In part 3 of his series on the Samsung Galaxy S8 as used by a blind person in conjunction with the Voice Assistant screen reader, Jonathan Mosen introduces you to Bixby.

Samsung's so proud of Bixby, it has its own dedicated button on the side of the phone. Jonathan believes that the combination of ready access to Bixby and Google Assistant on the one device makes the Galaxy S8 the leader in smartphones with voice assistance. But Bixby is not without its problems, especially where the accessibility of the set-up process is concerned.

 

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A seemingly strict, and many would argue unreasonable interpretation of a new Apple policy means that we may have seen the end of the much-loved Blindfold Games, unless Apple changes its position.

Marty Schultz has been developing his iOS-based Blindfold Games for four years, and in that time, he's published 80 titles. Even if you're usually not much of a gamer, there's likely something in the Blindfold Games catalogue that you'll like. Board games, trivia games, action games, even horse racing and bowling, Marty's done them all. And they're designed for play specifically by blind users, taking advantage of accessibility technologies like direct touch.

Apple is trying to make sure that the App Store isn't full of multiple apps by the same author that do the same thing. Most of us would applaud Apple for that. But somehow, the Blindfold Games have been caught up in the crossfire, with Apple already having refused to approve two Blindfold Games updates that improve compatibility with iOS 11.

Marty Schultz joins Jonathan Mosen to tell his unfortunate story, and says that unless we as a community can encourage Apple to change its mind on not approving future games and updates, there will be no new Blindfold games, or updates for the existing games. He warns that as iOS keeps changing, existing games may become less compatible over time.

He is encouraging those who want the Blindfold Games to continue to send email to the Apple Accessibility email address, accessibility@apple.com

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Jonathan Mosen continues his comprehensive series on the Samsung Galaxy S8. This week, learn about the thankfully angle-free gesture set in Samsung's screen reader, Voice Assistant. Jonathan discusses migrating your data from iPhone, giving voice commands to Google, setting up facial recognition, using the phone as a drive in Windows, purchasing apps and getting them refunded automatically, and much more.

 

As mentioned in the podcast, you can discuss this and other phone-related episodes by subscribing to The Blind Phones email list. Send a blank email to blindphones+subscribe@groups.io

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Apple's iPhone X is the most radical re-design of iPhone since it introduced the product 10 years ago. With no home button, and touch ID having been replaced with face ID, just what is it like for a blind person to use iPhone X in conjunction with VoiceOver, the screen reader that makes iOS useable by a blind person? Jonathan and Heidi Mosen unbox a new iPhone X, set it up, and put it through its paces. They demonstrate setting up Face ID and using it in a variety of contexts. They look at the new gesture set and button assignments made necessary because of the absence of the home button. They look at the animoji feature to determine how useable it is with VoiceOver, test the speakers, and even make a recording. By the end of this podcast, you'll have a thorough appreciation of just what it's like for a blind person to operate iPhone X, and will be in a better position to determine whether it's for you.

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After some news about New Zealand's new government and a difficult but important topic on Mushroom Fm's talk show this week, Jonathan Mosen begins his demonstration of the Samsung Galaxy S8.

 

He begins by discussing his choice to go with Samsung specifically due to the multitouch gesture set offered by the Samsung screen reader called Voice Assistant.

 

Heidi and Richard Mosen join Jonathan as they unbox the phone, power it up for the first time, get it talking, work through the very friendly on-board screen reader tutorial, and set it up to work on Wi-Fi and with the appropriate accounts.

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Fred Schroeder is a natural leader and superb orator. He has been First Vice President of the National Federation of the blind, Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner during the Clinton administration, a state agency director, a lecturer, O&M instructor, champion of Braille and much more. He currently serves as the President of the World Blind Union.

 

Jonathan Mosen sat down with Fred Schroeder when they both attended the national convention of Blind Citizens Australia. We learn about Fred's early life, the influence the National Federation of the Blind has had on him, his work with WBU, the state of Braille, and much more.

 

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 Mushroom FM is one of those Internet radio phenomena you've almost certainly heard about. Perhaps you've been meaning to check it out and never have, or maybe you haven't checked in for a while.

 

Staffed by a team of blind volunteers, and with a strong commitment to high-quality, personality-based Internet radio, Mushroom FM now plays music from the 1950s through to the 1980s, with a few specialty shows thrown in for good measure. With its classy JAM jingles and engaging people, it's a great listen.

 

Jonathan Mosen founded Mushroom FM in 2010. With Mushroom FM launching a new schedule this week, he thought that now would be a perfect time to introduce you to the story of Mushroom FM, and the great people you can hear.

 

Find Mushroom FM on the web at MushroomFM.com. You can also find it in all the good radio apps on smartphones and computers, as well as on personal assistants and smart speakers. You'll love what you hear.

 

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Jonathan Mosen begins by announcing the return of the accessible phones for the blind email group, where comparisons of phone types and operating systems are welcome. Subscribe to the Blind Phones list here.

 

In a call to action, Jonathan expands on his blog post, Cupertino, we have a design problem. If you've found since upgrading to iOS 11 that you're deleting emails by accident, it's not a bug, it's a new idea from Apple. Jonathan describes why we should care, and encourages you to contact accessibility@apple.com with a respectful request that this change be reversed.

 

Before having computers to occupy ourselves with, many blind people were fascinated by the telephone, and the phone network. The process of delving into the secrets of the phone network was known as phone phreaking. Some people took control of the network with a blue box, others used a whistle found in a breakfast cereal packet. Jim Fetgather, a blind phone phreaker with perfect pitch, did it all with an electronic organ, a couple of cassette players, and his perfect pitch. He talks with Jonathan about the great old days of phone phreaking.

 

If you'd like to learn more about phone phreaking, check out the book "Exploding the phone" by Phil Lapsley. It's available on a number of blindness-related services, but the version from Audible.com comes highly recommended, as it's narrated by former phone phreaker Evan Doorbell.

 

Evan Doorbell has also done an outstanding job of digitising some of his phone phreaking tapes. Some are narrated, others are raw. Find the tapes here.

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For some people who've never been given travel instruction by a blind person, the idea seems proposterous and downright dangerous. How can a blind orientation and mobility specialist keep their students safe and monitor their technique? And yet, there are many capable, successful, and totally safe blind people teaching other blind people how to get around.

 

Deja Powell is a blind cane travel instructor based in Utah. She talks with Jonathan Mosen about her journey to acceptance of her blindness and provides detailed answers to Jonathan's frank questions about how she does what she does.

 

Deja also discusses her PHD thesis, and last but by no means least, her love of fashion.

 

Jonathan concludes the podcast with a follow-up on our New Zealand general election series. The election took place on 23 September. What happened to the people he spoke with, and can we officially call The Blind Side Podcast a political jinx?

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Thanks to the wonders of time zones, New Zealanders get new Apple tech before the rest of the world. Today, a new iPhone 8 Plus and Apple Watch Series 3 landed at Mosen Towers. Jonathan and Bonnie Mosen demonstrate setting up the iPhone 8 plus with the help of the new phone migration feature built into iOS 11. They take a listen to the improved speakers, describe the feel of the new phone, and look at how responsive it is thanks to the new A11 Bionic chip.

 

Jonathan then sets up his new Apple Watch series 3. It took more than one attempt to do so, and when it was over, he found the speed impressive, but the Siri support disappointing in the context of VoiceOver, the screen reader built into all Apple products for the blind.

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