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Welcome to iBUG Today - Empowering the Blind Through Accessible Technology

iBUG Today, Inc. is a non-profit organization promoting the individual independence, social integration, and educational development of the blind and visually impaired community through accessible technology.  iBUG (iBlind Users Group) endeavors to transform the blind community through accessible technology so they can live extraordinary lives full of independence, productivity, communication and social integration in a world where everything is within the realm of possibility. 


More and more of our community are finding the Apple devices to be useful assistive technology tools in their daily lives.  iPad and iPhone 4SWhether at home, at work or school, or on the go – the accessibility features of the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV have cleared new pathways for the visually impaired to be more productive, consume online content, stay connected through social media and have fun. 

 

Please explore our website to learn more about iBUG and for additional information related to iOS and iDevice accessibility resources.

 

Announcements 

  • Next iBUG Face-to-Face Meeting / Apple Workshop

The meeting is open to anyone desiring to become more proficient at using the iOS accessibility features of the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and Apple TV.       

WHEN:  Saturday, November 18, 2:00 to 4:00 PM (CT)  

WHERE:  

Apple Highland Village (Board Room)
4012 Westheimer
Houston, TX  77027

Due to new store policy, no one will be allowed in the Board Room (except the iBUG facilitators) prior to 1:45 PM.  You will need to wait down in the store until then.

Get more details... 

 

  • iBUG Christmas and Appreciation Dinner

Greetings,
You are invited to the annual iBlind Users Group (iBUG) Christmas and Appreciation Dinner.

WHEN: Saturday, December 9, 6:30 to 9:00 PM

WHERE: Chatter's Cafe & Bistro, 140 South Heights Blvd, Houston, TX 77007

Door Prizes, Live Entertainment, Appreciation Awards, Christmas Carols and Christmas Trivia.

Please bring an unwrapped toy to be donated to the Houston Chapter of Toys for Tots. After Hurricane Harvey, these may be the only toys many Houston area children receive.

Entertainment by Ron Bruns, Chelsea Nguyen and Thomas Piper

Pre-set menu will be available to order at the restaurant.

Seating is limited, RSVP required by December 4 via email to Michael McCulloch,mdmcculloch1@gmail.com or Sandhya Rao, sraotexas@gmail.com

 

  • Next iBUG Android Insider Conference Call - November 29

The iBlind Users Group (iBUG Today) is expanding! Are you an Android user or do you have questions about the Android operating system and its devices? If you are, or if you want to learn how an Android device can be used by the blind and visually impaired, come join us for the Android Insider conference call.

Conference Dial-in Number: 641-715-3580, Participant Access Code: 787800#

Get mor details... 

 

  • iBUG Ski for Light (SFL) Info Meeting

The iBlind Users Group (iBUG Today) in conjunction with the Visually Impaired Advocates (VIA) held the Houston SFL Team info meeting on September 9.  We had 6 people on the Houston team in 2017 and are looking to send an even larger Houston contingent to the 2018 SFL event. 

First, we shared highlights from the 2017 SFL International Week that occurred this past February.  Then, we discussed plans for participating in the 2018 SFL International Week, scheduled for January 21–28, 2018. 

The 2018 SFL event will venture to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of northeastern California.  The Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, near Truckee, California, will host the on-snow activities and is widely acclaimed as one of the top Nordic ski venues in the United States, offering more than 100 kilometers of trails and a variety of terrain to satisfy the appetites of skiers of all abilities and ambitions. Lodging, dining and evening activities for the International Week will be at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada just outside of Reno.  

We would love for other iBUG members around the country join us on this fun-filled trip in January. Go to the following link to listen to a recording of the Team Houston SFL info meeting.  

You may find additional info and sign up for the trip on the Ski for Light website.  

Also, check out photos from last year's 2017 SFL - Team Houston trip.


  • iBUG Named Agency of the Month  

Check it out!  iBUG Today is the featured Agency of the Month on the American Foundation for the Blind's (AFB) VisionAware website.

 

  • Weekly iBUG Buzz (conference call) 

Q&A help session on Mondays, 7:30 PM (CT) via conference call: 605-468-8002, access code:  154497# 

Get more details...

 

  • iBUG JumpStart Mentoring Program

Did you recently get an iPhone or iPad?  Are you ready to throw it against the wall?  Are you frustrated because you cannot seem to perform the most basic tasks?  Or perhaps you have had your iPhone for a while and would like to learn some new feature or app.

There is help!  The iBUG JumpStart Mentoring Program!  The iBUG Today Team will match you with a qualified mentor who can help you accomplish some basic objectives. iBUG JumpStart is intended to introduce you to some basic concepts and gestures that will help you get the most out of your iPhone.  Once you are familiar with the layout of the phone and are able to execute essential commands, you will be on your way to unlocking the awesome power of the iPhone.  As you gain proficiency with the iPhone, the weekly iBUG Buzz Conference Calls on Monday nights and the monthly Face-to-Face meetings at the Apple Store will continue to provide a valuable resource for on-going help and support.

So, for those of you that would like to participate in iBUG JumpStart as either a mentor or mentee, please download the appropriate application form (MS Word format) below, fill out and return to the address indicated on the form. 

For additional questions about the iBUG JumpStart Mentoring program, please contact the program administrator, Sandhya Rao, at sraotx@yahoo.com

Mentee Application        Mentor Application

 

  • Next iBUG Cafe 

WHEN:  Sunday, December 10, 4:00 to 6:00 PM (CT)

WHERE:

Cafe Express 
1422 W. Gray
Houston, TX  77019

The iBUG Cafe is a "deep dive" training session into a third-party app or genre of apps to gain a hands-on, working understanding and utilization of the app.  Advanced iBUG member, Raul Gallegos, will facilitate the iBUG Cafe.

We have selected holiday related apps for our deep dive training session.  If you have recommendations for future iBUG Cafe sessions, please submit those to the ibugtoday@gmail.com
Get more details... 

  • Next VILA Book Club

WHEN:  Thursday, December 14, 6:30 to 7:45 PM (CT)

WHERE:

Cafe Express 
1422 W. Gray
Houston, TX  77019

FACILITATOR:  Heide Miller

We will be discussing our reading for the month:  

Crashing Through, by Robert Kurson, DB63747  
Profiles Michael May (born 1953), who was blinded at age three and later became a champion skier, CIA analyst, and entrepreneur. Relates May’s internal conflict over whether or not to undergo an operation to restore his sight.  
(10 hrs. 12 min.)

If you are planning to eat dinner, please order at the counter first and then come to the back room on the left side of the restaurant.  They will bring the food out to you when it is ready.


If you cannot attend in person, there is also a conference call-in number to participate by phone.

Conference Call Info:  605-468-8002, Access Code:  154497#

NOTE: this is not a toll-free call, so it is best to use your cell phone or VOIP.

*** RECOMMENDATION ***

We recommend you use the FCC Dialer app (search for Free Conference Call in the App Store) to connect to the conference call using your Wi-Fi connection.

 

  • iBUG Trekkie Talk (conference call)

Since many iBUGgers are also Trekkies or Trekkie wanna-be's, we have created a discussion group to watch audio described episodes of Star Trek, the Original  Series (TOS) and then meet together via conference call to discuss the episodes.  We review the episodes on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of the month, 8:00 PM (CT).  The iBUG Trekkie Talk discussion group is facilitated by Shane Christennson.  Everyone (even if they are not a member of iBUG) is welcome to participate.

Get more details...

 

  • Check out the Apple Special Event, September 12, 2017.  The keynote presentation deidicated the new Steve Jobs Theater and introduced the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple TV 4K, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus and iPhone X.

 

 

  • iBUG at 2016 ACBT Convention and Conference - September 23-25, 2016

Chelsea, Sandhya, and Michael at the iBUG table in the Exhibition Hall.

 

Sandhya and Michael presenting at the Amazon Echo workshop.


 

  • iBUG Today celebrates 6-Year Anniversary - May 27, 2017 

  

  • The iBUG Guy appears on iAccessVO

The iBUG Guy, Michael McCulloch, appeared on the May 21, 2016 edition of the iAcessVO program.  Michael was interviewed by iAccessVO hosts Brian Fischler and Ed Plumacher as he described the resources and services provided by iBUG Today to the blind and visually impaired community.

Listen to the recording of the iAccessVO program here.  Note the iBUG Guy comes on at about 25 minutes into the program. 


  • iBUG at Insight Expo 2017 - March 4, 2017

Sandhya, Michael and Chelsea all set up at the iBUG table in the Exhibtion Hall to help users with iOS and iDevice questions and issues

 

Sandhya, who gave the Keynote Address at the Insight Expo, giving some love to one of the guide dog puppies in the Exhibition Hall.


Wes, Sandhya, and Michael taking a break between workshop sessions.

 

  • iBUG Buzz Radio Program
Our iBUG Buzz program is hosted on Sight into Sound radio on Wednesdays, 1:30 PM (CT) (rebroadcast Tuesdays, 5:30 PM and Wednesdays, 5:30 AM).  Additionally, the program is archived and available on demand 24/7.  You may listen to the program hosted by Jim Bratten using the special digital receivers from Sight into Sound, iBlink app on your iDevice or via the internet by going to the Sight into Sound website at the following link and selecting the "Tune in Now" or "Listen on Demand" buttons:  http://www.sightintosound.org 

 

  • The iBUG Guy appears on the Accessible World Tek Talk Program

On Monday, December 1, 2014, the iBUG Guy, Michael McCulloch, appeared on the Accessible World Tek Talk program along with about a dozen other technology based groups.  Dean Martineau who produces the Flying Blind, LLC Top Tech Tidbits newletter, moderated the program discussion as  each group spokesperson described the resources and services they provide.

Listen to a recording of the Tek Talk program here.  Note the iBUG Guy comes on at about 43 minutes into the program. 


  • New authorized Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP) vendor in Houston area

Adaptive Communication Devices is now assisting qualified Texas residents obtain an iPhone using the STAP vouchers program.  Please check out their website for further details:  http://adaptivecommunicationdevices.wordpress.com

 

  • Apple Accessibility Support - for questions about assistive technology on your Apple device 

Phone:  (877) 204-3930

Email:   accessibility@apple.com


  • App Accessibility Issues - contact the app developer

Here is a sample letter that you may use to send an email to an app developer regarding the inaccessibility of their app. 


  • iBUG Road Show

A 90-minute presentation given by several advanced iBUG members that will provide your group or staff an introduction to the iPhone and its accessibility capabilities (currently limited to the Houston area).  Read more...

  

  • One of The iBUG Guy's favorite composites of video shot by Space Station astronauts.  Even after all these years, he finds it hard to believe that he had the priviilege of helping develop and build this fantastic "flying" machine.  Please enjoy "Walking on Air

 

 

  • The iBUG Guy received the CARE Award 2014, presented by the Houston Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities for his outstanding dedicated service to citizens with disabilities in the City of Houston, Texas, September 26, 2014.

 

 

1 iOS is the operating system of the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.