Books + Access Tech: Nemecene: The Epoch Of Redress by. Kaz LaFave

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! I’m back with a new book review!

Title :Nemecene: The Epoch of Redress
Author: Kaz LaFave

Disclaimer: This review is based on the lead writer’s thoughts and opinions! Please respect her thoughts on this book! Spoilers may happen but at the same time it won’t. And by the way, this is also dealing with Assistive Tech!

Synopsis: This story takes place in a toxic future where dead oceans and poisonous gases exist, we meet Elize and Keeto who are twins that are a target for a deadly predator and must save Elize from the fate that their mother had faced and the mystery of her death floods Elize’s dreams every night along with the same psychological illness that their mother had been imprisoned for and died from.

Keeto is an archaeologist and bookworm who keeps Elize’s problem from their oppressive father and afraid that he would find out and have her committed and they escape to Edenborough, a floating city with a bio wall. While in Edenborough, Elize befriends Zafarian, who is known for breaking the law but has an expertise in gadgetry doesn’t please Keeto but the three end up in a conspiracy to find out what has happened and piece the mystery that is front of them even if a stranger is trying to get in contact with them with certain clues.

Despite taking up new identities, Elize being an intern at the university and Keeto being an archaeologist at the Museum of Antiquities, Elize starts noticing how fragile she is and coming to terms with it. Will they be able to survive and find out what happened to their mother? Will deceit and lies take them down an even more dangerous path?

Thoughts: This book had a longer description but I condensed it as best as I could. Anyways, this book was a very interesting and entertaining read. When I saw the third book up for request, I knew I had to check it out and noticed the other two were also up for request and took them on. Well, that is where tech comes into play.

I had some issues with downloading the protected PDFs and even tried to access Acrobat Digital Reads and still wouldn’t work. So, I worked with Kaz to make her books accessible for me to read my computer. As you guys know, besides reading on my Galaxy Tablet, IPad, and IPhone SE, soon to upgrade to the 8 this year, I also read books on my computer and have been for many years. I use JAWS as a way to read DAISY formats on FS Reader and PDFs on Adobe Acrobat. Before, Adobe was not accessible and it always read things in code or gives me “Warning: Empty Document!” Which I and Kaz were able to work around that together which some companies and colleges do when it comes to providing reading material to their visually impaired clients and students. I did suggest NLS Bard and Book share to Kaz to get her stuff converted so anyone who wants to read after this review can have a new alternative when she looks into it. She did get the PDFs of the first two episodes without images and chapter art and it worked! I do have the third episode in paperback for Gondras to read to me which I miss having a paperback in my paws! Trust me, I sniffed it because I was really happy about it. Hey, try missing having actual books in my collection.

Anyways, my thoughts on the first book! I loved it! I found it how interesting the chapters took on the points of view of three characters which happen to be Nithruyu, the one who has been following the twins throughout the story in this episode, Elize, which you get to see how she interacts with people and going through her state of mind, and Keeto where his telling is in journal-style but as messages to their mother which I liked his storytelling the most. I hardly seen storytelling like this especially when it takes on different points of view of three characters that are important to the story. You get to see how they think of one person if they can trust them or not, or how they see each other, and even what they explore in Edenborough.

What I liked the most was how the world was painted after climate change took its course. Since this is a science fiction story, there are times where books are written in different versions of Earth in the future and there are times where we wonder if Earth is going to end up like Venus or are there going to be colonies around planets like in the anime Gravion, or what Evangelion painted with the Second Impact where the ocean changed to a red color and Angels attack. These are good pictures of what the writers and animators have painted for us and LaFave did it with this one which is almost like what took place in the Second Impact where the oceans are dead and we have poisonous gases taking root and there are still some cities that are around, like Edenborough for example, and in order to get from one place to the next you have floating platforms and trains. I’m hoping to see more of Earth looking like this in more episodes to come since this is supposed to be nine episodes long and a conclusion and can’t wait to see what Episode 2 holds for me after how this has ended since I don’t want to give too much away but definitely recommend. I even recommended it to the women over on Galactic Suburbia since they are known for recommending a lot of books, especially ones crowding my Book share and NLS Bard shelves on my Victor Reader Stream but they do get recommendations from their audience. Hoping they read my tweet!

If I were to pick a character I would say Elize is the one I liked. Reason being is that she is quirky in a very cute way especially with how she interacts with Stitch, which is the guy she became friends with and it’s his nickname by the way. Plus, you get to see how her state of mind develops as the episode continues. I did read in the description for the third book that it gets worse but I have to see Episode 2 to get me to Episode 3 first since knowing, like with anime and manga, you have to go book by book and episode by episode to know what the character is going through. I can’t wait to see what happens to her next since knowing that Nithruyu gives a message to Keeto to look for the answers in his sister. Speaking of anime, if this was animated as a tv series, I would see either Luci Christian or Jamie Marchi do Elize’s voice and give it a slight Scottish accent since I was imagining either one voicing her while reading it.

Rating: 5 Star Paw Prints Out of 5! This book was a perfect story and glad I was able to Kaz in order to make it accessible for me to read. I guess this series is starting off with perfect teamwork both in the pages and outside in how people can work together. I can’t wait to see what Episode 2 holds for our three companions along with Stitch and see how much more the world gets painted in this new Earth. I will be reviewing Episode 2 for you guys so I would suggest to hang on tight for when I finish with the next installment!

Well, that’s it for this book review! I was glad to work with Kaz LaFave in getting this book readable and if you’re in Canada and find her at a bookstore on her book tour, I would suggest dropping by and saying “Hi!” And pick up a copy! I will leave a link to this first episode if you little kittens in the Nerd Universe want to be curious! What’s next? Not sure but I will come up with something! Until next time!

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Access Tech: Aira

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! It’s time for a new Access Tech post!

Aira!

As a soon-to-be A. T. Specialist, I tend to listen to podcasts about technology or ones that talk about living life with sight loss and blending it in with Access Tech to give tips and what things you could take a look at and what is out there. One awesome podcast is Assistive Technology Update from Easter Seals in Indiana which they have many others under their belt but this is one I highly recommend for anyone who wants to learn more about tech for disabled people. One episode that got me to write this post is on a new device known as Aira which is a wearable device that helps people to see what’s around them.

What Is It And How Does It Work? Aira is a pair of smart glasses that uses cameras and a portable Wi-Fi network in order to connect with agents through the mobile app on your smart phone. The agents can help you in finding a pace to eat, where to find the nearest train station, and even read out the plaques in a museum, which would help out since the person in the A. T. Update episode who has been using this tech went to one of the museums in D. C. and they got someone on the app be excited and read and described everything that the glasses caught in front of them! I would say this takes Google Glass to a whole nother level because you’re not only using the glasses but your phone too but it can work either way as in just the glasses or just the phone but in my opinion and case I would have both if I went this route.

How Can It Benefit the Blind? Well, it does definitely help improve mobility since it does use the GPS navigation system on someone’s phone in order to get them to where they need to go. It would help with navigating the systems such as the city streets, knowing when to cross an intersection like the busiest intersections in Orlando since that can be a tedious thing to do, even on International Drive here. What also helps is that the agent can help people with different restaurants they want to go to by reading Yelp reviews on their end to give them a better idea of what’s in the neighborhood and what people have to say about it. Sounds great when you’re in Orlando for the NFB National Convention or any of the conventions I have spotlighted here. Plus, they can read the menus for you that can really help since not all restaurants have the Braille menu option which that is a bit of an annoyance. Not only that can read the descriptions of each dish as well since I did notice in the past when Denny’s didn’t do that in their old Braille menu. So, there are many possibilities in benefitting someone who would want to use this tech, even reading handwritten notes can be done with this one.

Where Should I Go For Information? I will pop in the link for this device because it will give you the phone number to connect you to someone who will give you plan pricing, any information on how it works if you need more information in product use, etc. This is an interesting device and if you guys know anyone who should check it out, let them know!

Well, that is it for this post! If you guys want to learn more about a certain product that is out there, just comment below or if you’re following us on Twitter @Nerdy Shique, you can tweet us there! I am looking for more things to write about in the Access Tech Universe because as you know I benefit from it and you guys can also benefit from learning with my experiences!

What is next? More book reviews soon and since February started, I Aira Websitesmell a Favorites post in the air! Until next time!

Access Tech: Voice Actors Learning About Braille Tech

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Time for a new post in the Access Tech category on here and I think this will be a nice one to start the New Year off in this category!

Voice Actors Learning About Braille Tech from a Blind Person!

I know this topic seems a little silly to talk about but I was inspired by Brandon McInnis to write this post after this year’s Holiday Matsuri!

I have been an anime fan for most of my life and still remembered how Toonami first started when I was in elementary school and remembered how I came home through those years to catch Voltron, a little bit of Gundam Wing or DBZ and most of the time Sailor Moon. I even remembered how Fox Kids started showing Pokémon and Digimon to get into the anime broadcasting game and even started to draw in the anime style since I thought the art style was very interesting. As time went on, I did find out that I was going blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa and still enjoyed anime and didn’t think I would be doing press later on in my life like I had now nor get into Braille tech.

When I was in my Summer Semester of University back in 2011, I started bringing my Perkins Brailler since due to my past few semesters Braille did help me pass my classes, I even made Braille flash cards for myself to help myself study with the most important things I knew that were on the test and did pretty good and even started bringing a full page Braille Slate with me to class during the spring and it did work but it was hard always knowing when to change the page in the slate and where I was doing my characters because the cells were on the back and you pretty much had to write in backwards fashion to get the characters to show. Plus, having the stylus in my hand at all times did hurt. I did have a laptop but the track pad always moved my notes around Word and made studying a bit harder on myself. After having a teacher not liking my Brailler, I contacted Blind Services about the issues with my notetaking especially when I almost left class a few times due to how the teacher was complaining about the Brailler in class and I was told about Braille tech and I was all in for it. During the fall term, I was introduced to devices by Freedom Scientific and H. I. M. S. and was supposed to be introduced to Human Ware but due to how close it was to the end of the semester I decided on the H. I. M. S. Braille Sense Plus and chose the QWERTY which is what you just have a computer keyboard and give it a Braille display underneath and you type as normal and whatever you type it will translate that into whatever Braille grade you chose in the settings. If you chose Grade 1 it will be uncontracted Braille and if you chose Grade 2 it will translate into contracted Braille even the contractions for most words too. These were the only two Grades with Nemeth, also known as math code, that has been around for a long time until the new Unified English Braille Code that came around two years ago where some of the contractions were eliminated and made some of them look different to make translation a lot more easier even for Ducks Bury which is the program that helps print out Braille documents.

Having this device did help me out for the rest of my time at college, even in my Japanese classes I had to take as a language requirement and feeling the words in the notes helped with studying in order to pass. As time went on and after starting this blog, I didn’t know doing press at conventions existed until Career Services suggested it to me. I remembered volunteering at conventions in the past but doing press was a whole new world all in itself. Not only it gave me awesome opportunities to work for conventions but it also gave an awesome learning experience.

“Take A Look At That!”

When I started with press, I was totally new to it and didn’t know what to do either since I hadn’t done it before. I figured that I would use my Braille Sense for taking notes and writing interview questions. Even though MetroCon 2013 was our first time doing press, I didn’t get that many notes since we were hanging out and observing the layout, hosting panels, and of course going back and forth between the con and hotel. We did learn some things from our first time which includes don’t wait until the end of the year to post anything. (I didn’t transcribe our interviews until the end of that year.) The following year, 2014, Omni Expo did ask us for press but that year I was the only one out of the three of us to go since Gondras had a test that weekend. I did also have a cold that year too and it wasn’t easy getting up early to catch the paratransit van after having Nyquil and surviving on Monster Javas but I did get through it. The first person who was amazed by my Braille Sense, since I did put my questions on it and recording with my Olympus recorder, was Carrie Savage who you may remember her as the voice of Mokona in Tsubasa and XxXHolic and now Lisana on Fairy Tail. I did explain how it worked as in when I typed it shows up on the Braille display and I can read off of it by feeling the characters. I was surprised that someone would have a reaction like she did because not a lot of people have seen a device like I had and even a volunteer did ask me about it during the weekend and knew that more people would probably ask me what it was as time goes on.

During that same year, we did return to MetroCon since we did enjoy it the year before and that year was also testing my cosplay design skills with .hack since it was hard what to do and I created my own character. Besides cosplay being tested, I found out that Dante Basco was going to be a guest that year and chose him along with Troy Baker, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, and and Richard Epcar to interview. Not only I had to show my blog for the agent but also interview questions to see if I get to interview him and it was hard to ask him because I didn’t want to ask the wrong question. After making them and sending the link, I did get the schedule and he was the first to be interviewed by me and when I show up to the guest room that Friday and I did surprise him with my cane in hand and explained my eye condition since he did ask me about it and was even more surprised with the Braille Sense since it gave him a new person to meet and that is someone who is blind. I did tell him I used to be a fan of American Dragon Jake Long when I was sighted. He did ask me questions about how I learned Braille and how long it took me to learn which I was honest with taking me two years to learn especially having a tutor for Grade 2 because it is not easy trying to learn the many different rules for every contraction in all the textbooks. He even watched me go around the File Manager getting his questions and pop up on my Braille display. It still felt amazing getting to have that one on one with him and showing him my Braille Sense.

I did have to upgrade after one of the keys broke off and did have to scramble with a backup plan for Omni Expo the following year while Blind Services was purchasing my Braille Sense U2. I felt it was time to switch to the Perkins Brailler keyboard since I wasn’t in college anymore and would help expand my tech skills even in typing and using chord commands where you would use the Braille letter and the spacebar together. I even surprised the guy who trained me since I was familiar with the H. I. M. S. product before and able to transfer some of the skills from that to this one. During the time the unit was purchased, I had to bring out the old Brailler again and type out my interview questions and put into a binder due to not able to use the old QWERTY during that Omni. Lauren Landa even asked to feel my Braille pages after my interview with her and she told me about some neighbors she had that were deaf and it was cool that she knew people who were disabled and had to explain that I normally had my device that with the questions but waiting on a new one in the meantime and she thought it was cool that I had a physical Braille copy with me. It did take me days to get this binder together when it usually takes me hours on my device and when I got the newer one I was really relieved to have it for the summer and able to practice typing until Holiday Matsuri came that winter. It was our first year doing press and first time to bring the U2 to it and I think we surprised the Guest Relations people that we wanted to interview some of their guests that year and had go through some bits of complications especially when it was being done during their signing time but we eventually got to interview Todd Haberkorn and Josh Seth. Josh was the one who was surprised by my Braille Sense U2 since he never saw something like it before and I did explain how it worked and how it was a new keyboard for me due to it being a new device that year for me and I let him touch some of the Braille on the display so he could get a feel for the dots. The one that got even more mesmerized was Brian Beacock at Omni Expo the following year since not only he was the first guest to have a con give us a good word about our work but throughout our interview even on camera he was like, “This thing is so cool!” Which I would never have thought that after the experiences I had with other actors would find my Braille tech amazing even on camera.

This past year at Holiday Matsuri, we did catch Brandon McInnis’ eye with my little Braille Sense due to being at the very front of his panel with J. I was taking my notes as usual while listening to them talk about their life experiences. That Saturday evening before we had to cover the Idol Festival we did drop by his and J.’s tables and Brandon told me about being a software programmer if I got it right and asked me about the Braille Sense because he told me how he was watching me take notes and I was surprised that he did notice my finger movements since I did have to type like if I was using a Brailler. I did explain what it was and about H. I. M. S. a little since he and J. live in Texas and that is where it’s located and even explained the internet and how that worked, etc. He was wowed by it and it made me feel good for the rest of the evening and had me thinking about this post since I did feel like I was teaching these actors something from my own world as a blind person and that there are blind people enjoying their work as much as the sighted does.

In the end, after these experiences, I feel like I was giving a new learning experience not to just myself while interviewing the actors or even asking a question during a panel but also giving them a learning experience with my own device. I have been using Access Tech for many years and remembering times in college where there were some people who do notice what I use in class or they just pass by like it’s nothing but it feels like it has changed because technology is growing at fast rates, heck there is now Braille Note Takers taking on Android tech and I would like to get my paws on that. Plus, it gives a voice actor a new insight on what their work means to a lot of people even the blind themselves. I still remember how I told Steve Blum “Thank you for all the work you have done!” When he talked about the dad who had an autistic son during our interview when I asked about his favorite convention experience. It still kind of brings me tears because of how touching the story is and now with me telling these actors about my own experiences as a blind person and how I can talk to them about my Braille device it feels like they are learning from me a little more. Heck, even some of the other Press people I met before the Cosplay Runway got to know that a blind person has been doing press alongside them during the weekend after seeing my Braille Sense on the table. I guess I not only have taught some blind people in Access Tech but also sighted people including the ones who have voiced many of our favorite characters on screen for many years.

Well, that is about it for this post and man it did bring a lot of memories and knowing that I can keep on going with my Access Tech Specialist dreams makes me feel even better. I am not going to let it stop because technology has been my element even if I have my writing skill and working on my third book. No matter where my path leads me I know I will keep on following it. I can’t wait for next year’s Omni Expo where we get to catch up with Josh Seth and Paul St. Peter and get to meet Derek Steven Prince and get to see his reactions to my Braille Sense and cane when I hand him Digimon Season 2.

What is next? The final bit of coverage from Holiday Matsuri 2017 with the Idol Festival. And again major thanks to Brandon McInnis for inspiring me to write this after asking me about the Braille Sense, it was a great thing to bring up and glad I gave you a nice learning experience. Who knows I may run into you at another convention probably as a guest or just doing press as usual or working in Texas teaching someone tech.

Access Tech: Accessibility in Gaming

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and I am back and will be taking a bit of a break from the Holiday Matsuri coverage, which I will get back to since we have to figure out what videos go up first since we have them recorded on Nerdy Shirts’ phone and camera and my phone with pics from the Runway Contest. Don’t worry, it will be up! Right now I am doing a post that my best friend Stellar Nan thought it would be interesting for me to do with my own take and that is…

Accessibility in Gaming

Disclaimer: This post is based on observations and opinions of the lead writer. Please respect her thoughts and thank you!

I am glad to talk about this topic since it has been a hot one all year especially since MegaCon Orlando this year when Troy Baker announced that he wants to see more accessibility in gaming and I did thank him for it which he did mention to me that he has seen articles of blind people popping up in the gaming world which is true.

The first article I had read before the con was done on a Japanese boy who is blind and beat a rhythm game series on the DS and he wrote to Nintendo to thank them for the series which the company did write back to him in a Braille letter and a printed one for his dad and said “Thank you for playing!” This was amazing to me because the kid did go onto playing the Taiko drums all thanks to playing these games which if you haven’t seen a Taiko show I highly recommend to go to one in your area or find videos on YouTube. Even before this article, Gondras did turn me onto one blind gamer that lives in Canada by the name of Steve Sailor who plays games despite having low vision. He has played many games such as Bio shock, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey and it is very entertaining to see how he roams around and plays the games and reacts to them. I will put a video link in here so you can see what he does.

When it comes to accessibility, it is where different things to be added in order to make playing games more fun for people with disabilities, especially ones with visual disabilities. It’s not easy to play a game for me since I can’t see the screen nor the buttons but I have been sighted before and remembered playing Sonic 2 the most and almost beating the game a couple of times. I even remembered playing Super Mario All Stars on the Super Nintendo and moved onto the Nintendo 64 and the Gameboy Color. Nowadays with my limited sight, I can only really play Pokémon even though I did help unlock people on Super Smash Brothers but it’s mostly Pokémon and I know how it feels to play it since another blind gamer by the name of James Rath goes through the audio cues like I do but sometimes the Pokémon can sound the same in my ears and do need the sighted help time to time. Plus, walking around can also be difficult since I do run into things a lot and need some directional guide. Trust me, playing Y with Lumios City was not an easy feat with how that city is a rotating 3D model when I look at it. Even navigating Mauville in Alpha Sapphire was confusing too with the different doors you go through. I bet you are wondering where I am getting at.

Screen Reader Tech! That’s right, screen reading tech should be developed for the Nintendo system since Sony has developed it to be on their PlayStation 4 for people with visual impairments to be able to play. I am hoping Gondras does get one soon because I want to see this for myself since I have co-opped with him a couple of times in Tales of Xilia 2!

For many years, I have been emailing Nintendo about this since it is not easy being able to see the text and the story is in that text based telling. Trust me, I try to ask Gondras to read the stuff out even during Pokémon Black and besides the story parts, also reading out signs on buildings since I was able to locate things on the maps in the strategy guides and can’t read them anymore. So, the screen reader would help in reading the maps, reading the tutorials too and even read the different menus on the home screen area when selecting the games you want to play, to putting in the text like with how Siri would do on the onscreen keyboard, and many other things, heck even see items ahead of you.

I did get an email from Nintendo once I read the article about the Japanese boy to reach out to them again and they did say they started including the ability to change the colors on the Nintendo Switch which James Rath talked about in a video I will also include about how a blind person would play the Switch. These settings pretty much change the gray scale and reverse the colors on the screen which sounds like something Zoom Text and Magic does where you can make the background different colors and your cursor a different color to help see while typing as an example. That is a really good start for Nintendo because it is now showing they are joining in on the Accessibility Arena due to how many people that are visually impaired want to enjoy their games. James mentioned how he and another blind friend were able to play together especially with Splatoon where they were able to switch the color blind settings to help with that.

It would be nice for Nintendo to expand on the settings to add the screen reader tech since we do live in the era of voiceover on Apple and Samsung’s tablets and phones, heck even Zoom Text has added speech to be like Magic in its own way. I did bring the question about this to Jennifer Hale and Ally Hillis during the Mass Effect panel during Mega since it would be interesting for their take and they said, “Of course! Since we live in the time of inclusion in tech that would be something that should be added.” You can watch those videos in our MegaCon Orlando coverage on here or go to our YouTube Channel for that. I do agree with their points because we do have the audio description and closed captions for the sight and hearing impaired audiences who love to come and see a movie with their family and friends so should have a talk with the companies that develop these devices or talk to Freedom Scientific, the creators of NVDA in Australia, or even Apple and Samsung for help in how to make something like this to work on the Switch and their DS systems since we do have the New DS too to think about. Plus, it will help Nintendo to keep up with Sony since they are getting into the Accessibility game a little more to include more gamers in their market and it would be the same with Nintendo if they keep going forward.

Well, that is my take on the accessibility in gaming since I am a JAWS user, it would be nice to play Pokémon with screen reading support. I did bring it up to someone I used to know and he thought this was a bad idea but now with more blind gamers and now voice actors wanting to see it more, I guess he will be thinking it more differently if he has been to the latest conventions where the actors have talked about it and plus more blind gamers are popping up in the mainstream media even on YouTube. I haven’t mentioned the points that Extra Credits mentioned in one video they did all thanks to someone who told her story but I will also include their video on Accessibility in gaming too. Now I will be crossing my fingers on all my paws to see if more accessible settings go forward. And I also want to thank Steve Sailor for letting me use one of his videos to show what he does and in a recent video he is starting to be a consultant to help game developers so hoping an expansion does happen. So, enjoy the videos and until next time! I will be doing a post that Mr. Brandon McInnis inspired me to do during Holiday Mature. Until next time!

Access Tech: Android Training for All Part 2

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe and today I will be doing a part 2 on the Android Training for All post from this week because something has come up!

Android Tech Used on Braille Devices!

So, I have been listening to one episode of the Tech Doctors Podcast hosted by Robert and Alison who look into blind tech on their show and what is out there and what they have experienced within their own tech bubble and this episode dealt with Braille Notetakers.

I know what you are wondering along with some people and that isn’t Braille a “dead language?” It may be “dead” to some since we do use technology and this system of dots was developed over 200 years ago but a lot of blind people still use it, even me! I use Braille on a daily basis to label the items I use and read textbooks, even take notes on my own note taker known as the HIMS Braille Sense U2 which I also use when I do press jobs at conventions to develop my reviews. What is great like with the phone and computer, Braille has been catching up in the tech department and a lot of people do use Braille devices in order to take notes, read books, and even use it in Pages on their phone like I had during the last NFB meeting. Since I have mentioned the Android training for All post, apparently with the new note takers being made they are being built to include Android tech to run with them and the most two recent devices are the Braille Note Touch by Human ware and the Braille Sense Polaris by HIMS which is the same company who developed my Braille Sense U2.

What Are They Exactly? Well, the Braille Note Touch is a tablet and a note taker put together where you use touch Braille to type and it shows up on the tablet underneath along with a Braille display like with a lot of note takers. The tablet runs on Android systems and you can use the many Google apps like with the Galaxy tablets and you can also separate the tablet to use on its own from what I remembered listening to the podcast. There are some difficulties such as having a hard time correcting what you have typed and pairing with other Bluetooth devices like the Apple ear pods for example but it is pretty interesting that Human ware has developed this kind of device since a lot of blind users do use tablets to get around when it comes to tech stuff. While the Braille Sense Polaris, on the other hand, it is more of a sleek version of the U2 and it has capabilities where people can use the Google Play store to get apps to use that you find on the Galaxy Tab and there is even a touch area that you can use finger gestures like on an Android platform based tablet or phone and you can still take notes with it too. What I did hear is that it is buggy despite the steps HIMS has taken to go the next tech mile but they are looking into fixing those which hearing about these features makes me want to get one but I have to figure out Android first and that brings me to the next idea…

Bringing the Android Training to All: Like in the last post, a lot of blind people are stepping up their tech game and I did mention what if someone I meet if I were teaching wants to learn Android instead of Apple and this is a perfect example of that Android training to anyone who is in V. R. too (Vocational Rehab.) Since Braille note takers have helped the blind for many years, especially with new developments in tech and how much companies are competing and keeping up, taking that extra step into the Android platform makes it even more of a demand to know how to use it.

For instance, I have gone through training in knowing how to use my Braille Sense QWERTY model which is basically if you take your computer’s keyboard and add a Braille display to it and type on it like if you were in Word and I also had training with my U2 to get used to the chords and shortcuts on the Perkins Brailler Style keyboard you see me use today. If I were to get the Polaris, I would still need that training in getting around the Android interface part of the tech to be able to transfer to my tablet since it would run the same software. So, I would say that would be a major win with that training, right? Plus, with the Human ware device, you would also go through that same kind of training due to the tablet portion. The good thing is that Perkins does offer the videos to learn the Human ware Braille Note Touch to get around the Android Touch and how to use the many apps as well. I did look for the Braille Sense Polaris but all I can find at the moment is the User Manual which does offer how to use the device but it is good to have someone there to train you and by the way the manual is offered by HIMS even as a PDF. And I did see if Perkins E-Learning offers any videos for what I am going through on my Galaxy Tab, only thing I have found so far is just a video about how to set it up for people with low vision and how to modify the colors on the screen’s wallpaper and the keyboard. Hey, what about navigation? Oh well, I did post a comment to see if they have something or may make something because that can be handy.

Still, I am also thinking that a lot of people do learn differently and having one on one training can help not only the user but also any new A. T. Specialists that may run into a device like this too and knowing Android beforehand would prepare them for it.

Not only that, I did hear in the podcast that the reason why the Polaris is going up in tech is that the U2 is going to be at its end in tech compatibility soon which will be sad since I had this thing for two years and looking at the Polaris I may switch at one point to keep my tech studies up and of course another thing is that with the Android tech being in these devices school work and any projects from work can be accessed through Drop Box which can be a very handy thing with how we use Google Drive, ICloud and even other outlets to save work on. I am thinking of upgrading but waiting when this device has gotten out of the bug stage since that can happen and I did hear that one bug that needs a major fix is editing documents where the document can be corrupted if you go back and do the usual and fancy editing work. I will have to wait and see but in the meantime will be using my u2.

New Conclusion: So, since we have talked about the various points with the Android training in that last post and now expanding it here, Braille Note takers are also becoming more advanced and using the Android platform to make Braille even more accessible and “alive” as you will since most people think it is “dead.” Looking at these two new devices shows that being trained in Android even if you are going to school and planning to get a job can be beneficial and shows that Android wants to step up its game to be part of Braille even more. I want to see Apple get in on this too since you can use Braille devices with Apple products, since I did say I use my U2 with Pages and navigating with shortcuts, it can be an interesting thought to put IOS tech into these devices too but having Android for now is a good start and gives Braille a new look. And of course with the training, it does expand the A. T. Specialist’s toolbox to learn these kinds of devices if they run into someone who has one and can give advice or training to help them navigate the product more. Depending on what kind of company user if it is Human ware or HIMS, I would say take a look into these devices and it may take a lot of saving because the prices are pretty steep but it is a good investment since I have used the Braille Sense QWWWETY and U2 for the longest time and does save you time and pain in the classroom, trust me it was not easy carrying and using a Perkins Brailler in class.

Well, that is it for this post. I know I was going to talk about the gaming bit but this came up and wanted to expand this point because hearing about how Braille tech expands is even more awesome! So, I would stay tuned for the gaming post because it is coming!

Access Tech: Is Discord Accessible?

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Today I will bringing you an app review!

Is Discord Accessible? Today I am going to be reviewing an app for chatting even when you are a gamer and that is Discord. This month AIM is going away forever and found out from someone I used to be buddies with on AIM about Discord and took a look into it and decide to test it out and both on my Galaxy Tab and my IPad. All I have to say is that this this was the most frustrating app ever which….

Disclaimer: This review is an honest one based on thoughts and opinions from the lead writer of this blog! Please respect her thoughts on what she says in this review. Thank you!

I noticed how the download speed is different for both tablets and that is it was very fast on the Google Play Store while it took a bit for the IPS App Store because of the 11 updates to the store and my Mini 2 is slightly old and had to wait a little after it loaded to be installed on my app. With my phone, on the other hand which I had to get it there, did download a lot faster due to the Re-Download button. I think with apps or anything my phone is faster due to it being more of the 5 series and knowing it will be faster when I do upgrade to the 8. With the PC, since I use Windows 10, it did take a bit to go through a security scan since we don’t know what can be out there and I think with apps on Windows it takes a bit to run and install because of the install prompts you have to go through like with most software and programs. At east with an app download it does not need the restart like JAWS and ITunes does.

Navigation and Logging In: I did make myself an account and was able to login easily on both platforms with a keyboard and did have to reset my password on my phone and computer due to forgetting it. The navigation…oh…man…it sucks with voiceover. On my Galaxy Tab, I have to swipe around to get to other parts of the app and some buttons don’t get read out by Text to Speech and goes the same with on my PC and IOS on both the phone and IPad. I wonder why some buttons are “Unlabeled” according to the screen readers? I am not sure if this app is not built to be able to be accessible with any voiceover software which can be handy, I am now wondering if anything with magnification can work with this app since it can be used on devices and with programs from Freedom Scientific too.

With searching for friends, it gets very tedious since it looks different on both platforms. With Android, the search field asks for the tag number, which is a four digit number you get with your username when you register and this field also asks for an email if you don’t have that number. While IOS, you type in both the username and the tag number because if you just put in the number it gives you the message, “We are more than just numbers.” So, I tried that with someone over and over again and had problems with it. I even tried telling this same friend to find me and he couldn’t either. It did take us a few days and well my best buddy Tobi was able to find me very easily while this one dude, Kilt Man, we came up with that I should create a server and I had to create it through the PC version because I couldn’t find the “Create Server” on the very left. I did research into it and I tried looking on the left and of course I hear the “Button Unlabeled” every time and even tried tapping on random buttons which gives me the “Add a Friend” area, “Start a Conversation,” etc. Speaking of that, there is a field where you can search for a conversation and I was able to access it easily on the Android version but won’t on the IOS version where I hear the plunk sound if I tried to do anything. Did the server thing work? Yes it did and he was added to my friends list when he sent me a request.

What about the chat features you may ask? Apparently, like with Skype, you can do a video chat or at least a regular chatting and I was able to test it with Tobi and it worked very well on my Android. I think it will also work with group chat if I do have some friends that want to do it since I remembered doing group chats back in the days of AIM.

Verdict: Is it accessible? It can be but it is not accessible to the point of screen readers. While I had the problems I did, I did reach out to the Discord Twitter page and talked about the issues with it and they responded that they are planning to make it accessible to people who are color blind and for screen readers. I am hoping soon because I went through a lot of frustrations and patience to get around these issues especially getting people to find me. What I would also like to see is an easier person search as in having one place for the tag number and another field for just the username like in the days of AIM where you can search through just username or just do it with tag number. Also, should explain the formatting of how to type both a lot better since I am a beginner with this I didn’t know I had to capitalize letters in the names nor include the number sign or not include it. It is like with explaining how to create a password by saying, “Hey, you need this and make sure you do this.” And finally, for screen reading purposes, make the labels to be seen for screen reading even on devices because I don’t know what “Button 67 Unlabeled” is just put the word for it to read so it would be easier to know what it is and know that it is there for the person who is using it that may be blind or not.

Rating: 2.5 Star Paw prints Out of 5because of some of the things that do need to be improved. It is a good app and it is a good substitute for AIM but it needs to be fixed for better accessibility and easier navigation too because if I am using a keyboard with my Galaxy and IPad I want to be able to go with the arrows to get to the field or swipe very easily to where I need to be.

That is it for this review on Discord. Is there any other apps you want me to take a look at and review, I am open to it because as a blind user and listening to all these podcasts that suggest different apps, I want to be able to put them to the test and see what people are talking about and say, “Hey! It is good! Check it out!” Next post in my Access Tech category is my take on accessibility in gaming, oh yes I am doing my thoughts! Until next time!

Access Tech: Android Training for All!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Today I am starting the new category here and it deals with Access Technology which is my career goal at the moment. I am planning on becoming an Assistive Tech Specialist since I have been using JAWS, IOS, and even cross platforming into Android at the moment but I am having issues with Android with my Galaxy Tab E and that wanted me to go into training for it but the problem is that there is no training for anyone in Vocational Rehab except if you have a job here in Orlando. I am not sure what is like everywhere else in the states especially where you guys live but this first post will be talking about why everyone should get the equal access and training with this platform.

Disclaimer: This post is based on thoughts and opinions of the lead writer of this blog so please respect her thoughts and opinions on this subject. Thank you!

Nowadays technology has been advancing a very fast rate and have been not only keeping up but also competing against each other with how consumers have been buying their products. We have Microsoft, Android, IOS, and now Google coming in with their tech with Google Home and now the new Pixel phone and not only that new IPhones with the 8, the 8+ and the X and of course the new Galaxy S 8 and 8 Note. And recently Microsoft now discontinuing their Surface Pro line at the moment which they are planning on bringing something known as the Andromeda. (Knowing we will hear more about that later on.)

Equally, we do see a lot of people picking up either an IPad or a Galaxy Tablet but the visually impaired like me do wonder which one they want to get. Most of the time we are told that IOS with their devices are the best and I agree since I have been using my IPhone 4S from 2013 until I upgraded to the SE last year and will be going to an 8 next year with my upgrade and I do have an IPad Mini 2. But there are people that do not always want the IOS devices and that is going to Android since they have been advancing in the Accessibility game for a while now with using the Text to Speech features that are available like Siri even with Google Talk Back. Like with JAWS and Siri, there is something we do have to use and that are gestures, Bluetooth keyboards for the tablets and phones, and well even training for the new platform.

What do I mean by “training?” Well, like any new program, not everyone is well equipped in using it once that item comes out of the box and learning how to use it does become a major help. For instance, I had to go through training with JAWS when I got into UCF and once knowing the basics of navigating the net, using email with JAWS, and Word and some Excel I was able to get around and later did get more training while in Daytona Beach to expand what I have learned during my college days. Even when I got my new IPhone 4S back in 2013, I had trouble using Siri for my first time and didn’t know how to answer calls either so I had to get training for it to learn the basics and that also got expanded in Daytona and now I am able to navigate it and pass my skills onto my IPad and using my Braille Sense on my phone and a keyboard on my IPad. With Android training on the other hand, that is what I need with my Galaxy Tab E which was given to me by my phone carrier as an oops with my bill. Yeah, I pay extra and do have a keyboard and stylus but I do need extra help and training needs to be one thing to help but unfortunately since I don’t work or not a student at the moment V. R. can’t support it which is a sad thing.

Why Should It Be Equal to Have Everyone Get the Training? Because not only a student who would get their first Android phone or tablet for studying or even work if they are going into the Work Force, having this training will help gain the skills and knowledge of a newer platform and also having this knowledge can help grow new A. T. Specialists, like me, be able to help anyone who has gone into the training itself. I mean what if someone says while at a Lighthouse or a Rehab Center and says, “I can’t handle Apple’s operating system, can I take on Android?” The person probably working there may say, “We only teach Apple.” Or “I don’t know how to use Android.” This would be a bit of a pickle and that is why having these kinds of classes can help everyone as a whole even if they don’t have a job and want to gain extra tech experience before they get that job. Plus, learning at this stage can prepare for any tech jobs that may require someone to know both Apple and Android for instance what if they worked for Best Buy or CompUSA and need to explain both platforms for the devices and having that knowledge can help what the person is looking for or help with tech support when issues do arise.

Also, another thing I should add, a lot of companies have been making their apps to be accessible on both IOS and Android for the blind. For instance, I love using the app known as Be My Eyes where people around the world volunteer to help people see through their cameras on their devices what is in front of them whether it being a toy or pack of mints, heck I even used it to count out money once, this is a handy app and it was only available on IOS for a while until they developed an Android version and it’s out now. I even demonstrated this app in my Access Tech panel at Omni this past year to show how it worked on IOS and I can imagine being as good on Android.
What about Online Resources? Yes, online resources are out there to help but there are times where it doesn’t always work. My example is when I was learning the different types of gestures with my Galaxy Tablet. I am familiar with the ones for Apple but with Android it is not easy. There are the single finger gestures like for double tapping and swiping like on Apple and there are two finger ones which I have tried and don’t seem to work, I even tried out angular gestures and they don’t work except viewing notifications. I’d rather have someone explain it to me in person because that is how I usually learn the best and that is another thing and that is not everyone can learn from just reading a web page and with how much of a complex system Android can be it would be easier if someone does have a class.

Another thing is that the web pages with some of the items work for some and not work for others as in different keyboard commands for instance when I first got my keyboard for my Tablet some of them don’t work except causes the Tablet to move without making that command in the right sequence. I think some of the commands may work for other models but maybe not for this one so training may help there with someone who may be able to help with what might be happening. And another thing is having that person one on one with you can help bounce ideas to see about working on the problems that are in front of them with how complex Android can be.

Conclusion: Training in Android should be for anyone who is visually impaired that may want to explore a new platform that would probably fit their needs especially if they go into a job position that deals with using different kinds of technology and it would help any rising A. T. Specialists that may have students that want to learn it to have the skills and knowledge in teaching it to who wants to know this platform and its accessibility apps that are being developed for it. Like with the sighted world, we want to be able to be included in that world and competitiveness in the job world by showing that we can work in new tech fields and bring it to our professors and bosses when we get there.

So, that is it for this post! Next I am hoping to bring my Discord review since AIM is going bye bye next week and want to give someone an option that may be visually impaired a new app to try out. Among this category, I will also be doing a post on my take about accessibility in gaming since that is becoming a hot topic this year going on into 2018! So, until next time especially after Holiday Matsuri 2017 where we will have our coverage from that! Catch you on the universe side!