Podcast transcript, Mosen At Large episode 170, be a part of our benefit concert for Ukraine, feedback on ableist language, and your JAWS could have arms too
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Jonathan Mosen: I’m Jonathan Mosen. This is Mosen At Large, the show that’s got the blind community talking. This week, you’re invited to be a part of a global benefit concert for Ukraine, more thoughts on ableist language, and Glenn Gordon tells us about some interesting jobs going at the Sparrow, and JAWS will soon no longer be armless.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Jonathan: Welcome to Episode 170 of the podcast. It’s good to be with you again. Right up the front of the podcast this time, Bonnie Mosen is with us. Welcome to you, Bonnie.
Bonnie Mosen: Hi, guys.
Jonathan: We want to talk about a really important event and we would like people to become involved with this event at many levels. On the 16th of April at 2:00 PM US Eastern Time, many internet radio stations around the world, currently, I’m counting eight and I think that number will grow significantly as well as potentially other ways of tuning in, we’re all getting together for a concert for Ukraine. The idea behind this is that blind musicians are coming together in large number to send their contributions in for this special event.
I’m going to be emceeing the event, comparing it, putting it all together, but in the main what you will hear is music and other performances, whether it be poetry, reciting a story or something like that from our very talented performing arts community around the world. We have a lot of blind people who are absolutely top class in this area. This is an idea that was come up with by Jaffar in Singapore. He had this idea, let’s all get together and put a concert together for Ukraine. We are focusing on this in a number of ways right now.
First of all, we obviously need to get the performance and that’s what we’re focusing on now and also, of course, sorting out the broadcast partners. If you are a blind musician and you are interested in helping out with this and being a part of something that I’m sure you will always remember– When I’m talking about blind musicians, I’m not necessarily saying you have to be super professional. You don’t have to have access to a recording studio. If you sing and you’re able to sing to a backing track and record it quite well, that’s a key thing.
We need a decent-quality recording. If you’re willing to just do that, if you have a poem to recite, anything like that at all, if you’re a performing artist, we want to hear from people with a wide variety of genres, musical types, capabilities as possible, then one place that you can go, and there will be many places you can go, but one place you can go right now is mushroomfm.com/withyou. The event is called We’re With U, but we can’t put an apostrophe in a URL. It’s mushroomfm.com/withyou but our other broadcast partners, some of which include the Phoenix and Treehouse Radio, the Radio Storm, and a number of other internet radio partners in the blindness space will be carrying this as well.
This is not a Mushroom FM-dominated event. We’re the host broadcaster but it is very much a global community event. If you go to that page though for the time being, and you will see other pages pop up about this event in other places soon, there is an email address where you can get in touch with Jaffar and send in your contribution. You can talk with him about how to get the contribution to him. Whether it’s a cover of something, something that you’ve written, we really are casting as wide a net as possible just getting as many blind people together as possible who want to perform and raise money for Ukraine.
It’s the setting up process that we’re focusing on but by the 16th of April, you will know a lot more about how to give because this is a benefit concert. The whole point of this is to raise money for people in desperate, desperate need, and also where the money goes. You will by the time of the event have a high degree of confidence that this money is being raised in a professional, ethical manner and that every cent will go to the people who need it. We will give you a lot more information on this before the event on the 16th of April so that you have a high degree of confidence.
The other thing as well as blind musicians, if you want to carry this event, and we’re really being very open about this, if you run an internet radio station and you would like to carry this event, if you have a Facebook Live feed or a YouTube channel and you want to broadcast this event, please be our guest. We are casting a very wide net because we want the blind community to unite.
The cool thing is that some of the internet radio stations we’re now working with do not broadcast in English. We really are making this a global event. It’s good to feel like we can all do something, just something little like this to help. If that’s you, if you have a way of distributing the concert when it goes out live and you would like to be a part of it, then drop me an email and I’m handling that side of it. Bonnie, it’s a pretty exciting initiative that sprang up very quickly.
Bonnie: It did. It sprung up very fast. It was just like one afternoon when it popped up. How long does the concert run?
Jonathan: Well, that is another really good question. At the moment, we don’t know. Obviously, our broadcasting partners want to know this. We are asking for every contribution to be in by Friday, the 8th of April, so that we know how much we’ve got. When we know how much we’ve got, we’ll be able to give all our broadcasting partners and the blind community and beyond, potentially, some idea of how long this event will run but we’re not going to be constrained by time. We’re going to be constrained by how many wonderful contributions we get. We really do want as many as possible.
Bonnie: That was another question I was going to ask because I’ve been asked when’s the deadline and I’m like, “I don’t know. You’ll have to email Jaffer.” That’s a good answer, April 8th, which is coming up very soon, actually.
Jonathan: It is quite quick. What we did was we set a target that was ambitious but not too ambitious. Also, we wanted to get this money raised because the need is now and the need is dire and I know people want to help.
Bonnie: The need will be continuing.
Jonathan: Yes, it will. That’s mushroomfm.com/withyou but also do check out our other broadcast partners because I’m sure that they will soon begin to start publicizing the event there as well. Just listen on whatever radio station that you normally listen to that’s carrying it. Let’s all just unite for this amazing event.
Bonnie: People in Eastern Europe will also be able to tune into this as well [crosstalk]
Jonathan: Assuming the internet access is holding up, then that’s absolutely right.
Bonnie: In Poland, Romania, and some of those countries, Ukraine.
Jonathan: Yes. We are working with a station I understand where the primary language is Polish. It’s right on the border with Ukraine. That contact, Powell is working with us to secure some other stations there to cater to non-English-speaking markets. If there is an English speaker but who also has other native languages and you know of internet radio stations, even if you want to translate what I’m saying between the musical bits, then we’d welcome all of that. We really want this to be a truly global event.
Bonnie: That’s one thing wonderful about music. It doesn’t matter whether you understand the words or not. Music is always a universal language.
Jonathan: We have got quite a few, shall I say, serious contributions to date and that’s fine but we don’t have to be full of doom and gloom to raise money for this cause. You remember Live Aid, for example. They had some incredibly lively performances while we were all raising money for starving children. We can do that again. We can still have lively performances. We can still allow ourselves to have fun as long as if you’re having a lot of fun, you open your wallet and give big. [laughs]
Bonnie: Exactly. That is true. We do tend to think of in somber times singing somber music, but I know because my sister and I have connections in Ukraine and I have seen some music coming out of there where they’re down in the bunker and they’re singing happy folk songs.
Jonathan: Yes, it cheers you up.
Bonnie: Things that they like because it cheers you up.
Jonathan: When you think of some of the great music that came out of World War II, that’s another example.
Bonnie: Oh, yes. Very upbeat peppy songs.
Jonathan: If you can contribute something, if you’re a performing artist of any kind, it might be hard to do the dancing, tap dancing might work because that’s a bit clicky, mushroomfm.com/withyou is one place that you can go for now to register your interest and learn a bit more about the event. It’s happening at 2:00 PM US Eastern Time on the 16th of April, at 7:00 PM in the UK. Ahead of the event on this podcast, we will talk a lot more about the listening aspect of this, about how easy we are going to make it for people to donate, and let’s just get together and do something positive for people who need our help. While you’re down here, we’ve had an interesting week with computers.
Bonnie: We have and it seems to not be just isolated to us, which is often something that feels good that you know that it’s just not me that’s having all the technical gremlins. Having a lot of issues with the computer taking forever to boot and get to the desktop. I noticed my work computer was doing that yesterday.
Jonathan: Really? There must be some odd Windows Update going on or something but I haven’t seen any reference to it in the tech press. I was just helping Bonnie install a few things on Saturday, wasn’t it? Saturday afternoon.
Bonnie: Yes. When I was right in the middle of my writer’s retreat.
Jonathan: These things always happen when you’re in the middle of something important, and we, first of all, thought the whole thing had completely frozen. What was happening was you get to the Windows startup sound and then JAWS comes up and it gives you the login prompt and you type in the pin and then nothing, nothing happened. I used all the usual apps on the phone to try and read the screen, and I couldn’t find anything in the end. I made a call and discovered that the screen was completely blank. I thought this is ominous.
Bonnie: Oh, good. [unintelligible 00:10:44] blue.
Jonathan: I rebooted the computer several times and it was just not happening at all. Then, I don’t know, I think I got into some sort of conversation. It was an accidental thing. I got into some conversation with Heidi about what might it be. That conversation lasted several minutes and probably about, I don’t know, five or six minutes in, all of a sudden JAWS started talking and I thought, “Wow, that’s fantastic.”
I restarted the computer, the same thing happened. If you left it five or six minutes, then JAWS eventually came up. I looked around and I found that Chrome wasn’t running. Bonnie would try to go to Chrome. I mean, I said to her, “Look, you’ve got your event coming up so now that it’s booted up, why don’t we just leave it?” She tried to get in by running Chrome and Chrome wouldn’t start. Edge would but Chrome wouldn’t, and I reinstalled Chrome and at that point it all came right again. The huge delay vanished. This was a very short story that was actually quite a long-winded process to figure out.
Well, on Wednesday, I had six-hour-long and quite important meetings in my day job. I couldn’t restart the computer. Something had happened and it locked up a bit. I know that there’s a big risk potentially in shutting down the computer by forcing it off. You know that bad things can happen if you do that and that’s a last resort. I just couldn’t find a way to do otherwise. When I turned the computer back on, exactly the same thing happened to me that happened to Bonnie’s computer. It took about eight minutes or so, five to eight minutes.
Now, it may or may not have been the same problem. I guess I don’t believe in coincidences, but because I forced shutdown, I thought that it was just some different thing and that the symptoms were similar. I’m not sure now because I’m aware of a number of people this week now who’ve had this issue. I wonder whether anyone else has had this issue in the last week.
The way that I got out of it was because this was my desktop computer in my office/studio, I need stuff to work. I’m very conservative about what I put on this thing and so I have the release build of everything including Windows, but when I upgraded the release build of Windows to the developer insider build, because I thought, “Oh, well, this could replace critical system files that might have got corrupted,” it worked. I thought that was a genius way around it. I’m a bit nervous about running the insider builds, but I got my computer back without having to wait five to seven minutes to boot up every time. Now I’ve heard of a bunch of people who’ve had this happen to them this week. I’m curious if it’s happened to anybody here.
Bonnie: They’re different types of computers too. It’s not the same brand.
Jonathan: Yes. One person I know of has got a ThinkPad, but my ThinkPad has not been affected with this knocking on the wood. This one in here is built by Henry the wonder son-in-law, it’s a custom-built machine. What you got?
Bonnie: Oh, and I have an HP Spectre.
Jonathan: Yes. It’s not machine-specific.
Bonnie: Very strange.
Bonnie: Very curious. That’s the weird thing was my computer had been running perfectly up until we rebooted it, so it was very strange.
Jonathan: Yes. Well, I just restarted for some reason or other I can’t remember why.
Bonnie: Then I load something.
Jonathan: Yes. I was going to load some software or something and do some updates. I thought it might be prudent that it was system restart, and boy.
Bonnie: It wasn’t very prudent.
Jonathan: Yes, no, it wasn’t. It wasn’t.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Jonathan: Let’s follow up on this topic of ableist language, which I raised in Episode 169 because of the article that I had published on the Stuff website. I must say, I have had overwhelmingly positive feedback about that article, and that is really encouraging. The tide is hopefully turning, Eden is in touch and she says, “Hi, Jonathan, it’s been great hearing your shows as always. While I agree with you that ableist language should not be tolerated, now I’m in a quandary. Two songs I like use blind as a metaphor, Running Blind by Godsmack and a song called Cold (But I’m Still Here) by Evans Blue. I still like them, but now it bugs me.
Another song by Golden Palominos called Little Suicides, not actually about suicides by the way, but it has a line where it says, ‘If you’ve never had your sight, what’s it mean to be blind?’ Well, isn’t that what blind is? I think that’s a metaphor too. I guess you could say the song Amazing Grace does this too. I doubt when they said, ‘I was blind, but now I see,’ that they meant just blind people. What’s awful is I love the tune if not the words of that song and I’m not religious.
Speaking of that, I’ve heard some of the prettiest voices on Christian singers but the lyrics then ruin it, but I digress. I do agree though, we need to keep fighting for people not to use this language, but I wonder if other people now have songs where they said, “Gee, I never thought about it,” and then they feel bad for liking the song. Take care and hope you keep doing many more wonderful shows. Oh, and I also pre-ordered my new SE 2022 as my 2020 is a little sluggish now.”
You may have it by now, Eden, and if that’s the case, I hope you are enjoying that new toy. Toys are good. Yes, there are a lot of ableist references in songs. The one that springs to mind for me, because I always noticed it when I was a kid or when I was a teenager, when the Innocent Man album came out. There’s a song on there called Christie Lee. It turned out to be quite a prophecy, by the way. In that song, he talks about, “They say he stumbles like a blind man.” I thought, “Oh, why do you think blind people stumble?”
Another one that came out a bit earlier than that was Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. I remember we would all be singing this in school and there’s a line in that song that says, “Turn away from it all like a blind man.” We’d all just laugh and say how ridiculous. We used to rebel a bit, we used to have to sing Amazing Grace when I was at school and a number of us would say, “Was blind, still am, can’t see,” because we thought it was just appalling that we had to sing that song.
There are many ableist references in songs out there. That’s a fun topic. If you would like to nominate any songs that have ableist references in them, then by all means, give us a call. 864-60Mosen in the United States and, of course, email@example.com on the email. There’s a whole sub-genre of this which is songs that pity disabled people. One of the worst is Nobody’s Child, of course, and I remember actually that that song was the cause of one of my very earliest bits of advocacy.
We used to have these amazing telethons when I was a kid and because we only had two TV channels, basically, no one watched the other one when we had these telethons, which were an annual event and then they went biennial and then they got even more infrequent. When those telethons were on, it was just something that really united the country. Quite an experience and probably the experience that only a country like New Zealand could have achieved.
Anyway, a bunch of kids who boarded at the school for the blind were sent along to sing on one of these telethons and you know what they sang? They sang Nobody’s Child. I was just– well, I must have been very young at eight, nine, around about that. I remember going to school and saying to my classroom teacher at the school for the blind I really don’t think it’s right that the kids went along and sang that song that’s so belittling of blind people on national television. Basically, the only response I got was, “Shut up, Jonathan.” It was terrible. Teddy Bear is another one. Oh my God, Teddy Bear is such a bad song. [laughs]
Anyway, here’s Marisa on the subject of ableist language and she says I could be wrong, but this seems to be another example of ableist language. This is a TV show, I believe. I have pasted the link to the article below. The headline is, Love is Blind. “Star Natalie says she warned Shane her answer would be no at the altar, but the wedding happened anyway. I 100% agree with your statement that there needs to be substantial change that these references do take away from the meaning of blindness.
As someone who has been legally blind all her life, I understand that the general public cannot possibly imagine what I and others go through with our disabilities. However, I wish there was a bit more compassion and empathy towards our situation. Less ignorance would be a welcome change. Unfortunately, there will always be people who are set in their ways and beliefs. I don’t like referring to myself as disabled. To me, that implies I’m broken. I am just as capable as anyone else. I may have other challenges besides blindness, but I manage as best I can. I’m further aware that education is the best way to combat issues such as these. How can someone like myself advocate on behalf of our community?”
Thanks, Marisa. A couple of points to come from your very interesting message. The first thing I would say is that ableist language is somewhat subjective, I suppose, but I’m not sure about whether love is blind is necessarily an ableist term because when we say love is blind, are we saying love is ignorant? I suppose we might be, but I think we are more likely to say that when we say love is blind, we are meaning that we look past people’s obvious faults.
I think love is blind on balance is more of a visual reference than necessarily equating blindness with ignorance. I think also love is blind is not necessarily meant as a critical comment. It’s meant as a comment that says, when you love someone, you overlook their faults, you’re not seeing some of the things that maybe you would otherwise see. Given all the other ableist references, that one doesn’t trouble me. I can see that it might trouble other people.
In terms of your comment about you don’t like the term ‘disabled,’ I think we are getting to a point where we respect the fact that everybody is entitled to identify the way that they feel comfortable identifying. If you don’t like being called a disabled person, that’s okay and hopefully, people can respect that. I personally don’t mind being called a disabled person. The reason for that is that when I talk about being a disabled person in New Zealand, New Zealand has adopted lock, stock, and barrel the social model of disability.
When I say I’m a disabled person, what I’m actually saying is the choices or lack of choice that society has made about an issue is disabling me. When I talk to people about this, I cite this example. Let’s say a bunch of people go with me to my office at three in the morning and it is absolutely pitch black out there. The street lights aren’t working, the electric lights aren’t working, there is just no light at all and it’s three in the morning. Who would be the disabled person at that point?
It’s not me. I’d be wandering through that office absolutely fine, going about my business, knowing exactly where I am. The sighted people in that group would be not only disabled, but they’d probably be petrified because they’re not in a familiar environment. They don’t know how to cope in that situation. In that case, because of the lack of accommodation of their needs, no light, they would be the disabled one. If I’m a disabled person at any time, it’s because my need to function has not been accommodated by society.
I don’t see it as a criticism of me or my functionality when I talk about being a disabled person. That’s the social model that we use here in New Zealand. From what I can gather, the social model of disability is slowly gaining traction in the United States. We are going to get back to the ableist language thing in a minute, but first of all, Rebecca says, “I am not sure how I can justify purchasing the new iPhone SE 2022 since my phone works just fine at the moment. Since I work from home, 5G isn’t a necessity. I’d rather have independent reviews of the SE 2022 before I rush out and trade in a perfectly good phone that meets my needs while there are plenty of those out there.”
Now, Rebecca, if you like what you have, then stick with it and enjoy it. That’s what I did with my iPhone 12. I just saw nothing at all that encouraged me to upgrade to the 13. I haven’t regretted that for a minute. Back to the subject in hand at the moment, Rebecca says, “I applaud your advocacy efforts and agree we should strive to be an inclusive society.
There are movements in the United States that aimed to sense a certain books and discussion of race theory and certain issues around sexuality. Something I strongly oppose. I agree with you about the dangers of ableist language in the media and in public discourse. I also understand that many words have multiple meanings. I have long accepted my blindness and will often use humor in private interactions with people who know me and my strengths and limitations. For example, I did a horrible job guiding a totally blind child in elementary school.
I have been totally blind since birth. When I describe the incident to my mom, I actually use the phrase ‘blind leading the blind.’ I will not use this phrase in public, but I have no problem using this phrase about myself in situations where I have shortcomings. In this case, I didn’t have the best O&M skills at the time, since I was a child still learning how to travel. I ran a blind kid into a poll.” Ouch. “This was more about my own failings and had nothing to do with blind people in general. My parents would receive all sorts of stupid questions from the public and they would use humor in an attempt to show people just how stupid the question was.
I would do what I can to promote a more inclusive society. I hope that more people will understand the importance of respecting and acknowledging people with disabilities because I believe that the pandemic is going to force more of us to deal with situations where people become disabled because of long COVID. I strive to talk with people who have different views from my own, but I draw the line when it comes to filtering language when it comes to my own life experiences. No two blind people are alike.
I walk costumes for Halloween that said ‘Blind as a Bat,’ and ‘One of the Three Blind Mice.’ At the time, I was comfortable enough with my blindness that I could make a little humor. Things got harder as I entered my teenage years. Maybe the real problem is that we are an invisible minority and people must take the time to get to know someone with a disability before judging them prematurely. You can use all the political correct language in the world and still have misconceptions about a person’s abilities.
I’ve seen this several times in my life. I understand that my brand of humor may seem offensive to you, but please understand that I use it to let the rest of the world know that I’ve accepted my blindness and it is up to the world to accept me. I need to work on educating myself about the dangers of being ignorant about how society has treated other minority groups.”
Thanks, Rebecca. I don’t think I have ever said anything on this show, positive or otherwise, about self-deprecating humor. I have used that a lot and still use it a lot. When I was at high school, we had a band that a bunch of blind people were in and we called it the Venetian Blinds. [chuckles] Sometimes I will still use self-deprecating humor. I think that’s very different from ableist language.
Sometimes you will come across racial minorities who use self-deprecating language and you understand that they have the right to use self-deprecating language. It doesn’t mean that it’s appropriate for those of us who are not part of that minority to use the same kind of language. I think that’s the difference. I think that is something that is increasingly understood.
You’re right. We have to put more people at their ease about blind people and our capabilities, and the trouble is that as long as the ableist language persists, those myths about blind people persist. Our opportunities to do that educating and to help more of us gain employment and gain positions of influence and just really succeed to the best of our ability to maximize our potential will be limited, but yes, bring on the self-deprecating humor.
What’s on your mind? Send an email with a recording of your voice or just write it down. firstname.lastname@example.org, that’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroomfm.com, or phone our listener line. The number in the United States is 864-60Mosen. That’s 864-6066736.
Stan Warren Littrell: Greetings, Jonathan Mosen. This is Stan Warren Littrell in Medford, Oregon. As usual, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the latest Mosen At Large Podcast and as usual, it was quite informative. I would like to also echo the sentiments of those that have mentioned that I appreciate the work that you do in the blind community, and it means a lot to us.
Now, you mentioned that the 256-gigabyte iteration was something new. Well, that is not the case because I am recording this on an SE 2020 256 gigabit, gigabyte, whatever version of that phone. I’m considering upgrading for three reasons. One, the faster chip. The second reason is the home button, and the third reason is the fingerprint sensor. I’m sure that I could get used to using another phone that does not have the home button, but it’s all about what we’re used to. In a nutshell, those are the reasons why I am considering upgrading to the SE3 or whatever they’re calling it. I have not used nearly all of the storage in this phone that I could possibly use.
I will say it, I considered the 512 and the other phones but I don’t know. I may not even upgrade at all. I haven’t made up my mind, but I’m sure that the possibility exists that I will upgrade for the reasons I mentioned. I’m doing a lot better now than I was on January 26th, so that is a good thing, for me anyway. Take care and hope that you and Bonnie are doing well. I’m happy to see that you got your drainage issues sorted out.
Scott Rutkowski: Good day, Jonathan and listeners. It’s Scott Rutkowski from Sydney here again. I just wanted to take the time to thank Jonathan for his interesting piece on Menulog and the rigmarole that you had to go through, firstly in the capture. Interestingly enough, I don’t know whether it’s because of your awesome email to Menulog, I’m not seeing a captcha when I go through the ordering process and haven’t seen one previously so I don’t know whether it was something that they did remove or whether it was only in certain markets.
However, I just looked at an order now. I didn’t place one, but I went all the way through to the checkout process and there was no captcha there, which is interesting. However, after having heard your experience with Menulog, I’m not sure whether I want to use them again, the rigmarole that you had to go through to get your $35 credit. Did you end up using your credit with Menulog? Just out of interest.
We didn’t hear the ending there and that’s probably because you hadn’t used it at that time. If you could enlighten us whether you did end up using that $35 credit or not. I’m disappointed in Menulog. One, at the way that they tried to blame voiceover and we all know that that’s not the issue. It was clearly with their app, and, two, the inability to call them in the call center.
I haven’t tried calling the number from here. We’ve got a 1-300 number which is displayed at the bottom of the checkout page. I think I may have called it. I can’t remember when it was now, maybe three months or four months ago and got the same recording you did. I was going to try them out this week but after your experience with Menulog and your KFC not showing up, I may end up sticking to Uber Eats or I may stick to DoorDash, which has now become more accessible. Still with issues but, unfortunately, it’s not available in New Zealand, unfortunately.
Jonathan: No it isn’t, Scott. DoorDash hasn’t graced us with its presence on this side of the ditch, unfortunately. As for the Menulog credit, no. At the time of recording, we haven’t used it yet, and that’s because the situation, as I described it at the end of that lengthy piece on Menulog in Episode 166, still remains which is that the coverage is now very limited again, and so all the restaurants we really want to order from that were available before are now not available at all to us.
We can go into our past orders and we can find those restaurants that we used to be able to order from and you can double-tap the button, actually, that says order again, and it makes a little ping and says, “Oops, something went wrong.” We’ve notified the right people, but as of now we have not had that coverage restored to us. I’m thinking this narrower coverage is here to stay. I do wish that I had taken the credit card refund rather than the credit but we’ll probably find some way or other to get rid of the credit before the credit expires. We’ve got until April to do that.
Uber Eats in the meantime has improved again. It was for a while taking lots of flicks to get through one restaurant in Uber Eats, but they do seem to have tidied that up and it’s much better than it was for a while there. Also, I’m very hesitant after having jinxed it before [chuckles] to recommend anything new on the food delivery front, but there is another service available to us here in Wellington called Delivereasy. That is all one word and I’m not sure how widely available this is, whether it is a uniquely New Zealand thing or whether Delivereasy is available in other countries.
The app is not that hot, to be honest, it’s like a rendering of their website, but I found the website on a Windows browser to be very good and we did actually get something that isn’t available on any other food delivery service that I’m aware of, and the process was efficient. They gave us updates via text message all the way, and we got our food with Delivereasy.
Having had my Menulog experience, I actually googled on it and found that a lot of New Zealanders and I think Australians too have had similar problems getting refunds, engaging with the customer disservice team at Menulog, so it does seem like it might be one to avoid, but your mileage may vary and it’s also true to say that we probably had a dozen or so very good Menulog delivery experiences.
When I say very good, maybe a few were later than we had expected but you do sometimes get that with Uber Eats as well because there can be all sorts of things in the mix like the restaurant taking a bit longer to prepare the order or traffic, meaning that the driver couldn’t get to the restaurant on time or whatever. That’s not unique to Menulog, but then things just went downhill very quickly, and we had that series of really unfortunate incidents, you might say. You might have a great run with them though, Scott.
Kevin: Hello, this is Kevin. I’m using the New Sony LinkBuds and using the microphones that are built in which are excellent. They work extremely well when you’re outdoors walking at canceling street sounds, for example, cars, wind, and so forth. When I’ve used them on active calls, the other parties said they weren’t able to hear any of the background noise, which is absolutely amazing.
The really cool and unique thing with these earbuds is the natural transparency which comes by nothing actually going in or over your ear canal. It has a donut shape type of design where the center parts cut out so you’re able to hear the natural world. Sony describes it as be able to hear both the outside real world as well as your digital entertainment or voiceover screen reader, what have you.
They’re extremely almost feel like a feather, they’re lightweight and comfortable. I can’t even feel them in my ears. They sound pretty good, and they also have a couple of cool features. One of them is sound AR where it works with apps like Soundscape to be able to have head tracking to be able to hone in on audio beacons and so forth. It also has a cool feature called wide tap where you can tap anywhere from your ear to your cybers or your cheekbone. You can do double or triple taps to either play, pause, to go next, to summon the Soup Drinker.
Would totally recommend these for the few reasons I mentioned, the natural transparency to be able to hear both your real physical world as well as your digital world at the same time, and to be able to have this really featherweight, lightweight, comfortable design, the excellent microphone quality, and just something really cool and unique.
Jonathan: Thank you very much for that review, Kevin. The Sony LinkBuds if you would like to check those out. It sounds like it’s a very innovative way of letting environmental sounds in, which is critical for blind people traveling. Now, I don’t want to burst your bubble too much, Kevin, but if I was interviewing you and you had those things in your ears, the first thing I would say is take them out. I don’t think the microphone is as good quality as you think it is because it’s picking up a lot of acoustical bounce in that room and that can make things very difficult for hearing-impaired people.
The first thing I would say is use the microphone built into your phone. It’s going to sound so much better if I were interviewing you or you were recording a review. I completely understand, by the way, why you would use the microphones of the products that you were reviewing in the review, for sure, because we get to hear what it sounds like. I just lament the fact that during this pandemic, we have all been subjected to really dodgy audio. You would think that with all the technology that’s around these days, a lot more work would’ve been done in getting rid of that acoustical bounce.
Can’t we have microphones that make it sound like you’re actually talking into them rather than they’re miles away? You would think DSP technology would make all of that possible if the effort was put in. Thank you for the review, Kevin. They really sound like quite innovative products.
This email comes from Rakesh who says, “Hi, Jonathan. I am from India and a regular beneficiary of your podcast. I have two issues which I would like to bring to your attention. One, I purchased a Brailliant 40X and I am very disappointed to do so. Why? Because it does not prove its price and its manufacturer’s brand. You cannot depend on its editor because it freezes the document while editing and all the editing goes away. Your document goes away.
Actually, if I change Braille code from English to computer Braille or Hindi table, freezing is a certain phenomenon. I really cannot use it for creating documents. Two, larger books also don’t allow seamless reading even if it is opened in Victor Reader. You face the same problem of freezing. Three, battery backup is also very poor. It does not give you more than five or six hours in spite of my keeping Bluetooth and Wi-Fi switched off. Four, the stereo speakers appear to be nothing but marketing strategy as HumanWare is completely silent about any update on this issue even after more than a year from the launching.”
Well, let me stop before I go onto your next issue, Rakesh. That does not sound good but I’m not sure if it’s typical. I wonder whether you may have a defective unit. If you can, it would be good to contact HumanWare or the HumanWare dealer you purchased it from and just see if they can make it right for you. Because while I tested the 20 and not the 40, I didn’t experience any issues like that. Now, that was a while ago, about a year ago now, actually, and I guess the firmware has changed.
I would be surprised if that was a common occurrence because if it were, I think I’d be hearing about it a lot on this podcast. It’s not good that it’s happening to you, but I do wonder whether a replacement unit might do the job for you. Now, the issue related to the Fire Stick. “I heard your Episode 97 of the podcast where you described the functioning of the Fire Stick.
I purchased the Fire Stick only after listening to Episode 97.” Oh, dear. “Of late, I faced an issue while playing videos on YouTube. Whenever I press pause or the rewind/forward button and then press the play button VoiceView starts describing screen details such as suggestions, more recommendations that you would like, searches, videos from other channels you might like.
It is very disturbing and irritating. I have tried many settings in the accessibility section but no help. The volume of VoiceView increases by a few degrees in YouTube. The volume does not play tricks in any other app.” Well, that’s not good either. If it’s only happening to you in YouTube, then it could be an issue with the YouTube app. I imagine that the Fire Stick YouTube app is written by Google.
What I would do is contact Google accessibility support. You can do this from anywhere because if you download the Be My Eyes app for free, if you’ve got a smartphone of course, you can call Google tech support for free if you’re willing to talk to them in English. I don’t recall what other languages they support. I did this recently for an issue that I was having, and it was very nice.
I just mentioned my name because I think it’s fair enough that I give my name when I’m calling up. They knew the Mosen At Large Podcast and they knew me and they had nice things to say. It’s always nice when someone has nice things to say when you call tech support. They were very helpful and I’m sure they’ll be helpful for you as well. It might just be that somebody needs to report this issue, give them steps to reproduce, and then hopefully that will be taken care of. I wish you luck with both of those things. Do get in touch with HumanWare and see if they can sort this out for you because I’m sure that’s not the typical experience.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Sara Hillis: Hello, Mosen At Large listeners. This is Sara Hillis. I just thought I’d give you a little rant about computer algorithms and artistic content. Computer algorithms are being used more and more to flag copyright violations, which in theory could actually work really well. They could identify bits of music. They could identify the text of things. They can do a lot, but what they don’t do is understand that some music is actually traditional, and though there are other versions of it recorded out there, it doesn’t mean you’re violating copyright.
I had that happen today on SoundCloud I uploaded for free. I’m not selling it. A piece which is a traditional hymn, a Dona nobis pacem, you may have learned it in school. I know I did. I had recorded a version of it today. I just wanted to, given all the craziness in the world right now. Just needed to do it. It felt good. I wanted to share it with people. Simple, right? No, not so simple because within two minutes of it being uploaded, SoundCloud said, “By the way, we’re removing this from your profile for copyright infringement,” and graciously in the email, it did say, “Our automatic copyright violation detection system found this.”
Nobody had claimed it or anything like that. Of course, you have to file a dispute with the SoundCloud to get it reinstated. Of course, the dispute form is very generic. It gives you choices that sound really wrong. I had to say, “Yes, it’s the same as the piece you’re mentioning because I had to find it on Apple Music to listen to it, the piece.” It’s the same piece, technically, but they didn’t write it.
Then I had to say it was a cover version of someone else’s song, which again isn’t quite the truth. Then I finally get to write down my reasons but before I get there, they flagrantly say, “Well, most copyright claims are rejected because no one understands what public domain is. You’re all just idiots. You shouldn’t bother filing this.” No, it doesn’t say it quite that way, but that’s what it says.
Then I finally get to write my dispute claim, my reasons for claiming dispute of this ruling, this computerized ruling. I said, this is a hymn that might be attributed to Mozart but most often is attributed as traditional in hymn book texts. Since its origin predates the advent of recorded sound, I really don’t think there’s a copyright. Logical, maybe. Right? Anyway, we shall see what they do. Hopefully, common sense will prevail but it really ruined my mood, I have to tell you. Anyway, thanks for listening. Whenever you get to play this, this was recorded on Friday the 25th of February, 2022.
Jonathan: Right. Duly noted. Now, if you are waiting for the next exciting installment of this unfolding enthralling thing, I’ve got it for you now.
Sara: An update to the SoundCloud rant I posted not too long ago is that they have seen common sense and reinstated the track in question. It’s still an annoying process to go through because they have these computer algorithms flagging things, but at least they saw common sense, which is good.
Jonathan: It is good because sometimes you can write to these people and you never hear back. It’s impossible to get to a human being. It’s good that they took such quick care of that. Although, you might be better hosting on a free podcast site or something like that. Pinecast has a free option, for example. The thing with Pinecast though is that their free option only gives you the last I believe it’s 10 episodes and then they scroll off. I’m not sure if that would work or not. I am pleased for you, Sara, despite the fact that that Dona nobis pacem thing really brings back hideous memories. That was one of the most horrible things we ever had to sing in school.
David: Hi, Jonathan. So sad to hear what’s happening in Ukraine. Coming here, I’ve been trying to resolve some issues with the Countdown app. There was a set where my points balance was broken. I got a meter saying it could not display my points balance and I’ve been trying to resolve an issue. It’s got serious now, and they told me to uninstall the app and reinstall, which I did. However, what’s happened now is I can’t log into the app. Voiceover is unable to get to the login screen. When I tap on sign in, it’s only the cancel button that’s focused.
The same happens for people who want to sign up for Countdown online as well through the app and trying to get this resolved. I think it’s become serious. I think we need to take some action here with the blind community about this. Even though the app is reasonably accessible, it’s just logging in at this state with this version of the app has broken it. It’s why I missed the times when I could put apps on my computer to install them later.
If an app got updated that broke accessibility, I could go back to the accessible version. That’s the thing I miss about the old, I think it was iOS 8 or something was the last one when we had those we could put apps on the computer and you could install an accessible version if the update broke it. For people to use the Countdown app right to support, people let Countdown tell them about the problem.
If you log out, you won’t be able to log back in because the accessibility with voiceover’s broken, it’s not focusing. There’s a new app that’s just come out now, it’s called Scan&Go. I don’t know why they put it like that. It’s similar to how Amazon works when you scan your shopping and you walk around the store and need to scan it and pay and go. It’s just come out with Countdown now, but it’s a separate app, which is a bit strange. They just put it all into the one app when they do a big update, but I’m unable to log in. I’ve been getting an issue when I try to log in to the Scan&Go app. It’s only been tried in Ponsonby Countdown at the moment.
When I might do that, give that a test sometime with my support worker when they’re going to go shopping. What I prefer to do is I use the online shopping cart as a list from when I want to do my shopping because I’m finding that the list feature on the Countdown app isn’t very intuitive. It’s accessible but when I try to swipe from one item to the other, voiceover doesn’t move to that focus, it just focuses on the one item.
That’s why I prefer to use the Countdown online shopping as my shopping list. Let me call if I could just scan, use that, that part of the app and then open up the camera to scan each item. Then once I’ve done that, it would tick off. Once I’ve finished shopping, just pay via Apple Pay and just go. They’re making it complicated by scanning barcodes and scanning things at the checkout. Should you be able just do it via Apple Pay and go like what Amazon Fresh is doing– I think new world is also trialing Scan&Go, but that’s only in South Island.
Jonathan: Thanks, David. For those who couldn’t pick it up from the context, Countdown is a supermarket chain in New Zealand. It’s pretty hard to get an online delivery from them in a timely manner at the moment because of so many people with COVID-19 here. Thanks for the info about the Countdown app, David. It’s not one that I use for whatever reason. Perhaps the reason is that I’ve been doing Countdown shopping since 1996. In those days, it was called Woolworth’s online shopping.
I’ve just stucked to doing it on the website. Bonnie’s the one who does most of it now, actually. I’ve not used the app very much at all, but it should be available. It should be accessible to everybody who wants to shop that way. I hope the IT team at Countdown can get it resolved for us. To sunny India, we go, and Addie is in touch and says, “Hi, Jonathan. Trust you continue to remain safe and well. Enjoy listening to Mosen At Large as always. Just a few random thoughts based on a few of the previous episodes.
One, thank you so much for interviewing Cameron Algie. I did purchase the book. I can see clearly now understanding and managing blindness and vision loss. To date, I completed 47% of the book and found the book really fascinating. I can relate to it in many ways. Two, buddy, what happened to your Android journey? I believe before the Christmas vacation you had purchased an Android phone and you were planning to give it a serious shot. I have no plan to try out Android but just wanted to check if you are still using your Android phone or have given up on it.”
I must confess, Addie, I have largely given up on it. I acknowledge that Android has moved a long way and it really is quite good. If you are a speech-only user, then I think it is something that is worth considering. In the end, what I like to see is that we have the same options that everyone else has. Some sighted people just find iOS better, some sighted people find Android better. That’s the way it should be. I think for speech-only users, we’re very close to iOS and Android being equally accessible.
Braille, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. The feature set of Braille on Android is subpar. Now, that said, of course the Braille has to work on iOS, right? We know that there have been significant Braille issues on iOS. If I’m trying to make a truly fair objective comparison, it would be wrong of me to leave that out. Braille has gone through an extremely bad patch in iOS and it’s not the first time that this has happened, but I still think that Braille on Android is missing a lot of features. Braille, in my view, really needs to be built in to talk back itself.
There has to be a really robust feature set. I’m hoping very much that Android gets there because I’d be quite interested in playing further. The other thing is that even if I accept the shortcomings of the current Braille implementation, I cannot use my APH Mantis, which is my Braille display of choice as a Bluetooth Braille device at the moment. Mostly, my Samsung Galaxy S21 is staying in the drawer at the moment.
I did think about doing the Android thing over the summer, but to be honest, what I really needed to do over the summer was switch off. Also, I did some other home techy things around the house, upgrading our Wi-Fi so that it’s Wi-Fi 6-capable, doing a lot of work on Mushroom FM and things like that, and the Android thing just fell by the wayside because I don’t really feel a compelling need at the moment to change.
“Three, post your recommendation of the Sleep++ app. I got the app for myself. I find the app simple to use and accessible. However, after using it for more than a week, I do not find it very accurate. Once, I was sitting on my single-seater couch listening to an audiobook from 10:30 PM to 11:30 PM. The next day, it informs me that I was asleep from 10:30 PM to 7:00 AM. Again, one day I was up from 3:30 AM to 3:50 AM. I also went to the washroom during this period.”
You guys in India don’t use the word ‘toilet’ either? It’s really bizarre how people are so afraid to use the word ‘toilet.’ Anyway. “However, in the app, it showed this time period as my sleep time. As suggested by you, I also use the automatic mode. Though I like the app and its simplicity, I do not see myself using the app going forward as I do not find it to be very accurate.”
While all of these things, Addie, are going to be a bit hit and miss with sleep checking, I can imagine, to be fair to this thing, that if you are sitting on the couch and you’re not doing much, you’re just sitting there, your heart rate’s probably fairly low unless the book’s a bit racy, you know what I mean, so it is I think a reasonable interpretation for the app to conclude that you are having a little noddy, don’t you think? I think that’s reasonable and maybe you just didn’t walk enough for it to get it out of sleep mode.
However, if you use the manual options in one of these things, then that’s a workaround. However, that ain’t always perfect either because there is going to be some delay between when you put your phone or your device into manual sleep mode and when you do actually drift off to sleep. I think it works out about the same. I have noticed, though, that the sleep readiness score is not particularly helpful. Sometimes I get very, very low sleep readiness when I feel like I’ve had actually quite a good, restful night’s sleep and vice versa, but the actual time is reasonable for me when I look back at my sleep history.
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Jonathan: Would you like to live the dream and work for Vispero? Well, it turns out there are some interesting opportunities available at the moment and blind people are well and truly encouraged to apply. To talk about that and a couple of other things, Glen Gordon from Vispero joins me once again. Welcome back, Glen.
Glen Gordon: Thank you, Jonathan. Pleasure to be here. I just want to point out that I am a loyal listener to MALP.
Jonathan: MALP. I appreciate that. You sometimes hear some of the feedback that comes in.
Glen: Often hear the feedback that comes in.
Jonathan: Excellent. You are recruiting at the moment, I understand. Are these new positions or is there a bit of a turnover going on?
Glen: A little of each. There is some turnover going on, but it’s also interesting that we’re recruiting I can’t say post-COVID, sadly, but certainly in this COVID era. We are much more receptive to people working remotely than we were, let’s say, two years ago where some people worked remote but many did not. Yes, we are recruiting because there’s been some turnover. Then we’re also investing in areas where we feel like more work needs to get done, like JAWS scripting, which is essentially going in and customizing JAWS to work better and more efficiently in certain apps that lots of people use.
Jonathan: One of the things that I always enjoyed about Vispero and Freedom Scientific and all its incarnations before it is you’ve got blind people who are really driving this product at key levels all the way from tech support to development. You are seeking and I guess one of the reasons why you’re here is that you are seeking blind people to do these jobs.
Glen: We are, in particular for the scripting job. The scripting job is a technical one. You do need to know something about programming. Folks who have had a programming class or two have done some projects on their own, all those things certainly helpful. The harder part to recruit for is someone being creative and tenacious. Those are skills that are hard to teach. People are good at it or they’re not good at it. It’s folks in the former group we’re really hoping to attract for this.
If you, for instance, went into an app like Teams and you looked at the current JAWS support, what would you say would be a good feature to add? What are the things that are making you less efficient than you necessarily could be? I use Teams as an example, but basically having that, it may be accessible, but it could be even more usable if we were to do these certain things, if we were to add some shortcuts, if we were to speak things in a slightly different way. That’s the creative aspect of the job we’re really hoping to find someone to fill.
Jonathan: That’s where blindness is actually a qualification in my view. A legitimate qualification to have because it’s not impossible, but it is rare that you find a sighted person who can learn to think in the way that a blind person does. I count Eric Damery in that category. In fact, the first time I met Eric in his work environment, he was sitting in his office with a monitor off using JAWS. I was just super impressed by that, but that is an incredibly rare find.
Glen: I do agree with you. I think people who are trainers and people who have worked with the software intimately and are sighted at least have some hope of really understanding the blindness experience, but there’s nothing like having a blind person working on it because you live it day after day. You have no choice about it. Making it easier and more efficient is certainly in everyone’s good interest.
Jonathan: There’s a philosophical element to this. I know that I am perhaps a bit obsessive about efficiency and people say, what does it matter whether it says a few more syllables? To me, those few more syllables add up over time. There’s a philosophical bent to JAWS that I guess anybody who took on a job like this needs to understand.
Glen: Yes. We have lots of people who will happily share their experiences and their ideas with you. We really do try to be a cooperative, collaborative organization. I think most people who’ve come to work with us have said, “Wow, this is a very open and giving group of people working on the software from developers through testers,” many of whom are blind to tech support and all the way through, we do try to exchange ideas and come up with the best approaches to things.
Jonathan: One of the things I enjoyed about my time at Freedom Scientific is that the work that you do, you know that it is having a huge impact on people all around the world. That’s both a privilege, it’s a buzz, but it’s also a huge responsibility that you know that the things that you do can make a difference to whether somebody can hold down a job or be productive in that job.
Glen: Absolutely. One of the things we’ve been finding of late is that by doing Clubhouse and more other social media, we’ve been managing to reach people who didn’t use our traditional ways of contacting us and interacting. We’re finding even more people who are challenged in some cases having issues and being able to approach it from all these different directions, I think, makes it easier for us to make contact with folks.
Jonathan: It’s interesting you say that because I think- and I don’t necessarily expect you to comment on this, but I think there was a perception at one point that freedom was a little bit aloof at times. Now what we have is this much greater willingness to engage in all of those sorts of platforms that you mentioned. It’s a slight sidetrack from what we’re talking about, but I wonder whether you’ve considered any ways to strengthen the concept of community around scripting.
I’ve always thought that there are so many talented blind people. Even if they’re not professional programmers, they may dabble in scripting for want of a better term. I’ve always thought there’s a real place for some sort of repository out there, where people can submit scripts that do all sorts of things and there’s one place that you go to get them.
Glen: We’ve talked about that on and off. At some level, it feels like customizing for apps is becoming less easy to do and less common as more and more is moving to the web. There is still plenty where this kind of customization really helps. We’re trying to figure out what the best way is of making that happen. On the one hand, we don’t want to take responsibility for every script that someone submits. On the other hand, we feel like perhaps we need to be a bit of a clearing house. Finding the middle ground on that has been a challenge. Do you have thoughts as to how it should go?
Jonathan: Like an App Store model for the blind communities is the way I see it working because it could be that you’d be able to go say and get LISI or something that Doug Lee has done from one place. Some of those developers will offer some things for free. For example, Hartgen Consultancy does a version of the Zoom scripts for free. Maybe a regular developer who doesn’t have the infrastructure to set up a payment processing system would benefit from having an App Store-like framework where Vispero can take a cut just like an App Store model for making the sale, and you download things from one place. That’s how I see it working.
Glen: I think it’s a good idea and I’m glad you’ve brought it up again because we have discussed it in the last year. It just took a backseat behind some other things. This will get attention again.
Jonathan: Back to the scripting job, can you give me a person specification idea you have to obviously at least develop? I take you don’t necessarily need to know the JAWS scripting language as long as you’re fluent in the concept of coding. Is that right?
Glen: I think ideally, we want someone who knows JAWS well. You don’t have to be an absolute expert, but the better you know JAWS, I think the better you’ll be able to understand some of the ways we can work more efficiently in certain spots.
If you’ve taken a programming course or two or you’ve done things on your own and you’ve begun to understand the gestalt of software development and you were interested not only in getting stuff done but getting stuff done in a way that’s maintainable for a long time and are willing to collaborate with others, I think those are all really good qualities for someone for this job, and if you’re creative. If you’re constantly saying, “JAWS is great, but I really wish it would do better in this particular area, and here’s how,” it’s that mindset that we’re really after, someone who’s thinking about how things can always be better and be more efficient.
Jonathan: There are a number of positions I understand at the moment, is that right, beyond scripting?
Glen: There are. We are looking for a software developer or two, primarily in C++, a little bit of C#. If you are interested in those areas and you’ve had a little bit of education or experience, by all means, look at those jobs. We’re also looking for a DevOps build engineer. If you were interested in how software actually gets compiled and packaged to be prepared for the downloads and everything that involves not only actually for JAWS but for our various hardware products which build using Android, that position’s open as well. We’re pretty flexible on all of those in terms of remote.
Jonathan: That’s one thing about the pandemic, isn’t it? That people are much more comfortable with remote working. We’ve all got the infrastructure in place now.
Glen: Yes. Companies like Google and Microsoft, which previously pretty much said you can’t work remote, I think are becoming a bit more flexible about allowing people to work from whenever, wherever.
Jonathan: Great, it’s very encouraging. All right. How do people find out about these jobs further and potentially make applications for them?
Glen: I think your best bet is to go to our LinkedIn page, which ultimately becomes the Vispero LinkedIn page. It’s linkedin.com/company/vispero/jobs, or searching for Vispero in LinkedIn and then going to jobs there. We have all of them posted there. They’re also on our Vispero homepage, under careers. Either of those will get you to the jobs and to the specifics.
Jonathan: Exciting opportunity. Now that we’ve done that, you are about to tell me everything that’s going to be in JAWS 2023, right?
Glen: Yes. In fact, we have the Jonathan Mosen voice-
Glen: -which I have put together from listening to all the hours of Mosen At Large and Blind Side and everything you’ve ever done. You have an array of phrases that people never thought you would say that-
Glen: -will be coming in the Mosen voice.
Jonathan: You would be amazed how many people have actually asked if I would go in and do that. One thing I do want to see if I can talk to you about, though, is that there have been people who’ve written into this podcast, and given that you listen you will have heard them, talking about their excitement relating to devices that run ARM processors.
I know that people will be at different levels of knowledge of this, but I must admit my mouth was watering a little bit when I read about some new ThinkPads that are coming out with ARM technology. At the moment, the bottom line is that there really is no third-party screen reader that works on that platform form. What’s Vispero’s thinking on this, is it possible? Is it likely to happen? If so, what’s the timeline?
Glen: I sure hope it’s likely to happen. We’ve been having developers work on it for quite some time. The person who’s been on it the longest has actually been working on it mostly for a whole year. Then a few other folks have come aboard in the last couple of months. I can’t say exactly when JAWS will be officially running on ARM, but we’re talking months in the small number of digits, not one or two but not six or seven either unless something goes terribly off the rails.
It is talking, I have heard it talk with Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive, but there are lots of gaps that we still need to fix before it actually becomes useful software, but we are well on the road. We don’t know whether ARM will really take off broadly or not when it comes to Windows, but we don’t want to find out by being on the losing end of that equation like it takes off and we’re not there. We are working diligently to make something come out. I’m also curious if there’s been much discussion about Windows running on the ARM-based Macs. Do you know anything about that?
Jonathan: Yes. There’s a lot of interest in this, and I understand that some people have got Windows unofficially working. I believe there are some hacks for that. My understanding is that there is a non-compete type agreement that is at the moment preventing Microsoft from officially supporting those Macs, but that agreement is about to expire. The speculation is that there will be some official bootcamp type thing that we’ll see ARM Windows running on the M1 processors quite soon.
Glen: Oh, excellent. Your comments about the non-compete bring to mind something from years ago in the US. There was a company called Shakey’s Pizza. Shakey’s had on their sign, “Shakey’s has a deal with the bank. We don’t cash checks, and the bank doesn’t make pizza.”
Jonathan: [laughs] Yes. Well, that’s a non sequitur but a very good one. What does it actually mean for the end user? For example, if I’ve got some third-party apps that I depend on, they may not necessarily run on the ARM processes on the ARM machines, right?
Glen: Well, it’s actually gotten better with Windows 11 and I should say here that we are concentrating exclusively on Windows 11 ARM, because most of the surface machines and others that could run ARM with Windows 10 can run Windows 11. The big difference is that on Windows 11, in addition to having native ARM support, which means that programs like Microsoft Office are re-compiled to run on the ARM, there is also emulation of both x64 and x86, which are the two possible things that you could have on the traditional Windows machine in terms of architecture for software.
That’s not going to run quite as fast as the native ARM programs, but what it allows is for you to run virtually anything that was developed for traditional Windows on ARM. I can’t yet speak to how well it’ll run, but it will run or at least it should.
Jonathan: What are the perceived benefits of going with ARM? It seems to me that battery life would be one, is that right? There seems to be some phenomenal battery specs coming through from these devices.
Glen: I think battery life is right up there. I’m not entirely clear what the other real benefits are, but certainly if you can run dramatically longer on one of these machines, that’s probably going to get a lot of attention from folks.
Jonathan: That’s exciting, a new platform to play with. I know that some people will be on the cutting edge of that and enjoying having a go. What will the process be like? Or do we not know that yet? In other words, is there going to be some beta process first before it officially gets released that anybody with a compatible device can test with? I guess this is the thing, isn’t it? That because there haven’t been screen readers supporting ARM, there may be quite a low pool of people who will want to test, but there will be some, there will be some who deliberately go out and purchase a device so they can be on the cutting edge.
Glen: Yes. I actually have gotten email from a couple of people as a result of our Fs Open Line live call-in/podcast. If people want to write to me directly if they have an ARM device that they are willing to run with JAWS in beta mode, we certainly would be happy to do our best to get you an early access version as we get things done because our traditional beta channels may not have that many people who have ARM machines. We’d be eager to hear from anybody who’s prepared to run it and has the hardware to do it.
Jonathan: Does Narrator currently run on ARM devices.
Glen: It does.
Jonathan: Right. That’s, I guess, what people are getting by with. Well, we’ll look forward to further developments with ARM. It’ll be very interesting to see how that goes and also what people’s experiences are. Also learning more about what’s coming in JAWS 2023. Are there any upcoming things you are willing to talk to me about other than that?
Glen: I think the one thing that I will mention is that we are working on a notification’s manager, not entirely unlike what Doug Lee has done in his, I think it’s Jam, but I can’t remember. Do you know?
Jonathan: No, I’m not familiar with that.
Glen: Doug Lee has written some scripts that in spirit are doing of the same things that we’re working on. We’re just integrating it a little more closely with JAWS out of the box, and that’ll be coming. I can’t say whether it’ll come before 2023 or not, but that’s a key thing that we’re working on to allow people to have much more control over this out-of-control array of messages that apps tend to spew upon us. Sometimes they’re useful, and often they’re not, and this’ll allow you to control them and either suppress them entirely or shorten them or play a sound and try to help tame what has become the Wild West.
Jonathan: Yes, you’ve got to be so careful because it’s easy to just hit okay or yes, or whatever the prompt is whenever your browser takes you to a website and says that the website would like to send you notifications. The next thing you know, it’s pretty hard to get real work done because your computer’s chatting away.
Glen: Oh my God, those things are terrible. That’s a whole different set of things in the sense that now you have a third-party webpage that’s been given permission inadvertently to send you messages even when the browser isn’t even open and isn’t even on that page. Yes, I’ve done that a couple of times. It’s been quite unpleasant.
Jonathan: I had cause to troubleshoot an issue for Bonnie on her computer just the other day, actually. I loaded her copy of Chrome and all of a sudden it was chattering away. I said, “Well, Bonnie, you’ve got a lot of notifications that have permission.” She said, “Yes. I really wish I hadn’t given it.”
Jonathan: Cautionary tale. Right. That’s great. I do hope that somebody is thinking, “Wow, I could really make a difference here. I can make JAWS an even better product and check out the LinkedIn page. It’s always good to have you on the show and I’m sure we’ll talk in the near future.
Glen: Thank you very much, Jonathan. The reason I wanted to come on your show is because I think although FSCast has a large audience, there’s not a total overlap, and you reach a bunch of blind folks who likely use our software but may not always hear our podcasts. I appreciate the chance to talk about both the jobs and really that this is a great place to work. I’ve worked for the company since 1994 and have not been eager to leave. I think that that speaks a lot to the environment and the people who we have around us.
Jonathan: Now, Glen mentioned that you could email him if you were interested in beta-testing the ARM version of JAWS. Glen’s email address is email@example.com. That’s firstname.lastname@example.org. Glenn also adds that they are going to recompile as much of the JAWS code as possible in ARM, so you should get a great experience on ARM machines when you’re running the ARM JAWS.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Jonathan: This email comes from John Snowling who says, “Hi, Jonathan. I have started having a strange issue with my JAWS in the last few days. If I type a word with a capital letter at the beginning and then read that word with Ctrl and left or right arrow, it breaks up the word. It announces the capital letter, then the rest of the word, so for example, your name would sound like J-onathan. Is there any way to fix this as I’m finding it a bit annoying? Loving the Mosen At Large Podcast. Keep up the good work.”
Thanks for writing in, John. I appreciate that. My first reaction was to wonder if this is a Caps Lock issue because if you have the Caps Lock on and then you type a capital J, for example, you’re typing a lowercase j because when you press the Shift key down when Caps Lock is on, you get lowercase, and often JAWS speaks like that. Then I thought well, that wouldn’t be just when your left and right arrowing through. Anyway, apparently, this is something that Freedom Scientific knows about because John subsequently sent me an email to say that they say it’s going to be fixed in a future update. I thought I would just include this email in case it’s happening to you. If it is, it sounds like help is on the way.
Roy: Jonathan, this is Roy from Little Rock. My purpose is twofold today. First of all, I want to see if I can find the words to let you know what your podcast means to me. I look forward to it every week. I listen to it every week. I don’t contact you often but I love to listen to you and I love to hear what your listeners have to say. I think you provoked some interesting discussions. I like the manner in which you can facilitate a podcast. You’re very gifted and I appreciate your hard work in producing this podcast every week. It’s entertaining, it’s meaningful, and I so look forward to it and so much enjoy it. I just wanted you to know that.
My second purpose is to ask you, what do you know about the Envision glasses? I read about them. I have the app. I like the way the app works. It seems to do all of the things that they say it will do and I use it quite a bit. I’m just wondering about the glasses. What can you tell me about them? I know they connect to Wi-Fi. What if you’re not on your Wi-Fi network if you’re away from home? Do they connect to your cellular network, or what happens when you’re not connected to Wi-Fi?
Have you used the Envision glasses? Or if not, maybe some of your listeners have. I would love to talk to someone who has used the glasses and who could talk to me about them because they sound very interesting to me and I’d like to know more. Anything that you could tell me would be very much appreciated. Once again, I would like to tell you how much I look forward to your podcast and how much enjoyment I get from it. Thanks so much.
Jonathan: You made my day, Roy. That’s really kind of you. Thank you and it’s a pleasure to be able to make a bit of a contribution. I’m very grateful to all our listeners for the community that we’ve built around this podcast. I don’t know too much about the Envision glasses other than what Karthik from Envision told us in Episode 67. If you missed that episode, you can go back and listen to Episode 67, where we interviewed him about Envision and the glasses.
I would certainly love to get a demo unit, perhaps when the Omicron’s not so prevalent in this country, and take it for a spin, go out and about and record my findings. In the meantime, if you have used the Envision glasses, do you own a pair? Did you try a pair, some demo arrangements? They are quite an expensive item to buy, aren’t they? You’d want some assuredness that they were going to be quite impactful for you.
Then please share your experiences. I’d like to hear them. email@example.com is my email address. That’s J-O-N-A-T-H-A-N@mushroom fm.com. The listener line number 864-60MOSEN. 864-606-6736. I know that Roy would be grateful as well. Dakota Fern is writing in and says, “Hi, I just got introduced to the Mosen At Large Podcast and have questions regarding using Clubhouse in a podcast.
Could the same setup that you use for the iPhone work for Android as well? I think so. I’ve got the iRig 2 multimedia guitar interface and I’m pretty sure that that would work with an Android device. Then the email continues and the mixer you have, what is it and where can I buy it? My particular mixer is the Allen & Heath.” That’s A-L-L-E-N & Heath ZED-22FX and the ZED is actually spelled out Z-E-D-22FX. Where can you buy it? Well, I don’t know where in the world you are so I couldn’t possibly tell you.
If you google on Allen & Heath ZED-22FX, you will find it. There is also a smaller version of that mixer if you don’t need as many channels as we have on the ZED-22FX. Here’s John Gasman who says, “Hi, Jonathan. I very much enjoyed your segment on LISI.” Before I forget, I’ll send along to Brian some upgrade money for LISI 7. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that. “I have a 1Password question,” says John.
“It works great in Edge and Google Chrome and I’m pretty sure I have the classic extension although 1Password isn’t identified as such. I can’t get it to work in Brave at all. I had it working to some degree in Brave with Jeff Bishop’s help, but I don’t even see the extension listed on web pages as I tab through them. One password says the extension is installed in the Chrome Store. Currently, I can’t get the Ctrl backslash keystroke to do anything when I use it in Brave. It does work fine in Chrome and in Edge. Any thoughts?”
Yes, I would say you’ve got the wrong extension in Brave, John. The 1Password classic extension is working beautifully for me in Brave. The way to check is to see what happens when you are on a form field where you can enter a username and password in Brave. If you press, I believe, the shortcut for the newer extension is Alt+X. You should then be able to arrow through options there. If that works, then you’ve got the wrong extension installed.
This is a fun subject. Songs from the music halls. Oh, tremendous. Brian Hartgen is writing in about this and he says two interesting things about this. “I was brought up on these songs and those from old Hollywood movies. When I was two or three years of age, my party pieces in front of family members were to recite these musical songs. Second, one of the things my wife Lulu and I found out about each other in our courting days,” oh, how cute is that, courting is, “is that we both had a deep love and knowledge of these songs.
She would quote a line and I would pick it up and vice versa. I’ve not met anyone before who could do that with those songs. There are lots of albums available of music hall songs and plenty of examples on YouTube. There are compilation albums of original recordings and those by single artists. However, you may be interested in the MyMusic Podcast,” oh, I didn’t know about this, “which contains some very good quality archived episodes for you to enjoy again.”
Well, thank you, Brian. I had no idea that MyMusic was available as a podcast. I shall go and subscribe to it in Castro right away. Yes, my parents knew a lot of those old songs because they were born in the 1930s and their parents would obviously sing them. You know how it goes. I was the youngest of five kids. They would often sing them. I’m sure I don’t have the knowledge that someone who is living in England and in that area where the music hall was so big has, but I do know a few of them.
I think my favorite one is she was one of the early birds and I was one of the worms. [laughs] There’s so many great songs from that era. Thank you for the inspiration, Brian. I’ll go and check out the MyMusic Podcast and seek out some of those compilations. It’s always good when a mystery is solved and we can do that this week on Mosen At Large because Jenine Stanley is back and she says, “Hi, Jonathan. Because it really bugs me to have weird tech issues, I did some more digging into why I was having so much trouble with the scrub gesture on my iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 15 betas.
Turns out that somehow, sometime when I was apparently way under-caffeinated, I assigned the two-finger flick left gesture to bring up the control center, which I mistakenly called the control panel in my last email. See? Under-caffeinated. If I didn’t do the scrub gesture widely enough to register an actual scrub, i.e., moving the two fingers from left to right, drawing a quick Z shape or whatever method one chooses, it saw my attempt as a two-finger flick left and brought up the control center.
I went into accessibility/voiceover/command and reset the gesture to its original state, move out, which really doesn’t do anything discernible to me. Yes, I’m still stumped as to why on earth I changed it, but there really are some amazing capabilities under those command settings. I have several of them set for various actions to make my life easier, just never again for anything having to do with the scrub gesture. Have I restored my tech credit? Hope so.”
Well, I don’t think it was ever in doubt, Janine. Thank you for writing back and clarifying that. The move-out gesture relates to the new interaction method that is available in iOS 15. If you want to have a play with that, do take a listen to our comprehensive look at new features in iOS 15, where we talk about how to get that going and what the benefits or otherwise might possibly be.
I am sure that when somebody at Apple came up with the brilliant idea to let users customize their own voiceover gestures, somebody at tech support level started tearing out their hair, saying, “This is going to be a tech support disaster,” and it probably does generate quite a bit of tech support traffic, I would think, but I love it as well. I have my two-finger right and my two-finger left set to navigate to the next and previous heading respectively. I use that all the time and it’s much better than having to find headings on the rotor to do that. Yes, there’s a lot you can do with customizing your voiceover gestures.
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Jonathan: Ken is writing in with two quick questions. He says, “Can you bookmark podcasts in Castro?” I’m not sure what you mean by bookmark, so I’ll answer it two ways and hopefully one of the ways I answer it is what you’re after. You can star podcasts in Castro and that means that you can refer back to them. I do this sometimes with podcasts that I don’t want to hear right now, but I think when I’ve got a bit of leisure time, I’ll listen to this. It’s not particularly time-sensitive and I’d like to catch up with it sometime.
If you mean, can you come back to a particular point in a file so you hear a little bit and you think, “I’d like to sit my place there,” I don’t believe you can, but of course, Castro does remember where you were last when you resume a podcast. I hope one way or another I’ve answered that question. The second question, which Braille display do you take to restaurants? I take my APH Mantis to restaurants. I’ve got the very nice carrying case that executive products made for it. It goes over my shoulder and I can use the device while it’s on my shoulder, which I really do appreciate.
When I was at Freedom Scientific, I did have access to a Focus 14 Blue. That’s an ideal scenario for that, taking a little device like that to a restaurant so you can just read a menu. It’s not too big, but the Mantis is just fine as well. Thanks for listening, Ken, and for emailing in. Denise wants a new laptop and she says, “Hi, Jonathan. I was considering getting a Lenovo ThinkPad. I’ve had a Lenovo IdeaPad about five or six years ago and found it to be a good experience. I was interested in your experience with your Lenovo and found it to be a good possibility.
“However,” see, I knew there was a ‘but’ coming, “I don’t need as much power as you have.” Power corrupts, you see. “I think you said on the podcast that you have 32 gigs of RAM. I’m particularly interested in anything that doesn’t need the Realtek audio driver, which is what I have on my Dell laptop. I only need 16 gigs of RAM with 512 gigs of solid-state drive. Do you have any recommendations in the specs for the average user running JAWS? Thanks. I enjoy the podcast every week. I recently heard on NPR that New Zealand’s COVID numbers are going higher, so stay safe and well.”
Thank you, Denise. We’re doing our best to do exactly that. First of all, let me say that the ThinkPad I have is a pretty maxed out kind of ThinkPad. You can get them built to spec from the Lenovo factory. I went on the Lenovo website and got this designed exactly to my specs. If you don’t need that kind of power, you definitely don’t have to have it and it’ll be a bit cheaper as a result.
What you can do is probably pop into a Best Buy or something like that where you are and take a look at the models that they have on the shelf. If nothing suits, you can do what I did and order to spec. If you only want 16 gigs of RAM and 512 gigs of storage, that’s absolutely fine, you would be able to get that from the Lenovo website, have it built to your specs, you should be able to choose whether Windows 10 or 11 is on the machine. I don’t think it’s too far away that the 10th generation of ThinkPad will be available. You’ll have some advantages that I don’t have in terms of performance and the latest version of the Intel processor.
Regarding the Realtek driver, this does use Realtek drivers but I have not had a single glitch. I haven’t had that issue where Windows sounds hibernate after a period of lack of use, but we did have a listener who emailed in a few weeks ago who was having these issues. I can’t explain what’s different about my machine. That means that I don’t have them and he does, so there’s no guarantee, but if you do have that hibernation issue, remember that JAWS does allow you to turn on this avoid speech cut-off feature and that will address the issue. Good luck. I don’t think you can go wrong with a ThinkPad. I’m very happy with mine and I hope you enjoy yours if that’s the way you go.
Hello to Alan MacDonald who says, “Hi, Jonathan, love the show and both the level and diversity of content you pull together for each podcast.” Thank you so much. “I have a question going back to a podcast you did a while back. Like you, I also own a Sonos Arc with two One SLs and a sub. My question is, have you noticed any films that have been released with audio description mixed into Dolby Atmos yet? As yet, I haven’t. The reason I asked now is because whilst watching the Apple event on Tuesday on my Apple TV through my Samsung TV and Sonos system, I noticed that the presentation with audio description was being broadcast in Atmos.
I remember you asking the question at the time, basically saying you didn’t know of any technical reason why it couldn’t be done. Having returned to uni and studied sound engineering myself since I lost my sight in 2009, I was of the same opinion and hey, presto, here is the proof. In this day and age, I would expect any new release to have audio description in a 5.1 mix minimum. This is why I’ve been disappointed with Disney in particular as, for example, The Book of Boba Fett is available in full Atmos, but when you switch to audio description, it’s only been mixed in stereo. This has been the case for several Disney releases though they are by no means the only culprit for this.
I was just wondering if you had any further updates whilst you were looking into this. The Sonos system is nothing short of stunning and it brings movies to life in such a massive way. For example, I was born in ’79. I never managed to catch the likes of the original Back to the Future or Top Gun at the cinema. Even though I’ve seen both films countless times over the years before my sight loss in 2009, it adds such a different dimension to them, but I enjoy them in full Atmos because I turn off the audio description as I know both so well.
Sadly, we can’t have the best of both worlds as yet for more recent films. Here’s hoping it’s just a matter of time though. I’d appreciate your opinion on where you think we are with this. Keep up the good work,” and Alan’s even got a thumbs-up sign. Thank you, Alan. The good news is that to the best of my knowledge, everything Apple produces is done this way, and that’s one of the reasons why Apple TV+ is my favorite streaming service for movies and TV shows because everything that’s mixed in Atmos appears to have the audio description also in Atmos. If you don’t have an Apple TV Plus subscription, do subscribe to that, and you will give your Sonos a good workout.
Sadly, it seems like the status quo persists. There is no change to the best of my knowledge since I last looked at this issue. I did call Netflix and say to them, “Why is it that we have to put up with stereo whenever we want audio description?” and they said, “That’s a really good question, but there appears to be no sensible answer.” I share your concern also about Disney. I was very much looking forward to the Get Back production that Peter Jackson put together, that six-hour magnum opus, looking at the Let It Be period, and again, I had to make the choice. Do I listen in stereo so I get the audio description, or do I listen in Dolby Atmos and miss out on the audio description?
There are parts of that movie where the audio description is really essential to understanding exactly what is going on. I ended up watching it twice, first with the audio description, and then with the Atmos, and we shouldn’t have to do that. I don’t know why the consumer organizations and just more blind people in general aren’t kicking up a hell of a fuss about this, other than the fact that because of the demographics of the blind community and the high unemployment rate and low incomes, maybe there just aren’t enough people who have the equipment to receive this stuff for it to matter to a lot of blind people.
Even at a basic level, there are a lot of devices now that will receive Dolby Atmos. You’re not going to get the same sound that you would if you had a Sonos system, or even a very expensive home theater system with custom-placed speakers all over the place, but you would still get the effect. Perhaps another issue is that a lot of blind people just haven’t turned off the audio description so that they can hear the difference that Dolby Atmos can make on a range of devices. There’s your homework for listeners between now and the next show.
Find something that your streaming service of choice says is encoded in Atmos. Turn off the audio description and see if you hear a difference to the sound. If you’ve got something that receives Dolby Atmos, it should sound much more immersive. I just don’t understand why we put up with this. There’s no technical reason for it. It’s treating blind people who would probably appreciate the audio more than many, like second-class citizens.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
Jonathan: To Hungary we go, like the wolf, oh no that’s something different. “Hi, Jonathan,” says Peter. “This summer, I’m planning to go on a one-week vacation with friends and children to Croatia. One of us has a hearing problem, she uses a hearing aid. By the way, she’s sighted. We have the two participants in the group who like to swim the most. When she comes into the water, she has to put off her hearing aid. Since I’m completely blind and she cannot hear too much without her hearing aid, when we’re swimming, communication is more than difficult.
Last time, we had a bit of a tricky situation in the Danube River because of that problem. My question is, do you know about a hearing aid that is waterproof? It would be wonderful if we could swim in the sea happily while maintaining communication. Your expertise or your audience may bring a good suggestion. Hope you’re all well. I think it’s time to have Heidi on the podcast. I love her voice and it’s a long time since she has appeared in the show.”
She’ll definitely be back for our WWDC events. Peter, that’ll be in early June when we get iOS 16 and a range of other operating systems announced and she will certainly be there for that. Regarding your question, yes, Aquaris by Siemens is officially waterproof. I believe Phonak has one that may not be quite as high in its water resistance. My best suggestion is, talk to an audiologist or, even better, just type waterproof hearing aid into Google, which is what I did, to give you the partial answers that I have, and things just come right up. Google is definitely your friend.
If anybody has any experiences with wearing hearing aids in an environment like this when you’re going swimming, please let us know. Obviously, what you’re identifying is a communication issue where you’ve got yourself is totally blind, and somebody else who’s pretty much deaf without their hearing aids in. This would also be of interest for blind people who wear hearing aids who may feel reluctant to go swimming even though they enjoy it.
Their hearing may have deteriorated over time, and they found that they’ve given up their swimming, because obviously, it leaves you pretty vulnerable if you take your hearing aids out and you’re out in the water, and you’re blind, and you’re also having trouble hearing. It’s a really good topic and I hope others might chime in with their experiences. You can get in touch, of course, on the email by sending an email with an audio attachment or just writing it down to email@example.com, the listener line number, it’s in the US, 864-60Mosen. 864-606-6736.
Charlie: Hey, Jonathan. I was just listening to your podcast, and I was just feeling, dude, I should have actually waited until you came up with this podcast, the edition actually of this podcast. You know why? You said the storage is for the new iPhone SE, I’m going to be looking, I’m not sure, but I’m going to be taking a really hard think about it because the iPhone 13 looks appealing as well, but it’s lighter in everything else. I’m not pretty sure which toy would be more fascinating to play with.
Another thing that I want to ask, especially Brian Hartgen, can’t he make maybe an add-on or something or scripts for Adobe Audition, which is a recording software? I love that software, I’ve tried using it, but as my sight deteriorates, I find it more harder and harder to actually use. It’s a nifty software for people who do voice artistry and stuff like that, such as myself, who does adverts and stuff like that and recording of it, editing and mixing. I love the effects that comes bundled with Adobe Audition.
A new resolution of mine that I’d like to share with you and your listeners is that I wanted to start my own podcast. Finally, I must congratulate myself that I actually overcame the hurdle of fear and actually dove into starting my own podcast. It’s called Global Network. We focus on everything that is about youth, and we talk about arrangements of topics. One last thing before I leave was, there was this thing that was working, and sadly, you’re taking it away.
I do understand as to why, because not everyone was keen to come to the party and actually do as you were asking from them. What was happening is everyone who had a podcast, doesn’t matter what kind of podcast it is, as long as you are blind, and if you had subscribed to this Dropbox, you could actually go and listen to another’s trailer or advert about their podcast and actually take some of those and play it on your own podcast or when you’re having your own podcast.
You play it in between your podcast because it’s initially adverts or actually trailers to another’s podcast. In that way, we’re supporting each other’s podcasts. I was wondering if you can bring that back, because I used to love something like that. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not start my own podcast at the time yet. If there is any other way of doing something like that for other blind persons as well, I would appreciate that as well.
Jonathan: That is Charlie from sunny South Africa. Good to hear from you, Charlie, and congratulations on getting a podcast up and running. Regarding Adobe Audition, I suspect that if it was easy to hook into Adobe Audition at a level that you could get really good accessibility, somebody would have done it by now. The fact that they haven’t suggests to me it’s not possible. Happy to be contradicted, perhaps Brian or someone else is listening and would like to comment on whether they’ve looked at Adobe Audition. What I would say is surrender to the force and get with REAPER.
The accessibility offered in REAPER is so good and it does everything that Adobe Audition does and probably even more. You have all sorts of effects available to you because REAPER supports standard effects plugins, so you can download and install effects to your heart’s content. There are many free plugins out there, and plenty more that cost you a bit of money, but lots of free things are out there, including the very extensive effects library that the REAPER developers have made. The accessibility is just absolutely stunning, it really is.
There is a very constructive relationship that is going on between Cockos, the people who make REAPER, and the blind community, and the people who are developing OSARA. You’ve also got the fantastic tutorial called Reaping the Benefits that Brian Hartgen at Hartgen Consultancy has put together. You can purchase that from hartgen.org. Certainly, for your use case where you are producing podcasts and voiceover, that tutorial will get you up and running. Once you get into REAPER, I don’t think you will ever look back. I use REAPER for everything.
This whole podcast is produced in REAPER. I do Mushroom FM promos on REAPER. I do a little bit of work things on REAPER. REAPER is amazing, and so, so accessible. Brian’s tutorial will tell you what you need to install to make REAPER accessible. There are very good JAWS scripts. There’s the free OSARA add-on. You can also find out more by going to reaperaccessibility.com. That’s reaperaccessibility.com. I am very effusive about REAPER because the level of accessibility it offers is just incredible.
It’s almost like being in an environment that was custom-designed from the ground up for blind people. Regarding The Blind Podmaker Dropbox idea, I came up with this idea because I don’t see blind podcasters as competing with one another, because it’s not like we’re radio stations where you’re on 24/7. If you produce two hours of podcast content a week as I tend to do, then why not refer people to other podcasts that are made by blind people that are of good quality? We have a very large audience on the show.
We have thousands of people every week listen to Mosen At Large, and so I thought, “Well, why not help?” I like to give things back to the community, so I did two things. I set up The Blind Podmaker email list to provide a place where people who wanted to start a podcast or who were podcasting and had questions could get together and compare notes and discuss things. Then I also did set up the Dropbox that you mentioned. The idea being, it would be a cross-promotion thing where you would put a promo in and promote your podcast. You will recall, listening to the show perhaps, that we did this for a while.
We got into the spirit of it. Some people donated some promos, and we would insert them on this podcast. I provided a promo hoping that other people would do it on their podcast and so on. Then we just had a small number of contributions. You try these things, and you see if there’s critical mass and sometimes an idea takes off and sometimes an idea doesn’t, that’s the nature of ideas. You’re a bit entrepreneurial, you’re going to have some failures.
That one was definitely a failure. We just did not get critical mass. We didn’t get enough blind podcasters who wanted to contribute. What we got, I think, was people who would love to have their podcast promoted on Mosen At Large in this massive audience, but they didn’t necessarily [chuckles] want to reciprocate by promoting anybody else’s podcast on their own, so that is shelved and I don’t envisage that that one will come back.
However, one promotional tool is certainly available to you, and that is the podcast directory that is run by the Top Tech Tidbits newsletter, so you can submit to that. Anybody who is browsing that directory will then see your podcast, assuming it’s blindness-specific, of course, which it may not be. The Mosen At Large community has come through on the question about accessible thermostat. Louis Mayer starts us off and says, “Hello, Jonathan. In your Mosen At Large show 169, you mentioned someone was having trouble with their VIP3000 talking thermostat.
This thermostat uses four 1.5 volt AA batteries. The VIP3000 is very particular as to what kind of AA batteries that it wants. I believe there is a tiny voltage difference depending on the specifics of the various AA batteries. The only battery that I could get to work with this thermostat was made by Maxell. I had to purchase a box of 48 batteries from Amazon because it had kept my thermostat running for several years. One set of four batteries should allow the thermostat to work for a year. I greatly enjoy your show.” Thank you, Louis. I hope that helps.
Joe M from the USA says, “I wanted to give you an accessible thermostat that I use. I use a Sensi, that’s S-E-N-S-I, Wi-Fi thermostat which is accessible from the Sensi app on iPhone. The initial wiring and setup has to be done by a sighted person, but after that, most of the essential features of the thermostat are accessible using the app. I hope that this can help. I always enjoy listening to your show when I am able to do so.” Well, if you can, Joe, I hope you bring a note. [laughs] Seriously, thank you very much both for listening and for sending in that contribution.
Jonathan: I love to hear from you. 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@mushroomfm.com. If you’d rather call in, use the listener line number in the United States, 864-606-6736.
Singers: Mosen At Large Podcast.
[01:55:45] [END OF AUDIO]