Podcast Transcript: Mosen At Large episode 156, Part 2 of our Chromebook tutorial, Amazon removes some email functionality from Alexa, a radio app for your Apple Watch and more

This transcript is made possible thanks to funding from InternetNZ. You can read the full transcript below, download the transcript in Microsoft Word format, or download the transcript as an accessible PDF file.


Jonathan Mosen:             Thank you for the music. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Jonathan Mosen. And this is Mosen At Large the show that’s got the blind community talking. Today, Amazon removes some email functionality from its voice assistant, iPhone hints and tips. Part two about Chromebook review, a radio app for your Apple watch and more.


Whether you’re a first time listener or a regular welcome to you. It is great to have you here. I really appreciate you checking out the podcast episode 156 this week. Wow. And I love putting this podcast together. It’s my little weekend project. Sometimes I do a wee bit at nights over the week so that we have lots of material to bring you. But to be honest, it’s a struggle today. It’s a struggle, because all I really want to do is put the new ABBA album on repeat. Forty years we’ve been waiting for this 40 years and we know it’s going to be the last one Benny and Björn from ABBA have been absolutely clear about this. This is the last ABBA album. And if you have access to good equipment, that will give you the Dolby Atmos mixes, check it out and crank it up.

Speaker 1:                           Crank it up.

Jonathan Mosen:             Exactly just like that. The Atmos mixes are very nice, indeed. The whole album is a delight, just wonderful and incredibly comforting in this turbulent 2021, to have ABBA back with us one last time. I’m just so grateful and thankful that they did that. As we mentioned on the Bonnie bulletin last week, there is a ministry for disabled people being set up in New Zealand. It is due to be put in place by the 1st of July next year. So that’s a pretty tight timeframe and there’s a bit of media interest in this. I was interviewed for a show that’s on Radio New Zealand or RNZ as they call it these days called The Detail. It seems to be quite widely listened to because I’m really pleasantly surprised by how much positive feedback I got on this. And the journalist Sharon Brettkelly did a brilliant job. It’s available as a podcast as well.

If you’re interested in some of the issues that we’ve been talking about over the months. Things like the rampant use of ableist language in the media, the need for disabled people to have greater control over our own destinies, better representation and key institutions of change. It’s all covered in this interview on the show called The Detail. So I will provide a link in the show notes to that podcast if you would like to listen. And I know there’s a little bit of international interest in the concept of a ministry for disabled people in the way that it’s being envisaged here in this country.

One really cool thing that I appreciated about the interview on The Detail was when I was talking about the rampant ableist language that we see in the media, they actually took a number of media pieces and stitched them together. And just one after the other, you hear examples of ableist language being used by the media all the time. So rather than me just referencing it, you actually get to hear it and it was quite effective and it’s really positive to hear so many people saying, “We really didn’t give this enough thought.” And hopefully we are starting to see a bit of a sea change in terms of an awakening of the damage that ableist language does.


Rickson Smith:                   Hey Mr. Jonathan, my name is Rickson Smith. Last time I left a message on everything I was living in Chicago. Had to move out of there and living with family for temporary sick in a small town called Bedford Indiana. Bit of history there is where they got the whole stone for the capital building and all the other buildings in Washington, DC. So little bit of history for you there anyways, calling to thank you for your in-depth tutorial on the Chromebook. I am really looking forward to the next few tutorials that you do on that. I’ve been wanting to get away from the Apple ecosystem somewhat because of how controlling it is and things like that. But have been very concerned about how Google is very lax ethically about how they are lax sharing things from accounts and stuff. Kind of what Facebook does, but I’m also concerned about privacy concerned. Hopefully you’ll touch on those in your later tutorials. Thanks again for all your hard work and looking forward to such work like this last podcast. Thanks again.

Jonathan Mosen:             Well, thanks for calling in again. Rickson and I hope everything’s going well with all of your bold ambitions. Now you’ve made the big move and I know you had big plans and I’m keen to hear how all that works out for you. Mike Duke is writing in, so that’s fantastic. Because Mike and I go back with Jay Doudna to the ACB radio early days and we would sit there. Jay and Mike were a dynamic duo long before I came along and they did the sound for the ACB conventions. And they welcomed me into the fold when we started streaming them through ACB radio. And we had a lot of fun.

Great couple of guys and Mike Duke is writing in. He says, “Hi Jonathan. When I saw in today’s Top Tech Tidbits email that you had a segment on the Chromebook in your current podcast, I grabbed it immediately. I bought an Acer model about three months ago, but haven’t done much with it beyond occasionally using it to check my office email remotely. Just on my initial skimming through the segments, without the unit in front of me, I learned a lot. Very soon, I will go through the tutorial, hands on and put it to real use. In other technology news. I am once again, working from home. In early July, there was a roof leak at my office when maintenance went up to check on it, they happened to notice that a corner of one of the structures that housed the air handlers was sinking into the roof. There are 10 of these structures, each weighing at least 5,000 pounds. So out of the building, we went until they could be secured enough to begin the replacement work, the replacement of the roof and the structures should begin next week.

So I look to be out of the office through Christmas. I’ve had great fun telling people that I am working from home due to gravity. Amazingly when I explain it, not one person thus far has suggested that I deny science. I am using the remote control function of System Access and the Serotek network to control my StationPlaylist machine. That allows me to keep the audio current, tweak the schedule and even restart the machine if necessary.”

Thank you very much, Mike. And it’s great to hear from you. I would be interested to know, and I could go to the source actually in the near future and maybe ask this question. What the advantages are of using the Serotek solution over Microsoft, Remote Desktop, which is what I’m using to maintain the mushroom pot machine that powers mushroom FM on those occasions. When I need to remote into it, it’s built into the operating system and it also works really well with JAWS.

I guess if you’re not a JAWS user, I get that because Microsoft Remote Desktop is not available for all screen readers, but that’s an interesting thing to explore. And maybe I will ask that question or maybe somebody out there has some insights into that. Good luck with the office renovations Mike and I hope that the Chromebook review is what you need it to be. Lena says, “Thank you so much for the Chromebook review. I am delighted that you are giving us such detail. I have a friend who has many disabilities and she has missed being able to check email and do Google searches. Since she got laid off from work before March 2020. There are some amazing deals on Chromebooks right now, and she is able to afford one. This weekend, I will be working with her to set it up and teach her to use it. Your Chromebook review couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m looking forward to part two.” Says Lena.

Well stand by Lena because it’s coming up, as the Americans like to say momentarily. There were some stats that came out earlier in the week that show that the Chromebook boom is over though. You will recall in part one, I was talking about the explosive growth in Chromebook shipments, but in Q3 of this year, they are way down. So I guess as people return to some degree of normality, in some parts of the world, Chromebooks are not the big thing that they used to be. But they will remain popular in education. And I think they will be popular for those such as the person that Lena describes. Who has a fixed income, wants to be online and can afford to get one themselves. Digital poverty is a real issue, digital exclusion is a real issue. And if you’ve got a viable solution, that’s within someone’s price point, that’s really worth exploring. And we will do that again shortly. So thank you, Lena.

Speaker 2:                           Be the first to know what’s coming in the next episode of Mosen At Large opt into the Mosen media list and receive a brief email on what’s coming. So you can get your contribution in ahead of the show. You can stop receiving emails anytime. To join, send a blank email to media-subscribe@mosen.org that’s media-subscribe at M-O S-E-N.org. Stay in the know with Mosen At Large.

Jonathan Mosen:             Thabo is writing in from Botswana and says, “I really, really enjoyed your conversation with the guys who create Voxmate, that is such a wonderful app to play around with. However, poor me Voxmate is not available a Botswana play store hopefully with time.” Well, I would definitely suggest contacting Voxmate and seeing if they know about that. Whether it’s some sort of deliberate strategy, it may just be that they need to push a few buttons and submit it there.

He continues. “Now let’s talk about what I use my Echo Dot for, and there’s a list, email reading and replying. The soup drinker reads and replies to what’s in my email address. So I enjoy the benefit of attending to my emails hands free. We’ll come back to this in a minute. Two, make notices and set reminders with this virtual world full of meetings and webinars, the soup drinker serves me right.

Three at times I do not need a bit of music different from the one I am subscribed to. And I just ask the soup drinker to sing to me. On this point, you can also ask the soup drinker to tell you a poem. Four, you can have a somewhat live chat with the soup drinker. Of course, it is not a live chat, but you can just tell her the topic you’d like to talk about such as movies or music. Then she will ask you continuous questions on that, then you can have an ongoing conversation. To get that, just say to the soup drinker, ‘Let’s chat.’ She will then open one of the social bot skills. Well, of course, it’s interesting that people assign genders to these virtual assistants because mine now has the wonderful male voice, which I far prefer on my soup drinker.

Five, games. There are several games such as the Beach Tycoon that Mr. Hamilton can play.” Oh, Mr. Hamilton, he’s referring to Dean Charlton from Hamilton. I was wondering who Mr. Hamilton was, Dean lives in Hamilton, in New Zealand, but his name is Mr. Charlton. Anyway, “Can play with the soup drinker. Six sounds. He may ask the soup drinker to play rain sounds and why stop there because you can play cat sounds, car sounds, animal sounds, sleep sounds, et cetera.

Seven I’m thankful my religion Jehovah’s Witnesses has a soup drinker enabled skill for our material, such as the The Watchtower, monthly broadcasting, the Bible, our music and all that. So I do use my Echo Dot for that as well. In any language that the skill has. Eight talking of language. One thing I usually do with my soup drinker is to ask her phrases in other languages.

Nine, whisper mode.” Woo that’s creepy. Isn’t it. “At times, I just decide to whisper with a soup drinker just for the fun of it. Ten, last but, not least cooking recipes. I just ask the soup drinker what’s for dinner. Then she will give me a huge list of recipes for me to make my pick. So really Mr. Mosen,” he says, “there’s really much that Mr. Hamilton,” this is Mr. Charlton, “can do with his found friend, the soup drinker through the Echo Dot. Before I close, I wish to inform you Jonathan, that I am working on a big project with a certain company called Rams Recreational. It deals with robotic inventions and they are now working on something big for the blind community. Perhaps it’d be nice if you talk to them one day.” Yes. By all means, have them contact me when ready will take a look at it.

“Thank you, Jonathan. And thank you so much valuable audience for the comments you always make. I learn a lot from you.” Well thank you for writing in from Botswana. It’s wonderful to hear from you. And let’s just circle back to one of those items on the list about what people do with their soup drinker enabled device, such as the Echo Dot or any Echo. And there is the soup drinker built into many devices these days, including Sonos products, optionally and Bose products, and a lot of other things. There was an announcement that came through earlier in the week that caught people by surprise in which Amazon has said that they’re going to be discontinuing email support for the soup drinker. Now I got this email and Brian Gaff has also written into me about this. The email says that from the 8th of November, so very, very shortly, they were really quick about this.

You will not be able to link your Google or Microsoft account for email. The email stresses that if you use your calendar functionality from your Google or Microsoft account, with the soup drinker that is still going to continue. I have from time to time used this with my Microsoft account, but not with any other of my accounts, which use IMAP. So the email was very clear that you can’t use this as of the 8th of November to work with email from Gmail or Microsoft. But I don’t know whether it’s continuing for general IMAP accounts or whether it ever did support those. So if you use this feature with an IMAP account, let me know whether it does work and whether it still works after the 8th of November. But there’s no doubt that if you use Gmail or Microsoft accounts, and that’s a lot of people who choose to use email with them, then you are going to lose this functionality.

I remember reading in 2018 when this feature came online, that what happens is that emails are retrieved from your server and stored in Amazon’s cloud somewhere. And it sounds like I’m just theorizing here that this move is a privacy related issue. That Amazon is being pinged perhaps by Microsoft and or Gmail for storing people’s email in a separate service in the Amazon cloud. But I guess that is something that users have opted into presumably knowingly and willingly. So how does this affect you? Do you use this email feature that they’re taking away from the soup drinker and how do you feel about that? Isn’t it interesting that this has come so close to Apple’s problems with email reading by Siri, but I think that is absolutely coincidental.

In Siri’s case, it was all about the change to more offline processing and the email seems to be collateral damage, they now have addressed that. So if you’ve got any views on this, by all means, be in touch.(singing)

Let’s talk Apple things as we often do, and start off with an email from Lindy who says, “Hello, Jonathan, I was interested in your answers to Haya Simkin’s question about keeping the iPhone locked or not. You commented that you set up new iPhones with the automatic locking screen turned off. Is this just when using GPS? I’m wondering firstly, how you manually lock the screen? And realize that this is probably a very basic skill, but I don’t really know how to do it. Secondly, if the screen is unlocked at other times, VoiceOver tends to be constantly chattering, i.e if the phone is up against other surfaces. So is turning the locking off when using GPS or at all times? Otherwise there is constant audible feedback and if not, what am I missing? Thanks again for your informed tech advice and uninhibited expression of your opinions. I always learn something. ” Well. That is very kind of you. Thank you so much Lindy.

To lock the screen. All you have to do is tap the side button, just give it a tap. So that’s the same button that you used to invoke Siri that will lock the screen. You tap the side button again to wake it up. So it’s a toggle. And no, I always have my automatic screen locking disabled. I don’t like the screen locking just because I haven’t touched the screen for a while. If I want to lock the screen, then I’ll just tap the power button and lock it whenever I want to do it. But I don’t want the phone timing out. In fact, when I’m in my office and the phone is just sitting here on my desk, I leave the phone unlocked all day long.

Now I have my brightness. As I said, last time we talked about this set to 0%. I also have my screen curtain on. There is some debate about whether Screen Curtain makes a difference. On the older devices, Apple were really clear that it definitely didn’t. But there is some suggestion that on newer devices actually having a Screen Curtain on can save battery life. And why not? I don’t need the screen. So I’ll have Screen Curtain on just in case. And I just have the phone sitting here. It is on it’s awake. It never powers off unless I press the button. And I find that great because I just hear notifications as they come in. If I want to reply, I don’t have to unlock the screen and use Face ID or anything like that. I just do it. And the phone sits here, unlocked on my desk all day long and I love it that way.

And I would never want to go back to the automatic locking of the screen. And I often walk with my phone this way. I carry my phone in my shirt pocket. It’s unlocked. It’s not rubbing against anything. And it just means that I can actually use the phone at any time with it in my pocket to get information. And it just gets piped straight to my Made For iPhone Hearing Aids. And I don’t have to take the phone out of my pocket and unlock it with Face ID. This next email reads. “Hi Jonathan. It’s Peter from Robin Hood County. I hope you and your family are all well at this time, I’m listening to the episode yesterday. There was a lady looking to do more shortcuts using Siri. Well, I listened to another podcast called iOS Today (Audio) and there is a section in that podcast called shortcuts corner.

The two presenters, Mikah Sargent and Rosemary Orchard do a grand job on all iOS related issues. There is also a book called AppleScript 1-2-3, and I got that from a podcast called a Automators hope, this helps.” Thanks very much, Peter. Yes. I think that Iona’s comment was that iOS had made some accessibility regressions with respect to shortcuts. So she knows what she’s doing, but she’s just having some issues executing it because of some accessibility problems that have crept in. But there’s some good hints there for those who want to know more about shortcuts. I’m not familiar with either of those podcasts, but I have read some of Rosemary Orchard’s work before. I believe she was one of the authors of a really good book that I read about OmniFocus, which is an amazing task manager app, very powerful. And she co-wrote a book on OmniFocus.

So she really knows her stuff. Here’s Marisa back again. And she says, “Hi, Mr. Mosen.” We’ve been chatting so long on this show, Marisa, we’re probably on a first name basis right now because Mr. Mosen, that was my dad’s name you see. Anyway, she says, “This issue has been going on for me for quite some time, both on iPhone and iPad Pro 10.5 inch. I sometimes use Siri to send messages to people who have iPhones and others who don’t. I will ask Siri to send a specific contact a message indicating a mobile number. It will ask, ‘are you ready to send it?’ I of course answer. ‘Yes.’ Then the message I sent is sent as an iMessage. It should not as these people do not have any Apple devices whatsoever. I have spoken to Apple accessibility as I primarily use VoiceOver. They had me submit screen recordings, screenshots and system logs.”

Well, Marisa, the only time I have personally seen this is when somebody had an iPhone at one point and then they got rid of their iPhone and they were into Android. But Apple still has in their records, as it were, the fact that a particular phone number is associated with an iMessage. Now, if that happens, you have to get in touch with the person who once had the iPhone and say to them, “You need to tell Apple that you don’t have an iPhone anymore.” And there’s a process that you can go through, which de registers your number or disassociates your number from iMessage.

The other thing it is worth checking is that you have SMS enabled. So if you go into settings on your iPhone and then you scroll all the way down past the screens of options until you get to messages, do make sure that the send as SMS option is on. If it’s off, then this will be a cause of the problem and turning it on should fix it. But if that option is on and if the person that you are texting has never had an Apple device, then I do not know it is not something that I have personally seen, but has anybody else? Let’s see if anyone can come through and tell us what’s going on there.

Ross Wininsky:                  Hi Jonathan and friends across the world. This is Ross Wininsky calling from New Mexico in the United States. I have a problem with my iPhone, that’s kind of spooky, just a little after Halloween here, I had an iPhone 11. It was given to me by a federal program called iCanConnect, was given to people that are blind and also have hearing loss. And on this 11, whenever I would make a call, it would… At the beginning of the call, if actually I made it out, or if somebody called me, there would be this kind of rhythmic dropout, “boop boop boop.” And it would be like, “Hi, are, you, go, where are?” And I would actually believe it or not with a digital phone, shake it. And eventually, maybe 30 seconds to a minute, I would get a good connection if the person hasn’t hung up.

So this went on and on, on, we kept writing to iCanconnect. And they went, “Well, we haven’t heard of this.” Finally, they were convinced because some of the people who administered the program actually heard it happening. And so they did send me an iPhone 12 and I downloaded everything from the cloud. And guess what? It’s now doing it on my iPhone 12. What? There are only two reasons that I can think of it happening. And after talking also to Apple accessibility, one is that somewhere in my software, there was a glitch that got transferred from the cloud. The other possibility, and maybe even more likely is that I use Comcast for my provider and in this location, maybe it’s just that their towers are doing this, but I was wondering if you knew anything or had any guesses, what might be causing this or if any of your listeners might because it’s a real pain in the soup.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh, what language!

Ross Wininsky:                  So thank you so much. And look forward to talking to you all again. Bye-bye.

Jonathan Mosen:             Thanks very much. That does sound frustrating, but there is one way that you can rule out the first possibility, which is that some sort of glitch has been inherited by your iPhone 12. And that is just reset the thing and run it from scratch. Just make the most basic of settings set VoiceOver up so that the speech is at the rate that you like. And then make a couple of calls. If you find that the glitch is no longer present, then that validates option one, doesn’t it. And you can then go ahead and just take some time to set everything up from scratch again. But at least it will have gotten rid of the glitch. If you happen to know somebody who has an iPhone as well, maybe get them over and see if they experience the thing at your location, because if they do, then we get onto option two and it could be a coverage issue.

When you check the status bar at the top of your screen, how many bars of signal are you getting from your cell service? If you’ve got one bar or even two bars possibly, then that would validate that option to some degree as well. Potentially. If that is a problem, then obviously talk to the carrier about coverage, but you may be able to invoke Wi-Fi Calling. Enable this, and you’ll use your Wifi even for cellular calls. And that could clear the issue up. So happy troubleshooting, hate those sorts of issues.

Speaker 2:                           For all things Mosen At Large, check out the website where you can listen to episodes online, subscribe using your favorite podcast app and contact the show. Just point your browser to podcast.mosen.org. That’s podcast.M-O-S-E-N.org.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s talk games. Is there any more fun, a subject than that? And this email says, “Hi my name is Grace. First, I love the show you produce.” Thank you Grace. “I was wanting to write in on Bop it. I’m a blind teenager and I love the game. To some people this might seem weird, but I have almost every version of it ever released. I am still looking for the original from 1996 and the Bop It download.” Oh, well I should send you our Bop It download because no, I’d miss it too much. Even though it’s got some accessibility issues. Grace continues. “Yes, I am blind, but I have light perception and I really am into coding and tech and think I could do it. I know you need windows XP to get the software to work. So three cheers for VMware player. A quick note, the Bop It download is not sold here in the USA, but I found some on eBay.”

Well, I didn’t know that it’s not sold in the USA. We are very lucky. We just walked down the street and picked it up, when it came out. “All the modern Bop Its,” says Grace, “are accessible, but try to avoid the Bop It Smash from 2012 and the Bop It Tetris from 2013, they both use LED lights only. I do not know why. Anyway, I have a question for you, Jonathan, in the original Bop It and the Bop It Extreme. If the batteries go low, sometimes when you turn it on, you get a weird noise, which is just a sign of a small malfunction. Have you ever heard it? It sure scared me the first time. I will attach a small clip of that. It is so rare that it has only happened to me twice. I actually got permission to access someone else’s clip because it’s so hard to get working.

It’s also only on the Bop It, original and extreme. Also, the last thing I want to say about Bop It, is that it is very popular for people who have blindness. I play with them a lot and would almost want to say I am the Bop It champion. I hope you are having a great day. And I’m sorry about how poorly I spell. I am using Braille screen input on an iPhone and struggle greatly with spelling to begin with. It is not because I am blind. My motto is ‘Blind can do anything.’ I hope you remember that.” Well, I certainly agree with you, Grace. Thank you for writing all of that out using Braille screen input and a little hint in case you’re not aware of it, what you can do when you finished composing your Braille screen input, magnum opuses, what’s the plural of magnum opus maybe it’s magnum opi.

Anyway, what you can do, grace is you can rotor out of the Braille screen input and find the misspelled words, option on your rotor and flick up and down. And when you find a misspelling, you can flick right to scroll through the corrections and double tap the correction that you want. But thank you for your very interesting email. I am not aware of a Bop It that you can play with someone online, but maybe there is by now. It’s been some years since we bought any Bop It games. So we’ll have to leave you unchallenged as the World Blind Bop It champion and here an exclusive on Mosen At Large is that sound that Grace referred to… ah, oh my word. Oh, that is horrible. Don’t let the battery run down. Now, this email comes from Petra who, I’m sure she won’t mind me saying, is not a blind teenager. I’m sure that won’t cause any offense. Petra says, “Hi, Jonathan and Bonnie, there is a game called Connect Four, which is totally accessible. I don’t remember which of the stores I got it from because I’ve had it for years.” That does bring back great memories, Petra. I used to play Connect Four with the kids and actually one memory I do have that’s really nice is that when we were living in Whanganui, running the ACB Radio, I got visited by this school child who was working on a project. What kind of project would it have been? Some sort of design project at high school.

And he had decided, what about making a game of Connect Four for blind people. And I think the accessible Connect Four that we had, came from the RNIB in the UK but I said to him, “Sure, I’ll be your guinea pig, I’ll be your prototype.” Because he had thought this up himself. He had a regular game of Connect Four And he suddenly thought, how could blind people play this? He decided to design it himself and he came up with this really good version of Connect Four, where the pieces were tactually distinctive. It was just a really nice thing to be involved in and he was a really great kid actually, who made that. And Petra also says, “Another game I have, I think is called Othello, which is played with black and white checker-like discs, which are textured differently to differentiate.”

“There are also devices which allow you to play a game with a soup drinker.” I think they’re just called buttons, aren’t they? We’ve got some of these but we don’t use them much actually and we couldn’t find that many games that were that exciting. I think we found one trivia game and we played that. Petra continues, “I have four of these.” Yeah, we do too. You can get as few as 2, if that’s the number of people you think you will play against.

“The soup drinker asks questions and the first person who taps their button scores the point.” Well, assuming they get the answer right of course. Yeah. The game I play the most with family and friends says Petra is called Packity. “It doesn’t seem to be manufactured anymore, but it can be found online. You need to Braille with an uppercase B, the cards yourself, and either use Braille dice, trust your playmates or you can have the soup drinker roll the dice for you. The game has a deck of cards with numbers from 2 to 12, but there is no 7.”

“All cards are dealt out evenly until you can’t give everyone another card. I mean that you might have a few cards left that are not dealt. A player rolls the dice and if they roll the number 4 and have a number 4 card, they can play it and roll again. If they do not everyone else who has the four can play theirs and the dice go to the next player, the object is to run out of cards first. If the number 7 is rolled, of course no one has it so everyone has to put a penny in the pot and the turn moves on. There are Packity cards in the deck. If you have a Packity card, you can play it instead of the penny.”

“Every time seven is rolled, the price goes up until it reaches 7 cents. It never goes higher than that. Everyone starts out with 2 quarters, 4 dimes, 5 nickels, and 10 pennies. You lose if you run out of money, even if you still have cards in your hand.” It sounds more complicated than it is says Petra. “But once we played it, it became the most popular game we play. It’s fun because it doesn’t matter if the other players know what cards you are holding, because it depends on the role of the dice. That means children can play also with someone to help them. The player who runs out of cards first wins the pot.” Oh, very nice, can you play with real money? “I have an accessible chess, backgammon and cribbage board too” says Petra. “I don’t know how to play cribbage though.”

“I love games.” Well, me too, Petra. That sounds like a lot of fun. By the way, she says, “I can’t get the soup drinker to play your podcast, but it plays very well on Apple podcast. I enjoyed episode 155, especially the SharePlay. Chromebooks sound interesting also, thank you.” Well, thank you, Petra. There is a knack. There is a syntax to making the soup drinker play Mosen At Large and it is simply to say, play the podcast Mosen At Large with Jonathan Mosen And you can add a service if you want, like on Apple Music and it will work. Play the podcast Mosen At Large with Jonathan Mosen, works every time.

Speaker 3:                           Mosen At Large Podcast.

Jonathan Mosen:             As we continue our tutorial and review of a Google Chromebook, we’re going to take a look at a few more accessibility settings first, but to get there, I need to introduce how you launch apps, how you navigate the Chromebook beyond the Chrome browser that pops up when you first run the device. Going to the launcher is analogous to pressing the Windows key on a Windows PC and activating the Start menu, and then allowing you to navigate the task bar to do that. We press Alt Shift L for launcher. I’ll press that now.

Chromevox:                       Launcher button, shelf, toolbar, window. Press search plus space to activate.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’re presently on the shelf. And you can customize the shelf. This is a little bit like pinning apps to the task bar in Windows. Many of us pin applications that we use regularly to the task bar in Windows, because they’re easy to get to that way. There are shortcut keys that you can use to launch them. You can do similar things in Chrome OS and a little bit later, we’ll go through customizing the shelf so that your Chromebook can look and feel the way that you want. But if I navigate the shelf at the moment to see what Chrome OS has put here.

Chromevox:                       Google Chrome button, YouTube button, Duo button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Google Duo, for those not familiar with it as a VoIP application for audio and video, and you can also make group calls. There is a web cam on this Chromebook. So it’s a really good way to communicate with people. And Google Duo is available on a range of devices, including iOS.

Chromevox:                       Play Store button, web store button.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s what’s on the shelf. Next, if I go right, we’ll get to the status tray.

Chromevox:                       Status tray, time 23:59, battery at 89%, connected to ManAndWiFi 5G, strong signal, comma, comma, comma, using English, US button, window. Press search plus space to activate.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is a little bit like the system tray in Windows. We can see a bunch of information here.

Chromevox:                       Status Tray, time, zero hundred.

Jonathan Mosen:             And it’s just ticked over, oh, it’s a brand new day. Look at that. So that’s the status tray. I’ll go back right.

Chromevox:                       Launcher button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’re back on the launcher. I’m going to press the search key with the space bar to activate the launcher.

Chromevox:                       And sticky my disabled search, your device apps, settings, and web use the arrow keys to navigate your apps, edit text, launcher, partial view window.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is very similar to the Start menu key in Windows. Now that we’re in the launcher and you can type what you are looking for, it could be a particular setting. It could be the name of an app, and the search will narrow down to help you find it. Because this is a Google product, you can actually also perform a Google search from here. I’m going to navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Settings Button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And because I have recently been in settings, settings has come up here in the launcher. That’s actually where I want to be. So we’ll go there, but we’ll come back and explore the launcher and other apps that you can go to later in this review.

Chromevox:                       Settings, settings, settings. Heading one, banner, search settings, search.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now I believe I have sticky mode on so if I press H.

Chromevox:                       Network, heading 2, Bluetooth, heading… Connected devices, people.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m pressing H to navigate by heading.

Chromevox:                       Device, heading 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll have a look at some of these other settings a bit later.

Chromevox:                       Personalization. Heading 2, search engine. Heading 2, apps, developers, advanced, collapsed button, settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And it’s wrapped around. I believe accessibility is actually under advanced, which is collapsed. So I’ll press Shift with H to go back.

Chromevox:                       Advanced.

Jonathan Mosen:             And expand that.

Chromevox:                       Advanced, expanded button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s see if there are other headings now.

Chromevox:                       Date And time, privacy and… Languages and… Files, printing, accessibility.

Jonathan Mosen:             And there we go. That’s what I want.

Chromevox:                       Get image descriptions from Google. Toggle button, not pressed. If an image doesn’t have a useful description, Chrome will try to provide one for you to create descriptions. Images are sent to Google. Press search plus space to toggle.

Jonathan Mosen:             A very good hint there that tells you what this feature does. And if you are a Google Chrome user on other platforms, you will have seen this where Google is using some artificial intelligence to try and describe images for you that don’t have any useful alt text. This is off at the moment. And for now I will leave it off.

Chromevox:                       Always show accessibility options in the system menu. Toggle button, not pressed. Press search plus space to toggle.

Jonathan Mosen:             I would quite like that and so I will toggle that on.

Chromevox:                       Always show accessibility options in the system menu. Toggle button, pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             And keep going.

Chromevox:                       Manage accessibility features, enable accessibility features. Sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s what I want to do. Go in here and turn a particular feature that interests me on. So I will press this button.

Chromevox:                       Manage Accessibility.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll navigate.

Chromevox:                       Manage accessibility features, enable accessibility features to make your device easier to use. Learn more, link. Text to speech, heading to enable ChromeVox spoken feedback. Toggle button, pressed. Open ChromeVox settings, link. Enable select to speak. Toggle button, not pressed. Text-to-speech voice setting, select and customize text to speech voices. Sub display, heading 2. Use high contrast mode. Toggle button, not pressed. Enable full screen magnifier. Toggle button, not pressed. Enable docked magnifier. Toggle button, not pressed. Open display device settings allows you to adjust your screen resolution, sub page button. Open appearance settings, customize your text size. Link, keyboard and text input. Heading 2, enable sticky keys to perform keyboard shortcuts by typing them sequentially. Toggle button, not pressed. Enable onscreen keyboard. Toggle button, not pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             What I’m actually aiming to do is to try and set dictation up. And one way to do that is actually to enable the onscreen keyboard, but there is another way as well. And I’ll continue and try and get that going.

Chromevox:                       Enable dictation, speak to type toggle button, not pressed. Send your voice to Google, to allow dictation into any text field.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s what I’d like to try and get going. So I’m going to press this button.

Chromevox:                       Enable dictation, speak-to-type. Toggle button, pressed. Send your voi…

Jonathan Mosen:             I’ve done that.

Chromevox:                       Highlight the object with keyboard focus when it changes. Toggle button, not pressed. Highlight the text carrot when it appears or moves. Toggle button, not pressed. Navigate pages with a text cursor. Toggle button, not pressed. Switch access, control the computer with just one or two switches. Toggle button, not pressed. Open keyboard device settings allows you to adjust your keyboard, repeat rate, word prediction, and more. Mouse and touch pad, heading 2, automatically click when the cursor stops. Toggle button, not pressed. Show large mouse cursor. Toggle button, not pressed. Cursor color, black default button. Highlight the mouse cursor when it’s moving. Toggle button, not pressed. Open mouse and touch pad device settings allows you to enable slash disabled tap to click and tap dragging. Navigate home or back and switch apps with buttons in tablet mode. Turned on when ChromeVox or automatic clicks is enabled. Learn more, link. Show navigation buttons. Toggle button, pressed. Audio, and captions, heading 2, captions. Sub page button, play the same audio through all speakers, mono audio. Toggle button, not pressed. Play sound on startup. Toggle button, not pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now That is actually quite handy. I like that idea because it just gives me some added confirmation that the device is working just in case something goes wrong with ChromeVox. So I’m going to enable this in the same way that I also have the Windows startup sound turned on on all my computers.

Chromevox:                       Play sound on startup. Toggle button, pressed. Add additional features, open Chrome web store, add additional features, link. Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And Now that noise indicates that we’ve wrapped around. So there is a good list of accessibility features in Chrome OS. And I have enabled dictation. You note that there’s no okay button or anything like that. I can just close this window by pressing Ctrl with w.

Chromevox:                       Toolbar.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we are back to where we were before on the launcher. Having done that, what we’ve done is set up dictation. And what that should mean is that you can press the search key with D for dictation in any edit field, and you’ll hear a sound and you can dictate. And if you’ve ever experienced dictation with Google, you’ll know how fast and accurate it is. Unfortunately, I can’t get this to work when ChromeVox is running. So for now, at the time of this recording, the only way that I’ve been able to get it to work is to turn ChromeVox off once you have focus in the edit field by pressing Ctrl Alt z, and then pressing search with D to start your dictation and off you go. Now you do have to speak quite quickly after the tone or the thing will time out, but that’s a little bit of a fidly way of doing it. I have reported this and apparently it’s being investigated, but for now, I’m not aware of another workaround to get dictation done using this dictation method.

It is still pretty worth doing though, because the dictation is good. It’s accurate, it’s fast. And once we start looking at applications to use with your Chromebook, we might take a look at this in greater depth and just demonstrate how it works. But I did want to get that accessibility feature enabled as we traverse the settings. Let’s go back into settings and have a look at some other non-accessibility related settings that you can configure in your Chromebook. Before we really start getting into applications and using this for practical purposes.

Chromevox:                       Launcher Button.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’ll press search with space to open the launcher.

Chromevox:                       Search your device, apps.

Jonathan Mosen:             And search with right.

Chromevox:                       Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s settings there. So we’ll activate that by pressing search with space.

Chromevox:                       Settings, settings, settings, heading 1.

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s quite a list of settings. These are divided by headings, I’ll just make sure that sticky mode is on.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode enabled.

Jonathan Mosen:             There we go. And now I’ll just press H to navigate by heading.

Chromevox:                       Network, heading 2, exited banner, main.

Jonathan Mosen:             What we’ve done by pressing H to navigate to the first heading on the page is to skip past a set of links at the top of the page. Some of these links are same page links, so they will take you to other places on the page. Others may open subs screens. I’m going to press the right arrow since I now have sticky mode on to just have a look at some of these network settings.

Chromevox:                       Wifi sub page button, ManAndWiFi 5G wifi network signal strength 93%. Press search plus space to activate wifi, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now, just to speed the process up, I will press the Ctrl key to silence those hints and just move us along a little bit. But that sub page button means that when I press search with space or just the space bar when sticky mode is on, we will go to a separate screen and there’ll be configuration settings. These are what you would expect. You can see the visible wifi networks, very similar to the way that we got the Chromebook configured. You can also connect to non-visible networks, all the usual network settings, nothing particularly unusual about that screen.

Chromevox:                       Wifi enabled. Toggle button, pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             You can disable wifi altogether, which you may want to do in certain circumstances. If you’re on an airplane or something like that.

Chromevox:                       Add network connection, collapsed button, Bluetooth. Heading 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             The devices are Bluetooth capable. And now we’re into the Bluetooth section, which as you can hear, you can also navigate to by heading.

Chromevox:                       Bluetooth sub page button on.

Jonathan Mosen:             Since we haven’t investigated Bluetooth, yet let’s go into the sub page.

Chromevox:                       Bluetooth sub page back button, click to navigate away from Bluetooth sub page. Main.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s navigate to the right.

Chromevox:                       Bluetooth, Heading 1, Bluetooth enabled. Toggle button, pressed. Paired devices, heading 2, no paired devices.

Jonathan Mosen:             If you wanted to pair another Bluetooth keyboard or perhaps a headset, a Bluetooth speaker, any of those things, then you can do that from here.

Chromevox:                       Unpaired devices. Heading 2, no Bluetooth devices found. Settings, Bluetooth.

Jonathan Mosen:             And now we’ve wrapped around. So at the moment, because there are no other devices, it’s fairly simple. I’m going to press the equivalent of F1. And that should be the back button that should take us back.

Chromevox:                       Bluetooth sub page button on.

Jonathan Mosen:             And indeed it has and the cool thing too, is that focus has been remembered. So I press the button and I’m now on the Bluetooth button, which means I don’t have to navigate around the screen to find where I was before. I’ll navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Bluetooth enabled. Toggle button, pressed. Connected devices, heading 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             So what we had there was the Bluetooth button. It’s just there on this screen to very quickly toggle Bluetooth on and off in case you don’t want to go into all the granularity of looking at various devices that you have. Now we’re onto connected devices and I’ll press right.

Chromevox:                       Android phone, no eligible devices. Find out more, link.

Jonathan Mosen:             A Chromebook is a Google device. And similarly, of course, Mac an Apple device. And if you have a device like this, then they will want you to be deeply embedded in their ecosystem. So there are things that you can do with your Android phone, if you have one and a Chromebook and you can connect the two together, you can control some of the phone functions from your Chromebook, including text messages and an increasing number of functions, actually. So if you have an Android phone, it’s worth looking at all that you can do when you meld an Android phone and a Chromebook together, interestingly though Windows and Android are talking quite nicely to one another as well. And you will see in the MyPhone app in Windows, an increasingly strong partnership between Microsoft and Google in terms of making Android phones work seamlessly with Windows. I guess they both see it as an advantage to offer these features, to compete with things like handoff, which work so seamlessly in the Apple world. We’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       People. Heading 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now in the people section.

Chromevox:                       Google accounts, sub page button, Jonathan Mosen.

Jonathan Mosen:             And there’s my Google account. You can set up multiple Google accounts on this device, and that means that multiple people can use it. So I, for example, could set up Bonnie’s Google account on the Chromebook and I could sign out. She could log in as her and all of her settings would be preserved all the way down to her speech preferences in ChromeVox and email accounts documents, the whole caboodle. So it really does feel like when you sign in as another user that it’s somebody else’s Chromebook, it’s a really easy thing to set up. And it’s very easy to sign out of your Google account. Probably the easiest way is to just tap the power button and in the same way that a lot of computers have a system where you tap the power button and you get a menu that pops up with shut down and restart. The Chromebook works the same way.

And one of the options is to sign out from your Google account. When you do that, the computer doesn’t power down because you’re given the opportunity to sign in as someone else. Now, while I remember to mention this, when you sign out of a Google account, you can also perform a function known as power washing your Chromebook. And what you do is when you’re signed out, you can press from that screen Ctrl Alt Shift and R. And when you do that, you’re taken through a process where you can erase your Chromebook completely and set it up as if it were a brand new device. And it was that power wash feature that allowed me to start off as if this Chromebook were new for this review, even though I’ve been using it for a few weeks to come up to speed before recording these segments. So let’s go into the screen and take a look at what’s here.

Chromevox:                       Sign in has changed. Sign in has changed. Heading one, view accounts, button, sign-in has changed. Sign-in has changed. You can now manage all of your Google accounts in one place, access and permissions that you’ve granted apps, websites, and extensions in Chrome and Google play may now apply to all of your signed in accounts. Learn more link, view accounts, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             So you can investigate this, if you want to, I’m going to press the back button. And in this case, the back button is not doing anything so I’ll press escape.

Chromevox:                       My accounts, sub page, back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And that did work.

Chromevox:                       My accounts, manage your signed in accounts, websites, apps and extensions in Chrome and Google play may use these accounts. Heading 2, add account, button, primary account, Jonathan Mose…

Jonathan Mosen:             There we go. That’s the primary account, but we can add a second one.

Chromevox:                       Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And that’s what there is here. So now I should be able to press the back button.

Chromevox:                       Google accounts, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’re back exactly where we need to be with focus on the last thing that we were focused on, when we were on this screen. So I’ll navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Sync and Google services. Sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s open the screen to take a look at what our options are.

Chromevox:                       Sync and Google services, sub page, back button. Sync and Google services heading 1, learn more, link, sync. Heading 2, manage what you sync, sub page button, control how your browsing history is used to personalize search ads and more, link review your sync data, link, encryption options for added security. Google Chrome will encrypt your data. Collapsed button, other Google services, heading 2, auto-complete searches and URLs. Toggle button, pressed. Help improve Chrome’s features and performance. Toggle button, pressed. Make searches and browsing better. Toggle button, pressed. Enhanced spell check. Toggle button, not pressed. To fix spelling errors, Chrome sends the text that you type in the browser to Google. Google drive, search suggestions. Toggle button, pressed. Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And that’s it, it’s wrapped around. So I’m going to just take a look at the manage what you sync feature and see what we have control over there. So we’ve got the defaults set here at the moment, and they are quite data-centric. I think that we are sending quite a lot of data to Google at the moment. People will have varying levels of comfort with that, and you should go in here and set these in a manner that you are comfortable with.

Chromevox:                       Settings, search settings, search.

Jonathan Mosen:             If I just navigate away from this edit field.

Chromevox:                       Network.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now I should, because I’m in sticky mode, be able to press the letter B to find the button I’m looking for.

Chromevox:                       Advanced, sync and Google services, sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And again.

Chromevox:                       Encryption options. Auto complete searches… Help improve… Make searches… Enhanced spell check… Google drive… Auto complete… Encryption options… Sync and Google services, sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s interesting. It’s skipping over the “Manage what you sync” option, even though the Chromebook says it’s a buttons. So I’m not sure what’s up with that, but I will find it.

Chromevox:                       Learn more… Sync, manage what you sync.

Jonathan Mosen:             By navigating the ordinary way and we’ll press space on this.

Chromevox:                       Manage what you sync sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And go right.

Chromevox:                       Click manage what you sync, heading 1, learn more, link. Radio button selected, 1 of 2, sync everything, radio button group.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s the default and it is selected for now. But if you want to get more granular, let’s go right.

Chromevox:                       Sync everything, radio button unselected, 2 of 2, customize sync.

Jonathan Mosen:             We need to check this radio button before we can see what we can customize.

Chromevox:                       Radio button selected, 2 of 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             And now we can write arrow.

Chromevox:                       Customize sync, sync data, heading 2 exited radio button group. Apps, apps, toggle button pressed, bookmarks, bookmarks, toggle… Extensions, extend… History, hist… Settings, settings, theme and wallpaper, theme and… Open tabs. Open… Passwords, passwords, addresses, addresses, phone numbers, and more. Toggle button, pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             You’ll notice that This voice is breathing in a similar way to the way that Apple’s Alex breathes.

Chromevox:                       Payment methods and addresses using Google pay. Payment methods and addresses using Google pay, toggle but… Wifi networks, Wifi networks, no search results found… Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             So that’s all the different things that you can sync. Now, if you are deeply embedded in the ecosystem, you can understand why this is actually really handy because you can log into another device, be it Android, or even Chrome on your PC or your Mac or your smartphone. And all of these things will be in sync, which is highly convenient. There will be some people who just don’t want to send this much data to Google, and that’s a personal choice. And so you can obviously check these things manually. For now I’m going to go back to…

Chromevox:                       Radio button unselected, 1 of 2, sync everything.

Jonathan Mosen:             And check that.

Chromevox:                       Radio button selected, 1 of 2, sync everything.

Jonathan Mosen:             And I’ll press the back button.

Chromevox:                       Manage what you sync, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And the back button again.

Chromevox:                       Press… Sync and Google services, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now we’re on the main Google setting screen again, and I’ll navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Security and sign in. Sign in automatically.

Jonathan Mosen:             Similar to other computers, you can sign in automatically if you want and configure security around that. I’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Parental controls, set up button.

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s a suite of parental controls here. This is particularly important because Chromebook is well used now in education. And you may well want to set some constraints around when and what your kids can access. You can go in here and do that. So if you are a parent or an educator, let’s take a look at what we have.

Chromevox:                       Set up parental controls. Set up parental controls.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Set up parental controls, dialogue. Set up parental controls. Stay in the loop, list item. List with three items, supervise your child’s device remotely with the fit family link app for parents, set digital ground rules, list item. Keep an eye on screen time and set limits as needed guide your child to good content, list item.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m Just right arrowing through these so that’s why there’s a bit of a pause, but I can also press the letter R or the search key with R if I don’t have sticky mode on to read all of this continuously.

Chromevox:                       Add restrictions to Google services like app approvals or content filters on Google play, cancel button, getting started button.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’ll go one level deeper and have a look at the getting started button.

Chromevox:                       Getting started button. Press search plus space to activate how to set up parental controls. Heading 1, link your child’s Google account with your own in a Google family group.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Review the apps on this device and set filters, list… From your own device, remotely supervise your child and set more controls. Back, button, next, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And for now I’ll go back.

Chromevox:                       Press search plus.

Jonathan Mosen:             So I’ll press the back key that doesn’t work on the screen. Can we press escape?

Chromevox:                       Parental controls.

Jonathan Mosen:             We can.

Chromevox:                       Set up button.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’ll navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Manage other people. Sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             This sounds pretty Orwellian. Let’s go in and have a look at what it lets you do.

Chromevox:                       No search results found. Manage other people sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And go right.

Chromevox:                       Click to navigate, manage other people. Heading one, enable guest browsing, toggle button pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Even if you think you have no intention of getting a Chromebook, listening to this tutorial may help you out. If you ever get into a situation where maybe you’re away from home, you have a desperate need to get on the internet and somebody has a Chromebook. Now guest mode is a brilliant idea because it allows a Chromebook user to lend you their computer. And you can log in as a guest. You won’t have any access to any of the Chromebook owner’s personal information. If you hand over your Chromebook when you are logged in, then obviously people can go to Gmail and they’ll be logged in as you, all sorts of things. You could set up an incognito tab, but there’s no real guarantee that somebody isn’t going to close that incognito tab.

So there’s all sorts of data that belong to the individual who’s handing over the Chromebook that might understandably make them nervous about being impersonated or data being looked at that’s of a corporate nature, for example, that you just don’t want other people to see. So a guest mode means that a Chromebook user can hand over their Chromebook, log someone in as a guest. When the guest is done, it also protects them too, because when the guest logs out all of the cookies are cleaned up, there’s no trace there. So everybody’s protected. Let’s take a break from a look at the settings and show you how this works. Since we have encountered it in the settings. I’m going to hold down the power button.

Chromevox:                       Feedback, power off. Menu item. One of four.

Jonathan Mosen:             And it’s made that sound to indicate that it is shutting down. So the Chromebook has shut down now and I’m going to tap the power button again. And the Chromebook is now booting up. So we’ll let you hear how quickly this device does boot up. It’s all solid state. Here we go.

Chromevox:                       Password for Jonathan at Mos-

Jonathan Mosen:             And now I’m going to press the tab key.

Chromevox:                       Open info dialogue for Jonathan at shut button, browse as guest button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And that’s what we want browse as guest. So I’m going to press enter to do that.

Chromevox:                       Address and search bar. Enter text. URL entry.

Jonathan Mosen:             What’s happened here is that a clean Google Chrome tab has popped up and I’m at the address bar. And because I’m not logged on as me, all of my preferences are not here, including the voice. And that means that we’ve got the default Google voice. And I can now browse around. If I went to Google, I would not be logged in as me. This is a clean way to give somebody your Chromebook to use the web. ChromeVox however does stay on if it was on at the login screen. But what if you are getting a Chromebook from a sighted person to surf the web?

Well, you just press your Control +Alt+Z, when they say to you, “Here it is, I’ve logged you in as a guest. Please feel free to get done whatever you need to get done.” All you need to know as a blind person is to press Control + Alt + Z to enable ChromeVox. And you will have speech. Obviously you’ll then need to know how to use ChromeVox. And that’s why we are here. Can we get to the launcher in this mode? Let’s try pressing Alt + Shift L.

Chromevox:                       Launcher, button, shelf, toolbar, window.

Jonathan Mosen:             We can get to the [crosstalk 01:04:07] to launcher.

Chromevox:                       Press plus space active Google Chrome, files, status tray, launcher, Google Chrome.

Jonathan Mosen:             But there’s not too much here. It is a very stripped down version of the launcher.

Chromevox:                       Launcher, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll press the search key with the space bar.

Chromevox:                       Search your device, app Chrome, button, files, camera, settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And on it goes. There are some settings you can control and some that are administrative in nature. So here we are, logged in as a guest, and now when I log out or restart the computer or just shut it down, anything I do here is not saved. So I’m going to hold down the power button.

Chromevox:                       Power, power off, menu item one of three. Power one-

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m just going to shut it down that way. And now I’m going to power the Chromebook back up and we will wait to sign in at this point. It should remember, I believe my default accounts.

Chromevox:                       Password for J-

Jonathan Mosen:             Yep. There we go. So I can enter my password now.

Chromevox:                       Bullet.

Jonathan Mosen:             There we go.

Chromevox:                       Bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet.

Jonathan Mosen:             And press enter.

Chromevox:                       Alert, signing in.

Jonathan Mosen:             And because I’m signing in as me, you’ll note that the voice that we’ve been using-

Chromevox:                       [crosstalk 01:05:27] Mushroom FM.

Jonathan Mosen:             Comes back on.

Chromevox:                       The home of the fun guys.

Jonathan Mosen:             And Mushroom FM loads, which is my homepage in Chrome. So we are back in business. I’m going to turn sticky mode back on by pressing the search key twice.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode enabled.

Jonathan Mosen:             And now we’ll go back to the launcher with Alt + Shift L.

Chromevox:                       Launcher, button, shelf, toolbar, window.

Jonathan Mosen:             The launcher has focus. So I’ll activate it.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode disabled.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we will now go right. The reason why it says sticky mode disabled is because I’m on the launcher screen. The first focused item is a search box and I can type in here what I’m looking for. As I’ve said, similar to the start menu in windows to help me find what I want, but I’m going to go right.

Chromevox:                       Settings, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And there’s settings.

Chromevox:                       Settings, Settings, settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             Sticky mode should be back on now. And if I press the letter H.

Chromevox:                       Network heading 2 Bluetooth, heading 2 connected devices, heading 2 people, heading 2 device, heading 2.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now, I happen to know, because I have spent lots of happy hours in this setting screen that the managed people option is the last item in the people’s screen. So if I go left.

Chromevox:                       Manage other people, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s manage other people. If you want to turn the guest mode off on your Chromebook, for some reason, then you can go in and disable it. And when you do the option on the sign in screen to log in as a guest will not be there, but it is kind of cool that you can go to any Chromebook, log in as a guest and have speech. And it’s a very good reason to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of ChromeVox in your toolbox of tools so that you can perhaps at a pinch get internet access where you might nee. We’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Device, heading two.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we can configure various device parameters.

Chromevox:                       Touch pad, sub page, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             You may want to turn off the touch pad. I do find that on some laptops, the touch pad is so sensitive and the way it’s positioned means that I accidentally touch it sometimes and go somewhere that I don’t want to be. I’ve not found this on this particular Chromebook. So I haven’t resorted to disabling the touch pad at this stage. The cool thing is that this is a user setting. And so if you log in as a guest or somebody else who’s sighted and likes the touch pad logs in as them, then you having disabled the touch pad for your account, won’t affect that.

Chromevox:                       Keyboard, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s go in and have a look at the keyboard settings. Because there are a few items of interest here.

Chromevox:                       Keyboard sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Keyboard, heading one, search, button. Has pop up with nine items, collapsed, press search plus space to activate.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s expand this. And I find that it’s often prudent to turn off sticky mode before doing this. So I’m going to do that.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode disabled.

Jonathan Mosen:             And now let’s try expanding it.

Chromevox:                       Search, button, has pop up with nine items expanded.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now I Should be able to down arrow-

Chromevox:                       Press search, list box with eight items, control, list items, two of eight. Alt, list item, three caps lock, list item four of eight, escape list item, backspace, list item, assistant, list item, disabled, list item, eight of eight.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now, as far as I can tell this determines what the search key does. So you want to be really careful with this. I’m too nervous to change it, to find out whether there’s some sort of protection on this when ChromeVox is running. Because in theory you might lock yourself out. So I’m not going to change this, but this seems to govern what the search key does. Some people might like the search key as a caps lock key for instance. A sighted person might appreciate that because that’s the traditional function of where the search key is positioned. I’m going to escape out of this.

Chromevox:                       Search, button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Control, button has pop up.

Jonathan Mosen:             Similarly, you can remap the control key.

Chromevox:                       Alt, button, escape, button has pop up with nine items, collapsed.

Jonathan Mosen:             All these choices have nine items. So if you want to remap your keys, you are able to do that. If I was going to do this, if I was brave enough to try and I don’t really want to, to be honest because it makes a lot of sense to have the key that is in the caps lock position as a screen reader modifier, most of us are used to that, but I would probably map the search key first to another key and then undefine the original search key.

Chromevox:                       Backspace button has pop up with nine items. Three talk row keys as function keys, toggle button not pressed. Hold the search key to switch the behavior of the talk row keys.

Jonathan Mosen:             If you want to, you can hold down the search key and press the function keys to get traditional function keys functions. I’ve not found a reason to do this in Chrome OS, but if you want to, you can. And if you would rather have the function keys perform their traditional function. In other words, switch it around so that if you wanted to turn the volume up, for example, you would have to hold down the search key and then press the keys for volume up and down. You can do that here. Let’s navigate right.

Chromevox:                       Enable auto repeat. Toggle button pressed. Delay before repeat. Slider long to short 500.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is a very handy feature to adjust. If you have a tendency to rest on the key, perhaps it’s difficult for you to let your fingers off the key. Then this could be a very handy feature. Alternatively, if you have caused to hold a key down for some reason and enter a lot of recurrences of that key, you may want to speed the process up.

Chromevox:                       Repeat rate. Slider, slow to fast. 50 view keyboard shortcuts link, press search plus space to activate.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is another place that you can go to view the list of keyboard shortcuts. If you would rather, you could use another device to search for keyboard shortcuts for Chrome OS and they will come right up in a nice table and you can use the screen reader that you may be more familiar with. So you start to learn ChromeVox to traverse those keys and understand what they are. And it sometimes can be more handy to have a separate device to review these shortcut keys on while you are learning another one.

Chromevox:                       Change input setting, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s go in here and have a look at the input settings.

Chromevox:                       Input sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Okay. Right.

Chromevox:                       Inputs heading one. Show input options in the shelf. Toggle button not pressed. Input methods heading two. English US enabled button, open settings page for english US. Button remove English US. Button English UK. Button open settings page for English UK. Button, remove English UK. Button add input methods. Button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And so you can add other input methods as well. If you work with other languages and you want to set up a keyboard for that language here is the place to do that.

Chromevox:                       Spell check toggle button pressed. Spell check languages, languages for spell check are based on your language preference. English United Kingdom toggle button pressed. List with zero items. Enhanced spell check in Chrome browser. Text is sent to Google for spelling suggestions, toggle button not pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now I am pleased that the Chromebook has figured this out because even though I’ve chosen English US as the language, I do want English UK as my spell check language because Americans do spell some words differently from most of the rest of the English speaking world.

Chromevox:                       Customized spell check, sub page button. Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And then it’s wrapped around again. So that’s what you can do in the input settings. I’ll press the back key, which is assigned to F1.

Chromevox:                       Change input settings, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And it’s wrapped around again. So I’ll press the back button again.

Chromevox:                       Keyboard, sub page.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’re right back on keyboard. I do like the fact that the focus is so consistent.

Chromevox:                       Displays sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             There are some display settings in here, which I will skip as a speech user. But if that interests you, you can investigate that in the settings.

Chromevox:                       Storage management sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Let’s take a look at storage. I will press that button.

Chromevox:                       Storage management sub page back button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll go right.

Chromevox:                       Storage management, heading one. Storage usage overview in use 12.9 gigabytes available 19.1 gigabytes. Progress indicator, my file zero D. Link browsing data, 16.7 mega bytes, link apps and extensions 41.0 Megabytes link, 12.9, 12.9 gigabytes. System. Settings, storage management exited main.

Jonathan Mosen:             That is something to take into account when you’re choosing how much storage that you might want to have on your Chromebook. There is an expectation with Chromebooks that most of the services, the features you’ll be using are cloud based. But if you do need to store data locally, say media files or something like that, beware that the capacity of your Chromebook also has to accommodate the operating system and other data files that you can’t remove. And that’s taking up about 12 gigs, I’ll go back.

Chromevox:                       Storage management, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And navigate to the right.

Chromevox:                       Power, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             Take a look at power options.

Chromevox:                       Power sub page back button, power. Heading one. Battery 80%, eight hours and 35 minutes left.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’ll go right once more.

Chromevox:                       When idle, true. Idle action while charging, sleep button. Idle action while on battery, sleep button. Sleep when cover is closed, toggle button pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Just like many other operating systems, you have the option as to what happens when you close the lid, it’s defaulting to going to sleep. Which means that it wakes up very quickly. In fact, I’ll show you that now I’ll close the lid of the Chromebook and we get no sound or anything like that, but the lid is closed and the device is now sleeping. If I raise the lid and I’m doing that right now.

Chromevox:                       Not connected to network alert. Connecting to ManAndWiFi 5G. Alert, connected to-

Jonathan Mosen:             It’s virtually instant. And are we in the right place?

Chromevox:                       Settings. Sleep when cover is closed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yes, we are. So, I mean, that is amazing. It resumes from startup almost instantly. It takes me back exactly to where I were before, the screen reader, ChromeVox is behaving well. That is a very slick resumption from sleep. I wish I could resume from sleep that way. I’ll press the back button.

Chromevox:                       Power, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And continue to navigate.

Chromevox:                       Personalization, heading two. Change device account image. Sub page button. Wallpaper open in the wallpaper app. Link search engine. Heading two. Preferred search engine button, Google.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is a Google product. So understandably Google is the default search engine, but let’s see how configurable it is.

Chromevox:                       Settings, dialogue. Preferred search engine. Set your default search engine for Chrome browser and Chromebook launcher. Preferred search engine. Google button has pop up with three items collapsed.

Jonathan Mosen:             There aren’t that many search engines built in. I’ll just turn sticky mode off.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode disabled.

Jonathan Mosen:             And will go into this list.

Chromevox:                       Preferred search engine button has pop up with three items expanded.

Jonathan Mosen:             We should be able to down arrow now.

Chromevox:                       List box with three items, list item two of three. Yahoo, list item three of three.

Jonathan Mosen:             All right. So we’ll go back to Google.

Chromevox:                       Google.

Jonathan Mosen:             And press enter.

Chromevox:                       Preferred search engine Google.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll continue to navigate right. I’ll turn my sticky mode back on.

Chromevox:                       Sticky mode enabled, cancel button, done button.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s what we have. And interestingly, there’s a cancel and a done button with this one.

Chromevox:                       Dialogue done button settings, settings. Heading one, banner. Search settings network link.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now we’ve lost focus actually, and it’s gone to the top of the screen. So I’ll just navigate by heading.

Chromevox:                       Network. Blue connect people, divide personalization, change device account image, wallpaper, search engine, preferred search engine, button, apps, heading two, manage your apps, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             This is pretty typical of all operating systems, where you have the ability to look at what apps are installed and remove them. Those apps could be various things, actually on a Chromebook. They may have come from the Google Play Store and we will take a look at that at some point in this series, they may be simply web pages. Some things that appear on your shelf or in your Chromebook as applications and nothing more than links to a particular page on the web. And I’m not suggesting there’s any subterfuge or anything in that it’s as it should be because Chromebooks are all about cloud-based applications. And these days, all you need to do to get really good quality is to go to a particular place on the web. So other than the space that the shortcut takes up on your Chromebook, which is just totally negligible, the app can consume zero bytes of data on your actual device.

Chromevox:                       Google Play Store, install apps and games from Google Play on your Chromebook, learn more link, Google Play Store, button, install apps.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we will get back to the Google Play Store.

Chromevox:                       Developers. Heading two. Linux development environment beta. Run Linux tools, editors and IDs in your Chromebook. Learn more, link.

Jonathan Mosen:             Chrome OS under the hood is Linux based. And so this is an exciting development for many developers who want to be able to run Linux tools on a Chromebook. They typically don’t take a lot of CPU power. So it’s ideal, really.

Chromevox:                       Advanced, expanded.

Jonathan Mosen:             And let’s have a look at the advanced settings.

Chromevox:                       Date and time heading two.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m not sure why date and time is under advanced, but okay.

Chromevox:                       Timezone, use your IP address to determine location default, sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And that indeed does work.

Chromevox:                       Use 24 hour clock toggle button press.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m actually going to uncheck that.

Chromevox:                       Use 24 hour clock. Toggle button not pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             And go right.

Chromevox:                       Privacy and security. Heading two. Help improve Chrome OS features and performance. Toggle button pressed includes apps, web pages, and more. Send statistics to improve suggestions only if you’ve chosen to share usage data, learn more, link, suggest new content to explore. Toggle button pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             I don’t want that.

Chromevox:                       Suggest new content to explore. Toggle button not pressed. Enable verified access. Toggle button pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             I had to do a bit of research about what the setting does because I’m a curious kind of soul. And what it appears to relate to is that some media providers do use the setting to verify the authenticity of your device and your account. So if you’re consuming some content on your Chromebook, then verified access is a good thing to keep on.

Chromevox:                       Languages and inputs. Heading two. Languages English United Kingdom, sub page button. Inputs English US. Sub page button suggestions. Sub page button, files. Heading two. Disconnect Google drive account toggle button not pressed.

Jonathan Mosen:             Understandably again, because this is a Google device. Google Drive is built into the ecosystem. So if you want, you can install other Google Drive applications on other devices so that it’s easy to share files with your Chromebook. I’m not really a Google Drive user. I’m a big Dropbox fan. And I also have one drive because I have Microsoft Office 365 and it gives me a free terabyte of storage with OneDrive’s part of that. However, there are other things you can do. You can download the Dropbox Android app from the Google Play Store and install that on your Chromebook. You can also connect network attached storage devices, or even other computers that you want to share access with. So if I go right.

Chromevox:                       Network file shares sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’ll activate this button.

Chromevox:                       Network file shares sub page back button. Network file shares heading one.

Jonathan Mosen:             I’m navigating right.

Chromevox:                       Set up or manage network file shares, learn more, link, add file, share button.

Jonathan Mosen:             I have a network attached storage device, a Synology device. And I can add that here so that it will appear in the Google files app. And when we come back to the files app, I may well do that just so that we have some material to browse. For now, I’ll press the back button.

Chromevox:                       Network file shares sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             And I’ll continue to navigate the setting screen.

Chromevox:                       Printing, heading two. Printers sub page button.

Jonathan Mosen:             So you can add network or other printers to your Chromebook if you still do some printing.

Chromevox:                       Print jobs view, and manage print jobs, link, scan, scan, and documents and images link.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now this is something I have not tried yet, but you can use OCR with this as well.

Chromevox:                       Accessibility. Heading two.

Jonathan Mosen:             We’ve had a look at accessibility before. So I’m going to skip this heading. I’ll press H. I have sticky mode enabled.

Chromevox:                       Reset settings, heading two. Power wash, reset button. Settings.

Jonathan Mosen:             And now we’re back around to the settings. So those are the settings that are available in Chrome OS.

Kim Paulk:                           Hello Jonathan, this is Kim Paulk. Thank you so much for your fantastic platform, which gives all of us a chance to get to know each other better and determine trends and share ideas. One of your listeners recently asked if there is an easier way to scan items with the phone. I first learned the strategy I still use today in documentation for the old app Digit-Eyes. The instructions invited me to place the camera on the sheet of paper, which of course you orient the two sides of camera with the two sheets of the paper and then lift the phone straight up without tilting it in any direction.

And you’ll get pretty excellent results each time as you back the camera away. You can do the same thing when you are holding currency in your Palm of your hand, place the phone on the currency in your hand, and just back it up at exactly the same angle you are holding it at. These methods are great for even a poster at a wall, a box, something is on the side of a box, whatever the angle of the object to align your phone to the object, use one edge of it or preferably two, any two edges and then back the camera away. I hope this proves helpful. And if someone has a better idea, I’m looking forward to hearing about it.

Jonathan Mosen:             Thank you very much, Kim, for those tips, really good ones, too. One thing I would suggest for scanning certain smaller things like currency is that it can help if you lie your phone flat on a table with the camera facing upwards, and then you just hover what you want to scan over the camera. And if I’ve got a lot of notes to scan quickly, $20 notes, $10 notes, when I’m allowed money, then it’s really easy to scan a whole lot of them quickly that way. It can also help for doing very quick scans of mail when you just want to know roughly what something is. And I do that when I’m sorting the mail with Seeing AI or Envision or now on my Android phone with Lookout, and that really does help. So that’s another technique to try. You will remember that we read an email where an anonymous contributor was talking about a colleague that they work with, who cries about the fact that this person is blind.

Hi, Jonathan, Eden, here, I can empathize with this person who has a friend who seems to pity their blindness. I’ve encountered this several times. Sighted people have wanted to take care of tasks for me. And when I would politely decline, I’ve seen two different grown men burst into tears. If I recall correctly, one wanted to pray for my sight back. And the other was hurt because I politely declined his help being guided somewhere. As for friends or colleagues doing this, I’m thankful to have not encountered it. I’m afraid. I was very frustrated with the men and probably didn’t handle them correctly, especially the one who wanted to pray for me.

It was embarrassing as he was making a scene in public. I would just encourage your listener to seriously have a talk with her anxiety attack or not. Perhaps the person could ask exactly what concerns his friend so much about his blindness, assure her she can be open and not judged, but I think if the person has to be continually dealt with, if you aren’t able to discuss it, the problem will continue. I know your listener has talked to the friend before, but maybe prefacing any conversation by assuring the person that he is not easily offended and would be happy to answer questions or concerns she has about blindness. My guess is she thinks the listener’s life is overwhelmingly difficult without sight, perhaps by talking through and dispelling it. Future issues can be quelled in advance. Thanks for the contribution Eden. And now look what you’ve gone and done input in my head.

Here’s a thought provoking email from Lachlan Thomas in Australia. He says, “Hi Jonathan. In some states of Australia, daylight saving time started last night. Back in the mid ’90s, there was a fire safety campaign in the media, in which a man with a broad Australian accent would repetitiously say, “Change your clocks, change your smoke alarm battery.” Last night, I did replace my smoke alarm batteries before changing the clocks. This morning, something occurred to me. In the USA, I know you can buy smoke alarm devices for deaf people. Typically these devices listen out for the sound of an existing smoke alarm. When a smoke alarm sounds, these repeater devices will then sound loud, low pitched alarm. Some have strobe lights that flash, and many of them also have a bed shaker, which you’d place under your bed. So if you’re sleeping in the smoke alarm sound, you’ll be woken by the vibration.

And you may even hear the alarm sound without your hearing aids in. I assume you sleep without your hearing aids. Do you have access to such a smoke alarm device for the death? If not, do you have any safety protocols in place to ensure you are alerted if a fire breaks out in your house while you are sleeping? I think Vision Australia was selling it device like this over 10 years ago, but I don’t think they sell them anymore.” Thanks Lachlan. Well, I have Bonnie and so I would expect that she would wake up if the smoke alarm goes off and I expect the dog would go a bit berserk as well, but it is a really interesting point. And if people have device recommendations that work for them as a blind person who wears hearing aids, or indeed a fully deaf/blind person, that would be really good to hear about gadgets in this space.

Sunil:                                     Hi, Jonathan, this is Sunil in the UK. Hope you’re doing all right.

I just wanted to get your thoughts on VPNs. I’ve been using Surfshark for about six months, which has been great on my iPhone. It was easy to install, it’s easy to configure and I’ve been able to listen to radio stations in America, which I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to do because of it.

But I’ve found lately that I can’t listen to streams from the BBC even though I’m in the UK. And that’s when I am connected to a UK server. I get a message saying that the broadcast is unavailable for rights reasons, but I can listen once I’ve disconnected.

And I just wondered whether it might only be a matter of time before other providers started blocking you from listening to streams when they detect that you are connected via a VPN, which would be a shame. And also, it’d be good to know if you have any recommendations for other VPNs which I could use, which would enable me to listen to the BBC in the UK without having to disconnect.

Jonathan Mosen:             Good question, Sunil, and very nice to hear from you as well.

You are striking the cat and mouse game that VPN providers are playing with the BBC. They’ve got some pretty good technology in place, have the Beeb, at trying to detect and thwart VPN technology.

I use Surfshark myself, and I agree with you; it’s a great VPN provider. The speeds are very good, it’s accessible on iOS, and the price is right too. It’s not that expensive. So they’re a great company.

And in the past, I have been able to get BBC streams this way. I haven’t tried recently, but it may be that if you try a different server in the UK, you will have better results. Otherwise, I would let the Surfshark people know that you’re experiencing this and see what they suggest. If they do have a suggestion that works for you, please feel free to pass it on and tell us what they said.

I don’t have any other recommendations for you. For a while, I was using a thing called HMA, which stands for Hide My Ass, and that is a very good provider as well. And I’ve used another one called Private Internet Access, PIA VPN. That was quite accessible on iOS as well. So there are a number of VPN options.

One option you also have is to use a domain name service provider that circumvents geoblocking. I’ve used a few of these as well. And the big advantage of this is that they don’t slow you down because you’re not connected to a VPN.

The best thing to do with these is to go to your router level, if you’ve got a router that lets you change DNS, you plug their DNS into your router and make sure that you’re logged into the service that you’ve subscribed to, and then you’re good to go. That’s all there is to it. No speed degradation, and it all just works. It’s all just set and forget.

And those are pretty reliable actually. The two providers in this space that seem still to be quite robust are a thing called VIPDNSCLUB and Smart DNS Proxy. So you could check those out as well.


That soothing music heralds another visit to the studio from Bonnie Mosen with another Bonnie Bulletin.

Bonnie:                                Hi, guys.

Jonathan Mosen:             How are you getting on?

Bonnie:                                Good.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s very good.

It just doesn’t seem like it’s worth doing anything else other than listening to the Abba album, does it?

Bonnie:                                It’s very good.

Jonathan Mosen:             You’re happy with that?

Bonnie:                                Yeah. Yeah. For those that missed it yesterday, or Friday rather, you did a really good show with Jackie Brown from the UK on the Abba album release.

Jonathan Mosen:             We had fun. In fact, I had dinner with Jackie Brown at Sight Village. We’re having some debate about when that was.

Bonnie:                                2008.

Jonathan Mosen:             She says it was 2008. All right. I mean, I’ll take her word for it.

And we talked at that dinner extensively about Abba, and I learned from that dinner that she was a major Abba fan. So when Abba came out with their first album in 40 years, it just seemed natural to get Jackie on there. And it was a lot of fun.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. She had some really good memories.

Jonathan Mosen:             What’s your favorite Abba track off that album?

Bonnie:                                I don’t know, because I don’t know all their names.

Jonathan Mosen:             I see.

Bonnie:                                So I’d have to go through and listen again.

Notion is kind of growing on me.

Jonathan Mosen:             Just a Notion. Yeah.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. It didn’t at first.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s an interesting track, because it was done in 1978 and there have been little bits of outtake of it around the place, on the Tube of You and various things like that, but they’ve done a new backing track and they’ve put it out there. It’s got this kind of boogie woogie rock and roll kind of feel. I didn’t really dig it when I first heard it.

Bonnie:                                No.

Jonathan Mosen:             Now I’m quite into it.

Bonnie:                                Ode to Freedom’s good.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yeah, where they’ve ripped off a bit of Swan Lake there, by the sounds of it.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. And is that the one with the Fernando kind of fluty bit in it?

Jonathan Mosen:             No, that one is called Bumblebee, and it’s a song about global warming.

Bonnie:                                Yeah.

Jonathan Mosen:             And we’re going to play that this week on Small World, on Mushroom Escape, the kids program for the whole family, because I predict that that Bumblebee song is going to be performed and sung by school kids all around the world next year.

And you like Keep an Eye on Dan as well, I think.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. That was a good song.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yeah.

Bonnie:                                And the one about the dog.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh, I Can Be That Woman. My goodness. That is an amazing song. It’s such a gut wrenching, heartbreaking track.

It’s just so good to have it. So good to have it. And the Dolby Atmos mixes are wonderful.

What else are we talking about today?

Bonnie:                                Well, the Braves won the World Series.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh, yes.

Bonnie:                                I’ve been watching the parade in Atlanta this morning. They had a parade for the Braves, went all the way from downtown all the way out to the Truist field and The Battery out in Cobb County. The schools are closed and everybody’s happy.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh, that’s wonderful. So they actually closed the schools.

Bonnie:                                They did. They closed the schools. Yeah. Because it’s been 26 years.

Jonathan Mosen:             Really? Wow, that’s a long time.

Bonnie:                                1995. I was living in Atlanta at the time. And I lived on Peachtree Street about a block from the Fox Theater, so I went to the parade then. I just walked downstairs, crossed the street and here they came.

And it’s always funny because David Justice, who was one of the players at the time, they were throwing candy.

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s a blind guy called David Justice-

Bonnie:                                Is there?

Jonathan Mosen:             … Who wrote this really cool reading app that I used to use in DOS.

Bonnie:                                Oh. I don’t think it’s the same guy.

Jonathan Mosen:             I don’t think so, no.

Bonnie:                                But they were throwing candy and I got hit by a Tootsie Roll. I didn’t get it because like 5 million people dived for it. I’m sure that someone has a bronze on their mantle piece somewhere, you know, will sell it as a collector’s item. I would’ve eaten it. But that was really, really special. They actually won. They won away from Atlanta, the same way they did this time.

And apparently, the news media was talking about a little boy, an eight year old boy, who had a sign that says, “I wasn’t alive in ’95, but I’m here today.” So that was kind of cute.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s good.

Bonnie:                                But yeah, my dad was a humongous Braves fan. So I remember calling him that night. And then the last time they were in the World Series and they lost was ’99. So, you know, I think a lot about my dad now with them winning again.

Jonathan Mosen:             Wow.

Bonnie:                                They lost to the Yankees in ’99.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh dear. That would’ve been most annoying for people, since people’s hatred of the Yankees seems quite irrational to me.

Bonnie:                                Yeah.

Jonathan Mosen:             I find this World Series thing very cute. I’m not dissing it or anything, I just find it cute, because in the meantime, New Zealand and Australia and England and India and Scotland and Namibia and Afghanistan, and …

Bonnie:                                Pakistan.

Jonathan Mosen:             Did I say Pakistan?

A whole lot of countries. I’ve missed out some, I’m sure.

Bonnie:                                Wales.

Jonathan Mosen:             Wales? No, that’s rugby.

Bonnie:                                No, that’s rugby. Sorry.

[inaudible 01:38:17]

Jonathan Mosen:             There’s a whole lot of teams playing the world cup of cricket at the United Arab Emirates at the moment. Well, this is the twenty20 version of the game. So broadly speaking, there are three versions of the game of cricket. This is the shortest one. So it’s the one that people with short spans of attention seem to be able to stomach.

It’s funny, every time I talk about cricket to Americans, somebody will pop up and say, “But you have a game that can last for five days and not even have a result at the end of it.” But at least it’s a world cup. I mean, when we talk about a world cup, there are teams from all around the world, and people get excited about, the World Series of baseball’s got two American teams in it.

Bonnie:                                And of course, this weekend is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships of racing, which is two days.

Jonathan Mosen:             And is that a real world?

Bonnie:                                Yes, it is.

Jonathan Mosen:             Or is it just the American world?

Bonnie:                                No, they fly in from Europe and all over the place.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh. Right.

Bonnie:                                So yeah, that’s at Del Mar. And I just watched, it wasn’t one of the Breeders’ Cup races, but it was the first race on the card today, a horse called Triple Tap won. It’s half brother to American Pharaoh.

Jonathan Mosen:             How did it get that name, I wonder?

Bonnie:                                His father’s name is Tap It.

Jonathan Mosen:             Right. That’s really interesting.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. A lot of times in horse racing-

Jonathan Mosen:             Sounds like some sort of screen reader function.

Bonnie:                                It does. I know. I love that name.

But yeah, a lot of time’s in horse racing, they take the name of the dam and the sire and combine it.

Jonathan Mosen:             And you also wanted to talk about Chromebooks.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. They’re very cool. I know in the states a lot of the school districts are giving them to kids.

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh, it’s the same here too.

Bonnie:                                Yeah.

Jonathan Mosen:             That’s why Chromebook shipments are just so high at the moment, because a lot were bought for kids who were doing school from home, and they’re affordable, you know? They’re quite functional.

Bonnie:                                And I think for a blind person, I think it’s definitely a very viable option. If you’re just wanting something to surf the web, do email, light word processing, I think it’s definitely a very viable option.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yeah, I think so. It’s great that we have these choices.

And I think that people associate the Chrome Vox experience with the old Chrome Vox extension that used to be in the Chrome store. And that is just not the case anymore. What we call Chrome Vox on a Chromebook is now completely different in terms of its user experience from that old extension that used to be in the Chrome store.

So that’s the trouble. You only get one chance to make a first impression. And when something’s changed substantially, it’s quite hard to shake that impression off.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. Yeah. It is.

It’s very robust. I was looking at it the other day and it almost looks like a toy computer kind of, you know, with the sort of heavy plastic. So I guess that’s why, for kids, it’s really, really good. It’s not like a $3,000 piece of machinery that you’re going to drop.

Jonathan Mosen:             Right. And that’s exactly by design. This can be shoved in a backpack or whatever, be bumped around a little bit. Kids can be rough with them and they’re pretty resilient.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. And they’re about, what? 300? Or you can get them cheaper than that in the states, I think.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yeah. I can’t remember what we paid in New Zealand dollars-

Bonnie:                                [crosstalk 01:41:25] like three or four.

Jonathan Mosen:             … But there’s a range of price points for them, depending on what you get, whether you get a touch screen, and we chose not to get a touch screen. Obviously there are different speeds, CPU, Ram storage, that kind of thing, but at entry level Chromebook is a really good price point.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. And laptops have really gone down in price. I mean, I remember 20 years ago they were quite expensive and now you can go down to Walmart or go down to wherever and pick up one for $300, $400. You know, it’s not going to be the fanciest obviously, but for the average person …

Jonathan Mosen:             No, for sure. And of course, you’ve got a quite reasonable screen reader in Narrator now.

Bonnie:                                Yeah. And NVDA.

Jonathan Mosen:             Yeah. So if you want to, you can get a Windows laptop. It might be a wee bit bulky, it may have a minimum amount of Ram and it may have a mechanical hard drive, [crosstalk 01:42:16] but it’s sure better than not being online or connected at all.

Bonnie:                                Yes.

Should I give an update on Eclipse?

Jonathan Mosen:             Oh sure, if you want to. Yes.

Bonnie:                                I think I had talked last week that Eclipse had had surgery. She’s been diagnosed with what’s called a mast cell tumor, which is cancer. There are three grades of it. So she does have the lowest grade, which is good, but she does have to have the entire tumor removed, which is going to happen this coming Tuesday.

The tricky part is because of where it is. It’s on her ankle and there’s just not a lot of meat there. So recovery and trying to close up the wound is going to be tricky. So she’s going to have massive bandaging and a fentanyl patch on her tail.

So just good vibes and good thoughts for her. She’s recovered very well from the last surgery, so I’m hoping that we have the same thing with this one. Although I know it’s going to be a little bit rougher because of where it is and what they have to do to get clean margins. Just hoping that they get the clean margins, because if they can’t and it is tricky on this one, she may have to have some chemo just to make sure that we’ve done everything we can.

And the chemo’s kind of the worst case scenario, because they always tell you the worst case scenario. So just really hoping that she is back.

She is her normal self, though she’s on prednisone and antihistamines right now, so a little dopey, but just hoping she is back to herself by Christmas.

Jonathan Mosen:             The prognosis is good though.

Bonnie:                                The prognosis is good. Yeah.

Jonathan Mosen:             So that’s positive.

Bonnie:                                It is positive. You never know what you’re dealing with unfortunately, but it is positive. She’s young, she’s healthy, she has a good attitude.

Jonathan Mosen:             We keep hope alive.

Bonnie:                                Yep.

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Graeme:                              Hi, Jonathan. Thanks for your tip recently about using my Apple Watch to solve my Chimes problem. I have done that and that’s working quite well. Although I would prefer the Westminster Chimes app to come back, which it may do. It hasn’t done in iOS 15.1, but it may do in a later version.

I wanted though today to show you an app for the watch called Streamlets. This is a very handy little app because it allows you to stream radio stations directly to your watch.

Now, if you have a cellular Apple Watch, then you can listen to radio stations on the watch without having your phone with you. Or if you don’t, you can have your phone within I think a 30 meter radius roughly and stream the radio stations through the phone to your watch.

You can use this app with the speaker of the watch or through headphones. And I’ve put it on my dock. So let me show you.

Apple Watch:                     11:59 AM and 42 seconds. [crosstalk 01:45:16]

Graeme:                              There we go.

Apple Watch:                     Messages, Reminders, Calendar, Home, Weather, Streamlets, Actions [crosstalk 01:45:22].

Graeme:                              There it is.

Apple Watch:                     Streamlets, back button, favorites heading.

Graeme:                              You have two sections when you go into the app; favorites, or …

Apple Watch:                     ABC local radio 702 Sydney. [crosstalk 01:45:30]

Graeme:                              Oh, and that’s one of my favorites.

Apple Watch:                     ABC News Radio button.

Graeme:                              So we can go to that.

Apple Watch:                     Mushroom FM button.

Graeme:                              Or we can go to this one.

Apple Watch:                     [inaudible 01:45:39]

Graeme:                              And in a moment, it will start.


There we go. Look at that.

Apple Watch:                     [crosstalk 01:45:46]

Graeme:                              It’s The Mushroom.

[crosstalk 01:45:47] [inaudible 01:45:47]

Apple Watch:                     Stop button. Stop [inaudible 01:45:52].

Graeme:                              It’s quite easy to put radio stations on the app.

Apple Watch:                     Stop, [emit 01:45:56].

Graeme:                              It’s not letting me go back now.

Apple Watch:                     [inaudible 01:45:58], emit. Play button. 128 Mushroom FM. [inaudible 01:46:00], emit. Back button. Back button.

Graeme:                              There we go.

Apple Watch:                     Back button. Favorites heading. ABC local-

Favorites. Back button.

Graeme:                              [crosstalk 01:46:00] Go back further.

Apple Watch:                     Streamlets heading. Favorites button. Search button. [inaudible 01:46:12] button.

Graeme:                              You can use this button, which is just “tap here”, and do a search by voice. Or you can use the flip type keyboard on the watch.

Apple Watch:                     [inaudible 01:46:21]. Back button. Cancel Button. [inaudible 01:46:22] button. Double tap to [inaudible 01:46:24].

Graeme:                              Mushroom Escape.

Apple Watch:                     Search button. Search button. Mushroom Escape button. Search button. [crosstalk 01:46:34]

Graeme:                              [crosstalk 01:46:34] that.

Apple Watch:                     Mushroom Escape 128 kbps. [crosstalk 01:46:38]

Graeme:                              And there we go.

Apple Watch:                     Mushroom Escape 128 kbps.

Graeme:                              I can click on that.

Apple Watch:                     [crosstalk 01:46:42]. Emit. Love button. Love button. [inaudible 01:46:46]. Emit. Stop button.

[crosstalk 01:46:47].

Stop. Emit.

Graeme:                              There we go.

And if you want to favorite Mushroom Escape, you press the …

Apple Watch:                     Love button.

Graeme:                              … “Love” button and it favorites it. And if you want to unfavorite it, then you press the “love” button again.

So a nice little app. Handy if you wanted to listen to a radio station. And it’s got hundreds of thousands of stations from around the world.

Jonathan Mosen:             Thanks for the review, Graeme. I am rocking this app as well, enjoying it a lot. I particularly like the fact that it uses the speaker of the Apple Watch as an option, which for spoken word content is perfectly adequate.

The name of the app: Streamlets, S-T-R-E-A-M-L-E-T-S. And it’s available for purchase in the App Store.

If I was feeling brave, I could play the Van Halen song Jump as a precursor to this email, but we can’t do that on a podcast. So I’ll just read this email from Dan.

It says, “Hi, Jonathan. The demonstration of Jump Desktop that you had on episode 151 was encouraging for me as I’d been looking for an app to connect remotely to my Macs I have here for years. I’ve tried it in 2018, but didn’t have much success with it back then. I couldn’t get audio from the machine I was connecting to.

The demo on your podcast inspired me to give it another go. I was connecting from my MacBook Air to a Mac Mini that I have here. I could hear audio just fine from my other Mac, but when it came to getting full keyboard control, I could do things such as command tab and use standard Mac OS keystrokes, but when I tried using voiceover for commands, such as Vospace or VOD, for example, those, for some reason, weren’t getting passed to the remote system. They were being captured by the local system.

If I could solve these issues for getting total keyboard control of the system I’m connected to, I think Jump Desktop will be the solution I’ve been looking for four years. Any feedback on this would be appreciated.”

Thanks so much, Dan. I haven’t used Jump Desktop myself, but based on the demo, I’m not sure that what you want to do is possible, but we’ll throw it out there and see if any Jump Desktop experts can comment further.

If you have Norrie disease or a similar degenerate of hearing condition, this could be very interesting.

Amanda, my ex-wife, sent this to me, as did David Goldfield. David said, “I immediately thought of you when I saw this article.”

It’s from the Hearing Impairment News section of the Science Daily from the 6th of October, 2021. It’s headlined, “Scientists identify role of protein behind rare Norrie disease and find clues for treating hearing loss.”

And the article says, “A team of mass eye and ear scientists, led by Albert Edge PhD, working with research fellow Yushi Hayashi, MD, PhD, has identified the mechanism that can lead to a rare syndrome, Norrie disease.

The researchers found that the Norrie disease protein, NDP, which is lacking in patients with the rare disease, is essential for the maintenance and survival of hair cells in the cochlear, the cells responsible for hearing.

They also found that a pathway believed to be vital for hair cell regeneration, known as the WNT pathway, could mimic the effects of NDP by restoring hearing and deaf mice with Norrie syndrome. This method, and another technique that over-expressed NDP in nearby cells, were both able to prevent and rescue hearing loss.

The new discoveries, published in the September 28 issue of PNAS, may lead to promising treatment targets for the incurable disease and other forms of profound hearing loss.

Norrie disease is an inherited disorder caused by more than 100 different mutations in the NDP gene that can lead to blindness, deafness and intellectual disability in males. While infants with Norrie disease are born blind, their hearing is typically normal at birth and progressively deteriorates to profound loss by an average age of 12 years. The hearing loss can be particularly devastating for the families with an affected child.

Previously, researchers had thought that vascular issues caused by Norrie disease are what led to vision and hearing loss. However, the new findings suggest a lack of NDP is what causes hair cells to deteriorate and ultimately leads to deafness.

By learning more about the role of this protein in hair cell loss, the researchers were able to target two pathways that effectively prevented and reversed hearing loss in mouse models with Norrie disease.”

So that’s interesting, isn’t it? Goodness knows how long it will take for any kind of treatments to become available, but that is quite intriguing indeed.

So thank you, David, for sending that along.


Matthew Whitaker is back and says, “Hello, hope all is well. I just wanted to send this email regarding an update with Clubhouse I think all of you will be happy about.”


“There is now a new music option in the audio quality section when you are in a room. This allows for use with stereo equipment plugged into iOS or iPad OS devices. Hope you can do a demo of that or a session on Clubhouse showcasing that feature and the many others that the team keep adding on.

Also, for those who use Mac or Windows computers, Clubdeck, the desktop version of Clubhouse, is great. I use it on both OS’s.

Hope to hear from you and other listeners of this podcast. Keep up the amazing work.”

Thank you, Matthew.

Well, I don’t think I’ll do a demo of this. You can hear it in action just by going to Clubhouse. I must admit, I seldom do these days. Clubhouse really has declined quite quickly in its prominence and usage. But the audio quality, I did pop in and hear somebody using it, it does sound quite good.

I would just say though, that Clubdeck is not an official Clubhouse app. It is made by a third party. I have seen it break from time to time. Some months ago, it went down for quite a period because Clubhouse plugged a little loophole that Clubdeck was using in order to get into Clubhouse because it isn’t official.

It does seem maybe though that Clubhouse is sort of tolerating Clubdeck now, and that they may have come to an understanding of some kind. So that’s good if that’s the case, but really, I think it would be good if Clubhouse released an official app for iOS and Android that they themselves made.

I do think that as long as there is a future in this sort of space, Twitter Spaces is ramping up quite nicely. It’s available on multiple platforms, they have some pretty innovative features going on there, and I just wonder whether Clubhouse is going to struggle going forward.

Certainly when I go on there occasionally to have a look, it seems like a lot of get-rich-quick-schemes and grow-your-business or expand-your-podcast. It’s all very money driven. And a lot of that community seems to have gone away now.

Joseph:                                Hey, Jonathan. So I have two things here on the Android front for you.

The first is answering the person’s question about notifications.

So I think the issue is, when you have notifications, sometimes they’re grouped together and you’ll hear it in a long group. And a lot of times it happens to me when they’re silent notifications.

For example, I may wake up in the morning and hear Google News, you know, an article, and then hear something from Twitter and something from a baseball app that I have. And they’re all bunched together. And if you try to do the actions and expand, it doesn’t really expand. They just stay hidden.

And this is on my Galaxy Z Fold 3, but I think it’s going to be the same for the gentleman or lady that had the Samsung phone that they were using.

The way that you would view these notifications is, and it took me a long time to figure this out, I’m ashamed to say, but I figured it out, you just swipe up with two fingers. So when you see that, you do like a scroll up and it basically opens those notifications. It’ll make the scrolling sound and then you’ll be able to see the notifications. And you can expand them from there or whatever you want to do. So it basically just shows you more of the notification.

I had no idea this was a thing until I just kind of experimented and played with it. But I was very frustrated with notifications as well on Android, because I was like, “How does this work?” And then I figured it out.

The second thing is, and I can’t take credit for this, Ed Green showed me this on the list that we’re on, and I love this feature …

A few caveats to this; if there’s an advertisement on the screen, let’s say you’re looking at a newspaper website and they’re offering you a subscription, it won’t read it then. But most articles within Chrome or the Google News app or the Google Now feed, if you open it and you invoke the Google Assistant, you can say, “Read this article to me.”

The first time, you do have to agree to some terms and you have to allow it the permission to view your screen. Once you do this, it will read the article.

And what’s really cool about it, it’s much like Voxmate in the sense that it trims out a lot of the fat. Something that kind of annoys me about reading an article these days is you get all that Twitter nonsense. When someone tweets something, they throw that in the article and they throw advertisements, of course. And sometimes there’s even videos.

But my experience with Voiceover and Talk Back has kind of weaned a lot lately in the enjoyment of reading articles, just because there’s so much, I’m just going to call it, fat in there. So with this, this, “Read this article to me,” you just basically get the heart and soul of the article, and it’s wonderful.

The other thing that you can do is, on the bottom of the screen, it has play/pause, you can change the narration speed. So by default, it’s kind of slow. You expand that up and then you can take two fingers and sort of scroll that to the left and right and change the reading speed. I have mine set at about 1.8 and it’s pretty good. And the voice is really good on that.

Marissa:                               Hey, Jonathan, it’s Marissa. I wanted to ask your listeners if they use the Digit-Eyes application on their iPhone, or if there are any better barcode scanning applications.I’ve had some luck with Seeing AI, but not as much as I would like to.

And yes, just in case you’re wondering, I am that Marissa, the one that asked for the help with the white cane and the one that has sent contributions on other things.

Jonathan Mosen:             I never forget a face, Marissa. Seriously. It’s good to hear your voice.

I haven’t seen Digit-Eyes being updated for some time, but I think it still works quite well. Sometimes people frown on apps that don’t get an update for a while, but as far as I know, it’s still quite functional, but I look forward to hearing other people’s reflections on this.

Seeing AI used to work really well for me with barcode scanning, not a hundred percent, but quite well, but in recent months, I have not been able to get Seeing AI to recognize a single barcode. That is to say it scans the barcode, but then it keeps saying that it’s not found in its database.

I don’t know what’s happened there, but it does appear to be a significant deterioration, at least in this part of the world, in terms of what it’s recognizing.

Envision, on the other hand, is doing pretty well for me. If I use the Envision AI app and do barcode scanning there, it seems to do a really good job a lot of the time.

So please share what barcode solutions are working well for you on your iPhone.

I love to hear from you. So if you have any comments you want to contribute to the show, drop me an email written down or with an audio attachment to Jonathan, J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N, @mushroomfm.com. If you’d rather call in, use the listener line number in the United States, (8-6-4) 6-0-6 6-7-3-6.