Blind Bargains Qast 185: Cocaine Poodle Whammy


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June usually finds us talking about Apple and games thanks to WWDC and E3 respectively. Jesse Anderson
slides down a warp pipe to talk about the big gaming event, his recent purchase of an Oculus Quest and his speaking engagement at the Games Accessibility Conference
this past March in San Francisco. We have news and a great report on cord cutting in "Sound Off". And possibly the wildest tip we've had in quite some time. So, grab your power gloves and listen in to hear what J.J. calls his favorite "Last Word" this year.

Sponsor: AIRA

The Blind Bargains Qast is excited to bring you the new "Game of Words" contest that lets you work with an AIRA Agent to solve puzzles. Tune in, over the next few weeks, to hear if players can claim the Iron Noun for themselves. And congratulations to Charlie who scored a cool $500 from this week's contest. "Game of Words" is brought to you by Aira, an app that connects people who are blind or have low-vision to highly trained, remotely-located agents for instant access to visual information.

Game of Words is easy to enter! All you need is an Aira account, which you can download at After the app is installed, you can register for a free account by simply providing your phone number. Once you ve registered, visit and fill in your name and phone number in the Game of Words entry form to enter! One contestant will be chosen from the list of entries at the beginning of each week to participate.

Sign up for a chance to be selected to beat the clock and win!

In The News:

Orbit Research announces that you can now update the Orbit Reader 20 firmware directly from the SD card

Bard iOS app updates before summer convention with big changes

[Freedom Scientific brings new features to the omniReader Portable Scanning and Reading Solution](

Survey of the week asks your thoughts about airline travel and Service Animals

The long in the tooth Freelists mailing list for the Humanware Braille Note is being retired and replaced with a shiny new modern one

Interview: Jessie Anderson

Joe and Jesse
talk about many game related things since their time at the Game Accessibility Conference
a few months ago. There is a lot happening in mainstream game spaces for Blind and Low Vision players. And here is just some of the stuff they mentioned during this segment.

Xbox at E3 2019
EA's Madden 2020 accessibility options page
Mortal Kombat 11 Accessibility Options
Steve Saylor on Twitter
Liam plays Phoenix Wright
Brandon Cole Superblindman on Twitter
Microsoft's Seeing VR

Tip: There are so Many Great Alternatives to Shouting Hey Google at Google Assistant

Tired of saying "Okay Google" or "Hey Google" at the Google Assistant? well, this article notes that there are some creative alternatives
out there.

Sound Off:

Judy Dixon sends in this great email entitled "Cutting the Cord"

We cut the cord in February without a clear idea of what we were going to
do. We have an Amazon Fire TV and an Apple TV. We connected a $29 indoor
antenna to the Fire TV and were able to get about 50 channels, several
repeats of network channels, lots of flavors of PBS and some like Antenna
and RetroTV which have old TV shows and are not cable channels. The
reception was not ideal, audio broke up a fair bit. We have ended up
installing an outdoor antenna primarily to get better audio and it is
working well. We now have 72 antenna channels although this is mostly
duplicates of what we already had.

We took a look at to see what streaming
services the cable channels we actually watched were on. We signed up for
the 7-day free trial of SlingTV. It is $25 a month after the free trial.
But their apps for the Fire TV, Apple TV, and iOS devices were so
inaccessible that we cancelled after 5 days.

Since our goal was to get described content on cable channels, we then
took a look at Hulu Live but at $44.95 a month, it seemed like that would
get us back into the boat we just got out of. Fibo TV is $55 a month for
the base plan.We looked at Philo, signed up for a 7-day free trial; Its
only $20 a month. the iOS app was difficult but possibly usable with some
effort and defining of graphics but I couldn't figure out how to get audio
description. I wrote to their customer service and they told me they
didn't support audio description but planned to in the future. I think
Philo is worth keeping track of because if they made their app a bit
easier to use and offered audio description it would be a great way to get
lots of cable channels for $20 a month.

So we abandoned our efforts at getting cable channels and focussed on
getting audio description. We were told by people who know about these
things that we could only get audio description on "the big four" with an
antenna. The big four are nbc, cbs, abc, and fox. This did not include pbs
which is something we really wanted. We were also told that if audio
description was available, it would just be there.

We were not getting any audio description on our Amazon Fire TV so looked
for an alternative. We found a service called Channels, There is no ongoing subscription fee but you do need
a hardware device called an HD Homerun that you connect to your router and
an antenna. The HD Homerun is available from Amazon, a duo version for $69
which lets you use two devices at once and a quatro version for $99 which
lets you use four at once. the iOS app is free; the Amazon Fire TV and
Apple TV (fourth generation) apps are $25. Primarily what it does is give
you better and easier access to your antenna channels. It also has audio
description for everything that is available including PBS, and is easy to
access. The iOS app is spectacular, very, accessible. The Amazon Fire TV
and Apple TV apps aren't quite as good but usable.

Then, after all this, I discovered that if you double tap on the menu
button of the Fire TV's remote, you can get access to the menu which has
an item for audio options and a place to change the language. If you
change to Spanish, you get audio description where available. I never
found this information in the VoiceView documentation.

So, I suppose at this point the Channels app is redundant but it is such a
great app and it is so nice to get all the TV channels on an iOS device
anywhere in the house that we are delighted to have it.

One other thing, I really missed CNN, it is one thing I watched a lot on
cable. It is available on some of the streaming services but I remembered
that the audio of both CNN and CNN International is available on Tune-in
so you can listen to them with an Alexa or Google Home device or the iOS
app so I don't need a streaming service for that.

That's where things stant at the moment. I am sure that there are other
options but our goal is to not get another high-priced subscription

Judy Dixon

Last Word:

A strange musical clip and we exchange dogs for cats this week.
HotWheels Xylophone
Dog Spot offers public Smart Doghouses of the future

J.J. hasn't caught up with Ted Drake, on a podcast, since 2014. We'll rectify that oversight next week on episode 186.

Shopping is a breeze with our Blind Bargains Apps.
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