Moving from iOS to Android again

I know I’ve done this before however, this time it’s different. I even got my wife who was a die-hard Apple fan to switch to android. How did I do this? Well, she wanted to move over herself. Let me say this much though. I’m not saying that iOS is better than Android or that Android is better than iOS. It’s your choice to choose what you want. My wife and I both have Pixel 3 devices and love them.

Why The Move?

I found recently that when using my iPhone 10 (I’m not calling it X) was slower than my wife’s Pixel 3. Voiceover was laggy even on last generation hardware. I even had a friend compare the pixel 3 to an iPhone 10 S. Still the same issues with Voiceover being laggy and not as responsive as the Pixel 3 device.

Then there was the issues I was having with Face ID. For some weird reason Apple didn’t think that people would want to use Face ID in landscape orientations. Not to mention the fact that having to unlock the phone then swipe up required another action to get into the phone itself. With the Pixel 3 a fingerprint scan and then you are in the device. No mess, no fuss to deal with. Apple talks a lot about security and privacy. However, this comes at a cost to the user getting access to their device quickly and in a timely manner.

I myself wanted more custimization when it came to changing appss for certain purposes. Also, more choice in what kind of device I want to use. Samsung has come a long way in making their android skin accessible and their recent line of devices are awesomeHowever, I wanted a device that was a little smaller but also I never used a Pixel device before. I also didn’t want to deal with the Bixby button on Samsung devices.

Integration between iOS devices and Windows just doesn’t work. Having an Android device is better for this reason. Allowing the computer and Android device to commmunicate a lot better and faster than a Windows and iOS device. With an Android device you can even move any file as if the android device was an external hard drive. Allowing you to carry any file or data on your person securely.

Accessibility when using speech is great on an Android device. Many blind people prefer iOS for it’s simplicity and ease of use. However, many of those people haven’t tried or tried android once in their lives. I’d go out to a store and try an Android device before you purchase anything. Ask questions online in both iOS and Android blindness forums. Make a decision for yourself and want your needs are.

Dealing With Vision Loss: Supermarkets Need Some More Training

You would think that a supermarket like Walmart, Target, Kroger etc. would know how to deal with individuals with vision disabilities. Well, these places have a long way to go.

I write this post not to discourage any blind or visually impaired person who is new to their condition to not go out. I’m writing this to make you aware of how much further society needs to come to our level. By no means is this a rant on the people that actually help. This is a article that deals with everything. Rather a series where I don’t hold back on anything. You the reader, will see the darkness and light of vision loss.

Anyways, I was waiting in line to check out at the register. I barely use the self checkout lanes since they are not accessible with touch and annoying to say the least. If I do use them I always have an Aira agent with me to assist. However, I love to test cashiers when dealing with different obstacles to see how they get handled. I have had many diferent experiences. This one was actually different. The lady cashier noticed I was blind by my cane and told me the total amount due. I then proceeded to put my card into the machine and waited until I heard a beep. A few seconds go by and I don’t hear anything. I then proceed to take my card out.

The cashier then proceeds to raise her voice telling me that I was doing it all wrong. Another person behind me in line stood up for me and started telling her that she needed to be aware of her surroundings and what was going on. He said that it was her duty to acctually help people like me and not just wait. The man proceeded to help me because the cashier wouldn’t. I told the lady how she could have helped me and how to help others like me when they come around.

After that exchange I wanted to know where the Starbucks was inside the store. The lady was telling me “you go here, then turn here.” I said ma’am I am blind I can’t see. The man that stood up for me gave me perfect directions and told the lady that “this is how you give directions.” I thanked both of them and then went on my way.

The whole experience got me thinking. How many employees are untrained when it comes to people with disabilities that are not in a wheelchair? Or even better just untrained in general even if the individual in a wheelchair? I think there are many and that’s why we as a community need to be gentle but also firm and understanding and teach others how disabilities affect us. Also, what they can do to help when the time comes to go through the checkout line.

As I said at the beginning of this article. I’m not writing this to be mad or cynical or anything. Just letting you know what could and does happen. Also, the proper way to take and deal with a situation. The correct answer is not to get mad and blow up. This behaviour will never solve anything and could even make the situation worse. Be calm, understanding and polite and things will go much better.

Apple’s Apology… Well Sort Of

Apple’s always been loose with their apologies. Most of the times either blocking up either sweeping the issue under the rug or blaming their customers. This has never seemed to hurt the Apple faithful and for a time didn’t really bug me. However, as I’ve grown to understand the business aspect of reality and how companies should act. Apple needs a lesson or two in humility and actually apologizing correctly.

Just type into Google “Apple’s apology for butterfly keyboard” and you’ll find a ton of articles describing the situation. But in case you haven’t read any of those articles. Apple’s third generation butterfly keyboard put a membrain over the switches to allow dust and other harmful contaminants to get underneath the keys and cause problems. Keep in mind folks that this generation of keyboard is Apple’s third attempt at “fixing” the keyboard issue.

The problem is still so widespread that the Wall Street Journal came out with a little piece of software to keep keys from sticking and repeating actions. Apple’s response went something like this: “We know a small number of users are having issues with their butterfly keyboards we are extremely sorry. The majority of our Apple customers don’t have any issues and are content with the keyboard.” Oh really Apple then why did the Wall Street Journal have to issue a fix on your behalf because “you” think the keyboard is fine? Also do I have to bring up the numerous times Apple has blamed their customers for oh I don’t know holding their iPhones wrong? Or how about bending iPad Pros?

Look I get it all companies have their issues. But not all companies think they are high and mighty. What creates loyalty in a brand is transparency and honesty given to the customer. They may hate your guts for a while but will soon turn around and understand the reasons behind an issue if they are good. Apple is now a luxury and high price services company that rides on their success. The issues of Quality Control through iOS and to many products in multiple lines.

I know Steve Jobs isn’t around anymore however, the way he innovated was not just through hardware and software but also through business. Only giving the customer a couple of choices to make. Your average consumer isn’t going to want to make a ton of choices when it comes to the next phone they want to purchase or upgrade from. Keeping the lines of products simple and easy to understand would help Apple in a ton of different ways I think.

Apple has some work it needs to do. Comment with your thoughts below.

The Reality of Vision Loss

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

When you have somewhat decent vision being able to spot landmarks and read small print although up to your nose. You feel like you can do anything. All through my 28 years of having ok vision made me think I was okay in my realm. I wasn’t sighted but wasn’t blind either which was good. I knew how to talk to sighted and blind folks alike. Allowing my observation of sighted behavior and also blindness behavior intertwine into a description for both sides. However, when you loose the vision everything changes.

Braille Braille and More Braille

Many of my friends and family members know where I am headed with this section and are rolling their eyes at reading this. However, braille is so important to someone who is loosing their vision. My theory is no matter what your vision loss is the individual should be introduced to braille. The concept of braille at least grade 1 would allow the individual to understand the need for braille if the need ever arose. In my professional life as well as personal braille is essential to what I do. Even if the task is something small as checking the spelling of someone’s name. Or even my own spelling for instance. Braille has even saved me a few times from going into the wrong restroom, even when there was one braille sign on one of the two doors. Braille is an awesome way to check email or read an article online without speech blasting out the ear drum. Allowing the person’s ears to take a break whenever needed. Granted applications like Google Sheets need to take advantage of braille but with the progression of web applications this is becoming a non-issue. For the sighted people out there reading my blog who may not understand let me put braille to you this way. Braille is to blind people how looking at your phone is to you. Nobody can see what you are doing allowing for screen to eye communication of information in a private manner. Braille gives the user security in information and also quick access to the written word. Once learned, braille can open up a wider knowledge base then ever before.

Some of my readers will say “braille is falling behind the times of technology and innovation.” All I have to say is look at the advances in braille display technology and the cost of braille display units. One such unit that stands out in my mind is the Orbit Reader 20 from APH. At $500 per unit the cost of braille has just gone down significantly then in years past. The Orbit Reader 20 also connects to many different devices allowing silent and private interaction of the device in question.

Being Confident In Travel

Although I know how to use a cane and for a short while used a guide dog. My confidence in travel scared me when loosing my vision. When you use the vision you have it is different to rely on other senses. I’ve learned how to sharpen my other senses even more after loosing my vision though. It has taken some time but I’ve done it and have become more confident in my travel abilities. Along those lines Aira has helped in this fact as well. Telling me what’s around and getting me to destinations and guiding me around obstacles inside and outside places. If you want to know more about Aira check out my previous blog post where I go into more detail about the service and all of the great things Aira can help you with. Aira has changed my life as well as my wife’s life for the better. Either of us don’t know what we’d do without Aira.

Conclusion

Loosing vision is never fun. However, despite the bad days when you just want to give up. There is life after sight loss. Finding a community of people who are going through the same issues and having the same struggles as you can help. Look at all the positive aspects of vision loss. All the new gadgets and gizmos surrounding you. All the new things you will learn. It can get overwhelming but just take one day at a time. All of us here at Linson Productions are here to help. We understand what it’s like. Please get ahold of us if you want to talk and listen.

How Aira has changed my life

I was one of those blind people for 28 years of my life who said I didn’t need any sighted assistance. I strongly believed that with my smartphone and the integrated magnifier I could see anything. I was gravely mistaken.

Fast forward to Feburary 14 2018 everything changed. I told my wife my vision had changed she immediatly made an eye doctor appointment. The news wasn’t great but not horrific at the same time. I had glaucoma cataracts and retina scarring all at the same time. Dealing with the sudden vision loss was and still continues to be hard. However, there is light at the start of vision loss if you choose to see it that way, no pun intended.

In August 2018 my wonderful mother purchased a subscription plan to the Aira service. I’d known about Aira for a few months and just didn’t have the financial backing to make the jump. I was skeptical in the service at best but was willing to give it a try. I struggled for a few months learning what to use the service for specifically. Until I came upon what is called the Aira mindset.

This mindset is what makes Aira useful to me and a bunch of other explorer’s using the service. The mindset understands that you can do something without the Aira service howeverthe task you need to do will take a lot less time then if you did it by yourself. I had to get used to this fact. Once I did, Aira became apart of my life and my wife who is also blind uses the service as well. I’ve stopped thinking of how to do things myself and have started to use Aira for everything. My mane uses for Aira are navigation, reading, helping with specific tasks related to sourcing and recruiting and much more. My wife uses the service for checking her makeup, making sure she matches her outfits, read holiday cards, shopping related tasks such as reading labels and such.

In terms of navigation for me, Aira has changed my life. I have been a cane user for a long time and know how to get around pretty well. Aira has increased my confidence level since loosing my vision. I know that I am confident in my skills however, being blind is new to me. You can have all the skills but when you use your little vision for landmarks and such then the vision is gone. It shakes you to the core. Aira has been a great and wonderful help in the regards to navigation. I love being able to know what is around me. I often say that Aira is a virtual guide dog without all the hair. To give an example I needed a few things from the grocery store the other day. I walked into the store and called an Aira agent. I proceeded to tell the agent what I needed. Independently we walked around the store getting what I needed. The agent described to me the different items I needed by price, brand, and even ounces when I asked. After we had found our items I asked the agent to help me find a checkout aisle. We were going to be adventurous and do self checkout but decided against the idea. We found a regular checkout aisle and I ended the call as the cashier could help from that point on. In regards to touchscreen point of sale terminals (POS) systems Aira agents can help with those as well. Guiding ones finger to the correct spot and acknowledging the right button was pushed. This in particular is liberating as well.

My wife and I use Aira in vary different ways but somewhat similar ones as well. I could go back to life without Aira if I needed to. However, I’m glad that Aira is around for me to use when I need them. Aira still has a long way to go as far as service coverage and machine learning is concerned. However this is a mute point to me as I am excited to see what comes down the pipeline and am excited to see what comes next for the company that I hold to strongly with all my being. Thank you Aira for making life more accessible with wonderful agents and wonderful service.

Always Connected Computers

Introduction

For many years the idea of always being connected to the internet was just an idea. In the sense of always having a connected laptop for work or school. I’ve always liked the idea and think that having a connected smartphone is awesome. However, I am hesitant on having a connected computer always available to the internet. 

The Problem

Okay, so what’s the big problem with a always connected computer? I hear you asking. We are already connected with our smartphones on a daily basis. We check email constantly, social media, and even text or iMessages. When I travel or am goign somewhere, I want to use my phone as a device for GPS, calls, texts, lite social media etc. When I need to do serious work, I get my laptop out. I don’t feel the need to have my laptop always connected. That’s where the perssonal hotspot feature of my iPhone comes in handy. If I need to go online for anything, I will just connect to my phone. It is safer than connecting to a wifi hotspot which is free and unsecure.

If we dive deeper into the actual computer issue. We will find the new CPU announced by intel. The x7=86 processor. This processor is made from the ground up for mobile always connected computers. My technical side of my brain likes the concept. While the realistic thinking part of my brain has major concerns. First off a fanless design. Apple has proven that fanless laptops are not cheap to make and even don’t sell well. Their M-3 model of macbook hardly sold any units when it was announced. The macbook is is a place holder for people wanting to get into the mac ecosystem. The machine can barely run email! 

With the x86 processor however, the specs say otherwise. The computer will be fast and efficient. Allowing the user to do any task they need to get done. Oh, and the architecture is based on ARM. A not so well loved mobile processing platform. My biggest concern is from a blindness perspective. 

Many screen reader program manufacturers say that building for ARM based systems is impractical. Due to the scheer load the device puts on the screen reader itself. I’d rather have a Surface Pro 5 6 and need to connect through my phone. Then having a half baked computer that may not run as well.  

The iPad Is Not The Future

It only takes a second to find glowing reviews about the iPad Pro 2018. I am not impressed and here’s why. 

  1. While the redesign may look cool. Holding th device reminds me of the iPhone 5 and 5S. Which in there own right where great devices to hold at that form factor of 4 inch screen sizes. Bumping that glass up to 11 or 12.9 inches just doesn’t work. Holding and feeling the new iPads is like holding a sharp razor with the blade cutting into your hand slightly. You don’t even notice until it’s to late.
  2. 2. I have to say it folks, the iPad is just  bigger iPhone. From a blindness perspective, it’s not a thing to be thrilled about. Nagvigation is made harder and for the fact that the device isn’t running a real OS is hard.
  3. Speaking of OS, Apple will never get anywhere with the iPad until they either revamp iOS specifically for the iPad or put Mac OS on it. I don’t need to say anymore about this subject.
  4. Type C is great however, when you limit what the port can do. The port itself becomes useless. Making the whole “one port to rule them all.” thing a past fleeding thought. Just like a past girlfriend you once had. oh wait! 
  5. When your own web broswer can’t display how many results you have, that’s laughable at best. Mobile safari and crippled versions of Mac OS apps rely on little to no functionality when compared to their bigger laptop counterparts. 

Tablet Bend tests need to stop

There is a big trend going around now on YouTube. People are getting tablets (mainly iPads) and bending them. But why?

 

The answer is simple if you are the person making the video. “The reason a bend test is important is to test the structural integrity of the device.” This quote was provided from a youtube channel named JerryRigeverything. You can look up his videos on YouTube and see is tests on devices.

 

I take issue with this statement. While I believe tests should be run to examine the hardware’s capabilities and limitations. Dropping from different heights, scratch tests, bend tests, etc. are not necessary. The average consumer yet the average tech consumer. Will buy a protective case or insurance for accidental damage. While I personally believe that drop tests are fine from 3 to 5 feet. The redicously insane heights are unrealistic. Many people put a screen protector over the broken glass or get the device fixed. There is even a case to be made for putting your phone in a protective case. I would also suggest a screen protector at this point as well. Better to protect both sides then just one.

 

Bend tests are stupid because while they show where the manufacturer skipped in structurally securing the device. Putting the device in this case a tablet in a bag, purse, backpack, messenger bag etc. and setting it down. Will not allow for bending of any kind. Especially if the device in question has a case to protect it.

 

If you think I am wrong on this issue. I’d like to see what your coments are on this post.