Accessibility: How Nerd Conventions Can Be Accessible!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds and welcome back! I am back with another post and this time it does deal with blindness and accessibility and my convention world.

How Nerd Conventions Can Can Be Accessible to the Blind

As you guys know and might have read The Blind Perspective: Convention Stories from the Dark, I’ve been an anime or more like a nerd convention goer since 2004 if you count a day at JACON but didn’t really start going until the year after while being with THEE X at the time. I have had many stories from my being an attendee with some sight and when I lost my sight it became a new outlook and perspective in going to these events. As years have gone, I have noticed things about the nerd conventions and that is some accessibility issues. I have posted an idea over on the Holiday Matsuri Facebook Group and decided why not expand it to here since I do write blindness related topics and Accessibility has been a huge topic being thrown around and I felt like why not show what I think should make a convention more accessible to the blind.

Town Criers Yelling Out Different Areas: This year I went to the National Federation of the Blind National Convention and while attending I heard people calling out where different areas are like where Registration was, where the General Sessions were and so on and it did help out because it told us as blind people where to go. I posted this exact idea on the Holiday Matsuri Group which got a lot of good responses because some conventions are held at very big locations like MegaCon at the Orange County Convention Center and Holiday Matsuri at the World Center Marriot. Another example, DragonCon in Atlanta spans over five hotels and knowing those are also huge in their convention center area. Reason for posting this besides getting the idea from the NFB Convention was that last year I had a hard time finding the Main Events room and I asked people and they pointed and said, “Over there!” As a blind person you don’t know what “Over there” is and I will touch on that even more next. Having people call out the areas like “Panels Over here to your right” or “Main events down this way!” It will help out because it not only shows its location but helps with going in the right direction. If it happened last year and heard, “Main Events down this way!” I would know just to head straight and then ask the person calling it to make sure and they said, “Just head straight.” Because there were times where I heard people ask the people for a double check and they answered the question.
Volunteers Being Sighted Guides: Touching more on the “It’s Over There!” Someone did post that they had a similar situation with a staff member where the person was pointing and tried to tell the staff member that they can’t see pointed fingers and didn’t do more about it. This is where the idea of having a sighted guide volunteer comes in. Conventions have asked for a lot of volunteers over the years and they do get tons over time, heck I have volunteered myself at JACON when it was alive and MegaCon twice before doing press. Having extra volunteers on hand can help anyone who may need the sighted guide help in getting to a particular area of the hotel or the convention itself? For instance, Omni Fandom Expo Year 1 I had a volunteer help me to get around since Omni was also at the World Center and it was hard to navigate when my mobility skills were rusty at the time. She helped me out getting to some of the signing tables and even to the bathroom which was great. Yeah it took around twenty minutes as a guesstimate but it did help out in a way. Having the volunteers able to do this can help someone who may be lost or can’t find the room if they couldn’t hear the person yelling or someone on a speaker system, trust me it was hard to hear the speakers in the MegaCon Vendor Room back in the past. What about getting to know about sighted guide if you’re a staff member reading this? Proper sighted guide is where the person offers the elbow or arm and the blind person grabs on not the other way around. A newer technique is also grabbing above the elbow like a cup to make it more comfortable. And another thing is, during volunteer meetings try asking the volunteer meetings if they can be able to guide anyone to certain areas such as bathrooms, panel rooms, even the doors for any ride pickups that a person need help with. In the end, volunteers are there to help and should help even further.
Having Convention Guides As Accessible Material: One thing that makes a convention exciting is the convention guide that tells you about guests, events, and the hours of the vendor room and gaming room but issue is not being able to read it and seeing the pretty pictures. Having an accessible digital version of the convention guide can help! I remembered having the full on Convention Guide for the NFB Convention on my Braille Sense Polaris as one huge Word Document. Did it help? Yes! It did tell me what events are at what time and where to go and the times for the Independence Market too each day. Whether it’s in PDF format or a Word Document, having the convention guide in one of these formats minus the photos can be something very easily accessed even placed onto a device that is portable like a phone with Google Docs for example or like I said above, my Braille Sense Polaris so I can read it in Braille. Which brings me to another point.
Placing Braille Index Cards with Room Names on Cardboard Signs: Yes, another point I found is that on easels placed around most conventions there are signs showing what room it is and/or just the panels being in that room. Since I mentioned the accessible document for Convention Guides, having an index card with the panel room number and the actual room’s name can be easier than just guessing or getting the rooms mixed up. There may be a volunteer at the door or not but after double checking the schedule for a specific event or seeing if you’re at the vendor room by finding the card on the easel can tell that you’re in the right place. Plus index cards aren’t that expensive but getting them made best to look into a Braille printing service or know someone who’s blind that can do it.
Having Music Zones: Someone posted this as a comment on my idea why not music in certain areas play. It would be a nice idea but it can get a little louder and a little bit mixed up because I admit I have that happen sometimes but if the music is more subtle and I walk towards the door and hear “Jingle Bells’ on a small speaker for Registration or a video game song like “Casino Night Zone” for the gaming room for example then I know where I am. Having that subtle speaker next to the door can help with what room you’re about to walk in. Even MegaCon had some subtle background music during the more main panels like the Mass Effect panel and the Flash panel if I remember. Yeah, I noticed with my hearing, it shows that music shouldn’t be so loud to scream over nor too low to hear it has to be just right.

Well, that’s about it for this post. Hoping for anyone that is on staff for a convention reads this and can pass it along because as a nerd I and how big accessibility is becoming it gives more inclusivity. For instance, movie theaters having the audio description option for movies and how Audible is having more audiobooks in their library for people. Heck, back to the accessible document, I helped with making Nemecene being more accessible if you haven’t read the review for the first book. All in all, more places are getting more accessible and now nerd conventions should join in since there are more blind people getting into a lot of these things.

So, what is next for Nerdy Shique Universe? I’m still reading the Alex Verus novels, still on Veiled and hoping to keep on reading. I know the Ipsy October bag will be here and once it arrives I will post about it. So, make sure you follow us on Twitter and stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

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Blindness: When Sight Loss Is A Tragedy But Blindness Isn’t!

Hello to all my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe I am back with another past and it’s a bit of a response post!

Your Life Is Not Over When You Lose Your Sight!

I was inspired by Derek Daniel from Life after Sight Loss which is an awesome podcast by a blind person who lives life after sight loss and gives tips how to get through it and one of his videos was about life not being over after sight loss and wanted to do my own response about it.

I felt like responding to this now because I was in a Facebook Live Chat earlier and I felt like I needed to get some of the negative aspects off because as a person who has lost her sight at 23 I had so many life changes during that time and yes I was one of those who thought my life was going to end because I’m blind, even when I tried finding a job at 28 after graduating from college that I couldn’t find anything but knowing about this podcast did make me think more in a positive light and feel like doing my response now.

Actually, the video I’m referring to is that Sight Loss is a Tragedy but Being Blind Isn’t and I agree with the title since he does give good points.

Why is losing sight a tragedy but not blindness? Derek said that going blind is a tragic event while being blind is just the journey because yes we can lose our sight in many ways whether it being all of a sudden, having Glaucoma, having my eye condition, or even losing your sight due to an accident it can happen in different ways. While blindness, it is just the journey you have to take in order to live your life the way you want it to be. Yes it can be hard, trust me I went through that while losing my sight and going through college but I was able to learn different techniques of doing things like sewing, writing, and using different technology such as my IPhone and now going to work teaching Assistive Technology is something that came from my decision of switching my job goal gears years ago. While with the tragic experience of losing sight loss is depending on how the event affects the person since it is surrounded by sight loss. It depends how someone feels when they lose it and it can take a jolt, as in, “Holy moly, what just happened!?” And then things start to take shape.

What I noticed in the Facebook chat we were talking about how different people who may be performers or even YouTubers that are going through their own visual impairments have to go through a lot like trying to live life daily and how not getting enough in Super Chat from YouTube is not fair to the person because they’re blind. Yes, blindness can be the factor but to me it’s how you handle it in order to get around it. One good example if you saw my interview with Apl DeAp at the NFB National Convention, one of my questions was asking how is he able to perform on different stages? He did explain that he has to be more careful in what he does onstage performing whether it’s jumping around or doing break dances for example. Heck, I remembered when I entered one of the costume contests at a convention and they helped me with the stage before the event. Still, even if you’re visually impaired as a performer there are other ways of performing onstage and not only that getting your music produced and of course you have crowd source ways of helping you to achieve your music goal, even Traverser did a pre-order thing with their last album to help them fund their finishing project. And what about YouTube? It goes the same way, yes it may be unfair to some that they’re not getting all the money back from their Super Chat, take me for example where the YouTube Channel for this blog got de-monetized due to the new guidelines and yes I was mad but I do have Patreon just in case to help fund stuff even though we haven’t gotten any donations but that’s okay, I still go on with my channel as much as I can by posting when I can. It’s not over and see I don’t include my blindness in this because it sucks to be blind but there are other ways of getting around the issues of not getting the funds from your video or other projects. You just have to problem solve and find different ways and keep going from there.

So in the end to make this post a bit short, going through sight loss is a tragedy because we have the emotions of going through our sight loss depending on the different circumstances but being blind is a way of getting on with life, yes you have to re-learn things such as cooking, cleaning, and even navigating around your local mall but we can’t always make it seem like a negative aspect because we’re blind. We have to not only empower ourselves to get out of bed, go and find a job, or even write a book and then that passes on to empowering others to learn about the disability itself and know how you’re able to advocate yourself in a certain environment. I mean I go to the House of Blues for shows for my friends in Traverser to support their music and show that I can rock out like a sighted person!

Well, that’s it for this post and it was kind of short. I will include the video I was referencing so you can see what I was talking about. I also suggest if you know someone who’s blind or if you’re a sighted supporter, I would suggest the Life after Sight Loss Podcast and YouTube for tips, advice, and any tech tidbits! So, that’s it and stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Technology: Introducing N Reach!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast universe! Today will be a twofer special of posts! First a new app for you all Visually Impaired Nerds out there!

Introducing N Reach!

No, it’s not spelled wrong, that’s how this app is spelled and it’s kind of clever even with its website. This is a new location app that was introduced at the NFB National Convention this year and I am an affiliate with these guys since I have been using Soundscape and that app not always picks up on locations but this one will. Let’s get into what it’s about!

Behind the App: Created by James Dye and Steven Moldenhauer, this app is created to help people understand the world around them more by being able to have businesses make their signs more accessible by buying beacons to place with their signs that is connected with this app. Once the beacon is set and activated and someone has the app on their phone then they will get a message sent to them telling them about the business and what they offer. Heck, even menus to the place if it’s a restaurant. I have met the creators and James Dye is visually impaired himself and has been a big drive in accessibility and helping businesses to become more accessible while Mr. Moldenhauer is a thought leader and technologist that makes many technology solutions to help businesses spread their messages.

This is a great idea because as a blind person myself it’s sometimes hard to find a specific place and asking people where it is and being directed can be a pain, trust me, try being at one place and having people point and say, “It’s over there.” With an app like this, it can give you the information about the place because of this beacon or beacons since a business can get these through….

Affiliates! As I mentioned above, I am an affiliate with N Reach and in order for businesses to know about this I do get in contact with some and have done it with a few already or show up in person and hand them a card which an affiliate gets given a pack of a hundred of these things. It gives the information to where to go to sign up, what pricing packages are there in case you want just one beacon for one location or more to put on locations across town. It is a service so I will make sure to include the link which is….

For Businesses: For any businesses who may be reading this and want to know more about N Reach and what its message, what price packages are available to you you can go to http://www.nrea.ch for pricing, videos to show what this program is about, even what it can do for someone who is a customer with a visual impairment that comes in regularly to your business either alone or with friends, since I do hang out with my gal pals once a month and if a new place comes up on the N Reach app with the beacon I can open it up and have it read out to me or them for the info. It does help us a lot even if we’re traveling alone. So make sure you check out the link and I will place one of their videos in this post to see what your business can do when it comes to accessibility.

That’s all I have so far. If you have a business and may want your customers, blind or even sighted people can get this app, you can go to http://www.nrea.ch for all of the info about pricing and the packages available. If you guys want me to interview the founders, I will gladly do that since we have recently did another Skype interview with one of our local bands in town. Which reminds me, I need to get in contact with the House of Blues about N Reach!

That is it for this short post on a new app, also if you want to be an affiliate yourself to help your blind community members or your Blindness Organizations, you can also check out that link I have included because we need more businesses to join this network. Stay tuned I have another post for you all today! Follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for all of our updates and will even update with my second post. So stay beautiful while traveling the universe!
Official N Reach Website

Assistive Tech: Meet the Be My Eyes App!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with another Assistive Technology post!

Be My Eyes!

Since I’ve been talking about Microsoft’s Soundscape for a while now it was time to bring something new to the Assistive Tech category on here and that’s a handy little app known as Be My Eyes. I’ve known about this app for a few years now and it has changed the accessibility game even for myself since I have to rely on my sighted peers or parents for help but this is a great app to help you when you don’t have anyone around.

The Idea Behind It: Before we get into what it does I feel like talking about the idea behind it. This app’s story started in Denmark in 2012 with Hans Jorgen Wiberg who is a furniture craftsmen that was also visually impaired and all thanks to his work through the Danish Association For the Blind he recognized that the blind people in his community need a little help and with a blind friend having video calls with family members to give him assistance, Hans came up with an idea to use video chat features on someone’s phone or tablet to get this kind of assistance and that deals with volunteers instead.

What It Does? What this app does basically opens up on the main area of the app, when you first register which you need to is that it does ask if you’re a volunteer or the blind person using this app and I’m blind so I have been using it, and it gives you the button when you’re the person using this app as a blind person a button to call anyone and it sends a call to ten people and whoever gets it then they can see through your camera and you ask what you need help with, for example I needed help with money once and Seeing A. I. didn’t have the Currency channel at the time and my little gadget from the Talking Book Library died right about that time and the person was able to help me out. Another example, I don’t like interrupting conversations unless I need to and during a luncheon with the NFB of Central Florida I got a raffle ticket and someone who still had some sight was busy so I opened up Be My Eyes and used it to read out the last three digits out to me. As I said, it can do anything! I remember a British lady did do an interview where she demonstrated how to find a green spool of thread.

I bet you’re wondering, does the sighted volunteer get any information or looks at anything else that might be private, I did go to the panel on this during the NFB National Convention and all they see is what you is in front of them to help guide. One thing is they need more sighted volunteers at the moment and I suggest downloading the app and sign up for it because it would give you some nice work experience. Trust me, volunteering does help and doing it for the blind is even more helpful!

I’m going to try and see about interviewing the Hans since of course Denmark is six hours ahead of us and it would be cool to do a Skype interview with an app developer that has been helping for three years now. Oh almost forgot!

What Platforms Is It Available On? You can get Be My Eyes on the IOS App Store which I did for my IPhone and my IPad one time and of course on the Google Play Store for Android. The great news for anyone who has the Braille Note Touch or the Braille Sense Polaris, you can get it on the Play Store too through those devices because I asked during the National Convention if it could work with Braille devices since now they are building the note takers with cameras and Android tech, don’t worry will get to that review, and they didn’t know. A few days of resting, I decided to test it on my Polaris and it does work! I know it seems odd to hear a Braille device having a camera but they do see what’s in front of them through Be My Eyes and I used it with a pack of Oreos my dad bought for my nephews while they visited and they saw it clearly through the app. So if you have a Note Touch from Human Ware or a Polaris from HIMS it’s available and you just wear the device so in case if you’re somewhere with it and need help with a hand out from a teacher or what’s on the board you have Be My Eyes. And good news is that it’s free by the way. And by the way…

New Features: There is a new feature for Be My Eyes and that is the Specialized Help tab in the app. This is where you can connect with the Be My Eyes Technical Support and also Microsoft! They are trying to grow this where you can suggest other companies and maybe they should have Apple and Google Support for the Specialized Help, or even Freedom Scientific, you never know!

Well, that’s it for this post! Next app I will be talking about is a new one for locating places and that is N Reach! So stay tuned for that! And also in other news, we will be interviewing the band Traverser through Skype! Yay! We wanted to interview them for a while and they’ve been out somewhere in the universe and back for a new performance in August and will be interviewing the guys as they are about to rehearse for the big show! I will try to get an interview with Hans from Be My Eyes since this has been a big help so far in my life, heck even Nerdy Shirts was surprised that an app like it exists. So make sure to follow us on Twitter whenever we tweet about any interviews going up on YouTube and a lot more over @ Nerdy Shique! Until next time, stay beautiful in the universe!

Note: To find out more about Be My Eyes, link included in this post even for anyone who wants to volunteer!Be My Eyes Official Website

Interviews: Interview with Apl DeAp from the Black EYed Peas at the NFB National Convention 2018!

<a href="https://twitter.com/apldeap?ref_src=twsHis Charity Pagerc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor”>Apl DeAp’s TwitterHello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling across the vast universe! It’s time!

Interview with Apl De Ap from the Black Eyed Peas at the NFB National Convention!

Yes! I had the opportunity to interview the one and only Apl DeAp at this year’s NFB National Convention! I wanted to interview him since I didn’t know he was visually impaired until I read the email sent through the Email list with the NFB and pondered about it and asked about having an interview since he is not only visually impaired and got to ask about his experiences but also a Grammy Winning Artist on top of it since he was with the Black Eyed Peas for many years and has done great hits like “I’ve Got a Feeling” and “Let’s Get IT Started!” What did I ask him? You can click play in the YouTube frame and also if you want to find anything new on Mr. DeAp you can also click on the video to be taken to the YouTube Page and take a look at the video description and oh yes I will also include links around here to check out his Twitter and Charity!

What’s next for this blog? Another beauty tag you guys may enjoy! So, make sure you follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for new updates! Until next time!

Conventions: National Federation of the Blind National Convention 2018 Review!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe, I am back from a nice rest because I was at the NFB National Convention last week and man it was a huge experience and a new environment since I never thought I would be at a convention minus the costumes that I am usually familiar with but I was in my element since I’m visually impaired myself. Let’s see what I have to say about this event. But first as always…

Disclaimer: This review is based on thoughts and opinions of the lead writer of this blog! Please Respect the thoughts and opinions since this based on the experience they went through.

Location: First is the location and that is at the Rosen Shingle Creek and man this place was bigger than the Rosen Center itself despite that one was also connected to the Convention Center downtown on International Drive. If you remembered when Gondras and I covered Omni Fandom Expo 2015 it was at the Rosen Center and you had the events on the bottom floor and top floor while Rosen Shingle Creek felt like it was like the World Center in my observation because a ton of ballrooms to work with, plus you have more panel rooms upstairs to use right above the lower lobby and then more escalators leading to more board rooms and a printing store, oh yes you can print stuff if you need it which I had to with my resume for the Job Fair, which I will get to a bit later. Plus you do have the food court which is a little pricey, I did have my snacks but I needed a caffeine recharge since their coffee shop was reasonably priced, even more reasonable than Starbucks. I would say the white chocolate lattes are great. Anyways, this place should be an anime convention place too because conventions do out grow their location, heck Holiday Matsuri is a good example of that, since there are tons of rooms to play with and even the main ballroom in the Sebastian areas were huge for General Sessions and held all of the State Affiliates of the NFB. Even the Independence Market and Exhibitors Hall was very well sized for what they were displaying and selling, which I will got to…

Exhibitors and Independence Market: Now! This room was pretty much where my money went because I found stuff I needed and found very well. I know it’s weird calling it Independence Market but it’s due to vendors selling items to help us in the blind community to be more independent such as books, tech, and even Braille slates! I found a vendor who sold my favorite full page slate which I still have from EBay. The main thing I wanted was a new watch because my old taking one had the talking part die permanently. Let me describe it, it not only has the digital numbers but it does have its talking setting where you can set the time, the alarms, and now you change the voice on the talking models now from when I looked at them. I decided to change to Braille because the thing is as a convention and concert goer, especially with one concert coming up in August, it’s hard to hear these things over the noise and not only that they can go off if you set the hour alert and can be a bit disruptive. So, I went with Braille and it was kind of hard to set the time on this but I like how to touch the watch face and where the hour and minute hands point to at the dots. Which on the clock face you have the 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10 and 11 are single dots while the 3, 6, 9, and 12 have more of a wedge to touch while feeling the time. Plus it makes it better than just using my phone which I have done for the past year and a half to two years. Plus, this watch I paid for was not that bad because you have some going into the hundred dollar to two hundred range which I went with the $55 and a tip for women who love to grow their nails, go with the men’s model because the watch face is bigger and it’s easier to feel when you have long nails. I had long nails when I bought mine even though they broke during the entire week I was there and had to clip mine but getting the men’s version would be easier to feel since the women’s watch faces are smaller and the dots are too. Just letting you know. Besides buying different items for the independence part, I had to replace my battery for my Victor Reader Stream, for a while now I ran into the issue where I touched the battery and it shuts off and had to order a new one. I was glad that Human Ware was there to take care of that which they were promoting their Stream, the Stream Trek, and the Braille Note Touch. If you don’t know what the Braille Note Touch is, it’s basically where you take a Braille display and fuse with an Android tablet where you have the display and the keyboard on top of an Android tablet and you can also Braille on the tablet too. I almost went with this Polaris had my heart and yes HIMS was also there which I will talk about that with events next.

I did go to the State Affiliates area where in this area all the different NFB State Chapters were selling things to fund raise and you also get to talk to them one on one and get to meet who else is out there. I did buy some things and got to chat with Massachusetts since I was born in Boston and they were happy, I got to chat with Arizona since I will be starting at Northern Arizona in the fall and they are some of the nicest people, also even got a popcorn ball from Nebraska since they claim to have the best popcorn in the United States and they weren’t joking! I got a popcorn ball and they said it is soft and tastes like marshmallow and it does! If I go to Nebraska I must visit their popcorn shops and get more of these because normally around Halloween time when Brach’s does their popcorn balls they are hard cement! Not kidding. These from Nebraska, I highly recommend if you ever visit Nebraska or go to their State Conventions or even the NFB National. I also did get to meet Hawaii briefly because my brother was stationed there and they are also sweet too! I did have a bit of situation with charging banks from Alabama though. As you know, I had a Pikachu one from Think Geek which GameStop sold during Hurricane Irma time and somehow it did not like my Apple devices and wanted to get a better one since you know me and traveling especially with our convention travels and when I heard that chargers will be sold I went and asked about that on Day Three and found them at Alabama, the one that I was sold was not working right and even with the cords so I did exchange it and did lose the cords because they fell out of my bag somehow but the good news is the one that got exchanged works properly even with a new cord I got on EBay and got in the mail today. I can even recharge my Polaris with this thing with its own USB cord. But back to the story, even though I was sad, I decided to find New York since they also had one and they had two left and I was lucky to get theirs as well and that thing charged my Victor Reader Stream! So yes, I now have two charge banks and working because of Alabama and New York, which I must thank now and if I was out somewhere and one doesn’t work without any juice I do have a backup and also my friends can use since there are times where outlets aren’t always in close range even at a restaurant.

Another thing I did pick up which I was really excited about was from the National Braille Press! This is an organization that prints Braille books and sells them and not bad for pricing either and the books are for all ages because I felt a Dr. Seuss book while I was at their table. I got a book that I heard about through the Blind Side Podcast through an interview with the author Judy Dixon and it is called Writing Your Way: Composing and editing on an IPhone and IPad. This interview was very informative because it talks about the many ways you can edit on writing apps on your IPhone and IPad, I wonder about Android tablets since I do use my Polaris and Galaxy Tab E. I have to take a read myself and I was happy that they carried this at the convention and did buy it so I can have it and can use it as a teaching tool while working. I highly suggest National Braille Press in case if you need that specific Braille book for your loved ones or even as gifts for them because we don’t want to leave anyone in the dark without a good book! I may have to talk to them and see about getting my books in Braille, what about that?

Besides some of these companies, there were also Google showing off their tech which I want to get myself a Chrome Book since I got to test out Chrome Vox on them and of course wishing they had Google Play cards which I will talk about down in the Needs in Improvements area for one thing. Also, a new app has been developed for locations which is like Soundscape but more in detail called N Reach and I have become an affiliate with them by the way, which I need to get my cards out to businesses. (Tried to on Monday at the mall but couldn’t get the chance!) And one awesome exhibitor is 3D Photo Works who does tactile photos, Braille plaques, and audio descriptions for exhibits and they are trying to get into more museums, which reminds me I need to still talk to the Science Center because this would help any blind visitors be able to feel the photos that are displayed, read the plaques, and not only that hear any information because at their booth they talked about how they helped with the Vietnam Exhibit in Washington and had three pictures as examples. If you want these guys to do something a museum near you, I would suggest talking to the museum and have them get in contact with this company because a blind person like me can’t see the exhibits, the last exhibit I was able to see was the Tiffany Glass Exhibit here in town and I can imagine what if their exhibit had these plaques and this kind of tactile work on top of it. There is a lot to think about with this company.

Events: Woot! A lot to talk about here and I feel my fingers hurting slightly! I am still pumped! There were a lot of events to go to and so little time because a lot of them took place at the same time and a good tip is choose wisely while reading the agenda in its final form. Which the good thing was you can download and store it for your pleasure. I downloaded, nice tip for everyone with a Braille device, the Word document and transferred it over onto my Braille Sense Polaris so I can feel it if I need to. I should do that with all of the convention guidebooks or if I get KNFB Reader I can take pictures of it too.

Day 1 was more seminar day where you can meet some of the companies that will be there in the Exhibitors Hall and of course in the morning there was also parent meetings for any blind parent or parents with blind children to discuss tips and advice and many other things even talking about the day care services that were going to be on site. I went to the HIMS Seminar since I do have my Polaris and of course discussed some issues with the typing in Word Processor where I and other people experienced where the cursor moved time to time. This was annoying while taking notes on the JAWS Certification materials. Also some issues with navigating the Google Suite editing areas. Hoping that can be fixed even with the next updates.

The next few days were filled with General Sessions where the president, Mark Rickabono, talked about many things that the NFB has been working on to improve our lives as blind people, heck even his speech almost put me in tears because I faced so much back in school, I still remember how I was taken out of my Exceptional Education Minor to be in my Writing Minor because I was told how I can’t make it through Grad School because it would be too hard for me, heck I am going now! I didn’t stay for resolutions on Saturday, well the end of it, because it was going to be a long ways through it and I felt that I was falling asleep, heck I fainted a bit after Friday’s session let out. It’s due to exhaustion since I did commute with paratransit and had to be there in time for the first General Session. And of course, we did find out where next year NFB Convention is was going to be for National and that is in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino! Knowing Nevada is happy about that! Hoping I can save enough to go out there or get a Master’s to try for the NFB National Scholarship again which this convention did inspire me to look into more schooling if I can because what if I want to continue with my education? Let’s see what’s happens!

More things took place, heck I even volunteered at the Braille Book Fair which takes place during the convention where kids and their parents can look through many Braille books and take them and have them sent home to where they live via UPS. I felt really good volunteering at this because I love reading even if it is in Braille and having that experience to help out did help me have the one on one with kids and their parents, I even gave tips to a woman who had a girl who went through a stroke and needed tips on getting her dexterity back. Plus it gave me leverage before I start teaching blind people again and I felt more of my confidence again as I helped. And to tell you the truth, I missed volunteering for things like these since it gives me experience and a bigger heart as I help.

Let’s see what else happened! Oh right! Friday night, Gondras met up with me and besides meeting up with me we had an amazing experience and that was…: drum roll: we got to interview Apl D Ap from the Black Eyed Peas! :: hears fans screaming:: I wanted to interview him since an interesting fact is that he’s visually impaired and was performing this year and this was a great opportunity to get someone who has been in the music business who is also blind in on the YouTube side of this blog since it’s a nice change from our voice actors we get to interview and we get to learn more about him. Just hold on and follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique when we upload the video from this interview along with more information about his own charity, Apple of My Eye, hoping I spelled that right, and so much more! And other people I got to meet were the developers of the Be My Eyes app which as you may have seen my Assistive Tech Panel from Omni 2017 where I demonstrated this app, will I have a future interview with them? I will be in the works of setting that up to do it over Skype since they are from Denmark which made it interesting even with one of them having my eye condition on top of it. I did demonstrate it on my Polaris and it works as much as the Apple version. I did Tweet them about it too. And finally, I got to go to Google’s presentation on their tech because I wanted to see what’s new in their development in Accessibility even with Android. Again, I want a Chrome Book after this presentation because I want to be open minded in the tech and they are also developing an app that is like Seeing A. I. almost and maybe I should write about that one as well if I can test it on my tablet or on my Polaris so stay tuned for that! I didn’t go to Microsoft’s presentation because I had so much to do in between and Google did their presentation at the same time, but Microsoft did a repeat and I only got to their Narrator portion. I did hear how their presentation focused more on the Narrator side rather than Soundscape and Seeing A. I. which I heard that demo for Seeing A. I. was not as great. Okay Microsoft, you do awesome presentations at E3, what’s going on? If I was there and demonstrating Seeing A. I., I would do all of the channels on it because it is critical to show off each one even with currency. And of course, if you guys were at that presentation, I would say go to my posts about Soundscape where I tested it in two malls so far and I did test it out in Shingle Creek which it did detect the area I was in. And finally, my finishing event, I did go to the job fair but briefly since I did have to catch my ride. It was loud! But at least I got to talk to the NFB and the New Jersey Coalition for the Blind about the Access Tech positions on top of it and did find Lighthouse Central Florida since they were also looking for people. It felt great to re-connect with them and give them updates.

Rating: CONVENTION ACCOMPLISHED! This convention deserves a Convention Accomplished because it kind of makes me connect more with my blind peers in one place. Even though I missed the costume parts but this was a different environment and a new aspect of conventions. This brings a huge community together and get to know each other, what is going on with us in one huge organization, not only that make us think that we’re not the only one being blind even in our own state. I got to meet people from Nebraska, Arizona, Hawaii, heck there was Puerto Rico as one of the NFB Affiliates! Wishing I caught one of the members but hey I cheered for them along with Arizona and Massachusetts. Plus, I found out that I am not the only blind cosplayer that exists because one of the National Scholarship Finalists was one too! She makes her own stuff and I got to meet her which was awesome! I want to suggest that the NFB should have a Geeky Division because we are blind geeks/nerds. That is why there is nerd in this blog’s name. Still, this convention was very inspiring and I hope to go to more of them even if they end up in Georgia, Massachusetts, even in Louisiana if Gondras and I get to travel that far.

Needs for Improvements: Well, not all conventions are perfect so there are some needs for improvement.

Microsoft Demo All Aspects Of Accessible Products: What I mean by this is that I heard that not all of the aspects of seeing A. I. was not tested and well that got me thinking why aren’t demonstrating all the aspects of products. I did notice that Narrator was tested in all aspects and knowing they want to show that it’s a free screen reader but to me Microsoft has way more stuff to it and that it can be demonstrated more from what I heard.
Repeat the Demonstrations throughout the Week: What I mean by this is that I noticed that according to the agenda that Microsoft was the only one who got a repeat because not everyone can go to every demonstration in the agenda. I think this would benefit anyone who couldn’t make it to the Google one and can go to the second showing since one day they were at the same time as Microsoft and that would be nice if it was vice versa for anyone who wanted to see Google but didn’t get to. Repeating the brand demonstrations can help with the overload and can give more options to people in what to do after the General Sessions are done. Plus, it gives the person what they missed a new opportunity to catch it later if they have something else to go to or needs to eat.
Time Slots Should Be More Organized: What I mean is that there were times where some things ran over during General Sessions or that when I get to an area that the time changed and etc. I know the final agenda is published way in advanced but they should at least confirm some of the time slots to be accurate and edit the agenda before the convention probably two weeks before because I noticed that some things ran over or an example I was supposed to volunteer at 1 in the afternoon for the Braille Book Fair but I had to go back at 3:45 for the actual event. I think it would be easier to either edit the agenda to fit the time slots or during the presentations, like Google did, set a timer for each speaker because some of them ran over and doing the timer thing can help out a little. If you have to be up on the stage for fifteen minutes then set that timer and not only that, if you know your event starts late then send a group email to the newsletter since some people do check their emails during the day whether it’s on the Polaris, Braille Note Touch, or on their phone they can read it and say, “Oh! It got pushed back! Gotcha!” I understand so many events so little time but starting on time makes more sense.
More Volunteers to Guide: What I mean is that I feel like there were volunteers to tell you where the escalators, stairs, and ballrooms were but there should’ve been more and they should’ve also given more details in where to go like this ballroom to your left or right and probably have some volunteers to able to say, “Hey, need some help! Grab on and I will lead you!” Heck, even for bathrooms because there were some bathrooms where there was single room and so many people were trying to get into them and it was hard to tell Women and Men from that one particular bathroom, would be nice to have someone standing and say, “Women’s Bathroom over here!” and vice versa since it was hard getting around when there were people with canes and dogs in one area. And also, didn’t know that I couldn’t sit in one part where it was to the side that was counted as foot traffic areas, should be nice to have volunteers warning us about that too because there was no mention of that as rules anywhere even if you were to the side or at least have volunteers asking, “Hey, do you need a seat? There are free seats over here.” Just saying!
Making Registration Easier to Navigate: I bring this idea up because while walking round the Registration Area we didn’t know where to go or how the lines were split. I heard there were ropes before, where were they? That would be easy or I gave this as an idea and that is Lego Tape on the ground. Oh yes, there is tape made with Legos that you can use to stick and build upon one on top of the other, it would help with the shoreline bit with getting around the Registration area instead of bumping into the ropes which I did before and it was not pleasant, it happened one year at an anime con by the way. People were surprised that it exists because Assistive Tech FAQS mentioned this as a way of building an ergonomic platform for a keyboard. NFB you should try it out for making shorelines for this area or even the Exhibitor’s Hall and the General Session and Presentation Rooms to help with finding exits and chairs.
Making Signs For Tourists: Another thing I have noticed is that a few stray tourists were hanging around the convention area that weren’t a part of the convention which I have asked directions. They didn’t know what I was talking about and realized that they weren’t there for the convention just sitting around. I understand that some tourists like to sit around but there are other areas for them to be in that is not the convention floor, as in they can be the food court area, the pool, and there was another side to the hotel, which this brings me to my last point and that is there should be signs for any stray wonderers telling them that a blind convention is being held in this hotel, like one sign would say, “Welcome to all tourists! There is a blindness convention this way! Try to help our patrons.” Because there are times where not all tourists know what event they are witnessing and not there for it, trust me I’ve seen it with anime conventions where people stayed at the hotel for theme parks and family but hang around the area which can be confusing even for a blind person. And the helping part, the tourist may be able to help if they had amap of the event to guide if need be for instance if someone had the map and I asked where registration was and they can say, “Oh, I have a map here that someone gave me, follow me.” It can make things a little easier since we can get lost and not everyone would know that they are in an area where people may need help in.

Well, I think that’s good enough here because I think I talked about so much when it came to this convention already. I think I smell smoke from my fingers. This convention was fun and sad to hear that it won’t be in Orlando for a while but hey at least people can travel to someplace they never been before. I hope to go to Vegas but if not you guys in Vegas and other parts of the country who are blind or knows someone who is blind to check it out and also be a member of the NFB because they believe in living the life you want since blindness doesn’t define you as a person. I want to thank the NFB of Florida for giving me the Dr. Jernagand Scholarship so I can be a part of this convention by attending it and getting to interview Apl D Ap and not only that getting to give my services to the Braille Book Fair. So, this hoping for the future especially with me since there are more things to explore and do for this blog and the YouTube Channel. So make sure you follow us on Twitter! Until next time!

Accessibility In Gaming Part 2: What d Do I Want to See In This?

Hello my beautiful nerds traveling throughout the vast universe! I’m back with a new post and this time it’s a continuation of a past post I’ve done!

Accessibility in Gaming Part 2: What I Want To See in Gaming With This?

Stellarnan gave me this idea since she brought an article about a new controller Microsoft had developed for their XBOX for anyone with hand issues to play one handed. This is a step in the right direction since it has popped up and now Microsoft has been working on a lot of things in the Accessibility Department. I even participated in the NFB’s webinar with Narrator recently and can see improvements. Not only that, don’t forget Seeing AI and Soundscape made for IOS.

  1. ind that should be included1. Nintendo Get More Into Accessibility! As you know, I play a lot of pokemon and it’s not easy playing without any assistance. I did use Seeing A.i. with the Short Text setting to read things on the screen and it was great but it would be tedious holding it up all the time even with a tripod. I did mention this and that Nintendo needs to get into the accessibility game more even though they did start with the contrast adjustment settinngs on the Switch. A little fact, according to the episode I listened to the episode by Assistive Tech Update that Nintendo is behind in accessibility due to Microsoft taking the top sot with Sony right behind because of one setting which I will talk about next. Yes, it is nice that they started with the contrast adjustments but not everyone can see that because not everyone has the same eye condition so that brings me to the next point.

  2. More Screen Reading Support! I menttioned Sony because they only have the Text to Speech engine working on their home screen at the moment. Even Gondras demonstrated this when he first got his Playstation 4 this year and we were disappointed that only went far to work on the home screen area which makes us sad and me even more because I have not gottten my paws on Playstation controllers for a long time, well I did have to navigate through the Rock Band 4 song list to find one song I wan sing and that was last year. Anyways, it would be nice that screen reading software be included or as an app to downloaded. I did mention above that not everyone has the same kind of eye cndition to use contrast adjustments with colors, you need low vision for that while total blindness or low vision to the point of not seeing anything requres screen reading. Reason being is because we ccan follow along with the story better to have it read to us, the tutorial screens read to understand what the button combos are and how not to get killed in something ike Final Fantasy XII or even Kingdom Hearts to name a few. And speaking of Final Fantasy, having the emnu options being read out along with who is up next because it would be hard to see that little arrow icon over each character when it is their turn. Okus, give it he Soundscape treatment by telling where an item is like in Pokemon and what building is ahead and nearby because a character does have to buy their supplies to go on and continue their adventure so more screen reading support and even navigation can help someone with lower vision get through a game more easily.

  3. Braille Support On Braille Displays! I know it seems weird but hear me out! Braille has come a long way and it has improved in the tech dpartment and we are having complete Braille tablets being made! Not kidding! Anyways, Braille Note Takers today have Android tech built into them which not only we have the usual built in apps but also Google Play to get the apps we get on our tablets to be installed se. Oh yeah that will be handy when I start my certificate program. What is also great is that they have Bluetooth and Wireless settings and also a USB cable to plug into a computer to use in order to read. So, having a way of using a Braille Display while playing a game would be awesome to use if the screen reading support is not there or still being worked on. Yes, there may be plug-ins needed but it is easy to add onto a device or just have Bluetooth pair with each system like how it does with IPhones with my Braille Sense Polaris. With this ablity, it can read menus, the subtitle boxes when characters speak so you can feel while pushing X or the A button while hearing the story, and even read the tutorials and any notes from that tutorial. Wishing I had that during the PS2 days while playing the original .hack games since it was a lot of text along with dialogue.

  4. Developers and Gamers Should Talk! As in the disabled community, even blind, and the developers should have discussion about these issues. Trust me I have been emailing Nintendo about the screen reading and it will take forever. WHile game developers, on the other hand, seem to be more open. Steve Saylor, the Glind Gamer on YouTube, even is working on that too from his review of the accessible version of God of War where they added some accessible points to the game. In order to improve on games themselves, developers d listen and hear their fans out well most developers, still it shows that they are open to the subject of making their games not only great for their existing audience but new ones as well and that will help with inclusion of new audiences.

Developers Should Speak to Well Known Acccessibility Companies! This is another big point I want to touch upon besides the one above because it can help expand on making games accessible and that is the developers of the systems, technology, and even games should talk with the developers of Narrator, in order to make it inclusive to the screen reading for XBox, JAWS, and even NVDA, and even the devices I have mentioned above in getting ways of how to make their games and systems work with this kind of technology. Without the having talks with each other, it would make it harder to know what to do or how to do it when it comes to making something more accessible to a new market. As in how to make a title be read out by Narrator or how it will look on a Canute 360 for example, having these discussions will take as far as new games come out and new people w

ant to play. Who knows, maybe we will hear UVSoft thanking Freedom Scientific one day for helping them having a screen reader read out Beyond Good & Evil 2 someday on an E3 stage.

So guys, that is it for this post! I know it was a lot to talk about because I have been using Assistive Tech for eight years now and about to go into it for work and school as my career field it would be awesome that the tech we use could expand into video games since I do not want to give up on finishing any of the games I have been playing and I am also planning to get a Switch due to 2019 will be announcin another generation of Pokemon to be made. I would ove to have my Polaris at my side telling me if my Dragonite wants to learn a new move and I need to remove one to make room for it.

So, what is nextt for Nerdy Shique Universe? Well, I need to talk about an affiliate program I just joined because I have been hearing warnings about companies scamming people over Instagram and wanted to talk about it since I just received my product and they were one of the ones mentioned. So stay tuned for that and follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for all of the latest updates! Oh right, also gotta do a Faves post! Until next time!

Conventions: 78th Annual National Federation of the Blind National Convention in Orlando, FL!

Hello all my beautiful nerds traveling this vast universe! It is time for a new Conventon Spotlight!

COnvention: National Federation of the Blind 78th Annual National Convention in Orlando, FL

Dates: July 3rd to 8th, 2018

Location: Rosen Shingle Creek

So, the New Convention Alarm buzzed udring my interview post time and it is different from the ones I have talked about on here and that is the 78th Annual National Convention for the National Federation of the Blind.

  • As you know and have remembered, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Retinitis Pigmentosa and despite my blindness I was able to get around the obstacles over the years until I lost my eye sight in 2008, well central actually, but have still loved anime, video games even if it means Pokemon, and many other things over time. Heck, designed my own cosplays and have written books. I did not join the NFB Central Florida Chapter until…wait I bet you are wondering, what is the NFB exactly?

About the National Federation of the Blind This organization was founded in in the 1940s and belived that despite our own blindess we can be able to follow our dreams and find hope after sight loss. The NFB shows also helps other blind people in their community find help and information about services that are out there in their own community. Even work with other blind people change the misconceptions that they face when it comes to being blind and change laws and policies that affect the blind, and meet other blind people that have similar interests and hobbies. There is a lot to look at this group since it is so vast and there are many chapters around us in the United States, especially here in Orlando which I am a part of the Central Florida Chapter.

I will tell you that after graduating college, I was depressed, as in leaving school, having degrees that were hard for me to get a job in yuntil being at a support group one Monday afternoon, someone invited us to meet at the NFB Chapter Meeting one Saturday and this was in 2015. I went and was surprised how small it was at first but got to meet so many people who were blind or legally blind like me. I started to attend more meetings even when I returned from Daytona with my work experience and was a member and also one of the ones in charge of fundraising. Remember how I did press at MegaCon a year ago? Well, I think I mentioned that NFB was having their State Convention downtown in Orlando while representing the blind community doing freelance press. What about National? Let us get to that!

Location: Like my many convention goings, this one is at a hotel and it is at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort on Unversal Blvd. There were some years where it was at the Rosen Center which is across the street from one of the Convention Center buildings and connected to it, this year it is at Shingle Creek. Unfortunately rooms are sold out since this is the last year it will be in Orlando for a while. I know, I am sad about that too. If you want a room, you will be sent to the Rosen Center which is not too far away and they do have shuttles traveling between the two all week. I believe room rates are $90 and up depending on the room you get, plus a $100 deposit is needed. I hear this place is a nice hotel and cannot wait to see what it is like. Also, anyone taking paratransit, make sure you tell your drivers even Ubers and Meers, drop you off at the front, even tell dispatch that and pick you up at the front for Access Lynx because that is the best drop off and pick up point to be found. It is not great being stranded, heck almost happened to me at Omni Year 1!

What to Expect? There is a lot going on throughout the entire week! Let see, there is a job fair for anyone who needs help in job placement, a lot of exhibitors such as Google, H. I.M. S., Guide Dog groups for anyone has their four legged companions, even other things like a Braille Book Fair which I will be voluunteering at, and workshops. The ones I am very excited about are anything that deals with Assistive Tech because this is a dream for someone like me, heck I will be at the Google Workshops on that Tuesday to see about getting my skills down on the Braille Sense versions of their apps. If anyone wants to take a look at Braille Note Takers and do not know which one to choose between the Braille Sense Polaris and Braille Note Touch, both H. I. M. S. and Humanware will be there in case if you want to know about their gadgets!

Besides workshops on tech, there will also be workshops with yoga, dancing, even one on line dancing which is interesting so anyone can have a good time and want to get back into dancing, even in salsa dancing. THere is also karaoke during the week, trivia, and the Welcome Event which not only all the different chapters will meet but a performance from Apl D Ap will take place. For any Black Eyed Peas fans, here is an interesting fact, he is also visually impaired and awesome that he will be making an appearance at the NFB National Convention to perform. There is a lot of things to do and do not forget aboyut the banquet on the final day where the National Scholarship Winners will receive their scholarships and Mr. Mark Rickabono will be speaking.

Do not worry, I will be doing a Convention Impossible after this event because it is my real first time going since I did receive a Convention Scholarship to attend and I am glad since I never been to a full on convention and it is the last year in town for a while which e rumors about where it will be next, I will have the official location when it gets announced here or on the Nerdy Shique Universe Twitter, @ Nerdy Shique for any of my Blind Nerds reading this on the computer or tablet at home.

Anything Else For The NeKnow? Yes, definitely check out the NFB at www.nfb.org and see what they are doing for the blind comunity. If you also know someone that is legally blind or totally blind, also let them know about this organization and what it does. Without it I would not be able to pursue my dreams to be an Assistive Tech Specialist and starting in the fall at Northern Arizona, you guys can do it too! If you are a parent of a blind child or a blind parent about to have children, there are resources for yoyou too, the only way is by looking at the website and see what they have andjoin a chapter if you can. Or even the Newsletter Mailing list or even a Division. No matter what you are going through you are not alone in the universe there are others just like you. And new sighted supporters can join as a way to support their blind companions or family members because we wnat to include you in our NFB Family! So, check out the website and in case if you are at the Rosen Shingle Creek, check out the convention and what is out there for us as a community.

So, that is about it! www.nfb.org is your wbsite to see for the convention and what other services are avilable for the blind and of course the entire agenda is there too in PDF, Braille, and a Word Document because it shows what you all may want to see and do during the week. You can also get the physical agenda on site if need to. I am really excited about the tech stuff andd what I will learn what is to come for my job, even excited to help with the Braille Book Fair since I do love reading in it. And so much more that it will take a lot to talk about so wait until the Convention Spotliht comes along that is when I will reflect on it. So, make sure you follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for updates and next time I will be ding a post about what I want to see with Accessibility in gaming. Why? Well, E3 did pass and my best buddy, Stellarnan, did send me the link to the new XBox Controller article and Assistive Tech Update even talked about it due to doing an episode talking with someone about this topic, why not do a post on my tjouhts in what I want to see, so until next time! Stay beautiful my nerds!:

Accessibility: Using Soundscape in Miami!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! I’m back with another post!

Using Soundscape in Miami!

As you know, I’ve been using an app from Microsoft known as Soundscape. It’s a very good app to have if you’re visually impaired and have a hard time traveling around your area or in town even in the car, this is one you should have. I have had two people download it to take a try since our paratransit in town tends to take most of us all over the place, if if you remembered my story about my reason for getting this app is due to being on the van for two hours and it does come in handy after I downloaded so I can see if I’m on the way to my destination or not and same with heading home.

One good thing is to have this app in a crowded town and Miami is the perfect town to use it in. As you know, this city is almost what if you duplicated New York and made it slightly bigger by making it start near Dade County and go towards the tippy tip of the peninsula that is Miami! You have two parts to it and that’s North Miami and South Miami which that is why you see FIU, Florida International University, buses going from one part of town to the next. I’m not kidding, saw it before! Also, I knew people from Miami at the Rehab Center since this town is known for Bascom Palmer, which is where I was on Tuesday. Reason why I say that this town is perfect for this app is because it tells you EVERYTHING around you. I know it’s supposed to do that but I noticed here in Casselberry, even Altamonte, and Downtown that Soundscape doesn’t always pick up on everything like it’s supposed to since we do have some more independent businesses either opening or closing and also it doesn’t pick up on every store you pass by like a Hot Topic for instance which is weird in my book, it didn’t even catch on Journey’s when I was at the Altamonte Mall but it did pick up Foot Locker. While in Miami, on the other hand, it did pick up on every building on the block and it told you where it was. For instance, when my dad and I entered Miami after having breakfast in Jupiter Inlet we missed where we had to go and I decided to bring out my phone and opened Soundscape and it found all of the hospitals in the area even some of the rehab centers and of course it knew that we were in the Bascom Palmer parking lot and gave us the compass directions we were facing. I liked it here a lot more since it does detect where you are a lot better due to people can get lost easily in a town like this. I think the reason why it didn’t detect that many things in my area is due to how much spaced out things can be rather than being so close. I remembered using it briefly in Waterford and it only detected Regal Cinemas since we were seeing Solo with friends recently and it did pick up on Five Guys which was a little walking distance away. I think it detected other places but those were the only two it found.

There is one thing I would point out is that sometimes it’s not the best for actual GPS tracking because my dad was trying to ask about where to turn sometimes. I had to exit out of it to use the Maps app in order to find El Ray De Las Freitas which you can read my review before this one. Even though Soundscape is great for finding landmarks, I think that’s the best way to use it for even though it did say all the different roads we’re on and what direction we’re in but best to use Maps instead to find a particular address rather than relying on Soundscape to try and find where you’re going. I did find it interesting how Miami had churches on almost every block, including a Ukrainian one. It did point out the different schools, police stations in case if you want to move there for safe areas, and so on.

So, that’s my short experience about using Soundscape in Miami since it is very handy to use but if you’re looking for a specific address Maps and other GPS apps for addresses are better to use since it won’t give you the direction to turn in especially in a place you’re not familiar with since we rarely go to Miami unless it’s for my eye appointments. Plus best for Maps to find the location since there were so many number streets in town which you can be confused in where or what to turn onto.

So, that’s it! What’s next for Nerdy Shique Universe? Well, have a Convention Spotlight on the National Federation of the Blind National Convention which is coming up in July! Stay tuned!

Accessibility: Using Soundscape At Millennia Mall!

Hello Shiquers and welcome back to Nerdy Shique Universe! Today is another Accessibility Review!

Using Soundscape in Mall at Millennia!

As you know, I have been using the Soundscape app developed by Microsoft on my phone. It’s a GPS location app where you can know where you are, what’s around you, and what’s ahead of you. You can also place a beacon on a place to help you find it if you need to catch your ride on time.

I already have used this app while going to Walgreens near me and the Altamonte Mall to see if it works in an indoor place and it does. I did tell the guy who introduced me to my very beautiful Braille Sense Polaris about that tidbit because he has a friend who wondered about that and that answered their question to see if it could work in a mall. So, I wanted to try this app at other malls in town and decided to try it out in the Millennia Mall which is a huge tourist spot here in Orlando. Yes, some of the stores are upscale but some of my fave ones are here which include Lush, Bath & Body Works, MAC, GameStop, Apple, and NYX.
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Hay I had to stop here is because I needed more of my Celestial Moisturizer from Lush since that is the only moisturizer that works on my sensitive skin besides coconut oil. I use this moisturizer before I put on my primer to put on makeup and it does make a difference since my skin has been improving thanks to this and other things. I also needed to go to NYX to get another Light Concealer Jar and wanted to get their translucent powder which I have heard good things about.

What Happened? Well…not much! As in, I felt like this mall was not a good environment for this app because whenever I walked around with my dad to get to the NYX store all I heard, “Heading in this direction Millennia Mall!” It didn’t point any of the stores out while leaving from the food court heading towards the NYX Store which was on the bottom floor. It didn’t point out Bath & Body Works either which over in Altamonte it was pointed out and I kind of figured out why nothing was pointed out except the Apple Store after passing by it. I could have seen on the other side to see if it would point out any of the stores, especially the really luxury ones like Versacci and Bloomingdale’s. I think the issue was…

Issues? It’s the noise in the mall and I’m talking about the really loud music you tend to hear throughout the mall. Ever since this mall has opened back in the early 2000s, which was my high school years by the way, there were these little TV screen panels hanging over the center of the mall which align with the Food Court on the top floor. You hear surround sound orchestra music and now they added more modern music to it. You also tend to hear the music from inside whatever store you were in. I still remembered the echo of it when I was inside Waldenbooks when it was in that mall when it first opened. (Trust me, I still miss it!) I think the music and the echo of it throughout the mall was not helping Soundscape be able to detect the stores inside but it did really detect Apple on the bottom floor which surprised me and even told me that I was in the parking lot when we got outside. Seriously? It did it over the roar of waterfalls outside, oh yeah this mall is upscale on the outside. I’m not bashing on either one but I think Soundscape needs an update soon in detecting more places and not only that, forgot to mention…

More to Improve! I feel like the app needs to improve on the area you’re in. I didn’t get to mention in this first review but whenever I’m in a store it keeps on mentioning its distance. For instance, standing in Barnes & Noble, it still says, “B&N 12 Meters!” It should just say along when you hit the “My Location” button, “You are in Barnes & Noble!!” Then proceeds to tell the places next door to that place rather than just making it sound you’re not there.

Another thing is is still the Meters to My Right Or Left which can help even more. I’m glad that this app works but Millennia is not the mall for this app, I can’t say they should take down that music display since that seems to be a favorite thing among the visitors. I would say just go without Soundscape and go with friends for sighted help or if you have it, AIRA with you because more blind people are getting those glasses nowadays. If you don’t have AIRA and still want that sighted support through your phone, Be My Eyes is another option.

Well, that’s my use of Soundscape in another mall! I’m stil wanting to put this app to the test at Florida Mall to see how well it can detect its maze of stores and see if it can detect the hotel part. That may have to wait since a lot of things are coming up the next few months! So, anything new? Not yet, just follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for our updates!