On the day we publish this episode, some of the Amazon Echo products, with their Alexa voice assistant, went on sale in New Zealand and Australia. While
Australia has had Google Home for some time. Amazon Echo is the first smart speaker to be available in the New Zealand market officially. The popular Echo
range has around 80% of the US smart speaker market. It's useful, and just plain fun to use. Jonathan Mosen speaks with Robin Christopherson, host of The
Dot to Dot podcast, a podcast devoted to all things Alexa. He describes the Echo range, what you can do with the products, and what the future might hold
for this growing market.

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In the first episode for 2018, Jonathan discusses The Daily Fibre, a new technology magazine show with news and analysis, heard every week day on Mushroom FM.

 

There's a summary of some stories about blindness issues making news around the world, including the banning of the word "blind" from legislation in Pakistan, and protection of the exclusive right for blind people to be massage therapists in South Korea.

 

Our main feature this week relates to Delta Airlines in the United States requiring all people travelling with animals in the cabin, including guide dog handlers, to submit documentation at least 48 hours before they fly. This will make it impossible for guide dog handlers to use Delta to travel for urgent matters such as a family bereavement or an urgent business trip. Penny Reader is President of Guide Dog Users Incorporated, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. She joins us to discuss the problems caused by untrained animals in airline cabins, and what might be done to reverse this policy for handlers of guide dogs.

 

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In our last episode of The Blind Side Podcast for 2017, what better time to think about being healthier and happier in the new year. Jonathan Mosen speaks with Mel Scott, founder of BlindAlive, which offers a range of work-outs and strategies to be healthier, all put together with a blind audience in mind. If you're tired of feeling fatigued and out of shape, if you're concerned about your quality of life, and if you get frustrated by inaccessible workout videos, this is a podcast you won't want to miss.

 

Visit BlindAlive's website.

 

If you're on your iPhone, choose this link to go to the BlindAlive app in the App Store.

 

A reminder that Mosen Consulting is closed from 22 December until 22 January. We wish you a restful, safe, and happy festive season.

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It's 2017, and in some respects, we've come a long way. But there are still too many occasions when blind people seek to go about our business like anyone else, only to find that airlines leave us feeling humiliated and undervalued. Emma Bennison, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia, tells Jonathan Mosen about the day her status as a frequent flier made not a blind bit of difference as she was treated shabbily.

 

As the weather warms up and summer is well and truly here, it's beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas in New Zealand. Jonathan brings you a couple of Christmas offerings, one you might like to consider for Mushroom FM's holiday countdown, vote right away if you've not yet done so, and the other is a children's story Jonathan wrote in 2014, Louis, the Blind Christmas Elf.

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We begin with a reminder that 'tis the season for voting. Vote for your top 10 Christmas songs of all time in Mushroom FM's holiday countdown. Click here to vote.

 

Jonathan and Bonnie Mosen speak with David Woodbridge from Australia. David is a tech enthusiast, instructor, and prolific podcaster. We take a fun walk down memory lane and discuss some early assistive technology many have never heard of.

 

We also look at the state of technology today. Known for his many podcasts on Apple products, David talks about why he's finding it hard to support some of Apple's recent decisions, and how there is other technology exciting him much more at the moment.

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Jonathan Mosen catches up with Jesper Holten, a long-time user of technology who now works for the Danish Association of the Blind. We learn about some of the challenges blind people in Denmark face. Some will be very familiar, while others may be different from those experienced in other countries.

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This week's episode of The Blind Side Podcast begins with details of our Black Friday sale at the Mosen Consulting Store. When checking out, just enter the coupon code thankful to receive 25% off everything in your cart. The more you buy, the more you save.

 

Jonathan Mosen then concludes his series on the Samsung Galaxy S8. This week, we look at Google voice Dictation, Bluetooth keyboard commands, the mediocre Braille support, and discuss a range of apps and how they work in the S8.

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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.

 

To discuss this podcast, subscribe to the BlindPhones discussion list. Send a blank email to:

blindphones+subscribe@groups.io

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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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