Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing


Tech Tips: Alexa is Changing

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

No need to panic, but the Alexa app from Amazon is going through some modifications.  First of all, the app now has a “hands-free” mode so that your personal assistant can assist you at all times.  You will also find the Alexa button at the top of the screen rather than at the bottom.  Secondly, the app itself is easier to navigate and places your favorite activities at the top.

These alterations will be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, so if your device has not upgraded yet, it will.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Tech Tips: Sports on Alexa and the Computer

 Tech Tips: Sports on Alexa and the Computer

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

This article will take a look at the four major professional sports:  MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL.  Rather than look at the TV side of things, I will focus on radio play-by-play.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has an audio subscription by the month or season.  Once you go to and subscribe to Game Day Audio, you will have access via your smartphone (if you download the app) and your computer.  You can even connect the service to your Alexa device by using the Amazon Alexa app.  Monthly cost is $2.99; season cost is $19.99.

National Basketball Association (NBA) has an app as well; however, I find it much easier to sign up through the web ( rather than through the app.  Once you sign up for the Audio League Pass, then you can sign in on the app, stream on your computer, or connect to your Alexa device through the dedicated app.  Cost is $9.99 for the season.

National Football League (NFL) has an app and the price is $99.  The service known as Game Pass can also be streamed on your computer.  At the present time, the NFL is not available on Alexa.

National Hockey League (NHL) games stream free through the NHL app.  Games are also available through the TuneIn Live service (see NFL) or the TuneIn Premium service.  If you try to stream games by going to, you will be directed to TuneIn Premium.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Tech Tips: Dictation


 Tech Tips: Dictation

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist



Dictation is a convenient way to input your speech as text in an iOS device.  In order to use this utility, you must be certain that the feature is turned on.  If Siri is enabled, Dictation should be available for use.  If you do not use Siri, Dictation may be activated by going to Settings, General, Keyboard, and then making sure the switch for Dictation is turned on.


To use Dictation, you can go to any edit field.  Double-tap with one finger to activate the edit/virtual keyboard.  Double-tap with two fingers to start Dictation.  When finished with your soliloquy, double-tap again with two fingers.  If you are using Voiceover, your entered text will be read back to you.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Director's Corner: Our New Name!


Director's Corner: Library Update, Mail

Talking book player with book on a table

Contributed by John Owen, Director

Hello to all of our patrons, families, and partners,

On October 1, 2020, our library will change its name to the Maryland State Library for the Blind and Print Disabled (LBPD).  The name change is the result of legislation passed in the General Assembly earlier this year to help us better reflect the patrons we serve.  We'll be sharing more information about the name change in the month of October, but we wanted to let you know some of the changes that are in effect even now or over the next week.  

Facebook:  You can access our page at and use the handle @MDLBPD when referring to us.  This change has been made.

Twitter:  You can access our page at  and use the handle  @MDLBPD when referring to us.  This change has been made.

Blog:  You can access our blog at .  This change has been made. 

Listserv:  After October 1, messages from this listserv will be sent from

Website:  Continue to use to get the library's website.  While the main page URL for the website will change on or around October 1, the shorter URL will continue to redirect to that main page.

Contacting us by phone or email remains the same:
Phone at 410-230-2443

Our name is changing but our mission is still excellent customer service and creative services to our patrons. 

Thank you.
John Owen 

Tech Tips: Apple Making Changes


Tech Tips: Apple Making Changes

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist



Apple has renamed its music station, Beats One, to Apple Music One.  In addition, Apple has added two new stations, Apple Music Hits and Apple Music Country.  You do not have to have a music subscription to listen to these stations, but you must launch Music initially from your iDevice in order for the stations to work with Siri.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Marylandia Collection: Update


Marylandia Collection: Update

Contributed by Jordan Farinelli, Collection Development Librarian

Marylandia Boiler Plate

It’s back to school time! During this time of year, many students will be given new reading lists with old classics and well-loved titles. Check out this book and revisit a classic mystery-solving heroine, Nancy Drew, as she uncovers the secrets of an old country inn.

DBC 12452 – The Secret of Candlelight Inn, by Carolyn Keene

Narrated by Janet Sanford

Nancy and her friends Bess and George visit an old country inn that is being turned into a training center for Seeing Eye dogs. Nancy’s discovery of a hidden room filled with counterfeit money threatens her life.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

 Tech Tips: A Day in the

 Life of an Amazon Echo

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

5 AM:  I wake the humans for their work day.  While I have a general alarm sound, the humans have chosen a custom wake station.

5:02 AM:  The humans inquire about weather, humidity and pollen count.  They also inquire about new emails and shipping notifications.  The pollen count is a skill that can be added from Zyrtec.  Email must be connected to me through my app.
5:30 AM:  The humans ask to listen to a local radio station in order to learn what’s been happening in their locale.  I have the capability of playing thousands of radio stations from around the world.

6 AM:  I am asked to play classical music for the dog.  I have at my disposal dozens of custom music stations pre-programmed by Amazon, or I can access one of several classic radio stations from around the globe.  Usually I am asked to play KUSC from Los Angeles.  If you wish to read a newspaper or magazine, I can also connect to NFB Newline.  I can even connect to the Metropolitan Washington Ear.  

6:30 AM:  I am asked about appointments and reminders.  I can store appointments for all family members.  I can even create separate profiles.  

7:00 AM:  The work day begins.  Sometimes I am asked to play tech podcasts such as Dot to Dot, which highlights one of my skills, or RNIB Tech Talk, which reveals the latest in assistive technology.  I can also play Double Tap Radio, which is a series of live and recorded podcasts with a focus on technology for the blind.

8 AM:  As the work day progresses, I am sometimes asked to drop in on the office Echo upstairs.  This allows me to be used as an intercom.  I can also make phone calls, send text messages, or even make the coffee if a Wi-Fi coffeemaker is connected to me.

10 AM:  Time for a quick break.  I can give the latest news updates from dozens of news sources, play a stimulating game, or just help you relax with some guided meditation.  Want a quick workout?  I can do that, too!

12 PM:  Time for lunch.  I can suggest restaurants that deliver, give you some quick recipe ideas, or order pizza.  If you are considering dining out later, I can set up a reservation through my Open Table skill.

3:30 PM:  The work day is done!  Time to enjoy reading a book through Kindle or Audible.  Maybe play a challenging game of Family Trivial Pursuit, Song Quiz, or one of hundreds of other games.  Afternoon sports?  I have you covered there, too, as you can listen to hockey or football through the TuneIn Live subscription or connect to MLB and the NBA through my app.  

5 PM:  Let’s watch TV or a movie.  With an Echo Show, you can watch Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu and more.  I can even help you search for an interesting program to watch.  All you have to do is ask.  If you have an Alexa microwave, I can even make the popcorn!  Out of popcorn?  Just ask me to order it.  Feeling nostalgic and want to listen to some old-time radio?  I can play podcasts from a specific show or play live radio streams.  There are dozens from which to choose.

Just a reminder, I can also control the thermostat, dim the lights, or turn on devices that are connected to a smart plug.  With an Echo Show, I can make video calls to family members or identify items through my Show and Tell feature (just make sure you have the 10-inch Show).  Need an Uber ride or LYFT?  Yes, I can do that!

8 PM:  I can make reading or viewing recommendations, assist with household questions through my Wiki How skill, add items to your store list or To-Do list, take notes, and 10,000 other things!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Tech Tips: Assistive Technology Radio

Tech Tips: Assistive Technology Radio

Contributed by Jerry Price, Assistive Technology Specialist

Technology news is everywhere.  There are blog articles, podcasts, newsletters, and web sites dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest in tech news, demos and information.  Believe it or not, there are actually radio and audio streams that also carry assistive technology happenings:


RNIB Connect Radio (Scotland)


AMI Audio Stream (Canada)


Double Tap Now Radio


These stations are available on your Victor Reader Stream and your Amazon Echo device.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Disability:IN NextGen Leaders - Apply now!

 Disability:IN NextGen Leaders

Contributed by Christina Nixon, Contributor

Disability:IN NextGen Leaders have the opportunity to connect with leading brands across all industries and transition from school to work and build a meaningful career.


Students are matched one-on-one with mentors, network, and interview with Disability:IN Corporate Partnersand experience an all-expense paid trip to the Disability:IN Annual Conference.


NextGen Leaders network and interview with partner companies.


NextGen Leader commitment:

  • Meet virtually a minimum of twice a month for six months with a corporate mentor.
  • Participate in monthly professional development webinars.
  • Attend the Disability:IN 2021 Conference on July 12–15. NextGen Leaders are expected to actively participate in all conference events, whether in-person or virtual. If accepted, and the program is held in-person, travel expenses will be covered for NextGen Leaders. 


LGBTQ+, Black, and veteran individuals are especially encouraged to apply.