hi all
this article mentions me in it.


19 April 2017

Virgin Australia has become the first airline in the Asia Pacific and the second airline in the world to introduce an in-flight entertainment (IFE) user interface for passengers who are blind or have low vision.

Designed to make the customer experience more accessible for vision impaired passengers, the new interface increases accessibility to IFE content through simplified screen layouts, larger icons and voice prompts.

Developed by globally recognised IFE innovator CoKinetic Systems, the interface is available on Virgin Australia’s entire fleet of Boeing 777-300ER aircraft which feature a seatback entertainment system and will be rolled out on the Airbus A330 fleet in the first half of 2017. The Boeing 777-300ER aircraft fly from Australia’s east coast to Los Angeles, while the Airbus A330 primarily fly between Australia’s east coast and Perth.

Virgin Australia General Manager, In Flight Experience, Tash Tobias said: “We are determined to ensure travel with Virgin Australia is enjoyable for all of our guests and we are delighted to introduce this new user interface for guests who are blind or have low vision.

“Throughout the development process we consulted with disability advocate, Phillip Chalker, to create a system that enables more passengers to enjoy movies, music, audiobooks and TV shows and we thank him for his invaluable assistance.

“This new technology also allows vision impaired guests to access important flight information such as the time and distance to their destination,” Ms Tobias said.

Vision Australia General Manager for Advocacy and Engagement, Karen Knight said, “We congratulate Phillip on the outcome his advocacy efforts have helped achieve. In addition, we commend Virgin Australia for taking steps to improve the accessibility of their IFE system. Many people who are blind or have low vision enjoy travel and travel widely, and by Virgin Australia continuing to improve the accessibility of its IFE technology guests have the opportunity to enjoy the latest entertainment.”

This feature is the latest addition in an ever increasing focus on accessible entertainment for all guests. Virgin Australia recently introduced a broader variety of assets suitable for hearing impaired guests with subtitled and closed-captioned movies and TV, a growing range of non-narrative documentaries and a handpicked collection of reading materials.

Virgin Australia’s wireless IFE system is available on its Boeing 737-800 and Embraer E190 fleets, and is accessible to vision impaired guests via screen reader software available on guests’ own devices.


Media contacts:
Libby Armstrong (Virgin Australia) 0400 814 573

Vanessa Sandhu (Vision Australia) 0418 937 327

This media release has been sent and authorised by Virgin Australia Airlines Pty Ltd ACN 36 090 670 965 of 56 Edmondstone Road Bowen Hills, Qld Australia 4006. Nine news Gippsland interview


What I like about Apple products, from a blind persons point of view. By Phillip Chalker

Ever since I was first introduced to Apple products back in 2011 , my life has changed for the best.

When you buy an iPhone it comes with voice over right out of the box. So all you need to do is let your fingers do the walking, and your iPhone do the talking.

People who are blind or vision impaired say that an iPhone can be expensive but this is not the case for people living in Australia. If you were to add up the price of all the apps that an iPhone comes with, and what you can add to it for a low cost, you would be amazed at how much money you would be saving when buying these devices separate from Blind Agencies. 

Can you imagine how hard it would be to carry too many things around and worry about the devices you own getting lost or stolen, just to do what you want them to do? Would you like to make it easier on yourself when studying or going to work? Then carry one device like an iPhone or iPad, which would be less to carry and with voice over turned on you have all these devices in one.

Talking Calculator, Calendar and Navigator; voice activated, alarm clock, timer and organiser, plus other third party accessible apps.

The iPhone also comes with a personal assistant named Siri who can help you do a variety of tasks, such launch an app, time your meals, set an alarm, remind you of your next appointment and lots more. But the disadvantage with Siri your personal assistant she does not work without an internet connection.
So if any one is not aware that Centrelink has a payment called Advance Payment, which is a loan that is available which is paid back with deductions from your Centrelink payment for about 6 months. Once the loan is repaid, you may apply for another. This is a great way to help you get equipment that you need. You can contact Centrelink to find out how much you can get but I usually get the full amount of $800  and if I still cannot afford the device I would either add more to it, or put it away somewhere until you go for another one.

As a community music worker who deals with peoples money, my  iPhone helps me in ways that you can’t imagine.

How does it help me? When people pay for my workshops I can use my  iPhone to check whether or not they have given me the right money by using an app named  looktel Money Reader.

The voice memo app on my iPhone I use to record peoples names for a workshop, and then transfer their names or contacts back to the computer when I get home. I also use my iPhone as a musician to tune my guitar with an app named Talking Tuner
By HotPaw Productions. My iPhone also helps me in a workshop to film or take photos for promotional or marketing material.

Having an iPhone can relieve allot of stress as well. How does it relieve stress? 

Do you get worried when you want to identify money in your wallet or purse and worried about whether or not people have given you the right change back? If you have been to an important business meeting, and after that hard day of listening to all the lectures and people rambling on, well don’t stress. Just launch the voice memo on your phone and record it and listen to it again on the go in the car or when relaxing, or even burn it to cd.

Do you go shopping and try to explain to the shopping centre staff what product you are after and they have no clue on what you’re talking about? Well why not try an app for your iPhone named looktal Recogniser? Simply take a photo of the product, and show the staff what you are looking for. This app is also good if you want to recognise the food or products in your cupboard. For example I take a photo of my seeing eye dogs Frontline flea treatment, wave it around over the products in your cupboard and it will read it out to you.
The use of Smart phones such as Apple iPhones are also  allowing people who are blind or vision impaired to live their life independently, allowing them to identify products, objects, and items. Some examples are determining the colours of clothing, providing reminders for when to take medications and doctors appointments times of meetings. These can be set up on phones manually or with the help of Siri, a virtual personal assistant.
Siri can also assist with other tasks, such as posting  on Facebook or Twitter
People who use  Braille devices to read and write with  can also sync their  braille devices with their smart phone , such as BrailleNote and BrailleEdge, so users can update their calendars, check their mail, and perform other actions.  
Flatbed scanners can be very expensive, and not accessible for people who experience vision impairment, but can receive help from an app which is also expensive named KNFB reader. The app converts printed and written text into speech which can be used in mini environment situations such as schools or work environments.
There are also a  lot of free or cheap apps that do other tasks such as simple things like magnifying text and pictures on CD covers or DVD covers; used to read recipes and receipts, or read a book or local newspapers.  But if people don’t want to use a magnification app then they have a choice to use the settings which are provided under the accessibility settings on smart phones.
owning an iPhone also allows people to listen to Audio Books and podcast witch is download and streamed directly to there Device which they can listen to in there own time at there own leisure.

I also like the Apple iTunes Store and app store because it gives me the opportunity to stall all my music, games, movies and more all in one area on my iPhone.
Having them all in one area on my iPhone is great because i don’t need to worry about

music which has been purchased from a retail store getting scratched.
or damaged or don’t need to worry about having to many Storage cabinets to store all movies or CDs on which has also been purchased from a retail store.
The other thing i also like about the apple iPhone and other apple devices is when having updates for apps or software sent to us automatically because we don’t need to worry about searching around for software on Disks just to do an update.

Movies not Made accessible in all of the iTunes stores.

Movies not made accessible in the iTunes store

As I am legally blind, I would like to see Audio Description movies provided in all the iTunes stores (including the Australian store) for people who are blind or vision impaired, and not just the American stores.
It is not fair that we have to change stores on iTunes and be made to pay extra money to have content provided in our format.

IPhones and iPads are becoming popular in the blind community.
Providing Audio Description movies on iOS devices would be much easier to find and access rather than going through our own Audio Description collection at home, which was purchased on disc from retail outlets. These can’t be accessed using a normal DVD player because this requires for someone who is sighted to go into the menu section select the language option then Audio Description.
This does not make someone who is blind or vision impaired independent. If there are Audio Description movies on iOS devices, we could download them directly on to our iPhone or iPad, then the voiceover that comes with all Apple products would read out the movie title for us. This way we could keep all Audio Description movies in one area on our device, as well as allow us to access the movie on the go or in our free time without having to rely on sighted assistance to turn on this feature for us.

If the Audio Description language track can be available on movies that were purchased from outlet stores, why not make this content available on iTunes.
The major movie chains would not be losing money because people who are blind or vision impaired would download these as well and pay like everyone else.

Back in September just gone i took apple to the human rights commition about this problem stated in my blog.  After a conciliation meeting between myself and Apple told me that this has not their responsibility it’s up to the main movie distributors. 

but it was funny that all the movies i’m about to add bellow can now be downloaded in the Itunes stores with in Australia. 

so i’m happy i played a part in  this.

this just proves that movies like this can be uploaded on to the itunes stores.


Monsters, Inc. (For blind viewers, audio description, DVS®) by Pixar’
Finding Nemo (For blind viewers, audio description, DVS®) by Pixar
Cars 2 (For blind viewers, audio description, DVS®) by Pixar
Brave (For blind viewers, audio description, DVS®) by Pixar
Brave (For blind viewers, audio description, DVS®) by Pixar


Audio description is the auditory narration of visual representations such as television programs, films and live performances. During gaps in dialogue, it describes visual elements such as scenes, settings, actions and costumes..

Audio description is found on TV and DVDs as a separate language track or is accessed by using audio description equipment at a cinema or live performance.

It is particularly beneficial to people who are blind and vision impaired and people with print, learning and physical disabilities

SUPER UKERS The Traralgon Journal Monday, 9 June, 2014

A Traralgon aged care facility was delighted to hear the delicate sounds of ukeleles recently.
Led by ukelele teacher Phillip Chalker, eight ukelele enthusiasts took to O’Mara House to entertain its residents.
“We played a good few classic numbers from songs like ‘How Much Is That Doggy In The Window?’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’ to ‘Achy Breaky Heart’,” Mr Chalker said.
“There were 30 people watching and they were all clapping so they obviously liked it and would like to have us come again.”
Mr Chalker is vision impaired and despite this, now runs ukelele classes for beginner levels to advanced.
“After doing this, I’m confident in teaching one-on-one private lessons now anywhere in the Latrobe Valley,” Mr Chalker said.
“If any nursing homes would like to have me perform solo I don’t mind, or if any organisations would like to have me perform with my ukelele.”
Mr Chalker thanked Morwell Neighbourhood House for providing a space for his lessons.

Super Ukers – photo taken by Tom Morrison LV Express 2014

Phillip Chalker and his merry band of Ukers performed at O’Mara House aged care facility recently.
Photograph Tom Morrison

”questions and answers to my second seeing eye dog Roddy Puppy carer

What Made  you become a Puppy Carer for a Working Seeing eye dog?
I have always loved dogs but just having a pet seemed rather selfish so I wanted to have the joy of a dog and at the same time give something back into the community.  Since both my parents were declared legally blind in their sixties, Seeing Eye Dogs was a natural choice for me.

What would  you say to someone considering being a Puppy Carer??
Go for it.  It is a lot of work and plenty of frustration but the rewards are beyond awesome.

when you become a puppy carer for the first time was there any Rules you need to follow?
Of course.  The job of being a guide for a vision impaired person is terribly important and the training has to be strict, standardized and absolutely spot on.  These dogs also have to pass a very stringent ‘Public Access’ test and there is zero tolerance for bad behaviour.

How often did a trainer come out to assess you to see how the process was going as a puppy carer?
Back when I first joined SEDA in 2001, we didn’t even have an office in Queensland so a trainer flew up from Melbourne every two months and visited all the carers.  These days, with the merger with Vision Australia and our headquarters in Coorpooroo, and resident trainers, we are visited once a week when the pup is 8-16 weeks, then fortnightly from 16-26 weeks and thereafter  monthly until the pup graduates from Puppy Development and goes into Formal Training.

Was all bedding Foods and vet Bills Payed for as a Puppy Carer?
Yes, all the expenses were paid by Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.

How did you Manage when Giving up the puppy at the end of the period?
Naturally, I cried my eyes out but at the same time I was thrilled and excited that another puppy was well on the way to becoming a working guide.

My testimonials

Morwell October 30. 2014

Olivia Mitchell:
“It was a very enjoyable relaxed time & Jane got the best out of everyone’s voice by her way of teaching, friendliness, people skills.  Singing harmonies was good, to get used to others singing different verse, from what I was singing. Practicing singing the very short songs was a great way to get warmed up for singing the longer songs. How did you hear about the the big sing?
“I heard about it from Phillip, who organised the Big Sing. He is good at organising events, is a good communicator, very enthusiastic and is a good musician

Karine Kistler:
“The Big Sing was an enjoyable event.  I enjoyed being able to have a sing along with other people who feel the same and just want to sing even if we can’t get all the notes etc right.  It was fun Thanks.”

Judy Goriuk:
“Hi Phillip, absolutely loved the Big Sing, wasn’t sure if it would be suitable for me, but I had so much fun. Will definitely go to the next one.”

Joan Gardner:
“Thoroughly enjoyed finding my inner Madonna or was Troy Cassar-Daly but it was fun. Thank you Jane Coker and Phillip Chalker

Cheryl Kane:
I have attended two of Phillips workshops, met some lovely people, learned heaps and had lots of fun. Well done Phillip, and keep up the good work

Judy Goriuk:
“Have had so much fun learning in your beginners class Phillip, can’t wait for the next term of classes to start. You make playing the uke such a rewarding thing to do. Keep spreading the music and the happiness Phillip, well done.”

Joan Gardner:
“Phillip Chalker (and Roddy) inspires all as we learn a new craft in ukulele playing in a fun, entertaining atmosphere. He learns from us as we learn from him. Phillip makes you feel you should never underestimate your own hidden talents or the talents of everyone else you come in contact with. Thanks Phillip.”

Barb Harding:
“It’s been really broadening our horizons in terms of communicating with Phillip” participant Barb Harding said. “It’s sort of been two-way learning, he’s got to learn to teach us while we’re learning from him.”


Andrew Murray, former Rural Access Project Officer, Baw Baw Shire Council:
“Phil is an entertaining and charismatic performer and always gets the crowd engaged. Phil is a determined and motivated individual with a high level of commitment to his craft
and to developing and improving his skills.”

Phil Heuzenroeder, Artistic and Managing Director, Club Wild:
“Phil is a talented performer who demonstrates great energy for his performances and a strong commitment to developing a professional standard of stagecraft.”

Akash Temple, En(dis)abled artist:
“Through the many years of writing music and performing with Phillip, one part stands out: his yearning to learn. His dreams about the EN(dis)abled community give me drive towards my goals.”

Rishi Gunasee:
“WOW… What a show Phil… I had the pleasure of seeing u perform live after hearing your album and I’ll tell ya what, u’re show totally rocked.”

Warren Bartlett:
“Thank you Phil for all your encouragement and support in helping me to build up my confidence in preparing and playing live with you! It?s nice to see people enjoying themselves when we played on Thursday 14th October 2010 and I look forward to Performing with you on Friday 10th December. Thanks again.”

Mandy Michelle:
“Phillip Chalker performed an impromptu ‘birthday gig’ whilst he was out busking on Friday 31st July, 2009, in Warragul, consisting of ‘Happy Birthday’ and then some of his work. It was original and very entertaining. Very much enjoyed the original song ‘Lost in the Desert of Australia’.
“Thank you Phillip Chalker (and Kransky) for an unexpected and awesome start to my birthday this year, much appreciated.”

Simon Imagin, Music Tutor, Araluen Centre:
“Phil Chalker was a great act for our Pink Day Fundraiser for Breast Cancer. Given that we are a centre for adults with disabilities, it was hugely special to have such a wonderful entertainer come and entertain our clients, friends and staff.”

From the staff at Haven Primary school:
“Hello Phillip,
“Just sending you some feedback on the performance you did on 16th October at Haven Primary School, Horsham. The children all really loved the performance. It was great to see them getting up and joining in with the karaoke and dance. Your final song was very touching and there were quite a few of the older children who were obviously moved by your performance. The children like hearing about your life and how Kransky helps you to get around.
“A very lively performance, thankyou.”

Terry Bigeni
Hey Phil. Love your web site – congratulations. Your performances are always a buzz. You always know how to get a laugh out of your audience. Keep up the good work. Hope to see you performing again soon.”

Elise Kisyma:
“Hey Phil, you really are becoming quite a showman! Really like that song! lost in the desert.
“Great website and keep up the good work.”

Elizabeth Barnard from bandcamp Horsham:
“Doing a great job keep up the good work appreciate you giving up your time and effort best wishes for the future.”

Mal Gamble, Central Bayside Adult Community Options, Cheltenham:
“Great show Phil! Our group really enjoyed a live performance for a change. Keep up the energy