Blindness

A Double Tap to the Touch Screen Devil’s Head

In the battle between touch screens and tactile buttons, the touch screen is quickly becoming the reigning champion. It’s not that I can’t see the advantages of touch screens. Less moving parts means less maintenance and all that, but dammit, it used to be I only had to worry about touch screens where warming food was concerned. Slap a tactile dot here, a Braille label there, and I could conquer the basic operations of a microwave.

My Blindness Philosophy is Better than Yours

Should a blind person use their disability to take advantage of social perks?

I briefly touched on the following story elsewhere in these pages. It has bearing on the current point though, so hang in there for a moment.

Back for a Seeing Eye Dog, One Year Later

What’s it like to use a Seeing Eye dog? Think of it this way:

You close your eyes and take the elbow of a well-known person willing to guide you around tables, chairs, out the door, across the street, down the stairs and along a platform until you find the door to a train car where this traveling companion can be trusted to help you find an open seat. And your trust is absolute because between the ears of this human companion you know there is an intelligent brain capable of negotiating obstacles, anticipating danger and prioritizing safety.

Diversity in Silicon Valley Should Include Disabilities

Everyone's talking about efforts across Silicon Valley to spread diversity in the workforce. Inclusion is a great thing, but one has to wonder why disability is hardly touted as a characteristic worth recruiting.

The Biggest Challenge for the Blind

Not long after the KNFB Reader app, an OCR app, came out, someone posted to a blindness technology forum asking for tips on using the app to read restaurant menus. The post inspired a heated debate about the efficiency of using a scanning app to read menus versus reading the menu in advance or just asking for sighted assistance.

Raising the Bar on Apple Accessibility

In 2009 Apple got a pass on blindness accessibility for mobile products because that's what you do for pioneers who kick open new doors for equality. For a first attempt, they were well ahead of the curve, but no one expects a honeymoon to linger six years after the initial thrill. It's time to hold Apple to a higher standard where accessibility for blind consumers is concerned.

Mental Rants Before the Dog

My class date at the Seeing Eye was confirmed for May 4. No, I don't plan on devoting pages and pages to my journey with the new dog, whose name shall be Rufus until we learn otherwise, but yes, I do plan on documenting at least part of the experience for the benefit of anyone later interested in learning more about what it's like to train at the Seeing Eye.

For the record, I am changing its name if I get something exceptionally fruity. If I come back and tell you its name is Dallas, you know it was for a good cause.

Where My Dog At?

So not long ago I decided it was maybe, possibly, potentially time to go back for a second guide dog. Gator passed away three years ago, and though I've gotten around just fine with a cane, there is an undeniable (perhaps an elevated?) sense of independence when you take hold of a harness and let a dog do the navigating.

Or, to put it more bluntly, it's nice to walk around crap instead of smacking into it. And, yes, there are benefits to discovering obstacles as a means of creating a mental map, but that's another prolonged discussion for a different post.

One More Way the Blind Get Financially Screwed

How much would you pay to scan a document into your computer? One dollar? Ten dollars? A hundred? Would you believe me if I told you there are companies that still charge blind people one grand for this task?

An Insider's Perspective on Serotek

Back in September 2011 I’d reached that point in my part-time business where I no longer wanted to just write for nonprofit organizations. I wanted to try my hand at content marketing for tech companies. As far as assistive technology, I wrote to Freedom Scientific, HIMS, Sendero, and just for the hell of it, I wrote to Serotek.

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