I Want iPhone Apps That Work with Voiceover

Is that too much to ask? My friend Jim told me about an app called IMapMyWalk. So I go to the the App Store and get the free version of it to try out. I was really excited about the app. It will show a map of where you walk/run/bike, along with the time it takes you to complete the route, how many calories burned and some other really cool things. One thing I should point out, I never buy/download apps or music with my phone because it takes too long to find what I want. I use my iMac and then sync up the computer and phone. I’m jealous of Eliz and Jane, because they just grab stuff on their phones (Jake only has a basic phone, but sometimes uses his iPod Touch to grab music.)

Seems that this app, along with many others, aren’t compatible with Voiceover. For those that don’t know about Voiceover, it is the function on the iPhone makes using the iPhone work for people who are visually impaired or blind. When Voiceover works, it is awesome. It seems to work well with all the Apple products that come with the iPhone like the weather, stocks, iPod, and the email (though if the send has images in the email without titles, you are left wondering what they are…) Some third-party apps seem to work well with Voiceover. GroceryIQ is one that comes to mind. Other apps fall short. Some just don’t give titles to buttons, so when you touch a button, all you hear is “button.” The Absolute Radio app has titled some buttons, while others are just “button.”

So back to the IMapMyWalk app. I tried multiple times to get it to run on my phone, but it wouldn’t. The buttons were labeled, they just didn’t do anything. including the “Having Trouble?” button. After messing with the app for a day or two, I put it on Eliz’s phone. It seems to work fine on there. Who knew our route around our neighborhood had a 75 foot difference from the high-point to the low-point? We know now…

The frustration for me is that someone must launch the app on Eliz’s phone for me and hit the stop button when I get home. Eliz usually starts it for me, because we all leave together. The last two times we walked, Jane didn’t go, so she was home and hit the stop button for me (because I walk a little faster than Eliz and Jake, they finish a few minutes after I do.) Today was the last day I’ll be using the IMapMyWalk app as my frustration boiled over with it. If I really want to track my progress, speed, and time, I’ll buy this talking pedometer from Amazon.com, learn what buttons i need to push and be able to do it on my own.

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My iPhone

It was time to upgrade our mobiles, so I’d been looking around to see what is the best option for me. I’ve felt left out by not being able to text (not an issue with my phone of course, an issue with me…) For the last few months I’ve looked at a couple of the Droids and the iPhone.  I always came back to the iPhone because of the reviews from blind or visually impaired users. I got my phone about two weeks ago. I’m now wondering if I’ve made the correct choice.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of having it.  The ability to tweet, send and receive texts, shoot and upload images and videos is truly awesome.  Oh, and the ability to listen to Absolute Radio is well beyond that.  The learning curve for me has been huge.  I’m trying to be patient with it, but it has been frustrating.

I’ve been using the VoiceOver feature for the last week.  This feature reads the screen to me.  The feature works pretty well, but there are some issues (probably me not the device) that drive me a little crazy.  Today, for example, I wanted to tweet.  It wasn’t anything exciting, but I was sitting at Martin Main Line Honda and wanted to “practice.”  Since there was a little noise, I had trouble entering in the letters.  I could enter them, but there were times that I couldn’t hear what letter I had selected.  When using VoiceOver, to enter text, you’ve got to tap three times.  Once to hear the letter, then twice when you’re sure it is what you want.  If I was unsure of a letter, I would lose track of the word and if it was spelled correctly.

I probably should have tried the VoiceOver before I tried the large text and zoom feature.  When using the large text (which doesn’t work on menu items, by the way,) you use the iPhone just like normal people would, by tapping on an item once.  After trying the zoom feature for a few days, I ended up changing some settings because I couldn’t see what I had actually touched while trying to maneuver around the screen (while being zoomed in.)  You can’t use both the zoom feature and the VoiceOver feature at the same time.  I’m not sure why.

I know that I’ll get the hang of it sooner or later, but like anything else I do, I want to do it NOW.  It doesn’t help that I’ve been trying implement things I’ve learned at Affiliate Summit East, go live with a couple of affiliate marketing sites I’ve been working on, learn to use WordPress so that I don’t have to ask anyone for assistance to launch those sites and others, keep running ForYourSalon.com (since that is where most of our revenue comes from,) process orders we receive through Amazon.com (we sell beauty stuff there too,) and move Jake into his dorm at Westtown.  Not to mention local beauty deliveries with Eliz and some Digital Graphics Design work.  I’ve been averaging about five and a half hours of sleep and I don’t see an end to that.

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Could it be?!?

It has been a couple of weeks since I’ve last posted.  It’s not that I haven’t needed some bitching & moaning therapy, I’ve been really busy at the biz.  We are having a Warehouse Sale on Saturday, 13 June AND we are launching (finally) our ecommerce site (www.ForYourSalon.com.)  By the way, Eliz and I will celebrate our 19th anniversary on Wednesday, 10 June.  Wow that’s a long time…

For the last week or so, I’ve wanted to rant about my frustrations regarding our mobile phones.  Our contract is up, so we are “free agents” looking for the best phone with service we’ll actually receive inside our business.  I’ve been told by Verizon Wireless that we don’t receive all our calls because our equipment is older.  Okay, it is nearly two and a half years old, which, in tech terms, borders on relic.  I’m not so sure that is the correct answer, but who knows.  All this is frustrating, but isn’t the main issue.

My main problem, of course, is that I can’t see the @$#%!! screen on my phone and most other phones that I’ve looked at over the years.  For the love of God, I have a big problem seeing the damn numbers to dial!  Fortunately, my current phone does have a great voice command setup, but it doesn’t work if I have to retrieve my voicemail, enter an account number, or other non-phone tasks.  I would also love to be able to text message.  I feel like I am being left behind by not being able to communicate via text.  I also think it would be cool to combine a mobile phone with one of those video magnifiers like these.

I’ve read a bit about the Palm Pre and would like to have a look.  The big drawback there is that it is currently available on Sprint only.  When we first purchase Salon Supplies + Interiors, they had a Sprint plan and it was bad.  Very bad.  Customer service was incredibly worse.  So we haven’t rushed out for a peek.  I also read rumors of a new iPhone.  I get excited whenever I hear that Apple is coming out with something new.  Primarily because there is a way for me to see it, but also because of my geeky side.

I’ve played with the iPhone 3G at the Apple store a couple of times.  I’ve wanted one since they came out just after we got our current phones, even though I haven’t figured out how to see it.  I’m so dorky, I watch the iPhone commercials even when I have recorded the show that they run in and could fast-forward past them.  For the past week I’ve been down about not being able to get a cool phone with lots of bells and whistles.

That is until today.  I received an email from Apple with all the cool new features on the iPhone 3G S!  Here is an excerpt of a press release from their website:

iPhone 3G S provides new accessibility features including VoiceOver, a screen reader that speaks what appears on the iPhone 3G S display, enabling visually impaired users to make calls, read email, browse web pages, play music and run applications. The new universal Zoom function magnifies the entire screen, and the White on Black feature reverses the colors on screen to provide higher contrast for people with low vision.

Want to buy me one?  It’s okay if you don’t, but you can help me save up for one by clicking one of the ads on the right when you want to make a purchase.

Tonight, I will go to sleep with a smile on my face.

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