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Memorial Day Weekend Show – Hour 1

Tech News & Commentary

Rick in Christiana, Tennessee listens on SuperTalk WTN 99.7 FM told us: “My son is 16 and is a quadriplegic but has the use of his hands. He’s very much into computers and technology. I don’t know where to further his education or find modded equipment to help him.”

Rick, There is a pretty huge amount of technology to help quadriplegic people get around their limitations, even devices to make it possible intotomorrow_logofor some of them to drive and even go hunting.

If your son can move his hands easily enough to be able to use a keyboard, but is more limited in arm movement, for example, he maybe able to type well using a regular keyboard (or a special one hand keyboard), but benefit from either a headmouse or an eye tracker to replace the mouse itself. There are also roller mice and no grip mice that seem to greatly help some types of quadriplegic users.

DragonSoft Naturally Speaking seems to be a favorite of people who have trouble typing on a keyboard, the software works very well after being trained and can do more than simply take dictation, it can also recognize voice prompts to open programs and perform basic tasks.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation has a list of resources that you can browse to get an idea of the resources available to help your son interact with computers, we’ll link you to their site on this week’s show page.

There is also a company called Broadened Horizons that is owned by a quadriplegic man with reduced upper body mobility, and while it doesn’t focus on just computer accessories, it does sell them, so for example, if your son finds that a mouse requires too fine motor control, and a headmouse to be too slow, he may be benefit from a joystick (think the same kind you’d see at an arcade) with big buttons to control the mouse.

Even if it’s not your main priority, he may appreciate this particular company, since they also make accessible gaming controllers. None of their products, gaming or productivity, seem to be cheap, but they may give you a good idea of what to look from other vendors if nothing else.

There are solutions that make computers accessible to people who have no mobility below the neck at all, your son already needs less help than that, odds are you’ll be able to find resources that fit his particular needs.

For more information tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast.

Consumer Reports Segment:

The summer months are officially upon us. That means it’s time to take the fun outside into your yard. But if you want to take your music out there too, you might want to consider a Bluetooth wireless speaker. Need a recommendation? Consumer Reports tests lots of them, and their electronics spokesman James McQueen is here to reveal a few of the best ones.

The “Into Tomorrow” team discussed the latest apps that they have been playing with recently.

• Dave recommends: Yallo, FREE

 

      “Yallo is a new app designed to put the ‘fun’ back into phone calls, or as they put it: “Ambitious Start-up Seeks to Restore Innovation and Imagination to the Phone call.” While they believe that text messaging, photography and video have their place – WhatsApp, Snapchat, Meerkat and Instagram have constantly improved on these methods. Yallo believes we can do so much more with the forgotten phone call and is about to reinvent it so people will fall back in love with Yallo’s version of the twenty-first century phone call. You can now download the Yallo App for Android and experience “never-before-seen powers” for your next phone call. They recently added new features, like ‘For the Record,’ that allows you to save your phone conversations. You can ‘listen’ to a call later, you can forward a call to someone else and even search for keywords or phrases in a phone call. Keep it for as long as you need and then delete it. You can even ‘Transcribe Your Voicemails’ automatically to an email – no more starting and stopping as you type them. ‘Call Caption’ lets you notify the receiver of the call why you are calling before they answer – write a quick message so they can decide if they want to answer or not. It’s FREE over the next few months, but with various PAID packages available. ” — Dave

 

• Chris recommends: YouTube Kids, FREE

 

      “YouTube Kids is an app I’ve been using a lot lately for my three year-old. In fact, he’s so good with my iPhone, that he takes it, unlocks the phone, launches the YouTube Kids app and find the videos he wants to see. The app includes videos that are supposedly age-appropriate for kids. My son spends his time watching videos of the Muppets, Clips of play-doh demos and surprisingly, videos of people playing with toys like Matchbox cars. Now the app has come under fire recently for supposedly letting some non-age appropriate material slip through, but I’ve kept a close eye on what he watches and so far we have not had any issues. However, if anything does get through that he’s not supposed to see, I will be the first to delete the app until they fix it for good. The YouTube kids app is free.” — Chris

 

What are your favorite Apps? Let us know at 800-899-INTO and we’ll feature them in this segment!

      Tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast for more details

 

Guest Segment:

Brian Bergstein, Deputy Editor – MIT Technology Review

Robert in Tennessee listening on SuperTalk WTN 99.7 asked: “What is your favorite distribution of linux? I prefer Linux mint because it is more Windows XP like.”

Any of the major distributions is probably worthy of a mention, but there are so many that we’d need to add that fourth hour of this show, that people have been asking for. Mint is pretty great in that it’s based on Ubuntu and it has the stability and all the features that have made Ubuntu really popular, but just like you said, the figured out that people like having a Start menu and they added one… we can only assume that people at Microsoft don’t like this particular flavor of Linux.

Ubuntu is definitely worth a mention, deep down it’s Debian-based, and it generally feels like you’re using commercial, paid software. They release new versions every 6 months, they have bug reporting and good documentation. It’s a very professionally-produced free Linux distribution.

Debian is awesome for serious tasks, they don’t release too many updates (maybe one every couple of years), but Debian works with tons of different processors, and it is super stable. If you’re looking for something that will take some work to set up but will run beautifully after that, Debian may be it. It has great quality control and, though it’s not very flashy, it’s very stable.

To illustrate that, Debian has 3 levels of stability: unstable (the one called “sid”), testing, and stable. The unstable one is stable enough that it’s what Ubuntu and Mint use in the background. It’s stable enough to be released with other operating systems that are labeled as “stable.”

If you like the Windows-look you have plenty of options that should appeal to you, CentOS, PCLinuxOS (which has a taskbar that is basically lifted out of Windows 7), ArchLinux, and others, but they’re probably not updated as often as Mint.

Any of the older distributions like Fedora (formerly RedHat) and OpenSuse should work pretty well by now.

There are also plenty of special distributions for specific hardware or specific purposes. So, if you want to take your computer with you, Damn Small Linux (DSL) or Ubuntu Live may work for you, if you’re building a media player OpenElec and XMBC are Linux-based and will do a nice job. In the Linux world, it all depends on what you need.

For general use Mint or Ubuntu with will probably keep you pretty happy… Ubuntu is even finally Netflix compatible if you’re on the latest Chrome!

For more information tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast.

Steven in Durham, North Carolina listens on NewsRadio 680 WPTF asked: “I have a Chrome laptop. My keys are sticking. I’ve had it about a year or so. Whenever I write an e-mail, it’ll like give me 15 ‘N’s in the same word. And when I hit the delete key, it’ll delete the whole thing. What can I do to clean my keyboard?”

There are some products you can use to clean a keyboard and see if they help your situation.

First of all Steven, you can buy a can of compressed air to try to shake any debris loose, you can also use a cleaning putty like Cyber Clean to try to pick up particles that may be clogging the keyboard.

If that doesn’t work, there are alcohol-based cleaning solutions you can try too. If none of those solutions work, you can probably pop off the keys that are sticking and clean them, but double check that you can actually pop them off, and if you can be very careful… if you crack anything on the keyboard you will be cursing yourself for years when you try to use your Chromebook.

Yes, be very careful with that key cap removing business. Most Chromebooks use very inexpensive keyboards and don’t feature removable caps. They are likely to be glued down and once you pry them loose you will never get them back. Folks will tell you that you can Superglue it, but if you are just a wee bit sloppy you will glue the key in the “down” position.

Cleaning the keyboard using the steps we outlined already is definitely, 100% your best bet. If that doesn’t solve the problem, it might be time for a new Chromebook. They cost less than iPhones, these days.

For more information tune in to Hour 1 of our podcast.

 This Week’s Prizes for Our Listeners

TYLT: Car Charger RIBBN Cables – These cables rapidly charge 2 Smartphones or 2 Tablets simultaneously.

Jabra: SoleMate Portable Bluetooth speaker for your laptop, tablet, smartphone or music player

PhoneSoap: Several Antibacterial – All Natural Touch Screen Polish

Livio Radio: Bluetooth Internet Radio Car Kit – FM transmitter that allows you to bring Internet Radio and hands-free calling to your car.

iLuv: A pair of ReFashionOlogy Canvas Exterior, Collapsible Headphones with a Titanium Diaphragm

Westinghouse: Unplug Wireless Bluetooth Sound System

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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