The 32 cell question – Reviewing the Brailliant braille display from HumanWare

I’m not a fan of specialised technology usually.

There generally way over priced for what they do and with the popularity of Smartphones and tablets either running Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS blind people have more access to information at a fraction of what traditional access solutions cost.

As good as all these options are sometimes we forget about braille access and how vital it is for a blind person in today’s rapidly changing world.

Speaking personally braille has played an intricate part in my life. It has made me a more confident player both inside and outside my community not to mention reaching my goals as a young man.

Braille devices have dropped in price but the majority of them are still astronomically expensive for the average blind individual.

Enter the Brailliant braille  from HumanWare.

This sleek display comes in either your choice of 32 cells, 40 cells, or 80 cells.

Design:

The Brailliant is a wonderfully crafted piece of equipment. Made out of high quality aluminium and with a brushed silver finish it’s definitely a headturner.

HumanWare’s iconic thumb keys grace the front of the device. If you’ve spent time with the brailleNote line of products you know what to expect. Suffice it to say it’s a dream to use.

At either end of the display you have 6 vertical keys these keys correspond to the 6 dots of braille. For example press dots 1 and 3 to bring up the search box in Windows 7 if your using JAWS as your screen reader.

Please note: these  commands very between screen readers consult your screen readers help system.

Setup and configuration:

It was a breeze to use the display with JFW on my Mac running Windows via VMware. If your running Window-eyes  version 7.0 or later the drivers are automatically installed.

On the Mac it’s truley plug and play support as the drivers are included with Mountain lion.

I really enjoyed the chrisp braille cells and the equally responsive braille keyboard. Being able to use all most any mobile device including the iPhone is a fantastic bonus.

Technical support and wrapup:

Tech support is provided via HumanWare’s website, the user guide, or phone support.

I have found Miss Ramona Mandy senior blindness product consultant to be excellent when it comes to matters of support.

For International customers call: 18007223393 or visit humanware’s support website.  

In summary HumanWare has produced another piece of great hardware perfictly blending price and functionality.

Rating:

5 stars Excellent.

Where to buy?

Humanware 

Price as reviewed:

AU$2750 32 cell, AU2950 40 cell.

Google maps for iOS reviewed

Greetings ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you all had a fantastic New Year!

I’ve been a bit quiet over the holidays as a lot of things have been going on for me but it’s back to business from today.

My first post for 2013 is one that I have gotton a lot of emails on and it concerns Google maps for iOS.

Let’s get into it.

History:

In iOS 6 Apple removed Google maps and replaced it with there own inferior version of the App.

Suffice it to say it wasn’t one of the best decisions made by the company and even forced CEO Tim Cook to write   a letter of apology to users asking them to try alternative mapping solutions while Apple delt with the issues plaguing Maps in iOS 6.

Enter Google maps. Released by Google not long after iOS’s release it brings all the great features of maps for Android. Oh and it actually works as it should unlike maps for iOS 6.

Design:

When the App is launched for the first time the user is asked to login so that they can sinc there settings between computers and their  iPhone  devices.

The App has a clean layout it is a bit  difficult to navigate   using VoiceOver if your blind.

Having said that I managed to take myself from my place of residence to Footscray and back.

Directions were easy to understand and precise.

Maps are used as needed and are not downloaded to the device saving space on your mobile or tablet.

Overall:

Google maps for iOS is a brilliant mapping solution for those who have hesitated to upgrade to Apple’s newest mobile OS because of mapping issues in the new operating system.

It’s fast, slick, and most important of all functional. Something that can’t be said for maps in iOS 6.

The company is most definitely working to improve maps in iOS but it’s going to take time as Apple isn’t in the mapping business. Meanwhile customers can use Google maps.

Rating:

4.5 stars.

Pros:

Fast and slick, great UI.

Cons:

Has some accessibility and stability issues if one is using the VoiceOver screen reader, no iPad version yet.

Price as reviewed:

Free.

Where to purchase?

From the Apple App store.

https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/google-maps/id585027354?mt=8

Microsoft Surface RT review

Microsoft Surface is the best productivity tablet yet, and it had better be. As the only Microsoft-branded Windows rt hardware to launch with the new operating system the tablet serves as ambassador and flagship for the touch-focused, wildly risky Windows grand experiment. The Surface excels thanks to its thoughtful design, sensible implementation of its keyboard accessory, and the innobations brought about by the interface for merly known as “Metro” — chief among them:the gesture-driven menu system, powerful search tool, and incredibly cool and versatile splits-creen feature.

Unfortunately, there’s a price to pay for doing things differently. I’ve spent a day and an a half with this soldier for the Windows course, and I predict that some of you will find Metro’s learning curve discouraging. Additionally, apps support is dismal, performance especially when using IE10 is slow at times, and like the old guy in the club still hanging around after last call, the traditional Windows interface lingers on, feeling embarrassingly out of place.

The Surface isn’t for everyone. Those looking for tons or even several pounds of apps should look elsewhere: however, it takes a legitimate swing at replacing your computer and comes closer to hitting the mark than any tablet before it.

Microsoft Surface RT $499 reviewed on December 13th, 2012

Sadam ahmed.

Design: 7.0

Features: 8.0

performance: 7.0

The good:

The Microsoft Surface ‘s Metro interface is innovative, elegant, poweerful, and versatile. The tablet feels strong and well-built, runs Office 2013, and includes rich video and music services. Its keyboard cover accessories are the best ways to type on a tablet, period.

The bad:

The tablet’s performance can be ssluggish, its Windows Store is a ghost town, Metro takes getting used to, and the desktop interface feels clunky and useless.

The bottom line:

If you are an early adopter willing to forget everything you know about navigating a computer, the Surface tablet could replace your laptop. Everyone else: wait for more apps.

A look at the Nexus 7

In the last couple of months there has been an avalanche of 7-inch tablets.

Today we have a look at the Nexus 7 which is a collaborative effort between Google and Asus.

Let’s get started.

Design.

Off the bat this tablet feels very well made indeed.

There was no flexing to the screen when I put pressure on the screen.

The back of the device is covered by a grippy material overall this tablet doesn’t feel cheap.

Performance.

Under the hood we have a quad-core processor ram is 2GB.

In every day tasks the tablet performed very well.

Google has done a great job optimising the  Android Jellybean and the experience is fantastic.

Software.

The product comes with Android 4.2 otherwise known as Jellybean.

This is Google’s best version of Android hands down with some recoding and by using project butter smooth Google has managed to bring you the user the most slick version of Android yet with out the custom modification that happens with some Android products.

Conclusion.

I would Thoroughly recommend the Nexus 7 to anyone who is looking for a affordable yet surprisingly capable device.

Android 4.2 has never been better and for the price how can you say no?

Rating:

4.5 stars.

Price as reviewed:

AU249 16GB AU299 32GB.

Manufacturer:

Google Inc.

Where to buy?

Direct from Google