How To Cut, Copy and Paste While Using VoiceOver

Cut, copy and paste is an important feature in iOS. It can be a little tricky for VoiceOver users to use cut copy and paste if you are not familiar with the process. Because it is a little tricky I will walk you through the process step by step.
  1. Select the words you want to cut or copy with the VoiceOver cursor by touching the line or flicking left or right.
  2. Rotate the VoiceOver rotor to either "words" or "lines." To rotate the VoiceOver rotor place two fingers on the screen and turn them left or right. If you select "lines" you will select one lines at a time and if you select "words" you will select one word at a time.
  3. Pinch out with two fingers to begin to select the words you want to cut or copy. VoiceOver will speak which words have been selected.
  4. Rotate the rotor to "edit" mode and then swipe up or down to hear all of the options. It will give you options such as cut, copy, paste, define and more depending on which app you are using.
  5. When you hear the option you want, double tap anywhere on the screen. Now you have copied the text.
  6. To paste the text navigate to a text box and then double tap and hold. Then swipe to navigate to the paste button and then double tap anywhere on the screen to paste the text.
Apple says the following about cut, copy and past with VoiceOver.
"Cut, copy, and paste comes to iPod touch. To bring up cut, copy, and paste options, use the rotor and choose Edit. Flick up or down to choose between the Select and Select All functions, then double tap. If you choose Select, the word closest to the insertion point is selected when you double tap. Pinch to increase or decrease the selection. If you choose Select All, the entire text is selected. When text is selected, cut, copy, and paste options appear on the screen. If you want to undo something, just give iPod touch a shake. You can also flick left or right to choose the undo action, then double tap." 
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Apple To Unveil iPad 3 and Possibly More on March 7th

Today, Apple announced an event to unveil the iPad 3 and possibly more. The event will take place at 10 am pacific time on March 7th. Apple is rumored to release a new iPad with a better camera, faster processor, Siri and more. Along with the iPad 3 Apple may release the iOS 5.1 update for iPad, iPhone and iPad Touch. As with all Apple event nothing is known for sure until the official release on March 7th. Stay tuned to the Assistive Technology Blog to see what Apple has up its sleeve.
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Is the Remarks App Remarkable?

Remarks is a note taking and PDF annotation app for the iPad. It allows users to take notes with a stylist or finger. The app also allows users to edit PDFs by adding handwriting, drawings, text or pictures. The app has very elegant navigation options including viewing all the pages in a document and quick page selection.

There is not a search feature that allows you to find a word within the document. From the main screen users can arrange their documents into folders. There is an option to to search for documents from the main screen.You can also change the paper type to graph, dotted, isometric and more. Once you have completed you can email the note as a PDF or save it to the app.

When creating a new note you can add hand writing, text with the keyboard or add images. A cool feature allows you to rest your wrist on the iPad screen while you use your finger or a stylist to write. Users can also draw shapes such as arrows, lines, circles and squares. You can also add images from your camera. When multitasking gestures are enabled you cannot rest your wrist on the screen without unknowingly changing apps.

To annotate a PDF users can use the "open in" button from Safari, Mail and many other apps. When annotating PDFs you can add all of the available elements while making a note.

Remarks costs $4.99 in the App Store.

Click read more below to see more images and videos about Remarks.

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Researchers Find Faster Eyes-Free Typing Solution for Touch Screens

Researchers have developed and faster way to type on touch screens with out seeing the screen. The solution, called BrailleTouch, is perfect for blind smart phone users. BrailleTouch uses the three dots on each side of the screen to represent Braille alphabet. BrailleTouch is designed to be used with the touch screen facing away from the user. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers of both hands are used to touch the six dots. Researchers claim that BrailleTouch allows users to type eyes-free with 92 percent accuracy and 32 words per minutes. BrailleTouch is a prototype app and is not available to the public.

Click read more below to read the press release.

ATLANTA - Feb. 17, 2012 - Imagine if smartphone and tablet users could text a note under the table during a meeting without anyone being the wiser. Mobile gadget users might also be enabled to text while walking, watching TV or socializing without taking their eyes off what they're doing.

Georgia Tech researchers have built a prototype app for touch-screen mobile devices that is vying to be a complete solution for texting without the need to look at a mobile gadget's screen.

"Research has shown that chorded, or gesture-based, texting is a viable solution for eyes-free written communication in the future, making obsolete the need for users to look at their devices while inputting text on them," said Mario Romero, Postdoctoral Fellow in the School of Interactive Computing (IC) and the project's principal investigator.

The free open-source app, called BrailleTouch, incorporates the Braille writing system used by the visually impaired. It has been conceived as a texting tool for any of the millions of smartphone phone users worldwide.

Early studies with visually impaired participants proficient in Braille typing have demonstrated that users can input at least six times the number of words per minute when compared to other research prototypes for eyes-free texting on a touch screen. Users reach up to 32 words per minute with 92 percent accuracy with the prototype app for the iPhone.

"We are currently designing a study to formally evaluate BrailleTouch through both quantitative and qualitative methods," said Caleb Southern, an IC graduate student. "We will measure the typing speed and accuracy of visually impaired users and capture the feedback from study participants in areas such as comfort, ease of use and perceived value."

For sighted users, the research team is exploring how BrailleTouch could be a universal eyes-free mobile texting app that replaces soft QWERTY keyboards and other texting technologies.

"BrailleTouch is an out-of-the-box solution that will work with smartphones and tablets and allow users to start learning the Braille alphabet in a few minutes," said Romero. "It also reduces the need for expensive proprietary Braille keyboard devices, which typically cost thousands of dollars."

The researchers have designed BrailleTouch to address the limitations of soft keyboards, which do not provide tactile feedback, as well as physical keyboards, which often use small and numerous fixed buttons. BrailleTouch is the only iPhone app in existence that uses a six-finger chording process that replicates the traditional Braille keyboard.

The app uses a gesture-based solution by turning the iPhone's touchscreen into a soft-touch keyboard programmed for Braille and requiring only six keys, making it a practical solution for the limited screen real estate on smartphones.

The key feature of the BrailleTouch technology is the use of the six-key configuration so that the keyboard fits on the screen and users keep their fingers in a relatively fixed position while texting. This design allows users to hold their device with the screen facing away from them ¬– cradling the device with their palms or pinkies and thumbs – and to type with a majority of their fingers, identical to typing Braille on a standard keyboard.

The team behind BrailleTouch is led by Romero and IC Professor Gregory Abowd, co-principal investigator. Former IC affiliate Brian Frey conceived the original idea and developed the first prototype and Southern created an improved design. They are conducting usability studies together with James Clawson, a Ph.D. candidate in IC, and Kate Rosier, a master's graduate in Digital Media and bachelor's graduate in Computational Media.

The research group has developed iPhone and iPad versions of BrailleTouch and is currently working on Android versions. The app recently won the MobileHCI 2011 competition for design at the MobileHCI conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

BrailleTouch will be demonstrated at the Abilities Expo-Atlanta 2012, taking place Feb. 17-19 at the Georgia World Congress Center. A video of BrailleTouch in action is available at the following link:

This project was supported in part by the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC), which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), United States Department of Education, under grant number H133E110002. 

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Scanner Pro Review

Scanner Pro is an app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It works best with the iPhone because it has a higher quality camera. Scanner Pro allows you to take a picture of a multi-page document and then convert the images into a PDF file. Images can be taken with the camera or imported from the camera roll. When using the camera to capture an image there is an option to have the picture taken when the camera is perfectly still for better image quality.

Scanner Pro allows you to take pictures of multiple pages before saving them to a PDF which speeds up the process of scanning multiple pages. Once you have taken the pictures of the document you can change the contrast and brightness. Scanner Pro can automatically detect the edges of a document but it does do not do as good of a job at detecting edges as other scanner apps such as TurboScan and JotNot.

The app struggles even more if the document is on a light background. The inability of Scanner Pro to consistently detect the edges is a major downside. If Scanner Pro does not recognize the edges of the document automatically you can adjust the edges manually but this takes time and slows down the process considerably. Once you adjust the edges Scanner Pro has great features to manage and share your document. You can send documents by email, iDisk, WebDAV services, Evernote, Google Docs and Dropbox. The app allows you to share you documents over Wi-Fi as well. Another cool feature allows you to password protect the entire app or individual documents. Scanner Pro costs $6.99 in the App Store.

Scanner Pro is a well done app but the problems detecting edges really slows things down. Because of this one problem I would recommend JotNot or TurboScan instead. If Readdle, the maker of the app, fixes the edge detection problem it would be a different story.

Click read more below to view screen shots of Scanner Pro in action.

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Read PDF Files Aloud with vBooks PDF Voice Reader

vBooks PDF Voice Reader is an app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad that reads PDFs aloud using text-to-speech. The app has a similar interface to iBook. vBooks PDF Voice Reader comes with a male and female text-to-speech voice included with app. The included text-to-speech voices sound good and are easy to understand. To read a PDF simply tap on the front page of the PDF from the bookshelf and then press the red play button on the bottom of the screen. The text can be read at speeds of 100 words per minute all the way up to 240 words per minute. The app has a cursor that highlights the word being read and you can drag the cursor around to start reading a different part of the PDF. The app also has navigation features such as search, thumbnails and sliders. PDFs can be imported into vBooks PDF Voice Reader by using the "open in" feature from apps such as mail or iTunes sync. vBookz does not have OCR capabilities so images with text will not be compatible. Another downside is that there is no bookmarking feature and the app will not remember where you left off so you will have to find where you left off each time. To learn more about OCR click herevBookz PDF Voice Reader costs $4.99 in the App Store.

vBookz requested the following be included in the review,
"We're open for requests and suggestions. Not everything can be implemented, but it is important for us to improve our products as much as we can".

For more information about zBookz click read more below.

App provided complimentary to reviewer

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Hooray! 2012 Bammy Awards Nominee!

After a tough month, I found a ray of sunshine in my inbox this afternoon. Tech guru Lucy Gray has nominated me for the 2012 Bammy Awards in the category "Innovator of the Year". As their website states, "The Bammy Awards is a cross-discipline award that identifies and acknowledges excellence throughout the education field." I am so very honored and appreciative. Many thanks to you, Lucy!

Here is where I need your help! As a Bammy Award Nominee, I am also eligible for a second recognition, The Educator's Voice Award. This is voted on by my peers! Please help me out and vote for me by visiting this page. Thank you so very much for your kind support! :)

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TurboScan App Review

TurboScan is a app for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. The app uses the built in camera to capture a document and convert the image to excellent quality PDF files. TurboScan is $1.99 in the App Store. The app will not work very well with the iPad or iPod Touch because they do not have high quality cameras like the iPhone. The app has a simple interface that is easy to learn. It allows you to capture documents by taking a picture with your iPhone camera or import one from your album. TurboScan also has an option to take three pictures of the document for better accuracy. TurboScan also allows users to scan documents that are more than one page.

Once you have taken the picture of your document TurboScan detects the edges of the document and makes a PDF file. The apps has a few sharing options but not as many as JotNot Pro. The sharing include email and a really nice option called "email to myself" witch allows to quickly email your self the documents you have created.

Once you have your documents on your computer you can open them with Kurzweil to use all of Kurzweil's features such as read aloud and note taking. The PDF files created are crisp and clear.

Click read more below to see more pictures and videos of TurboScan.
Document made with TurboScan click for full size

App provided complimentary to reviewer 

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Kraken II Dockable Case for iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S

Many people, including children, use the iPhone as an assistive technology device. The Kraken II Dockable case is an ideal case to protect your iPhone. The Kraken II Dockable Case is great for both children and adults who need superior protection for their iPhone. The case will protect against most bumps and drops so there is less need to worry when using the iPhone.

The Kraken II Dockable Case is a rugged and protective case for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. It features three layers of protection and a few cool features. The first layer of protection is a silicon inner shell. The inner shell is attached to the second layer of protection which is a plastic outer shell. The third layer of protection is a build in screen protector which protects the screen against damage. The outer plastic is a soft touch material that feels nice in the hand and does not show finger prints. All of the ports and buttons are covered with rubber but are still usable. The headphone port, mute switch, and dock connector are covered by rubber flaps to keep out dust. The lock and volume buttons are easy to feel and provide good tactile feed back. The home button is flush with the front of the case and can be hard to locate by feel. The phone speaker is covered by a dust shield that works well. Much like the Kraken AMS, case the Kraken II Dockable Case has a kickstand on the back which is perfect for video chat and much more. On the bottom of the case is a thick silicon flap that can be easily removed to dock the case. It is not common for a rugged case to be able to be dockable. However, with the flap off it is difficult to push the home button because it is very recessed.

At the time of the posting, the case costs about $30 from Trident says the following about their docking feature of the case:
"The bottom of the case features a removable silicone sleeve which allows the case to be placed in a docking station without the hassle of removing the case."
The case does add bulk to the phone, and makes it heavier and less sleek, but if you are looking for protection, and the ability to dock your iPhone this case is for you.

Click read more below to see more videos and pictures of the Kraken II Dockable Case.

Case was provided complimentary to the reviewer.

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iKeyboard: Touch Typing for iPad

iKeyboard is a stick on accessory for the iPad that separates the keys and provides tactile feedback. The iKeyboard sticks over the iPads virtual keyboard while typing but can be stuck to the top bezel when not in use. The iKeyboard may allow users with visual impairments to feel the keys on the iPad and enable them the touch type. The iKeyboard is has a very low profile and will not add much bulk to the iPad. The iKeyboard only works in landscape mode and is compatible with iPad and iPad 2. The iKeyboard is cheaper than a physical iPad keyboard Click read more below to learn more about the iKeyboard.
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