Saying Goodbye To Tech Talk

It has been great fun, and a wonderful opportunity to interact on air with like-minded technology enthusiasts. But the time has come for me to stand down from what is quite a commitment each week to research content and record Tech Talk. And this is why I have said goodbye as of the 2016 highlights show which goes out over the new year period.

First of all, my great passion in life is writing. I have achieved what has been a life-long dream to become a published author. Thanks to Jonathan Mosen of
I achieved that this month with the release of Braille On Display.

But I don’t want to stop there. I have other plans in the pipeline, so watch this space and see where we are a year from now.

Secondly, and this is my personal view, I think RNIB is taking blind and visually impaired people for granted in encouraging them to give their time for nothing. Shaun Preece and I have worked on Tech Talk for much of 2016 as volunteers, alongside Steven Scott, who is an RNIB employee. It is no secret that the voluntary contribution Shaun and I made this year has boosted the Tech Talk rating to well in excess of 25,000 podcast downloads a week. But we never received a penny for our efforts as volunteers, not even recognition from RNIB. So this began to irk me somewhat, and made me feel unappreciated. Many thousands of people volunteer in one way or another, but there comes a point when you feel you need to stick by your principles.

And finally, I also volunteer for the British Computer Association of the Blind, something that means a lot to me. As BCAB embarks upon new projects in 2017, I want to be a part of that, where we are all volunteers striving for the same goals.

With all the above in mind, therefore, I have decided to concentrate on my writing and BCAB commitments next year. I would like to thank all those who have read my Brown’s Bargains pages on this blog, and who faithfully downloaded the Tech Talk podcast. I wish Steven and Shaun well for future editions, and hope the programme continues to go from strength to strength. But, RNIB, do try to be a little more appreciative of your volunteers or you just might end up losing them!

Brown’s Bargains Episode Thirty-Six

The final Brown’s Bargains really does offer you some bargains … they are all free!


The Seeing Ear is an online library designed for blind and visually impaired people. It is free to join, and there are hundreds of fiction and non-fiction titles to choose from. You simply complete the online form, answering all the questions, and are then able to download books in plain text or Word formats. You can read these on a device supporting Word or plain text, and of course read in Braille if that is your preferred method. So what are you waiting for? Go to


It is now free to join the Talking Books library and receive titles on CD or USB stick from the more than 23,000 fiction and non-fiction books available. You can receive up to six books at a time, and choose what you want to listen to yourself, or have RNIB staff pick titles for you. For more information, including registration, call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999.


Project Gutenberg offers over 53,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.
We carry high quality ebooks: Most Project Gutenberg ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers. For more information, visit

Brown’s Bargains Episode Thirty-Five

In the final Brown’s Bargains before Christmas, we look at reading subscriptions for those bookworms, or for that last-minute thoughtful gift.


Membership Plan
Audible Credits
1 Book Monthly Membership
1 credit per month
2 Book Monthly Membership
2 per month
12 Book Annual Membership
12 per year at time of enrollment
24 Book Annual Membership
24 per year at time of enrollment


Kindle Unlimited is a £7.99 per month service which allows you to tap into more than 650,000 titles, many of which have the audio companion to go with it. It allows you to download up to 10 Kindle books at a time, and read them across all your devices. If you try to add an eleventh book, you will be advised to remove one of your existing titles so you can download a new one. There is a 30-day trial, but remember to cancel this if you are not interested because Amazon will charge you for a subscription once that trial ends in the same way music streaming services work.


A text option of daily and local papers, plus a selection of magazines, costs £75.00 per year. These are available to read online, or sent by Email. The audio option of a digest version of papers and magazines is available for download or on CD and USB, and costs £75.00 per year. If you want both options, the total cost is £150.00 per year.

Brown’s Bargains Episode Thirty-Four

Whether you have children coming over Christmas, or you enjoy a good game with friends and family, here is just a taster…

Braille Shut The Box Game: £24.95, product code GB103, available from RNIB

The object of this fun game is to shut all nine numbers by rolling the dice. The numbered flaps are marked with braille and the game also includes tactile dice for blind or partially sighted players.

During each round, a player repeatedly throws the dice to “cover the tiles” of the box. The round ends when no tile can be covered on a throw and the player counts each successfully covered number as a point for his score.
The goal is to cover all numbers, that is, “shut the box”, which finishes that game. Play continues until each player has completed three rounds, at which time scores are compared and a winner is declared.

Large Print With Braille Playing Cards (in red or blue): £7.99, product code GC11R or GC11U, available from RNIB

Use your imagination and play on your own or with others with a pack of cards that have Braille markings and large print facings. Patience, Pontoon, Round The Clock, and Brag are all games you can enjoy!

Snakes and Ladders, £54.95, available from Cobolt Systems

A beautifully handmade wooden traditional family board game with embossed snakes and ladders. Each square has Braille numbering and the two pegs are shaped differently on top for ease of play. Comes complete with game instructions, a Braille die and a shaking cup. The board is 48cm square.

Brown’s Bargains Episode Thirty-Three

More goodies this week from Brown’s Bargains as the countdown to Christmas begins in earnest!

Acoustic Battery Tester: product code HA005, £34.95, available from RNIB

This battery tester will help you to find out the current charge of a battery or rechargeable battery through acoustic signals. You can test all conventional batteries. Easy to operate, simply put the battery on the corresponding contacts and you will get the result of the measurement immediately. With a slim, lightweight design it takes up little space and can easily be taken where required to test batteries.

This product includes two AAA batteries. Replacement AAA batteries are available from RNIB (product code 1 x BAT03).

Talking Colour Detector: £88.39, available from Amazon or Cobolt Systems Ltd

• Announces variations of colours i.e. dark, light
• Earphone for private use
• Fully talking product
• Three volume levels

Talking Indoor/Outdoor Thermometer, £24.99, available from Amazon or Cobolt Systems

• Specially designed for Blind and Visually Impaired
• Both inside and outside temperature can be announced
• Alarm can be set to alert of temperatures above or below a certain setting
• Announcements in a female voice