Posts Tagged ‘tablet’

The Cloud, Why it’s good and why it’s Bad

June 3, 2011

For a long time now I’ve been using a service called Dropbox. Dropbox is a cloud based (meaning it stores information up on it’s servers)service that stores your information in the cloud, for people who don’t know the cloud is the internet. Now, over all of about 2 years I’ve realized that there are a few downsides to this and also a few good sides.

One major good advantage to the service is it’s free!!!!!! Seriously, you can put at least 2 GB worth of data and access it from any computer or mobile device. For instance I could put a photo up to dropbox and go on my iPhone and look at it. Or, I could go look at it on my laptop. I could even show a friend that same picture on my desktop computer on my 20″ screen. The posibilities are endless. Another cool feature is that you can get 2 GB free when singing other people up. This is exactly what I did when I created my podcast site. I store all my podcasts and intros and ideas for podcasts up to dropbox. How did I do that? Well, I created an account but I used my personal account to send an invite for my podcast cloud. One of the best things that I like about dropbox is that I can store anything up there.

So, say your dropbox account gets compromised and you have photos of family your dog and your friends. Or say that you have a word document for school. (NOTE: this rarely if even happens though). What would you do? This problem occurs a lot with pc hard drives when people don’t back up their drives. So, even though dropbox is a good service for keeping stuff on the internet always have a backup. I actually have two. In my desktop pc I have a 500 GB internal drive and a 250 GB external drive. I keep everything that is important to me (meaning pictures, books, music, documents, podcasts, and podcast stuff ) on both of those drives. Now, you may be thinking well I want everything up in the cloud. 1 bad idea it’s fine to have certain hear me out certain things in the cloud but not everything, especially stuff like bank account information credit card info. No! none of that. It’s ok to have for instance fall class schedule, things like that but no personal info.

Overall it’s a cool service and I enjoy using it, if you need more storage they also have that as well and it’s fairly priced.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Dropbox spokesperson I am only speaking from my experiences using the service.

Google Chrome

May 13, 2011

I just downloaded Google’s so called fast browser. I’ve only had it for a few minutes but I wanted to give my take on it. Boy is it fast. I really enjoy it. I really do. As a legally blind person using a mixture of screen reading technology and magnification I find that the magnification works really well. I use Zoomtext from AI Squared and it works perfectly whether I’m using Firefox, IE, or Chrome. I also use JAWS. JAWS is a screen reading program that converts what a sighted person would see into synthesized speech. Unfortunately JAWS doesn’t work with Chrome. However, a free screen reader called NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) quite ironically works. Why is that? I have no idea but, it does. There are some problems however that present themselves when using NVDA with Chrome. When going on to youtube.com and hitting (b) for button the screen reader won’t read the labels on the buttons. This is quite annoying to say the least. But, overall it’s a fast browser and I enjoy it.

Mainstream and Specialized Technology

May 3, 2011

Life has gotten in the way. While life has been getting in the way I’ve had some time to thing about what my next blog psot was going to be about. Well, I’ve got the next thing. You will see from the title what it’s going to be about apparently. So, here it goes. Adaptive technology has been around for a long time. Before the first pda for sighted users came out blind people got there hands on a braille n” speak. I did get this and used it for a long time. The reason why this was a big deal was because a tradional braille writer was heavy, bulky, and LOUD. Very Very Very LOUD. So, when this device came out a lot of people flocked to it. I didn’t have to have a lot of braille paper with notes for school in different folders and then have those folders labeled. This little device cleared all that up. No more paper to sort through just files. I loved it. At this time I was learning to use a computer and loved that as well. But, there was nothing as powerful to me as having a note taker in my hand that was small and I was able to listen to what the teacher had tos ay and also take notes at the same time without having to apologize for my braille writer being loud. Technology has advanced over the years I’ve gotten smarter. Well at least I think I have… and adaptive technology has gotten better. No longer do you need a laptop to do all your word processing on you can have a specialized noe taker. The only disadvantage is that agencies for the blind have to buy them why?? They are expensive the braillenote Apex which is one of the if not the leading note takers for the blind costs $7,000. That’s right that much. The reason? Blind people are a small part of this world. Apple wasn’t ever popular when I was growing up. I only knew windows. Now, that I’m older and a young adult apple has entered the blindness playing field as we’ll call it. Offering everyday devices for the blind. The iphone and the ipad along with their line of laptop and desktop computers. You see, in the windows side of things a list of folders that a sighted person would see is called a “tree view” in the blindness community. So, when you are trying to talk to someone who is sighted about windows your terminology is different espically if you’ve been blind since birth. Apple has since changed that, I’m not saying that apple doesn’t have it’s faults nor am I saying that windows is better. All I’m saying is that we now have choice. Apple can improve in this writers opinion in order to keep up with the screen readers of today like JAWS the leading screen reader and window eyes. But, they do have a shot. Apple has leveled the playing field by providing a solution where sighted and blind mac, iphone, ipad, and ipod touch users can talk about the platform and get things done. A source list in OS X or OS 10 for the blind is also known as a source list to the sighted apple user as well. I see mainstream taking over adaptive. I don’t say this lightly, adaptive equipment does do some things that mainstream will never be able to duplicate but with the prices being compeditive there’s no denying that mainstream will catch up. Adaptive tech will always have it’s own community of people and place in the tech industry, and yes some people will use a mix of adaptive and mainstream devices like myself. But, mainstream is getting better and faster and blowing adaptive tech out of the water.

IOS and Apple

April 11, 2011

IOS apple’s mobile platform was introduced in 2007 when the iphone came out. I suppose it was the same was it is now and the only reason I say that is this. In my last blog apple didn’t make it’s devices accessible until the iphone 3gs was announced. So, I don’t know how it looked and really can’t say if it looked the same or has changed since it was released in 07. Apple has done a good job incorporating a screen reader into it’s mobile platform. It’s a real joy to use, with the triple click home feature you can make your iphone usable by a sighted person in a few millaseconds, and just as easily convert it back into the state you had the phone in last for you the blind user. Access is great and I really can’t say enough about this. Apple has just done a great job with their accessibility by not only building in a screen reader but also a magnifier and a large text option for mail, messages and contacts. The iphone is easy to use as well. With VoiceOver on, which is the screen reader you can drag your finger around the screen and the voice says whatever is below your finger. Double tapping on an item opens the app, once in the app flicking right or left moves you through the app interface. Note: you can also use the flicking method while on the main screen of the iphone and with all apps that are accessible.

The Walled Garden

 Mac OSX and IOS are closed platforms, and for me the end user that’s not a bad thing. If I don’t want to get into my system and hack it like I could windows. I still could hack into my IOS or Mac computer if I wanted to, but the reason I don’t is because apple have built their OS from the ground up. They’ve included everyting you’ll every need. Yes, it may be expensive but you pay a premium for something that is going to last you supstantionally much longer that a pc or any other phone would do. Now, I do have a few problems with the “closed mindedness” of apple, expecially when it comes to my iphone. Apple I paid the freaking money for your device, I bought the hipe, I bought into the apple franchise adn love the a11y you put forth. But, I bought the phone ok, so now let me customize it the way I want. Apple’s “strangle hold” on their mobile os is driving a lot of people to jailbreak. Yes, jailbreaking is legal but apple is trying to stop it. Ok, here’s my solution to that. Apple if you want people not to jailbreak then make IOS 5 customizable get off your soap box about how we are better than everyone else and listen to your customers. Just giving some consumer advice here folks. I’m just saying.

Computer God

The next topic I want to cover is this “Aaron your such a fan boy of apple because you use a macbook and an iphone, your always saying how good it is”. Wrong!!!!!!!! yes, I do applaud them for making a11y mainstream. However, there are some bugs within IOS that I have constantly sent emails to apple and I get the same email in return, but that’s for another post. I’ve been a windows user for a long time, a very long time. I’ve also used and will own a mac for school. I use what works for me depending on what I’m doing. Apple has a lot of things to fix with their iwork suite of applications in regards to VO (voiceover). People either think your all mac or all windows and you can’t use both systems to get things done you have to use one. The knowledge that you have had in windows before you switched over tot he Mac doesn’t apply. Hello!!! Wake up yes it does. Hacking OSX (apple’s OS) requires you to know some windows things. Bringing your knowledge from the pc does you good when you convert to the mac espically if you are a blind user. Explain in windows there are certain commands whether your using JAWS or Window Eyes doesn’t matter, that allow you to move around in a table. Well, look here the same thing for Mac. Yeah, it’s different commands but it’s still basic knowledge of how a table is laid out that works on either platform. This cult that apple has is stupid. Why, do people feel the need to defend apple? Apple is just a company and if something is wrong then tell them. You don’t owe apple anything just like you don’t owe HP, Dell, Toshiba or Microsoft anything. When my pc breaks and yes it has, I call up HP and say fix this. I don’t just say well that’s the way it is and here’s and priase HP for something that’s not there fault. Come on seriously people I mean come on. Am I the only one who thinks that apple should have incorporated VO into the orginal iphone? Heck no, but the mac had it before the iphone did so, why did it take apple 3 generations of the iphone and a lawsuit from the NFB to figure this one out? Now, you apple religionists can’t sit there and tell me “well they had to figure out how to get it in there”. “you just like windows mobile”. “apple didn’t do anything wrong you had a phone that worked”. WOH, apple didn’t do anything wrong? They didn’t do anything wrong? Let me reiderate a lawsuit by the NFB to get access to a mainstream device developed by apple. The a11y team at apple should have been thinking way ahead and should have put it in the original iphone not 3 generations later.

Ease Of Use

The mac is so easy to use, in fact, it’s almost boring. I am kidding it’s a blast to use. With a keystroke I can use my own computer, no additonal software to purchase to make it accessible. Applications run smooth and the screen reader reads them no problems. It’s the same on the iphone, 3 clicks of the home button and I’m ready to use my phone and whenever my friends want to see my phone or a person needs directions, easy just another 3 clicks of that button and speech is off. It’s so easy that a friend of mine who has never touched an iphone in his life picked mine up and was running with it in no time. I didn’t even show him a thing it’s that easy.

The Dark Side

I’ve said a lot of good things about apple, and I am generally happy with their performance. There are a few things however that are frustrating to me as a user.

1. In the music production app garageband you have to interact with everything and not just once but multiple times.

2. Syncing everything with itunes, it’s not a big deal but android doesn’t have you synce with a pc/mac application for everything.

3. Closed OS, why do I need to jailbreak to get features I want, I should be able to customize my iphone.

4. Putting something on then removing it then bringing it back. The 5 gen ipod nano had a camera, then apple decided to make it a touch screen and take it off on the 6th, rumor has it that the camera will be coming back on the 7th. My question why not just keep it in the first place?

5. Apple religion, this is not specifically apple’s fault but I don’t owe anything to apple they are a company when I bash a product or don’t like a move I’m gonna say it. There’s no reason to get defensive and protect them. Apple has lawyers to do that.

Conclusion

Apple is a great company, but a great company is gonna have it’s weak points. I commend apple for making accessibility for blind and low vision users a priority. But, under no circumstances do I give them credit for being so controlling over their mobile platform. Again, it’s my device I pay the bill every month I should be able to customize my phone any way I want. Once apple starts paying my cell bill then fine let them control it but until then (which that will never happen) I want control of my phone and have to optioin to customize the software.

So, my question to you is what do you like and hate about apple??


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