Quick & Easy Meals

I thought I would start sharing info on the quick and easy meals I make as someone who is blind and has had Gastric Bypass Surgery.

I like doing things the easy way. I used to make all kinds of things in the kitchen but some things changed after surgery. I eat at different times of the day than my Wife does and it just doesn’t make sense for either of us to make food for the both of us on a regular basis. We eat allot of the same things these days, so when she makes something that I want, I’ll try to arrange my eating so I’ll be hungry around the time she is making food. We’ve done this with tortilla pizzas and some yummy bean dip with chicken, bacon, cheese and other stuff added in.

The rest of the time I make food just for me. One quick and easy thing I like is 3 Jimmy Dean sausage links, a Mission Carb Balanced Fajita size whole wheat tortilla, and some shredded cheese.
Its just a matter of putting the sausage links in the microwave for 1 minute, adding them to the tortilla, and enough cheese to cover the sausage links. Put that back in the microwave for 15 seconds and you’ve got something yummy and hot to eat. Even almost 5 years out from surgery, that fills me up.

Another slight variation on that is to use sliced pepperoni, some seasoned chicken breast strips, bacon pieces, and cheese. That is yummy either cold or heated in the microwave.

I have this rule for knowing if there is too much food on the tortilla, if you can’t wrap the two side edges of the tortilla over each other, there is too much food, at least for me.

If you like omelets, I love the Jimmy Dean three cheese omelets. Sometimes I’ll jazz one up with some bacon pieces sprinkled on top with just a little bit of shredded cheese or sometimes just some Mrs. Dash to add to the flavor.

There are many easy and yummy ways to eat after weight loss surgery. One key part when shopping is to know the nutritional details of foods. My favorite place for that along with directions is Directions For Me.


They have all of the info for name brand foods and items and many store brands too. Here is a link to something I had last night, just for an example.

Atkins Beef Fiesta Taco Bowl

Blind & have had weight loss surgery or just interested? Join the blind-wls list blind-wls-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Accessible Android Apps November 2015

This is a list of the accessible android apps I’m using on my 2013 Moto X.
I’m going to replace that soon with a Nexus 6p, but until that happens, here is what I’m using.
Accessible means different things to people. I use these apps with either touch, a bluetooth keyboard or a combination of both. So since they work for me, I consider them accessible.

Acapela TTS Voices: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.acapelagroup.android.tts

Amazon Kindle: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.kindle

Amazon Music: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amazon.mp3

AquaMail: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.AquaMail

AquaMail Pro Unlocker: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.kman.AquaMail.UnlockerMarket

Arcus: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arcusweather.darksky

Arcus Pro Key: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.arcusweather.darksky.pro

Audible: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.audible.application

Beep Hourly: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=mst.android.beephourly

CamFind: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alttab.camfind

Chrome: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.android.chrome

Commandr for Google Now: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.RSen.Commandr

Drive: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.docs

ETI-Eloquence TTS: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.codefactory.eloquencetts

Easy Answer: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.jim.bockerstette.easyanswer

Firefox Beta: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.mozilla.firefox_beta

Google Keyboard: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.inputmethod.latin

Google Play Music: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.music

Google Text-to-speech Engine: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.tts

Google Voice: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.googlevoice

Hangouts: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.talk

Hangouts Dialer: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.hangoutsdialer

IF: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ifttt.ifttt

Maps: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.maps

Music Folder Player Full: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.zorillasoft.musicfolderplayer.donate

NOAA Weather: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nstudio.weatherhere

Nearby Explorer Online: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.aph.nearbyonline

NotNav: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.smithson.notnav

Point Finder: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=au.com.picospace.pointfinder

Pro Weather Alert: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.globalcanofworms.android.proweatheralert

Scanner Radio Pro: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.scannerradio_pro

Share Where: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=se.bjuremo.hereiam.lite

Sheets: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.apps.docs.editors.sheets

Shiprack: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.shiprack.client

Skype: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.skype.raider

TWiT Pro: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.markhanson.twit

TalkBack: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.marvin.talkback

Total Commander: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ghisler.android.TotalCommander

Touchless Notifications Pro: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=hu.viczian.notifications.pro

TuneIn Radio Pro: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=radiotime.player

Tweetings: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.dwdesign.tweetings

Uber: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ubercab

Vocalizer Voices: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=es.codefactory.vocalizertts

YouTube: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.google.android.youtube

chomp SMS: http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.p1.chompsms

TalkBack Gestures

My Wife found this for someone on an email list and its worth posting here as there are always new users to Android and its a good reminder for those who have been using it for years.

A great resource for help with Android devices, join the eyes free email list. There is a great variety of people using lots of different devices. To join the list send an email to:


The info below is from:


Use TalkBack gestures
TalkBack gestures enable you to navigate quickly on your device. There are three types of gestures in TalkBack: basic gestures, back-and-forth gestures, and L-shaped gestures. For all gestures, use a single motion, a steady speed, and even finger pressure. Basic gestures
Move to next item on screen
Swipe right or down
Move to previous item on screen
Swipe left or up
Select focused item
Back-and-forth gestures
Move to first item on screen
Up then down
Move to last item on screen
Down then up
Scroll forward
(if you’re on a page longer than one screen)
Right then left
Scroll back
(if you’re on a page longer than one screen)
Left then Right
Move slider up
(such as volume)
Right then left
Move slider down
(such as volume)
Left then Right
L-shaped gestures
These gestures are two-part swipes at a right angle, like the shape of the letter L. For example, the default gesture for going to the Home screen is to swipe up then left at a sharp 90-degree angle. Action
Home button
Up then left
Back button
Down then left
Recent apps
Left then up
Right then down
(see note below)
Open local context menu
Up then right
Open global context menu
Down then right
Note: The Notifications gesture (right then down) is available only in some TalkBack versions. If this gesture doesn’t work for you, use a two-finger swipe down from the top of the screen to open the notifications shade. Two-finger gestures
All TalkBack gestures use one finger. As long as you only use one finger on the screen, your touch or gesture is only interpreted by TalkBack.
When you use two or more fingers, your touch or gesture goes straight to the application, rather than to TalkBack. For example, on most pages you can usually scroll by slowly dragging one finger. With TalkBack on, you can scroll by dragging two fingers.
In some applications, you can zoom by putting two fingers on the screen and pinching them together or pulling them apart. These gestures work normally with TalkBack on, since they use two fingers.

ACB Link Is Only For iPhone Users

An issue came to my attention recently that irritates me.

New iPhone App from the American Council of the Blind Links Blind People to its Affiliates and Services

It links people to their Affiliates and Services only if those people are using an Apple device. This does nothing for those of us who use Android devices.

You would think that a national based group of blind people would want to include all of its current and potential members by providing an app for both of the major accessible mobile platforms.

Attention ACB, there are blind people who use Android devices!!!

You treat those of us outside the Apple circles as second class citizens. My Wife contacted Jeff Bishop about an app for Android users and was told:

“We will absolutely take this under advisement.”

The thing that doesn’t let me believe that is we contacted the American Council Of The Blind several months ago about an Android app when we heard an app was in the works for Apple devices. At that time we were told that it currently wasn’t something that could be done because of funding issues.

One would think that if an organization that is as large as the ACB is wanted to include all of their members and possible new members, they would release apps for both platforms at the same time. Instead they chose to exclude people who use Android devices.

What if we applied this treatment to another area of our lives.

Imagine a rehab training program for people who are blind introducing a new training program for employment at a new location.
They have worked with employers who agree to hire people who have successfully gone through the program and have proven their skills in being able to do the work required for this new partnership.

There is just one thing that the program forgot to mention in its press release. There are fourteen steps to get to the front and only door of the building. There is no hand rail and no other way of getting the training this program offers.
When asked if this program could install another entrance, especially for those with mobility problems or for those people who must use a wheelchair, the program says they will take it into consideration.

American Council Of The Blind, you need to learn to include people. Until we are all equal no matter which accessible mobile device we choose to use, none of us are equal.

So congrats on making part of your membership equal while you ignore the needs of the rest.

What’s New With Blindbites?

What’s New With Me?

I haven’t posted in about a month and thought it was time to send out an update on my life.

Nothing shocking or life changing has been going on, and that is a good thing.

I have changed my mind on which new phone I’m buying. I was interested in the 2015 Moto X Pure but there were a few things that changed my mind. I was excited about the price of the phone and that it is sold unlocked and not sold by a carrier. The two things that got me looking at another phone was the lack of a fingerprint sensor and the decision by Motorola to not support some of their recent phones which they promised there would be ongoing support for, as far as upgrades go.
How long until they decide to no longer support this new phone? It could be just a year as they have recently decided to do with some of last year’s new phones.

I’m going to get the Nexus 6P from Google. It is a better phone, with a fingerprint sensor and the price isn’t much different. Google does support their Nexus phones and its the best way to get Android updates to fix bugs. I’m also going to have Google as my phone & data provider through their Project FI program.
Right now this program only works with about three Nexus phones. The phones will switch between T-Mobile and Sprint, depending on which has the better signal at my current location. The pricing is excellent, a flat $20 a month and $10 per GB of data. If you don’t use a full GB, you are only charged for the part of that GB that you do use.

I gained a few pounds during the summer as my body decided it didn’t want to work with what I was eating anymore. This happens from time to time after I’ve had Gastric Bypass Surgery almost 5 years ago. Its no problem though, I monitor my weight and take action when those numbers start to creep up. I changed what I was eating and the numbers on the scale have gone back down again. I’m careful about what and how I eat, and know how to make a change when it is needed. There isn’t a need to wait a year for a follow-up visit with my Surgeon, just to be told I need to make some changes.

One of the things I’m eating on a regular basis again are the frozen Atkins meals. They have great nutritional numbers and taste great.
Part of the secret to weight loss, is everybody is different. One person may be able to do well with a certain food for awhile, and then one day their body doesn’t handle that food as well. Also, I could give the same food item to ten people, and not everybody is going to have the same results. So you have to figure out what will work for you, and know when to make changes.

I’ve been buying coffee from a company based in Saint Louis, Missouri, Kaldi’s Coffee. They donated a bag of their coffee that was an auction item at the Missouri Council Of The Blind convention. My Wife got the bag of coffee and it was so yummy that I have ordered two bags of their whole bean coffee in the past month or so.
Its a great company with great coffee and a nice selection of coffee, some blends of their own and some coffee from all over the world. My most recent order was a 12 ounce bag of guatemala san jose ocana.
It has an amazing taste and I’ve had it with sugar free caramel syrup and a few more with sugar free pumpkin pie syrup. Both syrups were great but the pumpkin pie was amazing.
This isn’t an advertisement for Kaldi’s Coffee and they aren’t sending me free coffee. I just like to spread the word about the yummy things in my life. You can take a look at what they have to offer at:


They have very fair pricing on shipping. I looked at a local roaster of coffee that wanted as much for shipping as they did for one bag of coffee and that is just to send it across the city to me.

Lastly, I wanted to report another great visit to Cracker Barrel. Besides the food tasting great, one thing on their menu sets them apart from some other restaurants.

“Kids of all ages are welcome to enjoy a smaller serving of our country favorites
Here at Cracker Barrel, we try to bring old-fashioned country cooking to new generations and kids of all ages, so bring out the whole family to enjoy some down-home fun.”

I usually get the grilled chicken tenderloin with green beans from the kids menu. That always fills me up. My Wife and I go there a few times a year and its our place for Thanksgiving dinner too. They have a great Thanksgiving dinner and the perfect sized portion for me on their kid’s Thanksgiving plate.
So for those who have had Gastric Bypass or another type of Weight Loss Surgery, consider Cracker Barrel, especially for Thanksgiving. No leftover food, no dishes, and no cooking tons of food. I think the location just a few miles from me starts serving Thanksgiving dinner around 11 am.

As always, I don’t know it all and never plan to. If I can help you by sharing what I’ve learned so far, please contact me. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and to share my blog with others.
I do appreciate that people take the time to read my blog and to follow me on Twitter.

You can contact me at:

@blindbites on Twitter.

We Love Uber!!!

Recently my Wife needed to go to the emergency room because of a very sore throat that wasn’t getting better. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t strep.

For quite awhile, she has been getting a taxi with the z-trip app. She received conformation that a driver had been assigned to the trip and how far away they were. It was getting close to time for the driver to arrive, so we went outside.
The driver called to let us know he was here. My Wife advised the driver that we were outside and he wasn’t at our address. She gave him very easy directions to get to where we were waiting. The driver decided to go his own way and then just left. She called the driver and he said he gave up.
Another request was placed in z-trip and with some help and guidance, we got the driver to find us.

On the return trip home, we did the same thing with z-trip and were told the driver would be there in about 30 minutes. She called the driver about 40 minutes later and he decided to cancel the trip without informing us or marking it in the app. When we called yellow taxi they said a driver could be there in about 50 minutes or more.

We had heard about Uber but hadn’t given them a try yet. Sometimes its easy to fall into the pattern of just hearing the bad things online and in the news. Things about local regulations and accessibility issues kept us from finding out for ourselves. My Wife installed the Uber app, setup an account, entered payment information and requested a trip. The app said a driver would be there in 6 minutes. The app also told us what vehicle the driver is in, along with the driver’s name.

About 5 minutes later, we walked outside and she received a call. The driver was just checking to find out which door we were at. Thirty seconds later, a jeep Cherokee pulled up, the driver introduced himself and helped us both inside, as it was a big step.
The driver was friendly, we felt safe and comfortable with the driver and how he was driving. We gave directions for getting to our apartment. The driver got out and walked with us to our door.
As soon as we got out of the vehicle, the payment had been taken care of automatically. There was nothing we had to do, no buttons in the app to deal with, nothing in the vehicle that needed to be done by us, it was all automatic.

My Wife received an email giving the details of the trip, pickup and destination addresses, miles, times, the driver’s name, vehicle type and an easy way to give the driver a rating.

That was our first Uber experience and I used them twice today, going to the grocery to get a prescription filled for my Wife and some comfort food she requested.

Below is part of the email I received after one of my trips today. Also in the app is a history showing your trips and drivers.

SEPTEMBER 25, 2015
$7.73 Thanks for choosing Uber, steven

1234 Our Street, Kansas City, MO
5330 Northwest 64th Street, Kansas City, MO


Base Fare
Safe Rides Fee (?)
Personal •••• 6748

You rode with Roger
Uber Support Contact us with questions about your trip. Leave something behind? Track it down.

I really like this way of doing things. The driver has the addresses, your name and number. The three Uber trips we’ve had in less than a 24 hour period have all been wonderful. The drivers provide a very high level of customer service and had no problem in doing a little extra. The driver who took me to the store helped me get to customer service, the driver who brought me home carried the groceries inside, and the driver last night started it all with making sure we got home and inside safely.

So goodbye to Yellow Taxi and the others in Kansas City, Missouri. Your lack of desire to provide taxi service to paying customers, the way you choose to treat people, and your high prices have driven us to a service which is much better than you could try to do on a good day.

I’m writing this unpaid, no bonus or compensation involved. Uber does offer a way to get credit for getting others to try the service, but as you can see I’m not including the referral code, that isn’t what this posting is about. It is a pretty cool thing they offer though. If someone uses your referral code, both you and the other person get a $20 credit in your account.

Nothing Compares To You

Recently I heard someone being made fun of because of the rate of synthesized speech they use on an assistive  technology device.

This reminds me of a time when I hadn’t been blind for very long and was attending a blindness rehabilitation program. We were walking from the building the training program was in and going to the apartments a couple of blocks away where the program had us staying.

One of the other students who was low vision told me that unless I walk faster, I’ll never be able to get a guide dog. I am totally blind and at that point had not received any formal training in mobility or the use of a white cane. The person who was making this comment was also newly blind and didn’t have a guide dog.

I often present something to a local group of blind people and have received the comments of why do you have the speech rate set so slow? I respond with saying when I am demonstrating something that is new to people, the rate is set a little slower than what I am comfortable with in a desire to help everyone understand what is being spoken by my phone or computer. When I first used screen reading software and a speech synthesizer, it was all new to me. There is a learning curve involved and I had things set on the slowest possible setting. As I was understanding things more, I would slowly increase the rate to a level I was comfortable with.

We should all use the abilities that we have and not worry about what other people can do. Life isn’t a race, there are no bonus points given to a person who is blind that can comprehend a document faster or better than another person who is blind.

I have talked with someone who is low vision and they felt guilty for using what sight they still had instead of using screen reading software. I as well as others told this person to use what you have the ability to use. If it works for you to have your face up to the screen, then do that. If you try using screen reading software and that works better than something else you have tried, that is okay too.

This is all a form of bullying. From the kids who make fun of the guy who uses a slower rate of speech, to the person who told me I had to walk faster to get a guide dog, to anyone who thinks they do something better than someone else, so that makes them a better person.

It might take me longer to get from my apartment door to the car waiting at the end of the sidewalk, but I am going to get there in a way that I am comfortable and safe in walking. If I let others bully me and I run into something, or fall down and break a bone, who is the one that has to deal with those effects, not the person who thinks I should walk faster.

If I listen to my phone read something at a rate slower than what somebody else does, what is the difference when I totally understand what was spoken and can learn from what I’ve heard?

Each person has things that make them different from others. I was recently discussing this in the area of weight loss. You can give the same food to ten people, and each of those people’s bodies are going to process the food in a different way. Some people might not have any problems, someone who is diabetic might find there was too much sugar or maybe even not enough sugar in the food for them. One person might have a food allergy and have a reaction that requires medical attention.

Don’t compare yourself to what other people can or cannot do, if you want to become better or more knowledgeable about something, compare yourself to how you were before.

To the parents, friends, or even people nearby that hear talk like this, regardless of the person’s ability or disability, speak up and say something. If you don’t, your child, friend, or someone else  might be on the receiving end of this comparison bullying because there will be that person who does something better than the people making comparisons do.