December 2017 Newsletter With Dave’s News and Technology Updates

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Updates: Our next workshop for the Assistive Technology for the Elderly will be conducted on Wednesday, December 13th. If you are interested in coming give us a buzz or to learn more see the brochure link below.

[Link to Brochure][1]

Volunteers: A big thanks to our volunteers from Delta Gamma, and students, including Hazel and Michelle, who’ve been helping out with our calendars. We’ve sent more than 1500 already!

Holidays and Inclement Weather Closings: We’ll be closed Monday December 25th, for Christmas, and Monday January 1st, for New Year’s Day. Additionally, should Roanoke County or Roanoke City Schools be closed due to inclement weather, we too will be closed. Additionally, we’ll put a notice on the answering machine here at New Vision. That’s at 540-985-8900.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2018 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar


Way back we talked about the talking laundry machine module, here’s a discussion from the Main Menu team about the unit. See link below.

Trying to get some bargains and do some shopping this time of year? Looking for equipmnet and tools that are blind or low-vision friendly? If so check out this episode of Blind Bargains. See link below.

Interested in gaming or augmented reality? Check out this Main Menu episode. See the link below.

Check out the BBQ team as they talk to Marty Schultz, of Kid Friendly Software and Blindfold Games. Marty had some real struggles recently with his development process but hear him discuss his companies future.

How can modern technology make shopping and chores easier? Check out this episode of Bling Bargains as the team discusses shopping, iPhone 10, and much more. See link below.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for November 2017. See the link below for more.


Starting November 20th new or upgrading Sprint customers can get the KNFB Reader App for free. See the article below. I also have some directions from Scott White at the NFB if that will help, just let me know. The KNFB Reader App is usually $99.

Check out this holiday buying guide from the folks at Access World. See the link below.

Interested in getting those really good online shopping deals? Need a guide? Need some advice? See this article from the Access World team. See the link below.

Check out Jamie Pauls’ article, on Access World, about the iOS 11 Book by Jonathan Mosen. See link below.

Android News

Check out this article about the new Be My Eyes App on Android. See the link below.

Android O or Oreo has some new accessibility features. Listen to this episode of the Cool Blind Tech Podcast that breaks down some of these new features. See link below. [][2]

New Echo Feature

The Amazon Echo’s calendar now allows you to verbally add and delete events. So here’s a sample conversation to add and delete an event. By the way, the word appointment will also work.

Add Event

  • “Alexa, create an appointmnet”
  • “What day and time?”
  • “Today, 6pm”
  • “What’s the name of the event?”
  • “Dinner”
  • “That’s Dinner at 6pm Today, right?”
  • “Right”

Delete an Event

  • “Alexa, delete an appointment”
  • “Which event would you like to delete?”
  • “Dinner at 6 pm”
  • “Delete, Dinner at 6 pm, right?”
  • “Right”

Echo Tips

Here are a few things to try. Some practical, some just fun. By the way, we post a lot of these on our Facebook page almost daily.

  • “Alexa, who’s hosting Saturday Night Live this week?”
  • “Alexa, are there basketball games tomorrow?”
  • “Alexa, read Little Women from Audible.”
  • “Alexa, tell me a vegetable joke.”
  • “Alexa, how do I add a second user profile?”
  • “Alexa, what’s your mission?”
  • “Alexa, talk to Best Buy.”
  • “Alexa, when is the next Rockets game?”
  • “Alexa, tell me about Stranger Things.”
  • “Alexa, sing me a love song.”
  • “Alexa, what are the most popular books this week?”
  • “Alexa, how do I set up calling and messaging?”
  • “Alexa, what’s the longest word in the dictionary?”
  • “Alexa, how old is the universe?”
  • “Alexa, what’s the 7-day forecast?”
  • “Alexa, how do I play music everywhere?”
  • “Alexa, play the song that goes ‘true love won’t desert you.'”

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.

Registration expires each August, and if you did not renew last summer, please do so now.

If you’d like to see how to sign up or renew, 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: Here’s a note fromR.A.V.E.’s flyer,

“R.A.V.E.’s annual Christmas Banquet will again be held at the Cave Spring Lions’ Clubhouse at 4801 Merriman Rd., SW, Roanoke, VA 24018 (See the following driving directions) The Banquet is on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Dinner will begin at 7:00 PM, so arrive a few minutes early if possible. The meal is again catered by Adell’s of Rocky Mount, and the cost is $15 for all attendees, except for special guests, Lions drivers and the 3-D Trio.

RESERVATIONS REQUIRED by Friday, December 8th. Call Dianne Decker at 540/562-0455 for reservations…”

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

Subscribe to Newsletter via Email

Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
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Tech Center Newsletter for November 2015

November 2015 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

We’ve had an exciting time since the last newsletter. The Tech Center’s second workshop was well attended on October 21st. It focused on Apple Mobile Devices. Points from that workshop will be shared in the months to come, in this newsletter. So stay tuned in.

Former Attendees: Those who were able to attend one of the previous workshops were presented with two special offers. As a reminder Ms. Brisbin made her eBook available at a 25% discount to attendees. And Fedora Outlier has made their 12 step guide to using the iPhone available free of charge. The link to Ms. Brisbin’s discounted book is below and if you’d like the free eBook from Fedorra Outlier just send me an email.

For more about Fedora Outlier’s training programs for iOS see the below link.

WFXR and WSLS Interviews: WFXR and WSLS recently had several interviews with New Vision’s staff including our Executive Director John Netzel and David Ward. Additionally an interview with Lila Dickerson, President of the New Vision Board was conducted. Interviews with Dr. Joe Blackstock and Savannah Lane (Miss Virginia) were also conducted in connection with our upcoming charity event. This special event is coming up Saturday, November 14, 2015. It’s entitled the Talent Challenge for Charity. See more at link below.

The video links to the WFXR and WSLS websites are listed below. This first video focuses on our Technology Center and includes an interview with New Vision’s A.T. Instructor David Ward.

Direct Link to the Website.

This second video highlights our Talent Challenge for Charity event. And has a interview with Miss Virginia 2015, Savannah Lane.

Direct Link to the Website.

Our third video is an interview, conducted with Dr. Joe Blackstock, about the Talent Challenge for Charity Event.

Direct Link to the Website.

We also had WSLS Channel 10 come by and conduct some interviews about our services and charity event. Watch that video below via the direct link to the WSLS site.

Link to Main WSLS Site

Large Print 2016 Calendars: You can request your 2016 large print calendars and if you’re still waiting on yours don’t worry you’ll be getting it shortly. If you still need to request one you can use the card on the back of the Calendar. Simply fill it out and then mail it in; to request the upcoming 2016 Calendar.

Braille Calendars: You can order 2016 Braille Calendars by emailing the following Non-Profit your address and request a calendar.

In Other News

Want to make $250 for a days work? Check out this info, from Virginia Tech, directed to the Blind and Low-Vision communities. The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is seeking individuals who:

  1. Are 18 years of age or older
  2. Are legally blind

-Total participation time: one day at VTTI in Blacksburg, VA (up to 8 hours)
-Consisting of questionnaires, a hearing test, a 2.5 hour experiment session; lunch will be provided, then another 2.5 hour test session
-This project pays $250 for full participation
-Your data will be kept strictly confidential

If you are interested in learning more, Please contact us at: 540.231.1277 or email,

Reference “the CROSSING Study” in your message. All inquiries welcome!

In other news NFB is accepting applications for College scholarships. Thirty applicants will be winnners and the scholarships range in value from $3000 to $12,000. See link below for more info.

Freedom Scientific’s JAWS 17 beta program is over. JAWS 17 is officially available now. What’s new? Should I upgrade? Check out the link below for a listing of new features you’ll find in JAWS 17.

Are you interested in downloading JAWS 17? Check out the link below, which includes more info about JAWS 17 and Windows 10 support.


Do you love games. Check out this cool audio demo of several games you can get on your iDevices. The audio production on this podcast really makes it worth a listen. See link below, to this Blind Bargains episode.

Here’s a recent Blind Bargains Episode, post Halloween. Topics that are discussed include the new Audio Chromecast, JAWS 17, and Eloquence and Vocalizer voices for NVDA. Enjoy! See the link below.

Apps for your Apple Devices

Check out the most reacent AppleVis Unlimited Newsletter for October 2015. See the link below.

iDevices Info Nugget

Here’s a little snippet from our workshop about iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches. If you’re using VoiceOver, the built in screen-reader, you can double-tap four fingers to turn on the gesture help feature. This is synonymsis with the JAWS help feature (INSERT + Number 1 Key) except for finger gestures.

Accessible Technology Tip for the Month

Before running a Windows 10 upgrade be sure to run Freedom Scientific’s special compatibility tool for JAWS users. You’ll also want to have a copy of the newest JAWS just in case. The compatibility tool is called FSPrepareWin10_enu.exe. You can download the file and find Windows 10 upgrade directions for JAWS users at the link below.

Did you know?

Macintosh computers out of the box have a Zoom application similar to ZoomText and a full screen-reader similar to JAWS. Additionally, you can purchase ZoomText for a Mac at roughly $200 less than the PC Version.

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, November 18, 2015 from 7:00-8:30 pm. This is at the usual location. As always, whenever possible the Lions clubs of the Roanoke Valley will provide rides for those who are visually impaired and have no other means of transportation. For more information contact Dianne Decker at 540/562-0455 or at

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 3435 Melrose Avenue Roanoke, VA 24017

Phone: 540–985–8900

David Ward – Adaptive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

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