Smart Connected Home Automation – Integrated Systems

Home automation for Macs and mobile devices has existed for a long time, but the quality has been pretty awful and the technology has been patchy and expensive. Now seemingly overnight everything is getting cheaper, better, and more readily available!

Today’s article is a list of integrated smart connected home automation systems aimed for mainstream audiences. Integrated systems have more than one controller and sensor that work together. They can frequently also integrate other companies’ products into the system. This lets you have just one iPhone app (or web page, Mac app, etc.) to control the system instead of a different app for each product. Continue readingSmart Connected Home Automation – Integrated Systems

What Are Time-Independent iOS Games & Why Do You Want Them?

Most “standard” computer and phone-based games get harder because they get faster, relying on the player’s reflexes and coordination keeping up. For example, in Tetris the blocks appear and drop faster and faster as your level increases:

Tetris, like most single player games, devolves into twitch gameplay as the levels increase.
Tetris, like most single player games, devolves into twitch gameplay as the levels increase.

Untimed games or time-independent games are those where you aren’t penalised if you play a game very slowly, have bad reflexes, or don’t posses the hand-eye coordination to time your movements accurately. Games like this are “turn-based games” where any game actions only occur in response to the player’s actions, and additionally they are free of timers or time-related limitations. Continue readingWhat Are Time-Independent iOS Games & Why Do You Want Them?

Round-up: iOS 8 Accessibility Wishes

MacWorld have been running a series on changes that they’d like to see in iOS 8, so far the list has included changes to The Notification Center, Mail, Calendar and Reminders, and Photos and Camera. Today Steven Aquino has added to the series with: iOS 8 changes we’d like to see: Accessibility.

Steve’s article pretty much sticks to two issues – the impact that the iOS 7 redesign had on accessibility, especially for low-vision users, and the fact that the accessibility settings are hopelessly confused and a huge jumble of things put in no particular order and expecting users to find the specific settings they need is unreasonable with the current setup. I agree with Steve that both these issues are vitally important, but I know there are many other accessibility wishes that lots of users have for iOS 8! This article aims to be a more general round-up of wishes for a wide variety of accessibility needs … Continue readingRound-up: iOS 8 Accessibility Wishes

Connor Reads with Bookshare, iPad, and Ebooks

Lovely article from the CP Family Network about a 7th grade boy who has cerebral palsy and uses switches. He’s has started to read with the freedom of an iPad and the Read2Go DAISY reader app.

In the past, Connor depended on his mom or an aide to hold a book steady or turn a page. His reading assignments had to be requested in large print, but that often took weeks – which left him always in catch up mode. Now, he doesn’t rely on others much and reads digital books from a stationary stand on his wheelchair from his iPad. “He can follow the text and has better eye tracking,” adds Meadows.

Continue readingConnor Reads with Bookshare, iPad, and Ebooks

How To Click Without Using Mouse Buttons in OS X

One of the numerous obstacles those of us with physical limitations face is how do we perform a right-click with a one-button mouse? Those that are able to use a physical keyboard can simply hold down the control key while clicking and that will emulate a right-click. But what about those of us who can’t use a physical keyboard or have trouble using one? There’s actually several solutions out there to this problem and in this brief article I thought I’d touch on a few of the simple software options.

These solutions will also help anyone else who has trouble manually clicking their mouse or trackpad. Continue readingHow To Click Without Using Mouse Buttons in OS X

Switch Off VoiceOver: When Your iPhone or iPad Won’t Stop Talking

VoiceOver for iOS is a very helpful assistive technology for blind iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users. Unlike screen readers for many other situations, which cost hundreds of dollars, it’s built right into iOS. Unfortunately for sighted users, occasionally people turn in on without meaning to and the results can be confusing …

It’s probably VoiceOver if your iDevice won’t stop reading what’s on-screen in a computer-generated background voice, and you see a black line around what you touch like this:

My iPhone lock screen - note the black VoiceOver outline around the time display at the top.
My iPhone lock screen – note the black VoiceOver outline around the time display at the top.
Continue readingSwitch Off VoiceOver: When Your iPhone or iPad Won’t Stop Talking