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EBU Access Cast

Ebu Access Cast 30 Transcript

May 4, 2021

Transcript of EBU Access Cast - episode 30




This programme is financially supported by the fundings from the European Commission.


You are listening to the EBU Access Cast. The official podcast from the European Blind Union about assistive technology for blind and partially sighted people.


And here is our host.




(Hlynur) Hello, everyone, and welcome to the 30th episode of the EBU Access Cast. You know what that means, hit the big three zero, which means we only got 10 episodes until we reach the same number of seasons of The Survivor. It's a great big deal. My name is Hlynur Þór, located in Iceland. I'm not alone. Well, I am alone, but still not alone. We have with us at Mario Perčinić from Croatia who’s located in Luxembourg.


(Mario) Hello sir. Yeah, pretty much.


(Hlynur) We have Tanja Kleut from Croatia, also located in Luxembourg.


(Tanja) Hello.


(Hlynur) Hi there. And last but not least, we have Pawel Masarczyk, pronouncing that correctly, I hope, from Poland, located in Austria. Hi there Pawel.


(Mario laughing)


(Pawel) Yes, hello.


(Everyone laughs)


(Hlynur) So how are you guys doing?


(Pawel and Tanja) Fine.


(Pawel) The weather is getting better.


(Tanja) It’s getting sunny.


(Pawel and Tanja laughing)


(Mario) Yeah


(Tanja) So everything is nicer.


(Hlynur) Yeah, it is. We're getting closer to like two digit degrees here in Iceland. Hopefully that will happen soon.


(Mario) What's two digits, means 11?


(Everyone laughing)


(Tanja) Or even 10.


(Hlynur) 10.


(Mario) Or ten. Yeah.


(Hlynur) I think we'll have nine tomorrow and sunny.


(Tanja) You consider that warm?


(Hlynur) We do. Well, it depends. In July it isn't. But like in February it would be.


(Tanja) OK.


(Hlynur) It depends on the mood and the month. Of course, there's a lot of heat going on in the Reykjanes Peninsula in Iceland. We had an active volcanic eruption going on for around five weeks now and it's getting quite stable. So I just heard in the news yesterday that they are expecting it maybe to continue for a number of years rather than a number of months.


(Mario and Tanja) Wow. Wow.


(Hlynur) So it might outlive Covid,


(Mario) But it's even older than Covid. So, you know, it should live longer.


(Hlynur) Yeah, yeah. If you calculate that there are also 800 years since it erupted last time around.


(Pawel) He's probably seen worse things in his life.


(Mario) Probably.


(Hlynur) Yeah. It's a beautiful thing, though, the eruption.


(Mario) Is it better than the Van Halen Eruption?


(Hlynur) It's very difficult to compare, but I guess the heat is similar.


(Mario laughing)


(binaural recordings of the volcanic eruption in Iceland)


(Mario) Uh huh. OK,




(Hlynur) So any new gadgets from you guys?


(Pawel) Would it be a shame if I said that I have something?


(Hlynur) It would not be a surprise, though.


(Pawel) It's a meme.


(Tanja) We are expecting gadgets from you, Pawel.


(Mario) Yeah, at the end you’re Inspector Gadget, at the end of the day, so.


(Hlynur) Yeah


(Pawel) I'm really happy about this one, though, because it used to be much more expensive. Now it's become really attractive in price and I keep calling it the new favorite birthday present for a blind person. And I'm talking about the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset, which is a headset, but not a usual one. It's a bit special in it in a way because it's also a set of binaural microphones, which means you can wear them on your ears like a headset and they record the sound from the position of your ears. They are stereo microphones and they create or rather recreate the whole 3D spectrum of the audio that you're hearing with your own ears. So when you listen back on your other headphones or any other person listens on headphones, it's quite likely they will hear all the space around you. So things moving towards the left, but, like, closer towards the left or further towards the left, behind you, ahead of you, sometimes even up and down. So you can really close your eyes if that helps and imagine that you are there where the recording was taken. And the nice thing about it is it doesn't require much technical knowledge about how this works, because what usually happens is when you look for such microphones, you research a lot. Which company works better for you? Which company has microphones that you can wear? Which one has microphones that you can clip onto your clothing? How thick the cables are. And of course, you can research. And then you have to also consider if it has monitoring, live monitoring on or not. And every kind of device seems to be appropriate for another kind of context.


And here you just buy this, you plug it in over your lightning and you're good to go with pretty much anything and by anything, I really mean anything, like you can record with your voice memos or any other recorder; you can live-stream if your live-streaming service supports stereo, so you can make a radio stream in binaural if that's your thing, you can go on Teamtalk, which also supports stereo and show something to your friends in binaural there; so the applications are really countless and limitless and it also has some nice features that as a blind person you would definitely appreciate, such as transparency hearing mode, which means that if you wear them outside and you're moving around, you can hear your surroundings quite well and I tested this. I've been already on the road with this and I can hear people around me, I can hear the traffic, I can hear every sound I need to hear, so it's really good and I feel safe wearing them, recording and still being independent with mobility.


There is also a noise cancelling mode, this I haven't tried much because I don't listen to music on this, I just record. And also, you have a smart switch that you can program to do a lot of things in the app. Yes, these headphones also have a companion app that you can use and what you do in this is you can choose what the smart switch does. It can switch between the two recording settings, which are either natural level or reduced volume level. The reduced volume is better for something very loud, like concerts, they say concerts in the manual, but I found it really good for really loud sounds like the train or a wind blowing. This is really, not very, it is very wind sensitive, so it's not very good for recording outside when it's windy, but still you can try with the reduced level to get some better results. And you can also set the switch instead to open your favorite recording app (for audio recording alone, it supports the Voice Memos and the Metarecorder, which is an app from Apogee. This headset was created in cooperation with Apogee Company). And you can open this or a couple of video filming apps. And yeah, that's what basically the headset does. I see it's compatible with all iOS devices. I use it on my iPod Touch 7, which is a bit old-ish, and it still works, but I heard it still works with the newest iPhones, too; so that's how it works and what you can run it on or what you can connect it to.


It used to cost 300 Euros when I'm not mistaken, so it was really expensive at some point. Suddenly it dropped in price and you can find it on Amazon for around 50. I saw it on eBay, Germany for 43 Euros, and I found it in a shop in Poland for around 60, 55, something like this, so it's definitely gotten cheaper. The reason for this is most likely, I'm not sure but I think that's what happened, that it went out of stock or rather it's been discontinued and this is why the price is such. I tried to find it on the official website of Sennheiser, and you can see it, you can see the description, but you don't seem to be able to buy it anymore. In the Polish store it doesn't say why, on the German store you can find it in the category product archive, so it means it's probably already like an old product and some shops still offer those at this very attractive price. But still, even though it's not probably not supported or not being maintained or developed anymore, I still would say it works with all the devices that are on the market and it's easy to use and it makes really nice recordings, so if you would like to make audio postcards, which is what I do for my friends now instead of photos, I just take a little snapshot of everything around me, some background noises of the market square or some shopping mall that I'm in or anything else, I just take 30 seconds of audio and I send it to somebody and it really sounds nice; and I can tell that even my sighted friends and family who usually are not excited about audio innovations, I give them the headphones to listen to a bit of the recordings and they can they don't seem to be able to take the headphones off so they notice the difference, and it seems to be something remarkable for people like they notice that it's you can hear the depth of the space around you, so I think it's a really good thing to get right now. And of course, there will be some samples of how it sounds in the podcast included.


So as promised, here are some samples of how the Ambeo Smart Headset binaural microphones sound like. Bear in mind that these recordings are best when you listen to them in your headphones. Also, you can try with different ones because your experience may vary depending on what you pick. For instance, with my USB headset, I can hear that the left channel is somewhat blocked as if I was covering my head in some way. This doesn't happen on my generic music listening headphones, so feel free to experiment, as I said. This is a collection of generic backgrounds and scenes that I've taken from all around Innsbruck and in one case, Poland. So feel free to jump in on the journey.


The first one is me leaving the building where I live in and a bit of a generic light traffic to get you started.


(first recording from Pawel)


Now, let's hop onto some more heavy traffic, you can notice how the different cars, motorbikes and vehicles pass on from left to right, right to left, back to front and in all possible directions, really.


(second recording from Pawel)


A slight change, now in front of a shopping center, and this is how these mics capture generic noises of people talking around.


(third recording from Pawel)


Once inside the Center, I tried to locate either some stairs that would take me to the upper floor or an elevator that would do that. Let's say I failed spectacularly. But on the way, I ran into some random shop and got to listen to some nice music.


(fourth recording from Pawel)


Now, let's take a listen at how a tram ride can sound in 3D.


(fifth recording from Pawel)


This was taken near the City Center somewhere, and you can observe that there was a plane flying. Also, you're going to hear my mobile phone a little bit, but that's not so important.


(sixth recording from Pawel)


Last but not least, let's take a listen at how some of the nice birds are chirping behind my family house in Poland. With that, I'll leave you for the rest of the show. I hope you enjoyed this little presentation. Thank you.


(seventh recording from Pawel)


(Pawel) Um, so that's my gadget for this month.


(Hlynur) Sounds good. Sounds good.


(Tanja) Did you try to record someone?


(Pawel) Yes, I have. And you as you’re wearing your headphones, you will be a bit centered, a bit away from the microphone. So it's not like you hear yourself in reality that you are very close and so on. You will hear it's a bit centered and a bit further away. And when the sounds get louder around you, it will be more difficult to hear you. But people around you, if they stand next to you, left or right, you will hear that. You will hear them from the right distance. So you will hear the person on your left, the other person on your right.


(Tanja) Ok, because I was reading some comments and in some people were saying that after recording someone like on one and a half meter distance, you couldn't hear it loudly or properly in the recording. So I wanted to know, what is your experience?


(Pawel) There will definitely be distance. I think also binaural recording is not so much about recording people, but more about recording the environment. So it's not really for interviews much. It's more for actually concerts. So you can hear the musicians as they stand in front of you or somewhere like from left to right. It's more about some space around you. So if you want to just record noises around you or like landscape, all the landscapes. But binaural recording is also popular in this technique called ASMR, where people, you could actually find a lot of videos with that on YouTube, where people whisper really quietly into your ear and you can definitely hear it from the direction from which they spoke, which is apparently a relaxation technique. If somebody speaks to you calmly or quietly and whispers right into your ear, it's apparently helping you in falling asleep and so on. And this is what microphones that can record binaural with the binaural technique can also be helpful with.


(Hlynur) Some people would call that creepy.


(Pawel) Yes, I agree. But apparently the reason they do it is different. Like it's some kind of psychological response. There are some more scientific terms to call it but there is something apparently that we like about it, and that's why it's so successful.


(Hlynur) Ok, great, but it's iOS only,


(Pawel) Yes, sadly, yes, I haven't tried it with an adaptor to USB C yet. I heard it. It doesn't work with Windows because there are some drivers that are not compatible. There is one headset that is USBC compatible, and it should work with Android but I do not know if it works yet. Somebody I know ordered it, so I should be able to hear about it soon and then I can maybe report about it. But for now, let's just say I don't know anything about this, sadly.


(Hlynur) OK. OK.


(Tanja) What about the accessibility of the application?


(Pawel) It's accessible. You can do everything in it. All the buttons are clearly labelled and they are either switches like off and on switches or radio buttons. Also, there is not so much in the app that you wouldn't be able to do otherwise. The only thing, let's say, that you seriously cannot do with the headset alone and you need the app for is the configuration of the smart switch, other than this, the transparency and noise cancellation you can do with the dedicated buttons. There is some equalizing OK, maybe you can do this, you cannot update the software on the headset, but I don't know if it makes so much difference. There was just a minor upgrade when I got mine. That I had to do. And other than that, I don't open this app ever. It's good that it's there if I need to reconfigure something, but I don't open it every day, let's say. Once you set things the way you like them, most likely you will not need it. It also has a microphone for phone calls, so it's definitely meant to be a consumer based product, it's meant for people, not just for audiophiles who want to record, but also for people who need headphones that also record good stereo audio.


(Hlynur) Ok. Sounds great. So you recommend it?


(Pawel) Yes, I would say yes. It's as I said, it's easy to use, it doesn't require you to know a lot about these things. It's affordable at this stage. You plug it in and you're ready to go unless you don't like in-ear, in-channel headphones, earbuds. Some people don't like them. So then it's not much not really for you, but if you don't mind, they even give you a set of additional gums if yours run out for some reason or you need to change them, so you are good to go for the beginning; but I know some people who don't like… It basically goes behind your ear and the earpiece… it’s an earbud, you just stick it in your ear, it's ended with a gum, so you probably know what kind of headphones they are and you just wear them like that. Some people don't like them, so in this case, it's probably not for you. Otherwise, I think it's a functional product that I can recommend.


(Hlynur) Brilliant. There was also something that I wanted to talk about which concerns those who are visually impaired. It's called the Dark Reader and it's a Chrome Extension. So it's like more of a tool than a gadget, if you would.


But with the increasing popularity of the dark possibilities, you can see it in YouTube and Facebook and Windows 10 pretty much everywhere. But if there are some pictures that you're looking at on the Internet, which are you find them too bright and you would like to have them in a dark view, you can through Google Chrome at the Dark Reader Chrome extension for free. It was a good day for me when I discovered this one. It works in both ways. If you want to have your sites like bright or high contrast, you can set pretty much everything up so you can turn a dark page to a light one and a light page to a dark one. And you can set the brightness level and set the contrast level. And you can also like register on a list certain pages. So if there's a page that you commonly go to and you would always like the Dark Reader to be running on that particular page or that particular domain, you could just set it on the list and it will turn on automatically. So I can definitely recommend this for everyone who likes to be in charge of how the web pages that they're looking at, what they look like. And for those who I've recommended this for in Iceland, pretty much everyone has been, just jumping their height from it, so everybody's pretty happy about this one. It's not that new, but I still felt like letting you guys know about this one. You guys probably don't use Dark Reader Chrome Extension that much, I believe?


(Tanja) No, but I would be interested, Is there any Other addon, for example, for high contrast that works differently? In a sense, what would be the difference between this one and high contrast Only or that is actually customisable and the same?


(Hlynur) This tool is just quite neat at just how it works, it doesn't affect any images. And the high contrast version is like it's more it's just it just more of a high contrast than you're choosing the colours. If you want to have yellow text on a black background and you would have all links, you want them to be green. So the looks are quite different. So using the dark, really, you get more of a seamless natural feel of using the web pages. But of course, if you would go to high contrast and use that just through the Windows accessibility settings, then that would go everywhere into the browser and into all apps that you use and into everything. So this is more of a tool that you turn off and turn on as you wish,


(Tanja) Because sometimes on some websites I see the possibility to activate the high contrast mode.


(Hlynur) Mhm. Yes, some pages do have that. But this is for like when you are in charge.


(Tanja) Yeah, of course.


(Hlynur) So moving on to

Accessibility in the news.


(Jingle saying  Accessibility in the news.)


Accessibility in the news


Microsoft has bought Nuance


(Hlynur) So for the accessibility and the news, Microsoft has bought Nuance, the A.I. Generation Company, for 20 billion US dollars, which would make that the second largest acquisition after they bought LinkedIn 2016. Guys, this is huge.


(Mario) It is.


(Hlynur)  They have a plan, that's for sure.


(Pawel) Did they  already release any kind of mention what they want to do about this, I heard from their press releases and press conferences, they are mostly interested in the medical application. So what is done in telemedicine and stuff, but I'm not sure: has anything been shared about what happens to the voices themselves that are currently running on so many devices, not all of them being made by Microsoft,


(Hlynur) No definitely know the health care. The health care industry in the US is using products from Nuance quite a lot, but that seems to have been their main goal.


(Pawel)  Yeah, it would be a shame to see them go, and I hope it's not Microsoft's intention. Yeah. So seeing the commitment of Microsoft to accessibility, it's a... I wouldn't say they completely scrap them off, but it'll be interesting to see how they're going to approach the fact that so many devices, some of the mainstream, some of them dedicated to blind users, make exclusive use of these voices and there is no alternative there. So it would be interesting to see. I hope it will not be the second Ivona, because with Ivona voices we know what happened once Amazon acquitted them. Basically, we have them no more.


(Hlynur) Yeah, we do. Yeah, we we we do know what happened there.


(Pawel) Yeah, exactly. And outside of Nuance, there seems to be no company on the market so far with screen reader compatible voices that have this large base of available languages. So it would be sad to just see them either go away or being at least, like, abandoned and not developed. But this is basically me being tragic. I hope there are some more bright, some brighter outlooks on this.


(Hlynur) Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Apple a big stakeholder inNuance?


(Pawel) I'm not sure at this stage, They definitely used them, we know that, but I'm not sure if they were a stakeholder at this stage.


(Mario) Yeah,For this Bart I'm not sure. I don't know. But I don't think that anything of the products will go away. As a Matter of fact, Nuance is also for a long time the owner of the rights for the famous Eloquence speech synthesiser. So far we really don't know much. But from what I can say is that we might see. The situation where. The eloquence might get some updates after a long time of silence, Because there is eloquence for Android that hasn't been updated for a while andCodefactory , who is owning the rights? I mean, they're not honouring the rights. They're just honouring the rights for Android version. They said that they are no longer going to update it for a 64 bit version. Everything was published before we found out about this purchase from Microsoft that Microsoft is acquiringNuance. So what what I can see for for sure that this will happen is that the Vocalizer voices will definitely get improved. And that might also have the effects also on the Microsoft text to speech voices. How I don't know, but I'm sure that they will use the same kind of resources which they have to, you know, to have the end product is much better, maybe even for they might use the resources from Nuance for their Azure voices. Because the thing is that there is this Microsoft cloud. You have the Azure system, which is using the Azure, the new Azure voices that we were talking about a few episodes ago. So. I definitely can see that these kind of things will also be heavily used in the health care sector for sure.


(Hlynur) Yeah, maybe maybe the heat is not as much about the voices, but maybe more around the AI functions that Nuance has.


(Mario) Yeah, but if I mean, if you have the AI, that AI needs to communicate back something, whatever, it needs to communicate back.


(Hlynur) So it works better that way.


(Mario laughs) Definitely, yeah.


(Tanja) Yes. But they also have Dragon, so maybe, you know, merging all these technologies they want to provide it for, especially for health care, because when you know, access to official Nuance web page, you have the title „Nuance - Conversational AI for health care and customer“, which is new, so it is really that the title appeared after this acquisition. So we actually don't know how it will be For speech synthesis. I really hope that they will continue and eventually that Microsoft will start to use those voices that we can see those voices from Vocalizer as part of the Microsoft TTS. But of course, these we have to see, because at the same time, we were able to hear in Episode 28 the new neural Microsoft voices and their awesome.


(Hlynur) Yep, they are. Definitely AR, we actually don't know anything about what is going to happen, but we we'll definitely keep an eye on this one to see and hope for the best.


(Mario) Yeah, absolutely.


Icelandic accessibility mousepad design is now available on GitHub


(Hlynur) So the Icelandic accessability mousepads that you guys might remember, we talked about them recently, they have finally been shared back into GitHub so they can be downloaded from there and used by others for translations or just straight up manufacturing. They are, of course, open source.


We use the posters Info for making Of the mousepads, So we wanted to to give the this the mousepads designs back to where the info came from And we will have the link in the show notes for that. Anything you would like to say about this guys?


(Pawel) That's good to hear. I was definitely looking forward to this because, um, yeah, I'm really looking forward to when and if they will be used in Poland for reminding why accessibility is important. And I think they're also a nice gadget. People like when they are given something at the workshop, except of just knowledge, I heard sweets are a good tip, so if you are hosting any kind of presentation or a stand at a fair or conference, it‘s nice to have some local sweets from your country with you to give away and then people will remember you better and also whatever you had to say at the conference. And I think this kind of mousepads, this is a good practice to follow at such events, to just leave people not just with your words, But with some tangible object that can reference these words.


(Hlynur) Yeah. So it doesn't hurt that this is the actual object that actually has the information that you want to deliver to those people written down on.


(Pawel) Exactly. So it's very nifty idea because everyone needs mousepads. We change them from time to time, those who use the mice, but if these mousepads also come with something informative that you can look at and be reminded every day, it's almost like having your chart on the wall with some interesting thoughts or some quotes that inspire you, and here you will have the good accessibility practices, so it's good to have them at hand.


(Hlynur) Yeah. And we hope that others will just enjoy and and take advantage of this and and download them, change them, upgrade them to whatever you want and start manufacturing. It doesn't cost that much to to manufacture a mousepad.


(Mario) Sure if they are being manufactured in China (laughs).


(Hlynur) Yeah, all around, probably (laughs).


(Pawel) What format is it Hlynur? So how does the localisation look like and how does the processing, the printout look like? Are they like images, documents? What is it exactly what a format?


(Hlynur) I don't remember what the format was. I have a designer working with me who was actually in charge of designing part of it, but it was like quite easy for him to use. It was like just filling out a PDF document, basically. Mm hmm. And images and everything, it was all in fonts.


Problem with bluetooth external keyboards still occurs, if using Talkback with Android 11


(Hlynur) So some news or maybe no news about what we were talking about earlier on Android 11, where, like Icelandic and I've heard Danish also special characters would not be working if you had Android 11 and had TalkBack running also and were using a USB,  nono sorry, a Bluetooth keyboard. That hasn't changed. Still, we posted an issue about this a few weeks ago, but Android seem to not have a specific and clear platform for regular users to give them feedback. Do they


(Mario) Actually? Yes, they do. You can do that from your phone, for example, users of the Samsung phone can do that from there are Samsung Members app on the phone,

(Hlynur) OK,

(Mario) which allows you to to give them feedback. Or if this is the situation which is related to, let's say, yourkeyboard, such as if you're not able to. Write such characters for Gboard for instance onGboard, for example, you can give them a feedback just for that app That you are not able to use such characters. So. Yeah, those those feedback like that can be reported or yeah, I'm sureThat there is also where there's also a feedback hub for for Android in general. There must be.


(Hlynur) Yeah. We thought it would be. There were three of us and we call ourselves specialists searching for some kind. But we didn't find anything, any hub for a for a user based like feedback, but only like developer feedback's.


(Pawel) What if you tap more options button in the settings ofGboard? There should be something like „Leave Feedback“.


(Mario) There should be. Yeah, sure, for sure. And there is also possible, I'm sure that when you go on the play store, let's say based on a page of the Gboard, there must be some kind of contact information. Where should your rights to send them feedback for the app? I'm sure because each of the Google Apps has that. So there must be a feedback, for Gboard as well.


(Hlynur) Yeah, but this is, of course not a particular app of any sort. This is just if like if you're using TalkBack to Android 11 and you're using just any kind of a Bluetooth keyboard.

(Mario) Ok so this is just on the bluetooth keyboard not with the onscreen keyboard?

(Hlynur) not not with the on screen, just with the Bluetooth keyboards.


(Mario) Oh OK. So that's the Android then then this is General Android. General Android.


(Hlynur) But to make it a little bit more complicated, it works when you don't have the TalkBack activated.


(Pawel) This seems like it's a matter for the disability help desk. Maybe write there.

(Mario)  Yeah. then definitely. Then if if it happens only with the TalkBack then it's a thing for disability help desk.


(Hlynur) Ok, we'll try it, we'll try that out.


(Pawel) They are Even on Be my eyes so you can contact them via Be my eyes, but they, of course, have an email where you can contact them via email


(Mario) And they may open the tickets for that. So you were being notified of what's going on about it?


(Hlynur) Ok, OK, that sounds neat. We have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out where to post this bug.


(Mario) Now you see, you had to come to the podcast to ask the right question.


(Hlynur) So every six weeks we can ask a question.


(Pawel) Samsung also has a disability support Somewhere, um, because I heard of a couple of people in the United States on the mailing list contacting them about some TalkBack issues, and they seem to have gotten some responses even, so now that‘s the choice you can make, you can either contact Samsung or Google. It's the same TalkBack.


(Hlynur) Ok, so let's round up the news.


Accessibility overlays, what are they and what do they do?


So the next thing we'd like to discuss is what what is called accessibility overlays, their kind of Thought on as a as an automatic solution to accessibility issues on websites. But are they really? There is a lot of information that does say otherwise because there has been a lot of talk about this over, well, the last few months. Have you noticed any rise in that discussion?


(Mario) Yeah, there has been lots of talk and even a few very nice podcasts which go into the complete details about what's going on. So to kind of summarise the whole thing, there are a few. So called the companies which claim that they are providing. The accessibility overlays, which people who are not familiar with the website accessibility can implement them on their websites. And the end result should be that when the person who has disability, such as a blind user or the user with dyslexia and so on and so forth comes on the website, they should be able to navigate the Web page better. But when we are talking about the concrete results, what's happening on the website, for example, if you're using a screen reader, first of all, there are a few Companies which do that, such as the most famous one is the one called AccessiBe. Then there is the. Audio Eye and for example, the equal web, there's and there's tons of others But the AccessiBe being the one that is most present on most Web sites. So the thing is that how you will find out if you have the addon, that you will come to the Web site and you will immediately get notification. If you want to continue browsing a Web site, you want to turn around Screen reader mode So press control one or alt one or whatever is alt 1. So when you press that one key. Instead of getting even better support, which they claim they do, the website goes to pieces, everything falls, falls down. The headings which are nonexistent before they start appearing on the places where they're not supposed to be. And in fact, you are not not seeing the content that you have to see. So what's what's happening is that people started complaining about that kind of behaviour against that all over the place, especially in the states. And to be honest with you, I found found out about this AccessiBe addon it was somewhere in 2020. And believe it or not, they started appearing on all kinds of different websites, even on the sites of the musical companies. That's where I found out because I'm I'm using also Ernieball guitars. And Musicman bases. So when I went to check out something on the government website, I was introduced to the Yeah, if you want to use our enhanced screen reader mode, press alt+1. And I'm like, yeah ha? Then I pressed alt one and the site fell immediately to pieces. And the only way how you can basically get out of that crap is that people started identifying what's going on and then they started cleaning up their browser, their cookies, their cash. And even there are some people who at the end of the story, decided that they have enough of this whole mess, which is basically happening on lots of different websites. So. They made an addon for Chrome Which is called AccessiByeBye. And what this addon does when you install it, it's it's just sitting in your Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, which is also Chrome compatible. So when you finally find the website which has this kind of accessible overlay, it will disable it and the website will look like, as it normally looks like. So if you want to do that, to know more about all of the subject. You can listen to the Jonathan Mosen podcast, which we will link in our podcast


 (Hlynur) It is a full three hour podcast.


(Mario) It is 3 hour podcast, we have to warn the listeners. But if you're really into the Web accessibility, if you're working with that kind of thing, maybe you already know something. But this is this is something what I personally consider very, very, very dangerous, because what's happening is that this company, so-calledAccessiBe, is claiming that for the moment they have more than 100000 websites which have implemented their addon so-called.


(Hlynur) And you can see that the motivations that they are using to in order to sell their product is that, of course, companies are afraid, especially in the US, that if they are not compliant with accessibility laws, that they will get sued. So if someone says to you as a company, yeah, we can just place just one single simple code on your Web page and all your accessibility worries and problems will be gone. It's not a hard sell for them to make.


(Mario)  But the problem also with the whole thing is that the accessiBe company charges Fifty dollars per month for the company to implement their solution, which was at the end non-effective. So if you count fifty dollars times a hundred thousand, you're talking we are talking about five million per month, which they're getting for blind people. On the backs of blind people, which. Basically, they're just ripping us off, and that's really not OK.


(Hlynur) Yeah, even worse, making those 100000 thousand sites actually less accessible than they were before.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah. And, you know, if you go on this AccessiByebye web page, which we will link in the podcast Señores, you will be able to find out 100 websites which have this addon installed and which have the most bloks. And. Unfortunately, in this top 100, there are a few European sites, so it started appearing also in Europe, especially on the Polish websites, Pawel I don't know if you noticed.


(Hlynur) Pawel What are you thinking?


(Mario) Yeah


(Pawel) I went to both. And they are they seem to be either state or like high... highly in the in the state area website. One is a cultural, uhmm, initiative of a city and one is a city library.


(Mario) Yeah!


(Pawel) and they are using userway from what I see, and to be honest, I Don't see the point why They're doing this because I... either I missed something or in one case, there was no button to turn on any special mode, in the other case, I found one, and they didn't do anything really, like, they didn't change any of the layout; and even when I tried to access Accessibyebye, it all seemed to be the same. There were already some accessibility features there, you could find some navigation landmarks, you could find headings, but you could also find links with quite broken descriptions where the things were, like, halfway written or somehow abbreviated as if the whole title didn't fit in the line.


(Mario) Yeah.


(Pawel) and I don't know if it's the doing of the overlay or it's basically the way the website is done, but it didn't seem to make much difference whether I turned this mode on or off, whether I had Accessibyebye on or off, so I don't know, they're probably paying some money for something that doesn't do anything or doesn't seem to be doing anything.


(Mario) Mhm.


(Pawel) Also, I went to some of these Accessibe powered websites and I found basically what it does, I guess. So the marketing behind it is that they use AI techniques to enhance the accessibility of the websites, and if you listen to the interview that Jonathan... Jonathan Mosen did to his show and the part with Michael Hingson, who is the blindness ambassador at Accessibe, you will hear that they try to identify some visual aspects of the website and try to turn them into accessibility language, so if they see a big, bold text in the middle of the page, they will assume it's a heading and they will give it a role of a heading; or if they see a list of links neatly packed together on the left side, they will assume it's a navigational menu and they will give it a landmark, an ARIA landmark of navigation area; and I tried it with some websites and, I guess because the websites were already pretty accessible as they were without the add-on, it just enhanced it with a couple of landmarks, like, OK, there was a menu already or there was a set of links, it basically identified it's a menu and it said ‚OK, navigational landmarks or navigation menu list, whatever‘... It turned some links that were already expanded, there were nested lists within lists, it basically gave them the status of a button that you can expand or collapse. It tries to identify graphics with AI and describe them, which for the time being is probably not a good idea, because especially if you're thinking of context awareness, you will not need the same kind of description of images on the website Of a governmental institutions, as you would do on the website of a shop where you want to buy for... buy some clothes. So this I don't know if... I don't think we are there yet with AI and image recognition. What I also saw was: some headings, of course, and it didn't break the websites that I was looking at, but then I don't use them every day. so probably there is something that I haven't encountered that was a deal breaker because it hasn't happened still on any of a websites where I need to do something productively, but I can think that it would be much better use if such a tool was used for advising developers or... on when they... where they could maybe make some improvements because it sometimes identifies some aspects right; and if we think about it, that's what the computer software like Screen reader used to do before; it was a lot of, if you think of JAWS, for example, before the WCAG became an accepted standard, there was a lot of guessing on the part of the screen Reader

(Mario) Yeah, there was, yeah.


(Pawel) And I think it's trying to do the same now for a fixed price on a Web page, and it would be much more use, I guess, and much more valuable learning material if it gave the same kind of feedback but would not implement it for the... for them, but tell them ‚we identified, this graphically looks like a menu. If that's right, if our guess is Right, give it the proper landmark or proper designation in code‘. And then the company could still learn, the developers would learn something, because I believe also that apart from, of course, making Internet a more inclusive place, doing accessibility by yourself is a learning experience and we are supposed to learn more about each other, how we function differently, how we have different needs, not just blind people, but in general the society; and if we take this aspect Away, OK, nothing to learn. We paid fifty dollars and we are done with all this... with the whole social group that has some different needs. Doesn't matter that‘s a couple of million people, we have done our job, we don't need to learn anything about them, we just let them be in their special screen reader mode.


(Hlynur) That is exactly the problem, that... that... that is the dream of the company, if... if they could have just a single code on their Web page.

Of course, they wa... they want to have an accessible website, othe... otherwise they wouldn't be paying 50 bucks Per month


(Pawel) Mhm.


(Mario) Yeah.


(Hlynur) for this tool. They believe that it's working. I'm not sure that if they actually know whether it's working or not, they're just being sold the idea that if you Buy this, your site will be more accessible and it will be compliant


(Pawel) Mhm


(Hlynur) to all regulations regarding


(Pawel) Yeah.


(Hlynur) accessibility and I'm not sure that any of the companies using it today are even aware whether it's working or not afterwards. It's a problem when maybe the client doesn't know the product that they're buying.


(Tanja) Yes, no, exactly. I think this is the major problem because actually, when you read the Accessibe terms of service in details, they say that actually this service doesn't make your website WCAG compliant and maybe this is everything what we want to know; but somebody who is not aware on this, like a website that is not accessible, will not understand this so for them, the advertisement ‚We will make your website accessible!‘ is enough; and I think it is extremely dangerous to solve accessibility issue with a button or with a service, and they say that there is no work needed to be done.


(Hlynur) So there is always work to be done.


(Tanja) Of course.


(Hlynur) We're not there yet that that...


(Mario) Of course!


(Hlynur) We're just not there yet that you can do this with a single code. Perhaps in twenty years, who knows, but at this point, it's... We're just not there yet and it's a good idea, it's a brilliant idea, it's a it's a good concept if it would work.


(Pawel) And it... yeah...


(Mario) Yeah, but it doesn't work, and the problem is that the people who are behind the company such as AccessiBe had a lot of fights with people from the assistive tech industry who tried to tell them ‚Look, guys, your idea isn't that bad, but your implementation sucks‘, and they really got into huge fights with people who are like into the assistive industry for years. And that's what's really sad to see that this kind of behaviour is happening and that's why they basically put Michael Hingson there to kind of fix the problems, but I am, bhuh, I'm doubting that this will be solved out. Maybe at certain points. What I'm afraid of is that they also said that they are entering the W3C consortium, and I was like, when I heard that, I was like, ‚huh?!, how is this possible?!‘ but well,


(Tanja) Exactly. Because the problem...


(Mario) it's it's up  to see what's what's going on.


(Tanja) The problem is also what Pawel mentioned before, so that the tool identifies what are the big or large letters on the screen and then it translates those into a heading 1; but then you can have a heading 1 on a text that was not meant to be heading 1.


(Mario) Yeah.


(Tanja) So it gives even less confusion; and then I‘m returning back to WCAG: why we have success criteria on this if we are breaking that requirement? [laughter] So it doesn't make sense at all.


(Pawel) I guess, if the website is already accessible enough and it's made in a conventional way, ve... visually, the tool may be more successful and then people will say, ‚OK, but with this we...‘ like I have  rather positive results with this because as I said, I visited a couple of websites that I don't use frequently, and I saw what it... what a difference it did, it... I would say it was rather correct, but I guess if somebody was really artistic with the way they designed the interface and things Are non-standard for whatever reason, suddenly it turns out, ‚oh, it identified something as a table as a heading, let's say, or this wasn't meant to be a menu, this was meant to be some kind of reference list and we didn't never meant to make it naviga... navigational, but it was just there, visually, and it looked like a list so the overlay assumed it's a Menu and therefore, again, I think it's more valuable for now if this Is a feed... developer feedback tool rather than an end-user solution.


(Hlynur) Yeah, definitely agree.


(Mario) Yeah. Well, you see, I... I had totally opposite experience where, for example, I saw the situations where on the Ernieball website, which I mentioned, I found the menu which you could usually expand and collapse with the standard keyboard, but if I would engage that Accessibe mode, the menu would not open or collapse. So, yeah. (Hlynur) So this is kind of we‘re... we‘re more like promoting the Accessibyebye


(Mario) At this point, we are promoting Accessibyebye because the thing is that for the moment, this kind of accessibility overlays, they are really doing more harm than help.


(Hlynur) Yeah, and it will be interesting to see, hopefully, in the coming months where where all this negative attention will lead to.


(Mario) Yeah.


(Hlynur) Will it stop? Will it just slow down or will we go back, back in time and see people stop using this kind of accessible overlays?


(Mario) Yeah, we will link everything in the in the show notes, so if you want to get more info about it...


(Hlynur) So moving on...


Audio-only media is on the rise with likes of Clubhouse and IKEA taking part in the action


 (Hlynur) So audio-only media seems to be on the rise with platforms like Clubhouse. So???  trending on discussions on accessibility and disability, for example, Pawel, you have checked this out.


(Pawel) Yes, uhh, Clubhouse, maybe you've heard about it already, if you haven't, it's a social network that is purely based on audio and that means there is no video component to it at all; and it's all about clubs and rooms that you can join to take part in conversations. So it's like an audio chat that you probably know from many messengers, except you can discover it in the app, you can join it and you can either listen to it or make your voice heard, come to the so-called stage because at first you're just in the audience; but of course, as in every meeting, you can raise your hand and you can ask for the microphone to be given to you and you can ask a question or you can actually take part even and be cocreator of this content and speak to people and have an exchange. I found this concept interesting. There are a couple of problems with it. For now. It's just for the iPhones, there is a release for Android expected in May, or at least the beginning of the rollout is expected in May.


(Hlynur) That's good news.


(Mario) Aha.


(Pawel) Yes, that's that's definitely good news. And you need to have an invitation to join, which makes it a bit elitist and at first it was like that, that there were only high-profile people on there. I think Elon Musk, I think Mark Zuckerberg now having interesting conversations on the future of artificial intelligence and whatnot; but you could not join because you didn't have any invite to be a part of this exclusive social network. But now it's become more open, more people have the invites, more people have more invites to give away and it's relatively easy to get in, and it's become, of course, very popular with blind people in the recent months. I already saw a lot of the blind people that I know and I saw a lot of clubs around blindness and accessibility; and for us, this is nothing new because this kind of apps were there before, if you think of Vorail or VO Rail, I think it's read.


(Mario) Yeah,


(Pawel) or there was this this other one Dabble, I think it's called. There were already audio-based only social networks, but they were mostly targeting blind people and you wouldn't find any sighted person on there. Now you can see a lot of sighted people, even as I said, big names like Elon Musk or Mark Zuckerberg discussing freely a lot of subjects in there. And of course, if you are going to join a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg, it's very unlikely that you will be given the voice because there are five thousand other people who would like the same, but then you can meet a lot of interesting people and network with them uhh... from different, uhh, let's say, paths of life and areas of work; and now that social network is not all that popular yet, of course, there is a huge hype on it, but it's not that mainstream, chances are that you will meet some valuable professional contacts on there. I know that a friend of mine, for example, has met a chief editor of one of the biggest Polish news sites on mobile technologies, and she was just able to chat to this person freely; Uhmm, but also, a lot of audio people, voiceover actors, musicians are playing in there, and I find it really interesting on one hand in the disability movement, there is a whole club on there called The 15 percent, which is the percentage of disabled people in the society, (I'm not sure if it's globally or in the states) but, uhh, it's some kind of percentage for disability, and they host a lot of disability advocacy meetings, be it some talk on accessibility, digital accessibility, screen reader accessibility or just advocacy, so how the subject of disability is approached socially, legally, medically in many other ways; and you will even see big names in the accessibility industry, so, for example, you will find people from Vispero hanging out on Clubhouse, giving JAWS tutorials and classes. And it seems to have taken on, there is even the Blind Podmakers Club, which is the group of Jonathan Mosen for blind podcasters, he had a mailing list before and now he has a round table every week where you can just come, there is a subject of the week and you are given basically a voice for the entire hour. So there is a short introduction and then you can ask for your voice and you can say whatever you have to say or you want to say, and these club discussions are later published as a podcast episode. So in this way, the community is building the podcast episodes all together and everyone can be a part


(Mario) Pawel, when are you hosting our, our club?




(Mario) for Ebu Access Cast?


(Hlynur) As soon as it hits Android we're on there.


(Mario) Yeah, yeah.


(Pawel) I am already on there with my iPod, but in order to be able to host a club, you also have to be very active with cohosting your own rooms first,


(Mario) Aha.


(Pawel) But I think it's a good idea actually [laughter] that we get on clubhouse at some point. It could, uhhm, actually help with the discussion of disability in Europe, I guess.


(Mario) Mhm.


(Pawel) And I can say that this is, uhh, not just blind people who really like it, and it's not just that sighted people check it out and leave it. I spoke to some sighted friends I have, and they seem to be excited by the idea as much as they're excited about podcasts, and I can definitely say that a lot of people listen to podcasts these days, and a lot of mainstream YouTubers, uhh, set up their own podcast as an alternative medium. And you can tell that people really would like to listen to things when they are doing something so their eyes are occupied with some activity and they have something running in the background, and a lot of people listen to podcast, a lot of people listen to audiobooks, and now there is Clubhouse where you can take part in two ways, either as a listener and then you just put your phone in the background somewhere and you just listen to what other peoples are saying, or you take part actively and you let other peoples listen to you while they are doing something else, so it's this interactive podcast sort of format; and there are, of course, some things privacy-wise that can be a bit questionable. For instance, if you're inviting a person to Clubhouse, you can see how many friends this person would have if they signed up, because as soon as you give them access to your contact list, they seem to be storing the numbers, sadly, which means that...


(Mario) Oo.


(Pawel) the next person who would like to invite will see that apart from you, twenty other people could invite this person as well; and this could be a big issue. One way in which they work around this, [laughter] which isn't really a solution, but, uhh, at least partly gives some compromise, is you don't give access to the contacts, but you just type in the number of the person manually so in this context, you can agree with this other person, ‚OK, you would like to be on there, I can give you the invite, but so that none of my contacts are exposed, I just type in your number manually. You agreed to... for your number to be shared anyway, so we do it like this‘.


(Hlynur) Mhm.


(Pawel) So in this way, it's definitely a shortcoming if you're pri... privacy-aware and focused as a lot of people are now, but,uhh,  apart from this, the concept itself is really interesting also for smaller groups of friends, because when you create a room, you can give access to all your followers, which means that a lot of your friends can meet each other and in this way the networks expand and now that we are in lockdowns still pretty much all over the place, this somehow helps in meeting new people, I must say, like my experience has been that I suddenly met somebody who is a friend of a friend and it turned out to be a really nice person to talk to; and I quite like the experience and I miss, like the real events that we used to have where you could just go into a bar with some expats or international people and just meet them. Now, you can do this online. Of course it doesn't, you know, it's not the same as meeting them in person, but we live with what we have, and, yeah, I can I can say that a lot of people seem to be enjoying the experience. It's just like you can tune in for a bit, listen, then you can tune out again, change the conversation, change the channel or go away completely and then come back. And this seems to be a lot of hype now, also with sighted people, as I said, because even some companies are jumping on board and creating these audio experiences for people, and a good example of this is the newest IKEA catalogue, at least in the United States, where IKEA has released an audiobook that you can listen to on YouTube even, it's also on Spotify I heard, on Tunein, somewhere else... Audible, audible.


(Hlynur) Yeah, I checked it out on YouTube. It's actually quite entertaining.


(Pawel) Exactly. And that was the idea behind it, that they try to translate what you usually read into an entertaining experience. So it's almost like you had a back story to how IKEA furniture was created. You know, it's like you open this catalogue and suddenly you hear that there are many new Swedish words you can learn. Most of them will be Ikea furniture, but you will need them if you actually will shop for some new furniture. So let me take you on a road, on a ride and tour around what we have in our catalogue. And then this this really smiling Lady will explain to you how there is a cover of the catalogue and on the cover you will find this and that logo, which looks like this and that. And then she will go in depth into describing to you every piece of furniture they have. So while you're doing something else, maybe putting together a new IKEA furniture piece instead of swearing at how complicated the manual is and how come half of the parts you didn't know what are needed for suddenly are left out and you never put them in and you don't know why they are still there, you can just listen to what else they have in the offer and enjoy this read. And if you read into their motivations, you will realise it wasn't done for blind people really. It was actually made for everyone who would like to listen to an IKEA catalogue as a side occupation while doing something completely else.


(Hlynur) If I can speak for myself, this was very much a more pleasant way of enjoying the IKEA catalogue than which I have done in the past, which is visually.


(Pawel) Yeah, I only wish they also adapted the manuals for audio experiences somehow because I had the quote unquote pleasure of helping in putting together some IKEA furniture recently. And from what I was told, the manual is 100 percent visual. There is not a single word of description there. There are just schemes and pictures of which part goes where. And even sighted people find this confusing. Like there was a piece of furniture where there was a hole where you were supposed to put a screw. It was shown in the picture, but it wasn't really in the actual furniture. And you were supposed, although it wasn't explained to you, to drill it in yourself.


(Hlynur) You're speaking to the IKEA Assembly master of Iceland here.


(Pawel laughing)


(Hlynur) There's definitely not a single piece of furniture in my house that is not IKEA and has not been put together by me.


(Mario laughing)


(Pawel) OK.


(Hlynur) So it's 100 percent visual and it's graphic. Thankfully, I've been able to use it, but this was actually the first thing that I thought, like, OK, how if they could actually do the IKEA catalogue in this way with this high quality, one only can wonder what they could do with the assembly instructions.


(Pawel) Mm hmm. Yeah, I'm so looking forward because they could even make like an Aleksa skill where you could basically ask for instruction. There are already skills for cooking where it gives you step by step instructions for cooking a thing and you just tell it, OK, I'm ready. You give me the next step. And they could do something, some interactive way of doing this as well, I guess.


(Hlynur) Yeah. And also, like, they could probably have like most popular questions that you could ask and get the answers back, like which screws the long ones. The short ones in which step I mean, they could definitely do something like this because most of the Ikea essentials like the screws and the parts and the wooden starts and those stuff, it's always the same no matter if there's a shelf or a bed.


(Mario) Hlynur, there is a next project for you man.


(Hlynur) Yep. On it,


(Pawel) There are Youtube videos assembling IKEA furniture while blindfolded, but I don't know how successful that was.


(Mario) Uh.


(Hlynur) Oh, there is something to check out tonight.


(Pawel) Yeah. (Laughing)


(Mario) Yeah. After mousepads you can do IKEA manuals.


(Hlynur) Yeah, yeah, yeah. I‘ve definitly heard worst ideas.


(Mario) I was being serious. (Laughing)


(Hlynur) I know, I know you were. (Laughing)

  1. This is actually this is actually great. And I'm not not much of a audiobook user myself, but this also hangs together with just the average person, if you would, more and more using or choosing to use audio bookscc than just regular old school reading.


(Mario) Mhm.


(Hlynur) So I don't think that this is something that would or will only be used by blind and visually impaired.


(Pawel) Yeah, I hope so. I hope it will stay, especially when it comes to clubhouse. I hope it will stay after we go back to meeting physically again, because that's one of the worries for now that people use it so much because that's the way for them to meet others, to debate, to take part in discussions. And once everything goes back to normal, there would be no need for such tools anymore. And then clubhouse will be basically deserted.


(Hlynur) I wouldn't count on I wouldn't bet on it. I think they have surpassed the point where they where the project could die a slow and painful death. I mean, covid has definitely been like a rocket fuel on their engine, like people being isolated in different countries for over a year. So that has definitely been something to speed up the increased number of people joining Club House, but I think this is something that if it's not only maybe for like being able to reach out to successful people or people with shared interests in other countries, I mean, I think

That we will see a somewhat different world when it comes to like travelling for conferences after covid, because we have seen and experienced

What technology can do for us when it comes to meeting other people. It doesn't have to be in the physical, real world.


(Mario) Yes, I agree with that.


(Pawel) And you Can also see that other companies are picking up on this trend because Twitter is working, and it's actually about to make it available for everyone, their Twitter spaces, which is basically the idea of clubhouse build into Twitter. And Facebook is also working on their Facebook rooms. Telegram has actually made it available for people to host voice chats up to some really huge number of people. I don't know if...


(Mario) I think I don't know whether it's now unlimited, but it's something huge you're talking about. I think like seven thousand or seven hundred thousand, something insane.


(Pawel) Yeah, exactly. So it‘s definitely with audiences...


(Hlynur) So we could possibly we could possibly host an EBU Access Cast show in their.


(Mario) Yeah, we could.


(Pawel) Technically, yeah.


(Hlynur) I guess 100.000 people could be enough for one session.


(Mario) Sure.


(Pawel) Hmm.

Um, yeah. So you can tell that it wasn't unnoticed. And it's not just a gimmick and the industry at large seems to be interested in the idea itself. So the question is whether it will be clubhouse that survives or the idea behind clubhouse that survives. But if it ends up being popular in any form, I'm happy. I'm happy because I really like this form of meeting people, especially now and the fact that you can discover basically any topic that interests you. I think they're also working on this for the future, that you can, for example, easily find all the rooms where people discuss current events and it would be really good for some world wide events where there is a lot of visuals involved to just hop in and ask for some description or just discuss this and so on. I saw already people discussing films in this way, blind people and sighted people, and it's I think it's a good common ground for us, for the two social groups to to meet and exchange. There is actually in Poland a whole series of events dedicated to blind people streaming every week where each... I think it's each Wednesday, a different aspect of living with blindness is explained, and there are people coming actually to these events and asking questions, and any blind person can also come and share their experiences, so I hope this will also contribute to greater understanding of how this works within the society at large.


(Hlynur) So moving on.


Sight City 2021 will be virtual only


The Sight City 2021 conference supposed to be held in Frankfurt, Germany, will be online.


(Mario) Ja, ja.


(Hlynur) From the 19th to the 21st of May, Tanja you have some insights on that one for us.


(Tanja) Yes. So I was on Sight City, on the last Sight City 2019, because last year, 2020 was not organised at all.


(Hlynur) Yeah, like we discussed earlier, like with like the Eurovision contest that Iceland would have won but didn't.


(Mario laughing)


(Pawel) The next chance is just around the corner.


(Hlynur laughing)


(Tanja) So, this year is virtual. But unfortunately, the number of exhibitors is not like in 2019. So this year will be 75 at least. This is a number what is published now in April on Sight City website.


(Hlynur) Yeah, but the Web page, of course, doesn't say that it will be online, though.


(Tanja) It says, but unfortunately, there are information the same as for the physical event that were not removed and this is extremely confusing. I think they should archive this part of the website saying that it's physical because you can still find information about the pickup service, about the cafeteria and so on. It is extremely confusing. At the same time, on the home page, you see 2021 will be virtual, but they don't say exactly on which platform, how you can access it. And even when you go to the „list of exhibitors“, you can have the booth number. And when you click on the booth number to show it on the map, there is an error on the page.


(Mario laughing)


(Tanja) So it is extremely confusing. Yes, but what they say is that the recordings will be available until 26. We don't know where, but maybe they will publish this because Sight City is like in three weeks or four weeks now.


(Hlynur) Yeah, I mean, we're getting close. Time is of the essence. And just when you were talking I saw that it does say „virtual exhibition“.


(Tanja) Mhm.


(Hlynur) But this is like the fifth time that I have checked out this site and this is the first time that I see it.


(Tanja) Exactly. And even if you search for a list of exhibitors, it's not clear because you have to go under „Visitor“ and then under „List of exhibitor“, because if you go from the home page „Exhibitors“, you will find information for exhibitors that are not even updated. Those are information that you would need for the real physical event. So it's quite confusing, but I hope that the event will be successful. As I said, the number of exhibitors will be not like in 2019, where they had 135 exhibitors. This year they will have 75. But still there are some manufacturers very known. So I don't know if they will give the opportunity to visitors to ask the questions like on a booth. This would be very nice because there are some big manufacturers like, um, I don't know if I can mention -now as we are announcing... Like Optelec, like Orcam, APH and different...


(Hlynur) Dolphin here also.


(Tanja) Exactly. Humanware and the different manufacturers of Braille displays, navigation systems, daily living. So different stuff for blind and partially sighted. There are many German companies.

So if you...


(Hlynur) Naturally.


(Tanja) Yes.


(Pawel) A majority this year.


(Tanja) Yes. So if you speak German, maybe you will have even more information there. And that's it about the Sight City. So we are really looking forward to see more about it.


(Hlynur) Yeah, it is free admission I could see on the page.


(Tanja) Yes.


(Hlynur) So we just wait like everyone else, we just wait for the information to where to meet and which platform they will use.


(Mario) Yeah, we hope that we will not find the information in 2022, but, yeah, let's hope for the best.


(Tanja) Yes. I think they would really need to clean up the website from old information and new one, it seems that they were just not prepared for the virtual one. Like reading their website is extremely confusing.


(Mario) Well, just by listening to you, I became dizzy. (laughing)


(Tanja) Yes.


How to transfer audio from your phone to a PC (Demo)


(Hlynur) OK, so last but not least on this show, we want to showcase for you a demo of how to transfer audio from your phone to PC via Bluetooth Mario that is something that you were doing.


(Mario) Yeah, that's what I was doing. And basically, it's a very simple thing, which you need to do. You will hear it in the demo. But I will just mention it briefly here. You need to do. First of all, you need to have a Windows 10 at least addition 2004, which I hope everybody updated to, which came out last year.last May. And in that version of from that version, you are able to use a Bluetooth capabilities with one additional small software that you can get on the Microsoft store. It's called Bluetooth audio receiver. It's a free thing, so you just go on the Microsoft store, install Bluetooth receiver, and then do a pairing between your phone and your PC. And you just opened Bluetooth audio receiver and click on Open Connexion and basically you're done. Your audio from your smartphone then goes to PC. So then whatever you need to do, you can transfer your audio to your PC, which, for example, for us is really interesting when we want to showcase any kind of app or whatever to some kind of tutorial, audio tutorial where we need to show something on the on the phone, how it sounds. That's good, because we can then transfer the audio as it is and it's also in stereo. So, yeah, everything is loud and clear.


(Hlynur) Yeah. I was just wondering, do you know what was the name of the Samsung paring tool for a Samsung Galaxy device and a PC?


(Mario) That's your phone. But that's another thing that's supposed to do kind of the same thing. And also transfer the audio from your PC to the phone. But if you want to do this easier way, this is what we have done in the demo, because you don't need to have some Samsung phone , you can have any kind of phone, from my understanding, this is that this works also with the iPhones.


(A jingle which says demo time, let's play with our gadgets)


(Mario) And it is time for another demo for the EBU Access Cast, and this time for you, I'm going to show you one very useful tip, how to connect your mobile phone to the PC via Bluetooth so that you're able to transfer your audio from your phone to your PC. Now, you might ask yourself, why do I need such a facility? And the simple answer is that, well, because you might want to stream whatever you want to have from your phone onto your PC or you want to record something that's kind of tutorial that you want to do. If you want to show any kind of mobile app, then it's very useful to have the audio transferred to your PC so you're able to record the signal from your phone. So it sounds nice and clear. Now the question is, what do we need for that? Well, first of all, you need to have Windows 10 because we will be showing that on the Windows 10 platform and you need to have at least Windows 10 version, 2004, which was released at spring 2020. And after that, you need to have a simple programme. Called Audio Bluetooth Receiver, so you will find the audio Bluetooth receiver on the Microsoft store and I already have it installed on my PC, but I will show you how you can find it. So I'm going to

(Computer)  Start

(Mario) with the

Start and search for store.

(Computer) Microsoft store app, press right to switch preview, 1 of 5.

(Mario) I'm going to launch the store,

(Computer) Microsoft store.

And we're going to go to search

(Computer) view downloads, user profile button, search button 1 of 3. Search tooltip.

(Mario) Here's a search. So I will type Bluetoothaudio receiver

(Computer) Search button, . One suggestion. Results for Bluetooth Audio Receiver, results updated. List. Departments filter all departments selected combo boxcollapsed collapsed .

(Mario) Let's see.

Available on filter pc selected combo box collapsed, . show all apps list List, Bluetooth Audio Receiver. Available devices, pc XBox one, Holow lense, installed 1 of 3.

(Mario) This is what We are searching for. But.

(Computer) Back Button, landmark button,  Get Bluetooth Audio receiver Microsoft Store

Button button button Collapsed.

(Mario) So here we are now on the page of the Bluetooth Audio Receiver And

(Computer) Main landmark clickable heading level 1, Bluetooth Audio Receiver, published by grouping clickable Mark Smirnov.

(Mario) so we can see the developer is called Marc Smirnov, who developed the app. So in order to install the app, we would go on the get button. OK, now I don't have the get button because I already have it installed

(Computer) Launch button

(Mario) because I have it installed. It's showing me the launch button, but if I would not have the app installed, I would have the get button. So after you pressed the button, you would get it from the store to download and install.

 So how the whole procedure looks,

We have to pare

Our PC with the phone. Then open Bluetooth receiver. And search for the Bluetooth device. And then click on the Open Connexion button, so what I'm going to do right now is I'm going to search for my phone on the Bluetooth settings, then I'm going to open Bluetooth receiver and open the connexion,

(Computer) List, Mario's xcover pro 1 of 1, connect button,

(Mario) connect.

(Computer) cancel button cancel button.,

(Computer) pare device window Windows shell experience host window, device pairing experience device. Does the pin match on your device match the pin below 990128, yes button.

(Phone) repeats the same pin number followed by cancel button.

(Phone) paire button. MarioHP pairing.

(Mario) Let's launch Bluetooth Audio Receiver,

Computer) Bluetooth Audio Receiver, Bluetooth Audio Receiver window list, list item not selected 1 of 1.

(Mario) We see one device so let's click on that.

(Computer) open connection list item 1 of 1.

()phone speaks thru computer sound card) Audio output.

(Mario)  And our phone is connected.

(Phone)No devices found Carlisle hours 0583 double tap to activate no devices found. Back tap TalkBack,

No devices found back back, settings search

Mario) Now we can see that the phone is connected

(Phone) battery 85% Wifi signal Bluetooth connected

Connected translate notification, Display brightness notification, double tap to activate.

((Mario) We can see that the stuff is working if I Close my screen.

(Phone) Screen off.

(Mario) It's going to close. Unlock my phone,

(Phone) Device unlocked20.11 .

(Mario) It will say device unlocked and you can see that everything works as expected.

So,  This is our demo of The Bluetooth Audio Receiver

and pairing of the smartphone. I hope you enjoyed it and see you in the next demo.


(Hlynur) So we want to thank you very much for listening and for joining us here. We'll talk to you again in about six weeks with our 31st episode of the EBU Access Cast. Thank you guys for joining me on this. My first session as a lead host. I'm privileged to be around you guys. And thank you very much. And see you all later.


(everyone) Bye bye. Bye bye.


(Outro Jingle)  Thank you for listening to EBU Access Cast, if you want to contact us, you can send us an e-mail to or find Us on Twitter @ebuaccesscast