This week on Mosen At Large, using your smartphone's camera, blindness and mental health, second-rate audio for described content and more

Kia ora koutou. It will soon be Mosen At Large time before you know it, and I’m looking forward as always to us getting together to discuss a range of topics. Your contributions really make the show. Here are some of the things we’ll be discussing this week in case you’d like to get a contribution in ahead of time, which helps me plan the show.

Judy Dixon is prolific! Prolific I tell you! She has just published yet another book through National Braille Press called “Capturing and Sharing the World”. It’s an updated and much expanded version of her venerable “Get The Picture” book, all about using your smartphone’s camera as a blind person. I’ll chat with Judy this week about why you might benefit from buying the book. But I also thought it would be interesting to hear from you about whether, and how, you’re using the camera on your smartphone. As I look through the extensive list of apps on my iPhone, I’m actually amazed by how many camera-related apps I have. I have apps that connect me with sighted human assistance, colour identifiers, barcode readers, light detectors, OCR packages, currency identifiers and apps that help me take pictures of people and things. Some apps are a veritable Swiss army knife, doing many of these things in the one app.

Thankfully, many of these apps are free or low cost. The first smartphone app I used that did something truly useful with the camera was the KNFB Reader on my Nokia N82, and dude, that was not cheap.

Many of us have been using video calling to keep in touch with family, friends and business associates, particularly during this time of lockdown. Those cameras are pretty useful, eh?

So let’s share our experiences about how we’re using our cameras and the apps we particularly like. Do you mostly use your camera for blindness-related tasks, such as identifying things you can’t see, or are you also living the dream and taking pictures for archiving and posting to social media? If you are, do you take steps to ensure you’re not posting a picture that looks like it’s been taken by a blind person? What are some things you’ve learned about getting the most out of your camera?

Alternatively, are you just not feeling the camera love? Are you having trouble getting the results you hoped for? Let us know any issues you’re having, this is totally a safe show for doing that, and we’ll see if we can help.

Speaking of safe spaces, a listener this week is going to raise the topic of blindness and its impact on our mental health. I’ll share a few thoughts, and invite you to share yours, anonymously if you prefer as this is a sensitive and important subject.

I’ll be speaking with someone who, like me, has been doing some investigating around TV and movie studios giving us second-rate audio quality in audio description soundtracks. We have to speak up about this and make it stop.

And more listeners chime in on whether it’s OK to use the word “blind” as a synonym for words like “ignorant” or “stupid”. If you’d still like to join that debate, please feel free.

There is so much more. Remember, the podcast version of Mosen At Large is abridged. To hear the full version, tune into when I record it live, on Mushroom FM at 2 PM US Eastern time, 7 PM UK on Saturday, that’s Sunday at 6 AM in New Zealand.

You are very welcome, and in fact encouraged, to get contributions in ahead of time. To contribute, send an email with an audio attachment or just written down to Jonathan at, or call the listener line, +18646066736, that’s 1-864-60Mosen.

See you soon for Mosen At Large.