Posts Tagged ‘access’

Yeah we’ll help you, NOT

October 15, 2011

Ok, I’m going off the beaten path this time. I’m not going to talk about technology in this post at all. Sorry to disappoint but, recently my fiancé and I have come against some obstacles in school that have made her want to stop and me want to press on. Her decision is her own and I have accepted and admire her for that. Getting back to the purpose of this article however, for the past few months we’ve been having issues with our english professor being very rude and personal towards us. Telling us that we need to take better notes (which we have been doing all along) and that if we have questions after that we need to listen (which we do) how in the world do you expect us to do anything different? Oh, and the other day my fiancé got told that it would be easier fi she could use a mouse. Hello wake up she can’t she’s B L I N D. The substitute teacher in this case last Thursday didn’t know how to help so she just didn’t. She made a comment to her basically stating that she didn’t know how she was going to do her work if she couldn’t use a mouse and just left her alone. I’m sorry but this is unacceptable. We pay money to you to get an education and we are being thrown under the bus.
Do you know about the “disability center”? Do you know what there job is? Well, if you don’t let me give you a run down. The so called disability center is a place were you “should” get help with any problems you are having during the semester. The “job” of the disability center is to provide solutions to problems that arise and to provide an equal playing field to all people with disabilities. I’ve found out that they don’t categorize “blindness” as a separate disability. Let me tell you something it is. Blindness doesn’t need to be grouped into low vision or legal blindness. Although I could argue that legal blindness and total blindness are almost the same but, let’s not get into that right now. The point I’m trying to make is that the people at the disability centers say they’ll help however, when it comes down to it they won’t. My fiancé and I both got told that our disability director mind you “was not going to get in the middle.” Well, sorry to bust your bubble Mr. Disability director it’s your freaking JOB. And another thing are some people just idiots when it comes to blindness? Do they not care? Or is it that people who are “trained”don’t give a rats butt? So, here is what’s going to happen and thank God for organizations for the blind. If you haven’t guessed by now, that’s what we are going to do. We are going to get the NFB involved. I must say that I had concerns about doing this. As of now, personally I want the NFB to get involved. If you look at why “blind” and I’m talking legal and total drop out of college, it’s because they don’t have the support of the organizations that fund them and that the disability centers don’t care. Sure, they’ll fight tooth and nail if you have somebody with you to help. But, take the help away and leave a blind person to their own defenses or, in our case leave an engaged blind couple to their defenses and by bye help.
I’m not trying to discourage anybody from going to school. I’m just warning you that your going to face people being idiots and not wanting to help. Your going to have to demand and in some cases threaten with legal and the NFB or your favorite blindness organization to get stuff done. It can be done and my mission is to make the people who are making it even harder see that a blind person can succeed in pursuing a higher level or learning.

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The Walled Garden

June 24, 2011

In the latest Tech chat from Serotalk, Mike Calvo expressed an annoyance for the “walled garden”.

Here is what I have to say about it.

Android 2.1 2.2 and 2.3 were frangmented. What’s fragmented mean? Well it means that the OS source code was given out by google and then developers were able to do whatever they wanted to it. Google decided in HoneyComb the latest verson of the android software to keep the OS closed. People were up in arms about this and it made all the major tech blogs around the net. No more source code or very little would be let out. This isn’t a bad thing Google relized to have a good operating system they needed to make some people made and take control of their operating system. Much in the way Apple does with IOS and MAC OSX. This isn’t a bad thing to me, because the OS isn’t be fragmented anymore and updates can be pushed across all devices not just devices the carrier and developer decide to push out updates too. It also makes it easier for blind people to use it because there are not all of these inaccessible skins over the OS. So, that means that it can be made more accessible which is good and great!

What do you think?

Google Chrome

May 13, 2011

I just downloaded Google’s so called fast browser. I’ve only had it for a few minutes but I wanted to give my take on it. Boy is it fast. I really enjoy it. I really do. As a legally blind person using a mixture of screen reading technology and magnification I find that the magnification works really well. I use Zoomtext from AI Squared and it works perfectly whether I’m using Firefox, IE, or Chrome. I also use JAWS. JAWS is a screen reading program that converts what a sighted person would see into synthesized speech. Unfortunately JAWS doesn’t work with Chrome. However, a free screen reader called NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) quite ironically works. Why is that? I have no idea but, it does. There are some problems however that present themselves when using NVDA with Chrome. When going on to youtube.com and hitting (b) for button the screen reader won’t read the labels on the buttons. This is quite annoying to say the least. But, overall it’s a fast browser and I enjoy it.

iPhone The Blind have Equal Access

March 24, 2011

In 2007 this revolutionary device called the Iphone was introduced. People who were using phones with qwerty keyboards and who were fed up with blackberry, palm, Nokia and the infamous windows mobile platforms flocked to the device. It was the big thing to have an iPhone and still is. But, sadly blind people were once left out as they usually are when companies bring out new products. I’m not whining about this fact it’s just that we are not big enough to make much of an impact without suing or telling a company “nicely” could you make this product accessible, here’s what’s wrong and needs to be fixed and added. So, after the iPhone then came the iPhone 3g, which, you guessed it was still not accessible. Many people wondered how are apple going to put access for blind and low vision into a fully touch screen device?? Well in the later part of 08-09 the iPhone 3gs came. Now sporting accessibility in the form of a screen reader called VoiceOver. A lot of blind people were wondering how is this screen reader going to work with a full touch screen. Going back a few years phones were made accessible by 3rd party software that you had to pay for to have your phone speak to you. It was only available on windows mobile or Nokia’s symbian platform. Well a lot of people went with windows mobile and for good reason, you could sync all your data from your pc to your phone. I for the longest time had a windows mobile device because of this fact and loved it. I even had a Nokia product before then because of the form factor of the phone which was a claim shell. I loved being able to just whip out my phone and write a text message without having to strain my eyes to see what I was doing. Then, I moved up to windows mobile. I loved have a full qwerty keyboard to play with and got so used to having a great keyboard on a windows mobile phone. As I stated above I had that device for a very very long time. Now, I have an iPhone 4. I was very skeptic at first on how the screen reader would work. I did my research and was hesitate to get the phone because I was so used to a tactile phone. I knew about apple products and how good they were, I had a ipod nano 4th gen before it just died on me and I had to throw it away. So, I knew how good and solid they were for sure. I gave in and got the iPhone. I spent a little bit of time learning the screen reader looking at what apple had put up on their website and found help with friends who had there iPhone’s way before I did. Surprising I found myself enjoying this new experience of having just a small phone without a tactile keyboard to go along with it. I enjoyed my new phone and I continue to learn about all it can do and how to use the screen reader in different ways every day.

Apple’s iPhone is becoming the most popular device to have with the blindness community. Everybody that I’ve talked to that has one have had good things to say about it. I’m not saying that there are not some things that need to be changed because there are, but for the most part iPhone 3gs or 4 work great and ancient technology like windows mobile and Symbian will be left behind never able to catch up.

The one thing I do miss though is having a hardware keyboard, there is just nothing like the feeling of having a physical keyboard. Not saying that the virtual qwerty keyboard on the iPhone is bad, it’s just that you can type a lot faster with a hardware keyboard. I haven’t found a hardware keyboard I like yet but I’m still looking. Overall, the iPhone is the best phone in this writer’s opinion for the blind. Why, because it already has the screen reader built into the phone. With other phones you have to purchase software to have your phone talk to you.

Now, I know I’m gonna get emails saying “well, I have an android phone and talkback works for me and it’s free”. Yes, I agree but how well does it work??? The difference between iPhone and Android (one of the main differences) is that you can surf the web with iPhone and do everything without (again) having to buy a 3rd party application that allows you to do so. I am talking about Code Factory’s Mobile Accessibility for Android. I can do everything with my iPhone with the screen reader that is built in and not have to pay for a 3rd party solution. I’m not saying that a MA (Mobile Accessibility) is bad just saying I’m not willing to pay for a 3rd party app when I already have my “eyes free” solution on the phone itself.

So, in conclusion the iPhone is a revolution for the blind. Is it worth the switch you ask. Well, for some people it may be and for others it may not be. I suggest that you go into an apple store and try it for yourself and just see. I’d look at your opinions and really do research. Whether you love apple or hate apple doesn’t matter what matters is what are you going to do with your device and how independent do you want to be when it comes to learning a new phone? Because, let me tell you with Android a lot of people are not going to be able to figure it out. iPhone you’ll get the basics of the device in no time flat. Again do your research and see for yourself as for me, iPhone and never looking back .

Disclaimer: I am not trying to put down other mobile platforms. I am just giving you an idea of how the iPhone has changed my life when it comes to staying in contact with friends and family and also getting work done. I would never say that iPhone is the answer because for some it may not be. But, I truly believe it’s a game changer. I do not claim to be an Apple fan boy nor am I. I just choose the product based  upon how accessible I wanted my phone. I am not bashing Code Factory I think what they have done is great, I just don’t want to spend the extra money for access.

As always thanks for reading,

SAA

 


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