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The Blind Canadians Blog

Learning New Languages: Students with Visual Impairments

We all know that gaining fluency in more than one language is an asset, especially in a multicultural, highly diverse country like Canada. In Montreal, for instance, it is a common occurrence to roam around downtown and here a variety of languages spoken everyday. But, do blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind Canadians have access to the same opportunities to learn new languages? What barriers, if any, do blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind individuals encounter when trying to pick up a new language?

Tune In Radio -App for iPhone, iPad products

Hello fellow bloggers, this week I like to talk to you about a new application,  I downloaded on my iPhone, it's called “Tune In radio”.

A brief description of what this app is.

Tune in Radio is a application which allows you to tune in to radio stations across the world using your WiFi  and or Data plan usage provided from your local carrier.  It is an application which is installed on either you iPhone, and or iPad.

There are two versions of the app,

1. a paid version which allows you to record your favourite program on the radio station you dial in to, and

2. the free version which simply allows you to listen to the radio station.

Installation of the software is extremely accessible while using voice over on the iPad or iPhone.

OS X-Iphone, Ipad Upgrade

A new feature that is available to new OS X upgrade to the iPhone iPad

As you are all aware, OS X was released on September 19, 2012 at approximately 1 PM.  The procedure in applying the updates to the new OS was extremely easy and did not require any effort at all and in fact was extremely accessible as well while setting up the phone and the iCloud.

Well there are numerous features listed in the update it would simply take too long to collaborate in this blog.  For the purposes of this blog I would like to talk about the map feature that is now available in OS 6

Talk to the President September 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:  September is now in the books and say hello to October and with it comes a happy Thanksgiving to all. 

I would again like to thank all those who have taken the time to provide us with their feedback and to encourage you to keep on sending in your comments.  

My quote for this month is as follows:
"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."
Michelle Obama
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It is with Mrs Obama's quote in mind that I respectfully proffer the following message to you.

Recently In the News "Montreal Gazette"

Below is a recent article that was posted in the "Montreal Gazette" and also recently posted to our local Chapter Facebook Page by one of our members

'I made too many complaints'; Frequent user of STM'S adapted transit service says staff can be rude and service leaves much to be desired

Graphic: DAVE SIDAWAY, THE GAZETTE / Omar, a quadriplegic, is wheeled into a taxi in downtown Montreal. Omar, who was temporarily barred from the Société de transport de Montréal's adapted transit service, is taking his case to the Quebec Human Rights Commission.;

Talk to the President August 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:  August has now come and is almost gone and with it another summer is in the books. 
I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable summer and that the encroaching fall will be a good one for everyone. 

I'd like to thank those of you who continue to send in your feedback and encourage you to keep on doing so.  Your feedback is extremely important to your board because it is the only way that we will know what you are feeling.  I'll have my usual question for you at the end of my update.

My quote for this month is as follows.
"Life is too short, time is too precious, and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been."
Hilary Clinton
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Siri on the iPhone 4S

Hello there readers. Well, with the back to school season well on its way, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a feature on the iPhone 4s called Siri.

Since the birth of the iPhone 4s, there has been a dictation feature on each and every new iDevice built  in the last year.

However, a feature which is not installed on every iDevice is the Siri voice assistant.

What is Siri, you might all be wondering?

Well, imagine telling your T.V. or computer that you want to do a certain task.  Siri on the iPhone does, and quite well I might add.

With Siri you can

Mountain Lion Dictation

In this post, I'll talk a bit about the dictation feature in the newly released OS mountain lion 10.8.

While  this feature is not perfect it can definitely help those who have issues in  typing large amounts of text.  This feature can be launched by going into the edit menu found under the Apple menu bar.  Once this feature has been set up in system preferences, an individual only needs to  press the FN key  twice to activate the feature and press the key twice again to deactivate the feature.

An Introduction to Mac OS 10.8, MOUNTAIN LION

The long awaited release of Apple's Mac OS 10.8, Mountain Lion, finally arrived in the Mac App store on July 25, 2012.

I went through the steps to download the 4 gigabyte file. I don't know if it was because millions of customers were downloading on their server at the same time, but the download took about half an hour to complete on my system, which I found a little long considering I'm using an extremely high speed server from my carrier.

Talk to the President July Edition

Dear fellow AEBC members:

Ah yes and alas!  July is now in the books and I hope that everyone had an enjoyable one.  It has been a somewhat mixed bag for your board for this past month and I would again like to thank those of you who took the time to provide us with your feedback.  Please keep it coming to us at info@blindcanadians.ca.
I'll have a question for you at the end of my update but in the meantime, here is a quote for you.
 
"None of us is defined by our circumstances, nor are we defined by how other people perceive us. It is up to each one of us to define ourselves, and that is a life's work. Each of us has the ability to lead a dynamic life by pursuing our unique goals and dreams. There are no limits to what you can do."

Summer Vacation

This week's blog is going to be a little shorter then usual.  However, isn't that what they usually say: "sometimes short but sweet is what counts.".

This time of year, every one has a chance to relax.  This type of relaxation can be referred to as a vacation.

Whether or not you are the type of person who likes to go on an adventurous vacation, simply relax in a tropical setting,or stay at home in your own backyard or by the pool , it's a time of year when we all deserve to simply relax and rest.

Vacations are also a time of year when family and friends can get together and have fun in the sun sipping a couple of beers or a good old fashioned glass of rum and coke.

Right on Red Revisited

This week's blog post is on the hot topic of turning right on red.

I was shocked to find out in "La Press", a local montreal paper, that the city is still debating on wether Downtown Montrealers should have the right to turn right on red lights.

A while back I commented on a local CBC station in their news hour, expressing my concern and my opinion on why I thought Montreal was not ready to incorporate the right to turn on a red light in downtown Montreal.

In january 2012, I stated to the reporter that because of the construction happening in Montreal, having the right to turn on red, would cause people in montreal more confusion and more accidents.

Revolutionary New Text Entry App for Blind IOS Users

Normally, Heather Rupert covers the technology beat, but there's a hot new iPhone app that I'm excited to tell you about.

Fleksy is a revolutionary text input application for IOS devices. From the website:

How does a blind person type on an iPhone? Soon, they will be typing as quickly and easily as everyone else. If not faster. Yes, it’s possible.
For the first time ever, blind and visually impaired people can quickly and easily type text on touch screen phones and tablets.

I bought this app yesterday, and after a very short time with it, I was typing around twice as fast as I could using the touch typing method.

Talk to the President June 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:

Well!  Happy Canada Day to each and every one of you!

I hope that June has been a great month for each of you and that the oncoming summer will be an enjoyable one.  Time for us to kick back for a bit and savour the kinder weather.

I again thank those of you who have taken the time to drop by and give us your feedback and I hope that you continue to do so.  For it is only with your feedback that I along with your national board can become better at steering the ship.

You can send your feedback to info@blindcanadians.ca.  

My quote of the month is as follows:

Sneak Peak at Jaws 14

As happens each year, Freedom scientific is set to release a new version of Jaws.

In a conference held in July at the NFB Convention in Texas, Product specialist Eric Damery spoke about the new Features of Jaws 13.0 and gave a sneak preview of the soon to be released Jaws 14.0.

Of course, given that Windows 8 will be released soon, Freedom scientific has been very hard at work trying to ensure that the next Operating system from Microsoft is supported.

Special Canada Day BlogPost

Hello readers, Yet again this time around, I'm taking a different spin from the traditional tech talk. In this blog, I'd like to talk about a famous celebration which is held across the nation. If you haven't guessed it by now, I'm talking about Canada Day.

Ok, I'm not going to sit here and write an essay about the celebration and when it first began; instead, I'd like to tell you all why I love this festivity.

Each and every year, the streets are filled with good cheer and folks enjoying themselves, and it makes me very happy to see people smiling and having a great time on this fine and lovely day.

Windows Phone 8

I was surfing Microsoft's web side a couple of days ago, and came across a new news item about Windows Phone 8.

Windows Phone 8 is suppose to resemble its big brother interface which is set to launch soon.  In case you haven't guessed it, yes, that would be Windows 8.  Apparently the new phone interface is expected to interface with Windows 8, include features such as networking, media browsing, security, and web browsing as well.

Like the news feed states, with this technology in mind developers will be able to create, and develop more applications for the phone.

A Mountain Lion Teaser

in this post, I'd like to take the time to discuss the new and up coming version of Mac OS 10, Mountain Lion.

I've been reading all the scoop on this amazing upgrade set to be released from Apple in July.

Among the many features, Mountain Lion promises to have a  similar look and feel to that of the iPhone, meaning you will be able to perform the same jesters as on the iPhone and/or iPad using your trackpad.

Mountain Lion will allow users to send iMessages to iDevices.

Finally, Mountain Lion promises to be more robust and have better performance stability.

I seriously can't wait to have this new release from Apple.

Father's Day Special Blog Post

Good day fellow blog readers , in this blog I'm taking a complete twist away from technology to talk about a special day.

In case you haven't guessed it yet, "yes," I'm referring to Father's Day.

Its amazing how every one is in such a rush to get a special gift for that very special dad.

However, lets take a moment and reflect on what Father's Day actually is.

I'm not going to sit here and preach about God and such, but in my opinion, Father's Day is that very special day on which we give thanks to our dad. After all, Dad is always there when ever you need a shoulder to cry on.

Dad is always there when you need to head down to your local car dealer or music store to buy your first car, or in my case my very first guitar.

GarageBand Accessibility On Mac

a couple of months ago I posted a blog with regards to the Garage band App on the iPhone.

This week, I’d like to take the time to talk about the accessibility of Garage band on either a Mac book Pro, or iMac or for that matter any new Mac system one buys on the market.

When you buy a Mac, it comes standard with a music application called Garage Band.

This is a music application which allows the user to record audio, or midi (musical digital data interface.)

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