Friday, November 30, 2012

iTunes 11 Feature Helps Visually Impaired Redeem Gift Cards

A feature in Apple's iTunes 11 allows you to scan a gift card code using your computer's camera. The feature is particularly intriguing for the blind, visually impaired and for dyslexics. While it may be inconvenient for most people to type the 16 digit code, it is impossible for users who are blind or visually impaired, and can be a struggle for some dyslexics. To use the feature position the gift card in front of the computer's camera. For people with visual impairments VoiceOver, Apple's built in screen reader on your Mac will help you frame the card in the picture. Then iTunes recognizes the code and credits the money to your iTunes account. This feature makes it possible for the blind and visually impaired to easily and independently redeem iTunes gift cards. Maybe this cool scanning feature will make its way to iOS in the near future.

Click read more below to view pictures of the scanning feature in action.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nook App for iOS Updated to Support VoiceOver and Zoom

Great news, the Nook app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is now accessible to the blind, visually impaired and people with print disabilities. The updated app now supports VoiceOver and Zoom. VoiceOver and Zoom are built in accessibility features in iOS. To learn more about VoiceOver click here. With VoiceOver you can have the book read aloud using text-to-speech. Oddly enough the update makes the Nook app more accessible than current Nooks. Serious kudos to Barns & Noble's for making their app accessible. To download the app for free click here.

Click read more below to view more screenshots.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Livescribe Sky Wifi Smartpen: Handwriten Notes With Audio in the Cloud


The Sky Wifi Smartpen from Livescribe is a WiFi enabled pen that has a built in audio recorder. This allows you to digitize handwritten notes which you can sync to Evernote wirelessly when in a compatible WiFi hotspot. (See below for Evernote description) The smartpen allows you to take handwritten notes which are linked to an audio recording of what was being said at the time you wrote your notes. The pen can record audio using a built in or external microphone. Using specially designed note paper, you simply touch "record" at the bottom of the dot paper page and begin writing notes. The camera at the bottom of the pen tracks where you write and the built in microphone records what is being said. The result is that your writing is linked with whatever was spoken at the time. In other words each pen-stroke is linked with the sound that you heard at that time. So if you are in class and your teacher is discussing President Washington and you write "President Washington" later you can playback everything the teacher said about Washington at that time by touching the pen to the words "President Washington."

Many of the pen's functions are accessed by touching buttons printed on the specially designed dot paper with the tip of the pen. When you are done taking notes you simply press the stop button at the bottom of the dot paper notebook and your handwriting and audio recording is automatically synced to Evernote. Click here to view a sample note. From Evernote you can view the note and listen to the audio or share the note.

Click read more below to read the full review.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Slow Down iOS Home-Click Speed

The iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch home button does more than just take you do the home screen. With a quick double tap it can bring up the multitasking pane or music controls. With a quick tripple click it can be used to start an accessibility feature such as VoiceOver, Zoom, Assistive Touch, or Guided Access. If you find it difficult or impossible to double or tripple click the home button quickly you can slow down the speed in settings. To slow down the home-click speed go to settings > general > accessibility > home-click speed.  This setting is only available in iOS 6. To learn how to upgrade to iOS 6 click here. This setting will allow you to press the home button much slower in order to activate the double or tripple click actions. Watch the above video to learn more.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ask Google Voice Search How To Spell Unfamiliar Words

Google's recently update Google Voice Search is very useful and extremely fast. There are also a few tricks that can make the app even more useful. One trick is to ask Google Voice Search "how do you spell..." Google will quickly return the correct spelling of the word and speak the spelling aloud. Unlike Siri, Google Voice Search speaks the spelling back to you so you do not need to look at the screen. This trick is especially useful for people with dyslexia and people who are struggling spellers.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

PDF Expert Review

PDF Expert is an elegant PDF manager, viewer and annotator. The app is available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch but the iPhone version and iPad version must be purchased separately. You can easily add PDF to the app by using the "open in" feature. Once you have PDFs in the app you can organize them into folders and sub-folders. The highlight of PDF Expert is its annotation features. PDF Expert allows you to quickly and easily add note, text, signatures, watermark stamps, images from the camera roll or audio notes to any PDF. You can search for a PDF by title or by the contents. PDF Expert also includes a passkey lock feature that allows you to protect your sensitive PDFs. 

Unfortunately, PDF Expert does not include text-to-speech for PDFs. Even PDFs created on the computer cannot be read allowed. Also there is no optical character recognition feature for scanned PDFs. If these features are not important to you than PDF Expert is a great choice because of all the other great features. If text-to-speech is important to you than you may need to look elsewhere.

PDF Expert sells for $9.99 in the App Store. Click here for the iPad version and here for the iPhone and iPod Touch version. Click read more to view screenshots of PDF Expert.