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
Minneapolis Minnesota April 1st 2011 Serotek, the leading provider of Internet and digital information accessibility software and services, today announced its entrance in to the notetaker market with a product simply named the GTO. The GTO, originally code-named Project Doorstop, aims to resurrect previously existing technology for a second chance at life. “So many people believe that innovation is about doing something that’s never been done before,”, said Hugh Morris, product manager for the GTO. One thing that hasn’t been done nearly enough is to take seemingly obsolete technology and combine it in new, and perhaps ludicrous ways.” That’s exactly what we’ve done with the GTO. Morris went on to say that though the cost of manufacturing the GTO is extremely low because no one else in the market has use for its parts, consumers will not benefit from this cost reduction. “We’ve spent 3 weeks in hard-core development and testing with this product. We tested it until we got tired of doing so. All that hard work costs the company money, and we’re going to pass that cost along to the consumer tenfold. We’re going to make consumers pay … and pay … and pay!” Mr. Morris then … [Read more...] about Serotek Enters The Note Taker Market With The New GTO!
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
I don’t usually post things from the Serotalk Podcast here, but, The Serotek Story Documentary is so compelling that I figured I would post it. Of course I’m biased!If you haven’t put the Serotalk Podcast on your RSS, shame on you! LOL! Really though, it is a great resource for information on what’s happening in the World of technology according to a few blind and rather disturbed geeks! So, if you’d like a few laughs and some pretty good information head over to the Serotalk Podcast! And hey, you might not even be sorry you did!Happy New Year! … [Read more...] about The Serotek Story Documentary A Must For your Audio Archive
Yesterday marked the release of a product which, according to Intel, would revolutionize the way the blind and others with reading disabilities accessed printed materials. During those few fleeting moments between hearing of the announcement and reading the actual press release, I had high hopes that a mainstream company would demonstrate its dedication to accessibility and innovation at an affordable price. And with backing from companies and organizations such as Humanware, Lighthouse International and the Council for Exceptional Children, I felt certain that the device I was going to read about would be very impressive indeed. The Intel Reader, a device about the size of a paperback and weighing approximately 1 pound, is equipped with a camera and text-to-speech allowing print documents such as newspapers, menus, and signs to be converted in to a readable form by the blind and others with print disabilities. With the addition of a capturing station, sold separately, the device can be used to scan and convert more lengthy materials such as textbooks and novels. It can also read existing etexts in Daisy format as well as play standard MP3 and Wav files. This feature set reads … [Read more...] about What I think About the Intel Reader
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!
Knowbility blogger Desiree at Universally Designed gives us a wonderful tutorial in Webinars in her September 2nd posting along with an introduction to Serotek’s Accessible Event, which makes this phenomenally useful tool completely accessible to the blind, deaf, and deaf-blind. Desiree gives our AE team a lot of well-deserved pats on the back. That’s the way it should be because our people are out there changing the world, one demonstration at a time. Once again Serotek has blasted the barriers and brings the latest in social networking technology to everyone.I call Accessible Event a social networking tool because online meetings are really a dimension of social networking. The one-on-one stuff is great and we make that available in many different ways, but some information is best provided to a group, all at the same time. That includes corporate meetings, webinars, university classes, sermons and presentations of many kinds – really any time one person or a group of people play show and tell to a larger group in real time. Thanks to the Internet and tools like GoToMeetinghttps://www1.gotomeeting.com/?Portal=www.gotomeeting.com and WebEx virtual meetings or webinars have been … [Read more...] about Who Says? You Can’t Build It and They Will Come
A ghetto is a portion of a city in which members of a minority group are coerced to live through social, cultural, legal, and/or economic pressure. Ghettos are often separated from the city at large by a wall or other natural barrier. But the real barrier is fear: fear of outsiders by those within the ghetto and fear of ghetto-dwellers by those outside the ghetto.If you’ve read this article in AFB Accessworld, you’ll know I have firsthand experience with a ghetto. When my parents came to Miami from Cuba looking for new opportunities, they joined a community of other Cubans who were here for the same reasons. Our community was a place where we proudly celebrated our Cuban heritage and where the Cuban culture remained alive and well. But it was also a place that trapped us in poverty; a place where expectations were low; and ultimately a place which isolated us from the rest of society. It was a type of ghetto.Did we prefer being poor, stereotyped, isolated and hopeless? Of course not! But there was an unspoken sentiment that leaving the ghetto would also mean leaving an important part of yourself behind, and that you would sacrifice the culture that made you who you were if … [Read more...] about Out of the Ghetto and in to the Digital Lifestyle