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Blog - April 2012

A Blind Trek Through Android - Part 1: Unwrapping the Ice cream sandwich (Getting Started)

There are a lot of conflicting opinions about the relative accessibility or inaccessibility to blind consumers of the Android platform from Google. 

I have been involved in the testing, development and evaluation of accessible mobile devices for well over 10 years.  I have used some of the very early proprietary devices, the phones running Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Symbian, the blackberry OS, Apple's iOS and Google's Android.

My Initial Thoughts on the iO Dock from Alesis

On April 7, 2012 I purchased a new product called the iO Doc from Alesis.

The iO Doc is a docking station that allows the iPad to function as an external audio interface that works with music software such as Sonar and Protools. Further, the docking station can function as a standalone audio recorder and surface control console. These apps can be downloaded from the apple app store, and I can tell you that there are hundreds of software applications available that work in conjunction with the docking station and iPad. Since this is a professional docking external interface, the unit has the best in shielding with regards to noise and audio quality.

The docking station is laid out to make it very easy to locate the volume controls and connections.

2012 Canadian Blind Sports National Goalball Championships: April 20-22

The 2012 Canadian National Goalball Championships are taking place this weekend in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

Proceedings are being broadcast live with full narration at http://www.goalball.info/canadian.php, and a schedule of the games is posted on that page.

What is goalball?

Blind Dragon Boat Team Coming to Edmonton

Are you interested in trying a new sport and challenging yourself? If so, join a dragon boat team specifically for blind and partially sighted individuals for the 2012 Dragon Boating Season.

Dragon boating is a team paddling sport with roots from the ancient southern Chinese folk ritual of contending villagers held over the past 2000 years. A dragon boat is a long canoe that seats 20 people.

How close is disability?

More often than not, we seem to ignore the frightening reality that like it or not, disability is only a fraction of a blink away.  Many of the mainstream world may choose to believe that they can avoid disability.  That if they ignore it, it will just simply go away and that if they don’t think about it, it will probably never affect them.  Right?  Wrong!

Believe it or not, disability can affect anyone.  Disability does not discriminate and it can make anyone its victim whenever it wants and wherever it chooses.  From the youngest to the oldest.  From the tiniest of babies to the oldest of persons. 

Text Edit

Last week's blog focused on an inexpensive word processor package in the iWorks sweet package called Pages.  In this week’s blog I'd like to focus on a simple text/word processor found in all Mac systems called Text Edit.

What did I learn today - A Fashion Faux Pas

Today I learned I am making a fashion faux pas, but apparently I am in very good company.    Hilary Clinton is one of the most powerful and well known women in the entire world.  Hillary Clinton and I both wear “scrunchies”.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the styling mechanisms of long hair, a scrunchie is a fabric covered elastic used to secure hair into a pony tail, a bun, a knot or any configuration pulled away from the face.  The Globe and Mail posted a blog entry this week about Mrs.

Blind Kids and Technology

As technology continues to travel the tracks on its merry way, we find that more and more, blind kids are struggling to keep up when it comes to being able to enjoy the excitement and fun of modern technology.  With more and more toy manufacturers coming out with nifty ways for kids to learn to read, write, do math, and spell, blind and sight impaired kids need to be given ways to enjoy all of this as well.  Each time I hear those commercials on TV of kids having fun with various learning games, I ask myself how much of this is or can be available to blind and sight impaired kids.

Pages Software Application

On April 7, 2012, I finally took the time to install Pages, which is the word processor that came with the Package iWork, which I purchased about six months ago.

Since at the time I was on my way to getting an iMac and wasn’t really familiar with the system, I wasn’t comfortable in installing the software until I was ready to get my feet wet in the whole ordeal.

Lets take a moment to talk about what iWork comes with:

Talk to the President March 2012

Greetings fellow AEBC members and I hope that all is well with everyone. 

Ah yes!  March is all but gone and soon April will be with us.  I hope that everyone is getting ready to have a wonderful spring. 

I would again like to thank everyone for their feedback and my question at the end of this update is an important one which I am asking you to really give some thought to.  I believe that this question will help your board to better understand what vision you seek for the AEBC.

My quote for this month is:

I'm not so Blind as to Blindly turn a Blind Eye to those things I'm not too Blind to See

Time for a mild rant. Am I the only one who finds it annoying to constantly hear variations of the word blind used to convey meanings like ignorant, foolish, stupid, unthinking, and so on? It's an incredibly popular metaphor, and on a near daily basis, you can read and hear in the media some form of the following expressions:

Transportation for the Blind

Getting from place to place can be a huge struggle for the blind. We are forced to rely on public transit, para-transit, or the kindness of a sighted >friend or family member.

Often times, public transit isn't very good, and when you get rides from other people, you have to do it on their schedule. It would be better if the blind were able to purchase their own cars and have those cars take them where they need to go.

Last week, Marc wrote about Google's self-driving car, and I wanted to offer a few more details along with my own thoughts on this technology.

Mobile Facebook Messenger- on the iPhone

On March 27, 2012, I downloaded the Facebook messenger application for my iPhone.

I’ve been hearing lots of buzz around the tech community about this fantastic application for the iPhone, and I was curious as to how accessible it was.

Once again, the installation of the application was simple and straight forward; I was able to successfully install the application with out any problems.

I then proceeded to log in with my Facebook user account and password and got in with no problems.  VoiceOver was able to read the information with out any problems as well.

Once I was logged in, I was able to view all the messages on my wall sent from other Face Book members.

Soaps and Disabilities

Currently, there are three characters on the soap entitled The Young and The Restless who have had to deal with disabilities. As is usually the case, Adam Newman, who was blinded when Jack Abbott’s seriously mentally ill ex-wife threw a caustic substance in his face, miraculously regained his sight. A few months ago, he regained his vision for the first time when surgeons performed an operation which I have yet to hear of anyone else with retinitis pigmentosa having. Too bad that Adam absolutely refuses to cope with blindness.

Your slice of the pie

When it comes down to it, we could easily compare it to a slice of pie.  What am I going on about today?  Well, here goes!

In my humble opinion, we are each assigned a slice of pie when we come into this world.  Each slice is of the same exact size but we can increase or decrease the slice of our pie depending on our actions throughout our life.  If we take our slice and make things happen, if we take it and use it as a means to help expand our horizons, and if we take it and use it to help others, then the size of our pie will definitely grow.

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