Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Year That Was In A T 2013 Part 3

Enough of the star gazing, lets get on with the countdown!
10. Google wins victory over Authors Guild
This one falls a bit into the personal bias camp. Let me explain why. I’m a Board Member of Houston’s Sight Into Sound Reading Radio. I’ve also spoken at, and am on the Technology Committee, for IAAIS. There are some concerns about books and how they can be read or broadcast that are up in the air. One of the questions I’ve asked at IAAIS national Convention noted this case and the importance for reading Orphanworks. It’s really a complicated matter, see the WIPO Treaty for even more complexity, when you talk about books and Authors and access. And the whole darn thing astounds me because the tech of the issue clouds the simple fact that sighted people pass one another books all the time and there doesn’t seem to be a credit card slot on a paperback of “50 Shades” or “Harry potter”. Sometimes the Guild makes the MPAA look like amateurs in their approach to desire for control. So, on just the audacity for Google’s desire to know everything and having the power to take this to court and win, I’m impressed enough to say that this was a big story for me at least in 2013. Now here comes the absolutely expected appeal.
9. Fleksy comes to Android, but is not accessible
Let me tell you a story about a small team that has a great idea and it goes from being one thing, but after a little water and a lot of sunlight, the idea grows into something much bigger for oh so many more people. That is an over simplified description of Fleksy in 2013. Many wonder what It would be like for a product aimed at what would be considered an Assistive Technology audience to hit the big time and see mainstream recognition. Well wonder no more as these guys and gals are doing just that. Perhaps you are a fan of their iOS work and their recently released SDK? Perhaps you are a disappointed Android user who is now playing with Swipe because they moved first with TalkBack. Or, perhaps you just like a good view from the side lines to see what a company will do under this kind of microscope with this much funding and this much notoriety? No matter what, Fleksy’s win loss record proved to be a hot topic of debate for many in 2013 and it moves from my biggest pick in 2012 to my number 9 seat in this year’s rankings.
8. Voice Dream Updated to support more DAISY formats
In the same vain about an app and its audience Voice Dream started out as one thing and then evolved to become something else. In a roundabout sort of way the app’s journey reminds me of, say, EverNote. The options just kept piling on, the core experience kept improving and the feedback between the Developer and the users just made things better in each successive release. We aren’t a huge market in mobiles, no matter what others may think or say, so the crazy attention to detail and the level of commitment to the needs of their users impressed me a lot. And it’s one of the best examples of a winning approach I can point at for the aspiring Developers out there who want to join in the fray.
Take a listen to what the developer had to say during their interview on Triple Click Home,
7. Humanware Releases Victor Stream 2 with Wi-fi
This one landed on the list not because it was a break out hit, or that everyone had to have one. No, this entry was newsworthy in the decernable numbers of social media mentions and water cooler discussions it inspired. There was the “all from iOS or nothing at all” camp pushing conversations in one direction with others who find the need for non-new media devices outlining their justifications for why a device aimed at them was a better fit for their needs. Both sides had valid concerns and both sides were wrong for the right reasons. Standing in the middle of this maelstrom was an updated version of the modern day APH Tape player making the case for why it is here to party. Five years ago this device would have had lines around the block drooling for a chance to hold one, five years ago the iPhone and VoiceOver were just rumors or in the hands of brave first adoptors. No matter which side you align yourself with, chances are you go into some kind of heated conversation about the merits of this Humanware release. We did on SeroTalk, that’s for sure. About two months worth of emails, calls and blog comments in fact. And that was just enough to land it in the number 7 spot on my list.
6. Android 4.4 Kitkat Released, improves access especially for web apps
yeah, I hear everyone now. Its okay, you can say it. . . Fanboy. But, if you listen to all my reviews on SPN or follow me on Twitter, you know I’m an equal opportunity offender, which means I poke at the good and bad of just about everything. And after three years plus of using Android, y’know, this release was pretty amazing. Like how did we use this before kind of level of amazing. No, scratch that, the kind of level of support that lets us finally put to bed once and for all that notion that Android TalkBack users are some sort of Troglodytes living underground using that Operating system unworthy of attention at your local Advocacy Chapter meeting. The hardware options are many, the access is great and getting better, BraileBack was held up as a rousing success at both NFB and ACB National Conventions by several! Braille Display makers, the same makers who had some not so nice things to say about divergence and Braille and decisions by some other company in Cupertino. That’s right, I said it. Android v4.4 does much in a year that saw multiple updates to TalkBack and BraileBack: a cornucopia of access goodness. Ahem, and the new Web View access is nice too. Anyway, not that you couldn’t before, Android users hold your heads and devices high. And if not on v4.4, look at a ROM. Still safer than a Chinese App Store Jailbreak.
And you can catch lots of commentary on the state of Android Access, both good and bad, over at “That Android Show”…
Remember, you can see what the others on the panel chose for the big list over at Blind Bargains…

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