Posts Tagged ‘mainstream’

Can mainstream and specialized technology exist together?

December 31, 2011

In the world of the blind and VI we’ve been ahead of the curve for some time. It all started with the braille n’ speak a small powerful device back in the day for blind people. This device was a pda and did a lot. When I first was introduced I was hooked. Fast forward a few years 2008 when apple introduced the iPhone 3GS. This was a revolutionary device for a blind person because it was the first touch screen device. Many people including myself were skeptical and pet to our specialized cellphones. However in 2011 we saw a big shift in the blindness community as the adoption of the iPhone has been huge. There are still some people including myself that use a mixture of specialized tech for the blind and mainstream devices to get every day tasks done. Why this drives some people to argue about I will never understand. Just as an example let me give you some of my experiences. I have an iPhone 4 and a Braille Note Apex. I will use my Braille Note for reading bookshare books and materials for school. I use my iPhone primarily as a phone. When it comes time to take notes for lectures I use a digital recorder and my Braille Note. I know a few people who would argue with me on this point and say “why not just use your iPhone and a braille display?” While this is possible and practical for some, it may not be for others. Yes with a iPhone in your pocket and a Braille Note over your shoulder you are carrying two devices. However, for me its’ worth it because if I need to make an important phone call or my battery is at 50% on my phone I’d rather reserve the life of my phone. Plus you’d have to hook up the iPhone to the braille display via bluetooth and the take take some time and there is always hassle with doing that procedure. Plus with the Braille Note you get instant translation unlike the iPhone where you have to wait a few seconds for translation. There are many more reasons why I use a specialized device in conjunction with a mainstream device. I’d like to hear your thoughts on mainstream and specialized technology. You can comment and we’ll have a discussion.


Mainstream and Specialized Technology

May 3, 2011

Life has gotten in the way. While life has been getting in the way I’ve had some time to thing about what my next blog psot was going to be about. Well, I’ve got the next thing. You will see from the title what it’s going to be about apparently. So, here it goes. Adaptive technology has been around for a long time. Before the first pda for sighted users came out blind people got there hands on a braille n” speak. I did get this and used it for a long time. The reason why this was a big deal was because a tradional braille writer was heavy, bulky, and LOUD. Very Very Very LOUD. So, when this device came out a lot of people flocked to it. I didn’t have to have a lot of braille paper with notes for school in different folders and then have those folders labeled. This little device cleared all that up. No more paper to sort through just files. I loved it. At this time I was learning to use a computer and loved that as well. But, there was nothing as powerful to me as having a note taker in my hand that was small and I was able to listen to what the teacher had tos ay and also take notes at the same time without having to apologize for my braille writer being loud. Technology has advanced over the years I’ve gotten smarter. Well at least I think I have… and adaptive technology has gotten better. No longer do you need a laptop to do all your word processing on you can have a specialized noe taker. The only disadvantage is that agencies for the blind have to buy them why?? They are expensive the braillenote Apex which is one of the if not the leading note takers for the blind costs $7,000. That’s right that much. The reason? Blind people are a small part of this world. Apple wasn’t ever popular when I was growing up. I only knew windows. Now, that I’m older and a young adult apple has entered the blindness playing field as we’ll call it. Offering everyday devices for the blind. The iphone and the ipad along with their line of laptop and desktop computers. You see, in the windows side of things a list of folders that a sighted person would see is called a “tree view” in the blindness community. So, when you are trying to talk to someone who is sighted about windows your terminology is different espically if you’ve been blind since birth. Apple has since changed that, I’m not saying that apple doesn’t have it’s faults nor am I saying that windows is better. All I’m saying is that we now have choice. Apple can improve in this writers opinion in order to keep up with the screen readers of today like JAWS the leading screen reader and window eyes. But, they do have a shot. Apple has leveled the playing field by providing a solution where sighted and blind mac, iphone, ipad, and ipod touch users can talk about the platform and get things done. A source list in OS X or OS 10 for the blind is also known as a source list to the sighted apple user as well. I see mainstream taking over adaptive. I don’t say this lightly, adaptive equipment does do some things that mainstream will never be able to duplicate but with the prices being compeditive there’s no denying that mainstream will catch up. Adaptive tech will always have it’s own community of people and place in the tech industry, and yes some people will use a mix of adaptive and mainstream devices like myself. But, mainstream is getting better and faster and blowing adaptive tech out of the water.

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