September 2017 Newsletter And Dave’s News and Technology Updates

Updates: We just had our big event! “Dinner in the Dark” at Hotel Roanoke, an it was a huge success! Thank you so much to our sponsors and those of you who bought tickets. Special thanks to Vistar Eye Center, Harris Corporation, Gentry Locke Attorneys, and Rutherfoord Insurance. We’d also like to thank The Fork Restaurants, The Hotel Roanoke, The Virginia Health Alliance, The Wadsworth Group at Morgan Stanley, Branch Gives, Carilion Clinic, and Eye Care & Surgery. Our Silver sponsors were Southern Graphics and Supply, United Healthcare, Park Commercial Real Estate, Professional Rehabilitation Options, and HomeTown Bank. Lastly special thanks to Phil Hall, Todd Jones, Rob Tulles, and David Hight.

Our event also received some attention in the local press. See the links below to read and watch videos.

The Roanoke Times

The Roanoke Star

WDBJ 7 News

Mr. Ward and Mr. Byrd were recently invited to attend a monthly breakfast held by Friendship Manor. There they discussed New Vision’s services and ATE program. We thank Friendship Manor’s directors, staff, and CEO for the invitation.

If you know of someone that could benefit from New Vision services feel free to send them our way. Our new Assistive Technology for the Elderly Program is very popular. To learn more see one of the links below.

Program Brochure
General Description of the Program and other New Vision Services

Echo News

The Amazon Echo line of products now supports multi-room playback. That’s to say if you have more than one Echo device in your home you can have your music play simultaneously on all the Echos. So I’ve tried this out at home with a classic Echo and my Echo Dot. Its not perfect and it seems to disable bluetooth on all devices while it is in operation. I’d imagine this is because it uses the Bluetooth for the music syncing. If you’d like to know more see the article below.

The Verge’s Guide to Setup Multi-room Support

Accessible Television

As a follow-up to last months newsletter focusing on television providers, we have a few insights. First off, I had one student get the talking cable box from Cox Communications, with no questions and no problems. I had a second student who tried and the sales rep tried to up sell her on her cable package. So I just called Cox and here’s the scoop. To get the accessible cable box and remote, you have to be on a minimum of the Economy Plan. That plan all by itself runs about $35 a month, but it comes with a lot of stations. To add on the internet to that package you’d need to add another $15 to $25 as a new customer. I asked the lady on the accessibility hotline if she could ball park the price for a pre-existing customer, and she said you could probably get a package for around $60 to $70. So there’s the background on that. Just remember the cable box is no extra cost.

If you have any further questions, give the accessibility hotline a call. The phone number is below.



Do you find shopping for clothing difficult? Would you like to dictate a message to your computer for free? Would you like to know more about the new OCR feature in NVDA? If so, then check out this episode of Blind Bargains, episode 111. See link below.

Ever wondered what to do with those old white canes? Or are you a NVDA user? This episode of Blind Bargains discusses that and much more. There is also a nice discussion about disaster preparedness in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. See link below.

Joe and J.J. in this episode talk to Michael Feir and Jessie Anderson about games. There is a lot of options out there not just for computer games but also board games and card games. Check out this long form discussion of the topic on episode 112 of the Blind Bargains podcast. See the link below.

There won’t be a JAWS 19! That’s right! I’m not making that up. The Freedom Scientific, or VFO Group, is changing their naming of JAWS releases. To learn more and when you need to update your SMA agreement have a listen at the link below. In this episode of the FSCast Eric Damery and Jonathan Mosen cover these changes.

Other News

Here’s a neat article about NVDA 2017 Version 3, by J.J. Meddaugh. This new version has added rapid OCR capabilities and new voices.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for August 2017. Topics discussed include the IFTTT App, Blind Fold Games, iAccessibility App, and much more. See the link below.

If you are interested in new accessibility features coming to iOS 11, see the Applevis article below.

Echo Tips

Here’s a few things to try. Some practical, some just fun.

  • “Alexa, beam me up”
  • “Alexa, can you speak Klingon?”
  • “Alexa, tell me a Star Trek joke”
  • “Alexa, what kids’ skills do you have?”
  • “Alexa, read my notifications”
  • “Alexa, set a 10 minute pizza timer”

Ways to Support New Vision

Kroger Community Rewards

Picture of Kroger Plus Logo

Your Kroger Plus Card can be a powerful tool for supporting local organizations in your community. New Vision recently registered to be a beneficiary of the Kroger Community Rewards Program. Kroger will, in turn, donate toward our mission every time you, as a registered user, make purchases at their stores on hundreds of items.

If you’d like to see how to sign up, see the link below.

If you are a screen reader user then follow the link below for directions. These directions should apply whether you’re using NVDA or JAWS.

If you need additional help feel free to phone us here at the office.

Amazon Smile Program

Picture of Amazon Smile Logo

If you want Amazon to make a donation to New Vision every time you make a purchase you can use the link below to sign up for the Amazon Smile Program. Follow the step by step directions. Sorry, we haven’t had a chance to put together step-by-step directions for screen reader users yet. See link below.

Local News and Events

Reoccurring Events: Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) meets the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting of the Roanoke Alliance for the Visually Enabled (RAVE) will be on Wednesday the 20th of September at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker.

Your Thoughts

If you have any thoughts about what could be mentioned in an upcoming newsletter or comments on this newsletter feel free to reply or fill out the following form. See the following link.

Contact Info

New Vision 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (South Park Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

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David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor