Apple’s highly anticipated press event, where new products are expected to be announced, begins at 1 PM Eastern today and iBlink Radio will be bringing you full coverage, no matter what platform you’re using. There’s lots of coverage to choose from. Apple will be streaming the event live for those using an iDevice with Safari, and you can tune in to that event here. If you’d like to hear the event with live commentary, you’re in luck. iBlink Radio will carry mainstream coverage from Leo LaPorte and the TWiT team, as well as a couple of streams with commentary from an assistive technology perspective. During the Apple event, catch commentary from community leaders including Jessie Lorenz, executive director of the Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco, Mike Calvo, co-founder of Serotek, and Derek Zarda, assistive technology educator. When the Apple event is concluded, tune in to coverage from the Maccessibility RoundTable, featuring Josh DeLioncourt, Holly Anderson, Darcy Bernard and others. You’ll find all this and more on the iBlink Radio app, Serotek’s cross-platform solution providing access to global radio stations, podcasts and local and national reading … [Read more...] about Serotek and iBlink Radio bring You Coverage from today’s Apple event
As a lot of you know, last night I had a strong reaction to Apple and its decision to reject Serotek's Accessible Event app. The exact number of apps that do not make it to Apple's App Store is not documented but is estimated to range in the thousands. When our app fell into that category for a third consecutive time, I admit my reaction was a little hasty.I understand Apple only wants the best apps to maintain a superior user experience. I applaud Apple for allowing that user experience to be so inclusive of the world's blind population. To that end, I submit my sincere apologies to Apple and to the blind and visually impaired community for having taken my frustrations as a developer to Twitter. If I may, I would like to provide an explanation for my reaction.My sentiments are not unique among Apple's developer community. Hundreds of blog posts and Twitter feeds point to Apple's obscure approval system. There is no appeal process for rejected apps that meet the company's hardware and software specifications. Though sideloading has provided alternative access to OSX, Apple's sandboxing policy set to start on March 1 raises speculation about whether the company will simply eliminate … [Read more...] about Egypt Revisited
“If you live every day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right” Steve Jobs quoted an anonymous source in his speech to the Stanford graduating class in 2005. Yesterday was the day Steve was right and the world lost one of its true creative geniuses – a man who has changed each and every one of our lives in important and lasting ways. And not just with his disruptive products like the Mac and the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Those are some of his innovative tools but the real innovation was in how we relate to one another.I imagine everyone recognizes that the way we interact has changed with iPhone and iPad. Steve gave us the gift of a great communication experience. For blind people, like myself, it is more than that. Steve Jobs opened that modern world fully to me and people like me by making the full experience of his products accessible, out of the box. He had the vision to see me as a customer who wanted to be treated like any other customer and gave me the privilege of walking in a store and paying retail for a product off the shelf that immediately gave me the same access and experience as any person with sight.If the marketplace were a religion, as I guess … [Read more...] about Thank You Steve!
A week or so ago, the American Council of the Blind held a Future of Screen Readers panel as part of the Information Access Committee seminar at the ACB annual convention. Serotek was one of the companies invited to attend remotely via Skype. Other remote participants were GW Micro and NVDA. Unfortunately technology failed (through no fault of Skype) and we remote participants did not get to contribute. But I thought the panel questions were extremely pertinent to all blind people and that it was important we add our voice to the conversation. So this blog post is Serotek’s way of making sure our voice, and the voice of many who share our view, is also heard. I’d like to begin with Question 6, because it separates us from most panel participants. I’ll come back and address each of the ten questions – which are included in their entirety at the end of this post. Question 6 said: “Imagine that you are participating on a panel five years from now. What do you hope you can tell us about the screen reader space and the role of your screen reader in it?” Serotek hopes wholeheartedly that in 2015 we can say the screen reader space has vanished. This change will be brought about through … [Read more...] about What is the Future of Screen Readers anyway?
Serotek declares war on the traditional adaptive technology industry and their blind ghetto products. With this announcement we are sending out a call to arms to every blind person and every advocate for the blind to rise up and throw off the tyranny that has shaped our lives for the past two decades. It is a tyranny of good intentions – or at least what began as good intentions. But as the proverb says, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” And for the past two decades the technologies originally conceived to give us freedom have been our shackles. They have kept us tied down to underperforming, obscenely expensive approaches that only a small percentage of blind people can afford or master. They have shackled us to government largess and the charity of strangers to pay for what few among us could afford on our own. And we have been sheep, lead down the path, bleating from time to time, but without the vision or the resources to stand up and demand our due.That time is past.We stand today on the very edge of universal accessibility. Mainstream products like the iPod, iPhone, and newly announced iPad are fully accessible out of the box. And they bring with them … [Read more...] about The Serotek Ultimatum
This week, Serotek’s iBlink Radio app for the iPhone and iPod Touch is in the “Featured apps” section of the iTunes Store. On the surface, this may appear to be a nice feather in Serotek’s cap, but the implications go far beyond company recognition. This listing recognizes the blind community as a worthy market as well as putting Serotek on display as a contributor of high quality software and content. This is a first. The first time ever an application for blind people has been offered to the world at large, by a major marketing organization, without qualification or apology. It’s just there as part of the best of the best applications Apple has highlighted for its iPhone and iPod users.We created this application and placed it on the iTunes store, free of charge, for a number of reasons. First and foremost it is great content – a complete array of entertainment and information, all created by and for the blind and low vision community. This is everything a blind person needs to know in one place, quick and easy, accessible anywhere. This is my personal app of choice.Second, this is a valuable resource for sighted people if they or someone in their family is losing their … [Read more...] about A History Making Day For The Blind
This past Wednesday, Apple held a media event to showcase new products. With a musical theme, Apple announced many exciting developments, particularly of interest to people who are blind. With the introduction of the Voiceover screen reader for the iPod Touch and an updated Voiceover interface for the iPod Nano, as well as accessibility updates to the iPhone OS utilized on both the iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple clearly demonstrated its commitment to universal access across its product line. In an ironic twist, in fact, the blind community got much of what we have been asking for in terms of access to these devices, while the larger sighted world did not get what they most expected--a camera for the iPod Touch. To my knowledge, this has never happened before.It isn't all roses and candy, though. Apple also released iTunes version 9.0, which, while introducing many desirable features, such as the ability to share tracks from several computers in the same household and an expansion of the genius playlist options, also broke accessibility to the iTunes store. Access to the iTunes store has become more difficult and cumbersome on the Mac platform, and it has become all but unusable under … [Read more...] about Access to iTunes 9.0 is here!
I just purchased an iPhone. I paid the same price as any other person -- $299 for the 32 gigabyte version plus tax. Like anyone else I had to subscribe to AT&T’s network – at least for a couple of months. We can see about changing phone networks later.VoiceOver, the screen reader which has shipped free in every Apple computer since 2005, is built right into the iPhone 3G S. There’s nothing extra to purchase or install.All I need is the iPhone 3G S, iTunes 8.2 or later, and a Mac or PC. I can activate my iPhone and enable VoiceOver without sighted assistance using iTunes with a compatible screen reader like System Access to Go free on a PC or VoiceOver included on the Mac. When I activate iPhone using iTunes, I can enable VoiceOver on the iPhone to start using it right away.In other words, this is a high-demand consumer product developed by a mainstream company that is accessible out of the box.Where is everyone else?This phone not only speaks; it speaks 21 different languages including three dialects of Chinese, two flavors of Portuguese, two flavors of Spanish, Russian, Norwegian, Japanese, Korean, German, Dutch, Italian, Polish, Swedish, two flavors of French, Finish and … [Read more...] about Why is it that Apple always seems to get to the future first?
This was an important week for blind people. Apple, a company that has long ignored the need for accessibility in it’s consumer devices brought out a new 4th generation version of the Ipod Nano that, when combined with Itunes version 8,is accessible. GW Micro took Apple where no other AT company has been able to lead them. It is a wonderful success and a gift to blind people everywhere.Us blind folks are tough critics and the ink will be hardly dry on the announcement before people will be griping that the new Ipod doesn’t do one thing or another. Hush. Something more important than features happened here. Thanks to GW Micro, Apple made the digital lifestyle accessible. In doing so, Apple recognized that accessibility is not about compliance. It’s not about some minimal legal requirement to grudgingly make it possible for a blind person to have some small taste of what’s available to the general public. It’s about making fun accessible. It’s about eliminating barriers and making fun an eyes-free experience.Think about it.Ipod is the ubiquitous companion of the young and the young at heart. It is everywhere. In just a few short years this device has completely disrupted … [Read more...] about Ipod and Itunes are now accessible to the blind!