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The Blind Canadians Blog

Please Don't Say Shh!

On Canada Day of 2005, I had the opportunity to help residents of a local nursing-home celebrate the occasion by providing background piano music while they feasted on cupcakes and punch. What I didn’t know until later was that a little boy and his mother were present as well.

When the child showed an interest in the dog attached to the piano leg, a friend, who worked there at the time as an Activities Co-ordinator, explained that the lady playing the piano was blind, and that the dog was actually a guide dog.

“Really?” He asked with growing interest. “Is she related to Ray Charles?”

The mother instantly felt the need to launch into damage control.

“Shh!” she admonished.

“But is she?” the young lad insisted.

“Be quiet!” his mother hissed.

GT EFFECTS 100 GUITAR EFFECTS

Hello, it’s the master of music Mike brining you some information on a new guitar effects processor I picked up just recently.

Talk to the President May 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members: 

I would like to start by thanking you for having reaffirmed me as your president for a second year.  I am grateful for your support and I hope that we can continue to work together to move our beloved AEBC in a direction that is beneficial to us all.  We have elected two new members to our board and we have bid goodbye to two other members.  I can assure you though that our two departing members will not be too far away from where the action is.  In my update for this month, I will do my best to summarize some of the highlights from our conference. 

Advocating for the Rights of Consumers

In last week's blog post, I was extremely upset on how a company like Presonus could make a product so inaccessible to the visually impaired, and how this company was not willing to invest the time to make their products accessible. Well, I did two things to make me feel a lot better.

Talk to the President April 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:

Well, we are almost here! Yes, just a few short weeks before our 20th AGM and I think that each and everyone of us should be very proud that we belong to an organization that has managed to stay on its feet for this long despite very rough and choppy seas! These seas are probably going to remain rough and choppy for a while longer but I know that we will weather it all.

The Eugenic Legacy for Parents with Disabilities

Melanie Moore, an AEBC member, was recently interviewed on CBC radio concerning parenting with a disability. You can click this link to listen to this excellent interview.

One of the main points I take away from the interview is that disabled parents are faced with the default assumption that they will be unfit parents. It is only after disabled parents prove that they are capable that they are permitted to be parents. Melanie was scrutinized in ways that most parents are not, and she was permitted to leave with her child only after proving herself capable; and all of this despite the fact that it was her third child.

W. Ross and the all too Familiar Narrative of Institutions

For those who may not be aware, a group of former students of the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind (formerly the Ontario School for the Blind) in Brantford, Ontario have organized and are attempting to bring a class action lawsuit against the province of Ontario.

As detailed in this article from the Toronto Star, as many as 1000 former students could be affected, and the group is seeking $200 million in damages for acts of physical and sexual abuse that are said to have taken place from 1951 to the present.

PreSonus Accessibility

Good day readers. If you remember a few posts ago, I was telling you all about my troubles with a PDF document that I came across while downloading the latest drivers for the v-studio 100 audio card from Roland. Well, I'd like to share with you all today that I finally got an answer from the company telling me that they had replaced the non accessible file, and put up an accessible version of the document. However after testing out the card on the Mac platform, I found that there were other issues that made it impossible to work with Protools a music sequencing software package. "Fine, I can live with that," and decided to trade in the card for another model.

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.

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