Dec 11, 2021
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.
(Mario) Welcome to the last episode of the EBU Access Cast for 2021. My name is MarioPerčinić , as you all know, and I'm coming to you from Luxembourg. But no worries. No worries, guys. I'm not alone. I have with me, my co-hosts. First, we have a ladies first. So here we have a Tanja Kleut from Luxembourg. Hello.
(Tanja) Hello, Mario. Hello, everyone.
Then we have somewhere in Austria who is locked in lockdown. Mr. Masarczyk.
(Pawel) Greetings from lockdown Austria.
(Mario trying to talk german) Yes.Halo ..
(Pawel) . Hallo, hallo, Grüß Gott!
(Mario) And then we have somewhere near the volcano in Iceland. Yes, Mr Hlynur thor How are you doing?
(Hlynur) Going good. Hey guys, Hey everyone. Yeah, actually, the volcano is is over, but we might be waiting for the next one. So keep you posted.
(Mario) Well, I was reading that you are planning to dig some huge hole in the volcano to do some more examinations or something like that.
(Hlynur) Yeah, we're just to attract tourists, maybe.
(Mario) Oh yeah, OK. Crazy Icelanders.
(Hlynur) Whatever works.
(Mario) Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, so we are approaching the end of the year. Anything new?
(everyone) Know, nah nah.
(Mario) Yeah. Ok. Yeah. So yes, we just passed Black Friday. And to be honest, I cannot say that there were too many interesting stuff, uh, over this year, especially not in the assistive tech industry. I have to say that,lots of discounts were just some kind of. Yeah, we have some kind of very small discount, but it's not, anything serious that was happening. have you noticed that
(Pawel) Nothing major, I think there were some discounts on Envision AI 30 percent,
(Mario) No. 15
(Mario) If it would be 30, I would be fine with that. I mean, I already bought my lifetime licence, so it's fine. But I think that both of the companies started to abuse the fact it's something called Black Friday and they they're starting to give, you know, the thing which they call discounts. But in fact, these are so small discounts that you have to think whether you want to buy something or not.
(Hlynur) Yeah, here we are also dealing with the issue that they are actually making the prices higher in the weeks and months before Black Friday.
(Mario) Yeah, yeah.
(Hlynur) The discount is actually maybe 10 percent higher than it did cost five months earlier. So, honourable,
(Mario) Yes, but that doesn't mean that we didn't collect some gadgets for you and this time, believe it or not, it's not the Inspector Gadget who is going to recommend something, at least not for the beginning. It's actually it's me. I got myself. A new, very affordable studio headset. From Sennheiser, a very famous German company. The headset is called Sennheiser HD206 and on the on some websites where they recommend different on budget studio headsets this one is the first place. Believe it or not, and it's it's not expensive at all. We are talking about like 40 euro price range for the for the headset, which, according to its specs, works as some headsets, which are even three times more expensive, which is really cool. It has. It's very light, first of all. So you can wear it for a long time on your head without having any kind of fatigue, then the sound on it is it's really good. I was very surprised. You can hear like very good separations of the instruments when you listen to the stuff. It has quite decent bass response. I know that Pawel is very, very big fan of the bass,
(Mario) So it's it works quite OK. The the frequency response goes from 20 to 18000 hertz and the headset is closed. So when you when you wear it, your ears are covered inside of this earpads, which are made from some kind of synthetic leather. But it really holds up very well. I have to say so far the headset has 3 metre cable with the three point five, Jack, so you can connect to any kind of mobile phones which have a3.5 Headset slot, but also you get the jack to go from3.5 to 6 mm, so that's also that's also supported. And I have to say that the biggest surprise for me was the fact that when I took the headset out of the box. I was first worried how I'm going to distinguish which of the speakers goes to which ear because they look totally the same from the front and from the back side. But then I started exploring and I discovered something that completely struck me because you don't see this kind of thing very often on the devices. And that was braille marking on the left speaker, which said L. And I was like, Am I seeing this correctly or what? But it's true. There is a there is a letter engraved into the plastic, so it's not like a sticker. It's really engraved into the plastic, so it will not go away.
(Mario) And I had to, you know, I wanted to test if this is really true.
So I made the speaker test on my PC and it turns out to be right. So the left is really left it. Uh, yeah, it's the sound is really it's really good. I really like it. And even though the cable is like you have a 3 metres of cable, which is a little bit long, uh, the cable is a bit kind of coily. So you want to be a little bit, you want to take care of the headset, just that you don't smash your cable somewhere, but I think it will last for a while. So which is which is really good. I mean, considering the price, you don't get these interchangeable cables, which are, of course, popular on the more expensive versions of the studio headsets. But still, it's it's really not expensive. So I would definitely recommend that for for the gadget. And yeah, it's I use it now for about what, three weeks and so far so good really. They don't have anything to say. They even survived a few light fails. So
(Pawel) That's important.
(Mario) Yes. Yes. So all good. All. And as I said, you know, once you wear them on your head, they are also adjustable for different kinds of your heads, whether you have bigger or smaller head. And yeah, and they also isolate the noise quite well. It's not like you're completely deaf when you put them on, but you still have, uh, quite good separation from the from the rest of the noise, which is which is good.
(Pawel) I think this braille markings I have seen on headsets before, I can't tell which brand they were. Maybe it was also Sennheiser, but I'm not sure. But I'm pretty sure I've seen this before, but it's not on the Bluetooth ones I have.
(Mario) Mm hmm. Yeah,
(Pawel) but the Bluetooth ones also separate. I mean, the noise cancellation is very good also. So I can actually watch Netflix and do my vacuum cleaning
(Mario) Aha nice.
(Hlynur) Living the dream.
(Mario) Yes. Yes. So that would be also my recommendation for if anybody wants to get some new headset, I mean, keep in mind that you can, as the price is quite good, you don't have to be any kind of a studio musician or whatever. But if you are a fan of quite good audio, this would be my recommendation for the Christmas present as well.
(Pawel) And this is just for listening. There is no microphone on it.
(Mario) No, no, no.
(Mario) Just for listening. Mm hmm. Anybody else something to recommend?
(Hlynur) I can.
I can share that. I got a robotic vacuum cleaner for Black Friday and the Am I Roborock S7???. It has been cleaning my apartment every day since then. And. Geez, I just love it. I had one one robot before some Chinese manufactured one. I think it lasted about a year before it broke down and there was no one in the country because the company that I bought it from, they had gone bankrupt. So there was basically nothing that I could do except to throw it away. But this one, it has like no hairs on the brushes. So hairs from the pet, from the dog, don't stick.
(Mario) Mm hmm.
(Hlynur) And the first week has gone really, really well. I can I know I can connect it to my hopefully Christmas present, which would be a Google Home Assistant, so I could ask it to ask Google to clean, clean the house. While mapping of the apartment is is awesome. So I can like and if if I'm asking him to mop like with a wet cloth, it has a water tank in it so I can distinguish in the app like where I have carpets. So that would be a no mopping zone. If it was mopping and I can set everything up and just let it run. So all I need to do is just empty the filter and the the tray like every two or three days.
(Mario) Mm hmm. Mm hmm.
(Hlynur) Well, I highly recommend, but. I mean, it's not the cheapest piece that you can you can buy, and having had two of them, one was quite cheap. This one was like twice the price. I would go as I mean, they are smarter as the price goes up.
(Mario) Sure. I mean, that's also what I heard from various people who are using these kind of robotic vacuum cleaners that you really in this case, have to put some more money into these kind of devices in order to to get to get what they are supposed to do because the cheap ones are cheap for a reason.
(Hlynur) Yeah, I mean, you can get you can get a cheap one. I think the earlier one that I had was around maybe two hundred and seventy euros. Uh, this one was at a discount. It was around 700 euros. Yeah. I mean, I don't regret it. It works like ten times better than the previous one day.
(Tanja) But what was the brand that you said
(Hlynur) I Roborock S7??? Now, like two major brands, it would be the Roomba and the Roborock, so that would be like if you search YouTube, then you can find. Dozens of Earth??? compartment videos between the Roomba and theRoborock.
(Mario) Yeah, I know that, for example, in Croatia, whenever I looked like some commercials, they are recommending Roombas a lot.
(Hlynur) Yeah, yeah, those are the two like big brands.
(Mario) Yeah, yeah, and I heard that those very expensive Roombas, if we talk about like like seven 800 euros or a bit more are really good.
(Hlynur) That's that's what I saw. Yeah. And of course, like with these, these gadgets, like with all good employees, they work better if you make them work every day.
(Mario) Aha Yeah, yeah. You see. So go ahead and abuse your vacuum cleaners every day they tell you robots to work. Send them, send them to work for them. Yes, they feel useful then. Yes. Yes. Pawel,
(Mario) Do you have something hiding in your in your back pocket,
(Hlynur) Maybe in a box
(Mario) Or in the box?
(Pawel) No, it's actually in a drawer, but I can't say much about it, so I don't know if it's worth mentioning. Oh, I didn't even test it. I didn't even pack it out yet. Oh, it's the great. It's the final countdown. So, you Know,
(Mario) so sad, OK,
(Pawel) I know.
(Mario) How do you keep having this in the drawer still?
(Pawel) I don’t know, but…
(Mario) It’s a temptation?
(Tanja) Yeah How do you manage? Is it locked the drawer?
(Pawel) At the moment.
(Hlynur) From the inside
(Pawel) NO its not on Lockdown, it’s not on lockdown, but maybe, maybe it would be 13 days to go before I unpack? I don't know.
Maybe it will be mini.
The the box isn't. The box is actually quite compact. I expected the box to be bigger.
(Mario) Oh yeah. Okay.
(Pawel) So they don't apply this rule anymore. That if you yeah, if they want you to feel, yeah, sort of. Yeah, I would. It's flat. Definitely it's flat. It wasn't very big when when the Postal Service brought it. It's yeah, I don't think they apply this rule anymore, that if you want the customer to feel valued, that they bought something really worthwhile, you have to give them a big box. Now this is not the case anymore. But yeah.
(Pawel) It's 13 and it's mini. Yeah. Let's leave it at that.
(Tanja) And it's from an apple tree.
(Mario) Yeah, it fell from Apple Tree.
(Mario) Okay, good. So you're saying bye bye to Android.
(Pawel) Actually, I'm going to be the double agent. I will… uh…
(Mario) Russian spy. Ok.
(Pawel) I don't know. Motorola used to be American. This is also American. I don't know.
(Mario) Yeah. American made in Foxconn.
(Pawel) Yeah, right now. Yes. Right now. Yes.
(Mario) Mm hmm. Yeah. Yeah.
(Pawel) Well, well, we'll see. We'll see what happens. But I'm curious about the comparisons of apps like what's accessible, where better and so on. This could be interesting.
(Mario) Yeah. Good luck with your daily charging. Yeah, I hope that. I hope that this will uh, this will work better than it used to be because I know that people who got the 12 minis complained a lot about battery.
(Pawel) I think somebody made a nice description or a report on this on Applevis and this person got apparently 10 hours whilst using it all the time for something like sometimes with lock screen, sometimes with the screen unlocked and everything was there. Youtube, radio, Seeing AI, navigation, whatever. And this person got 10 hours out of this device, so I don't think it will be that bad, especially at the beginning.
(Mario) Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
(Pawel) Well, we'll see
(Mario) If you would be able to last for a day. That's ok.. Yeah, yeah. Well, well, well, OK. Anybody else?
(Tanja) Yes, me.
(Mario) Oh, what do you have?
(Tanja) So I have something new, which I opened. The box is opened. Yes. And it is a Seagate external portable hard disk drive. The model is One Touch and it is a small, portable device with five Tera Tera.
(Mario) Five tera tera? Ok.
(Tanja) And it has a 3.2USB generation 1.
(Tanja) Yeah, it's a small 2.5 inch disk, so it's really portable. You can put it in a bag and carry wherever you need so much data with you. And if it is like my previous Seagate, which I had, which is 4 tera, it should be durable because the previous one fall so many times and it's still working. But I wanted to be sure that the data that I have will not just disappear at some moment because I wanted to have a new one. So it seems durable already, and if it is like a previous one, it should be.
(Mario) Yeah, make sure that you don't play Frisbee with it…
(Mario) …too much. Yeah, at this time, the portable storage space. It's important, yes, to say the least.
(Tanja) Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, it happened to me before in the past that the disk just died at some moment and then you lose all your data. I think this is even worse than, you know, your device dying because you can buy a new one, but you cannot find your data anymore, so it's good to have it stored in more than one place.
(Mario) Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Nice. Nice. Nice. Nice. Good.
(Tanja) And also another disk, which is from SanDisk. And it is the ultra, the model is. Ultra Trek Ruggedised and it is 128 gigabytes with 3.1 USB
(Mario) A USB flash disk?
(Tanja) A USB stick. And its advantage is, as the name says, that it's really robust so it can fall, it can fall even in water. It's waterproof. You can so well, it can fall in water, you can go under the rain and it will not die as all other USB sticks. And I consider this quite important element considering that here in Luxembourg, it rains all the time.
(Mario) That's that's unfortunately very true.
(Hlynur) Tell me about it.
(Mario) Yeah, I think we have more rain than you do in Iceland.
(Tanja) Do you think so? But we don't have a clue.
(Hlynur) At least that's where you live. It rains like vertically.
(Mario) Yeah, well.
(Tanja) Maybe you have more snow?
(Mario) Yes, that's for sure.
(Hlynur) Yeah, yeah.
(Tanja) Well, I'm happy with my purchase anyway.
(Mario) Great. So lots of lots of techies this month, but it's this kind of year, so that's expected.
LION - Live
(Mario) Moving on to the next stuff that appeared in the assistive tech and the next stuff that appeared is, it actually it's free, but it's very useful, especially for us who want to watch something with subtitles. It's an NVDA add-on for the subtitles called Lion Live and is actually available, available for quite some time, but for some reason lots of people don't know about it. And therefore I think it's time to introduce the people to it because it's really powerful. Basically, the add-on is doing a real time OCR. In the real time and with it, you can read all kinds of subtitles which were not previously possible for us to read, such as the subtitles for from the live TV programmes, which have subtitles, you can also watch the YouTubes with the subtitles which will be read to you as well. Or I know that Pawel you also made some experience with some videos where you launched the video and there were some stuff on the videos which was read to you as well.
(Pawel) Yes, I actually have a friend of mine and I, we have experimented with videos that we have ourselves taken. In my case, it was basically riding a bus in some city where I was taking a small holiday and I was, I wanted to show at the time to my family where I was and what kind of landscapes there are. So I just pointed the phone randomly out of the bus window and I let it basically capture anything it came across. And what I did then was I played this video on the computer and I switched on the Lion add-on and it started reading out the inscriptions on the buildings that I was. We were passing with the bus, and in some cases it even got enough of the name right. So I could look it up on Google, and it was actually a place in that town where I was, so I knew I was definitely driving past that place. And also, in case of my friend, he could clearly hear, like the underground station name, he was passing by some newsstands, passing by some shops and other buildings, and everything was read out. So you might want to do some experiments like this also if you take some videos from time to time. So it's a nice experiment.
(Mario) Yeah, sounds like a nice tool for spying. Yeah. No, no, no.
(Hlynur) Awesome for double agents.
(Mario) Yeah, yeah. Yeah.
(Pawel) This is actually a bit like seeing where you were. I mean, it's an interesting feeling like you don't notice these things when you are blind and you just go by and then you just rewatch it and you hear the sound at the same time, you hear the soundscapes and you hear announced like, OK, you just passed, I don't know, some kind of restaurant or whatever, bus stop. And you know this, and it's almost like you could see it. It's a nice feeling.
(Mario) The add-on itself has also the possibility of some fine tweaking. Let's say like that, because sometimes you have the situations where the subtitles which you are reading are not at the top of the screen, but they're instead positioned at the bottom of the screen or lower portion of the screen. So the element allows you to set also the time for recognising. And you can also adjust which portion of the screen you want to have recognised. And so it works better. I noticed, for example, that, for instance, I put it like on 70 percent towards lower part of the screen, and it's working just fine, so I don't put to recognise the whole window. And we did most of the subtitles, it works just fine for some TV programmes some sub subtitles are not reading 100 percent accurate, but it has to do with, I don't know with the font maybe which is used. So instead of like announcing our special characters in Croatian, it will allow some strange signs. But on the other hand, if you switch to some other channel, it will read just fine. So I suppose it's really connected to the type of fonts used, but it works. It does work.
(Tanja) Maybe it depends. I'm sorry. Maybe it depends also on the background, you know, behind the subtitles, if it is darker or lighter colour,
(Mario( It could be, it could be I. If I really have no clue what I what I eventually do know is the fact that you need to have your screen curtain off. So that's the most, most important thing to do because when I started experimenting with it, I had my screen curtain on and it didn't want to work, even though I turn it on and everything was supposed to be working and why this doesn't read. And then I realised like, Oh, let's try to turn the screen curtain off. And as soon as I turn it off, it's started working. So yes.
(Tanja) Did you try to watch for some videos with subtitles on YouTube?
(Mario) Sure. Yeah.
(Tanja) Because I wondered then does it read you also the buttons from YouTube?
(Mario) What kind of buttons?
(Tanja) I don't know. Stop video and you know, this….
(Pawel) This is why we're putting on full screen.
(Mario) Yeah, you have to put it on the full screen in order to read it completely. And the way how I use it basically is to first, I would first start the add-on because you have a shortcut, it's NVDA alt L to start and stop the addon so you don't need to have it running all the time. So first I would I would start the add-on and then launch the YouTube and then put the YouTube on the full screen for the player to the full screen. And then it should be able to read just fine. Keep in mind also that then you have to adjust like, there are videos which have the subtitles in multiple languages, so you want to adjust also, the subtitles in the YouTube itself like which language do you want to follow and to read.
(Tanja) Yes, but not only, sometimes people burn the subtitles on the video, so you cannot select them even from the menu, but they are on the image.
(Mario) Yeah. But that's, uh, should be read. It's that that's why it is. Yeah, so it's it should be reading it.
(Tanja) Yeah, this is the advantage, because for burned subtitles, we never managed to read them, only with subtitles that are added as text.
(Mario) Yeah, but even though even though speaking of the possibilities and reading the subtitles, I also found out recently that even though it existed for a while, but I haven't used it, there is a one player for Windows. It's called Pod Player, which Pawel, I think you are familiar with.
(Mario) Uh, and the fact is, the thing with the Pod Player is that it's able to read the subtitles and not even the subtitles which are just standard, you know, separated subtitles, but also you can select with the Pod Player the subtitles which are embedded into the file. But then you have to use Lion for that. So, for instance, it's able to like you are able to choose the language of the subtitles which are being embedded, but then you have to use the Lion live to read them. But it works.
(Tanja) Is there any possibility in Lion to select the language or is it English for the moment only?
(Pawel) It just goes by the standard NVDA settings. So I think whatever you set in the Windows OCR or Windows 10 OCR settings, that's what Lion will use. I think that's how it works.
(Mario) Possible yes.
(Hlynur) Do you know how many languages it supports?
(Pawel) Probably as many as Windows 10.
(Mario) Yeah, OK, maybe. Hmm. This is interesting, now I have. I have to experiment a bit more because I didn't set. My NVDA is in English. And my recognition languages are also in English, so if I would send them to Croatian, I wonder if then the subtitles would be read correctly in terms of pronouncing the special characters, I have to try that. But yes. But eventually it does work, and it's a really cool thing to recommend.
(Pawel) Yeah. Also, we discussed this quite quickly before the show, but it's a sort of like a last minute thing that appeared, I think, two days ago or yesterday on GitHub. There is this new Add-On called NAO, NVDA advanced OCR, which also lets you use this Windows 10 OCR mechanism to scan or to recognise the whole document in PDF or images in JPG or any kind of graphic format. The way it works is you just highlight the file in the Windows Explorer and you hit NVDA Shift R, and it will do the scanning on the whole file and show you in the edit box where you can read it and just with your arrow keys. And I tried it.
(Mario) It's basically something like the convenient OCR for JAWS.
(Mario) Which is great.
(Pawel) It doesn't do tables, I guess, so if you are about the layout, I don't think it will help much, but it definitely deals with multipage documents. You can use page up page down to switch between the pages, and it's nice for very simple OCR if you just need to take a look. But if you need layout, I guess you will need a special software again.
(Mario) Sure. But it doesn't mean that as it just came out, it might be coming in the future versions. (Paweł) Yeah,
(Paweł) yeah, sure.
(mario) But it's great. It's it's really great, especially because we all know that the daily basis we are encountering the situation is inaccessible. Pdf is not there and that we are promoting some kind of technology to dismiss the importance of the accessibility of the documents. But we all know how it goes in the live situations. You need to have a bunch of tools with you all the time. So this will. This is definitely one also to have. Oh, OK. So yes, we'll put the link to the GitHub of this, uh, NVDA advanced OCR as well. So who wants to grab it? You can go and grab it, and then we can move on to the next recommendation.
And the next recommendation is the article from the Mr Kelly Ford. He is quite famous person in the assistive tech for quite some time from the states. And basically, he wrote a really nice article, a funny one called Black Friday. Accessibility deals. Free for the taking. And eventually, if you read through the article, you can see that it can be applied to any kind of a year. Not only for the Black Friday. So have you read it, guys?
(Hlynur) Yeah, gaised through it.
(Mario) What do you think? I mean, the points that he made like? Promote the future along with the past is good one.
(Hlynur) Mm hmm.
(Mario) Like, know your accessibility, support the accessible employment, Have the plan and be adaptable. Involved a user. In the meantime, in meaningful ways, it's it's these are really good points in the article because he speaks about basically what you have to do in order to promote the accessibility solutions when you need to implement them.
(Hlynur) I guess it's hard for me to like, like the things that he's saying, it's pretty much the same thing that I'm working with every day. Sure. So I know these things, but I agree totally. I think it's it's brilliantly written and and well laid out. So I agree with him around 175 percent.
(Hlynur) out of 120.
(Mario) Okay. No, no. It's a I think it's very nice piece of information draughted. And yeah, it's it would be something that, you know, we who are working on the promotion and implementation of the accessibility would have to send it to the developers. Like I would attach this article to any kind of developer. When you have to engage somebody new to do their job, like, what are you supposed to do? Well, you know, go through this.
(Tanja) You can put this article in your signature link.
(Mario) Yeah, sure.
(Tanja) Then you spread it all around.
(Mario) That's uh,
(Hlynur) that's actually a pretty good idea.
(Mario) That's a good idea. Yes. Ok, so after we recommended some accessibility tips, we can move on to the news from the Twitter. Eventually, it's not directly from theTwitter , but connected to the Twitter because TWBlue, the famous third party Twitter clients in the blindness community got the newest update from November, and eventually they got pretty much some some news related to the new Twitter API, which were not supported in the previous versions of the third party clients. However, what I found out is that you cannot do a regular installation over the previous version because if you do that, it will not open and it will hang and it will not do anything. And if you try to change something in the compatibility mode and then it will say that it's not compatible and blah blah blah blah blah. So after Googling around, I discovered that you need to basically delete your old config profile and re-authorize the app again on the Twitter in order to run it. So once you reauthorize it, it will create your new config. And it will recognise that. So that's the important thing that you remember if you want to use it. Of course, you will then lose your timelines, which you have to create again. So if you are having the lists, the list will work fine. It will stay because the lists are saved on Twitter itself. But you will have to recreate your timelines again, as well as the timelines or the list of followers or whatever you are following. And of course, also the list of your searches will be gone, so that's something to consider. But once you get it going, there are some nice things implementedPawel, you saw some?
(Pawel) So yes, yes, actually, this is thanks to Twitter finally working on their API again, namely on the API V2, which finally brings for third party developers access to the features that have been there for many, many years. But Twitter never bothered to include them in the API such as polls . So the ability to vote in polls to create them, respond to them to view the results and the ability to determine who can respond to our tweets. When you're writing a tweet, you can actually choose OK. To this tweet, only my followers can reply, or only people I mentioned can reply or nobody or everyone. And I think there will be more and more features coming up. I think there were even some announcements that the Twitter spaces might actually make it into the API at some point. And it would be handy, I think, to have the ability to join and enjoy Twitter spaces in our third party clients, especially if we enjoy these interfaces. So let's see what the future holds. But for now, the polls and specific reply settings this is what came is coming yet. And yeah, I'm quite looking forward to how this will develop in the future.
(Mario) Yes. They also implemented completely new sound schemes, which you need to get used to. Luckily, there is the possibility of checking this out in the help section. From the client, so yeah, if you want to give a try to the newTwBlue Go ahead and install it, the link will be in our show notes.
(Mario) Speaking of the news and the apps there is also there are also news for the users of the desktop WhatsApp because eventually WhatsApp is bringing out new beta versions also for Windows and you for the moment, anybody can join the beta programme again. And then you are able to you are able to download the app from the Microsoft Store. And then it installs, you need to authorise it with your credentials. And once you're in, you will be very much surprised by the look of the app, how it looks because it's completely redesigned than the older version of the desktop clients for the WhatsApp, Because
(Tanja) or the current, the current.
(Mario) Oh yes. Yes, yes. Ok, let's see.
(Tanja) But do we know? Do we know the version of the current of the beta
(Mario) didn't check? But it's possible. Yes, yes.
(Tanja) It's better that we say the number because current and new will mean nothing in two months, you know?
(Mario) Well, if you go to the Microsoft Store, for example, and you will search for WhatsApp if you just see a WhatsApp, that's the official version were for WhatsApp beta. It says that it's beta. So that's also think which which is different and. What I wanted to say that the new version is completely redesigned, the beta version now looks as the modern. Yeah, modern modern apps from Microsoft, but which are being accessible at the same time, almost, I would say almost 100 percent. It's not. It's not yet 100 percent accessible, but it's still being in beta, so keep that in mind. However, I'm really happy to see that, for instance, you don't need any more scripts or special add ons for the Screen reader in order to use most of the features for people who used, for example Unigram which is a third party client for Telegram on Windows. This is very, very similar. The interface is like very comparable and very similar to that. So basically, you are like navigating with Tab and shift tab between all the various options. And yes, it works right now. You can do the voice calls, video calls, respond to the messages via text and read them. You can even reproduce the voice messages, but you can. You cannot still send them, so it's not still available, but I'm sure they will implement it at a certain point. Anybody tried it?
(Tanja) Yes, yes. Actually for me in a group where I am it happened that the three messages were mixed in one line, so I was able to see a one message and then the second message was not visible. And the third message was in the same line as the other one, but without the name. So the three messages were mixed and one was not visible. This happened to me in one group, but I don't know. For some other it was OK. I don't know if it makes a difference, whether it is a new message or a reply to a message. Ok, so so this was a problem that I noticed in the group, but I was able to see it properly on the iPhone. Also better because if you are in beta programme, you have to be both on all your devices in this programme. And also what I note is that, for example, you now can receive notifications in WhatsApp, even if the WhatsApp app on the desktop is closed.
(Mario) Yeah, that's true.
(Tanja) It happened to me that I received a message. I did not open it, but I activated the computer and I received the message. So then actually, I it depends. It depends what you prefer, but it is activated in the notifications of windows because there is the place where you can disable
The notification and
(Mario) also from the settings in the WhatsApp beta as well.
(Tanja) Oh, you can OK because I disable it from the Windows notifications.
(Mario) You can do that. I checked the settings. It's everything is accessible so it can be turned on, on or off or off.
(Pawel) Yes, I think it's worth keeping the notifications on the Windows side on because the from what I have seen so far, the notification is the only way to pick up an incoming call. So whenever a call is coming, the only way you can do this is you go into your notifications, you find the notification of the call and with the tab you find, accept or refuse buttons.
(Tanja) But this is if your WhatsApp window is closed, no?
(Pawel) Yes, yes, true. But even if because when the call comes, the window comes up in the to the forefront, but there is no button inside the app itself to pick it up.
(Pawel) I haven't found one. Maybe, maybe I don't know. Maybe it's somewhere in the object navigation. Maybe it's somewhere else, but I haven't found it, so the only way I found is to go through notifications and pick up from there.
(Tanja) Ok, no, I have to see this because my problem is that often I use the computer for work and of course, I don't want to messages popping up all the time. I have to see this.
(Pawel) Maybe then you can just switch off for the messages. We'll have to see. But yes, I am quite happy with this also, because finally, it's working in that way that you can even have your phone turned off completely, which I tried because I had a situation where my my phone battery went completely flat and still somebody was calling me and I could receive this on my computer and we were talking and everything was fine. So you don't need WhatsApp to be on anymore or your phone to be on anymore for this to work, which is great. The only thing that doesn't work so far that I have seen, of course, you cannot send voice messages. We spoke about this, but also if you go into the details of a group chat, for example, I wanted to find a particular person in a group chat to send them a message privately. This is not labelled. It still reads it as WhatsApp group members list something something so it's not reading out the actual values. But other than this, it's quite accessible. And you can even see if you have unread messages, it will tell you.
(Pawel) If you focus a chat. I don't think you can jump straight to the beginning of the unread thing starts.
I don't think this is possible, but this is probably something that will be either solved on the side of WhatsApp or on the side of some NVDA addon that might be developed in the future. Because for Unigram, there is already an add on and it's really good. If you can, you can jump to the unread parts. Also, this is interesting because I think this also this week there was a new beta of messenger out on Windows 10, and this messenger is also done in a similar fashion. I think that's what I was told. And it's not accessible so you can navigate the messages, but they are just buttons with no description. You have to use the object navigation to find the message behind the buttons. So it's interesting how the same company can make one app so nice and the other one so bad. But it's good that the WhatsApp is there. I find it very practical. And it's very good, even if I want to send something some link from my computer to some friends on WhatsApp, it's very practical.
(Mario) Sure. Yeah, I definitely agree. What I found out is the information that if you are running WhatsApp beta without your phone turned on, then you are able to do that for the period of two weeks. So after if after the period of two weeks, your phone is not turned on, then you are being logged out. Oh,
(Mario) So that's the thing to know to be noted that AR the WhatsApp news. If nobody else has anything to add.
(Hlynur) I might add that visually it it works up very great, no worse than the messenger when it comes to like being visible contrasts. Text size and such apps.
(Tanja) is it better from the previous or current version?
(Hlynur) Actually, this is I just recently started using the WhatsApp for Windows, so I'm not not familiar with the previous versions of it. So I'm and also I'm not a frequent WhatsApp user, am I like I have four or five groups that I'm in? But I've only been using it for a few months. You guys were actually my first WhatsApp group.
(Mario) Oh, yes.
(Hlynur) So congratulations.
Mario) (Mario) Nice, nice. Moving on, moving on to the next thing, and that's kind of interesting stuff for the Samsung users because last year we promoted, uh, when the users would get their Android 11 this year, we will give the link to the Android Central List, which compiled the resources from various sites about the UI for implementation from Samsung and the installation of the Android 12. So when these when is it coming? Well, it depends where you are in the world and which phone do you have? Basically, if you check to the list, you can see that for us Europeans, it will come from December with people who have the newest like S21. Up to August next year, for instance, my phone will get it in May. I will have to wait for a while.
(Hlynur) Yeah, they're taking their time with this one.
(Mario) Yes, they are taking the time with this one, even though they might surprise us. I remember when we were looking at the previous list for the last year. I think my phone was listed to get it in March and I got it at the beginning of February, so we never know. Maybe it comes earlier than expected, but according to the info that we have for now, it's coming in May for my phone, which is Ex Cover Pro. Model from Samsung, so yes, but it's OK considering the information, what's coming, what's new in the accessibility? Well, that's kinder. Surprise to say the least, especially for the TalkBack users, because eventually we don't know what to expect in Android 12. There will be some news. We hope some changes. But what's really coming up? It's up to see, especially because those of us who are using Samsung's will get Samsung's TalkBack, which should be the same as the Google Ones as they say now, but well. Let's leave it to the, you know, surprise moment.
(Mario) So after the Samsung, Pawel you have some interesting news because you discovered some interesting company. Which develops online accessible software solutions for for blinds. Yes. The company is called ST solutions, right?
(Pawel) Yes. A solution from Cameroon. It's all software made by a guy called Yannick Daniel Youalé. And he made a couple of really nice tools. There are some games. There are some tools, actually, if you open this website, Stsolution.org, you will see that they are divided into several categories. There is a gaming platform, so if you remember like the QuentinC Playroom or RS games,
(Paweł) This is more or less like this, except it's apparently a bit better visually, so if somebody sighted would like to play with you, it's… looks better and it even works with game controllers if you have one. The problem I found with this so far, however, is that there is only one game that you can apparently play in the multiplayer and even this, it's difficult to say how to start it, so, like, the documentation doesn't say anything on this, but there is plenty of other games that you can play alone. There is a mini chat feature where you can chat with other people. You can even send files, you can even make voice calls (this looks and works best in Chrome, From what I've tested) and actually works, you can actually call people and it works. There are other things, too, not just games. There is a couple of development tools. There is an accessible code editor, there is a script, and this is very interesting because there is this addon, for Firefox it's called Greasemonkey and for Chrome it's called Tampermonkey, and both let you do the same thing. They let you load custom scripts that you can use to modify the behaviour and the look… looks of a particular website (also to make it more accessible in some cases), and he made some scripts…
(Mario) This is how this guy made this, uh, web WhatsApp addon, if you remember.
(Paweł) Yes, there was. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember that. There was the… I think there were some scripts for Github back in the day…
(Paweł) that James Teh made, the NVDA creator. And I think there is even now some Tampermonkey script out for Netflix to read subtitles. So these scripts are quite popular if you look around for them, even for accessibility; and he made two. One of them is the Web Accessibilizer and it lets you customise a lot of the aspects of the websites you visit, so you can, for example, assign custom shortcuts, keyboard shortcuts to different elements, or you can design certain elements to be automatically announced when they update, or you can assign some roles and classes to elements that don't have them, so if there is some place that should be heading and it's not, you can make it a heading and you can manipulate each website quite freely if you know how to; and you can then, of course, exchange these configurations for different websites with other people. There is like a central place where you can upload it and other people can download it; so there is this you can do, and the second script he made, it's an improved player experience for your multimedia playback in the browser, so if you go to some website and there is some multimedia playing, some video or audio and it's not accessible, the player: you cannot control it, you cannot start or stop it, and the script is supposed to make it accessible so basically, if it detects any multimedia, it will tell you “One or two multimedia items detected” and then you can go into the application mode or forms mode and you can use certain shortcuts to manipulate it so you can play and pause, you can rewind and go back and this by a couple of amounts of time, so from one second to, I don't know, a minute or something; you can make it play faster or slower, you can check how much time is gone and how much remains. If it's YouTube, you can even skip the ads with the escape key, which didn't work for me, but I guess this is because I have my system in Polish and the YouTube is also in Polish, so maybe some things don't really match, but I tried it on YouTube as such and it let me definitely control the playback and I tried it on Bandcamp, which is this website for independent musicians and bands…
(Paweł) to promote their music. And if you know Bandcamp, you know that the player on the website is not very accessible. I mean, there is this “play/pause” button, but if you press it by default, nothing happens.
(Mario) Mhm, Yeah.
(Paweł) And sometimes, even if you use the object navigation, nothing happens, so it's quite difficult for me at least to play stuff on Bandcamp, and with this addon, it didn't work every time, but once it's somehow started running, I could definitely manage this, I could go back and forward in the in the music track and I could manipulate the volume and these were like the things that I wouldn't be able to do otherwise, and I also heard from some users in Poland who tried it with our VOD services and apparently it worked too so… And they are very inaccessible, I must say, so you can try out if this works on your favourite website of choice. There are some more tools as well, there is a even a DJ software, so you can sort of mix two tracks together and play some jingles, so if you, for example, would like to host a radio show and you would like to use some sound effects and mix two tracks together and make it come over from one track to the next quite smoothly, you can do it. There is like a two playlists, you can load tracks onto them and you can use these volume sliders to manipulate which one goes how, at which volume, and you can also go faster and slower, you can slow it down or speed it up.
(Mario) But they also have some, not only DJ stuff, but they also have some radio software as well.
(Mario) for broadcasting, I saw it.
(Paweł) It's a radio player, I think that's what I saw at least, and this works on the basis of some database that they themselves made, so it's possible that you will not find your favourite radio there.
(Paweł) But I think it even accepts links, if I'm not mistaken, but it's not, it's still a nice piece of work for those who can access these radio stations, but there is a podcast player as well, and this actually works with a bigger catalogue, so I think you will be able to find EBU Access Cast, for example, there.
(Mario) Mhm, so, yeah, you can check it out.
(Paweł) Yes, there is also a music player, if you want to play some music, there is even something for databases, something like Microsoft Access, but in the browser, and this is the only piece of software there that is paid, because all of this stuff is free.
(Paweł) What I mentioned before and this is actually the one thing that is paid. There is some global thing for searching different resources, for searching, I don’t know, Wikipedia, Google, YouTube and so on. There is a music player. There is a Podcatcher. There is also something for designing UI and for designing websites that should look nice also visually, not just be accessible, which is quite important because if you are blind and you want to design something, you have very limited, close to no control over how the result will look like visually, and it often happens that when blind people make software or web pages, they they are accessible, that's true, but they don't look very appealing visually to people who don't need screen readers, so there are also some scripts and programmes there to design nicely looking, of course, they will be looking like out of a template, you will not create probably some artistic masterpiece, but at least it will look proper and cleaned up and, let's say, ready for people to see; so you can take a look at this website because there are plenty of really interesting tools there.
(Mario) Yeah, absolutely. I have to say I liked what I saw as well on their site, so was quite nice discovery.
We are almost done for today, but we have one more thing to announce, and it's also related to Mr. Pawel, because he discovered also something called Astro Access and I need… I have a feeling that has to do something with the people with disabilities flying wheelchair in the space [laughter] or flying canes.
(Paweł) Maybe in the future, but for the time being it’s just a test, It's a programme run in the United States, where twelve disabled crew members, scientists, artists, disability advocates, are supposed to undergo parabolic tests, which are the standard tests that all astronauts have to go through before they are let into space, onto actual missions, and this will be the first in the history test where people with different disabilities will, or actually it already took place, but for some reason we don't see any updates on the website. I hope they came back safe and sound, but they were just tests, so I think everything… I mean, is fine with them. In the worst case, there was a negative result; but the tests, which are supposed to check in… to which extent people with disabilities, different disabilities can actually undergo space missions on an actual spacecraft, and it's quite interesting what implications this may have, because it turns out that making accommodations for people with different disabilities will actually profit everyone because, for instance, in case of blind people, what can happen, of course, we don't wish it to happen, but you never know, on an actual space mission is that there is an emergency and the first thing that goes out are the lights on an aircraft like this; and then if they manage to develop a sufficient audio overlay to receive, like, feedback from all the machinery and the tactile markings to navigate through the cabins and to the, for example, oxygen masks and so on. If this works for the blind in general, this will work for everyone in case the lights go out, so this is quite important to test to see to what extent these systems don't just rely on one sense principle and actually let you enjoy this in multiple senses, and they will be testing with, of course, multiple disabilities. There will be Martian Martian gravity tests, lunar gravity tests, zero gravity tests, all these standard things that have to happen before somebody actually is allowed on a mission, and if everything goes well, actually the goal is to send one or a couple of these twelve people that are in the initial test onto an actual space mission, so it would be probably the first time in history that, like, a varied group of people with disabilities go into space and I think this is quite quite a revolution. I just looked at the list of the ambassadors here, there is the first name that just comes up on the list is Sina Bahram, if you follow the accessibility scene…
(Mario) Yes. Yes.
(Paweł) You definitely know the name, he is in the W3C consortium, so one of the people who founded the WCAG, the WCAG guidelines;
(Paweł) There is also, Mona Minkara, she is a blind chemistry assistant professor in the states, so, like, actually a blind person who made it so high in chemistry, which is, you would think, a very difficult subject for blind people to study, but yet she is working in some kind of academic group, a scientific group, and she developed even a curriculum for blind people that is fully accessible for studying sciences, so I'm pretty sure this is somebody who will be of great use on, like, in space conditions then there is also Azubuike Onwuta, also called Zuby, another blind scientist. And yeah, plenty of other people with different disabilities. So you can tell that they have actually researched their list and there are different people actually testing whether it's possible for us to go to space in the future, so this is quite interesting. I'm quite curious about what what happens next and what the results will be.
(Mario) Interesting, I wish them good luck, but I'm staying on the Earth.
(Hlynur) I'm just waiting for their call.
(Mario) Yeah, they can give us a call on this new Windows WhatsApp for… [laughter]
(Paweł) Actually, would be interesting to see, like, TWBlue tweets from the space, for example.
(Mario) Why not?
(Paweł) Yeah, it's it's interesting to see, I mean, how many things are still possible, but we didn't know about this because nobody thought that it's possible for blind people to do.
(Paweł) Without being, like, overly optimistic because, of course, for example, I can’t drive a car right now, which does not mean I will not be able to get in an independently driving car in some years.
(Mario) But you can already record a video from your bus.
(Paweł) Yeah, yeah, this I can do, of course. And and…
And I mean, yeah, it's something that you often don't think about, but then it turns out that it's there is so much that we actually can do, but sometimes people don't think we can. And, uhh…
(Tanja) But in the history, disabilities were always the driver for innovation. So as you were saying, they will think about other ways, how to communicate the same information. And I would like to see this on standard aircrafts because…
(Tanja) The instruction that you have is “The light will lead you to the nearest exit”.
(Mario) Ohh, yeah, yeah.
(Tanja) Eventually, eventually, a steward explains you where is the nearest exit, but…
(Hlynur) And how long has it been, like, the same way? How many years?
(Mario) Too long.
(Paweł) Hmm, yeah, of course, in the situation of panic, you will not probably remember where that even is,
(Paweł) So, because probably you will at some point, hopefully not, but if you ever come to this situation, it will be the first time in your life, so we will not be very trained on this.
(Mario) And probably the last. [laughter]
(Paweł) Some people make it through.
(Mario) Haha, Ok, OK.
(Paweł) I mean, yeah. Hail to the captain, but indeed, I think, yeah, it could be explained in a more, like, signified in a clearer way, some kind of tactile things. It's yeah, there is so much, and if we think of all this legislation coming to Europe now, like it's only there now, it's good that it's there, but still like there is so much that is unexplored and so much where you where you even have to ask yourself, Can I do this or is it possible for me to do this? And once you even discover that you can, you have to convince the whole society that it's so.
(Paweł) You have to go against all these people who are like, Come on, stop experimenting, you just can't do it. Come on, just give it up. Because logically thinking it's not possible. And this is very sad because you don't only have to battle your own demons, but also the society at large, and it's like a double demotivating factor, so it's it's a struggle to get sometimes, but I am really happy to see that things like Astro Access are there and here is to the future.
(Hlynur) I just can't wait to send you guys a postcard from Mars in a few years.
(Mario) Yeeeeeah. And you need to put some artificially made potatoes from Mars as well.
[Hlynur] Hahaha, Yeah, after I colonised it.
(Mario) Yeah. Pawel, thanks a lot for the scientific report, yes, about space exploration, but it's time for us to land on the Earth, make the surprise announcement.
Basically, EBU Access Cast has come to the end of the first season, and what do I mean? Well, I mean that it's time for all of us to to take a break and that that break will be a bit longer one because over the last three years and seven months, we've been with you every month despite the whole thing that happened to us, COVID and all the things that are happening to each of us, however, it's time to move on to some other projects and take a rest for a while; so the thing is that yes, all of us, almost all of us, from the, from this crew, from the EBU Access Cast are leaving the ship. Myself, I enjoyed being the coordinator of the podcast since the beginning and I really liked what we did, but I feel that it's time for me really to move on, and yeah, the rest of you guys, I think you are leaving as well. You're you're… All of us are being preoccupied with our daily jobs as well. We've been talking to EBU about the future of the EBU Access Cast and basically the plan is that there is no plan for the moment. EBU has something in the pipeline to continue with some way of the podcast, whether it will be the EBU Access Cast in the future, that's that's for the crystal ball to show in the future, whether it will exist or not. We for the moment don't have any information about it, so I'd like to say thanks to all of you for listening to us for the last, uh, three and a half years. It was really fun to be with you and work with you, but as Freddie Mercury says, “Show must go oooon!”, yes,
(Mario) Yeah, so what do you have to say, guys?
(Tanja) Well, the life goes on and there will be, you know, some other people, other content, but for us, it's time again to move on.
(Paweł) Yeah, thanks for the chance, first of all, because it was a bit of a surprise for me to come into this project by sort of a lucky coincidence, I made it here and I quite enjoyed being here. We'll see what the future brings and I'm looking forward to the adventure on, so we'll see what what comes up in the in the future; and you also stay hopeful for for the best because, well, it's a goodbye, but it sounds like a goodbye for now. The times change and things change and it's hard to say, whether for better or for worse, it will be probably different. Whatever will be will be different, which does not mean worse, so let's keep the fingers crossed that things will turn out for the best.
(Hlynur) For my part, I would just like to thank everyone for the opportunity and thank you, guys. It has been a pleasant journey for over the past fourteen months or so for me. So for me, just thank you.
(Mario) True. We we enjoyed having you in a team, man, it was… it was nice.
(Mario) All right, guys. So unfortunately, we cannot tell you “see you in the next podcast”, because the system is shutting down for the moment, and I'll be following up what's happening. I mean, you can search for us on the social media, if you want to follow us individually, we'll still be around, but probably in some other projects. And who knows where you might see us again?
(Paweł) Yeah, true that.
(Hlynur) All right.
(Mario) So I am wishing you all the best in 2022. Have very nice Christmas and Happy New Year and yeah, stay safe, all of you, and we'll see each other somewhere again. Ciaaaaao! Ciaaaao! Ciao! Ciao!
(Hlynur) bye bye.
(Tanja) Bye bye.