Sent from my iPad
Begin forwarded message:
From: "Robert Acosta" <boacosta@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: July 15, 2015 at 3:30:55 PM EDT
Subject: [aw-announcements] FW: BARD Mobile for Android: It's Finally Here,
Dan's tip for July 15 2015
Robert Acosta, President
Helping Hands for the Blind
From: dan Thompson [mailto:dthompson5@xxxxxxxxx]
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:29 AM
To: dan Thompson
Subject: BARD Mobile for Android: It's Finally Here, Dan's tip for July 15
Pfacts of the day:
In 1386, a pig in France was executed by public hanging for the murder of a
child. It was given full legal representation and provided human clothing for
As a rule, European carousels rotate clockwise, while American
merry-go-rounds spin counterclockwise.
Things to ponder:
Why does an alarm go off when it is on?
?Isn’t it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do “practice”?
BARD Mobile for Android: It's Finally Here
(links inserted by Dan)
Talking Books from the Library of Congress National Library Service have
changed format several times since the first recordings back in 1931, from
recorded disks to cassette tapes to digital flash cartridges that could be
played with a free NLS player. Along the way NLS licensed the makers of
several devices, most notably the Victor Reader Stream and the APH BookPort,
to enable direct download of titles and Talking Book playback. With the
advent of accessible mobile devices, however, many NLS patrons found
themselves having to cart around two devices--their mobile phone or tablet to
stay in touch, read Audible and Bookshare titles, navigate with GPS, and
other essential tasks--and a second device to play their Talking Books. This
state of affairs was cumbersome and, for many, reason enough to begin relying
on other resources for reading matter.
In September of 2013 NLS released version 1.0 of the BARD Mobile app for iOS,
which ran on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. Using this app, NLS patrons
could quickly scan newly added books and magazines, download them to their
devices, then listen to, bookmark, and navigate their way through the entire
NLS digital collection. As an iPhone and iPad user, I was thrilled. Android
users still had to use a separate device to play Talking Books, but finally,
with the recent release of the BARD Mobile for Android app,
they, too, now have a single-device reading solution.
BARD Mobile for Android is available from Google Play for devices running
Android version 4.1 Jelly Bean or later. The app is free, but in order to
download and listen to BARD books and magazines you must first be registered
with your local braille and talking-book library
To find your library, visit this link:
or call 1-800-NLS-READ to apply for service.
Once registered, you will be provided with a login and password, which you
will use the first time you sign into the BARD Mobile app.
Exploring the BARD Mobile for Android App
Both the Android and iOS apps feature navigation bars with Bookshelf, Get
Books, and Now Reading, tabs running across the bottom for iOS and the top
for Android. The iOS version includes a Settings tab. The Android version
places app settings in the More Options menu, where you will also find
controls specific to the task at hand, along with context-sensitive help and
a link to your device's accessibility settings.
The features and functionality of BARD Mobile for Android and iOS are quite
similar. Below, we'll take a tour of the Android app, pressing the "Pause"
button on occasion to point out a difference or two between it and the iOS
The Get Books tab offers four options:
Browse Wish List
Recently Added Books
Recently Added Magazines
BARD Mobile for iOS includes two additional options here: Braille Books and
Braille Magazines. I was told by an NLS representative that they are waiting
for a few necessary BrailleBack feature updates before they can provide a
workable braille reading solution.
When you find a book you wish to read using either the NLS desktop website or
the Browse BARD control we will discuss soon, you are offered the choice to
either download the title or add it to your wish list. Access the app's Wish
List control to display and download these books and magazines to your phone
or tablet. As you will see, this is often my preferred way of adding books to
my Android device.
Recently Added Titles
The Recently Added Books and Magazines option summons a chronological list of
new titles available in the NLS collection, along with older books that have
recently been made available in digital format. Long pressing any title calls
up the annotation, and a double tap prompts you to select the folder into
which the book will be downloaded. This is an extremely useful feature. The
size of Digital Talking Book (DTB) files can be several hundred megabytes.
Placing your titles on an SD card allows you to download dozens of books
without using critical device memory.
The iOS app adds dates to the title lists, such as "Today," "Thursday," or
"June 1." The Android app does not include dates, which can make it difficult
to know how far down to scan if you are like me and prefer checking in just
once or twice a week to see what's new. Also, neither app uses heading or
link elements, so you can't change TalkBack granularity to facilitate quick
navigation. More often than not, I find it much easier to visit the BARD
website and browse books there. I can use my screen reader's headings quick
navigation key to move rapidly through the Recently Added Books and Magazines
pages, add books that pique my interest to my Wish List, then download them
to my device from there.
This last option opens a Web view of your regional library's website, which
is the primary point of contact for NLS patrons. Here you can set TalkBack
granularity to Web Controls, Lists and Sections, which, in my experience,
makes browsing titles using the app considerably easier than using the Recent
Books and Magazines controls.
Using the Browse BARD option, you can accomplish all but one of the same
tasks that you can on the BARD desktop site, including searching for books by
title or author, browsing recent additions to the NLS collection, browsing
the most popular titles, and accessing a list of titles you have previously
downloaded. You can't download books and magazines directly from the Browse
Bard tab, however. Instead, add them to your wish list and then download them
to your device as described above.
The BARD Mobile Bookshelf tab offers options to access downloaded audio books
and magazines, along with a comprehensive User Guide for the app itself. The
HTML text is well formatted with headings and lists; it was easy to locate
and review information about topics of interest. You can also access the app
documentation on the BARD website.
The Audio Books and Magazine controls each provide a count of the number of
titles currently on the device. Double tap a title to begin playback; long
press to call up the annotation screen, which also includes a "Play Now"
The Bookshelf's downloaded book and magazine screens each include a "More
options menu button. Here you can sort titles by name, date, or recent
activity. You can create new subfolders, rename them, and move titles between
them. This is a handy way to archive books you have finished but may wish to
consult from time to time. This feature is not available on the iOS version.
Titles can be side loaded, but they must be placed into the same folder as
the rest of your BARD device library. The current app version does not allow
the BARD library folder to be changed without resetting the app and losing
all of your current content.
Double tap the "Delete" button and you are presented with a checkbox list of
titles and folders you can remove from your device. "Settings" and "Help"
buttons round out the selections.
As mentioned above, when you open a book or magazine from the Bookshelf tab,
the book begins to play automatically. You are placed into the Now Playing
screen, where touch controls emulate the hardware playback controls on the
Digital Talking Book Player.
As with the current iOS app, BARD Mobile for Android's primary playback
controls are positioned in three rows of three buttons each. Here's a quick
summary of their functions, starting at the bottom row and moving up.
At the bottom center, just above the device's home button, a button toggles
between "Speed" and "Tone." Select either of these options and the buttons to
the left and right will "Decrease Speed/Tone" or "Increase Speed/Tone,"
depending on how the toggle is set. There are 10 tone settings, but on the
devices I tested, the differences between settings 1 and 10 were not
extremely pronounced. The variable speed options range from 50 percent to 300
percent, and the speech was quite understandable, even at higher settings.
The second row includes "Rewind," Play/Stop," and "Fast Forward." Double tap
"Rewind" or "Fast Forward" to advance five seconds in the desired direction;
do this twice to move ten seconds. A long press moves in larger increments,
with announcements at various points, such as five minutes or one hour. The
"Play/Stop" button is located in the row's center. Playback will continue,
even if you move to another BARD Mobile tab, return to the device Home
screen, open another app, or after the screen dims and/or locks. Here, the
iOS app has a definite advantage over the Android version. Using iOS, I can
two-finger double tap to stop playback, then repeat the gesture to restart
playback. I was unable to do this using the Android version, which made it
more awkward listening to a book when, for example, I was walking my dog and
needed to stop playback for a minute or two at a busy intersection. Some
versions of Android place media controls on the Notification Bar, but they
are still not as easy to access as the iOS two-finger double tap. There is no
The third row of buttons from the bottom, "Previous," "Jump By," and "Next,"
enable quick navigation in the desired direction. The "Jump By" options
differ, depending on how the title is organized, but usually include
"Section," "Bookmark," and "Phrase."
The center buttons for each of these rows is larger than the ones to the left
and right. The "Speed/Tone" and "Jump By" toggles are blue; the "Play/Stop"
button toggles from green to red, depending on which state the player is in.
Buttons also have different shapes, square for the decrease and increase
speed buttons, for example, and outward pointing arrows for "Rewind" and
"Fast Forward." These elements will be useful to many low vision users.
Additional app controls include Navigation and Bookmark, which are located
above the nine primary playback controls. The Navigation button summons and
displays a list of sections, with titles where available, that you can use to
advance immediately to the desired chapter or section. You can also advance
to any of the time stamped bookmarks, which are created by pressing the
"Bookmark" button, located just above the "Next" button.
The top half of the Now Playing screen also displays time elapsed/total time
information, along with the percentage of the title completed. Finally, at
the very top of the Now Playing screen, the app displays the current title
being read, and the current chapter or article name.
Both swipe gestures and explore by touch work well to navigate the Now
Playing screen. My only complaint is that I wish the "Play/Stop" button were
much larger, especially since I can't use the two-finger double tap to pause
and resume playback.
All in all, I found accessing and playing BARD content on my Android devices
a pleasurable experience. My biggest complaints--the lack of a sleep timer
and of a play/pause gesture--are both current Android accessibility
limitations. If I were a devoted braille user, I would also lament the
current inability to download and read braille titles.
There is another major app feature lacking on both platforms, and which is
not a current accessibility limitation. Both Audible and Kindle synch
downloads, bookmarks, and last-played positions between and among various
devices logged into the same account. With the release of BARD Mobile for
Android, it's now more likely than ever that NLS patrons will wish to play
content on more than one phone or tablet. This capability is not included in
the latest iOS app beta version, however, so it may be quite a while before
listening to Talking Books becomes a truly mobile experience.
Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and
who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed
like the eagle's.
The LORD works vindication and justice for all who are oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast
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