Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sirius XM: More Accessible To The Visually Impaired

The original Pulsar app brought Apple and Sirius XM together to create magic. Apple computer users could finally stream Sirius XM’s Premium Online content the way it should be done. Pulsar did it right! For starters, a browser wasn’t required. The interface was clean, elegant and easy to use. A third-party app wasn’t required to make it work. Users only had to enter in their username and password once. Best of all, the music wouldn’t stop playing with annoying timeouts. They did forget one thing, the blind and visually impaired.

Now, Sirius XM Radio is more accessible to the visually impaired, thanks to the utilization of Apple’s VoiceOver technology in the newly updated Pulsar online streaming app.

Rogue Amoeba spent some time working with visually impaired users to determine the best way to utilize Apple’s VoiceOver technology in the application. With approximately 15 million blind and visually impaired individuals in the United States, this new accessibility to Sirius XM’s Premium Online content, made possible by Rouge Amoeba’s Pulsar App, gives Sirius XM an edge over competing services which do not allow for this accessibility.

In addition to its utilization of Apple’s VoiceOver technology, the update brings some other new and welcome features as well. A Dock menu feature was added, which provides access to Pulsar’s playback controls from Pulsar’s dock icon, even while the application is hidden. A “Jump to Live” command was added, which provides for the restarting of live content at the end of the pause buffer. Growl notifications now coalesce (only one is shown on the screen at a time) and many small bugs were fixed with the update.

Rogue Amoeba’s Pulsar application is compatible with both Sirius and XM online subscriptions, whether users have a US or Canadian account. Pulsar 2.1 is available from Rogue Amoeba’s website,, or you can get Pulsar for free with the purchase of any of the company’s other Mac OS X products. Users of previous versions of Pulsar can update to Pulsar 2.1 for free.

No comments:

Subscribe to receive posts via email

* indicates required

Browse Articles by Subject

Follow us on Twitter


Write for us

Your input and support in the evolution of Fred's Head are invaluable! Contact us about contributing original writing or for suggestions for updating existing articles. Email us at


The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

The information and techniques contained in Fred's Head are provided without legal consideration (free-of-charge) and are not warranted by APH to be safe or effective. All users of this service assume the risk of any injury or damage that may result from the use of the information provided.

Information in Fred's Head is not intended as a substitute for professional advice or treatment. Consult your physician before utilizing information regarding your health that may be presented on this site. Consult other professionals as appropriate for legal, financial, and related advice.

Fred's Head articles may contain links to other websites. APH is not responsible for the content of these sites.

Fred's Head articles created by APH staff are (C) copyright American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. You must request permission from APH to reprint these articles. Email to request permission.

Any submissions to Fred's Head should be free of copyright restrictions and should be the intellectual property of the submitter. By submitting information to Fred's Head, you are granting APH permission to publish this information.

Fair Use Notice: This website may contain copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright holder(s). This site is operated on the assumption that using this information constitutes 'fair use' of said copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.

Opinions appearing in Fred's Head records are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Printing House for the Blind.