Mara's Musings

Mara Kelland is a folksinger/harpist/pianist and more from Auckland, New Zealand. This is where she shares bits and pieces.
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Okay- now I’ve heard it all! The word of the year is …. No, we’ll come back to that… But the Oxford Dictionary is adding some strange stuff these days. One thing they added is HOTMESS. Don’t even know how to spell it and don’t even know what it is.

Another is fob but that one’s only in New Zealand.

And the big one… SELFIE

Even I have taken a couple of those. Yes, folks, the word of the year is selfie. So enjoy taking them.


Tree at high brook

Well, the time has almost come… The time when the PC will be almost not required.

One of the most exciting developments in recent months is the KNFB Reader. I used to have it on my computer when it was called Kurzweil 1000. K1000 was, still is, great for with it the blind can read the written word with minimal help.

I do have qualms about its IOS counterpart. It’s too pricy and there is no demo or trial. Apart from that the demos of it I have heard look fairly solid. Still trying to decide whether to buy it or not.


“There is this new movement that is trying to teach people about the dangers of cutting their daughters. It is good for us to be able to discuss these things in school. We have been able to form our own opinions about the issue.”

Neshwa, 15, is one of millions of girls around the world to have been subjected to female genital mutilation (FGM). She hopes to become a doctor. Let girls be girls: #GirlSummit

I like this one!


First you must love yourself

before you can love another truly.

First you must find your worth

before you can find your value duly.

First you must know yourself

before you can know another’s beauty.

First you must love yourself

before you can love another truly.

-Jerry Harris III

It’s almost here! an accessible camera for the blind. And it comes in a product that lots of people use - the iPhone.

With the iPhone’s built-in screenreader technology, VoiceOver, and a little app, the talking camera is here!

Here’s the story. The iPhone camera is accessible and it’s quite a good one - has 8 megapixels on the iPhone 5/S/C. The camera itself is accessible with VoiceOver. Problem comes when trying to name the photos. IOS names them with the date and time stamp but this is not really useful to blind photographers.

Enter PikSpeak Camera. This is the app that you can use as you would your iPhone camera. only difference is it records audio at the moment of shot so the problem of naming photos is pretty much over! You can audio tag your existing photos and when you go through the gallery inside pikspeak camera it plays the audio tags.

You can even share them on FaceBook and Twitter. Only thing I want is integration with instagram to share the images.

In an aside there have been apps emerging over the past few months that do the same job as PikSpeak camera. One, specifically designed for blind people, is called Talking Gallery but that’s only available in the US.

So I am having much fun tagging photos. Thanks to the developer.

Last year we began work on remodelling our house - what a mission! All the lino was replaced by tiles which my mother says are like coffee - smells great but tastes awful. She said she should never have made them white. The tiling took some 6 weeks - maybe longer - and now some of them are broken. [Well just a couple]. And the grout came out so now they have to be regretted.

After the fixes it’s time for the wallpaper. It’s such a pain and now I am living out of cardboard boxes. Much fun!