Tech Briefing 16: Courses, apps, news you should use from the Week May 8-14, 2017


Welcome to Episode 16 of Tech Briefing for the week of Monday May 8 to Sunday May 14, 2017. Let’s kick off with news from Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

The institute has announced new Courses/Modules and Opened enrolment for them. These are:

(A) Braille Literacy 4: Contracted Braille, UEB Edition

(B) Introduction to Braille, UEB Edition

(C) Contracted Braille, UEB Edition

(D) Effective Listening

(E) Eccentric Viewing

(F) Earth and Space Science

(G) Everyday Reading in UEB

Visit http://bit.ly/2qpGXnt to get more information about each course and module.

On a completely different note, let me ask you, how much will you be willing to pay for the next iPhone?

Well, predictions of the price of the next iPhone is continuing, with many agreeing it will be the most expensive yet.

Goldman Sachs analyst Simona Jankowski wrote in a research note that Apple will offer the iPhone 8 in 128GB and 256GB capacities, coming in $999 and $1,099 respectively.  Currently, the most expensive iPhone Apple sells is the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus for $969.

Remember, it’s only a prediction and Apple could change things by the time the phone is released.

Still talking about predictions on Apple,analyst group KGI reported that  it expects the company to launch two new hardware products during next month’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

The Siri Speaker and an all-new design 10.5-inch iPad Pro are the predicted products.

With Microsoft’s recent release of the latest version of its operating system called Windows 10S, users can only install apps from the Windows Store. In response, Apple last week announced plans to make iTunes available in the Windows Store before the end of this year. So, if you’re like me who loves iTunes on my Windows or want to still have access to Apple Music or just need to sync your iPhone with your PC, then there’s no need to worry.

An update to the Uber app on Android released last week now makes it easier for users in the United States to remember destinations other than their home and work addresses with Saved Places. Now, these saved locations can be saved as a shortcut. Saved places will become available internationally later this year.

Google Search on mobile began adding a new view that better surfaces and summarizes events. Available on  Android and iOS, users will now be able to filter based on location and other factors. For example, searching for “art events this weekend” will surface a new Events card as the first result. Users can expand this view to take up the full screen by tapping “More events,” with a carousel of convenient date filters on top.

Finally, have you voted for your choice of most deserving app in the 2017 AppleVis iOS Hall of Fame? Voting closes at the end of the day on Friday 19 May 2017 for this year’s inductees in the AppleVis iOS App Hall of Fame so head on right away to http://bit.ly/2qTziyW

Thanks for your time.

News · Tips

Tech Briefing 15: Free, paid webinars; tips and news for the week May 1-7, 2017

Welcome to episode 15 of Tech Briefing. It’s a rap up of major developments in assistive and mainstream technology for the weekMay 1-7, 2017.

I’m Ayoola Efunkoya, your guide.

OneDrive is Microsoft’s cloud storage application that comes preinstalled on Windows 8, 8.1 and 10 on PC and mobile, allows you access your files online and offline and backs up the files.

A set of guidelines for using a screen reader with OneDrive by beginners is available at http://bit.ly/2pA49i8

Also from Microsoft comes Office 365 which offers access to the Office suite of Word, Excel, Note and Powerpoint both online and offline.

V. F. O., the parent company of Freedom Scientific,  is offering a free webinar on May 31, to teach using Office 365 with JAWS. The webinar titled “Office 365 / 2016 – An Introduction” can be registered for at http://www.freedomscientific.com/Services/TrainingAndCertification/WebinarDetail/F0123

Other webinars on Word 365, Excel 365, Outlook 365 and PowerPoint 365 to be paid for will take place from August through October this year. Further information is available at http://bit.ly/2pHJMOq

Whether you are a beginner or an advanced user of iOS, you may want to check out this “iOS & VoiceOver Mobile Accessibility Cheat Sheet:” http://bit.ly/2q0TFty

From Commtech Academy comes a 12-minute lesson on using the Uber iOS App:


Also available from the company is  a Windows 10 Desktop Navigation Introduction:


In other news:

A phishing scam on Thursday May 4 affected about 1 million Google Docs users. The scam claimed to have come from Google Docs.

Users who clicked a link and followed instructions, risked giving the hackers access to their email accounts.

The BBC later reported Google to have said it had stopped the attack “within approximately one hour”, including through “removing fake pages and applications”.

Facebook is almost hitting a 2-billion global monthly user mark.

The company said on Thursday May 4 that the number of people using Facebook each month increased to 1.94 billion, of which nearly 1.3 billion use it daily.

Company founderMark  Zuckerberg said the size of its user base gave Facebook an opportunity to expand the site’s role, moving into TV, health care and politics.

Thank you for your attention. Have a blessed week.

Android · Apps · Smartphones

Feature-reach Notetaker for the Blind Comes to Android

Cursor tracking that remembers and returns to the place where you left off in a note as well as efficient navigation by page, paragraph, line, word or character are just two of the numerous benefits that Android users who are visually impaired will get when they switch to AccessNote.

The notetaking app developed by the American Foundation for the Blind is targeted at users who rely on to fully use their smartphones and tablets.

Many blind and visually impaired students and professionals will certainly recall their difficulty with jotting their thoughts, ideas and observations whether those come up in school, at work, at play, in a religious gathering, at a conference or in just about any other place.

For sighted persons, realising this can be just as easy as pulling out a pen to scribble on the flip side of a just-consumed bubble gum wrapper.

And in the age of smart devices, taking notes has never been so easy for sighted persons; with numerous apps available in virtual stores free of charge or for just a few dollars, the choices and possibilities for this category of persons are limitless.

Except for a few, majority of the popular notetaking apps offer very little functionality that made them useable by persons who are blind or visually impaired.

The American Foundation for the Blind promises to turn the narrative around with the availability of its .

A Screen Grab of the AccessNote App in the Google Playstore
Snapshot of the AccessNote App

The notetaker is currently free to install from the Play Store and is compatible with devices running Android 4.2 and up.

With AccessNote, users will be able to combine “efficient note taking” with the other features and functions of the Android devices, says the app developer.

Accordingly, blind and visually impaired people can now take full advantage of the same popular mobile devices that their sighted peers are using in classroom or business settings.

Some of the valuable features in AccessNote include:

• Keyboard commands customized for input with physical QWERTY keyboards
• Two powerful search features for finding text globally across all notes and within a note.
• Cursor tracking that always keeps your place when you return to a note.
• Keystroke efficiency – Less keystrokes to get the job done.
• Fast and efficient navigation throughout a note by page, paragraph, line, word, character, and other elements.

As with all apps, there are bound to be bugs just as users may want to request for additional features. Whichever of these you want to do, just get in touch with the app developer by sending an e-mail to accessnote@afb.net.

Before July 2014 when version 1.0 of AccessNote became available in the Playstore, the The Android release was made possible through a grant from the Motorola Foundation.

Courses · Hadley School for the Blind · Internet

Visually Impaired and Jittery Online? ‘Web Browsing Basics’ Will Calm Your Nerves

Times have changed. And so have the technologies that has increasingly become an integral part of every aspect of our lives.

For persons who are visually impaired, keeping up with the constant changes in both time and technology can be daunting and often frustrating.

But the efforts of the faculty and staff at has been the game-changer for millions of blind and visually impaired students and professionals as well as their families and friends within the United States and other parts of the world in almost a hundred years.

Hadley School is again doing one of those things it knows how to do very well. This time, the distance-lerning, largely tuition free institution is offering a course that promises to make persons who are visually impaired confident users of the internet.

The course ‘Web Browsing Basics’ is designed with high school students as well as other adults – including professionals – in mind.

“The goal of this course”, according to the , “ is to help individuals who are visually impaired understand the components of a Web page and how information is positioned, as well as develop strategies for browsing and searching accessible and inaccessible websites.”

Interested students will first need to pass an Internet Skills Assessment to be granted the opportunity to take the Web Browsing course Online

Hadley School will award only a letter grade to students who successfully complete the two lessons in this online course and also submit the two compulsory post-lesson assignments.

At the end of The two-lesson course, Hadley School expects students to be able to:
A. define the various components of a Web page
B. develop a strategy or multiple strategies for gathering information from accessible and inaccessible Web pages
C. describe directions for launching, browsing, and navigating websites and discuss search engines
D. demonstrate Web browsing proficiency via practice exercises

For more information about the course and how to get started visit the on Hadley School for the Blind’s web site.

Android · Smartphones · Tips


Ever wondered how you can get to the notifications talkback tells you about as you fidget around on your Android smartphone? Or have you ever mistakingly activated it but didn’t know how to get out of the area?


It’s easy. Easier than you ever imagined at least!


To bring up the notification shade, either: Swipe down from the top of the screen (where the notifications talk) with two fingers and then drag down.


Or: Swipe right (from the top of the screen), then down.


To remove the notification shade: Tap the back button or swipe down then left from the top of the screen.