The Microsoft Build Conference took place a few weeks ago, and as always, it gave us a good glimpse into how Microsoft is shaping up and the ways in which it can entice developers. Let’s face it: Windows 10, in its current state, features only 60-70% of apps people would want — and the problem is compounded further on the phone platform. For the past few years, the reality of so-called universal apps has materialized, though even that still only created minor ripples in the Windows App Store quality. We finally heard of projects which allow for developers to (relatively easily) port over apps they created for the iPhone to Windows last year, along with a similar bridge for Android. This Android bridge was codenamed Project Astoria, and unfortunately was killed off earlier this year (which is quite a shame, as Android apps are far greater, though one could debate the quality of those in either store depending on price or content).
Have you ever been curious about the mystical world hidden within the realm of Dungeons And Dragons? Have you ever wanted to join your sighted peers on a campaign to, for instance, stop some rogue thieves from getting your treasure in real time? Well come out from behind your keyboard, fellow gamer, because the world of tabletop gaming is now fully accessible to those of us who can’t fill in pen and paper character sheets. The same technology that brought us online multiplayer role playing games, iCloud, Dropbox, and spreadsheets, can now be used to interact in live action tabletop games. This brief guide will show you how to create an accessible character sheet and roll dice other than D6. A potential accessible battle grid is proposed. Additional resources are also provided to help you get acquainted with the world of Dungeons And Dragons.
If you frequently connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots, it is possible for anyone with the right tools to eavesdrop on your online activity. Perhaps you wish to browse the web without revealing your IP address—which exposes your identity to the world. There’s a solution to all of these potential problems called a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel between your connection and a trusted VPN server, so that way when you access the internet, it looks like you’re connecting from a different IP Address. Furthermore, your connection becomes more secure and cannot be easily tracked by malicious hackers.
There are several VPN providers out there. One popular VPN service is called PIA VPN. The best thing about PIA VPN is that it is entirely cross-platform. This means that you have the ability to run it on any operating system you use. PIA also gives you the freedom to connect from several regions, so you don’t have to stick to one particular location.
Would you find aVPN useful? Do you use a different one? Let us know what you think!
In this podcast, Alex demonstrates NVDA Remote, a free add-on for NVDA that makes it possible to control another computer using speech and Braille.
There are several apps out there that can identify an object in front of your camera, as well as its color. Apps like TapTapSee for example, use a conventional method to do this called crowdsourcing. This means that as soon as you take a picture of an object, it is transmitted to a server where it is then analyzed by a group of people. Once they determine what the image represents, the result is instantly sent back to you. This insures that you will almost always get accurate results, but then one drawback to this method is that you usually have to wait a while for your image to be recognized; not to mention that the device you’re sending the image from has to be connected to the internet the entire time.
Echo location. Two very common words among those of us who rely on our ears to get around. In fact, one particularly ambitious individual created an entire technique and class devoted to the idea. There are even devices which attempt to capitalize on sound in order to provide cane travellers with more detailed information about objects, such as overhead obstacles, ledges, and that sort of thing. But what if, given the right technology, we could take echo location even further and expand our ears, so to speak.
In the world of VOIP (Voice Over IP) communication, apps abound which provide you with many functions and features for good voice communication. Some of these are straight forward, used for simplicity like Skype. Others, such as Ventrilo, TeamSpeak and TeamTalk offer a more flexible approach, with servers and channels that people use to attain higher depths in voice quality.
The Computer Dilemma
There is not a doubt that although Apple is fantastic for providing out of box accessibility with computers, Macs have a tendency to be excessively expensive, especially if raw power is the desired trait of the machine. I was faced with this conundrum when about a month ago, I realized that my MacBook Air was getting quite old, and because of additional complications such as internal parts not working, I decided that it would just be best to get a new computer. My potential Mac was going to have to be able to handle a heavy workload, as I do a lot of audio editing and music making, but the main problem that I was having was that to get a computer that would meet my needs, I would be forced to fork over almost 2500 Canadian dollars. Once I retrieved my jaw from the floor, it was time to look for a solution. Many friends and colleagues voiced their opinions that if I wanted a powerful computer, and didn’t want to drain my bank account, I would be best served by getting a Windows based machine. Although I am capable of using Windows, I prefer the mac for a wide number of reasons, the main one being that for education and research, I feel that VoiceOver handles web browsing and word processing better. Yes, it is true that VoiceOver has issues with web applications, and Microsoft Word is a mess for the Mac, but if I really need to, I can just install the Windows operating system using Bootcamp which will run much better than a so called “Hackintosh,” which is OS X running on a Windows computer. All this aside, the point still stood; I needed to find a way to get a powerful MacBook, while balancing my budget.