November 30, 2011
A Special App

I didn't realize that a blind person can enjoy iPhone as much as sighted people. Then our world crossed when Michael Barnes came forward and proposed an app idea to port some classic text games on iPhone. We talked and I listened to him using his iPhone with Voice Over. I never used this feature before, and suddenly I think it is the best feature on the phone. iOS SDK doesn't provide direct Text-To-Speech APIs, it was a bit of challenge using only the UIKit accessibility functions. I also tried to use a free TTS engine, but was unable to make it sound better than the built-in one. After some investigation, I figured out a way (or a hack, worked well most of the time) to use Voice Over to speak out text changes on the screen automatically, and I thought it is fairly usable for text games. The app is a game pack of six classic games developed by Richard L. De Steno. A detailed list is put on the App Store description page. I never played these games before, but Michael had fond memories of them. If you are interested, you can visit it in App Store (Free).