December 2017 Newsletter With Dave’s News and Technology Updates

Picture of snowman.

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

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Picture of David Ward

David Ward
Assistive Technology Instructor
j j j

October 2016 Tech Center Newsletter

October 2016 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

Large Print 2017 Calendars: You can start requesting your 2017 large print calendars! We encourage you to get your orders in early while supplies last. The easiest way is to complete the online form. Please, email us for a link to this form. We will also accept requests by using the post card on the back of the old calendar, but please note that the mailing address should be changed to New Vision, 4504 Starkey Rd Ste 120. Roanoke, VA 24018. This year we’re making a special effort to make sure our supply of calendars has the most effective reach to Virginia residents with visual impairments. Our priority will be individual distribution to visually impaired Virginia residents, one calendar per individual, and group distribution only to those agencies or groups who are contributing to support our mission. Agencies or groups who wish to receive calendars should contact us by phone (540-985-8900) to request an allotment. As a benchmark, a donation of $25 can provide large-print calendars to 10 individuals. Donations can be made online at

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

Additional Braille News: A local library in Roanoke had several encyclopedia volumes donated and their looking for a home for them. If you’d be interested please touch base with us here and we can give you the library’s contact info.

Events: Our largest fundraising event this year is Talent Challenge for Charity at the Hotel Roanoke, November 12. The event features live painting by world renowned Blind painter John Bramblitt as well as fun entertainment by local “Stars”. Groups and individuals can purchase tickets online at

Volunteer Spotlight

In this new feature we’ll endeavor to give you a little behind the scenes view into the hard work our volunteers put forth for our various programs. In the photo below you’ll see Ken Wright, a GE retiree. He and Les Brown, also a GE retiree, help with our Radio repairs.

The GE retirement program is assisting Virginia Voice, in Richmond, with repairing some of their radios and told them about New Vision, in Roanoke. Les Brown reached out to us. We are so thankful for their time and willingness to help us. And we thank our other volutneers for their industrious efforts as well. Picture of Volunteer Ken Wright working on a radio


Buddy Brannan recently wrote up on his blog about his experience with an accessible Samsung TV. That’s right, a TV where the menu’s are read out too you audibly. See his blog entry about it below.

If you’d like to hear his little audio walk-through see the link below.

If your interested in finding out more about iOS 10 and the new iPhones you might check out the link below. It takes you to the show notes for Blind Bargains Episode 73. Joe Steinkamp includes a lot of helpful links to various sources. See link below.


In this Mac Accessibility Round Table the knights discuss iOS 10, Apple TV updates, and Watch OS. See the link below.

Check out Blind Bargains Episode 74. Humanware’s Victor Reader updates are discussed, NVDA’s new tutorial on Microsoft Word, and a controversial subject about Screen Reader detection. This and much more at the link below.

Check out this AppleVis podcast about the new featues in iOS 10 for iPhones and iPads. See link below.

In this Blind Bargains Episode learn more about the Orbit Braille display, the new NVDA release, JAWS 18, and iOS 10 features. This and much more from J.J. and Joe at the link below.

iOS Update for iPhones

The newest version of iOS is out. That’s the software that runs on iPhones and iPads. This new version is version 10. It can be installed on devices as old as the iPhone 5 and 5c. Two new features include the ability to turn off the automatic speakerphone feature that sometimes comes on while making a call. That always drove me crazy by the way. Secondly, and wait for it.. wait for it.. that’s right we now get a new pronunciation dictionary! That’s right! You can now tell it how to properly pronounce your friends names or other commonly misprounced terms. There’s much more, so be sure to see the link below for a in-depth listing of iOS 10 features and bugs.

Here’s a series of podcasts from Cool Blind Tech that speaks more on specific points connected with iOS 10. This update affects iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, and Apple TV devices. See the show titles below that double as links to the episodes.

iOS 10: A Swipe Through the Major New Features

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Mail Has Amazing New Features In iOS 10

Don’t Touch That Remote! I’m Watching Apple TV

This Browser Has Teeth: Exploring Safari On iOS 10

iOS 10 What’s new: Emergency Bypass

Raise To Wake In iOS 10: It’s Alive

New Voices In iOS10: The Voices In My Head Saturday, September 17, 2016 8:40 AM

iOS 10 What’s new: Rock Your Clock

Don’t Take The Long Way Home: Disable Press Home To Unlock On iOS 10

iOS 10 What’s new: It’s Time To Move It!

iOS 10 what’s new: Big Changes In The Messages App

iOS 10 What’s new: Braille Screen Input Catching Up Thursday

The above was an amazing amount of content put out by the team over at Cool Blind Tech. But there’s more so feel free to check out there website below or the RSS Feed.

iPhone & iPad Apps

Check out the AppleVis’ Unlimited Newsletter for September 2016. See the link below for the full listing of Apps and products being discussed this month.

Student Spotlight

In this new feature we’ll seek to occasionaly mention some local experiences from our Tech Center.

Recently, a former student was able to complete an adoption of a child. And on the other end of the spectrum another former student was able to get some accessible training materials so she could enter the state run training classes for those interested in adopting a child or serving as foster parents. We’re thrilled to see the success and continued achievements of our students.

Did you know?

Did you know? That Podcasts are syndicated on-demand audio recordings that can be automatically downloaded. Podcasts are an extension of RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds. In short say you love a 15 minute daily news summary from NPR or you love to listen to the Blind Bargains Podcast every week. These are all available as Podcasts via the Google Play and Apple iTunes Stores. Meaning if you subscribe to the free Podcast feed your device will automatically download the newest episode so you can listen at your conveince and always have the newest content at your finger tips. Podcasts are even available on the Victor Reader and Amazon Echo. If you’d like to know more feel free to contact us.

Windows 10 Bugs

We’re not sure if this is a bug. But it most certainly seems to affect users of ZoomText on Windows 10. Especially, if you depend on the reader functionality. I’ve heard several students say that ZoomText isn’t giving them the level of audio feedback they were accustom too. Now I suspect the new ZoomText Fusion doesn’t have this problem but that’s just a guess. However, a free solution is to combine your use of ZoomText with one of the following screen readers: NVDA, Windows-Eyes (for Office), or Narrator. We’ve been trying NVDA with ZoomText with two students in the Tech Center with good results. It seems to result in more detailed descriptions of content, espically if the user is using the mouse a lot.

Tech Center Workshops

We’re entertaining ideas about having more workshops now that we’re in our new space. What technology topics, with an accessibility twist, might interest you?

Let us know what you think either at the Tech Center when you attend classes or via the link below. Or feel free to respond to this email.

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 19th of October at 7:00 PM. For more information contact Dianne Decker 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 4504 Starkey Rd. Suite 120, Roanoke, VA 24018 (SouthPark Office Building)

Phone: 540.985.8900

David Ward – Assistive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center

j j j

Tech Center Newsletter for September 2015

September 2015 Technology Newsletter

New Vision News and Updates

The Tech Center will be having a Workshop at the end of September, Wednesday the 30th. It will focus on Apple Mobile Devices an there use by the Blind and Low-Vision communities. This workshop will isolate some of the basics of their use. These Apple Mobile devices include iPhones, iPads, and the iPod Touch. See the Workshops heading below for more information.

Additionally, in the Tech Center this month students have been playing with a unique device called the Amazon Echo. This is a voice command and home automation tool from Amazon. If you’d like to learn more see the link below.

As a Reminder: We have a special event coming up Saturday, November 14, 2015. It’s entitled the Talent Challenge for Charity. It will be held at The Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center. This event will be benefiting New Vision and the Margaret R. Baker Charitable Foundation, Inc. & Miss Virginia Pageants. Tickets will be $90 a person and will include dinner. For those desiring to reserve a table for ten there’s a $50 savings; a table of ten being $850. You can specify your tickets to benefit the Talent Challenge Star of your choice. See more on website link below.

Large Print 2016 Calendars: You can start requesting your 2016 large print calendars. On the back of the Calendar is a card you can cut out, fill out, and then mail in; to request the upcoming years Calendar.

In Other News

Check out this article talking about the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Special Olympics.

With the 25th Anniversary in mind, check out, this article by Ms. Lucas entitled, “7 Myths About the Americans With Disabilities Act”.

Read about a cancelled protest NFB was planning on conducting just a few days ago. See link below.

Technology News

Windows 10 is still a big topic for folks running ZoomText, JAWS, and other Accessibility technology. Check out AiSquares two part video series about upgrading to Windows 10. AiSquared now owns the screen reader software known as Window-Eyes which is used in these demonstartions but a lot of the information would apply to whatever A.T. solution you are using.

Check out this AFB Access World article about Microsoft Office 2016 for the Mac. See link below.

ZoomText 10.1 for Windows 10 is available in a “pre-release” form. Read more about it at the link below.

Here’s a neat Access World article about Apple Music streaming music service. I’ve heard positive things from Students who find it very accessible and SIRI friendly. See the link below for more.

Latest Podcasts

Check out this Blind Bargains Podcast, Episode 25. Joe, Byron Lee and Rick Reed all talk abut their experiences with Windows 10 and various A.T. solutions.

Check out the FSCast episode talking about JAWS 17 and what new features it will have. Plus an incentive to buy a new Service Maintenance Agreement. Check out the link below.

Check out Blind Bargains Qast 29, entitled “Stars, Moons And Legal Correspondants”. Listen as J.J. talks with Tim Elder a legal expert about the A.D.A. and its finer points. Joe also shares a neat iOS tip about scrolling to the top of the screen with two gestures on your iPhone. Check out the link below.

The WebAim Survey results are in; and controversy ensues. Find out why in this Blind Bargains Podcast, episode 30. Also listen to Joe demo a adventure game on iOS. See the link below.

Apps for your Apple Devices

Check out the AppleVis Unlimited report for the month of August. This documents a number of accessible Apps on iPhone, iPad, and the iPod Touch. Read the report at the link below.

Accessible Technology Tip for the Month

On Windows 10 you can press and hold the Windows Key and tap the Enter key once to turn on Narrator. This will even work during Windows setup.

Did you know?

Did you know that on Twitter the Blind community typically uses the hashtag a11y to mark posts connected with topics involving Blindness, Low-Vision, and Accessibility.

Books & Magazine

As an FYI the National Library Services’ BARD site has been experiencing problems. So don’t feel like your all alone, we’ve all been dealing with it. Hopefully the problems are connected to the new enhanced features we were promised back during the NFB and ACB conventions. Here’s a little background i found on the problem, that brought down the site.


iPhone & iPad Basics

By popular vote the Workshop will be conducted Wednesday September 30th. The program will begin at 1:30pm and last through 3:30pm. A email detailing this more will be set out along with registration information.

More about this Workshop: What are some of the topics that will be discussed during this workshop? Topics will include the following.

1) Basic Gestures for those using the built in screen reader, called VoiceOver.
2) Basic Gestures for those needing a screen magnifier solution, up to 16x Magnification.
3) Tactile Screenshots for iPad and iOS 8 will be available.
4) Basics of using a On-Screen Keyboard or Telephone Dial Pad.
5) A discussion of some Basic Built in Applications or Apps.

We’ll also have a short Q&A and a hands-on section with some Apple devices. Additionally, almost all the subject material will apply to those who own or are interested in purchasing an iPhone, iPad, or an iPod Touch manufactured in the past 3 years.

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

Sherrie Oliver – Volunteer Coordinator

David Ward – Adaptive Technology Instructor for the Tech Center j j j