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EBU Access Cast

EBU Access Cast 34 Transcript

Nov 11, 2021

Transcription of the EBU Access Cast episode 34


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.


[Paweł] Welcome, everyone, this is the 34th episode of the EBU Access Cast, the podcast of the European Blind Union on the latest and greatest in assistive technology for blind and partially sighted people. This is Pavel hosting this episode. Hey, hey. Hello, everyone. I'm not alone here. As always, we have our usual suspects. Tanja Tanja from Luxembourg Tanja Kleut, hello?

[Tanja] Hello, Pawel.

[Paweł] Hello, Hello and Mario Percinić, also from Luxembourg. Hello, Mario.

[Mario] Hey there. How's it going?

[Paweł] Great. Thanks. It's a holiday as we record, so who can complain about the holiday, right?

[Mario] No.

[Paweł] Yeah, no, (laughter) not at all.

And Hlynur Agnarsson from Iceland, hello.

[Hlynur] Hi there, nice to be here.

[Paweł] Yep and so am I. So what do we have for you today? Actually a lot. Again, a lot from these big companies that we mention all the time. There is always something from Microsoft, Apple and Google. I think it's a it's already a fixed point on our agenda, sort of, but not always. But this time we start with Microsoft and there is plenty to talk about, of course, because of Windows 11. What Microsoft surprised us with, I guess, is this Adaptive Kit for the Surface, the Surface Adaptive Kit. We'll tell you what that is about and how this can help blind people using their products. We'll also discuss the currently beta-tested feature of running Android apps on Windows 11. How useful is that, really? And some of us have actually tested the system, so we'll also talk about this. Is Windows 11 accessible? Well, let's find out. This is not just the software and hardware that Microsoft is surprising us with. They are also hosting their webinars on the accessibility of Windows 11. Hopefully, you can catch that too. Then on to other events. NVDACon is expected to launch in the first weekend of December and Also Sight Tech  Global TechCrunch's conference and event on advances in artificial intelligence for the blind, for the benefit of the blind, this will also be covered by us right now. Then moving on to what Apple is up to, and of course, we could tell you all about updates that they released and new Mac OS versions and some new hardware, but I think it's more interesting to talk about in which ways they have recently made themselves not so much of a good fame with blind people and there are a couple of reasons for that. Then we'll jump onto what Google has in store for us. On one hand, there is a new Talkback update that we again had no official changelog from, but nevertheless we know now what's changed. And also YouTube. Google told us that they are introducing some new audio features for accessibility. Could we finally see audiodescription coming? Do I hear alternative audio tracks? Not yet, but they will arrive eventually. And then also with Vispero is out with a brand new JAWS update, JAWS 2022 and also other of their products the fusion, for example. And to top it all off, MasterCard is coming out with a brand new card design that is supposed to help blind people identify the cards. Also as the last but not least, we'll talk about the latest campaign from UserWay, where the actress behind the Siri voice is campaigning for more accessibility by using an accessibility overlay, sadly. All of that in the newest EBUAccessCast. At the end, we'll also hear from Hlynur and his friends in Iceland who have an interesting solution to tabletop gaming. I haven't played a tabletop game in a while. I'm really curious about this.

Gadget of the show – Teleparty – watch Netflix together with others

And yeah, that's it for today on our schedule. But of course, we wouldn't be a proper EBUAccessCast if we didn't present you with some gadgets. Anyone gadgets this time?

[Mario] Well, I think it's you, would you.

[Paweł] Again? Noooooo!

[Mario] Inspector Ga… Ach,  come on, you have to prove your Inspector Gadget,

[Paweł] OK,

[Mario] status.

[Paweł] I have to prove my Inspector Gadget status.

[Mario] Yah.

[Hlynur] You have to renew your certificate.


[Paweł] Every six weeks? Come on!

Good it's for free. And I'm also coming with something for free because I didn't buy anything, unfortunately, but I tested some things and I found an interesting browser extension, for Chromium-based browsers for now, called Teleparty. If you go to, you can check it out. This extension allows you to host a Netflix watching party with amount of people of your choice, and you do this by installing the the extension and hosting a party. By hosting a party, I mean, you generate a link, you sent this link across to all the people who should watch with you and all these people click on the link. Of course, all of you need to have your own Netflix account. This is not any kind of trick to get Netflix for free or any kind of other streaming service, but you log into your Netflix or I think there is also Hulu, but Hulu is not much of a thing in Europe.

[Mario] No.

[Paweł] and there you will watch whatever the person chose, the host chose to watch, in synchronised mode, so the host has generally the control over everything, if they start, you start, if they pause, you pause. They can also decide if you can pause or you can rewind, fast forward and manage the video in general, but this is a decision of the host. And the best news about it is, and I tested this actually, you can each of you pick your own audio and subtitling settings. So what happened to me was we were watching some movie with my mom (I'm in Austria, she's in Poland, so it's a bit more difficult to watch things together now), and we managed to get to the point where she was watching the movie in polish, with, yeah, dub, with dubbing; and I was watching it here in English with audiodescription; and this was such an amazing feeling because, well, usually even if you watch at home with somebody, you have to somehow agree on a compromise. Do Everyone… Does everyone have to listen to audio description, even though it's sometimes annoying to them, or do you somehow sacrifice the description and you maybe ask the sighted people that you watch with to describe something to you if you don't understand what's going on, for example, or how do you manage this? And Apple is coming out with th e Shareplay, which allows you to watch things also via Facetime, and also, everyone is supposed to be able to pick up their own settings, and Netflix as of yet is not on board. But, well, there is a solution there for Netflix and for non-Apple users. So I think it's the best of two worlds, and I hope I somehow made your Netflix bingeing sessions with friends better, more accessible. Sadly, some news are appearing that Netflix is trying to prevent this kind of extensions working. They're officially saying they're trying to somehow prevent external scripts messing with the video and some other illegal tricks, but it might happen that this kind of extensions will stop working at some point. Hopefully, fixes will be provided or workarounds will be found, or hopefully, Netflix finally introduces this natively, because, I mean, this is, especially in times of COVID, such a important feature to have that you can watch this together with people you cannot meet normally, so. Yeah, crossing my fingers that Netflix will realise how important this is. In the meantime, enjoy your Teleparty and that is my gadget for today.

[Mario] Yeah, instead of watching the movie with your mum, I would suggest to host Tinder Watching Party, you know, Pawel?


[Paweł] What is it with you teasing me about Tinder?

[Mario] Yeah, yeah, yeah, man.

[Paweł] I don't know. I don't know why, but OK, I guess I have to live with that. Maybe, maybe in some future podcast anywhere, somewhere, we'll discuss dating problems of blind people.

[Mario] That's a good topic for Christmas.

[Paweł] Yeah, yeah, definitely.

Accessibility in the news

Surface Adaptive Kit

So starting with Windows, Microsoft has introduced, and I don't think anybody expected this, but it's good that it's there, and also at the beginning, I felt like “how would I use this?”, The Surface Adaptive Kit, which is a set of tools, of items you can apply on different parts of your Surface hardware that help you in identifying different parts of the computer, tablet, call it as you wish, I think it's both in one in some cases, to identify the keys on the keyboard, to identify the different ports and cables, also to help you lift some of the lids on it, on the device; and I read about it, and I think it's quite interesting. I don't remember how the surface looks like, but I guess it's a bit smaller than usual laptops and maybe because of this it's a bit harder to identify some items. I think Tanja you read more into this.

[Tanja] Yes, and actually I received in the last days a computer for testing and it is a Surface, so I confirm it is a smaller and since it is not my first computer, it is more difficult for me to be efficient and to find quickly where are the right F keys or which key to use in combination with the FN if you would like to, I don't know, increase, decrease the volume, so of course, we can get used to that, but if it is not your primary machine, something like this would be helpful to enhance the accessibility of the hardware, but at the same time, I was thinking, OK, since they are thinking about accessibility, why they wouldn't put this by default and not having hardware that doesn't have a space, a small space between the F keys like four blocks, but you have to put a tactile symbol on it or tactile tool, whatever.

[Paweł] Mm hmm.

[Tanja] So it's good that it's there, but also why we should adapt, why it's not by default accessible?

[Paweł] Do you think they can still do it even though the size is so small? Like, is it technically viable to still?

[Tanja] I think so. Well, you know that on the F and J we have this small, tactile thing. Think, so I think it will be possible in one way or the another, of course, in a small space you cannot have a standard PC keyboard, but I think they could do a bit more accessible, if you are blind and relying only on the touch.

[Paweł] Mmhm. Yeah, yeah, you're right. The good thing they do about it is that they provide really clear and concise instructions on how to apply everything and where you where you find each item in the box. So I think it's very well explained and I don't find myself very handy with so handy works, but I guess I could be able to follow those instructions. I'm quite curious now, but uh. Well, yeah, good for Microsoft that they thought about this because we'll be getting back to this in… when we discuss MasterCard, but I think when we think of accessibility, it's quite a lot on the software side. We talk about digital accessibility a lot and we see a lot of success in software side, so when somebody made an app more accessible or a website or yeah, made some solution more accessible on the software, but not so much on in the hardware spectrum and this is also quite important that proper labelling of buttons also on elevators, for example, and and clear labelling of keys like this is something that often goes in the missing. And I don't think it should be because it's as important as making your software experience accessible. So it's good that Microsoft thought about this.

[Hlynur] Yeah, I agree with Tanja that it's… might be disappointing that it's not like standard yet, but might also be a small step in the right direction.

Paweł) Mm hmm.

[Mario] Yeah, sure, sure, sure. The thing is that basically what we are seeing here is the fact that the Surfaces didn't come out yesterday. They are around for a while, so the fact that Microsoft came out with this toolkit is, you know, the situation where you have something already out and you need to somehow adapt to the people with disabilities. But yeah, I would agree that, for example, if they come up and they probably will come out with some newer services, that these kind of things should be included on the fly already.

[Paweł] Yeah, this is interesting because I think this adaptive kit came out in the same conference that the new surface hardware so it's interesting, like what kind of choices were made in the design of this, if clearly the effort was there but the execution not so much. And it's bolting on accessibility on an already existing product. Well, let's hope that the choices will be better next time around next year. We'll see.

[Mario] Mm hmm.

Running Android apps on Windows 11

[Paweł] but that's not the only accessibility news from Microsoft, as I said before already. We also find out now, and it was already teased in a way when the first betas of Windows 11 were coming out, that the current beta testers have access to Android apps running on Windows 11, and I read a little bit about this. There is some good news. There is some less good news, let's say. So let's start with the good news. The good news is that there is a screen reader in this experience. Once you enter an Android app run this way you can press ctrl+win+T and Screen reader will come up and you can navigate these apps.

[Mario]I wonder how you can press ctrl+Win+T with one hand if you have only one ctrl key. For example, I have one ctrl key on my computer

[Paweł] On the right side?

[Mario] No, on the left.

[Paweł] On the left?

[Tanja] I… ctrl+Win+T, I think I can do it with one hand.

[Paweł] Yeah, I can.

[Tanja] I'm just trying.

[Paweł] I’m using…

[Hlynur] I’m a pianist So it's no problem for me

]Paweł] And I'm using these Twitter clients and like invisible interfaces for a while, so shortcuts like ctrl+win+shift+alt+N, no problem. (laughter) But…

[Mario] Yeah, well, OK.

[Paweł] Yeah.

[Tanja] But it would be logical to have the same shortcut as in Windows. Why not? You know,

[Paweł] I don't know. Might might T, might T be hinting at TalkBack somehow?


[Mario] Maybe, yes.

[Tanja] Yes, but…

[Paweł] Maybe. Yeah…

[Mario] Whatever.

[Paweł] Maybe it was somehow a little difficult with the infrastructure because this Android experience is a virtual machine, in fact, of Android running inside windows.

[Mario] Mm hmm.

[Paweł] It's an optimised virtual machine, but nevertheless, if you want to have this running, you need to turn on virtualisation in your Windows settings, so it's not very native windows experience, but yeah, it's apparently very well optimised. It runs quite smoothly. I have to be basing my opinion now on the post on the Audiogames forums because I'm currently not able to test this, but somebody did, and they said it's very snappy. It's the fastest experience they have seen of the sort. And here comes the less good news or a couple, because first of all, for the time being, if you want this to run, at least officially, if you want to download the Android experience from the Microsoft Play Store, from the Microsoft App Store equivalent, Microsoft Store, you need to actually have set your locale to the US so you can't use your whatever locale of choice, you need to be on the US And also you need a US Amazon account because Microsoft has partnered with Amazon and you can only install officially at least the Amazon store, and you can download the apps from there, which are not very many, from what I heard, I saw somewhere the number being 50, I didn't expect it being so little, but well, that's what we have.

[Mario] I don’t understand, I don't understand why they didn't go with the with the Google, but…

[Paweł] Politics, I guess.

[Mario] Well…

[Paweł] At some point, some paths didn't meet and well, there you go. Um, yeah, yeah, I also think it's quite detrimental because an average user will not make much use out of this.

[Mario] No.

[Paweł] Uuumm, a user who knows their stuff, they will probably find out how to sideload apps. There is even a way around I already found out somewhere, to install Google Play services on this because even if you don't have the Google Play Store, but you will want to install, like, everyday apps that you use, you might run into problems with running them because they will rely on Google Services and if you don't have Google Services, you can't really run these apps, unless you find some unofficial version where this requirement is lifted, but yeah, for everyday use, this is very, very tricky and very difficult to use. Hopefully, Microsoft will somehow come to terms with Google. At some points they will realise this is not very useful for a lot of people, maybe for developers (somebody mentioned developers and video gamers on the forum where I browsed), so maybe these target groups, yes, but other than this, if I, for example, would like to order my Uber from the PC because I'm at the PC and it's just more comfortable for me at the moment, this will probably not happen. Sad, but true, but yes, they thought of accessibility and it's the thought that counts also in this scenario that the screen reader is there, according to this user who tested this, it's a modification of TalkBack and the problem is that, for example, the default keyboard shortcuts for things like global context menus and things, they are not configured so you have to configure some of the keyboard shortcuts yourself, which you can do, strangely enough, but if you want to do it, you have to go into your PowerShell and execute some commands with the PowerShell so that the settings open because natively you don't have access to the Android settings and as a consequence, you don't have access to TalkBack settings either, so you even have to go to some very great lengths to customise what the Screen reader does. I know it's a beta and maybe this will improve with the beta as it progresses, but for the time being, this is a huge drawback. Also, with the speech synthesisers for the time being, you have to use the Microsoft voices. You can…

[Mario] So basically they made Microsoft Voices available for Android.

[Paweł] I think it's a kind of bridge that is not compatible so you won't be able to extract APK files of voices if you wanted to. It's some kind of bridge to interface with windows. That's how I think it works.

[Mario] Because actually, I would really like to see Microsoft's, all of the Microsoft Mobile Voices imported to the Android. But yeah.

[Paweł] Mm hmm. Would be great, yes, especially because they have such a bright, such a broad language selection.

[Mario] Yeah, yeah, and the most of the voices are very small, which would be which would make make them very useful on the mobile devices.

[Paweł] Yeah, they could work on the pronunciation a little bit.

[Hlynur] Yeah, the voices are actually… Yeah, I also feel like the Microsoft voices are quite good.

[Mario] Yeah, Yeah.

[Paweł] Yeah, yeah. Well, umm, yeah, apparently you can install third-party voices also on this Android emulator, but uh, no, you cannot change them in the TalkBack because you can't access the TTS settings. You can somehow play the samples, but you cannot change the default voice, maybe somehow… I think that didn't come across in the beta and it will be fixed afterwards, but for the time being, that's how it looks like, sadly, so I thought personally, this would be more exciting, But as I see it, this is not something I see myself using on a daily basis, unless they partner with Google.

[Mario] me neither, me neither.

[Paweł] But…

[Mario] The more, the more I listen to you explaining what you need to do, it's really, you know, heavy, geekery stuff. (laughter) so…

[Paweł] Yeah, if you actually want to make it usable, yes, it is.

[Mario] Yeah,

[Paweł] Mmhm.

[Hlynur] The idea is good.

[Paweł] Yes, in itself, yes, but the delivery could be a bit more polished and tailored to an everyday user.

Windows 11 impressions

Well, but you, actually some of you tested Windows 11. How is that like? Aside from Android apps, but in general, any big changes for better, for worse, who of you tested it, actually?

[Tanja] I’m not, I'm not sure if there are big changes for us from the screen reader perspective, but there is a difference. For example, for the start menu, it's just different. It's not all less or more accessible, and also the system tray is different. You can personalise it and decide which icons you would like to have in the taskbar so you can do this through the Windows settings. Then also, the accessibility is now replacing ease of access. Maybe this is something more important in general for accessibility, and what they're highlighting often is that the contrast now is much better, and it would be interesting to know, Hlynur, did you manage to test? Is the contrast really better?

[Hlynur] I haven't managed to test it myself on my computer, even though we haven't had any problems, there's one computer here at the office that we have upgraded to the Windows 11 and yeah, they I think they've moved away from the term ease of access over to more like accessibility settings.

[Mario] Yeah, and right now the accessibility settings are straightforward visible from the settings, which is, which is good.

[Hlynur] So the accessibility of the accessibility settings is more accessible. (Laughter)

[Tanja] Yes.

[Hlynur] And no issues with anything. No issues with NVDA or no such thing. So everything looks like works like it's supposed to do. Even the good old Ivona Reader is still working with the Windows 11. Yeah, I think, no contrast changes to the worse, at least.

[Mario and Tanja] Mm hmm.

[Tanja] Ok, because this was something that they were highlighting that now is much better. And of course, I cannot know this if it is better or no. But regarding Narrator, I was expecting that there will be an update in Windows 11, but if you look on the website of Microsoft, “What is new?” The last update on the article was in 2020, so in my understanding, I am not a frequent user of Narrator and I was going through the options, apparently, there is nothing new. It's just working with the operating system. And then I wonder if Narrator will be updated with the system updates, or it can be updated more frequently because if we have to wait for system updates, we will wait for some time.

[Mario] That’s’… I’m… I'm highly doubting that there will be separate updates for Narrator because so far we saw that it arrives with the system updates, so I don't think that in that context, something will change, unfortunately.

[Tanja] This means no frequent updates for Narrator, which is not good for us.

[Mario] Yeah, yeah, that's that's how it is for now. Maybe we will see some more info about it from this upcoming webinar, which will be soon from Microsoft…

[Tanja] That we’ll me… That we will mention later.

[Mario] Yeah, That we will mention later, but I've heard that there were some changes in the Narrator, so they did change something since the last version, but I don't think that those changes are so frequent that they address them.

[Tanja] Ok, but then if they change why you don't have anything official on their page?

[Mario] I get it, I get it, but you know, we should ask Microsoft (laughter)

[Tanja] Yeah.

[Mario] why they didn't do that. I can say that I also tested the system for the last, let's say, one week. And from my point of view, I can say that the things are not where they used to be. So you need to remember the new positions of the stuff where it is and it does take some, some time to to find out where, where something is located; and I found out that all of the dialogues where you need to change some stuff in the settings especially have changed a lot, a lot since the Windows 10. So for instance, if you are, if you want to adjust your sound card settings and stuff like that, it's completely redesigned the interface. It's not that it's not accessible, but it's redesigned and you need to explore the stuff to to find out where something is; and once… Everything is being spoken by the by the Screen reader. So no, don't be afraid about it in terms of exploring what's what is there and what's not, but they they quite heavily restructured the OS. That's that's for sure.

[Tanja] Mmhm.

[Mario] But what I what I also like is the fact that we came to the point that Microsoft released a new version of OS and the s… the other third-party screen manufacturers were working with Microsoft together, so when the operating system was released, I would say that ninety five percent of the features were working with the new updates and like we came to the point where the operating system came out and we had it accessible, which is good to see because the previous versions of the operating systems, we always had to wait for a while for the manufacturers like, you know, the NV Access and the Vispero to update the Screen readers, and you had to tweak the operating system to, you know, have it adjusted for your personal likings and stuff like that. But now it's, uh, it's working ???.

[Tanja] Yeah, it's working. It's working. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed. I was hoping that we will have some of the neural voices offered.

[Mario] Yes, that was very that was something that was, uh, even highly expected. And there were some rumours saying that it will arrive. But no, so far we didn't see them. We might. I think that we might see them in the future updates. But so far we don't have them and that's…

[Paweł] I still I have a feeling they are more like optimised for longer texts, not for like every day screen reader use. But maybe they would be able to do some magic to make them actually work.

[Mario] They would, you know, make like a maybe mobile versions of those. It would be also good. But we'll see because the thing is that Microsoft, like last year, it was a few months ago when they came out with this specific survey, which was targeted directly to the people who are using speech technologies. And they there were like set of questions like, How do you like this voice? Blah blah blah? What would it be like to have it improved? So I don't think they put out this survey just for the fact that somebody has nothing to do. So

(Pawel) yeah, I hope so, too.

(Mario) Yeah, they will. I think that they do have something in the pipeline and that we might expect some changes.

(Tanja) Maybe people wanted only eloquence (Laughs).

(Pawel) I was actually curious about this. I guess a lot of blind people would express that they actually like the robotic voices more for, like productive work.

(Tanja) Mm.

(Pawel) And they are used to them. And I was really curious if Microsoft is going to address this somehow. If this came up highly in their results and if they're going to address this, this would be quite interesting.

[Mario] Yeah, that's that's another thing related to the speech technologies where since Microsoft has purchased nuance, it was like a few months ago. Nuance Is also the owner of the Vocalizer TTS. And there are some rumours also that you might see some new voices coming up and that Vocalizer voices will no longer be maintained, but it's highly rumoured for now.

(Pawel) I think they designated a special company that is has some different name now that is delegated to these voices of Vocalizer as we knew them.

(Mario) But they they They put out some new voices which are completely new. Yeah. So we will see what will come up from from those.

(Pawel) Yeah, there is a small update for Android, meanwhile, and there is a Slovenian voice and the Belgian French voice. So congratulations to those who might profit from that.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah.

(Pawel) Well what about the sounds?

(Tanja) Yes. Well, there there are different, completely revamped in order to make them less stressful, as they say. So they don't have really this high pitch sounds or there is no sound that has a, I don't know, low pitch and then very high pitch. But what I read is that the designer took inspiration from an approach called calm technology. So in the calm technology that the interaction is supposed to happen between the technology and the user in the more natural way in the periphery of the user, not in the centre of atention. And this was their approach. I mean, they're what they wanted to do. It is true that we have to get used to them. I think it is also getting used to the sound, because you hear a sound and you don't know what it means. You can group sounds and you can assign a different sound for an event, as it was the case before. What I'm very much disappointed, though, is that you cannot assign a separate sound for a different email account. You always have the same sound, and if you have different email accounts in your outlook, you cannot differentiate from to which account you receive an email. And this is that

(Hlynur) you can do This in the Outlook app.

(Tanja) I found all the option have the sound or not have the sound.

(Hlynur) This is weird.

(Mario) Yeah, you can just turn it, turn it on or off, but you cannot change even the sound.

(Tanja) I did. I actually didn't try that in office365. I was searching in office 2016 and you can only tick whether you want to have the sound there or not. And then, if yes, you can choose in the system sound settings of windows. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm wrong.

(Hlynur) Actually, I don't think you are. If I remember correctly, I don't think I remember seeing this in the in the desktop version. Be able to see some, but I remember I have done it in the Android app.

(Mario) No, that's a different story. Android allows you to change that.

(Tanja) Yes. iOS two.

(Mario) Yes.

(Hlynur) I think this is correct.

(Tanja) Mhm, And also what they did is they change the sound depending on the visual theme that you're using. So in the dark theme, the sounds will be more echoe??? or it will be similar, but a bit different so that you can still recognise them. But there will be different. I don't know if somebody prefers sounds from the dark theme or

(Mario singing fear of the dark)

(Tanja) Or whatever.


(Pawel) It’s interesting when you think about this like that. The visual changes also affect the sound. I quite like the thought . It’s maybe a gadget again, but I sort of like it when they start thinking that people who rely on audio or the audific cues, they also like, you know, different styles, just like sighted people like different wallpapers and different visual aspects.

(Tanja) But then having these really calm sounds from windows, it make me think about NVDA sounds. For example, when you're going from browse mode to focus mode, it's really hurting your ears.

(Mario) So somebody is really deaf over there, man. It's it's so annoying. And I was writing to them so many times like, Hi guys, could you please change those sound themes because they're so old and disturbing? And when can we expect? Well, you know, it's not now on our priority list. Well, when it will be on your priority lists? Oh man.

(Tanja) Yes, but you remember at some point few years ago, they change the sound. Yes, for only one version.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Tanja) And they bring back the old ugly sounds.

(Mario) Yes, yes. And if you're wearing headphones and working with headsets all day, those sounds are attacking your ears. So bad.

(Pawel) I don't know about you, but the start up sound of Windows 11 reminds me a lot of like Windows Millennium Times.

(Tanja) I don't remember. I think I didn't use Windows Millennium or

(Pawel)98 or more, like it's a bit of like a shorter musical tune, something like this. It's quite interesting.

(Mario)I definitely can't say that all of this sound scheme is very anaemic, uh, in the Windows 11, because man, I cannot distinguish. I mean, I'm a musician and I cannot distinguish between those sounds what what each sound represents. Like the windows, the classical Windows 10 sounds that we have for years now. You can distinguish what each sound does. But those those sounds at Windows 11. God dammit, everything. Sounds the same way. Okay.

(Tanja) Yes. Ok, but there is something else also, which is improved. It is voice typing. So practically you select the text area and you can you can dictate the text. Also, punctuation is included, which was not in Windows 10. Now it is in Windows 11 and you have to be connected to the internet. So if you are not connected, the dictation feature will not work. You should just press Windows H and start dictating, but you have to make sure to have the correct input language keyboard selected because I was doing tests and my default keyboard was or not not default. My selected keyboard was Croatian, and I was trying to pronounce clearly and properly and a garbage was coming out. So then I changed to English, OK, and it was perfect, and I discovered that I can also dictate in all other languages that I speak Croatian, French and Italian. So it was a nice, nice discovery for me.

(Pawel) I think they had this feature in Office a while ago. They just introduced it in Office 365 that you can dictate into documents.

(Tanja) that's possible, but this one works wherever in the browser, in Notepad. Yes, wherever you need it.

(Pawel) (Great, Curiously. Has anyone tested the chat feature? Apparently, if you press Win+,I think, C, some lite version of teams should come up and you should be able to chat with people, I don't know. Have you tested that?

(Tanja) I did not. Ok. No, I did not. I tested something else. It is the widget panel which is supposed to be a sort of new service, but the services are only from Microsoft. So there are no third party services there yet. And you have also a panel of widgets for your personal widgets like To-Do List Calendar, which may be interesting. But for me, the calendar did not work, so the computer was saying the events from this account cannot be shown. So I don't know which type of account I should have, but the calendar, I couldn't sync my calendar. Yeah,

(Pawel) OK.

(Tanja) So it is nice, but with some limitations. Maybe if in the future they allow third party new services, it would be even more interesting. So actually, I had a problem with Adobe Reader because apparently you need to adjust the compatibility settings in Adobe Reader in order to make it work and open in Windows 11. So in the Adobe Reader properties. You select the run as administrator option and run the compatibility mode, and also I selected Windows seven compatibility. So there are three features that you should take in order to make it work. But it is quite surprising because the version that they have is Adobe Acrobat Reader DC continues version two thousand twenty one point. I don't know something. Some numbers, so I don't have an old version. And still you have to take this compatibility settings in the programme to make it work. And initially, I thought that there is something wrong with my installation, but it was not. It was just about this.

(Mario) Actually, I started to have the problems with that since last few months. Still when I was on 10 and I thought that this is something that there is something wrong with my.Adobe, and unfortunately there wasn't. But after I upgraded to 11, the problem came back again. So yeah, you need to a little bit reconfigure your Adobe Reader to work.

(Pawel) Hmm.

Now that's good to know, thanks for the tip, Tanja, because, yeah, watch out for your software compatibility because massive OS upgrades tend to break this and it's good to check if you have a chance.



Accessibility-related events in the near future

Microsoft is also putting a lot of care to explain how the new features work for people with accessibility needs, which they, for instance, facilitate by means of their webinars. And there are going to be there was already one and there is going to be the next webinar on accessibility Windows 11. Also you Tanja Read about this.

(Tanja) Yes, the one that was already given or it happened already was on accessibility features in Windows 11, a general one. If you missed it, they will upload the recording on the Microsoft Channel on YouTube, so you will be able to see it anyway. And the one that is upcoming on the 17 of November, it is about using Screen readers on Windows 11. Apparently, that will show Narrator and third party screen readers. They don't specify which, and I think it will be a nice one to see what they can present us.

(Pawel) Yeah, this is great to know that Microsoft is organising this. Check back quite often because they organise these webinars from time to time on different products they have. And it's it's interesting to find out how they themselves provide it and present it. I think they even have people with disabilities even presenting this. I could see Jeff Bishop being one of the presenters for the Screen reader webinar. And

(Mario) yeah,

(Pawel) I know he's like a respected accessibility expert, also works for Microsoft At the moment for a while now.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(Pawel) So you can count that this is done really well, but by competent people. But that's not the only event taking place these days in connection with accessibility and specifically with accessibility for blind and partially sighted people. Because with the beginning of December, the new NVDA Con is approaching and it's the first week… first weekend of December, and we still will not know until the 15th of November what the topics will be. The call is still open, so if you have your own suggestions for a topic, you can also propose them. But knowing from the experience from the last years, it will be probably a lot of where Nvda is going forward something about NVDA addons development, something about Addon translation. So in general, how the project is progressing and how different actors in the open source community of NVDA find themselves. But it will be also interesting to have a chance to get in conversation with the developers of NVDA and with the community at large

(Mario) Aha so I need to pop up. I need to show up there to say to developers to change those sounds. Goddamn sounds

(Hlynur) there's your chance.  

(Pawel) sMaybe, maybe you can be their new sound designer.

[Mario] Aaaach, Yes. Ok.


(Pawel) Ok, cool. Yeah, that's always a possibility. I think it will be on Teamtalk. It's always onTeamtalk . Yeah, and you can join it. And also the 1st and 2nd of December belongs to the Sighttech Global, organised by TechCrunch. It's an annual now because I think the first edition was last year Conference on Assistive Technology by means of artificial intelligence. So how artificial intelligence is helping in advancing technology for blind people. Also, interesting line-up of speakers. I already saw the person responsible for seeing AI. There are also plenty of companies sponsoring that. There is Google, there is Microsoft, there is Ford even, Yahoo.

(Tanja) Yeah, there will be also speakers from these companies like Microsoft, Google and Apple. Facebook. Some accessibility consultancies like Deq  also envision. I saw human were Goodmaps too, and also some research centres and universities. But the agenda is not ready yet.

(Mario) Yeah, it's not published yet,

(Tanja) And the list of speakers may be even updated, so it's not entire list yet.

(Pawel) Mm hmm. So that's for your events, so check your calendars and tune in if you have a chance

(Mario) If you didn't watch the presentations from the last one. They're still very accurate. I just I just checked a few in the last few days. And yeah, if you want to see what they were talking about, there are a bunch of interesting topics even from the last year. So it's a  if you want to know a little bit more about what this conference is about, you can check out the older presentations, which are still, uh, yeah, being accurate.

(Pawel) Yeah.

How come Apple made some blind people angry?

So jumping on further, we have Apple and Apple has recently made a lot of people angry for a couple of reasons.

(Mario) They started making bad apples.

(Pawel) Yes. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Rotten apples. Yeah, yeah. So first of all, what happened was that the developer of Flicktype was treated in a fairly unjust way. And first he created the keyboard Flicktype. For those of you who didn't know is the next keyboard after Fleksy the original developer of Fleksy, saw what was happening to the company. He decided to leave it and create what he initially intended to create, so keyboard that is focused on typing accurately with and without looking at the screen. It was quite successful. It even managed to spring up a Apple Watch keyboard where you could type on an Apple Watch quite accurately, also in an accessible way. And it was one of the first, I guess, or one of the most popular keyboards for the Apple Watch. Then at some point, Apple started blocking the updates. At first, they said, Yeah, you need to have full access permission, which means that the keyboard can access the internet and everything, and it was rejected. Then the developer explained how this works that it needs is needed somehow for… for VoiceOver users for this accurate prediction, probably for some machine learning or for some resources. And then it was accepted. But then again, he wanted to release a maintenance bug fix release with some improvements for VoiceOver also, and it was rejected for the same reason 3 years after. And the developer said it's enough he's not going to develop this anymore if Apple is going to throw obstacles on his way all the time. And he shared a bit of a back story where he said that Apple apparently tried to buy the keyboard of him so that they could include it as their own, or they could just own it at a discounted price. And he didn't agree. And according to him to the developer, this is where all the trouble with rejecting updates started with ignoring his emails started. Where, yes, a lot of things started going wrong and he decided to give up on the keyboard. He still wanted to maintain the Apple Watch portion for a bit. And then Apple Watch came out the 7th edition, 7th series, and they introduced their own QuickPath so that their own typing thing on the Apple Watch, which according to the developer, was. Basically a rip off of his keyboard. And he still has. It turns out, a lawsuit going on with Apple, where he's trying to claim that they were trying to convince him to buy, to sell his keyboard to them. He didn't agree. So they started blocking his updates and coming up with ridiculous reasons not to accept these updates. Apple said they reviewed this latest claim that they revised again their their guidelines. And allowed this keyboards and even push the latest update through, and that they will continue to accept these updates and that he is free to submit them whenever he likes. The thing is probably still going on. It's yeah, it was quite controversial back when it first came out because it basically showed that if Apple wants to have something, they will basically show you that they will have it. If you don't agree, they will probably try to make your life difficult or eventually build something similar. And well, there is. There is nothing you can do unless you somehow registered for a patent. Well, your idea is now Apple's idea. It's… the process is called Sherlocking. Sherlock used to be an app for searching for different things on your Mac. And then what Apple did was they bought the app, and they introduced the feature called Spotlight that we all know that basically replaced Sherlock. So they bought the app, made it irrelevant and introduced their own native feature to the system instead. And since then, this tradition of Sherlocking is a term that people apply whenever a big company will buy your idea or, well, if you don't agree, they will just copy it, call it theirs, and will make in turn your idea irrelevant. The next thing what happened, because there are, of course, different comments under these articles, and some people agreed with the developer that, yes, big companies do that.

Others said that there is actually no proof that he was the first to come up with this kind of keyboard that it will be hard for him to defend that. Yeah, in general, you cannot prevent prevent innovation. But the second thing that happened and this is very interesting was that Oriol Gomez, he is a blind developer from Spain who produces a lot of accessible games,Audio games. He tried to also update his app and there was a maintenance update because something didn't work in iOS 15 and he decided to submit a fix so that people can use it furthermore. And Apple rejected his update because they said that Oriol’s app is too similar to many different apps that are already out there, and Oriol appealed. He tried to fight for his case. He asked the community for support. I even saw that his appleviz post made it to the Hacker News. Hacker News is this website where people can post different links mostly connected to tech or science or culture in some cases, and you can discuss these links on this portal. So he basically received a lot of attention from the external participants, also not just in the blindness community. And I don't know if it's a result of this or simply Apple decided to react, but they finally got back to him.

First, they said, OK, we'll let your app through, but it's still not compliant with our guidelines. And then they had a conversation, and it turns out that the problem was an icon, that he used some stock icon that was from some open source library and some many other apps used the same icon as he did. And therefore, they said it's very similar and this triggered some of their automated systems. Yeah, that thought that this up might be some kind of scam. This is very difficult for blind developers because Apple has quite stringent rules on how your app should look graphically, and it's difficult for blind people to create. An actual, nice looking and probably compliant with Apple's guidelines, graphical UX design. So this is also why we don't have actually very many blind developers and especially game developers, because in game you will need a lot of graphics if you want to to pass the App Store restrictions. And there were even cases. I think Liam erven tried to do it some years ago where he tried to release his aud… first audio game on the iOS, and he made an audio game, so it didn't make sense for him to put any graphics there, so the screen was completely black. And for that reason, Apple rejected his game. So he had to put some static image, so just so something would be showing. And yeah, it's bizarre. I mean, of course, I understand it for some reasons, but also it makes the life of blind developers very difficult. So I think it's it's important to address this that it's should be changed somehow and there should be more leniency on that. Also, in both cases, in the cases of of Flicktype and in case of Oriol’s games, the app reviewers didn't seem to know a lot about VoiceOver. Like in case of Oriol They just said, Yeah, we understand that your game has VoiceOver like they clearly didn't even get that the game is accessible for the blind, that the game, how the game works. Actually, how does that relate to VoiceOver? Also, in the case of Flicktype, the developer says that they often showed that they haven't really tested the app with VoiceOver. So they don't really know a lot about accessibility, which is surprising because Apple is quite known for an outstanding commitment to accessibility, so it's surprising to see that their app reviewing team doesn't know so much about accessibility. Also, the first thing that happened that was rectified also with some recent iOS updates. Well, some Siri features that were used by many blind people disappeared. We are talking about checking your call history, the voicemail or sending emails. And for many weeks, the top technology portals have been stormed with headlines like Apple disables features important for the blind people. Well, I guess for a lot of blind people, this was important. And of course, these are very basic features. So of course, it's not good that they took it away, but it could be much worse in comparison with what happens with these apps. And also, Apple reacted quite quickly. They responded to some of the concerns to the emails, and they said they're going to bring it back and apparently they did from what I'm reading in the mailing lists right now. So it's good to know, but it's yeah, worth noting that somehow, and it's been noticed in previous versions of iOS before as well. The Siri features quietly keep disappearing for some reason. Of course, we know about like tweeting and sending Facebook posts. This was taken back because altogether, Apple has pulled out from cooperating with these portals with the social media, but also later it was made difficult for people to tune into stations with Tunein, I think. And in general, Siri wouldn't understand a lot of commands that it understood previously, and a lot of people complained that Siri is degrading in terms of what it can and how it can understand it. So this was just like the last straw, and a lot of people got very impatient, and Apple justified it with some tests of the onboard on device capabilities of Siri that does not require internet connection. But nevertheless, the community reacted and Apple reinstated, which is also a positive example that they do listen and they bring it back.

But these examples of the apps basically shows that the politics behind, you know, AppStore or PlayStore or any other store regulations and Big Tech companies, this is not very much. I think that doesn't concern us as blind people. It's slowly creeping into us, too. And we are also, yeah, becoming sort of victims here where apps that we also like are being blocked or for some reason hindered from being updated. And it's not just a single case because I came across blog posts from app developers who said that, well, their apps were also blocked for random reasons so updates wouldn't come through or they were pulled out from the App Store or Play Store for this or that reason, they had to clarify. Sometimes it was bizarre. And one of the developers that I read from, he actually decided to set up a web app and focus on it more because he said, This is going to last. This is not going to be removed any to anywhere if I don't decide to remove it. And this is not going to be prevented from being updated. So some people are already getting quite angry at the fact that, well, of course, the rules are there for a reason, and that's understandable. But sometimes it's very difficult to meet them. And even if you meet them, you're going to be thrown out anyway. So, yeah, that's how it works these days. I don't know if you have any comments on this, but. Well, it's maybe just it. Unfortunately, accessibility is not always taken into account. Maybe some other constraints were taken into account, like Border Protection or whatever that now takes the priority above accessibility and should go hand by hand.

[Paweł] Yes, that's for sure. Yeah. What you said also like this lack of knowledge of people basically about how some apps work and that apparently the people who reviewed them are there to check how the app works thoroughly, especially if in the description you have, it helps blind people and then they don't. And then they show that they don't really know much about these things and and they reject it just in case. Yeah, here is hoping that things like that will not happen anymore or that they will happen less frequently. But seeing how political it all has become, for example, with the Epic case of the Fortnite developers. Yeah, the world starts to notice that sometimes these big companies are abusing their power. And when it comes to admitting apps, when everything is centralised and you cannot really choose your own store, it's becoming difficult.

(Mario) Well, now I have to think whether should I update to iPhone or not? (Laughter)

(Pawel) Well, maybe Google will come up with something interesting too. They have made their accessibility guidelines more stringent recently on accessibility services. So you never know.

(Mario) Yeah. Yeah. Yes. Yes. You're preparing your migration to iPhone. What are you thinking?

(Pawel) I think I'm going to build my own smartphone with my own free store.

(Mario) Uh, yes, Pawelphone.

(Pawel) Oh yes. Pawelphone.


(Mario) Ok.

(Pawel) But some people are thinking about this kind of things these days. So building their own open source ecosystem. But yeah, we'll have to see. Fortunately, in… apart from Flicktype, all of the other cases have been alleviated and Apple apologised. But you can see that the developers are getting angry. Also, maybe they will be able to win something by law, especially that in in the Congress, in the United States, they are thinking of instigating some kind of legal obligation that other app stores should be allowed on these devices so that there is no monopoly, that there is some kind of shift in that direction to legally oblige big companies, big tech not to be so monopolistic. So we'll see how far they will go with that.

What’s new in Talkback 12.1?

But Google. Google also is doing things, and one of these things is the new TalkBack update. Have you tested this Mario?

(Mario) No, because I didn't get it it didn't arrive to Samsung's yet

(Pawel) interesting I, I haven't tested it either, but we thankfully have a quite detailed changelog of what is to come.

(Mario) Huh. And look, it's not from Google.

(Pawel) No, sadly, it's the problem. Like, we got to the point, we got to the point where external people have to debug or find out themselves what happened and what is new and report about this. And where is Google with their press releases, with their press announcements all over the internet about, you know, making revolutionary changes for the blind? Humour aside, dark as it may be, the only change that is probably worth of notice. Maybe not the only, but the headliner change, let's say, is the fact that from now on, you can switch whether you want to type by lifting your finger or double tapping on the letters.

(Mario) Wow,

(Pawel) wow.

(Hlynur) That is a huge small change, by the way.

(Pawel) Yeah, it's it's needed. It's definitely needed. That's not to say that it's not, but. Well, Samsung introduced this in 2014. Apple had this from the beginning. Now it's there. Oh, of course. On Android, there were third party keyboards that could do this. Yeah, but now we have it and I mean, good that it's there. Sorry to see that. That is the only or almost the only worthwhile worth mentioning. Change of the whole set. Apparently, it works only with the latest GBoard versions. There is not much info if that's some kind of API that other keyboard developers can use.

(Mario) And there are still no new languages for for braille input, which is a shame.

(Pawel) Yes, and well, there are some other changes, too. You can now navigate between the different areas or zones on the screen. For example, if you have the main part of the screen, the notification shade, the status bar, the navigation bar before they were just announced. If you moved your finger over them, it would tell you home button, navigation, bar area or something like this. Now you can actually navigate between these areas. This is in the different settings on the selector that you can have different granularity settings and also you can assign gestures and keyboard shortcuts to this. This is quite interesting because on Android, a lot of things pop up, and sometimes it's difficult to get there quickly enough. Like, for example, the volume pane.

(Mario) Oh yeah, yeah, especially the accessibility volume.

(Pawel) Yes, this is quite tricky. If you want to manipulate different volumes and you just want to quickly get there, you have to touch a specific part of the screen. Now you can, you can touch it. You can find it with this with this new setting. I'm quite curious if this also works with this kind of apps that place a floating button somewhere on your screen. I think there are some apps where you can actually use a floating button to be all the time on the screen somewhere in any kind of corner. You can move it around and you can always find it, and you can always tap it and do something, depending what the app is programmed to do.

(Mario) Mm hmm.

(Pawel) I'm quite curious if this will work, because this could be also quite interesting. Usually, you had to find this button somewhere by browsing around on your screen, but now if you could find it like this, it would be much more convenient. Also, the settings for Keyboard Echo have been split into software keyboard echo and hardware keyboard Echo. This was also long requested. Also, apparently now TalkBack is a bit better at recognising images. If an image has a text description, I think it's mostly in apps like icon apps. This will be read to you, for example, before you had an image in the YouTube app that was just an image, and now it says Image YouTube. I don't know if it stretches beyond that. If it will read things from your photos, for example, or just in the in apps to make the labelling a bit clearer. And there are some cosmetic changes, too. For instance, now when you focus on some kind of zone on the screen, as I mentioned before, the name of the zone will be read first, so you'll hear navigation bar home button. I think it's quite annoying.

(Mario) Yeah. Yeah.

(Pawel) It will make reading everything much longer,

(Mario) but I think you can change that. It's related to the setting of the

(Pawel) verbosity.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah. Of the verbosity. So you can change that, like which kind of element we want to be spoken like? Do you want to have name, state or state name or whatever? So there? Those settings can be changed.

(Pawel) I hope this can be changed also. These settings, by the way, have been moved to the advanced section. They are no longer part of verbosity, but they are now in advanced the settings of the order of reading.

(Mario) And yeah, and there is one also interesting thing which I saw and that's the announcement of the speech speed when you are now. So before, if you would change the TTS speed with the with the gestures, with the TalkBack gestures, it would say faster or slower, but you would not know how fast it goes. But now they say that it should speak percentage.

(Pawel) Yes, that's a nice one.

(Mario) Yeah, that's good.

(Pawel) Also, if your TTS should crash for some reason because you're updating it, for example, TalkBack will switch to the next available TTS. The only problem with that is if you want to go back to your preferred TTS, you have to restart TalkBack.

(Mario) Yeah, that's true. Yeah.

(Pawel) So there is there are a couple of cosmetic changes like moving options around, some things being announced differently and so on. But that's it for this version. So not much. And the jump in the number of version is significant because they

(Mario)They jumped from nine to 12. Yes. And the thing is, I will tell you why is that is because now the version numbers are the same as with Samsung TalkBack versions. Yeah. So because for whatever reason, Samsung came out with the 12th version long time ago, actually since they launched Android 11. And um yeah, now they they merged the the numbering. So basically it should be the same.

(Pawel) Mm hmm.

Yeah, it's still if you look at the changes and if you I know the reasoning, but still, if you look at the changes from from 9 to 12,

(Mario) yeah. Yeah,

(Pawel) it's you should have I don't know what car engine. Yes. Yes. Yeah.

An update to Vocalizer for Android after a long silence

(Mario) Speaking of the things connected to the TalkBack, there was a recent update for Vocalizer their Android two days ago, which came out just after two years and four months of waiting. So because everybody thought that they're no longer going to maintain it, but they did come out with the newer update, and now it's. It's with a version3.72, and uh, yeah, there are there are some bugs fixed. It was not optimised for Android 11. So if you would use it more frequently, you would come to the point that all of the, for example, voice messages that you listen on WhatsApp or Telegram or whatever would switch to your ear earphone and you would not hear them anymore on your. Phone speaker, but at the same time, your screen would get bugged and it would not work until you would not press the power button to unlock the phone, and it was annoying, but now it's fixed, so that's also good. So if yeah, one one thing is that if you are usingVocalizer, don't be surprised if after the update, your Vocalizer stops talking or your phone. So you might want to switch to your alternative TTS while doing the update, because you will have to redownload all of the voices again, because they they did some structuring and restructuring, so the voices are not probably kept on the same location or whatever, so they need to be redownload it completely.

(Pawel) The Croatian voice pronounce things better now or is it still there?

(Mario) No, actually, it's not pronouncing the things better, but uh, what I noticed is that also if you changed from the pro version to the compact voice, the speech gets much better, which is which is strange because the compact voices have a little bit lower speech quality. But I have to say that I switched completely to the old compact voices and on the phone speaker, If you are listening or listening one on one phone speaker, there is not too much difference and they're much, much smaller to

(Pawel) OK. It's good to know.

(Mario) Yeah.

New accessibility features for audio in Youtube videos

(Pawel) But that's not everything that is new in the Google land, and I think you can tell us Tanja a little bit about the new changes in YouTube. What is in store for people who who would like some accessibility features on their audio?

(Tanja) Yeah, so YouTube announced the new audio features to improve the accessibility of the videos. One is already rolled out, and it is that creators now have the possibility to have automated live captioning for live stream in English. Until now, this was possible only for creators that have more than one thousand subscribers. Now it is available for everyone. The plan is also to cover all other languages that are currently supported by the automated captioning and from the European languages. These are Dutch, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian, and there are also some other Asian languages. What is interesting for us is that they are planning to roll out the feature to add additional audio tracks, which is useful if you want to have a separate audio track in another language. But for us, this means that we can also have the audio description audio track if it is provided. I wonder what happens if the length is not the same, because we know that sometimes the audio description is longer. There are some pauses in between, so normally I suppose it should be sinked and have the same length as the video. Then also well for the audio tracks. Actually, they say that it will be available in the coming quarters, that it is available for a small group of creators. But I remember Pavel, that you shared with us a year ago….

(Pawel) Yes. Video Where it worked.

(Tanja) It already worked, but apparently it was not really official or again, it was limited to some users. And now they're planning to make it more official because at that time, if you were checking the official website of Google…

(Pawel) there was nothing on it

(Tanja) Nothing. Yes. So now it will be more official. And then I think also creators will have to learn about audio description because first step is having the functionality and next step is really creating audio description. But of course, without the functionality, it's impossible. Ok, so then what they are planning to add is automatic translation of the caption. It is available apparently already on the desktop, but it will come on Android and iOS, and they are planning also to make available the search of the transcript so that you can even search that. The search includes the transcript of the video, which would be nice because we know that the transcript improves the “searchability” or the SEO of the content.

(Pawel) Mm hmm. They're also thinking of adding the special role for people to add subtitles on your channel if you have a channel and you would like to delegate this to somebody. Now you can, which is probably a response to them switching off the community captions before a community based where basically everyone could have provided captions. And yeah, it's it was a useful feature, but it was also abused in some cases. And this is going to roll out in the following years and quarters. This is good to know. Yes, I'm also wondering how many people will use this, especially the audio tracks. I don't think an average YouTuber will. That's the problem because it's already a lot of work to prepare content in some case.

(Tanja) Yes, yes. But I remember a few years ago I was asked how they can add an audio description on a video and we were struggling how to do this. And one of the options was “we should create a separate video like audio only”. And as we know in accessibility, this is completely wrong. It should be everything integrated in the original one.

(Pawel) Yes, I agree. And this is especially annoying even for accessibility campaigns or for some kind of showcase of audio description. A lot of studios or organisations that deal with audio description. They sometimes put up some videos or movies for free, and they actually have to upload two separate versions, and that's quite problematic.

(Tanja) Mm-hmm.

(Pawel) I'm also looking forward to the fact that we will be able to switch between languages because this is also quite important if you're learning a language and you just want to switch or choose, or even even if you know you are an organisation like the European Parliament or the EBU or any other organisation that deals with international content and creates campaigns, uploading this in one go with alternative tracks is very important. So I think, yes, this is a good change, and it's sad that it's so late, but it's good that it's there.

(Mario) I'm wondering when we will have also some normal guidelines for, you know, for people who want to create the audio tracks available. And I'm wondering if you would be able to add additionally, these audio tracks to the videos that are being already on YouTube.

(Tanja) Normally, I suppose, yes, if you are the content creator. You cannot upload to something that is already existing. But as content creator, I suppose yes.

(Pawel) This should be in the YouTube studio because you can also put subtitles on afterwards.

(Mario) Mm hmm.

(Pawel) And this is something what you usually do like. You probably upload your video first and then you add the subtitles onto it somehow or in the process. And I think you just will have to click on edit and you will just add the alternative tracks onto it.

(Mario) Huh? Nice.

(Pawel) That's how if I think it will work, but would be sensible.

(Mario) Yeah.

What’s new in JAWS 2022?

(Pawel) Moving on, Vispero

Vispero is out with a new line-up of their products

for2022, and that includes also JAWS2022. You have tested this Tanja I think you wanted to test it?

(Tanja) Yes, I did, yes.

(Pawel) And how do you find the new features?

(Tanja) Actually, there are some interesting features. For example, the split audio

(Mario) Oh but something that's been stolen.

(Tanja laughs) Yes, actually, we were speaking about this a year ago. It was a software called how it was called Babel.

(Mario) No, it is. It was from Babbage.

(Tanja) Babbage, OK.

(Mario) It's from that company. And they also created the audio splitter for NVDA, (Tanja) and It was a quite expensive one.

(Mario) Yeah.

(Tanja) So finally, now it's integrated into JAWS. I hope we will see soon this in NVDA because it is quite nice one. You can root JAWS to one channel and all other sounds to the other channel, meaning if you have headphones, you can route JAWS to left here and all the other sounds to the right ear. If you are listening a conference and at the same time you have some notifications or emails that you would like to check so you can route the sounds and you can do this by pressing Insert space and then V as volume and then B as balanced and then use the arrows, depending where you would like to route JAWS. Also, you can. If you have headphones, you can route JAWS to default sound card of the laptop so you can have the sound. All other sounds in the headphones, in the headphones and then JAWS on the laptop speakers. So well, depending on on the number of sound cards, you can do different things and I'm surprised that this didn't come earlier, but it came. Also a nice…

(Mario) You know, it'sCovid, you know, everybody is so slow.

(Pawel) Yeah, I can tell you even more interesting thing that some gamer, some headphones for gamers or headsets for gamers actually offer this natively for any app you want. They have two sound cards and you can actually use one sound card as the left channel and the right sound card is the right channel and you can distribute the sound however you like. I think SteelSeries is one of the companies that makes headsets which work like this. If you install their software, they will present themselves as two separate sound cards and you can route the audio as you wish.

(Mario) Mm hmm.


 (Tanja) hmm. Ok. That's a nice one. Ok, then the second option that is also quite interesting is that you can now change the sound card for JAWS on the fly with the shortcut. So normally before you would need to enter into JAWS options. But if you don't have the sound, it's very difficult or almost impossible. Now you can do this again by pressing Insert space and then the V as volume and then C as card. And by pressing arrows, you will choose one of the cards that are available and then pressing enter, you will confirm. It happened to me, actually, just before we started recording this podcast, I plug in my microphone, which was recognised as an external speaker, and then I lost the sound from the speakers.

(Mario) Yeah.

(Tanja) So these are some of the situations when this can be really handy if you have JAWS running at that moment. So there are some, some nice things, and I suppose they are working also on Windows 11 compatibility. Actually, when I installed Windows 11, I was using JAWS 2022. I didn't try even JAWS2021, so I don't know if there are any differences. Probably, yes, but I didn't try.

(Pawel) Think it's also worth mentioning that the support for Windows 7 and 8.1 will be dropped. So if you were still on that,

(Mario) What about XP? And Internet Explorer?

(Pawel) Yeah, yeah, Probably move that too. And yes, there are also there is a migration wizard, so the import of settings from a previous version is now smoother and there's a number of fixes. There are some improvements for office apps. It should work faster with office365, especially with outlook messages.

(Mario) I was saying that the outlook is being slow sometimes with screen readers. Yeah, NVDA especially what I found out is that you can make a separate profile in NVDA for outlook and then what you need to turn off in the in that profile for NVDA is to turn off the tables from from being announced, because when you're viewing many emails with NVDA and outlook, they are being pronounced as emails with many, many tables, while the other screen reader, such as JAWS, do not announce that. Mm

(Pawel) hmm.

I also notice with NVDA that the Excel is not the fastest on the web, it works, but you can feel kind of delay before you get where you need.

(Mario) Are you talking about the last version because the last version has been speed up?

(Pawel) I mean, the web one, the web.

(Mario) The Web one?

(Pawel) Yes. Yes, yes. Well,

(Mario) yeah.

Mastercard introduces more accessible card design

(Pawel) At any rate, there is also some news from MasterCard.

(Mario) Mustercard, is that the mustard thing that you put on the on your hot dogs? (Pawel Musstardcard, NO Mastercard.

But MasterCard, they have actually made a public announcement in the recent days where they announced the release of the so-called Touch Card, which is a yeah their payment card as usual. Except it has a notch and an embossing, which basically shows you what kind of card you're holding if it's a credit card, debit card or a prepaid payment card. And this is how they try to address the fact that all payment cards are becoming flat designed with nothing embossed on them. And yes, they’re trying to contribute to accessibility like this.


(Mario) that's one of the examples where the low tech becomes important.

(Pawel) Yes, and the headline news as well, because it was a very probably easy thing to make, but it just requires somebody to think about it. It's good that it's there. I hope they will not stop at that, I hope they will make it a bit more accessible too, because embossed things are also quite important. I have a MasterCard car that my bank issued to me. I think it was quite recently, two years ago or something, and it still has all the digits of the card number embossed and Chip. So the the part that you have to slide into the reader is also tactile. You can feel it. So I don't see it as much as a problem. I guess it's different with different banks as well. They could embose some more data on it. Even the CVV, the three digits that could be embossed too. Now, maybe the expiry date, I don't know if it would fit anymore. Maybe it would. And also, I don't know. In my case, the digits are very small, so you can sort of feel them. But if you don't really know the number of your card, you can't read it properly like that. It's very small, very tiny, even like under my and my fingers, I can't really feel what digit that is.

(Mario) No, for me that's impossible. I'm using, for example, visa cards and my fingers because of the fact that I'm a bass player are not that sensitive, so I feel something under my fingers. But what is it? No way. I can not recognise that.

(Pawel) Hmm.

(Tanja) I think rather the future is using smartphones or smartwatches for payment because there all these information that you said are accessible. You can access them in your phone wallet. And then you also avoid inaccessible payment terminals

(Mario) which which are touch screen,

(Tanja) Which are touch screen. And you can see also the amount that you are paying because normally we rely on the information that is given to us from the cashier. And yes, and of course, I mean, it could be whatever, so then you can read on your phone, what is the amount? So I think this should be the feature for some reason in Europe, we are very much using a lot of these cards, but I heard that, for example, in Asia, in some countries, they are much more using smartphones for payment. They are not using cards anymore.

(Pawel) Mm-hmm. Yeah. I think in from my example, in Poland, the adoption is quite high for this kind of novelty mobile payments. I think it was last year, actually or two two years ago. I think when I was explaining about the Blik system where we have these quick codes that you can give into the terminal and you can pay just by confirming the payment in your phone and your banking app. And it's quite common to send your friends money via phone numbers from one banking app to another. Mm-hmm. And also Apple Pay, Google Pay. They're being adopted and now Blik, which is this standard again, is adopting also this contactless payments. So you can if you don't for some reason, like Google or Apple being in control of your payments, you can also use the national standard and it will work the same with NFC and everything. So they are going in that direction too. But it's also important at the same time to have this low tech things accessible just in case somebody is not very familiar with smart technologies or your battery runs out or anything happens as a backup.

(Tanja) That is true.

(Pawel) Good to have

(Tanja) In Croatia, we have something already for a while. We have braille on our ID card. So initially it was printed for everyone, the two braille letters, so that you know that this is your ID card. And then later, for some reason, they decided to make it available only by request.

(Mario) Yes.

(Tanja) So you ask if you need it. I don't know if this represented a burden or what, but they decided to keep it only for those who ask for braille printed on the plastic.

(Pawel) In Poland it’s the same. I mean, we have these letters, regardless of which you ask or not, we don't have this requirement, but they are very illegible. If I didn't know what they were or if nobody told me I wouldn't be able to tell.

(Mario) Oh, no, no, here it's really, it's very visible.

(Pawel) Yeah. Also in Austria, my my disability ID is quite legible. I can definitely read the two letters that signify it's a disability ID, so there is no problem of that.

(Tanja) Yeah, but something that actually I wanted to share what I use for my cards is a wallet card. Maybe you are using the same, so then you can label in braille every card so you don't do it directly on the card, but you label the pockets on the wallet and you know which card it is, because today you have a card almost for every subscription. So you end up with like 15 cards and of course, you don't know which is what.

(Pawel) Mm hmm.

(Tanja) And this is the system that I'm using for my cards.

(Pawel) This is good. This is handy. I didn't think about that, card holders for everything. Yeah.

(Tanja) Yeah, actually, I prefer not to carry my cash wallet at all because it's heavy, but really to have only the cards. I hope in the future will be only the phone.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah.

(Tanja) Yeah.

(Pawel) For us, it's pretty easy to use that. I hope they'll go beyond that. I hope they'll make some more accessibility adjustments like this. What we mentioned, so maybe some either braille or bigger digits for the most important data.

(Mario) Oh, come on, they will come on. They will come up with another low-tech thing. If they're if they're listening to our podcast, they will now design the card holder from MasterCard.

(Pawel) Yes, with braille on it already.

(Mario) Yes. With Braille already. Yeah.

(Pawel) Now this is also important if the numbers are there, embossed, because if you can read it yourself, you can also independently insert the data into your Apple Wallet or Google Pay.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah. So let's see.

(Pawel) Let's see if if MasterCard will do more for accessibility. I'm quite curious. Also, other banks try to do it. I think ING has this policy now that they want to make a notch on the card so that you know which way to turn it in to the reader. So there is some thought put into that. Definitely. But we need more. We need accessible terminals. We need accessible banking apps and websites and…

(Tanja) Absolutely, but this is something that is planned and actually is included in the scope of the European Accessibility Act. And I don't know if our listeners remember, so the European Accessibility Act was adopted in 2019. Next year is the transposition phase of adopting and translating the directive into national legislation, and 2025 will be the year when the law needs to be enforced. And probably we will wait for some time because I can imagine that this will apply only to new payment terminals. I don't know from that from that day, but there will be something because having a touch screen payment terminal, it's just inaccessible.

(Hlynur) Probably it will be the same as with the websites. At first it's only applicable to new websites, but in time it means that, just to give those who are already up their time to make the necessary changes. But at some point the law has to apply to everyone.

(Mario) So 2045, OK, when I go to retirement.

(Hlynur) 2345 maybe.


(Pawel) Yes, seeing the web accessibility directive, yeah.

(Hlynur) Let’s be optimistic.

(Mario) Yeah, yeah, sure. Yeah. 2045, yes.

(Tanja) If we are not, who is optimistic?

(Pawel) Yeah. I mean, also, you can see that this, especially the bigger companies seem to at least show some signs of taking some responsibility. So the payment terminals are dependent on a couple of companies. Probably, so let's hope this one will actually work out mostly with some system updates or some other solutions

(Tanja) Hlynur, are you included in the EAA?

(Hlynur) Iceland is not. No, we are working on getting the European Accessibility Directive fully implemented, but the European Accessibility Act is further down the line.

(Tanja) That's a pity.

(Hlynur) Yeah, it is. Believe you, me.

(Pawel) Ok.

(Hlynur) So pretty much the only legal thing that we have, yeah, is basically nothing we can say, yeah, what you're doing is wrong. So yeah. Shame on you. But they're currently not officially breaking any laws yet.

(Mario) Breaking the law.


The voice behind Siri stars in a campaign by an accessibility overlay company


(Pawel) Speaking of different laws and policies. We, of course, know that websites should be accessible and so do know a couple of other companies that come up with the so-called accessibility overlays and something I came across…

(Mario) Again?

(Pawel) Yes yes. Something I came across recently. There is this company called Userway, and they made a promo video for themselves. And they employed Susan Bennett, the actress who is behind the original Siri voice as the ambassador, sort of, of their new latest campaign where she is shown assisting people with different tasks, like telling them how much calories a certain product has or which way to go. And then she says, Yeah, but this is only as much as I can do because there are millions of disabled people worldwide who cannot be helped by me because the websites are not accessible, but you can help by placing just one single line of code.

(Everyone) No!

(Hlynur) Damn it.

(Pawel) And I think they actually selected a voice that is very well familiar to blind people. That is a sort of like the leading voice of the most used product by blind people worldwide, by the iPhone, because you can also use this voice, I think, in VoiceOver.

(Hlynur) Brilliant marketing. I'll give them that, but, damn it

(Pawel) Yes. And this kind of example and it's sad to see that this still carries on because a lot of people will, you know, somehow believe it and go for it and we actually see what happens when they do.

(Mario) Yeah, well. Beep.

(Pawel) Yes.

(Hlynur) Let's just hope this doesn't have to go further than it needs to go.

(Pawel) Hmm. Yeah.

(Mario) I mean, I don't see the difference between this, is it called Userway?

(Pawel) Yes, Userway. Mm hmm.

(Mario) And uh…

(Pawel) Accessibe.

(Mario) That Accessibe thing, which was actually a few months ago.

(Pawel) Yeah, no. It's actually problematic. I think Userway is the one that is quite prominent in Poland, like at least from the top hundred websites that are Accessi-bye-bye detected being from Poland. Yeah, yeah. Userway was installed on all of them that were there in this top 10, top 100. Well, sad to see, but we'll find also other advocacy in other figures of prominence and authority who will say that yes, hire, for example, a blind person to check if your website is really accessible.

(Mario) Yeah.

(Tanja) Install a free plugin and check the accessibility of your website already with. With this, you can we can see issues and work on these. I mean, OK, of course, second step would be really working manually, but already by installing, not only installing a simple plugin, you have the lighthouse included Edge Chromium or Chrome browser. So you just open Developer Tools and you find out what are the issues.

(Pawel) Yeah.

(Mario) Well, you know, people have to open this stuff.

(Tanja) Yeah, yeah, probably there. First of all, not aware.

(Mario) No.

(Tanja) But how would they're aware about this one line solution? And they're not aware about real solutions.

(Pawel) Marketing.

(Tanja) Yeah.

(Mario) It is marketing, but it's at the same time. It's even more sad to see that nobody from the,I would say, first of all, nobody from the organisations who are dealing actually with the accessibility didn't sit down with the Susan Bennett and explain to her some stuff, how the stuff actually works. Because I mean, come on. I mean, we understand that she received who knows how much, how many millions for this campaign, but… still, I mean, if you would understand how some things actually work, I wouldn't take those millions, but it's me.

(Pawel) Now we don't know how much. So before we jump into claims, you know, (Mario) Well, it wasn't free, man.

(Pawel) Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Um, well, so there is that, it's sad to see and let's hope that the real accessibility. Please stand up. Please stand up.

(All laughing)

(Mario) Yeah.

(Hlynur) As we talked about, of course, earlier, there are probably good intentions. I mean, Bad solutions have come from good intentions before.

(Pawel) Yeah.

(Hlynur) Just that being said.

(Mario) Yeah, well.

(Pawel) Okay.

(Hlynur) It doesn’t mean I recommend the product, though.

(Pawel) Mm hmm.

Ok. So we arrived at the end of this episode. Believe it or not.

(Mario singing)

(Tanja) With this bitter end.

(Pawel) Yeah, yeah. It wasn't very optimistic, but the optimistic thing is that we still have a demo for you. And this is from Hlynur, who actually interviewed developers in Iceland who created a solution for those of us who would like to play some tabletop games. Hlynur, what is it about?


(Hlynur) It's quite interesting. Actually, just started with this one guy whose son is visually impaired or almost blind and the family were quite used to playing board games. But he felt like that he wasn't exactly being equal to the others. Like you can imagine if you would have to have your cards read out for you by your opposition player. So he did the probably most Icelandic thing in the world. He just took it into his own hands and has created this app that is meant to make board games more accessible. So it's quite interesting.

(Pawel) Ok. We'll probably find out more about this in the interview,

(Hlynur) Yeah, don't want to spoil too much.

(Pawel) Yes, keep listening. And yeah, if you have any queries and questions, you will definitely find out also ways to contact the developer of the solution. And yeah,


Ebu Access Cast interview.


(Hlynur) Hey, guys. Hlynur here. I have an excellent guest with me right now, Ísak Jónsson, welcome.

(Ísak) Thank you.

(Hlynur) So you have been working on a new app, making board games accessible to the blind. Could you tell me maybe a bit about how it works?

(Ísak) Yeah, this is an app called Retinaid, which is used. It's an app. You just open the app on your phone and then if you have a game that you wish to play and you have the game box with you, you use the barcode on the game box to identify the game that you are going to play. And when the game has been identified, then the cards that belong to the game can all be described by the app to the user.

(Hlynur) Ok, so the app uploads all the info about the cards of the game once you scan the barcode.

(Ísak) Yeah, once you get the barcode, yes, they are retrieved all the data connected to that particular game and you have like descriptions of all the cards and even tokens and things that belong to that game. So then, you know, and it doesn't matter if it's text on the card or small, small like, symbols or things like that. This can all be described by the AR because basically what the app is,it knows that the card is you're holding is the card you're holding.

(Hlynur) Yeah.

(Ísak) And so you can just write then, a description of the card in whatever language you want, you know.

(Hlynur) Once developing?

(Ísak) Yes.

(Hlynur) So the symbol or the fraction of text that you use to identify each card and each token, it must be unique to that single card or token.


(Ísak) Yes. Yes, yes. Yes, yes. Yes. That's the technical way of doing it. Yes.

(Hlynur) Ok, does that mean that it can't be used for every board game in the world? (Ísak) No, it needs to have support. You need to build support for every board came into this app for it to do its magic because, you know, this is the only way to do it. I think, because the cards have very, it’s very hard to make something that generally, you know, understands cards because they are so different.

(Hlynur) Ok, now I've never heard of a project like this before. Is there any competition in this market?

(Ísak) I don't know. I don't think there's anything on the market that does this, apart from this, I think this hasn’t been done.

(Hlynur) So what made you start all this?

(Ísak) Well, the fact that I have a son who is legally blind and we had been playing board games at home and I began to feel that he was not, you know, equal to us, the other people playing. Because if you had to describe the cards to him, you know, to help him see, read, text or things on the cards, then you immediately knew what cards he was holding, which is, of course, when you're playing board games, that's very often not desirable that somebody who's playing against you is…

(Hlynur) Knows your hand.

(Ísak) Yes, exactly. So this began to annoy me, and I began to look for solutions to this and I tried some of the solutions that are out there that are, you know, like readers, that you can make them show text to the camera and it tries to read it for you.

(Hlynur) Yeah, OCR.

(Ísak) Yes. And but they were not working that well because, you know, the cards are very often designed. You don't have like black Helvetica font on white background on the cards, you have very various designs. So it wasn't actually, it was working terribly. Apps like that didn't work at all. And of course, when it comes to symbols on the cards that, of course, you know that that's impossible for an OCR app to know what that is.

(Hlynur) Yeah.

(Ísak) So I just, you know, saw that the product didn't exist in the market. But at the same time, I realised that the technology existed because you just have to make the phone recognise the card and this can be done with either, you know, recognising a piece of text or with image recognition. And once the phone recognises the card, you can, just as I said, you can make it describe it in very accurate detail in whatever language you want, you know?

(Hlynur) Ok, so you have what, how many? So this is a quite a bit of work for every board game that you would need to support.

(Ísak) Yes.

(Hlynur) So you would, manually need to first identify.

(Ísak) It's, of course, very varied work because they are, you know, some Pawe games are very complex, while others are more simple. But but yet generally it's a lot of work. The current version has support for over one hundred board games, so there's quite a bit of work being put in already. And these are very popular games and very varied games, you know, uh, everything from Monopoly and Cluedo and things like that to some newer and popular board games like Seven Wonders and Horrified, Bang The Dice Game and you know, some games like that.

(Hlynur) Ok. And so you need to first identify the piece of text or sample that you would need to be unique to be able to describe the card, then you will need to write and decide the text description.

(Ísak) Yes, we basically just have a database where we are, you know, you know, where we have the description for every card and every card is given its unique identifier and the piece of text that is used to identify it.

(Hlynur) This sounds like a lot of work. So how, when did you start? How long have you been doing this?

(Ísak) This has been going on for about a year now with, you know, along with work, you know, other work. I have been working with a German programmer called Markus and we have been working on it, sort of, you know, on and off for a year.

(Hlynur) Ok. Ok. And have you been just doing this as volunteers? Have you gotten any grants or how have you been financing this project?

(Ísak) This, we have gotten some uh, we've got some, uh, grants from fund here in Iceland called Stuðningur til sjálfstæðis. I'm wondering about the English name of that, uh.

(Hlynur) Support for independence.

(Ísak) Support for independence. Yes. Yes, and there's the grants we got from that are basically what allowed this to happen because they are, you know, because, you know, paying for programming is very expensive. And of course, this is a lot of work. So that was those grants are, you know, what allowed this to happen. And then we've also gotten some more funds from like memorial.

(Hlynur) Yeah, memorial funds like when people die and leave some money for special projects.

(Ísak) Exactly. So, yeah,

(Hlynur) OK. But what what is the plan for the future? You told me earlier that you were in beta stages both on Android and iOS. So can anyone go and get the app right now?

(Ísak) Yeah, well, it's kind of an opt in beta. So if you just contact me, then you can I can send you the link. Or if you have TestFlight on your iOS, then you can. Then we can add you to the beta programme.

(Hlynur) OK, OK, we will definitely leave your contact info or any way for people to be able to reach you or in the description.

(Ísak) Yes, that would be excellent because we need a lot of testers. This is fundamental.

(Hlynur) Awesome. So what is the next step? Where do you see this app going in the future?

(Ísak) Yeah, I would like to, you know, next year, I would like to steer this up to what being a sustainable, you know, thing that can be worked on without having to depend on income from other work, you know, and for that, I would like to see some sort of crowd funding and perhaps, you know, some sort of, end up with some sort of subscription model for it, you know, where people just subscribed to it because this is an ongoing thing that is never, this is an app that's never finished because there are very there are board games released every day.

(Hlynur) You told me there are around five board games released every day in the world.

(Ísak) Well, it feels like that. But perhaps at least you know.

(Hlynur) Okay, but this surely sounds awesome, and I'm sure that our listeners would love to get a short demo of how it works. You have brought with you a couple of board games.

(Ísak) Yes, I have here with me, for example, is a game called Horrified with Is a cooperative game, which games like that have been very popular as of late. Where you are not exactly playing against other people, you are collaborating as players to beat the game and you have to fight creatures like Dracula and Frankenstein and the creature from the Black Lagoon, all while some silly villagers are running around the board and you have to save them. And if they kill too many of them, then you lose and or if they, you know…

(Retinaid app) You can now scan a barcode of a game.

(Ísak) So here I have the bar code for that.

(Retinaid app) You are now ready to play Horrified. You can show a card here, a badge, villager remover or item token that you wish to identify to your phone camera.

(Ísak) And here I have a card to this from the monster deck, which you have to draw at some points in the game.

(Retinaid app) Thief. Items. Place two items on the board. Event. Place the Invisible Man at the location with the most items. Discard all the items there. Monster Strike, The Mummy, The Creature and Frankenstein move one space and attack with three dice if they reach a hero or a villager.

(Hlynur) Ok. This is full of information.

(Ísak) This is full of information. Yes. There's a lot of information here, and this is the most of it is explaining what little tokens little symbols on the card say. The least of this is the text.

(Hlynur) I can see this save a lot of marriages.

(Laughing) Exactly. And here in this game, we also have items that are lying around on board. They can also be identified.

(Retinaid app) Crucifix. This item should be placed in the church. It is a yellow item with a strength of four.

(Ísak) Yes, and could also identify the silly villagers. Here is a villager mover, and I will show this to him.

(Retinaid app) This is Renfield. He wants to get to the hospital.

(Hlynur) Yeah. Okay. So you need to help him get to the hospital.

(Ísak) Yeah, he shows up. Actually, the villagers show up in the monster cards. You know, they say, Place this villager there, and then you need to get him to another place on the board to save him.

(Hlynur) So like challenges.

(Ísak) Yes, it's like challenges. And if. And of course, the monsters, they get attracted to them and try to chase them. And it's a lot of there's a lot of things going on.

(Hlynur) Okay. So this basically means that you can play this board game without needing someone to read your cards for you and know what's on your hand. So you can play by yourself playing against others, even though you might need some help, like moving things around the board itself.

(Ísak) Yeah, there is, uh, that boards are something that we have not very much started to, you know, support. Although there's one board game called Tapestry, which is a board game that is similar to a computer game called civilisation. If anyone wants that and Tapestry your building like the best civilisation with technology and military and things like that. And that is the only board game where we have actually put in some support for the game board itself because the method we were using, it worked quite well. While, you know for just showing the spaces and explains what the spaces do.

(Hlynur) What was the name of that, that board game? Can you spell it for us?

(Ísak) Tapestry T-A-P-E-S-T-R-Y..

(Hlynur) Ok, Tapestry..

(Ísak) Yes, Tapestry. I think it's pronounced Tapestry. Yeah, it's like carpet. But oh yeah.

(Hlynur) Ok, so this this looks very, very exciting. So in in a few months, what will you be hoping to do, support more games like are there, do you have a web page or an info page where people can? Can they find somewhere a list of all the board games that this app supports currently or?

(Ísak) We don't actually have a web page up for that yet, but I can. I can give you a list. That's no problem.

(Hlynur) Ok, so we could share with our listeners.

(Ísak) A list of games that it supports. That would be awesome. I think many might be very excited about this.

(Ísak) Ok. And of course, if you have a, you know, suggestions for games that you would like to be added, then we can look at that of course, if it's technological, if they if the current technology allows it because the current technology does not allow us to support every game because sometimes it's just difficult. We have not yet started doing image recognition, but it is something we will do in the future because that's. Today, that's a very processor hungry, you know, thing. So we are envisioning that in four or five years, that might be more feasible to be using image recognition for this.

(Hlynur) Yeah, it's better if your battery can survive a whole Monopoly game, I guess.

(Ísak) Exactly. Yeah.

(Hlynur) Ok, thank you very much for coming, Ísak. And if you guys have any further questions or would like to try this out, you will find Ísak’s contact details in the show notes. So thank you very much for coming and take care.

(Ísak) Thank you.


(Pawel) That is it from us for this episode. Episode number 34, proudly presented by us. And of course, if you have any kind of questions and queries, feel free to contact us as well. Send us your questions, send us your remarks, perhaps suggestions for topics that you think we should discuss. And yes, enjoy this listen. We hope you did. And that's it for now. So take care everyone until the next episode and bye bye.

(Others) Bye.


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