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Blind Abilities: The most comprehensive resource for Assistive Technology, Accessible Devices, Blind and Low Vision Technology, iPhone demonstrations, success Stories, Job Insights, College and Career Pathways and all with a Blindness Perspective.

Blind Abilities Team


    • Dec 1, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekdays NEW EPISODES
    • 26m AVG DURATION
    • 807 EPISODES


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    Latest episodes from Blind Abilities

    iPhone101 - Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS - Part 6: Adding a Brand New Email Account To Your iDevice

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 10:14

    Blind Abilities presents a new iPhone101 series entitled: "Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS - Adding, Retrieving and  Deleting, Oh My!” This new series provides various in depth demonstrations aimed at giving you the tools to effectively manage your email in an organized and efficient manner. Pete Lane walks us through each step of these processes with snappy and thorough presentations.  Part 6 Adding a brand new Gmail account to the iPhone, going into the Google.com web site, choosing an email address, and adding it to the phone. Enjoy this peppy and informative presentation in which Blind Abilities offers another educational gem in its iPhone 101 library of demonstrations.   Step-by-Step Process: Note: This process is very similar to the process presented in our previous episode for adding an existing Gmail account, except that you must choose the new email address you wish to use. If you are creating a new Gmail account, we suggest that you choose several potential new email addresses in case your favorites are already taken and therefore rejected by Google. This scenario is covered below in step 5. Ask Siri to open the “Settings” app, or perform a single-finger double-tap on the App icon. Flick down to “Mail” and perform a single-finger double-tap, then flick down and single-finger double-tap to select “Accounts. Flick down and perform a single-finger double-tap on “Add Account”. Select the email account service you wish to add by performing a Single-finger double-tap on that item in the list: iCloud, Exchange, Google / Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com / Hotmail, or “Other”. If you choose to add a Gmail account, single-finger double-tap on Google. In this case iOS will immediately prompt you to go to Google.com to sign in and register the email account. Single-finger double-tap on “Continue” to proceed to the web site. Since you are creating a brand new Gmail account, swipe right, past the sign-in elements, skip the “next” button and single-finger double-tap on “create account button". Follow the prompts: type in your first and last name, birth date and gender, and then choose and type in the email address and login information requested. Since this is a new account, the address and password will be one you choose yourself, so think about this ahead of time. Also, you will be given a couple of email addresses to select if you so choose, but if you prefer using one of your own,  keep in mind that  many common addresses may no longer be available. Because someone else has already selected them.  In this case, Google will reject them so be ready to try another one. This may happen several times. You will now be prompted to provide your cellular phone number so Google can contact you when needed. Once you agree and type in your phone number, you will immediately be sent a six-digit security code via text message. Be ready for this as you are given a short, 30 second time frame to retrieve and enter it. Note: Dictation does not behave well in these text fields, so be prepared to type-in the information using your onscreen or bluetooth keyboard. After providing your phone number and entering the security code, you will be presented a “Save” button, single-finger double-tap. You will then move back to the previous screen showing your email accounts, including the newly added account. You can also return to your Mail App to verify that the new account is listed there as well. Congratulations, you have finished creating a new email address! Be sure to check out all the iPhone101/QuickByte demos on Blind Abilities. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-6093 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 - Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS: Parts 4 and 5 - Deleting an Entire email Account, and Adding and Existing email Account to your iDevice

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2021 14:47

    Blind Abilities presents a new iPhone101 Series entitled: "Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS - Adding, Retrieving and  Deleting, Oh My!”  This new series provides a series of in depth demonstrations aimed at giving you the tools to effectively manage your email in an organized and efficient manner. Pete Lane walks us through each step of these processes with snappy and thorough presentations.  Parts 4 and 5 introduction to the process of deleting an email account from an iOS device. Specifically, Part 4: Using his Gmail accounts as an example, going into the Settings App and deleting it. Part 5 Demonstrates how to add an existing email account to a device, using the previously deleted Gmail account as the example, adding it back to the iPhone and migrating over to the Google.com web site as is required when adding or creating a Gmail account.  Step by Step processes: Part 4 - Deleting an Email account from Your iDevice   . Open your Settings App with a single-finger double-tap, or ask Siri to "open Settings". Then flick right until you arrive at “Mail”, single-finger double-tap. Flick right until you arrive at Accounts, then flick right to the particular account you wish to delete from the list provided (Gmail, Outlook, iCloud…), single-finger double-tap to select. Flick right to “Delete Account”, single-finger double-tap. Note: iOS will alert you that deleting the account will also remove other items from your device, such as, mail, notes or Calendars. Single-finger double-tap to confirm. This completes the deletion of the account from your device. You can verify it by performing a single-finger double-tap on the “Back” button and flick through the remaining list of accounts shown on the previous screen. Note: you can also check by using your App Switcher to toggle over to your Mail app and scroll through the list of Mailboxes listed there. Activate your App Switcher by rotating two fingers, like twisting a bottle-cap, clockwise or counter-clockwise until you hear Voiceover say “Mail”, then perform a single-finger double-tap to open Mail”. Flick to the Mailboxes to verify if the account has been removed.  Part 5: Adding an existing Email Account onto your iDevice: Ask Siri to open the “Settings” app, or perform a single-finger double-tap on the App icon. Flick down to “Mail” and perform a single-finger double-tap, then select “Accounts at the top of the new screen. Flick right to “Add Account”, then perform a single-finger double-tap. Select the email account service you wish to add by performing a Single-finger double-tap on that item in the list: iCloud, Exchange, Google / Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook.com / Hotmail, or “Other”. Note: If you choose to add a Gmail account, you should select Google. In this case iOS will refer you to Google.com to sign in and register the email account. Be ready with your email address and password, your name and gender, as Google will require this information during the process. Type in the email address and login information requested. Note: Dictation does not behave well with these text fields so be prepared to use the onscreen or a blue tooth keyboard. You will now be prompted to provide your cellular phone number so Google can contact you when needed. Once you do so, you will be sent a six-digit security code via text message. Be ready for this as you are given a 30 second time frame to retrieve and enter it quickly in the space provided. After providing your phone number and entering the security code, you will be presented a “Save” button, single-finger double-tap to do so. You will then move back to the previous screen showing your email accounts, including the newly added account. You can also return to your Mail App to verify that the new account is listed there as well. You are done! Congratulations! Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-6093 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 - Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS: Part 3, The Mail Preview Feature - Taking a Peek with VoiceOver

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 8:28

    Blind Abilities presents a new iPhone101 Series entitled: "Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS - Adding, Retrieving and  Deleting, Oh My!”  This new series provides five individual demonstrations aimed at giving you the tools to effectively manage your email in an organized and efficient manner. Pete Lane walks us through each step of these processes in a snappy and thorough presentation.  Part 3: The Mail Preview feature in iOS. The Mail Preview allows us to preview - read - a portion of an email while it is unopened in your Inbox. The portion of the email that can be previewed can range from none and up to five lines and is set by you in your Settings App. This can save you time in processing your emails and make you more efficient in using your Mail App. In fact, you may even be able to scroll through the majority of your Inbox without even having to open a single email.  In this short, iPhone 101 demonstration Pete Lane shows us not only where the Mail Preview settings reside on your iDevice, but how to adjust those settings for your optimal benefit.  The Process: Ask Siri to open Settings or Single finger double tap on the Settings icon. Single finger swipe right down to Mail and Single finger double tap. Swipe right to “Preview”, Single finger double tap. Select the Preview selection you want to us.  Your Mail app will now reflect this preview in all messages in all accounts. Merely swipe to a message and Voiceover will automatically read the preview lines to you.  As an alternative to waiting for Voiceover to read the preview lines, you can also perform a 3-finger single-tap anywhere on your screen once focused on the message in the mailbox, and Voiceover will read the preview immediately. This can be an effective tool for controlling the process of managing your email quickly and efficiently. Stay tuned for Parts 4, 5 and 6 of our series, "Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS - Adding, Retrieving and  Deleting, Oh My!” as we demonstrate how to delete an entire email account, add that account back on to your iDevice and finally, how to add a brand new email account to your device. You can find Parts 1 and 2 of this iPhone101 Series and many more iPhone101 and QuickBytes here. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-6093 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 - Managing Mail Messages and Accounts in iOS: Parts 1 and 2 – Deleting Single and Bulk emails and Retrieving the Deleted

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 14:24

    This new iPhone101 series provides five individual demonstrations aimed at giving you the tools to effectively manage your email in an organized and efficient manner. Pete Lane walks us through each step of these processes in a snappy and thorough presentation.  Parts 1 and 2  An Introduction to various ways to delete individual emails, one at a time or in bulk quantities and then the process of retrieving deleted emails.             Process 1 - How to delete individual emails from your Mail App: Method 1: Open the Mail app by single finger double tapping on the Mail icon or ask Siri to, “Open Mail”. Single finger swipe left to right down to the email you want to delete. Flick up or down to the action item, “Delete”. Single finger double tap. Method 2: If you are reading an email and want to delete it, flick up or down to, “Trash”. Single finger double tap. You will then be placed in the next email message, opened and ready to read. Note: When deleting from an opened email, the app will open the next email automatically. You may or not want desire this action of auto-opening. You can also go back and delete from the email list as in the previous method above. How to delete multiple emails quickly: Open your Mail App with a single-finger double-tap, then flick right and select the account where you wish to delete emails, i.e. Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, etc. - single-finger double-tap. Then flick to the right and perform a single-finger double-tap on the Edit button. This will activate  a Select button. Single-finger double-tap on “Select All”, and proceed to step 3 below. If you do not wish to delete all of your mail messages, flick right and select  each email you wish to delete with a single-finger double-tap. Voiceover will say “selected” for each item you select..  At the bottom of the screen, single-finger double-tap on “Trash” or “Archive” to delete the selected messages. Retrieving Deleted email messages: After opening your Mail app with a single-finger double-tap, flick right until you reach your “Trash folder. This is where your deleted messages have been placed.  Flick right into the list of messages and select those which you wish to retrieve by performing a single-finger double-tap. When all have been selected, perform a 4-finger single-tap towards the bottom of your screen. Flick left with one finger until you reach “Move”, then single-finger double-tap. You will then be placed on the “back” button at the top of your screen. Flick right until you reach “Inbox”. Single-finger double-tap and the messages you have selected will be moved there.  You can verify this by flicking right into your list of messages in the “Inbox” to find they are no longer there.  Stay tuned for more installments in this new iPhone101 series, “Managing email Messages and Accounts”, when we explore how to delete entire accounts from your device,  and add both existing and new email accounts to your iDevice. We hope this will give you a more efficient approach towards managing and working in your Mail app in the future. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Updated! iPhone101 QuickByte: How to Turn on Emergency Bypass on iPhone for Calls and Texts. Don't Miss That Call!

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 3:58

    Welcome to another iPhone101 QuickByte from Blind Abilities. In this QuickByte, Jeff Thompson shows how to turn on Emergency Bypass for those specific  contacts for specific moments when you need that call or text. Occasionally you might like to put your phone on silent or put it in do not disturb mode for those times you may be at the theatre or cinema, or you could be in an important meeting. But at the same time there may be occasions you need to be on standby to receive an important call from a child, parent etc. Setting up Emergency  Bypass for a specific contact: Single finger double tap on the Phone icon On the bottom tab bar, single finger tap on Contacts. Select the contact you want to allow to bypass. Swipe to the left to “Edit”. Single finger double tap on edit. Single finger swipe left to right down to Ringtone. Single finger double tap. Single finger swipe left to right down to Emergency Bypass. Toggle on or off by single finger double tapping. Tap on Done in the Upper right hand corner to save changes. Again, tap on Done in the Upper right hand corner to save changes. Emergency Bypass allows sounds and vibrations from this person even when the ring switch is set to silent, or when Do Not Disturb is on. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 QuickByte: Adding Locations to the Weather App. How's Your Weather? How about Montreal, Jacksonville and Colorado Springs?

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 5:19

    In this iPhone101 QuickByte, Jeff Thompson takes us through the native Weather App and demonstrates how to add locations such as cities or airports to the location list. How to arrange the locations in a preferred order and how to change from Fahrenheit to Celsius or Celsius to Fahrenheit. Join in and learn how to add family, friends and points of interests to your location list in the native Weather App. Adding and Arranging locations in the native Weather App Open the Weather App, Hey Siri,, “Open Weather App”. Or single finger double tap on the Weather icon. Note: By default the opening screen will be of the location that holds the top position on the Location List. And, if the Weather App remains in your App Switcher, you will return to the last screen you were previously on. This demo is conducted as if the Weather App was not in the App Switcher, thus, opening to the default landing screen. 4 finger tap to go to the very bottom to “Location List”, single finger double tap. To add a new city, single finger swipe left to right twice to, “Search for a city or airport” search field, single finger double tap. Enter your city or airport by typing or dictation. You can use the 2 finger double tap to activate dictation or use the “dictate” button in the bottom right hand side of the keyboard. A list will populate just below and with a couple single finger swipes left to right, single finger double tap on the location you want. A new screen opens with your choice and can be added to your saved list of locations by single finger double tapping on, “Add”, in the upper right hand of the screen. You can choose, “Cancel”, and return to the search list and continue searching. To remove a location from your list: Open the Weather App, Hey Siri,, “Open Weather App”. Or single finger double tap on the Weather icon. 4 finger tap to go to the very bottom to “Location List”, single finger double tap. Swipe down through your list and flick up to the delete choice  and single finger double tap. Note: ensure that your Rotor setting is set to, “Actions” for these choices to appear. Moving Locations in the list While on the Location List page, go to the location you want to move and flick up until you have the desired, Move Up or Move Down, single finger double tap. OR Drag and drop by going to the location you want to move and then single finger swipe left to right to, “Reorder Button, Draggable”. Do a single finger double tap and hold, then slide your finger up or down, listening and let go when the desired location is achieved. Changing from Fahrenheit to Celsius or Celsius to Fahrenheit. Open the Weather App, Hey Siri,, “Open Weather App”. Or single finger double tap on the Weather icon. 4 finger tap near the top of the screen  and single finger swipe left to right to the, “More”, button, single finger double tap. Single finger swipe left to right down to Fahrenheit or Celsius and Choose by Single Finger Double Tapping on either one.   Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 QuickByte: Banners, Badges and Sounds, Oh My! Notification Settings for Repeating Messages.

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 4:36

    In this iPhone101 Quickbyte, Jeff Thompson takes us through the Message Notification Repeat settings and Banners, Sounds, Badges and Announcements. The main serving in this QuickByte is the settings for repeat alerts. However, along the way, Jeff shows us what he has the settings set as and gives us a little insight on the reason behind his choices. Go to Settings on your home screen, single finger double tap. Single finger swipe left to right down to Messages, single finger double tap. Single finger swipe down to Notifications, single finger double tap.. Swipe left to right down to customize Messages, single finger double tap. Choose between, “Repeat Alerts Never” or “”Repeat Alerts”. If Repeat Alerts is selected, Choose between Never, 1, 2, 3, 5 and 10 times to repeat. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Iphone101 QuickByte: A Refreshing Look at The App Store Setting and 2 Refreshing Gestures

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 7:45

    In this iPhone101 Quickbyte, Jeff Thompson dives into the App Store Refresh and then tours the App Store Settings. While Apple does not push the updates to the App Store as much as some of us would like, doing a refresh gesture can maximize the app updates that are available. Two Refresh Gesture Techniques First, get the screens attention by touching a random area on the screen or page you want to refresh, then use one of the following gestures: The single finger double tap and hold then slide down and let go. The 3 finger pull down. This is my fav. One area in particular that these gestures work nicely is in the App Store. Note: If you have App Updates set to automatic, this will not be necessary. To change or to set up auto app updating, see below. When checking for app updates, Single finger double tap on the App Store icon. On the Today screen, single finger swipe left to right one time to My Account. Note: if you do not land on the Today screen when opening the App Store, Single finger double tap on the Today tab in the tab bar at the bottom left corner  of the screen. Then single finger swipe left to right one time to My account. Single finger double tap on My Account Single finger Swipe left to right down to, “Available Updates” or “Updated Recently”. Refresh the screen by doing either the single finger double tap and hold then slide down and release, or, do the 3 finger swipe down from the top and release. Note: the number of available updates may appear or increase significantly if updates are available. You can use these gestures to refresh web sites in Safari or other apps. Whilst the Safari Address/Tab bar has now been adapted with a refresh button, giving us another method of conducting a refresh. To change your app update settings from or to Automatic do the following: Go to settings and single finger double tap. Single finger swipe left to right down to App Store and single finger double tap. Single finger swipe left to right down past the Automatic Downloads heading. Single finger double tap on Apps to on or off. Single finger swipe left to right once  more down to App Updates. Single finger double tap to turn App Updates on or off. Single finger swipe left to right past Cellular Data heading. Single finger double tap on Automatic Downloads on or off. If choosing to turn on cellular Data for Automatic Downloads, single finger swipe left to right one more time down to “App Downloads, Ask if over 200 mb” and single finger double tap to turn on or off. Single finger swipe left to right down to, “Video Auto-Play”, single finger double tap to turn on or off. Single finger swipe down to, “In-App Ratings and Revues”. Single finger double tap to turn on or off. Swipe down to, “Off-load Unused Apps”, single finger double tap to turn on or off. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Accessible Pharmacy: A Comprehensive Medication Management Health Care Company Specializing in Services for the Visually Impaired Community. Get the App!

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 32:25

    Our guest today is Alex Cohen co-founder of Accessible Pharmacy, a company which provides a multitude of services, but first and foremost it is a comprehensive medication management healthcare company specializing in services for the visually impaired community. Recognizing that this community is not homogenous, and that every individual has individual needs including within its health care services, they work on a case by case basis to match their various services to the individual's needs. Once accessible Pharmacy secures the patient's insurance information, they contact all of the servicing physicians to fully understand what those doctors are prescribing and what the patient's needs truly are. Accessible Pharmacy then becomes a member of the healthcare team, and coordinates all of their medication needs with the various physicians, as well as informing the individual patient of the various packaging options available for their medication's. These include braille, large print, and talking prescription labels provided by Script Talk all of which can be delivered to the patient's front door.  Note: check out a previous episode of the Blind Abilities podcast for more detail regarding Script Talk . Alex Cohen was not born blind, but experienced severe nearsightedness in his youth, eventually being diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the wills hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Intent upon completing a degree in hotel management, Alex assumed the position of hotel manager in a local Philadelphia hotel. Recognizing that he was unable to continue in that career, he went back to school to become a professor who taught hotel management, a "hospitality professor". While working on his PhD thesis in marketing, he studied the marketing of various products within the disability community, specifically, how to make a more inclusive marketplace for people with disabilities. as he dug deeper, he realized that many websites of top companies across the nation were inaccessible. Moreover, he delved into the personal impact on the people, i.e. blind and visually impaired technology users as well as their families. He eventually identified substitutional empathy. Which causes friends and family members to feel the inconvenience and hardship of their disabled friends as they experience an accessible technological products. He and his partner and cofounder, Andy Burstein, embarked upon reaching out to see Pacific pharmacies to ask what services, if any they provided to blind and visually impaired customers. The results prompted the formation of accessible Pharmacy to fill the gap that clearly exists in that segment of the marketplace. They launched the company in May 2020, deep in the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their service of providing home delivery of prescription medication was particularly appealing to their consumer market during that time. The convenience of pre-sorting pills etc. was also appealing to blind and visually impaired customers who may have spent considerable time doing so on their own otherwise. They have now developed an app, Accessible Pharmacy on the App Store, that contains an OCR camera and QR code reader which is all voice activated. Customers can use that to read all of their prescription labels, as well as two access accessible pharmacy services online. Additionally, you can access their website at accessiblepharmacy.com or via their various social media platforms. They are also partnered with Seeing AIas a Specialized Help resource on that app. Dealing frequently with senior aged customers, Alex encourages users to contact the company by phone where they will not be subjected to multiple layers of menus and phone navigation hoops through which they must Jump. Ultimately he says they prefer to speak with their customers to get the full picture of their medical and health care needs. * Call  215799 9900. Currently registered and 31 states, Accessible Pharmacy continues to work to grow their company across the nation. they are also launching their new product line for pre-measured medication‘s for children, in order to aid buying and visually impaired parents, as well as their pet care medication line. They will also be providing educational seminars, and a conference on Diabetes and breast cancer awareness in which one may enroll via their website.  Inclosing, Alex shares his advice with young blind and visually impaired individuals: don't deny yourself anything“. Do not let opportunities pass you by because of your blindness. Additionally, most people are kind and genuinely wish to help. Don't turn down an offer of assistance that might save you valuable time with which you can do more pleasurable and productive things elsewhere, such as spend time with your family, your kids, or doing something that is fun! Good advice Alex! Be sure to listen to this informative and enjoyable interview as Simon Bonenfant  chats with Alex Cohen of Accessible Pharmacy a strong provider of a valuable service to the BVI community. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Just human: The Quest for Disability Wisdom, Respect and Inclusion, The New Book by Dr. Arielle Silverman, Research Specialist at AFB

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 22:06

    News Flash: The book is now up on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats! Buy it here. Prices are: $14.95 for the paperback and $4.99 for the E-book. Book Cover: Just Human: The Quest for Disability Wisdom, Respect and Inclusion by Arielle Silverman. Dr. Arielle Silverman joins Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities Studio and introduces her new book, Just Human: The Quest for Disability Wisdom, Respect and Inclusion, is a combination of a memoir divided into chronological segments with lessons learned and for others to take from and learn themselves. Arielle brings us front and center as well as taking a look into the future through the glass of research and experience.  Dr. Arielle Silverman is a Research Specialist at American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and has conducted research studies for the last 10 years. Her passion has remained and we are all looking forward to her work with AFB.  Her blog, Disability Wisdom has been publishing articles for the last 3-4 years and with her focus on her new book and new job, we can still expect her blog to be producing articles in the near future. To stay on top of what Arielle is doing and to find out more about her book, join Arielle's Facebook group and not miss a thing. With all of Arielle's life and work experience, her advice to Transition Students is good as gold and Her book, just human: The Quest for Disability Wisdom, Respect and Inclusion, Is Also a Great Read for Transition Age Students, parents, teachers and especially those who are wanting to become a teacher. You can join the Just Human Quest Facebook Group, Follow her Disability Wisdom blog, and contact Arielle at Arielle@DisabilityWisdon.com . Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Screen Recordings and Screen Shots – Setting Up, Creating, Taking and Sharing with Siri and Voiceover Accessibility

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 11:29

    Blind Abilities adds to the iPhone101 Series with an in depth review of how to create a screen recording in iOS using Voiceover. Pete Lane shows us how to retrieve the screen recording element from  the Settings app  and place it in the desired location in your control center, but that's not all he covers in this  jam-packed episode!  Additionally: Shows us how to activate our microphone for use with the screen recording. Demonstrates how to ask Siri to take a Screen Shot (a photo of our iOS screen(; share both The screenshot and the screen recording directly with a friend hands-free. How to retrieve both from the Photos App. takes a quick jaunt through the Blind Abilities App as he uses it to help demonstrate the screen recording process Join Pete for this thorough demonstration of all of these features in this 12 minute podcast that is guaranteed to educate and entertain!  Now let's lay out each procedure in a step-by-step format so it's clear for everyone to follow: Securing and placing the screen recording element in the control center: We first need to have the screen recording element available in our control center. Here's how we do it! Flick to your settings app and perform a single finger double tap to open it. Flick about halfway down the screen until you reach control center. Perform a single finger double tap to open it. Flick down until you reach the Heading called: “Included Items.” Flick to the right until you reach the item labeled Screen Recording. A single finger double tap will automatically place this item in your control center, but you can first pinpoint the precise location where you want this feature to reside when it is there. To do this, perform a single finger double tap and hold on the button following the screen recording element, labelled: “Reorder Screen Recording, draggable button.” Then slide your finger up or down the screen until you hear voiceover say the location where you wish to place this element. Release your finger and this item will be placed in that slot in this list, as well as in a similar location in the Control Center.  . now we need to go to our control center. Place your finger at the very top of your screen. You should hear voiceover speak one of the elements in the status bar, I. E. Time, Wi-Fi, cellular Network, battery percentage, etc. Once there, slide your finger down the screen beginning in the upper right hand corner until you hear the second audible sound. Lift your finger and your control center will open. Alternatively,      you can swipe up with three fingers from the bottom of your screen until you hear the second audible click to accomplish this. Flick through the various items in the control center until you reach the screen recording element. Remember, it will be in the same place here as it was on the list in the Settings App. Note: Be prepared to decide on what you will want to record using the Screen Recording feature, as our next step will be to start the recording. Also, you may wish to turn on Do Not Disturb in order to avoid unwanted sounds while in screen recording mode. You can ask Siri to do this, and see our previous iPhone 101 episode on Do Not Disturb for more information. Making a Screen Recording: Now that we have our Screen Recording element in the Control Center, we are now able to begin recording. To do this: 1Perform a single-finger double-tap on the Screen Recording element. Voiceover will count down 3-2-1, at which point the recording will begin. To stop recording, merely return to the Control Center and do a single-finger double-tap to stop. How to activate your microphone with Screen Recording: Go to the Screen Recording element in the Control Center. Flick up with one finger and you will hear two options. Perform a single-finger double-tap on “Open Controls”. Single finger double-tap to select this. You will be presented a list of options.  Flick right until you reach “microphone”. This will  be in the off or on position. If off, single-finger double-tap to toggle it on. Now all sounds will be recorded, including your voice and other sounds within reach of the microphone. You can do a single-finger double-tap to begin recording, or exit the Control Center by sliding one finger up from the bottom of your screen until you hear the second audible click. If your iPhone has a Home button, press it  once to exit. How to ask Siri to take and Share a Screen Shot and Screen Recording: While a Screen recording is a recording of  all audio and video occurring on your phone, a Screen Shot is merely a still photo, or snap-shot of a single screen on your phone. It's easy and fast to grab one. Say “Hey Siri, take a Screen Shot.” Siri will take a photo of whatever screen you are on. You may also press and hold your Home button and say the same thing. You may hear a clicking sound like a camera shutter as this happens. Ask Siri to share the image. Merely ask Siri to share with the person by name. You can shorten this process to a singled command by asking Siri to send a Screen Shot to (name).  Note: since screen shots and recordings are visual in nature, you may wish to turn off your screen curtain before beginning the process so recipients with usable vision are able to view the image. You can do this by performing a 3-finger triple-tap.   Retrieving Screen Shots and Recordings From your Photos App:  Screen shots and recordings are photos and videos and are therefore deposited into your Photos App. To retrieve them, do the following: Flick to the Photos App on your Home screen, or ask Siri to open Photos App. Single-finger double-tap to open it. Flick down to the bottom of the opening screen and perform a single-finger double-tap on the Tab labeled “Albums”. You may use a 4-finger single-tap toward the bottom of the screen in lieu of flicking multiple times. From the top of this screen, flick right and go down to the button labeled “Recent”. Single-finger double-tap to open. Flick twice and do a single-finger double-tap on the button labeled “Select”. Flick down until you locate your desired image. . You may choose to swipe up with three fingers in lieu of flicking multiple times to move down your Recent list. These are labeled by “Screen Shot” or “Screen Recording” respectively. Perform a single-finger double-tap to select the item. You may now view the item, delete it or share it by selecting the Share button on the screen. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    This is my World, if you would like to come and share it with me, that's beautiful and I hope you enjoy it. Meet Sarah Caltieri, Singer/Songwriter, Actor, Advocate and more.

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 80:01

    Sarah Caltieri jumped across the pond to join Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities Studio and talk about her new song, Yesterdays, her songs in general and about bringing awareness to Blindness. Her songs give us a glimpse  of her life experiences and the journey into Blindness as well. Sarah and Jeff dive into a variety of topics including,  is societies limited expectations any different in the U.K. than in the U.S.A? We may be oceans apart but we share a lot of common ground. Especially in the public sphere. And if you like this, You can join Sarah's Secret Sofa on YouTube and stay up to date with Sarah's conversations covering a variety of topics around bringing awareness. Sarah is a singer/songwriter, actor, advocate and a bit of a fashionista when she wants to be.  From a long road of challenges to a career of success, Sarah sports a confident attitude and navigates her pathway towards her passions and joy. Music is her first and foremost endeavor and with her new songs out this year and her previous album getting an ear, it is a sheer pleasure to have Sarah join us in the blind abilities studio to talk just about everything on this huge stage called life. You can find out more about Sarah Caltieri and her music on the web at www.SarahCaltieri.com and on YouTube at Sarah Caltieri. All music in this podcast episode is from Sarah Caltieri Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: Braille, Audio Description, Labeling, PC vs Mac, Siri Usage, Address/Tab Bar, that Mac, Mac, Mini and Pod Unleashed Event and More Tech Tidbits and News

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 64:41

    The 3 Mac-a-teers, Ok, Jeff and those two PC users, talk Mac, Mac, Mini and a Pod from last weeks Apple Unleashed event. They then trip the light fantastic on tech tidbits and news from around the Blindness Sphere. Serina, Jesse and Jeff bring their workplace experiences, their passions and assistive technology know-how to the table and dig down into some really interesting perspectives. Join the Tech Abilities crew in the Blind Abilities studio and be sure to give us some feedback, suggestions and opinions by calling 612-367-6093, we would love to hear from you. Below is a timeline and this episode of Tech Abilities is sorted out into chapters for your listening pleasure. The Power bar Surge Protector mentioned is the Furman M-8X2 Power Conditioner. Topics and Timeline: Introduction. 00:00 Let's get the show started.! 00:41 The Apple Unleashed Event. 02:38 New Air Pod 3's. 03:00 Home Pod Mini gets Many Colors. 07:39 Apple Music new Voice Only plan for $4.99. 09:59 M1 Pro 14 and 16 inch models $1999 and $2499 starting. 13:24 Windows and the PC Platform vs Apple for students and more Mac news. 14:25 Apple 13 Pro Max Battery Life and the Address/Tab Bar in Safari. 24:47 Siri usage and over usage, is it a problem? How about Smart devices for spelling? 29:05 Braille and spell checking. 32:20 Practical Labeling. 37:44 Power Surge Bar. 43:33 Audio Description News. 44:40 Accessible Gaming, SwordyQuest Update, OLed Switch and new Gaming Computer. 53:21 M1 Max Super Duper? Or Boring M2? Or how about M-deuce? 61:35 Headed Out and Contact information. 62:42 Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Qudsiya Naqui – Lawyer, Advocate and Podcaster. A Conversation about Transitioning From Sighted to Blind and From College to the Workplace, Running, Biking and Getting Down to the Struts.

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 36:41

    Qudsiya Naqui has experienced losing sight, transitioning from reading to listening to audio, learning about the White Cane and advocating all along the way. Qudsiya is aa Lawyer and reflects back about her journey, her advocates, her way of choosing a college and how Tandem Biking and Running has opened up communities where she is thriving. Qudsiya has a lot to say about her experience transitioning into Blindness and the experiences Qudsiya shares are lessons we can all take from.  Qudsiya produces a podcast called, “Down to the Struts” , and here is the description from the web site, DownToTheStruts.com Qudsiya Naqui is a lawyer and activist living in Washington DC. She identifies as a blind, South Asian woman, and is dedicated to making spaces and systems more inclusive of disabled people through public education, storytelling, and amplifying the voices of disabled people. Here is a snippet from Qudsiya's article in Vox: The best $34.32 I ever spent: My white cane As a blind person, it was a conscious investment in my own independence. …As I settled into my hotel room that night, I thought about the object that made this whole trip possible: my white cane. Wielding the cane in the airport, at the restaurant, and in the hotel made me feel powerful and in control, but I recalled a time when that was not the case. I remembered when pulling out the white cane filled me with shame. It was the symbol of my failure to be sighted. Read the entire article on Vox Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Voice Memos – Not Your Basic Recorder Anymore. Enhanced, Concise, Speedy and Voiceover Ready, Right There in Your Device!

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 16:31

    In this  episode of the ever-growing iPhone101 series  from Blind Abilities focuses on exactly that, the Voice Memos app. This app has become significantly more sophisticated and robust in recent years, including with the advent of iOS 15. However, the interface and operation still remains very simple, quick and convenient. You can capture your thoughts, your guitar riffs, melodies, that phone number or email address, or any other thought that might cross your mind with a few short gestures and taps! Voila! You have it saved for posterity, or at least fame, fortune or celebrity! But, as we mentioned a moment ago, This app is capable of much much more! For example, if you want to “spruce it up” a little to share with family, friends, your Publisher, Agent or social media, just take advantage of one or more of the later features like the Trim function which allows you to delete unwanted noise at the beginning or end of your recording. There's also a feature which eliminates periods of silence during playback, or enhances the quality of the audio to make it sound more professional and cleaner.  Join Pete Lane as he takes us through a comprehensive review of this convenient but powerful recording app, demonstrating each of these features, one at a time, at an easy pace. See how to make a simple recording or enhance it to reflect a more polished product. This app is a “native: Apple app and comes loaded on all iDevices: iPhone, iPad, iPod, the Mac and even on your Apple Watch.  So sit back and relax, and have a listen to this short, 17-minute demonstration as Blind Abilities enhances our understanding of an iPhone app in a way that only they can do: with clarity, humor and flair! How to record a voice memo: Open the Voice Memos app on your iDevice. Single finger double tap on the Record button, Single finger double-tap on Done to end the recording. How to play a voice memo Open the Voice Memos app on your iDevice. Single finger double tap on a recording on the Voice Memos screen,. double-tap on Play. To delete the recording, tap the Done button then tap Delete. Note: Voice memos you record on any of your devices automatically sync to your Mac, iPad, Apple Watch  and any iOS devices where you're signed in with the same Apple ID. How to take advantage of the Trim feature in the Voice Memos app: Single finger double tap on the More Options button,  Single finger double tap on Edit and select the Trim button. How to utilize the new play back features  - playback speed, Skip Silence and Enhanced Recording: Single finger double tap on Playback Settings, Single finger double tap on either or both options. The speed slider control as well as the other off and on options are clearly shown, Single finger double tap on the close button. Single finger double-tap on the Play button.   Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Music Recognition and Shazam – Hey! Who Sings This? What Song is This? A Variety of Ways to Use Music Recognition and that Magical App Shazam

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 19, 2021 12:00

     Have you ever spent time listening to music, only to run across a song where you just can't recall its title, or the artist who wrote or performed it?  Blind Abilities presents a demonstration of the music recognition feature in iOS which is a handy and really cool feature that allows you to quickly identify songs and artists that you  hear around you, and even songs that are playing on your own phone or tablet. in fact, there are a few quick and easy ways to find out this information, and that's exactly what we'll be reviewing today.   Picture yourself in a boat on a river, or out in the car listening to the radio, in a store hearing music from speakers in the ceiling, or listening to a  music streaming service or any other source of music where you hear a song playing.  In this demonstration, Pete Lane demonstrates how to use the Shazam app to capture and process the audio, and fill you in on its title, composer and performer. He  walks us through how to ask Siri to identify the information about music you might hear around you, or even on your own device. Finally, imagine you are scrolling through YouTube, Dropbox or another streaming app on your phone, and a random song plays that you are  unfamiliar with. here you can simply open your control center and tap on the music recognition widget and get the information you want.  how do I place a music widget in my control center you might ask? well it's easy.  Go to settings on your Home Screen and perform a single-finger double-tap. Flick down to control center and do another single-finger double tap. Flick to Music Recognition and double tap on “Insert Music recognition”. This will add it to the Control Center. There are two easy ways to open the Control Center to invoke Music Recognition or for any other reason. First, place your finger in the Status Bar which is the thin strip that runs across the top of each screen on your device. Then you can do either:  Run one finger down the screen from the top of the page until you hear the first of two audible clicks. You can do this anywhere on the screen but it may be easier to do so along the edge, using your phone case as a guide to keep your movement straight Perform a 3 finger swipe up from the bottom of the screen. In both cases you will hear Voiceover say “Control Center” as it opens.  Once your Control Center is open, simply navigate to your Music Recognition element and perform a single finger double tap and it will begin processing the song and tell you it's composer and performer. Be sure to join Pete as he demonstrates this cool feature that will never leave us high and dry for specifics about the music we love. Be sure to join Pete as he demonstrates this cool feature that will never leave us high and dry for specifics about the music we love. we want to thank the composers and artists who contributed to our musical line-up today:  Special thanks go out to: * Chee Chau -  Big Bang    * Jim Brinkman - Home Again * Marcus Roberts - Express Mail Delivery  * Jeff Thompson - On the Rebound, performed by Archie Anderson * Pete Lane - Greater Heights and Going Out Tonight  * We were able to demonstrate the Shazam app and other music recognition features with the help of these people and their songs without fear of copyright infringement issues. * Shazam is a free stand-alone app available in the App Store. Feel free to offer any feedback you might have, including suggestions for topics we might consider for our demonstrations or podcast interviews. We value your opinions and welcome your input! Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 QuickBytes: 6 Quick Bytes for the iPhone, and More! Searching in Settings, Back Tapping Double Tap and Triple Tap, Keyboard Clicks, Lock Sound and System Haptics.

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 7:27

    The iPhone101 Series is growing and now we are adding Quick Bytes to the ever growing series. In this Quick Byte we have 3 quick demos broking into Chapters: Searching in Settings. 00:43 Back Tap – Double and Triple Tap. 02:16 Key Clicks, Lock Sound, System Haptics. 05:12 Searching in Settings. Settings Search Text Field You can search for a topic when you open Settings and type in your query and with the results populating just below, single finger swipe to the right  and choose from the options. Let's search for Back Tap from the settings search box. Type in Back Tap, single finger swipe to the right and single finger double tap on Back Tap.  Note: You can dictate your search query using Siri as well. While in the Search field, two finger double tap and after the beep, say, Back Tap.” you can single-finger swipe left to right and find the search results just below the search field. Searching from the Settings page allows you to explore quickly and is an easy way to discover more settings options and solutions you may have been looking for. Setting Up Back Tap By tapping the back side of your iPhone with a double tap or a triple tap, you can assign gestures, shortcuts and commands to operate instantaneously.  Note: setting down your device can initiate the back tap gesture inadvertently.  Myth Buster Alert: The back tap gestures will work through a case. Double Tap Back Tap Settings Accessibility Touch Back Tap Double Tap Triple Tap Back Tap Settings Accessibility Touch Back Tap Triple Tap Turning on Lock Sounds, Keyboard Clicks and System Haptics. Do you like to know that your iPhone locked by hearing a sound of a lock closing? Have you heard the Keyboard Clicks while typing? Is your iPhone vibrating a bit too much when getting feedback?  You can toggle these settings on or off and choose what suits you best. Settings Sounds and Haptics Keyboard Clicks Lock Sound System Haptics Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Believe You Can! The Believe You Can Virtual Talent Show Returns Bigger and Better than Ever Before! Join the Live Show, and Support the Creative Talents at www.BelieveYouCan dot Live

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 10, 2021 27:11

    Believe You Can, the virtual talent show and fundraiser sponsored by the Philadelphia Keystone chapter of the National Federation of the Blind is this Saturday, October 16 at 7pm. Simon who serves as the chapter's secretary  talks  with hosts, Lisa Bryant, David Goldstein and Stacie Leap along with chapter president Harriet Go, who is also one of this year's performers. It's a great conversation and behind the scenes look into how the show came to be and a sneak peek into this year's lineup. Tickets are on sale now at $10 and $25. To purchase tickets go to: www.BelieveYouCan.Live For information about the Keystone Chapter contact Harriet Go at: goharriet00@hotmail.com See you there! Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: VoiceOver Recognition - Image Descriptions, Screen Recognition, Text Recognition, and using the Rotor and setting up Quick Settings.

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2021 18:37

    Adding to our iPhone101 series, this demonstration explores VoiceOver Recognition and the 3 major features and the settings you want to be familiar with when using the iPhone or iPad VoiceOver accessibility feature. The Rotor and the Quick Settings is demonstrated as well as having access to the VoiceOver Recognition settings can be very beneficial “on the fly”. Here is what Apple has to say about VoiceOver Recognition: Use VoiceOver Recognition on your iPhone or iPad With VoiceOver Recognition, your device can recognize images and text in apps and web experiences where VoiceOver support—like alt text or ARIA labels—is missing. What you need To use VoiceOver Recognition, you need one of these devices using iOS or iPadOS 14 or later: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, or later iPad mini (5th generation) or later iPad Air (3rd generation) or iPad Air (4th generation) iPad (8th generation) or later All iPad Pro 11-inch models All iPad Pro 12.9-inch models Turn on VoiceOver Recognition Go to Settings > Accessibility > VoiceOver. Check that VoiceOver is turned on. Tap VoiceOver Recognition. Then select any of the available options to turn them on. Image Descriptions When Image Descriptions is on, VoiceOver describes images in apps and on the web. When using the Camera app to take a photo, VoiceOver also describes what's visible in the viewfinder. VoiceOver lets you know if an image has sensitive content before it describes the image. Image Descriptions is available in Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin - China mainland), English (U.K.), English (U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, and Spanish (Spain). Screen Recognition When Screen Recognition is on, VoiceOver recognizes an app's interface controls to help you navigate it. Text Recognition When Text Recognition is on, VoiceOver reads the text it identifies within images and photos. Text Recognition is available in Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English (U.S.), French (France), German (Germany), Italian (Italy), Portuguese (Brazil), and Spanish (Spain). Choose a Feedback Style To choose how VoiceOver announces unlabeled icons or images, select Feedback Style: Speak: VoiceOver first says "possibly," then it describes what it recognizes. For example, if VoiceOver finds an unlabeled triangular icon in a music app, it might say something like "Possibly Play button." Play Sound: VoiceOver first plays a quick sound, then it describes what it recognizes. For example, when you select a photo of a pet in your Photos Library, it might play a sound, then say something like "A black dog lying on a blue and white blanket on a wooden floor." Do Nothing: VoiceOver describes what it recognizes without notifying you first. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: In Depth, Spontaneous and Off the Rails! A Look at Live text/OCR on the iPhone Camera, Amazon's New Product Line, the iPhone 13 Pro Max, Vision Loss Progression and more Tech Tidbits and News from a Blindness Perspective.

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 94:19

    The Tech Abilities Studio was organized prepared and then, we went off the rails. Even the best of planning did not stop the spontaneity from over-riding the intent of an outline. Is this a bad thing? You be the judge.  You can listen using the chapter feature if your player has it, or just take it all in one big binge.  Serina, Raqi, Jesse and Jeff jump the tracks and go in depth on unintended segues that are thought provoking and yes, the  spontaneous nature made it through the editing process and defied Raqi's claim that Jeff does not like spontaneous. Hmmph. I say. We really go into some deep discussions so grab a lifeline and jump on in with us. Give us a call at 612-367-6093 and leave us some feedback, suggestions or just say, Hi! We would love to hear from you! Here are the links, notes and timeline for the episode: Introduction. 00:00 Let's Get this Show Started! 00:41 Tre Tre in the Blind Abilities Studio! 01:25 Live Text and OCR straight from the iPhone Camera. 03:07 Live Text. 04:11 Navigating text from a photo Live Text/OCR Text Detection Demo. 08:14 Amazon Event  18:23 Astro Home Robot  19:29 Amazon revealed a home assistant robot, called Astro, which can help with home security monitoring, act as a mobile device, and more. It has a 10-inch touchscreen that can show a “face,” and it scoots around your house on wheels. You can request an invite to buy it as part of Amazon's Day 1 Edition program, and it costs $999.99. The robot will begin shipping to selected customers later this year. The Echo Show 15.  24:57 Amazon announced its biggest smart display yet, the $249.99 Echo Show 15. It has a 15.6-inch, 1080p HD display that's designed to be a shared hub for families, and it has a new AZ2 chip. It will be available later this year. Designed to hang on the wall. The Echo Glow Device for kids 31:25 Amazon's new Echo Glow is a videoconferencing device designed for kids. It has an eight-inch display to see friends or family members and a touch-sensitive tabletop projector gadget that can be used to play games, read books, and make art. It will have content from Disney, Nickelodeon, Mattel, and Sesame Workshop. If you want to try Glow, you can apply to the early access program, and if you're selected, you can buy it for $249.99. When it is released to a wider audience, it will cost $299.99. Amazon Smart Thermostat   Amazon announced a new Smart Thermostat that works with Alexa, which it made in partnership with Resideo, the makers of Honeywell Home. It will cost $59.99, and preorders open Tuesday. Hey Disney Virtual Assistant built on Alexa  31:54 Amazon and Disney announced a new voice assistant called “Hey Disney,” which is built on Alexa. It offers a lot of Disney-themed Alexa experiences, and it will also be available in Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms for better hospitality. The “Hey Disney” assistant is “expected next year,” though it's a paid skill unless you are staying at one of the resorts. There's also a new Mickey Mouse-themed Echo Show 5 stand, which is available to preorder Tuesday for $24.99. Ring's Always Home Cam Drone  32:07 Last year, Amazon revealed the Always Home Cam, which puts a Ring camera on a drone. If you're interested in getting one, you can apply for an invite starting Tuesday. The drone costs $249.99. Ring Video Doorbell package alert  32:07 SLING TV IS COMING TO ECHO SHOW DEVICES AMAZON WILL LET YOU TEACH ALEXA CUSTOM SOUNDS  35:56 Amazon's new Custom Sound Detection will let users teach Alexa custom sounds, which could be useful to let you set smart home routines or trigger alerts. AMAZON IS ADDING NEW CONTENT TO ITS KIDS PLUS SERVICE Amazon is bringing new content to its Kids Plus subscription service, which offers kid-friendly books, movies, games, and more. The new content includes Blippi's Treehouse Alexa Together 38:10 ALEXA TOGETHER IS AMAZON'S NEW SERVICE TO CARE FOR FAMILY MEMBERS REMOTELY. Amazon's new Alexa Together remote care subscription service will replace the free Alexa Care Hub in 2022 and adds new features like compatibility with fall detection services. Alexa Together will cost $19.99 per month, and you can try it for free for six months. And if you're a current Care Hub subscriber, you'll get a year of Alexa Together for free. New iPad Mini Raqi  43:15 New iPhone 13 Pro Max 512 Gigabytes Jesse  49:17 Low Vision and the New iPhone and iOS15. 53:47 Why did Jeff return his iPhone 13 Pro Max? 61:27 iOS 15 jitters and other issues popping up. 65:12 Vision Loss Progression  78:24 When Vision Loss catches up with you. Guide Dogs and Canes, one without the other. 82:30 How we adjust to people judging and some teaching moments. Heading Out to the Bye Bye and Astro Scissor Hands. 90:25 Outro and Contact Information. 93:06 Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Getting Your Home Screens Organized – Part 1

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2021 10:29

    Blind Abilities is committed to meeting your needs as a listener and a dedicated iDevice user. as a part of our effort to do so, we are fine-tuning our focus on our iPhone 101  series towards addressing real life situations in which you might apply some of the features and techniques we present. We want to help you understand how we might use them in our day to day routines, in hopes that you too will be able to enhance your iPhone or iPad experiences. We are presenting a new series and some mini-series as we travel this journey with you.  Jeff just released the iPhone101 QuickBytes series which presents "Byte-sized" features to help you better use your iDevice, and now Pete brings you a new mini-series called “"Getting Your Home Screens Organized." This series will address a few simple but overlooked actions including moving apps, hiding screens and utilizing the App Library. We hope this will allow you to become better organized, help you locate your important apps,  set aside those which you don't access as often, and work more quickly and productively. In Part 1 of this mini-series, Pete delves into how to move apps from one location to another on the same screen, from one screen to another, into and out of folders, and how to rename a folder. Buckle-in for this short, fast and informative trip through the process of rearranging apps and beginning the process of organizing your Hone Screens. There are a lot of quick gestures, flicks right and left, and up and down, so enjoy and here are some tips when operating in edit mode: Enter editing mode on your home screen. Flick up and double tap when you hear edit mode. Leave edit mode – from the bottom of the screen, single finger  slide up and note that after 10 seconds of inactivity, edit you will leave edit mode.  edit mode. Flicking up or down will need to be followed by a single finger double tap to enter that action. Just like when you entered edit mode. Note: Be sure that you can edit apps on home screen by going to Settings, Accessibility, Voiceover, and then Rotor Actions, single finger double tap and toggle on the edit apps on home screen option. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 Quick Bytes: Battery Health, Seeing AI with Siri Shortcut made Easy, Mail Message Threading. 3 Quick Bytes for the iPhone, and More!

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2021 7:53

    The iPhone101 Series is growing and now we are adding Quick Bytes to the ever growing series. In this Quick Byte we have 3 quick demos broking into Chapters: Battery Health. 00:44 Seeing AI with Siri Shortcut made easy. 03:55 Threading Apple Mail Messages. 06:06 Battery Health:  Settings Battery Battery Health Seeing AI with Siri Shortcut  made easy Open Seeing AI Menu Settings  Siri Shortcuts Mail Message Threading Settings Mail Organize by Thread (on/off) Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: Do You Need a Hero App? Facebook and Ray-Ban Smart Glasses or Not? Apple's California Dreaming, Direct Touch Typing, Use Factors for the iPad Mini and Tech Tidbits and News from a Blindness Perspective.

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2021 83:51

    The Tech Ability Team is in full force and we begin to show how we differentiate when it comes to styles, use factors and preferences. From buying out-right or on the trade up program, to Direct Touch Typing and using the Apple Watch, we all stand by our own way and we do get it that what works for you, works for you. Raqi talks about her Ipad Mini purchase and her use factor, Serina dives deep into Direct Touch Typing, and the entire team gets up front and personal about the Apple event, California Dreaming. We do as we do and sometimes, not as we say. (Jeff snickers as Serina crosses her arms and looks away.) What the heck is this Hero App from Ayes? Do we need a Hero? And how about Facebook and Ray Ban launching 20 styles of smart glasses? Or, are they really all that smart? Join the team from Tech Abilities in the Blind Abilities Studio and give us some feedback and/or suggestions by calling 612-367-6093. We would love to hear from you! Be sure to note that we use chapters so you can jump from topic to topic as you desire. The time stamp is also provided for reference as well. Here are the links and notes from this Tech Abilities episode: Preamble with Chapter and phone announcements. 0:00 Let's get this show started! 0:42 Hero App by Ayes – Gather Data for Blind People. Help out blind and visually impaired people by gathering data Grab images of intersections, pedestrian traffic lights and different difficult situations you encounter as a pedestrian while walking. The Hero app, provided by AYES, let you upload all these images and videos very easily. AYES will use the footage to make their algorithms even better and help out blind and visually impaired people with their mobility. 03:03 Introducing Ray-Ban Stories: First-Generation Smart Glasses Today, we're excited to launch Ray-Ban Stories: smart glasses that give you a new way to capture photos and video, share your adventures and listen to music or take phone calls — so you can stay present with friends, family and the world around you. Built in partnership with Facebook and EssilorLuxottica, Ray-Ban Stories start at $299 USD and will be available for purchase in 20 style combinations. 07:33 California Streaming. 15:02 Apple TV Plus New series and seasons! 15:27 Apple Fitness Pilates and Guided Meditation added. Introducing guided meditation, with video and audio sessions. Available on 9.27. 15:42 Coming Soon: All together now. Group Workouts, powered by SharePlay, let you and up to 32 of your favorite people work out together. Cheer each other on or talk smack face to face. See when someone closes an Activity ring. And during HIIT, Treadmill, Cycling, and Rowing workouts, you get a notification when someone moves ahead of the pack on the Burn Bar. 16:44 iPad From $329 or $27.41/mo. 17:45 iPad Mini: A15 Bionic. 8.3-inch all-screen design. Ultrafast 5G. 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center. From $499 or $41.58/mo. for 12 mo. Stage. Touch ID. USB-C. Discover the new iPad mini. How does Raqi utilize the iPad Mini? 19:04 iPhone 13 and 13 mini: Advanced dual-camera system. Ceramic Shield. A15 Bionic chip. Longer battery life. 23:39 iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max: The biggest upgrade ever to the Pro camera system. Take a good look. 23:39 Apple Watch 7. 34:49 Roll out of iOS 15. 41:16 Direct Touch Typing? 43:57 Typing on the Apple Watch Keyboard. 54:46 Do you use raise to speak? 61:19 Almost the End, however… 67:02 Adaptation Store Cane Sale this month! 70:01 Sopranos Now Has Audio Description on HBO. 75:55 We Be Done, Outro and Contact Information. 80:31 Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Feather Chelle Releases New Book, The Color of Darkness , an Abilities Awareness Activity Book for Young Readers, Blind and Sighted alike

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 14:13

    Feather Chelle has just released her 4th book and joins Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities Studio to talk about the activities, poems and lessons she brings to this wonderful book. Of which you can receive free by sending an email with the word Subscribe in the subject line.  The Colors of Darkness  is a great addition to any classroom, group and brings awareness to the spectrum of abilities people have in a fun and interactive way.  Feather was on earlier this year and talked about her Blindness journey, family, kids and much more. You can check out Feather's previous podcast episode on Blind Abilities: Author Feather Chelle Has So Many Interesting Chapters in Her Life, I just wanted to keep turning the Pages. And Her New Book, Stranded, is a Page Turner as Well! To receive your free copy of The Colors of Darkness Click on this email link and Subscribe will already populate the subject line and you will soon be enjoying Feather's latest book. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: VR Perspectives on Back to School and Mac vs PC vs Notetakers. Plus, WiFi Calling, EZ Shortcuts, Mail Threading Messages, Deleting Apps with a Flick and a Tap and more Tech Tidbits and News

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 88:05

    The Tech Abilities Crew took on some tough conversations and a lot of good information was laid out on the table. Will there be a Mac vs PC showdown this month? We actually went at it a bit and stay tuned when Raqi and Lisa return to the Blind Abilities Studio to balance out the battle royal. Jesse, Serina and Jeff brought a great perspective on the tools for education and gave some great tips from their own educational journeys.  Check out the list and links below for all the tech tidbits and news covered by the team. You can use the chapter feature in your podcast player to jump to the topics you want to listen to first, then 2nd and so on.  Be sure to subscribe to the Blind Abilities Podcast with your favorite podcast player. That's 2 words, Blind Abilities.  Thanks for listening. Introduction. 0:00 It's Show Time! 0:41 Cane sale? What's the Adaptation Store got this month? 6:13 Apple Event Tuesday September 14, 10 Pacific, 11 Mountain, 12 Central and 1 PM. Eastern Time. 6:32 Comply Air Pod Pro foam Tips - Medium, small, large or assorted. 12:46 Apps we always debate about keeping. Deleting an app from your update list. 15:13 Favorite Siri commands: Create an appointment, set reminder, Read Text with Seeing AI, etc. 18:13 Apple TV Plus series, SEE has returned for 2nd season and I am riveted. The Morning show returns for season 2 on the 17th of September. Ted Lasso anybody? 22:48 WiFi calling explained. Pros and Cons and FaQs. 26:52 Swordy Quest releases 5.3 Plus an emergency fix! Way to go Charlie! 29:23 Back to School tips for students. From a Voc Rehab perspective. 30:38 Windows 11? 39:46 PC vs Mac vs Notetakers from a VR perspective. 43:31 Favorite Fn Commands  PC users. 58:05 Apple mail, grouping messages or not? Plus Demo. 64:25 More on Back to School and Education. 76:13 Recapping and Contact Info. 82:10   Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 – More Special Effects for the Messages App in iOS. By the Way, Congratulations, Happy New Year and Happy Birthday!

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 13:25

    Adding to the iPhone101 Series, here is another iPhone101 demonstration, In which Pete completes his romp through the remaining screen effects embedded in the iOS Messages app. Listen as he updates us on two more effects, the Happy Birthday and Emoji Replacement features. be sure to join Pete as he adeptly navigates the step by step processes for using them both, with his typical humor, sound effects and musical flair which make listening to the iPhone101 Series so enjoyable. The first of these screen effects allows you to generate full animated screen images easily automatically by merely typing or dictating a short, common phrase, such as Happy Birthday, congratulations or happy new year. The latter involves a somewhat more tedious process of using the emoji action on your Rotor to find and substitute emojis in lieu of words in your text message. Both features are fully available and accessible to Voiceover users of iOS. Pete suggests checking a couple of settings in order to get optimal results from these effects: Open your Settings app and flick down to Accessibility, go to Motion, Set Reduced Motion to the Off position, and Set Auto Play message effects according to whether you prefer to hear and see these effects automatically or voluntarily. Regardless of whether you communicate with blind or sighted friends or family members   using text messages, your messages will be more interesting and personal with the use of the screen effects described in this and our previous iPhone101 episode, so set aside about 13 minutes of your valuable time to give them a listen. You won't regret it!  Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Swordy Quest Creator Charlie Seligman Talks Accessibility and App Development and Creating the Same Experience for Everyone. Plus Some Hidden Tips and Upcoming Gems.

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 41:06

    Full Transcript Charlie Seligman joins Jesse Anderson from Illegally Sighted YouTube Channel and Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities Studio for a great conversation about how Charlie got started developing games and how accessibility became part of his passion. With a community behind him all the way, Charlie is living his dream as the popularity of his adventure Role Playing game (RPG) has exploded among the Blindness community. Although Swordy Quest is for both sighted and visually impaired users, Charlie has taken to accessibility for all the right reasons and he is engaged and making friends within the community now known as Swordy Questors. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @SeligmanVenture and join the SwordyQuestors on the Facebook group. Charlie leaves tips and announcements as well as polls to keep Swordy Quest developing in the way that the community desires and advises. Charlie wants to hear from you! You can find and subscribe to Jesse Anderson's YouTube Channel IllegallySighted and stay up to date on accessible gaming. Be sure to check out the Tech Abilities show on Blind Abilities and stay up to date with the latest Assistive Technology, breaking news and happenings from a Blindness perspective. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 – Screen Effects: Sending Audio Enhanced Special Screen Effects with the Messages App and Responding with the React Feature to Messages

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2021 9:02

    Blind Abilities adds to their iPhone101 Series with this brief and fast paced trip through the iOS Messages app. With this visit Pete Lane reviews how to send iMessages with special screen effects. with a minor change to your ”send” gesture, from a simple double tap to a double tap and hold. You can add animated visual and audio effects to a text message,  adding some entertainment and fun to an otherwise drab piece of text Pete describes how to generate a message with either full screen effects, of which there are eight available, or bubble effects which are a little less elaborate, but possess some flair as well. he also shows us how to add visual graphic images when replying to an incoming iMessage via  use of the react button in the messages app. all of these effects are simple to generate, but they can add so much to your text communications. Check out this quick romp through the messages app as Pete typically enlists the use of his own sound effects, music and humor to make these demonstrations more enjoyable! He also takes some liberties with his presentation to ensure we all hear the full audio sounds of each effect by eliminating the Voiceover description of the visual experience, showing us both the real iPhone effect as well as the stripped-down audio version only. All you need to do is set aside less than 10 minutes of your valuable time and become reacquainted with the special effects features in your native Apple messages app. You won't regret it! Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: Adaptations Sale, FlickType Saga, Disney's Adaptive Costumes, iOS15 Nears, Going Back from Beta, The Vale Arrives for Accessible Gaming and more Tech Tidbits in the News

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 79:19

    The Tech Abilities Team kicks off with a Back to School Sale from the Adaptation Store and then some Flick Type battle with the Apple Store. Braille Screen Input is the keyboard choice of many and Disney announces Adaptive Costumes for Halloween. While some of us are Beta testing iOS15, one of us went back to 14 and tells us how. Better foam tips for Air Pod Pros and an inexpensive Loop for the Apple Watch. HBO is getting revamped and accessibility on the iPhone App is going well while HBO on Apple TV is not needing some choices to stick. Accessible gaming is getting some attention and of course, Swordy Quest gets it's mention once again and again. Join in this delightful journey through the latest tech tidbits and news from around the world of accessibility, Blindness and life itself. Wow, that went deep, didn't it? Here is the timeline and links related to the topics mentioned in the episode: Episode Introduction. 00:00 Let the Show Begin! 00:56 10% Off Back to School at the Adaptation Store. 3:50 Flick Type calls it quits or, did Apple stiff them? 5:17 Braille Screen Input Keyboard Option. 11:03 The Mantis Q40 from APH.org. 12:46 Disney announces Halloween Adaptive Costumes for people with Disabilities. 16:36 iCloud for Windows updated with New Password Manager App. 17:57 The PC vs Mac Battle continues! 19:19 iOS 15 beta and the Safari Address bar saga. 21:32 Apple TV remote gets firmware update and Remote Sexy! 29:47 Apple announces SharePlay will not launch with iOS 15. 32:23 Comply Foam Apple Air Pod Pro 2.0 Replacement Tips 3 sets of 2.  $24.99! 36:58 Jubanke Metal Magnetic with case, stainless steel milanesemeshloop$12.99! 40:31 HBO App is getting revamped. Plus, HBO iOS Audio Description. 44:37 Going Back from the iOS 15 Beta and How it is done. 48:10 From the listeners. 56:43 Love Raqi and Lisa.  Larry Birdsong writes the Tips and Tricks and suggests bringing a battery pack when traveling. Europe and so forth. Just easier.  Apple Events? Rumor Has It. 58:55 Chapters are a hit! 61:26 Hearthstone Access from Blizzard. 62:34 The Vale from Falling Squirrel. 65:24 As an audio based game, The Vale sets out to breathe new life into medieval combat and provide a truly novel experience for visually impaired and sighted gamers alike. IllegallySighted YouTube Channel Demo Video Swordy Quest Chit Chat. 67:16 Attack of the Bee or was it Bees? 72:56 Closing thoughts and contact information. 74:32   Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    IPhone101 - iOS Reminders App: Hey Siri, Remind Me to…

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2021 20:23

    Blind Abilities adds another episode to their expanding library of iPhone101 Serieswith this 20 minute walk-through of the iOS Reminders app. Reminders is a native Apple app which comes on all iPhones, iPads and iPod devices. Reminders provides a convenient and effective means for scheduling and tracking tasks, creating Shopping and To Do lists,  and generally manage your plans for day to day activities in the future.  Join Pete Lane as he embarks on a 2-part approach towards Reminders, by first walking through the app “interface" manually using Voiceover and navigating element-by-element, typing task and list titles and becoming familiar with the power of the app. In part 2 he uses Siri to perform all of the same activities, an approach which is clearly simpler and more convenient, particularly for Voiceover users. Here are some of the Reminders functionalities you will learn: How to create a Shopping or Grocery list to ensure you have all the ingredients for that special meal. How to create To Do list on which to plan that special project. How to schedule Reminders on specific days and times, or when we arrive at or leave a particular location. How to create a group. how to assign responsibility to specific members of that group. How to share reminders with others. While the app can be confusing, Pete points out some of the pitfalls and offers tips on avoiding them. We all wish our lives were simpler and less chaotic, right? Well it just might be a pie in the sky dream, but with the use of the easy iOS Reminders app, we can at least organize the chaos!   Set aside 20 minutes to listen to this iPhone101 episode to acquaint, or reacquaint yourself with Reminders. Better yet, just press your Siri button and say: “Hey Siri, remind me to listen to the latest episode of iPhone101 on Blind Abilities!” In this Demo, Pete adds entertainment value to the demonstration with music and sound effects. Not all effects you hear are actual iOS sound effects. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Matthew Whitaker Releases His 3rd Album, Connections, Finishes His 2nd Year at Juilliard and His 1st Interview in the Blind Abilities Studio! Meet Matthew Whitaker Musician Extraordinaire!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 39:24

    Matthew Whitaker started playing piano at age 3 and has been studying and practicing music ever since. He plays all types of music and Jazz is the place where he likes to reside as he has the freedom to improvise. Matthew has just released his 3rd album, Connections, and talks about the recording process, the people he worked with and how his original songs came about. Matthew takes us through his arrangements, time shifts and his instruments surrounding him in his studio. Matthew also stresses how he does not let his Blindness hold him back. From rock climbing, skiing  to touring the world and entertaining people with his music, Matthew always finds the time to take a break and we caught him at just the right time for this interview. His 2nd year at The Juilliard School and his 3rd record now complete, Matthew joined Jeff and Pete in the Blind Abilities Studio. Learn about Matthew's musical journey, his passion for music and his wide range of musical instruments  that fill his studio. Most importantly, you get a chance to meet Matthew Whitaker, a 20 year old musician who just happens to be Blind. And, as you will find out, a pretty nice guy! You can find out more about Matthew Whitaker on his web site and be sure to check out Matthew's music wherever you listen to music. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Freeing Up Storage Space on your iDevice by Removing Large Files and Attachments by Recommendations from Your iDevice Itself!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 13, 2021 10:16

    Is your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch big enough? Are you constantly worrying about not having enough space on your phone to upgrade to the latest iOS update, or even download that new app you want? If so, you may be experiencing “Small Device Storage Syndrome”. This is a potentially serious condition which is growing among smart phone users around the globe and you owe it to yourself to find out if you are afflicted by this ailment. Ask yourself the following questions: Did you spring for the 256 Gb model? Or maybe the 512 Gb model when you have only used 50 Gigs on your last three iPhones?  Have you already decided on the larger phone the next time you upgrade, even though you just bought the latest model? Will you justify buying the largest model available, even though it will cost $200 more than you are paying in rent?  Do you panic Whenever your available storage space dips under 200 Gigs? Do you instantly delete each and every message in your Messages app or What's App as soon as you read it? Answer key: if you answered yes to all of these questions, you may be suffering from an illness called “Small Device Storage Syndrome”. This bears the symptoms of always feeling like you just can't have enough iPhone storage, no matter how much available space you have.. It's like a constant hunger! Well, here at BlindAbilities, we provide urgent care attention to those who suffer, and we do not “judge”, regardless of your addictions or habits. Let this episode of the iPhone101 series  start the healing process and begin the journey back to normalcy. One way to start this process is to clear out some of those large, unneeded or unwanted files such as videos, photos, audio files or documents that are occupying large chunks of space. in this episode Pete Lane walks us through a couple of methods to do precisely that. Learn how to free up storage space on your device by clearing out large attachments received in your Messages app and more! Join Pete as he walks through the iPhone storage settings, describing how to identify which apps are using the most space on your device, which are your largest files,  and how to remove them. As usual, Pete describes in detail the step by step ways to do this And of course, he enlists the help of music and effects to make your listening experience entertaining and enjoyable along the way. Listen  in on this brief and fast-paced demonstration of deleting large attachments to free up that priceless space on your device,! Here are the steps for Storage Recommendations: Go to iPhone settings, Go to General, Go to iPhone Storage:  Go to Recommendations: Review the list of Large Attachments that you have received in your Messages app and decide whether or not you wish to save them or you can delete them. This list is provided for you in order of size so you will know how much storage space they are occupying. Review your apps which are also displayed in order of space occupied. This will help you know which are taking up the most space on your phone as you move forward.    Stay tuned as Blind Abilities continues to add to its growing library of iPhone 101 demonstrations aimed at teaching you about specific features or apps on your iDevice, or reacquainting you with some that have faded with time. Also, be sure to offer suggestions for additional topics that Jeff and Pete can cover in future episodes of this series. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Megan Hale is Taking Adaptive and Blind Physical Education to the Field of Educators and Helping Bring Trail orienteering to the Microsoft Soundscape App

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 12, 2021 28:47

    I first heard of Megan Hale when she posted a YouTube video announcement about her upcoming YouTube Channel, Blind Physical Education, and new right away that Megan's passion and enthusiasm would be of interests to our many listeners. Megan wants to educate Physical Education teachers about the possibilities and available adaptive techniques so more BVI students can participate beyond the level of low expectations. Megan attended Camp Abilities and was given the opportunity and adaptive techniques for full participation in the sports along with other Blind and Visually Impaired attendees. This experience changed her perspective and now Megan is parsuinga career to change the perspectives of the Physical Educators and get the other Megan's out there off the bench and onto the playing field. Megan is working with Microsoft and the Soundscape App to create an outdoor experience with Trail orienteering. Learn more about, this and her goals in this educational episode from Blind Abilities and be sure to check out the latest from Megan's YouTube Channel Blind Physical Education. You can also learn about Camp Abilities, the educational sports camp for children and teens who are Blind, visually impaired and deafblind. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: Deep Nosing, Battery Packing, Laundry Lens App, Air Pod Pro Betas Conversation Boost, the Tech Lending Library. And more Tech Tidbits in the News

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 69:35

    Welcome to another Tech Abilities episode from the Blind Abilities Studio. This episode dives into the latest news and gadgets from the world of technology with a blindness perspective. Joining Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities Studio is Serina Gilbert, Raqi Gomez, Jesse Anderson and Lisa Salinger and of course Marlon flies in from Trinidad for a bit. If your podcast player supports chapters, then you can jump to the topic of your liking at any time, however, this episode was designed to be taken in in one giant bite, but go ahead and nibble away if you desire. Here is the chronological list of topics covered by the team: Podcast Guy Skit. 0:00 Episode Introduction. 1:38 It's Show Time. 3:21 Short cuts for skipping next track and adding to playlist. 9:04 How is the Apple MagSafe Battery Pack? 14:32 ‘Laundry Lens' for iOS reminds you there's an app for everything, including doing your laundry. 17:58 Audio Description for the Olympics experience. 21:17 Microsoft pauses free Windows 365 cloud PC trials after 1 day! 23:04 Hands-on: You can now run Windows 365 on iPad, and Microsoft even has an app for it. 30:02 Swordy Quest Continues. 32:01 Everything That Has Happened Since The Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Was Filed. 34:18 Title Second AirPods Pro Firmware Beta Adds Conversation Boost. 40:15 WhatsApp finally rolls out new View Once feature, immediately buried by Telegram. 45:42 Rapid COVID-19 Test. 47:14 Tech Lending Library at State Services for the Blind (SSB). 55:52 Taming Gaming Web Site. 65:54 Contact Info. 68:20 Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Script App Demonstration and a conversation with Envision America's Director of Marketing, Jenna Reed

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2021 22:25

    iPhone101: Script App  Demonstration and a conversation with Envision America's Director of Marketing, Jenna Reed   Blind Abilities adds to its growing library of iPhone 101 demonstrations with this in depth perusal of the ScripTalk app for iOS, coupled with an interview with Jenna Reed, Director of Marketing at Envision America. Envision America is a 25 year-old company who offers the Scriptability program, of which ScripTalk is a part.  Scriptability provides a variety of accessible labels for prescription medications, including  booklet-style, large print (known as ScriptView), dual language and Controlled Substance Safety Labels that attach securely to the medicine bottle. It also encompasses braille overlay labels, and talking labels (ScripTalk), which involve an RFID digital label affixed to the bottom of your pill bottle. In this iPhone 101 demonstration, Pete Lane focusses on using the free iOS ScripTalk app, also available for Android, which reads the RFID labels on the iPhone. Join Pete as he first chats with Jenna Reed from Envision America who relays to us the history of the company, from its inception when its primary product was ID Mate, a talking bar code scanner, a popular device for blind and visually impaired customers, but which has been recently retired and no longer available for purchase. Jenna assures owners that all warranties will be honored for repairs and maintenance, that spare parts are available, and that any and all efforts will be made to assist users with any problems they may encounter with ID Mate devices. Meanwhile, the company is focused on their accessible prescription labels which are a dynamic and useful product for more than 20,000 blind and visually impaired users. As an alternative, Envision America also provides a stand-alone device which will read the RFID label without having to use the smart phone app.  Once again Blind Abilities addresses the interests of their listeners with a detailed, yet quick review of an iOS app that is used across the blindness community. Listen as Pete shares his process of enrolling in the ScripTalk program following a potentially dangerous experience in which he mixed-up two different medications using his “tried and true” method of organizing his daily medications. While this method failed, it fortunately led to his decision to join the ScripTalk program which offers an almost foolproof process of identifying prescription medications reliably.. Pete walks through the features of the ScripTalk app, describing how to perform both the Quick Scan and Full Scan options, and delving into the other elements of the app, including the My Meds, Pharmacies and Help tabs, which provide considerable information to users.   As usual, Pete includes some humor and effects which provide for an interesting demonstration and an entertaining listening experience for you.   Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Beyond Vision: Enriching the Lives of Americans Who are Blind Through the Dignity of Work Valued by Customers and the Community.

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2021 19:57

    From Beyond Vision, Jennifer Wenzel, Stephen Gould, Diana Voigt, Michael Newman and Javier Johnson join Jeff Thomson in the Blind Abilities Studio to share how Beyond Vision is creating opportunities through employment for people who are Blind or Visually Impaired. This is not your Grandfather's Sheltered Workshop is a statement that rings through clearly in this conversation. Michael and Javier work int the machine shop and shipping and receiving departments while Jennifer, Stephen and Diana are in the front office with hiring and marketing responsibilities. Learn how they came to work at Beyond Vision and how they are enhancing the  career opportunities, building awareness in the communities and building relationships with some of the top businesses through providing a quality product and service. You can find out more about Beyond Vision on the web and see how you can become part of the growing team. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: Swordy Quest, Ziggy's Masculine Voice, Mag Safe Charger, Beta Backups, Clubhouse is Open, Peloton Game,Diablo2 Accessibility, Messenger's Soundmojis and Busy Boxes for Adults!

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2021 71:40

    The crew jumps through the hoops and then some, bringing you a wide perspective on some of the latest news and definitely some perspectives that are quite unique. Either way we see it, there is something for everyone. Join Serina, Raqi, Jesse, Lisa and Jeff in episode 31 of Tech Abilities and also podcast number 771 of the Blind Abilities library of podcasts. Marlon and Lori join the crew for a few moments for some lite humor. Here are the topics, links and times of each as you can search or use the Chapters feature if your podcast player supports chapters. Introduction. 00:00 Lori Who?  1:25 Pre-Show Ramble 2:50 Official Show Start 13:52 Mag Safe Battery Pack from Apple. 5w and 15w charging with pass-through feature.  $99. Can also be used to charge air pods! 16:42 Alexa finally gets a masculine-sounding voice option 23:41 Magnifier in Control Center.  Go to Settings, Control Center and Add Magnifier. 26:43 iOS 15 Beta 3 has new feature for setting Text Size. Settings, Control Center and add Text Size. You can add Global or to specific  apps. 27:32 Backing up before Beta woes strike. 31:26 Game coming to Peloton Exercise Bike. 35:27 Marlin and Do-Do. 38:43 Apple plans for 5G iPhone SE to help phase out iPhone mini. 40:00 WhatsApp rolling out new calling interface for iPhone users. 40:34 Versa Slate? Where is it? Or, is it just a Fidgit Spinner? Coming in August? 42:46 Clubhouse is no longer invite-only. 47:58 HOW WE'RE MAKING DIABLO® II: RESURRECTED™ MORE ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE. 49:50 Road 96 launches August on PC and Nintendo Switch with accessibility. 52:04 Swordy Quest is striking hot. 53:16 Who's Boss? 56:21 Emojis finally have a voice: Introducing Soundmojis on Messenger. 58:36 Wave Goodbye and Rambling On. 65:16 Sign Off and Contact. 70:31 Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    The Best of Folk Through 88 Keys: Meet Marcus Roberts, the Jazz Master - Disciplines of Music in the Key of Life

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 30, 2021 60:45

     Our guest today is Marthaniel Roberts, who goes by “Marcus: Roberts. Marcus is a Jazz pianist, composer, band leader, and Professor of Jazz music at Florida State University (FSU).  Marcus was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. Showing an early interest in, and a strong aptitude for music, initially with the gospel music in his family's church and later in the popular R&B sounds of his era, he first ran across the chords of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and the captivating sounds of  Jazz music while scanning the local FM radio dial  at a very early age. He was given his first piano by his parents at the age of eight, and never looked back. Marcus attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB), in St. Augustine where he learned more  about music and the discipline it would take to truly excel in the art.. He  went on to FSU, where he honed his piano skills under the tutelage of classical pianist, Leonidas Lipovetsky. This is a special interview to which you should be sure to Listen-in as Jeff and Pete chat with this supremely talented, intelligent and articulate artist, Professor Marcus Roberts, who shares his impressive knowledge and passion for Jazz and his interest in advancing its presence among the music audience. Marcus, with his piano by his side, discusses musical theory, compositional principles and techniques, musical history and offers a fascinating lesson on the evolution of Jazz and the blues.  Of course, Blind Abilities adds its own special highlights to the podcast with ample excerpts of Marcus's amazing music.  Also, hear about Marcus's insights into the issues facing the Blind and Visually Impaired, and how he is eager to more actively participate in advocacy initiatives within the blindness community. You will no doubt be enthused by Marcus's passion and fervor as he chats with Jeff and Pete in the Blind Abilities studio. Marcus is the founder of the Modern Jazz Generation, a multigenerational ensemble, as well as The Marcus Roberts Trio. He has released multiple recordings with both ensembles,   some excerpts from which can be heard in this podcast. So be sure to take some time out of your busy day to enjoy this in depth but fascinating interview with “The J Master” himself as he leads us down the  path of ‘musical enlightenment, in an extremely entertaining way. You will definitely not be disappointed! You can find out more about Marcus, his life as a blind musician, his career, and be sure to listen to and enjoy his music on all of the regular sites and streaming services, on his Youtube channel and on his website. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Sharing a Contact and Eliminating the List of Recommended Recipients from the Share Sheet:

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 22, 2021 6:20

    Blind Abilities adds to their iPhone101 Series with this short and sweet demo of how to quickly share your contact information or that of a friend or colleague with someone using the standard iOS share sheet. This feature is built into the individual Contact page and facilitates the simple sharing of a Contact Card for yourself, another individual, a business or organization. Pete Lane walks us through the process quickly and nimbly with concise and understandable guidance of each simple step along the way.  As an added bonus, Pete shows us how to eliminate or hide what is often a lengthy list of friends or colleagues with whom you can share links, articles, videos or yes, your Contact information within the standard Share Sheet found universally throughout iOS. For some of us, this list of names and apps can clutter our process for sharing our chosen information. Pete shows us a simple and quick setting to change that will eliminate this list. Pete adds sound effects to enhance the demonstration and ad some variety to the presentation. Set aside a handful of minutes now, and save valuable time and effort later. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Linking Contacts in iOS

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 17, 2021 6:27

    Blind Abilities adds to their iPhone101 Series demonstrations with this short and simple  walk-through of linking multiple Contacts in your iOS Contacts app. Have you ever ben frustrated to find you have created more than one contact page for the same individual, business or organization? This can be done inadvertently or as a result of creating a new contact from a new email you received, or other correspondence, but it can cause somewhat of an inconvenience when later searching for that Contact.  Well there's a quick and simple way to consolidate those contacts, merge added information into a single new Contact page and remove any duplicate information. Join Pete Lane as he takes us through the easy step by step process that may save you time and effort in the future. Here is the linked to the related Contact demo: iAccessDemo: Reviewing The Contacts App For IOS Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Tech Abilities: A Sticky Out Pressy Thing… Need We Say More? Welcome Jesse Anderson and Lisa Salinger

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 116:32

    The Tech Abilities crew just expanded their reach and now cover the 4 time zones. Serina, Raqi and Jeff welcomes Jesse Anderson and Lisa salinger to the Tech Abilities team. We started out sticking to the show notes and soon enough, they tossed me aside like an Android tablet! Ok, maybe not that bad; however, this show went on and on through the tech world and the experiences that build our decisions on what we like and do not like. Most of all, we realize not one of us use our devices like the other and our opinions vary, so keep that in mind as we speak our minds and try to give an honest evaluation. With that said, this episode has chapters and the times are written below for easy navigation. A shoutout to Marlon for his vocal contributions and eating all the cookies.  Enjoy the podcast and thanks for listening.  The Cookie Drama by Jeff and Marlon 1:25 Introductions: Jeff, Serina, Raqi, Jesse and Lisa 3:55 Dynamic Tactile Device: The development of a groundbreaking multiline braille tactile reader that combines tactile images and braille, is being created through a partnership between APH and HumanWare. 8:13 Dishwater Safe Cane Tip the Omni-Sense by Omnia at OmniaWheel.com 10:56 Serina: Peloton Plus Exercise Bike BlindyBlog post 15:37 Pounds – The Rockout Workout 22:00 Raqi: Tired of 2.4 ghz interference, added separate SSID for 5G 29:51 iOS 15 Public Beta released 34:05 Screen Recognition Bug Fix 41:38 Safari moves the Address bar, tabs, bookmarks. 45:51 The New Design of the AppleTV Remote. 55:13 Who is the real boss? LOL 56:37 The Focus feature for Do Not Disturb. Home, Work, Sleep, etc. 57:11 What is iCloud+? 61:50 Private relay Hide My Email  Custom domain names are coming to Apple mail How much is iCloud+? No extra! Air Tag notification if left behind. 71:21 Air Tag Key chains on Amazon. From UNeedIty, Genuine Leather $19.99 save $20  76:47 Apple Watch Bands and the Stinky ones too. 78:23 Hot Spotting for an internet connection. Be sure to have WIFI turned on. 84:23 Will Clubhouse Die the Death of Google Plus? And what about Spotify's Greenroom? Anybody? Twitter Spaces? 87:10 Serina, what's the latest in Audio Description and ADP? 96:41 Raqi, what's new at SF Lighthouse and the Adaptation Store? 101:22 Jesse, How is SSB and the Illegally Sighted doing? 107:37 Lisa, What's new at Hadley? 112:20 Jeff, how is the blind hockey journey going? 113:30 Thanks for listening. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101 - Sending Audio Messages: Personalizing Your Messages Through Settings and Voice

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 8, 2021 7:39

    Blind Abilities adds to their iPhone 101 demonstration series library with this short but informative walk through sending audio messages using the Messages app and iOS. Pete Lane guides us through this simple, yet time-saving process which involves confirming your settings, summoning Siri, using the raise to talk and raise to listen features to enhance simplicity, and a step-by-step demonstration of each button and element within the messages app. this feature can save some valuable time when you're on the run, or when you just don't feel like sending a text message to a family member, friend or colleague. Simply summons Siri, as described in our previous iPhone 101 episode, or go directly to the app and save time either way. Additionally, an audio message adds a personal touch to your communications. As usual, Pete attempts to include some entertainment,  but his  Ultimate success, of course, will be yours and yours alone to judge! So sit back, relax and enjoy this iPhone 101 demonstration. The podcast is brief, but it may pay dividends in the time and energy that it saves you down the road! Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Musicians Spotlight Series: Brian Snowman Powers: Sound Engineer, Teacher and Musician, It's All About the Sax!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 5, 2021 30:57

    As part of the Musician's Spotlight series, we are proud to bring you Brian Snowman Powers. Brian is a sound Engineer, Teacher and Professional Sax Musician. Here is our interview with Brian Snowman Powers from 2018: Brian powers grew up with the challenges of bullying and being just a bit different. Brian has Albinism and is legally Blind. From his days in K-12 to his journey into the music industry, Brian shares his challenges, his resolve and his passion for music. Brian has contributed his successful transitions into school, work and setting up his business to the help he received from State Services for the Blind of Minnesota. From providing visual devices, guidance and support Brian has utilized the services provided by State Services at every crossroads along his education and career. Brian Snowman powers on stage playing the Saxophone. Brian is setting up his new studio in the Uptown section of Minneapolis, Minnesota and by the time you finish listening to his podcast, he will probably be sitting behind his sound board mixing another client's creation. Brian plays the Saxophone and has done so for over 32 years. From playing with National bands to the local scene in Minneapolis, Brian's clients that look him up for recording come from all around the World. Join Jeff Thompson as he talks to Brian Snowman Powers and hear the beautiful Saxophone music played by Brian. You can find more of Brian's music on his SoundCloud web site. You can stay up to date with Brian and his band on his Facebook page. Whether Brian is mixing, recording or gigging with the band, Brian is living out his love of music, sound and not letting his visual impairment stop him from envisioning and realizing his dreams. Thank you for listening. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Hey Siri! What Can You Do? I'm Here to Help!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 2, 2021 20:52

    Blind Abilities gets back to its iPhone 101 series with a comprehensive review of a multitude of tasks aimed at helping us better understand what Apples much-maligned personal assistant, none other than Siri, can do for us, and what he or she cannot do for us. Pete Lane takes us through dozens of task and commands, ranging from simple to complex, and demonstrates how many are truly convenient and easy to perform. Be aware that the phrase, Hey Siri, is used through out this episode; headphones recommended. Join Pete as he meticulously demonstrates each step of every command, beginning with Siri Settings, each press of a button or verbal command, each response and each adjustment needed to settings or apps to ensure Siri's actions are on target. When the dust settles, there are only a few tasks which cannot be completed by the Apple Personal Assistant. Sit back and listen closely as Pete moves quickly through actions like asking the time all over the world, setting alarms and reminders, performing math computations and measurement conversions, searching for text messages, composing What's App messages,  emails and audio messages, and much much more. Of course, a Blind Abilities podcast would not be complete without a full dose of music. Listen as Pete orders Siri to identify a song, play a song from a streaming service or his music  library, play a radio station, and more! Pete's recommendation is that, like using any kind of technology, we need to get used to using it. We may just find it is something we will find beneficial, and save us valuable tine in our daily routine. You can leave us some feedback at Info@BlindAbilities.com and leave a voice message at 612-367-9063. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    General and Personal Life Tips for Home, Travel and Every Day from a BVI Perspective

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 30:29

    As the times seem to be looking like we may be headed back to the office, meetings and possibly conventions, we find ourselves getting more opportunities to socialize and stretch our distance from home. This last 18 months has been a new experience for us all and with the "opening up" of travel, although limited, we put together some personal and social tips that may be of help to some of you and maybe to some of your friends newly on this journey of sight-loss. Yes, we know we do not want to forget to consider distancing, washing of hands, limiting contact and keeping a mask handy and as we begin to get out more these tips are something you can put in your back pocket and draw from as you may begin to get out yourself. Remember, stay informed, stay strong and stay well. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Musician Spotlight Series: The Complete Story of Johnny Hiland: Legendary Guitarist, , Legally Blind and a Chicken Pickin' Good Person, Too!

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 79:18


    Full Transcript Show Summary: As part of the Musician Spotlight Series we are proud to bring you Johnny Hiland. Johnny is one of the fastest guitar pickers in the world and his playing will surely reinforce that thought. Here is our interview with Johnny Hiland recorded in 2019. We hope you enjoy.   Blind Abilities presents another epic podcast featuring an in depth interview with an amazing guest. Johnny Hiland is a highly successful and well-respected musician, a fantastic country guitarist who is widely recognized as one of the fastest “chicken pickers” in the world. But his musical expertise is not limited to the country arena. No, Johnny has mastered rock, blues, swing, medal and almost any other genre into which he chooses to go, whether in the studio with the likes of Hargus (Pig) Robbins, or Phil Keaggy, or on stage with Sammy Hagar, the 392nd Army Rock Band on July 4th, or with his childhood hero, Ricky Skaggs. Johnny is also an active teacher, giving guitar lessons live or on line, and as an expert “gear head,” sharing his uncanny knowledge of guitars and related gear with listeners.   As expected, Jeff and Pete delve as much into Johnny's childhood, education and his feelings about his blindness as the “fun stuff” relating to his music. Listen as Johnny opens doors to issues and thoughts which he previously never explored and learn how this accomplished mainstream musician has dealt with life in the industry: on the road, on stage and in the studio recording one of his top selling albums. As usual, this podcast is laced with lots and lots of musical excerpts from Johnny in all aspect of his career as one of the most widely sought-after guitarist in the world.  We therefore title this podcast: The Complete Story of Johnny Hiland. This epic interview will leave you inspired, motivated and wanting to hear more from Johnny Hiland!    Be sure to check out everything you want to know on Johnny's web site: www.JohnnyHiland.Net  Also, be sure to follow Johnny on Facebook, at JohnnyHilandOfficial, and tune in to his weekly live videos in which he and his lovely wife Kim chat with fans in a relaxed home setting. Finally, you can find Johnny's albums on most of the regular outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and other streaming services. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group


    Musicians Spotlight Series: John Kay: from Rock Star to Elephants, We Were All Born To Be Wild #Steppenwolf to #MaueKayFoundation

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 85:52


    In the first part of our Musicians Spotlight Series, we bring you John Kay from Steppenwolf Fame which brought us such great hits as Born to be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride, The Pusher and 50 years of John Kay music and his work with NGOs helping Elephants survive as they, too, were Born to be Wild. John Kay: from Rock Star to Elephants, We Were All Born To Be Wild #Steppenwolf to #MaueKayFoundation Show Summary (Full Text Transcript Below) John Kay reveals his journey from escaping the Iron Curtain, getting on with limited vision, his passion for music and his love and commitment for wildlife and especially elephants. Ironically, I first learned about John Kay being legally blind from Dan Gausman, a librarian at State Services for the Blind of Minnesota. A client requested to have the Communications Center record an audio copy of John Kay's 1994 autobiography, Magic Carpet Ride. This is a service provided to people who are blind, visually impaired, dyslexic or have difficulty in reading the printed word. Dan mentioned that John was legally blind. This I did not know. John Kay explains his vision and how it led him from behind the Iron Curtain to the freedoms of West Berlin, his adventures as a youth and his days at Sight Saving school in Toronto. Canada. Most importantly, John talks about feeding the fire, feeding his passion for music and for the protection of wildlife. John Kay is transforming from Rock Star to Wildlife Advocate as his touring days with John Kay and Steppenwolf come to a well-deserved rest after 50 years since the release of the first Steppenwolf album. John is ready to make this transition as he has been devoting his time and proceeds from his touring over the last 10 years towards John and his wife Jutta's Maue Kay Foundation, and NGOs, Non-Governmental Organization, similar to a Non-profit organization, that focus on the protection of wildlife. Image of Elephants provided by MKF Join Jeff Thompson and Pete Lane as they sit down with John Kay and learn about John's continuing soundtrack of his life, his experiences and his focus on the years to come. This podcast is over 80 minutes long and we suggest kicking back and enjoy this epic interview with one of the great social and political voices with us today. My son asked me while he drove us home from the John Kay and Steppenwolf concert September 29 in Prior Lake, MN, why don't today's bands make statements about causes anymore? I thought to myself and wondered… is John Kay one of the last? Maue Kay Foundation Logo Here are some links that will let you know more about his music and his foundation. I suggest starting here, Steppenwolf.comwhere you can dive in and find out about everything Steppenwolf, purchase their swag, read articles and more about John Kay. Be sure to get their latest release, a 3 CD set titled, John Kay and Steppenwolf-Steppenwolf at 50. Included in this 3-disk set is an entire CD of John Kay and Steppenwolf live. You will learn and enjoy this collection of hits, and somewhat over-looked songs from 1967 to 2017. That is where you will find all the music used in this podcast, John Kay and Steppenwolf-Steppenwolf at 50. Follow John Kay and Steppenwolf on Facebookand on Last.FM Be sure to check out John Kay's web site. Where you can find links to articles, interviews, his solo music, the elephant sanctuary and the Maue Kay Foundationand learn about the passion and selflessness that John and Jutta and others are doing to protect wildlife around the world. And an Elephant size Thank You to John Kay for taking time to conduct this interview and to Charlie Wolf for all that you do and whom I met at the concert in Prior Lake, Minnesota. Glad I could support the band and I love the T-Shirts. By the way, the concert was Great! Thanks for Listening! You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Store. Get the Free blind Abilities App on the Google Play Store Full Transcript John Kay: From Rock Star to Elephants, We Were All Born To Be Wild #Steppenwolf to #MaueKayFoundation John Kay: To become aware of how special they are. I'm a big elephant lover you might say. Jeff Thompson: Blind Abilities welcomes John Kay, wildlife activist. John Kay: My vision got me probably out of Communist East Germany and my vision very definitely kept me out of Vietnam. Jeff Thompson: Who happens to be a rockstar. John Kay: They were all telling her, “You got a legally blind, penniless musician, and that's your future? I think you can do better than that.” Jeff Thompson: John talks about his limited vision, his band, Steppenwolf, one's inner voice, and following your passion. John Kay: There's an old snide remark, what do you call a musician without a girlfriend? You call them homeless. Jeff Thompson: I would like to thank Dan Guzman of the Communication Center at State Services for the Blind of Minnesota, as Dan informed me that a client had requested the autobiography of John Kay to be converted into audio format. Dan also informed me that John Kay was legally blind, and this started the process that led me to the interview of John Kay. John Kay: Hey, we all got stuff to deal with, kid, just get on with it. You learn how to figure out workaround solutions for what you're dealing with. Jeff Thompson: Hello, John Kay. I'm Jeff Thompson, and with me is Pete Lane. Pete Lane: Good morning, John. It's an honor. I'm Pete Lane. I'm in Jacksonville, Florida. Jeff is in … Jeff Thompson: Minnesota, Pete. Pete Lane: Yeah, Minnesota. John Kay: I'm in Santa Barbara. Jeff Thompson: What's the tie to Tennessee then? John Kay: I lived there for 17 years. In '89 my wife and I were a little tired of Los Angeles beehive activity. We said, “If not here, then where?” To spare the other boring details, we wound up just south of Nashville, Tennessee. In our travels with Steppenwolf we had played there several times. We'd met a lot of friendly people. It's a beautiful area. Lots of music, obviously. We were out in the country, and lots of privacy, and had a recording studio and our tour bus. We just relocated what we called Wolf World out there. For the following 17 years that was home. It was a good period during our life to be a little bit away from large cities. Jeff Thompson: Great. Pete Lane: Do you have an elephant reserve, do you not, still in Tennessee? John Kay: I don't, but Tennessee certainly does. While we lived in Tennessee, we became aware of the elephant sanctuary in Hohenwald, Tennessee, which was about, I don't know, maybe 40 minutes drive from where we lived, which was near a little town called Franklin, Tennessee. John Kay: Anyway, one thing led to another. Eventually my wife got involved with the board of directors of the sanctuary, and then they're after our daughter, who's all about animals, so from childhood wound up becoming a caregiver to three large African elephants. She was there for several years. It was like the Peace Corps slogan, the toughest job you'll ever love. She did love it, but she's rather slender in build and developed arthritis. The doctors told her she should quit, which she had to do very reluctantly. John Kay: However, the sanctuary of course continues doing very well. It's a wonderful place for often abused, neglected, sick, old circus and zoo elephants to finally live amongst their own kind without any human intrusion. They have 2,700 acres of rolling hills and woods and waterholes for them to swim in. Once you get to know elephants, because our foundation is involved with African elephants-focused NGOs in Africa, in Kenya, Tanzania, and the like, once you get to spend a real amount of time with them out in the wild, in those places where they aren't traumatized by poaching, you become aware of how special they are. I'm a big elephant lover you might say. Pete Lane: I was reading on your website where you posted the awareness of the elephant sanctuary in Tennessee and how they live a lifestyle that they never get to live when they're held in captivity. John Kay: Exactly. It used to be this way, and I don't suppose that has changed, the number one killer of captive elephants was foot rot, because unlike in the wild, where they walk up to 50 miles on relatively soft, sandy soil, in captivity they are often forced to stand on a solid concrete floor, and that's not good for them, so eventually they … One of the rescues, Tina, which came from the Vancouver Zoo, when she arrived, they had to … I was gonna say, one of the sandal makers, I can't think of the name of the brand right now, they actually made a pair of very soft boots for her because she was suffering so badly. Unfortunately, she died a couple of days before those boots arrived. I saw the bottom of her feet, which were just terrible situation. John Kay: They don't belong in captivity unless you can have a relatively good number of elephants together in a large area where they can at least simulate the kind of life they would have in the wild. Pete Lane: 2,700 acres is a large area. Do you know how many animals are on the preserve? John Kay: I think at the moment they have somewhere in the neighborhood of close to a dozen Asian elephants. They fenced off a section of the 2,700 acres for the African elephants, which are much larger, and thank goodness in relatively good health. They're larger and younger and very active, so they keep them away from the Asians, that are older and more docile. I believe right now they have about four Africans, because the Nashville Zoo I think has two of them that are there at the sanctuary now. I don't know whether they will stay there long-term, but that's what's going on there right now. John Kay: It's quite an amazing place, and so much has been learned about how to look after these creatures, and from the standpoint of veterinarian care. The research, both in the wild and in places like the sanctuary, on elephants continues, because there's still much to be learned, even though people like Joyce Poole has been studying their communication skills and language and rumbles and all of that for over 40 years. They're still working on figuring out what goes on that's beyond the grasp of science right now. Jeff Thompson: We'll be sure to put a link in the show notes for that. John, your story is quite interesting. I'm doing some research, and I just came across Feed the Fire. I was wondering, hearing about that elephant sanctuary, your foundation, it seems like you stuck to your passions. John Kay: Yeah. That's quite observant and quite spot-on, because long ago as a child, the first time I became aware of something that is I suppose related to passion or rooted in passion is when I discovered the power of music. That oddly enough was … John Kay: My father had been killed in Russia a month before I was born. When the Russian Army advanced on the area where my mother and I lived, I was just a few months old, she took me, and we got on a train headed west, and wound up eventually in a little town that wound up behind the Iron Curtain, and hence we were living under Communism until I was five. When we escaped, my mother and I, by paying off some people and getting through the border, which was patrolled with soldiers and all of that, anyway, we made it. John Kay: The point is that I was about eight or nine years old, living in West Germany, under democracy and freedom, and my mother took me to hear, of all things, an all-male, a Russian choir, the Don Cossacks. This was in a church with great acoustics. It was just a concert. Some of these ancient, incredibly sad songs that these 15 guys with these amazing voices were singing reduced me to tears, even though I didn't understand a word of Russian. I still don't. In fact, my mother was somewhat concerned. It introduced me to the power of music when it connects with your internal core. John Kay: Oddly enough, less than maybe four years later, I had a similar but very opposite experience when I first heard on American Armed Force Radio Network the likes of Little Richard and Elvis and all the rest of the rock-and-roll pioneers. I just had goosebumps, chicken skin from head to toe. Once again, I didn't understand a word of what they were singing, but the music was so primal, so intense, so full of just joy of living I'd say. That was just something that I had to have more of. John Kay: I became obsessed with trying to find this music wherever I could, and of course at a certain point started to have the delusion that someday I could be on the other side of the ocean and learn how to speak English and get a guitar and do this sort of thing myself. Obviously conventional wisdom and the adults were saying, “Yeah, sure, kid. In the meantime, pay attention in school.” Jeff Thompson: It's quite obvious you didn't lose that glitter in your eye. John Kay: Yeah. That's I think very important. It's one thing that concerns me with regards to young people that are raised with constant sensory stimulation and having a virtual life through their little screens that they're attached to all the time. John Kay: I remember once talking to university students, and I asked them, “Be honest. How many of you fear silence?” A number of hands went up, because a lot of them, from the time they're toddlers, whether it's TV or the background music of the supermarket or wherever, whenever there's silence, it astounds them, and it concerns them. I finally said, “I'm here to tell you that unless you learn to find some quiet spots, you may never hear a voice that's in you that is trying to tell you there's more out there. In other words, if you don't hear that voice, you may live a totally external life all your life, instead of finding something that is … ” John Kay: That is the humbling experience that I've had, running into people who all their lives have not been seeking the spotlight, but have been from early on moved by a passion to work on behalf of something greater than themselves. I'm specifically talking about the various people that in the last 15 years, through our efforts in various parts of the world, we've had the great pleasure and honor even to rub shoulders with. It's a humbling thing to see people who are not about themselves, but on behalf of others. You learn from that sort of thing. John Kay: There are a lot of young people who have that capability also. I'm often wondering whether they aren't so barraged with constant Twittering and social media and whatever else is going on that they never have a quiet moment. That's not necessarily a good thing in my opinion. Jeff Thompson: I was talking to Pete earlier, and I was dissecting your song, but you just answered the question for me, that solitude is no sacrifice. John Kay: That's right. You picked up on that. That song has been used by a number of people who wanted to play something for their daughter or son that were about to leave home and go to university or go far afield to do something on distant shores. That's basically it. “Solitude's no sacrifice, to catch a glimpse of paradise.” Jeff Thompson: That's an awesome song. I really like that song. Pete, you've got some questions I'm sure. I've been jumping in here. Pete Lane: John, I'm just honored to be speaking with you. I'm in my late 60s and of course grew up with you and your music and of course Steppenwolf. Until recently I had no idea of how enduring you have been and how diverse you are in your view of the world and society. I just want to compliment you on that for starters. John Kay: Thank you. That's very kind of you and generous. I would hope and think that I will continue to be still in a lifelong learning process of clumsily following the footsteps left by others that have preceded me with their examples of how to nurture their humanity and how to have a purpose in life beyond just mindless consumption and amusing themselves, as the book once said, amusing ourselves to death. It's something that keeps the inner flame burning, and been very, very fortunate in many different ways, currently still healthy, thank goodness. Any day when you remain vertical is a good day. Pete Lane: Absolutely. John Kay: There are so many out there who lead with their example. I have met some of them who have been inspirational. Every so often, some young people come along, say, “Hey, I came across your music, and it has given me some stuff to listen to when I have to get over one of the speed bumps of life, and thank you for that.” It's a generational thing. I'm still focused on the ones ahead of me. There are younger ones that have found something in what we have to offer of a value that went beyond just musical wallpaper, but with no real substance that you can use for your own. John Kay: There's so many out there who have written songs and played music practically all their lives, which has given sustenance to the rest of us, or the listeners, and have had personal little anthems that we go to when we need to have a moment of rejuvenation through music. John Kay: I sometimes talk to people who say, “You're talking about all these other people doing great work, making music that gives great pleasure and joy to people. It's not a bad way to make a living either.” While I agree with that, music will continue to be something that I do on occasion, meaning once in a while I have a desire to write a song or two, irrespective of whether they will ever be recorded and commercially released. I've performed at fundraisers and things like that. Music continues very definitely to be part of my life. John Kay: By the same token, I am very much now focused on bringing the word to a lot of people, who once they know what we are losing, meaning wildlife, we've had this number of times, we're talking to people who are well-educated, quite engaged, very successful in what they do, and when we talked about that an elephant was being killed every 15 minutes for their tusks and that we, at this rate, 15 years from now, may no longer have any living in the wild, and the same holds for the rhinos and numerous other species, they're aghast. They're, “I didn't know that. This is terrible. Who's doing anything about it?” Then further to that, “Who can I trust with my money if I want to help?” John Kay: That's really what our little foundation is about. We have been supporting various entities. I think at this point we're at 16 different NGOs we support annually for about 15 years. We're the ones who are a little bridge between the boots on the ground who are fighting to preserve what remains, and those who are willing to help provide it, there's some assurance that their money will go to the boots on the ground. We're the ones who can vouch for a number of wonderful people at NGOs. Because we have born witness to the work they do, we're going to back to Africa next year to look in on several of the NGOs again. That's my role of both my wife and I. John Kay: In fact, this year's the last year that Steppenwolf will be performing. We have six more engagements to play, the last one October 14, and after that the wolf will go into hibernation, if you want to put it that way. My emphasis is now on … I assume both of you are familiar with TED Talks. Jeff Thompson: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Pete Lane: Yes. John Kay: With that in mind, although the following is not a TED Talk per se, because those talks are limited to 18 minutes in length, mine is more like an hour and 15 minutes, but what it is, it's similar to a TED Talk, in the sense that I'm up on stage giving my story, while behind me on a screen there are many, many still images and short video clips and so on. The whole thing is called Born To Be Wild: From Rock Star To Wildlife Advocate, John Kay of Steppenwolf and His Journey of Transformation. John Kay: It basically starts with my early life and how I got out from behind the Iron Curtain and was enthralled with American rock-and-roll when I grew up as a teenager in West Germany and made it to Canada as an immigrant, got my first guitar, and then got into music more and more, and of course the story of Steppenwolf, and then how gradually over time we, my wife and I, through our travels, went to Cambodia, where we saw the killing fields, and we got involved with building a school there, which was the start of our foundation, and then Africa and so on down the line. John Kay: Basically at the end of this presentation, towards the end, after having shown what we do, where, and who is doing what in Africa and Asia and Borneo and so on, it's basically a pitch of saying, “Now that you know, if you didn't know already, you can use our website as a gateway to other NGOs or you can support what we do directly, but do it for your grandchildren's sake or do it to honor the 2,000, almost, African rangers that have been killed by poachers in the last 12 years, or do it simply because our fellow living beings have very little left to call their home, and they too have a right to exist.” Pete Lane: Unbelievable. Jeff Thompson: That's awesome. I love the way you talk about your passion that you even have today. Pete and I both met because we had a passion for recording. One story that really caught my attention is when you were in Toronto and you received your reel-to-reel, and I don't think you listened to the books as much as you wanted it for recording music. John Kay: You got that right. It was a scam from the get-go. I said, “I don't need talking books. I can read books, even though I gotta read them with my nose.” I said, “I could use it for something else.” I was just simply appalled at what came out of that dinky little speaker that was built into that Wollensak tape recorder, because when I tried my hand at recording my first efforts of playing guitar and singing, I said, “I don't sound like that, do I? This is terrible.” It was sheer ego that kept me going, said, “One way I can get better if I keep at it.” Hope springs eternal. Sometimes you simply have more luck than talent. Pete Lane: John let's talk a little bit more if you don't mind about your eye condition. Talk about that a little bit. Let's start if you don't mind a little bit in your early years and maybe focus in Toronto when you were moved into is it Deer Park, that Deer Park school? John Kay: Yeah, that was the sight-saving classes. It's a strange thing, with respect to my eyes. When I was still a baby, lying in one of these carriages that back in those days were typical, I think the English call them prams or whatever, living in this tiny little town in what was then East Germany, I would cry whenever the sun was in my eyes. John Kay: When I was older, my mother took me to an ophthalmologist, and he said, “He obviously has very, very poor vision and he's very light-sensitive.” The only thing he could think of at the time was that, “His condition might improve if he had a better diet,” because at that time we were on food rations, and because of where we were, we were eating herring morning, noon, and night, boiled, fried, stewed herring, coming out of the ears. I never touched a fish again after that until I was 40-something years old. John Kay: This is the important point about this. My mother took that as a, “Maybe the doctor's right.” It was that that caused her to take the risky chance of getting caught, imprisoned, or shot by, in the middle of the night, together with about half a dozen other people, getting smuggled by a couple of border guides that worked for the railroad and knew how to time the searchlights from the watchtowers and the dog patrols and everything else. John Kay: We got through, and then it turned out that, this was in Hanover, Germany, West Germany, and of course this was after the war, there were still schools in short supply, having been destroyed, and so there were classes 50 children large, two shifts, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. I was not doing well. It was my mother who was working as a seamstress who managed to get me into the Waldorf school, the private school, which was banned under Hitler because it was far too humanitarian, but which looked after me. There I blossomed, and the eyes didn't play as big a role. John Kay: It wasn't until I came to Toronto that I was back in public school. I didn't speak English yet and couldn't read what was on the blackboard. The school officials got in touch with the CNIB, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, and they said, “We have these sight-saving classes in a, it's just one large schoolroom segmented into two or three different grades, at a public school called Deer Park School, in the northern part of Toronto.” That's where I went for about two years. John Kay: The primary benefit was that, yes, they had textbooks with extra-large print and all that, but I learned English during those years, not just in school, but because of my obsession with listening to the radio all the time, looking for music that connected, I was always having to try and make out what these speed-rapping DJs were saying, because they were yakking a mile a minute. Between radio and the Deer Park School, I got to the point where I got a handle on things. Of course during that period at that school, I was also given this tape recorder on loan. As I mentioned before, I immediately pressed that into service. Jeff Thompson: That's really impressive, just the journey. John Kay: One thing I should add, by the way, was that nobody really knew what was the matter with me. I went to a Toronto University I think, the medical department, ophthalmology I think it was. There I was treated like a guinea pig. They brought in all these medical students and take a look in my eyes and everything. They said, “Oh, you're totally colorblind. Let's see here.” John Kay: They had one of those books where every page is made out of these little mosaic little pebbles with different colors.” Embedded amongst them, so to speak, would be a combination of these colored tiles that spelled something, a letter or a number or something. At the beginning of the book, the contrast between the primary colors versus whatever the number or the letter was very stark. I said, “Yeah, that, it says six, okay.” As we went from page to page, the differences in terms of contrast became more and more subdued to the point where by page whatever, I don't see anything other than just one page of all these little mosaic tiles and pebbles. They would say, “No, actually there is a light yellow whatever something or other.” John Kay: They figured out later down the line that I was an achromat, achromatopsia, that as an additional bonus with that condition comes extreme light sensitivity. Then finally, I also have a congenital nystagmus, which is the eyes shaking all the time. You do the best you can with what you have. John Kay: Now in '63, and this has a point with respect to my vision, my vision got me probably out of Communist East Germany, and my vision also probably, in fact very definitely, kept me out of the U.S. Army and probably out of Vietnam, because when in '63 at age 19 my mother and stepdad, my mom had remarried, decided to move from Toronto to Buffalo, New York, because my stepdad had something going on business-wise, and I joined them there, the first letter that hit our mailbox was from the draft board. Of course I had to show up. Jeff Thompson: Welcome to the States. John Kay: Of course somebody once said that the military intelligence is an oxymoron. I'm not the judge on that, but I will tell you that I had something that made me scratch my head, namely when I was there and I was to have a complete physical, I tried to tell the man that I was legally blind, and of course he said, “We'll get to that, son.” After a very, very thorough, top to bottom, in and out physical examination, he said, “Now read those letters on that chart on the wall.” I said, “What chart?” He said, “You can't see the chart?” I walked a little closer, said, “I see it now.” “What do you see?” “If I can step a few steps closer … ” “Yeah, you can.” “Okay. I think there's a large capital A at the top, and the rest is guesswork.” He harrumphed about, “You could've said … Never mind.” My designation was 4F. I asked him, “What does that mean really?” He said, “Son, in your case it pretty well stands for women and children first, before you. Nobody's gonna put a rifle in your hands.” John Kay: It was one of those things where during those times, because in short order I went to the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, to hear the greats, and I was amongst tens of thousands of young people my age, of course many of them, at least 50% or more, being young men. The draft in the Vietnam War was very much on everybody's mind. I could relate to their concerns about going off to a foreign land. This case, I would imagine my eye condition did me a service. Jeff Thompson: That was probably a baptism into the social issues of the United States coming from Toronto for you. John Kay: That's very true. That is very true. Sometimes you have the aha moment decades after it was already rather obvious. In certain ways, what makes up my musical background in terms of my self-taught things, is to some extent rooted in the early '60s folk music revival, in my visits to not just the 1964 but also the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. '65 of course I saw Dylan go electric. That is that I had already, because of my baptism with rock-and-roll, by the early '60s rock-and-roll had lost a lot of its punch and we had the pretty boy Philadelphia singer syndrome, like Frankie Avalon, Fabian, and the like. There wasn't much on the radio that I could really sink my teeth into. Here comes the folk music revival. John Kay: While living in Buffalo, a folkie says, “If you really want to know the roots of all this stuff, go down to the main library, they have a music department, which has all of the Library of Congress recording that John and Alan Lomax made in the field. You can listen to Appalachian Delta music. You can hear Delta blues, whatever.” I did that. They would let you take a few albums home every week and trade them out for other ones. I went through the entire thing and gave myself a bit of an education. John Kay: Then when I went to the Newport Folk Festival and saw some of those still alive, those recordings I'd heard, I didn't know that McKinley Morganfield, who was recorded in the Delta by the Lomaxes, was actually Muddy Waters. Here he was with his band playing at Newport, and all of those kind of things. John Kay: The blues, which as Muddy once said, “The blues had a baby and they called it rock-and-roll,” so the blues immediately spoke to me, particularly when I came across some of the lyrics of the chain gang songs and other things. There's a powerful song about … The lyrics go, “Why don't you go down ole Hannah.” Hannah was the name they gave to the sun, “And don't you arise no more, and if you rise in the morning, bring judgment day,” because these are guys, they hated her, because the sun came up, they were forced to work in the field, out of the prison, the chain gangs, and they didn't get any rest until the sun went down. I learned that the blues had a lot more to offer than just, “Woke up this morning, my chicken walked across my face,” and all the rest of the stuff they'd write. John Kay: The other thing was great, was that the likes of Dylan and numerous others of the times were following in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie and writing new songs about the here and now that was of interest to our own age group, because this was the time when the three civil rights workers were killed in Mississippi. I remember hearing, let's see, I can't think of his name right now, it'll come to me later, he was just like Dylan, a topical, as we called them, we never called them protest songs, topical songwriter. I remember he sang it, had just written it, about the killing of these three, at a topical song workshop in the afternoon. His name was Ochs, Phil Ochs. Jeff Thompson: Phil Ochs, yeah. Pete Lane: Phil Ochs, of course. John Kay: Suicide some years later. The refrain of the song was, “And here's to the land that you've torn the heart out of. Mississippi, find yourself another country to be part of.” Jeff Thompson: That rings through with your Monster song. John Kay: Yeah, because the thing that became obvious to me was that songs can have content which is reflective of what's on people's minds. One of the first things we experienced as Steppenwolf was a baby band, when we went on our first cross-country tour and we were still approachable, so to speak, by long-haired kids in bellbottoms who wanted to say hello after the show, a lot of them said, “Those first two albums of yours we got, you're saying on our behalf some of the things that worry us or that we are concerned with.” John Kay: That's the first time we had positive reinforcement that what we were writing about was not just our own individual personal opinions, but it was reflective of what was on the minds of many of those in our own age group. Of course I had experienced that at Newport. It was a galvanizing experience to be amongst 20,000 young people, and they're listening to somebody like a Phil Ochs or a Bob Dylan, and others who were writing about what was going on in our country in the world. Like JFK once said, “And that's the role of the artist, to remind us of the potential we have yet to reach,” in terms of being a just society and all the rest. John Kay: When it came time for us to start writing our own songs, we had of course witnessed, in fact I'd played in a couple of the same coffeehouses as a journeyman folk musician solo act in Los Angeles with the likes of David Crosby and then still called Jim, later Roger, McGuinn and the rest, who formed of course The Byrds. Jeff Thompson: The Byrds. John Kay: Their first album was by and large electric versions of Bob Dylan songs. In fact I was at Ciro's nightclub when The Byrds played, when Dylan showed up and played harmonica with them. That was a photograph on the back of their first album. John Kay: The point is that I took from there, why couldn't even rock music have lyrics that go beyond “oowee baby” and the typical? That's why our first album had songs like The Pusher and The Ostrich and Take What You Need, which was really about the environment, and later, things like Don't Step On The Grass Sam and None of Your Doing, which was on the second album, which was about a Vietnam soldier coming home and nobody understands him and he can't deal with what he had witnessed. Then of course eventually came the Monster album. John Kay: The thing with the Monster album, which was very, very successful, popular on the college campuses, were all these demonstrations which were going on against the war in the campuses, and then of course the horrific Kent State shooting. These were things where what we had to say resonated with a lot of young people. John Kay: What I found interesting was that we after so many years were no longer playing that song as part of our show. Then came the Great Recession, 2007-08, and all of a sudden, a couple of things happened. I can't think of his name right now, he's been a stalwart writer for Rolling Stone for several decades, from the early days on, and he had posted a thing, something like, “I went back to listening to Steppenwolf's Monster album and I was astounded how appropriate it is in the here and now.” John Kay: That coincided shortly with getting more and more requests on our website via email primarily, “Please start playing Monster again.” From about 2009 onward, we've been playing it ever since. It's rare that that song does not get a standing ovation in the middle of the show. Of course it's aided and abetted by visuals that accompany our live performance, not every song, but many. In the case of Monster, it is a 10-minute film that illustrates pretty well what the song, line by line, lyrically is about. John Kay: I remember when we did it for the first time in 2009, our sound man, who's been with us now for over 30 years, and he said, “John, I had the most weird experience tonight, because there was this strange situation with Monster. It was like I was watching a movie that had a soundtrack that a live band was playing, and instead of a narrator telling me what the story was, you were simply singing the story. It was just a really intense experience.” It's been like that ever since. John Kay: Sometimes you write something, and it goes out there like a kid leaving home, and you have no idea what it's doing out there, and then all of a sudden it comes back and say, “I'm still here.” Jeff Thompson: The prodigal song. John Kay: It's been like that for the last 10 years. It's a song that seems to very much resonate about what we are dealing with right now. Pete Lane:         It's funny, John, Jeff and I, again, were speaking before you connected with us this afternoon, and I had prepared a question along those lines. As you did earlier in this interview, you've answered it. Let me ask you this question. It's a slight variation on what we just spoke of. For those of you who don't know, Monster is just a dynamite song. It chronicles the country, the United States from its inception to what was then modern-day U.S. back in 1970 I believe, '71, early '70s. John Kay: Correct. Pete Lane: My question is this. If you were to write that song today, would you title it anything different? John Kay: No, because in my opinion the Monster has almost taken human shape now. Donald Trump: The American Dream is dead. Richard Nixon: I'm not a crook. Donald Trump: We will make America great again! Richard Nixon: I'm not a crook. I'm not a crook. I'm not a crook. Pete Lane: Just a dynamite song. Jeff Thompson: There's another long big song. It was big on the album I bought. You had over I think it was 20-minute long, The Pusher. John Kay: Yeah, that thing. There's a story to be told about that, I'll tell you. You're referring to the so-called early Steppenwolf album, a vinyl album obviously, back in those days. One side was that 20-minute version of The Pusher. That whole thing came to be because it was really a performance done by the band The Sparrow, which I had joined. John Kay: When I was in the early '60s, like so many others, with a guitar, hitchhiking around, playing wherever they'd let me, in coffeehouses and the like, when I returned after a year of being in Los Angeles, hanging out at the Troubadour, doing various things, meeting Hoyt Axton, learning The Pusher from him, etc, and wound up in Toronto again, and York Village at that time, section of Toronto had exploded into this area of just coffeehouses and clubs, all sorts of things. While I played at a coffeehouse as a solo act, I bumped into this Canadian band called The Sparrows, with an S, plural at the time. We joined forces. I started to perform The Pusher with an electric band instead of just acoustically. John Kay: The Sparrows eventually left Canada, because in those days most people did, where there was Joni Mitchell and Neil Young or others, and wound up in the States. We played in New York for a while, got a record deal that went nowhere. I kept badgering them that having seen the formation of The Byrds in L.A., that we ought to go to California. That's what we did eventually, and wound up, through various reasons I won't take time to explain, in the Bay area. There we played on the weekends usually the Avalon Ballroom or the Fillmore Ballroom. During the week we would play different clubs. One of them was a permanently beached paddle wheeler ferry boat in Sausalito called The Ark. John Kay: We were now amongst all of these Bay area bands that liked to stretch out and experiment and jam and do different things. We said, “Hey, we can play songs that are longer than four or five minutes.” We started to do different things. One of them was this ad-libbed version of The Pusher, which was preceded by us doing different instrumental experiments. Steve Miller would come by and sit in and play all the different things. One of the things we'll always remember is that regularly the Hells Angels would come, drop acid, lie down on the dance floor, and stay all night listening. John Kay: We also played a club called The Matrix. Unbeknownst to us, the manager of the club had a couple of microphones suspended in the ceiling. When Steppenwolf later were moving forward into the '68 and '69, when we were quite successful with our first couple albums, we were being badgered to go back into the recording studio, because the label was always hungry for a new product. We had a couple record contracts that obligated us to deliver two albums a year, which was in hindsight ridiculous. John Kay: Anyway, the point is that the label said, “This young man, or this guy showed up, and he has these tapes that he recorded, unbeknownst to you, when you guys were still called The Sparrows, from a show you played at The Matrix in San Francisco. We would like to put it out as a collector's item called Early Steppenwolf.” We listened to it. Of course you can imagine that with a couple of microphones suspended from the ceiling, this was, yeah, a collector's item for those who must just for bragging rights have to have one of everything, to be able to say, “I got everything they ever did.” We hated that. We hated it then, but it bought us time. It bought us time in the studio, because when that thing was released, we got busy on writing and eventually recording what became the Monster album. That was a major step forward. Jeff Thompson: Yes, it was. Pete Lane: Fascinating story. Jeff Thompson: John, I want to go back to you told a story about how kids in school would bully you, but you took their names, you remembered, and you would get them back somehow. John Kay: It wasn't so much in school. What would happen is, like just about everywhere in the world, including the States these days, soccer, what they called football, every kid plays it. They play it barefoot in Africa. Whatever. We did too, meaning the kids in the street in West Germany when I was young. There was a vacant lot next to our little apartment building, and that's where we played. John Kay: During the day, with the sun in my eyes, even with my dark glasses, that wasn't so cool, but the moment the sun started going down, during twilight hours, I'm like a nocturnal creature that can make do with very little light. My eyes open up. I don't squint. I can see much better, not further, just more comfortably I can see things. John Kay: I would join the kids playing soccer. When they figured out that I couldn't always see what was going on, there's an 11-meter penalty kick that's part of the rules, and so when it was my turn to make that kick, some wise ass would put a half a brick in front of the ball, so I wouldn't see it. I'd come with just regular street shoes, no special athletic shoes, and take a run at shooting this ball, and of course, wham, would run my toes right into that brick- Jeff Thompson: Ouch. John Kay: … holding my foot and hopping around on one leg, doing a Daffy Duck, “Woo! Woo!” That did not go down well with me. I was fairly big for my size always, tall. They then of course saw that I was gonna come after them. They also knew that if they managed to run a certain distance, I could no longer find them. I had to learn to say, “This is not the time.” Two or three days would go by, and they would have forgotten about it, and whoever the instigator was would be doing something, and then I would go over there and deck them. They would be, “Oh man, what was that for, man? I didn't do … ” “Yes, you did, and I did not forget, but I hope you will remember this,” and they did. Jeff Thompson: I remember seeing your album covers. I collected albums. There was one of you leaning back, and you're very tall, the way the angle was on it. You wore the sunglasses. When I thought of artists, musicians, I go through Roy Orbison and other people that wore the sunglasses on stage and stuff, I never thought of you. When someone brought it to my attention, State Services for the Blind here, some client wants your book recorded, so they'll take volunteers, record chapter by chapter for the person to listen to. They contacted me, said, “Hey, John Kay, he's visually impaired.” I went, “Oh, that explains the sunglasses,” maybe for the lights on stage or something. John Kay: Absolutely the case. I had learned over time, since I wore dark glasses during the day, certainly outdoors, I got in the habit of keeping them on, because I went, “Spotlights and stage lights, they're pretty bright, and sometimes it's difficult for me to see the guitar fret board, where my fingers go and everything, and so I'll just keep the dark glasses on. Besides, some pretty cool people seem to be wearing them, and so that's just part of the persona.” Over time, meaning literally decades, I learned that I could avoid, provided the spotlights were mounted high enough with a downward angle, I could look under them in a sense, look at the audience rather than up into the bleachers. Gradually I was able to dispense with them on stage, although the moment we play outdoors they go right back on. In fact I have one pair that's damn near as dark as welding goggles when things get really super sunny, Africa's sun is very bright, or the snow is very reflective, that sort of thing. John Kay: Of course I remember one time, we were never the darlings of Rolling Stone, and so there was a negative review of one of our albums. The guy said, I'm paraphrasing, “As far as John Kay's jive sunglasses are concerned,” he went on about something else. Actually, one of our managers felt compelled to write them a letter and point out that those glasses have a purpose for being on my face. He's just like everyone else. John Kay: When I was a kid in West Germany when we first got there, I had a key around my neck, because my mother was a seamstress in other people's homes, so making a living until she remarried, and I had to learn how to get around, to get on this streetcar to get to there, because I was at a daycare center run by the Swedish Red Cross and I had to make my way back home and I couldn't read the street signs. You figure things out, there's this kind of a building on that corner, and markers that you imprint into your memory banks. John Kay: You have to remember, this is a time, post World War II, the Soviet Union alone lost 20 million people. In Hanover in 1949 and '50 and '51, there were tons of people, legs and arms missing and crutches and this and that, those who managed to survive the war in some semblance. It was basically a mindset of, “Hey, we all got stuff to deal with, kid. Just get on with it.” You learned how to figure out workaround solutions for what you're dealing with. I'm certainly one of millions who are having to make adjustments. John Kay: I remember we had a dear neighbor in Tennessee was a Vietnam veteran, Marine Corps, and he was in a wheelchair. He had to overcome his anger and started to meditate and do other things. He said to me, “Hey John, it's not the hand that's dealt you, it's how you play the hand that's dealt you.” He married, had a wonderful daughter. He became a cotton farmer and somehow got onto his tractor, and like so many out there, that okay, he's not perfect, but what are you gonna do with what you got? Jeff Thompson: John, regarding your visual impairment these days, do you use technology, computer, smartphone, anything along those lines? If so, do you use any kind of adaptive tools or screen enlargement features, anything like that? John Kay: I'm lucky enough in the sense that most standard issue devices have features that work just fine. I have a fairly large flat-panel monitor on my PC. Of course with the zoom feature and other things, I can make the font, what I'm reading, as well as what I may be writing, email and Word documents or whatever, whatever I want. The iOS, I have a phone, I have a iPad, they have a zoom feature that's just marvelous. I use that when needed. Some things with Siri or Chicano or something, in the PC world you can actually just ask for certain things to be brought to the screen. I'm learning how to do that more and more. It's a great convenience. John Kay: I really don't have any problems. I've flown all over the world to meet my band mates on my own. I've learned to do … That was a big deal for me, because of … One of you mentioned you had been to our foundation's website. There are a number of videos about the things that we support, and we have witnessed and the wildlife that we see and so on. All of that was shot by me, edited by me, and then narrated by me. Now granted my wife, who is a fine photographer and had no colorblindness like I do, I ask her sometimes, “What about this?” “We can tweak that a little, whatever.” Other than a little color assistance, I do all that myself. John Kay: The reason I can do it primarily is because there are several brands of prosumer or even professional camcorders that have up to 20x optical zoom lens, which gives you an incredible reach from where you are to get a closeup of whatever's in the distance, an elephant, whatever it may be. I use it like a pair of binoculars, because I remember one time we were in Africa and our guide was asking my wife, “He's constantly looking through that thing. Is he always shooting?” She says, “No no no. Instead of picking up a pair of binoculars, then finding something he wants to shoot, putting down-” Jeff Thompson: Good for you. John Kay: “… the binoculars, picking up his camera, he just uses that zoom lens of his like a pair of binoculars, and when he sees something, he just pulls the trigger and starts recording.” Jeff Thompson: That's great. That's neat. John Kay: That's my workaround solution for that. Jeff Thompson: John, there's so much information on your website. I was going through it. That's how I found out about the elephants and your foundation. I also was reading your question and answer, which any of the listeners who are out there, go to his website and check it out, the question and answer, because it answers so many questions. One of them was when someone mentions you are a legend, I loved your response to that. You would say it to if you met Chuck Berry or someone else or something. It was just such a humbling thing that you … Then I believe you met your wife in … John Kay: Toronto. Jeff Thompson: Yeah, in Toronto. Usually when you hear about rock stars and these legends, they've gone through wives, divorces. You're still together. John Kay: We are still together. I was a member of the aforementioned Canadian band in Toronto called The Sparrows. We were playing Downtown Toronto at a place. Between sets, our bass player said, “Hey, my girlfriend is here, sitting over there at that table, and she brought her girl friend. Why don't you join us for a drink or something?” I went over there, and I met this young woman by the name Jutta, spelled J-U-T-T-A. She was from Hamburg, Germany, where she had already as a teenager seen the band that later was to name itself the Beatles and numerous American rock-and-roll stars at The Star-Club in Hamburg. We had some things in common. I liked her a lot. I followed her home that night and moved in with her. We've been together ever since. Jeff Thompson: The longest one-night stand. John Kay: Yeah. The thing is that I, like so many others in the rock-and-roll world, being in our early 20s when we caught a wave as Steppenwolf and we were out there on the road, there's a degree of too much ego, testosterone, drugs, and temptations out there. When my wife sometimes, particularly women ask her, “Was it all roses and rainbows? You guys are still together. What's the secret to your marriage's longevity?” She'll look them straight in the eye and say, “The secret is not getting a divorce.” Jeff Thompson: Rocket science. John Kay: We're very much lifelong partners. We have much, much in common in terms of our interests and where we direct our energy and passion and time. The other hand, rather, she has certain intuitive traits that for whatever reason elude me, and I'm more analytical and more logical in some ways. We're a good fit. It's the yin and the yang together. We hope to remain like that until we are no longer vertical. Jeff Thompson: I have a question about this. When you met her, was your eyesight at the time, did you have to explain to her you won't be driving or something like that? John Kay: Yeah, you're right. Just like my thing that I mentioned earlier, when you're a 12-year-old and you're fantasizing about becoming a rock-and-roller on the other side of the ocean and being told, “Sure, kid,” when I moved in with her, she was a very young, desirable, good-looking woman, some of her friends, there's an old snide remark in the industry, which is, “What do you call a musician without a girlfriend? You call them homeless.” John Kay: When I went back to this other girl that I had been living with, to get some of my belongings to bring those over to Jutta's place, when I showed up at this other girl's place, there was another guy sitting there already, playing the guitar. I said, “Hello, who are you?” He says, “My name is Neil Young. I just came in from Winnipeg and I'm joining this band called The Mynah Birds.” I said, “Oh, cool. I just joined this band called The Sparrows.” In other words, all of us folkies were always looking for a kindhearted woman to put a roof over your head. John Kay: When I moved in with Jutta and we had been together for a while, they were all telling her, “You got a legally blind, penniless musician, and that's your future. I think you can do better than that.” Of course the conventional wisdom, they were absolutely right. The chances of all of this working out the way it did, you'd probably get better odds winning the lottery, if you go to Vegas, they would give you better odds for that, but like I said earlier, sometimes you just have more luck than good sense. It all worked out just fine. Jeff Thompson: That's great. How did you keep your focus? How did you, I keep going back to that song, but your eye on the chart, through all that has gone on with the early Steppenwolf to John Kay and Steppenwolf? What kept you focused? John Kay: That's an interesting story, question rather, because I've had to contemplate that before. I've never felt the need to go see a shrink. I seemed to always get over whatever emotional speed bumps there were. I suspect that the same deeply rooted passion for certain things, be it music, be it a sense of justice, being easily enraged by injustice, that I think is also the touchstone of other things where anger is the motivator and the engine. In the case of Steppenwolf, was very successful, we had various albums, some more commercially successful than others. It wasn't all roses and rainbows, but on the whole, it was a segment of my life that was pretty special, obviously. John Kay: Then came time when the obligations to the band, because of being its primary songwriter and lead singer and front man and all that, became such that I wanted time for the private me, which meant my family, our daughter, who was hardly ever seeing me. John Kay: When I pulled the plug on Steppenwolf in the late '70s, after a rejuvenating period in the mid-'70s on a different label, our little family went in our little family van all over the Southwest. We spent a lot of time in Hawaii, on Maui and stuff. That was quite nurturing and very good for me, but I was also, “Okay, I'm gonna do a solo album, this and that.” It was on pause to a certain extent. John Kay: Then the news reached Jerry Edmonton, the original drummer and co-founder of the band, and friend, that a couple of ex-members of the band were out there using the name Steppenwolf. Then all sorts of boring details as to lawsuits and other things involved, but the news that reached us was generally from fans, saying, “We went to see what was called Steppenwolf, and it was horrible. People were throwing stuff at them. They're trashing the name.” John Kay: We tried to put a stop to these activities, using the legal system, lawsuits and so on. Again, it would take too much time to go into the details. Let's just say that the results, I kept saying, “This legal system is limping along like a turtle with a wooden leg. We're not getting anywhere here with these lawsuits.” It was like whack-a-mole. You'd go after them in this state, they'd pop up in another state. John Kay: Finally, out of sheer desperation and anger, I had a number of musicians with whom I had been playing as the John Kay Band, I called Jerry and I said, “Man, I want to go out there as John Kay and Steppenwolf, because I want to resurrect the name and rebuild it. We'll work out something, so you participate financially.” He was already into his photographer and artist mode. That was fine. John Kay: In 1980 I went out there, driven by the outrage and anger of, “You guys are destroying something that you didn't build. I was the one who called everybody up to see if you wanted to what became Steppenwolf, and I'm going to go out there and compete with you guys on the same low-level clubs you guys have played the name down into, see who wins.” John Kay: We from 1980 on went out there 20 weeks at a time, five shows a week, overnight drives 500 miles, playing in the toilet circuit of bars, where some of them, you wouldn't want to enter those clubs without a whip and a chair. It was just horrible. John Kay: The mantra was, “Yeah, three years ago we were headlining in arenas. That's not the point. If there are 300 people here tonight at this club who are not above being here to hear us play, and we're certainly not above us playing for them, so the mission is every night we gotta send people home smiling and telling others, ‘You missed a really good show,' and all you can do is grit your teeth that that will eventually,” because we ran into, we distinctly remember, a club on the outskirts of Minneapolis, St. Paul. During the soundcheck time, relatively young guy came over and looked me straight in the face, said, “You're not John Kay. He wouldn't play a shit hole like this.” That was the level to which the name had been played down into. John Kay: That really got me aggravated. I said, “I'm gonna kick their butt, not by … The lawyers are still fighting over this and that, but in the meantime, we're getting great reviews and we're going town by town, state by state.” By 1984, after relentless touring in the States, also twice in Canada, by that time we had also released a couple new albums, twice in Europe, once in Australia, we in essence put what we called the bogus Steppenwolf bands out of business. John Kay: While we were at it, since we were somewhat damaged goods, we said, “Then we're gonna learn how to mind the store ourselves.” That's when we had our own music publishing company, our own recording studio, our own merchandise corporation, our own tour bus, huge truck with a triple sleeper, 105 cases of gear, and on and on. To give you an idea of how tight a bond was formed, our entire crew, all four members have been with me for over 30 years. Jeff Thompson: Oh wow. Pete Lane: Wow. John Kay: We took the reigns into our own hands and learned. I did not want to become a paralegal or para-accountant or any of those other things. Almost everybody in our 12-member organization, bus drivers, everybody, wore multiple hats, selling merchandise during the show or whatever. They were all quality people, and we learned how to fend for ourselves, and not just survive, but at a certain point, thrive. We knew exactly where the money was coming from and where it went. Nobody was running off with our loot to Ecuador. Jeff Thompson: What suggestions would you have for someone today who is interested in music like you were, driving your passion from Little Richard, Chuck Berry, all those people that inspired you to follow your passion? What suggestions in today's music world would you give to them? John Kay: Unfortunately, I wish I had some kind of a magic formula to impart to them, but obviously every situation is vastly different, is really I think in the end, I know people who are tremendously talented, vastly more talented than I am, who are not necessarily doing well. I've experienced in the early days where someone whose primary talent was to show up at every opportunity to pitch what they had to offer. It's one of those, “Did you go to that audition yesterday, this morning, or whatever?” “I had a really late-night last night. I'll go to the next one.” How many opportunities are gonna come your way? It's one of those. John Kay: The other thing is, do you have the fire in your belly to handle the ego-destroying rejections, because there are probably hundreds, if you were to take a poll of … Well-known singer-songwriter Nora Jones, that first album, which I love, was rejected I think by every label in town twice. There are stories like that all over the place. John Kay: How do you pick yourself up every morning after, “I'm sorry, it's just not radio-friendly,” or, “You don't really fit into our whatever.” You need to have a pretty intense flame of passion about what you are and what you have to offer. You need to be able to handle … John Kay: You may be the one that wins the lottery, where the first attempt reaches the right set of ears and you've got a partner in your career moving forward, but most likely you will be like so many of the baby acts these days, and some who have been around already for 10 years plus, which is you have to learn how to wear a lot of different hats, the social media stuff, the pitching your music on YouTube or whatever, to endlessly tour in clubs, to build a following, four of you sleeping in the van with the gear, whatever. It'll burn you out if you're not made of something that can handle those rigors. John Kay: Meantime, you have the temptations of, “I want to have a private life too,” depending on whether you're a female or male, an artist, “I met somebody I want to share my life with. At some point we want to have children. This band isn't getting me anywhere.” There are all these things that are strikes against your ability to prevail in this, unless you are one of those who's willing to take those beatings out there, in terms of the rejection and being often the response that you get from reviewers or whatever is not always positive, particularly if you're still in the process of really finding and tweaking who you are and what you have to offer. John Kay: If you're a singer doing other people's stuff, that's one thing. If you are a writer and you really have something to say, that may be an advantage in the sense that if it resonates, you may find what we found in the early days, which is, “Wow, you've become our musical spokesperson. When I play that song, it is my inner voice, having been give voice, by your voice.” If you're one of those who's able to put in words what moves you most, and there are lots of others out there that take your music as their personal soundtrack, then it may still be a long slog uphill, but usually that sort of thing spreads readily on social media. John Kay: We have the Wolf Pack. When we played our official 50th anniversary, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of the band, when we played that official concert to commemorate that at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee last August, and the Wolf Pack fan club was notified of that. We had over 300 Wolf Pack fan members coming from all over North America and at least close to 70 or 80 of them coming all the way from Europe. They all know each other. They're all like the Dead Heads. They have a passion that they share with others. John Kay: If you are able as an artist to reach people in that kind of way where what you have to offer becomes more than just sheer entertainment, then I think your chances of making a go of it are pretty good. Some of more or less my contemporaries that are still writing, still out there, still loved, John Prine, John Hiatt, if you are one of those, or you're aspiring to become one of those, I wish you a lot of good fortune. John Kay: Sarah McLachlan song Angel, it has moved millions to tears. One of the verses that basically I'm paraphrasing, about when you're always being told you're not good enough, you're basically having the door slammed in your face all the time, and the self-doubt creeps in and nobody seems to get what it is you have to offer, those kind of things, they're hard on you. John Kay: You wouldn't want to be a writer, artist, player, whatever, singer, if you didn't have some degree of ego that says, “Hey, I've got something to offer, something to say. I'm up here. Do you like what I got?” That's rooted to some extent in your ego. If you have that ego under co

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    The Universe Just Became More Accessible - Meet Timothy Spuck and the IDATA Project and their New AfterGlow Access Software for the BVI

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 18, 2021 51:37

    Timothy Spuck from Associated Universities Inc.(AUI),, joins Jeff Thompson in the Blind Abilities studio, and talks about his involvement with the IDATA Project.  The chief component of the project is their new and improved software, AfterGlow Access,  that aids  individuals without sight  by converting astronomical images into soundscapes which can be heard by blind and visually impaired (BVI)folks.. This software is readily accessible on the IDATA web site. Here is the page to the AfterGlow Access Software. `Tin explains that astronomical images are nothing more than data points which have typically been converted into visual displays, but which can easily be presented as audio arrays that can be viewed and interpreted  by anyone, with or without vision. Tim discusses his participation with his team members and other partners  on the project, showing both his passion for astronomy, and his strong belief that diversity can improve not only the quality of the science, but its impact on the work on the world in a broader sense as well. Listen to this fascinating discussion about how astronomy can be brought to the BVI community, and listen to some of the “other-worldly” sounds coming from space and our ever-growing universe.  Jeff brings the science down to earth with his imaginative,  common sense perspectives, and Tim continues to astound us with his grasp of astronomical concepts and his impressive imagination for how science can be leveraged in our day to day lives.  as usual, Blind Abilities adds sound to the mix with samples of the audio arrays that are produced by the IDATA project and the AfterGlow software. Try your own hand at interpreting the highs and lows, the timing and distance of the audio presentations of the data normally conveyed as visual images to those with sight. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Store and Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Community on Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group.

    Taking Charge of your Goals, Destination and Education: Meet Hannah Harriman and Her Journey of Transitioning from High School to College to the Workplace

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 17, 2021 28:40

    In the Blind Abilities Studio, Hannah Harriman sits down with Jeff Thompson to talk about her academic and employment journey. From her early days and her Individual Education Plan (IEP) In Grade School to her Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) as she attended the Summer Transition Program, MN State Academy for the Blind and went off to college to her two current jobs, Hannah is excited about her future. Hannah's parents had high expectations and allowed her to take charge of her future through her IEP meetings and her decisions on her educational goals. Hannah never doubted her college education and she talks about how she prepared and advanced through her transition and employment goals. Her high expectations and self-determination has made a world of difference as she handles two jobs in the career that she wanted. You can find out more about the Summer Transition Program and the Minnesota State Academy for the Blind by contacting Sheila Koenig by email and by phone at 651-539-2361. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    Voice over Karaoke on the Apple Music App? Kind of, Sort of, in a Way. Demonstration of the Lyrics Feature with VoiceOver.

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 11, 2021 3:46

    Open up your native Music App on your iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac, MacBook or even on Apple TV, and play a song. Open the mini-player to show the now playing screen and tap on the Lyrics button down near the bottom. With VoiceOver on, you will hear the lyrics just before the singing starts. You can employ Air Play and play the song on your speakers or Apple TV system while VoiceOver remains in your device for clarity, as I see it, or should I say, as I hear it?  Check out this short demo by Jeff Thompson and sing along to your favorite songs with VoiceOver doing the heavy lifting. No, it is not karaoke, however, it gives you a winning chance on reminding or nudging you into the correct lyric. Kind of sorta in a way like karaoke. Hope you enjoy. Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Give us a call and leave us some feedback at 612-367-9063 we would love to hear from you! Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

    iPhone101: Lists, Lists and More Lists - Flicking and Swiping Be Gone,; A Couple of More Efficient Ways to Manage Your Way Out of a Long List

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 12:09

    Blind Abilities adds to the iPhone101 Catalogue with this short, but informative demonstration of how to navigate your way out of a long list. Have you ever found yourself way, way down in your mail Inbox, processing your email, but when finished, you can't get back to the top without having to flick through those endless emails, one at a time? How about the same scenario in your Messages app, or even worse, Facebook Dropbox or YouTube?  Pete Lane offers a couple of quick and easy tips on how to get back to the top of those screens - those dreaded lists, without having to spend your valuable time flicking backwards, or almost as time-consuming, scrolling up the screen using your 3-finger swipe down to go up the list. Join Pete as he shares these tips in a clear and understandable, and sometimes humorous demonstration. Eliminate with the tedious and inefficient flicking and swiping as you learn to use these new techniques. It will save you time in the long run! Contact Your State Services If you reside in Minnesota, and you would like to know more about Transition Services from State Services contact Transition Coordinator Sheila Koenig by email or contact her via phone at 651-539-2361. Contact: You can follow us on Twitter @BlindAbilities On the web at www.BlindAbilities.com Send us an email Get the Free Blind Abilities App on the App Storeand Google Play Store. Check out the Blind Abilities Communityon Facebook, the Blind Abilities Page, and the Career Resources for the Blind and Visually Impaired group

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