Tag Archives: a11y

Getting fit with a fitbit: Setup and initial thoughts

Ok, so the Fitbit arrived yesterday morning and I spent the afternoon getting everything set up and working; nothing ever goes to plan does it? In this post I detail my experience of setting up the charge, which could have been smoother but I blame my phone for that.

The box itself for the charge is a rather nice box and the charge is nicely presented inside the box.
In the box there is also a rather short charging cable, some warranty info and a USB adapter for syncing to your PC if you’re not using a smartphone.
I opened the Fitbit app on my phone, chose the first unlabelled button, and chose the charge. Then came the bit where I needed sited assistance. It was asking for my height and other info. I’m not sure about the gender or weight screens as I didn’t do those but the height screen doesn’t allow you to input your height using voiceover. After this though, you enter your full name, email and password, agree to their terms and then you’re ready to connect your charge. This is where I had a couple of problems. I plugged the charge in and held the button down for 3 seconds like it told me to and eventually when it connected I was presented with a keypad on my phone and I couldn’t tell what it was asking for. I know now that it was asking for the code that was being displayed on the charge itself but as soon as that was entered it was happy. It said that the process of setting up the Fitbit could take up to 10 minutes. The process bar was moving along nicely until it got to 98% and then it was stuck there. I let it for a bit and then tweeted Fitbit support asking them what I should do. They said I should restart the Fitbit by holding down the button for 10 to 12 seconds until the version number was displayed. After I’d restarted the app it brought up an error about not being able to complete set up but then it appeared to be set up fine. Cut out a couple of hours of frustration trying to get the thing to play nice with my phone, as it didn’t appear to be syncing properly as it still said the battery was empty even when it was fully charged. I need to email Fitbit about that actually as a side note, as textual information such as the battery indicator and version number ETC is not accessible with voiceover. Anyway I did a bit of research as my Fitbit said it had an update available but the app was failing to update it. I ended up connecting the wireless PC dongle to my mac and installing the application for mac, which showed that my Fitbit was up to date even though the app still said there was an update. I ended up having to reset my network settings on my phone to reset my Bluetooth connections, and after that it works fine with no problems; even the call notifications and silent alarms are working fine.
One of the main reasons I went for the charge was because I knew it had a button on the side which, if held down causes the Fitbit to vibrate and this starts a workout. Once you’ve finished your workout you hold the button down again and vibrates to let you know you’re done. You can then see how long you worked out for, calories burned and distance covered. I’ve yet to reach the goal of 10000 steps in a day, but its supposed to vibrate to let you know.
I also tried out the sleep tracking last night and although it’s a little bit confusing to read your stats with voiceover, if you spend a bit of time you can figure out what they mean.
I haven’t been using the device for a full 24 hours yet so these are my initial impressions but I think I’m going to really enjoy using it, and if Fitbit’s app team are as responsive as their twitter crew, we’ll get along just fine.

Please stay tuned to my blog as I will keep you updated on my progress with the device after using it in my normal day-to-day life.
Thanks for reading, and see you in the next one.

Why I chose to buy a nexus7

Hello there, and welcome to my second blog post on this blog.

In this one, I have decided to talk about why I bought a nexus7. I’ll be talking about why I think it’s a good device, how I use it, and my experience with it.

the background

If you know me, you’ll know I’m in to apple. Well, I have an iPod, an iPhone, and a mac. So you’d think when I went on the hunt for a tablet my first thought you have been the iPad or the iPad mini.

There’s a reason I go with apple: there stuff is reliable and is of a good quality (hardware and software).
But, as you’ve probably guessed by the title of this post, I didn’t go for the iPad. I had heard a lot about android accessibility in the past few months, and I really wanted to give it a go. Plus, I’d gotten a little bit stagnant with iOS. Yeah, it’s good, but if I got an iPad, it would be the same stuff, just on a bigger screen. So, I started looking at nexus7’s on eBay. I liked the idea of a 7 inch screen, as I can still hold it with one hand and be comfortable.
I also wanted something to watch catch up TV on besides the mac who wasn’t really accessible.

It took me ages to find a 2012 nexus 7 for less than £150, but I eventually won one.
The day it arrived was an exciting day. I had to get someone sited to look at it for me though, and it turns out the person who’d I bought it from hadn’t reset it to factory defaults, and had left it locked with a pattern. I googled on how to reset it to factory settings without gaining access, and to cut a long story short, managed to reset it.

what next

This was exciting for me, so I turn on accessibility set it up, and then updated it to android version 4.4, it being on 4.2.
I started playing with it, downloading apps and what not, (I should add that I had looked up the talkback gestures beforehand and they’re similar to iOS, so I knew how to get around) (The explore by touch tutorial also helped).

let’s jump a few months

so, that was all in January, and it’s now June. What are my thoughts now? Personally? I’m still in love with the thing.

However, I managed to crack the screen on my 2012 model, so sold it to my dad who decided he would get it fixed, and I bought the 2013 model on eBay instead for a similar price to what I’d paid for the 2012. That was in April.
I’m still in love with it, and use it every day. I use it to watch a whole host of things: netflics, BBC iPlayer, 4OD and demand five content. I also use it to watch the Sky go and TV catch-up services. Sky go providing a live TV and catch-up service.
I also use it to do a whole host of social activities, including skyping family and friends, using google hangouts, and using Facebook and twitter.
I am also able to get around the unlabelled buttons and elements in the Spotify app quite nicely, although I have contacted them, and they have replied saying that they are going to pass my message on to the development team.
My nexus has also replaced my Kindle device for reading, even though it is reading with the eloquence TTS, it’s still pretty good.
Yeah, you read right, I got the Eloquence TTS synth for my nexus. I did this because I wanted to know how it would perform and whether I would actually like it. The answer, I do. It reminds me of the talks on Symbian days and it’s actually quite responsive.

so there must be some downfalls with it?

Well I’m not going to lie here; there are a few little gripes that irritate me. The two strongest ones being that I can’t access my iTunes match subscription on there, which I could fix by getting google play music, but the music manager is inaccessible for both windows and mac.
My other really big gripe is the presence of Facebook chat heads where ever I am. I hate these as they get in my way, and they enable anyone who picks up my tablet to see who I’ve been chatting with. According to lots of googling, there used to be a setting to turn these off but it was removed. My solution for this at the moment is to move them right to the edge of the screen so they don’t get in my way.
There’s a stupid gripe that I have, and I’m not really sure why I complain about this because I know it’ll never happen, but it irritates me a little bit that my tablet doesn’t receive iMessages when my mac, iPhone and iPod do. There’s a simple solution to this, which is by an iPad or iPad mini but they’re outside my price range so that’s something I’ll have to live with.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I believe that android is now a very viable option to buy accessibility wise. It still has its downfalls, that being that there isn’t as many accessibility oriented apps or games for the blind and visually impaired, however if you’re looking for something that will let you watch some catch up TV, do some skyping, and some tweet and facebooking, or you’re just looking for a device that you can try android on, the nexus7 (2012 or 2013) is a great device for beginners.
The 2013 model comes in two sizes (16 and 32 GB), and can be purchased new for around £150 on amazon for the 16 GB, or £180 for the 32 GB.
I hope you’ve found this post useful in some way shape or form.
If you would like to add anything or ask me any questions, please either drop a comment in the comments below, or drop me a line through the contact page.
Thanks for reading.