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Technology Newsletter

Welcome to the 48th edition of the NCBI Labs Technology Newsletter.

Happy Easter to all our readers.

This week we are very excited to announce details of a brand-new accessibility feature called Voice Guidance from Sky Ireland that is coming to the Sky Q set top box.
In our Technology Quick Tips we go through the keyboard shortcuts you can use to restore closed tabs in Google Chrome.
For our Siri Suggestion, we cover how to take notes and read them back on an iPhone or iPad using Siri.
Last week we covered how to back up your iPhone to iCloud. We now cover how to back up your Android phone to Google.
Finally, we share details about some Virtual Training Courses set to start soon on JAWS and NVDA. We’re down to the last few remaining places, so please get in touch soon if you would like to sign up.

Don’t forget that NCBI Labs technology podcasts are available on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify Podcasts, as well as the NCBI YouTube Channel. If you have an Amazon Echo or Google Home you can simply say “Alexa” or “Hey Google”, “Play NCBI Labs Podcasts” to listen back to previous recordings.

Sky Q Launches New Voice Guidance

NCBI are delighted to announce that Sky Q boxes will soon receive an update which will greatly enhance its accessibility features allowing people with visual impairments greater access and control of their Sky Box.
  • High Contrast Mode
  • Voice Guidance
High Contrast Mode
A High Contrast mode can be selected which will make on screen menus and displays easier to read.

Voice Guidance

Voice Guidance is an internal Screen Reader which can be activated from the Sky Q menu or working in tandem with Sky Q’s Voice Control and existing accessibility features. Voice Guidance will make Sky Q even more accessible. To start using it, simply say “Voice Guidance on” or “Voice Guidance Off” into your Sky Q Remote.

Once activated all menus and Electronic Program Guides (EPGs) will be read aloud by the screen reader allowing independent use of the Sky Q for people with Visual Impairments.

Kyran O’Mahoney NCBI’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) said: “Sky’s continued focus on accessibility is massively welcome. The new Voice Guidance feature will make a real difference for users. Being able to access and browse content without the help of others is a huge step forward.”
These updates will begin to roll out to customers from Wednesday 31st March and will be available to all customers by the end of April.
For further information on Sky’s Inclusive feature for people with visual impairments please visit:
To read a full update of the latest features in Sky Q please visit:

Technology Quick Tips of the Week

Windows Shortcut

How to Restore all Tabs in Google Chrome
It’s easy to accidently close a tab in Google Chrome and lose a webpage you were browsing.
If you are using a Mac or a PC, you can easily restore the tab you were just browsing with a quick keystroke and this will take the frustration out of searching for that page all over again.
Open Chrome and do the following to restore all tabs:
  • Control + Shift + T on a Windows PC or Laptop
  • Command + Shift + T on a Mac

Siri Suggestion

Add a new note with Siri
The process of taking notes with Siri is quick and easy.
You can press the home key or say, “Hey Siri, create a note”. Siri will respond with, “what would you like the note to say?” Then just dictate your note. For shorter notes you can dictate the note at the same time as creating the note, for example say, “Hey Siri, note that my pin number is 1279”.

Finding your notes with Siri
There are numerous phrases you can use to find notes:

“Hey Siri, show me my notes”, which brings up a list of your recent notes.
“Hey Siri, show me my notes from today/yesterday”.
“Hey Siri, show me my history study notes”.
“Hey Siri, show me my notes from the 26th of March”.

How to get Siri to read a note
Siri can read a note out loud by just saying the note name, just be sure to add the word read. “Hey Siri, read my pin number note”.
Finally, you can update an existing note with Siri. “Hey Siri, update my history study note” and follow the prompts from Siri.

Backing up Contacts and other Data on your Android Phone
Last week we covered how to back up contacts on Apple’s iPhone using iCloud. This week we focus on Android back up. If you have an Android phone and a Google account, you can back up your data to your free 15 gigs of storage. Here is how.
  1. Open Settings
  2. Select 'backup and reset'
  3. Select 'Automatic Backup'
  4. Tap the slider on the top of the page to turn automatic backup on
  5. Scroll down or swipe right and check the box next to each setting to select what content you want backed up. This can include contacts, conversations, calendar, Wi-Fi networks, call log, and more.
Now that you have your data backed up you can be safe in mind that you still have your important contacts and other data in case you damage, lose or replace your phone.

Virtual Training Courses - places filling up fast!!
NCBI Labs IT trainer Miriam Kelly will soon be running several Virtual Training Courses. Please find details of these courses below. If you would like to join please email
JAWS with Outlook and Gmail Course:
14th April 11:00am – 1:00pm x 2 Wednesdays  
NVDA Shopping on-line Course:
28th April 11:00am – 1:00pm x 1 Wednesday  

NCBI Labs Technology Live Events 

We are running Technology Live events during the COVID 19 crisis on topics that will support you.

All events are recorded and made available as podcasts and on YouTube for you to listen to or watch back afterwards.

To listen back to previous Live Events please select the button below.

NCBI Live Events YouTube Playlist

Live Event 39

On Tuesday 30th March we held our 39th Live Event.
On this Live Event we were joined by Stephen Howell, Accessibility Lead for diversity and inclusion with Microsoft Ireland. Stephen demonstrated for us some of the latest accessibility features in Windows 10 and Microsoft Office. He also told us how Microsoft is using AI make its products more accessible for people with sight loss.  

On Meet the Team (or should that be Meet the Host?!) we spoke with Jude Maher, to find out all about his role in NCBI.

Our next Live Event will take place on Tuesday 13th April at 2.30pm.

Watch back the Live Event:
Live Event 39

Technology Support Line 

We offer a dedicated support line and email address for technical support related to assistive and mainstream technology. 

The service is free for people with sight loss and their families. We also offer technical advice on assistive technology to schools and employers. 

The Technology Support Helpdesk is operated between 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday. 

Contact NCBI Labs nationwide: 1850 92 30 60 or 01 5312975. 

Email NCBI Labs

Subscribe to NCBI Labs Podcasts  

NCBI Labs Live Events are hosted on Apple Podcasts and Spotify as well as other popular Podcasts Directories.

Please subscribe to the following and give us a listen on your favourite device.

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Support NCBI  

Your continued support for NCBI’s work to help people with sight loss is hugely appreciated. Please click the link below for more information on how you can help. 

Support NCBI

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