrator improvements

 

https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/01/09/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-15002-pc/#.WHQAboZbjyY.twitter#OWjBti1bOFF1V6ai.97ATUG

 

Access Technology Users Group Feb 8 2017

 

ATUG will hold its monthly phone based meeting on Wednesday 8 February.

Meeting starts at 7:30 pm Sydney time.

Anyone is welcome to participate, only cost is the cost of dialing a Melbourne number.

Dial-in Number:

03 86720100

 Participant Access Code:

767530

 

Jim Pipczak from VA will talk about the following.

beacon technology

a recorder that can record 60 messages

Talking Microwave

Samsung tv and computer screen with voice guidance – better picture for VIP’s

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 24 2017: late post

Certificate Fix for Zoomtext Products

The digital certificate used to certify newer ZoomText and Window-Eyes software products has been compromised. As a result, our certificate will be revoked on or around January 26th, which will result in startup failures for the following Ai Squared products.

Affected Ai Squared Software Products

When attempting to start the following Ai Squared software products, the product will fail to launch and display a Windows error message: “A referral was returned from the server”

  • ZoomText Magnifier – Build numbers 10.10.8 through 10.11.6
  • ZoomText Magnifier/Reader v10.1 – Build numbers 10.10.8 through 10.11.6
  • ZoomText Fusion v10.1 – Build numbers 10.11.1 through 10.11.5
  • ZoomText Keyboard v4 – Build numbers 4.0.0 and 4.1.0
  • Window-Eyes v9.5 – Build numbers 9.5.1 and 9.5.3

When attempting to start the following Ai Squared software products, the product may launch even though the certificate has been revoked. Anti-virus utilities may detect the invalid certificate and block the software from running.

  • ZoomText ImageReader v1.2 – Build numbers 1.2.16106
  • ZoomText Voices (language packs) v1.0 – Build numbers 1.0.1.4693
  • Vocalizer Expressive v1.3 (for Window-Eyes) – Build numbers 1.3.0.13329

Note: Inspection of the certificate will show that the certificate is invalid. Inspection and validation of certificates is a process performed by some organizations.

Solution (software updates)

For each of the affected products, software updates incorporating a new digital signature will be released and available for download prior to January 26th. These updates will be available using the Check for Updates wizard where available or by download :

 http://www.aisquared.com/CertificateFix/link

 

 

Problems with me Blogging

 

Mars Edit that I use on then Mac doesn’t work well with VoiceOver, hence these straight text posts for Talking Tech.   Hopefully trying to resolve this in the next few weeks.

 

Public beta of Dictation Bridge Now Available

 

http://dictationbridge.com/2017/01/18/dictation-bridge-public-beta-now-available/ 

AccessWorld for Jan 2017

 

Articles: braille, VizLens and HALOS (Home Appliance Label and Overlay System).  Really excited to see the development of Vizlens which allows the use of an iOS device to access a touch screen system.

 

https://www.afb.org/afbpress/pub.asp?DocID=aw1801toc 

iOS KNFB Raeder Tip

 

You can use the volume buttons to snap a picture with the KnFB Reader rather than using the on-screen button.

 

How to Get Siri to Read an Article Out Loud on iPhone or iPad

 

Siri can read any screen of your iPhone with the Speak screen command if this is turned on in Settings, General, Accessibility, Speech, Speak Screen.  Note - this doesn’t work on the Home screens.

 

http://osxdaily.com/2016/10/31/have-siri-read-screen-ios/ 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Talking Tech for Jan 17 2017

Here are my two Xbox One demos

 

Xbox One demo 1 posted - overview

 

Podcast:

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/5acmrj/Xbox_One_overview_demo_using_Narrator.mp3

 

Xbox One Demo 2 posted - Settings, Apps, and keyboard navigation:

 

Podcast:

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/5acmrj/Xbox_One_overview_demo_using_Narrator.mp3

 

iPhone out for 10 years Last Week

 

I missed celebrating 10 years of the iPhone last week, as for me, the celebration is in another two years when it will be 10 years since VoiceOver came to the iPhone in June 2009.

 

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar

 

I really enjoyed having a play with the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, replacing the function key row with the touch bar and Touch ID (finger print) brings an extra level of functionality to the Mac.

 

Podcast:

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/s6jtyf/Macbook_Pro_with_Touch_Bar_demo.mp3

 

AirPods

 

The new AirPods from Apple, really does make you enjoy using Bluetooth ear phones.

 

 Podcast:

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/q2ka6g/AirPod_demo_unboxing_description_iPhone_watch_Mac_Apple_TV_comments_2.mp3

 

Ballyland Rotor app

 

Teach children how to use the VoiceOver rotor.

 

Podcast:

 

https://davidwoodbr.podbean.com/mf/web/iq56cy/Demo_of_Ballyland_Rotor_app_to_teach_the_iOS_VoiceOver_rotor_gestures.mp3