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Author: Colin Hughes

Ring Intercom: an accessible and secure addition to your home security

IWhen it comes to home security, there are a lot of options out there. From traditional alarm systems to smart video doorbells, it can be hard to know what’s right for you. One product that has recently caught my attention is the Ring Intercom.

Voice dictation game changer: My experience with Google’s Project Relate app

After a lifetime living with the effects of the progressive muscle wasting condition muscular dystrophy I would describe my speech as non-standard because I don’t have the breath to speak long sentences, and when I am tired some words are occasionally slightly slurred. I also need to use a ventilator to help me breathe parts of each day, and wearing the accompanying nasal mask also affects m...

Enhancing accessibility: WhatsApp Mac beta with native Apple Silicon support now available to all users

WhatsApp has been working on an updated Mac app that features native Apple silicon support, and a beta version of the app is now available to all WhatsApp users. This beta version is a significant upgrade from the previous version as it brings several new features and improvements, including accessibility enhancements. One of the most significant changes in this update is the optimisation for Appl...

How Ray-Ban Stories help me take photos and videos for the first time

Ray-Ban Stories are wearable smart glasses that give you a new way to capture photos and video, message and call with WhatsApp, listen to music, and like all sunglasses protect your eyes from glaring rays on a sunny day. Launched in September 2021, these wearable tech spectacles are a collaboration between Facebook (aka Meta) and Luxottica (the parent company of Ray-Ban the sunglasses maker). The ...

Apple Accessibility Preview: the unanswered questions

Ahead of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on the 6th of June Apple has previewed updated accessibility features coming to its platforms later this year. Among the software updates with the potential to change lives are LiDAR-powered Door Detection for blind or visually impaired users, Live Captions for deaf people or those with hearing loss, and features which give those with phys...

KeyboardMike: how I invented a microphone for speech recognition

Getting high levels of accuracy in the words you dictate into a email client, website text box, or document on a computer with speech recognition applications is no easy task. Tech companies that make voice dictation apps, like Microsoft’s Voice Typing tool, Apple’s Voice Control, and Nuance Dragon Professional, don’t manufacture microphones and often they will offer up the impression that a...

Apple adds useful new feature to Mac Voice Control but didn’t tell anyone

The third update to macOS Monterey for Mac computers was released last week. Among the headline grabbing new software tricks in macOS 12.3 is Universal Control, a feature that lets you control multiple Macs and iPads using a single mouse, keyboard, and trackpad. However, another feature of interest to Mac accessibility users made a quieter debut in macOS 12.3. Although it wasn’t shown in the...

iOS 15.4 update: Face ID works again for CPAP mask wearers

This week has seen Apple release iOS 15.4 for iPhone users. It’s a big update that brings quite a few useful new features to the iPhone, including the ability to turn off notifications for personal automations in Shortcuts, and 37 new emoji. One of the biggest feature updates for me is a new option in iOS 15.4 to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask with no additional hardware like the Ap...

Overdue Apple Voice Control upgrade should include better dictation accuracy

Apple operating systems and apps face various performance and reliability issues: AirPlay reliability when connecting multiple HomePods, a HomeKit bug that can kill iOS devices, and more… However, what no one, (apart from disabled users), ever talks about is how buggy, unreliable and inaccurate dictation is in Voice Control, the company’s flagship speech recognition application for disabled ...

Apple accessibility 2021: the good and the bad

Autumn has been a busy period for Apple. Following a summer of beta testing it released major updates to its operating systems, including iOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey. The company also released a bunch of new hardware, including iPhone 13, Apple Watch Series 7, AirPods 3 and new Apple Silicon MacBook Pro laptops. Over the past few weeks, I have managed to get my hands on the new iPhone 13...

TwistMike review (VIDEO)

Freedom: the ability to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, with the minimum of fuss. It’s what I value most in life. And Speechware’s TwistMike means I get to enjoy a lot more freedom. I have muscular dystrophy, which means I can’t take to the keyboard to type emails, Facebook updates, or WhatsApp messages – things we all take for granted these days. Instead, I use speech recognitio...

SpeechWare USB TravelMike review

Last year I reviewed the TwistMike by SpeechWare, a company with a strong reputation for professional microphones in the speech recognition industry. I was amazed at the accuracy of my voice dictation when using the company’s longest and most flexible microphone boom. The TwistMike solved a problem I’d been experiencing for a long time; being unable to sit comfortably close enough to t...

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