Tech Times Newsletter

Spring 2017




Excel: Making Address Books and Budgets Easy

Join us on Thursday, October 12 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm for this new Excel presentation. You will learn how to use Excel to create an address book and personal budget. Topics include navigating Excel, entering information into an Excel file, creating totals, saving files and formatting and sorting information. To register, call our front desk or r email David Flament.

Seeing AI

New workshop on the hottest new app! Seeing AI from Microsoft combines several helpful features all in one free app. Join us on Thursday, October 19 from 1:30 to 3:30 pm so we can show you how easy it is to use. You’ll learn how to identify products with the bar code scanner, read short and long text, recognize people with the facial recognition feature and use the scenic viewer to hear a description of your surroundings. Download the app prior to the workshop to follow along! To register for this workshop, call our front desk or email David Flament.

Shopping on Amazon and with InstaCart

On Saturday, November 11 we are hosting two exciting workshops about shopping. Shopping with Amazon is from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Get hands-on training for navigating the Amazon website, finding products, looking up product details, adding products to your cart and checking out. In our second workshop, Apple: Shopping with InstaCart from 1:00 to 3:00 pm, you’ll learn how to use the InstaCart app on your Apple device. We’ll cover the layout of the app, choosing a store, shopping by department, searching for items and checking out. If you want to follow along, bring your Apple device with the InstaCart app downloaded prior to coming. To register for one or both of these workshops, call our front desk or email David Flament.



This quarter it is time to eat. If you thought I would be talking about food delivery apps, you are right. Long gone are the days of calling a restaurant and being put on hold to place your order and then giving your credit card info to some kid you have never met. These days, all you have to do is tap your smartphone screen a couple of times and someone is knockin’ on your door with delicious hot food. Best of all, no cash has changed hands. As with anything you purchase on a smartphone, the same is true for food apps – the cost of your food is charged directly to your account.

It seems every day I hear about a new food delivery app. Even chains like Pizza Hut have their own delivery apps. Most of these apps are similar in that they tell you what restaurants are around you and then show you a menu. Tap on the things you want and then tap order. You will need to set up an account first to use one of these food delivery apps.

Here, I’ll focus on GrubHub and UberEats. GrubHub was one of the first food delivery apps and is the one I use most often. As with many apps, it has accessibility issues, but there are some work arounds. For example, the tabs at the bottom of the GrubHub screen do not say what they represent when flicking right. However, if you move your finger along the bottom from left to right, VoiceOver will read the tabs correctly. Choosing the My Grub tab will bring up the main menu.

At first, GrubHub can seem overwhelming. The app lists the restaurants near you or you can search for restaurants by name or cuisine. The overwhelming part is how much information they provide. As you go through the list of restaurants, GrubHub gives you lots of details about each restaurant including cuisine, cost, minimum order, distance from you, rating and delivery fee.

Once you find a restaurant you want to order from, just double tap on the name and their menu will come up. By double tapping on each item you want, it will give you options for that item, like toppings on your pizza or your burger. On the Item Options screen is an Add to Bag button. Double tapping on that will add that item to your order.

Once you have added everything you want to order, go to the Bag tab along the bottom and your order info will come up. You can add your tip on this screen. Next, choose the Place your Order button and your food will be on its way.

UberEats is probably the most popular of the delivery apps and is very easy to use. It works very much like most food delivery apps, including GrubHub. You start with a list of restaurants and double tapping on a restaurant brings up the menu for that restaurant. Double tapping on a menu item brings up the options for that item and a button to add it to your order. There is a menu bar along the bottom of the screen. When you have items on your order, Checkout will appear on that menu bar. UberEats gives you the option to rate your delivery person and give a tip after you receive your order, rather than when you checkout.

Some other differences you’ll want to consider when choosing between UberEats and GrubHub. The delivery fees in UberEats seem slightly higher. GrubHub gives you more information than UberEats. Depending on your location, GrubHub and UberEats may have different restaurants to choose from, but some may also appear on both apps. If you have an Uber account, you can log into UberEats with your Uber account so there is no need to re-enter all your payment info.

Here are a couple of tips save you time when using food delivery apps. When you find a restaurant you like, double tap on the Add to Favorite. Adding restaurants to your favorites will save you from navigating that huge list of restaurants near you. Just go to Favorites on the main menu and you’ll see those restaurants you marked as favorites. Choose Reorder from the main menu to reorder items you have ordered in the past. This eliminates having to go to the restaurant and navigate the menu to find previously ordered items. Bon Appétit.



By Marvin Commerford

Goodbye WindowEyes

On Amazon’s Prime Day, I bought an Amazon Echo Dot. It’s a great little device. The Amazon Alexa app for IOS is reasonably easy to figure out. However, setting up the Dot does take patience and persistence. I recommend downloading the app on your phone even before you get your Dot. Log in on the app to your Amazon account, read up on the help pages for the tasks you will be performing and get familiar with the setup steps.

You’ll need to work quickly when you’re setting up your Dot because the device can leave setup mode. You’ll get verbal notification if you’re in setup, but no sound is made if it is out of setup mode. You may need to press the Action button again to go back into setup. You must connect your phone’s Wi-Fi to the Amazon network to set up the Dot. The IOS app switcher is your friend for switching between settings and the Amazon Alexa app.

I set up my Dot to connect to my home network. It took a few tries to get the job done. I also brought the Dot to Second Sense to practice connecting it to Wi-Fi. Again, it took a few tries to get it done. Be patient and persistent. The result is worth the effort.



People often ask about which podcasts they should listen to. It really depends on your interests. For this issue, I’ll talk a bit about podcasts, how they work and my favorites.

Are you unfamiliar with what a podcast is? Think of a podcast as a sort of radio broadcast that you can listen to on your schedule, whenever you have the time. Some podcasts occur on a set schedule like every day, week or month. Other are random. Typically, you subscribe to a podcast using an app on your smartphone, software on your computer or on a mobile device like a book reader. When a new episode of a podcast you have subscribed to comes out, it will appear in your app, software or on your device.

Here are some of my favorite podcasts. What are some of yours?

DTNS (Daily Tech News Show)
Host Tom Merritt and his guest co-hosts cover the tech headlines every day. DTNS has two versions — headlines only and headlines plus discussion. This podcast is a great way to keep up with what is going on with technology in general. While it focuses on mainstream technology, they do occasionally drift into accessibility topics.

Pro Football Talk Live
Host Mike Florio discusses what is going on in the world of NFL Football. This is a daily podcast consisting of three one-hour podcasts for that day’s show. Mike hosts many guests and covers the hottest topics of the day relating to professional football.

The AppleVis podcast is hosted by several different contributors and covers a wide range of topics, all relating to Apple products and vision loss. Whether you want to find out about how to use a cool new app or are wondering how Bluetooth works, they have a podcast for you.

Planetary Society
This weekly podcast, featuring host Mat Kaplan, has a new guest each week talking about topics related to space. Discussions range from Earth’s orbit to Mars to future exploration. Whether your interest lies in astronomy, space exploration or space tourism, this podcast has you covered.

Blind Bargains
This weekly podcast is hosted by J.J. Meddaugh and Joe Steinkamp. Each week they discuss what is new in adaptive technology, demonstrate products and cover topics of interest to people with vision loss. J.J. and Joe frequently have interesting guests and always offer the best coverage of the summer conventions.