Rwf27: A Conversation with Mike Brown

Listen to RWF 27: A conversation with Mike Brown
This week my guest is strength and conditioning coach Mike Brown.
Mike has spent the past decade splitting time between coaching in the weight room and on the field. After graduating from the University of Utah, Mike went to work for Dan John at Juan Diego Catholic High School.
Mike’s main focus these days is on strength and longevity training for the nine-to-five-er and the aging population. He trains clients at Age Performance, a facility for adults fifty and older, in Salt Lake City. He also co-founded Find Time for Health  with Breaking Muscle coach, Marc Halpern. Mike continues to train daily with Dan John and the Westridge Barbell Club community where Dan has named him Director of Programming.
Some of the topics we discuss include:
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  • How they came up with the idea

  • Spreading the word to the rest of the world
  • Mike’s backround
  • Meeting Dan John
  • Training seniors Vs high school atheletes
  • “park bench” vs “bus bench” workouts
  • Discussing Dan’s programs
  • Why its so hard to get people to grasp the simpelest things
  • You have got to give a program time to see if it works for you
  • Practical strength
  • A great coach will  acknowledge his mentors
  • back to the “Intentional Community”

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

  • Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

    Grammarian’s Cringe… But Oh… Will You Get Read

    Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact, I am who I am, and that is just the way it is. What you get here is the same version you’ll get over the phone, over coffee, or in a business meeting.

    To tell you the truth? It’s too much work to be anyone other than me.

    I’ve got a confession though.

    When I started writing, that wasn’t the case at all.

    I turned into some Shakespearian writing hack, only with about 50,000 less words than old Willie sported in his vocabulary.

    Gee, I hope that didn’t bother you I called William Shakespeare, Willie.

    See, that’s what I mean. If he were here at my desk, and I was writing about him? I’d still call him Willie, or Will, or maybe even Bill.

    I mean no disrespect at all. If he found it offensive? I’d call him what he wanted, of course.

    Even though I’m easy-going and lay back, when I began writing I was either too rigid or swung the opposite and became this flowery conversationalist.

    Decades ago, I copped a major offense at my creative writing instructor who said I was writing too flowery. I tried to change my style during the writing course, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get it in my head.

    You know what I did?

    I asked myself, “Why am I beating myself over the head with this stuff? Why don’t I just write like I talk? Why try to be someone I’m not?”

    Little did I know it back then, that’s what the market would look for in writers years down the road.

    Here’s the deal. If you’re going to write about a new headset for instance, what sounds better…?

    “The XL5 Super Boom headset sports a rigid body for durable use. The 2.5 cm built-in woofer perfectly balances the high treble for a pleasurable listening experience anywhere.” We’ve coated the earpieces with a special moisture resistant polymer to prevent premature unit breakdown.”

    Or…

    “Whether you’re jamming in the park while jogging, rocking out in the library studying, or drowning out your mom’s oldies while in the car; the bass will sound like it’s rattling the fenders off and highs that put you on stage with the band. The XL5 Super Boom won’t break if you drop them either. We’ve tossed them on concrete from 25-feet over 100 times and they still rock! Sweat on them all you want while working out, we’ve moisture proofed the grills and speakers, so you’re good to go.”

    Bottom-line? Write more like you speak than you would if submitting your college thesis. Because, it isn’t your English prof you’re writing for, it’s your buying customer.

    Then, be prepared to offend the grammarians in your life.

    Proper grammar is best practice, but we do talk in sentence fragments, start our conversation with “but, or “and, and use slang you won’t find in the dictionary.

    Of course, there are certain writing environments which lend themselves to lean either way, and I’m being pretty casual here. The point is, people respond more to a casual tone than one they feel they are being talked down to, or swimming in technical or corporate speak.

    I’ve seen comparisons time over, including my own experiences where conversational tones beat out tech talk.

    Years ago, I wrote an e-mail campaign for an organization. One of the board members thought it too casual. This person tossed down the white glove, re-wrote it, and submitted it to the board for review.

    Guess which one the board wanted?

    My campaign is still used to this day.

    The board member who re-wrote my piece is articulate, educated, and has an art background… A very capable person.

    But, for the project we were working on, to get the best results it called for a fun, casual tone.

    Here’s a tip to help overcome this Shakespearian phenomena when sitting down to write.

    Imagine you are sitting across from your mom or a friend. Then, just relax, and write like you’d talk to them. Imagine them listening to you, nodding their head, getting every word.

    You might even imagine them asking questions about the topic. If you get one? Mark them down. Those questions might well be your customer’s questions. If so, you’ll need to answer them in your content.

    When you’re done, go back to fix up glaring grammar errors, take out as many instances of “that” or words ending in “ly,” and other similar unproductive boo-boos.

    Try this technique on your next content piece. Taylor it to your industry and the level of your readers, but stay under the eighth-grade reading level. If you can get to the fifth-grade, even better.

    It’s not about dumbing down or writing unintelligently.

    It’s all about being understood and identifying with your customer or client.

    Hey, even those fancy suits gather at the coffee pot or water cooler and talk in a casual tone about their lives or company events.

    You’ll dramatically improve your readership if you write conversationally. Of course, there is a lot more to content writing than tone, but this is a foundational element which… sets the tone… pardon the pun.

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching and above all… try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

    Rwf 26 A Conversation with Kevin Larrabee

    Listen to RWF26 My guest this week is Kevin Larrabee Kevin Larrabee graduated from Keene State College with a BS in Health Science in 2008. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Kevin has had a passion for fitness and nutrition ever since winning his battle with the bulge at the age of 15. After discovering the effects of diet and exercise, Kevin lost 30 pounds in three months. Ever since then he has been striving to learn as much as he can about fitness and nutrition. Kevin completed an internship at Cressey Performance in Hudson, MA during the Fall of 2008. There he worked with a wide demographic from weekend warriors to high school, college, and minor league athletes. After his internship Kevin spent one year as a Pro Trainer at Boston Sports Club in Woburn, MA. Currently Kevin is working at Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning in Boston, MA as a strength & conditioning coach. Some of the topics we discuss include:

     
    * Why he started the podcast
    * A conversation rather than a formal interview
    * His early podcasts
    * How the show has changed over the years
    * Audio quality is becoming more important
    * Fitness “experts” are more accessable than “experts” in other industrys
    * Follow “the program”, finish “the program”
    * Why we had to go to history class
    * Kevin’s personal growth
    * The Turkish Get-Up
    * What do you REALLY want?
    * Relax and enjoy your life
    * Young girls and the scale
    * Over coming balance issues with a blind client
    * Keeping his life balanced

    ### Contact Bill!

                                                            To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at [kociabafitness@gmail.com.][2] You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.
    
    Posted in Real World Fitness | 1 Comment

    SeroTalk: Behind-the-Scenes Edition

    Download SeroTalk: Behind-the-Scenes Edition or use the audio player below to tune in.

    Have you ever been curious about the magic that goes into creating a podcast? We thought some of you might be, so before SPN completes its revamp of the old format, we thought we’d give you a rare glimpse of our virtual studios.

    Coming up: The history, the mechanics, and the people responsible for making the SeroTalk Podcast what it became.

    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please leave a comment on this post, e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in SeroTalk | 3 Comments

    These Two Social Proofing Mistakes Will Kill Your Sales

    To understand the mistakes, we first have to know what social proofing is.

    If you don’t already know, social proofing is nothing more than a tool used by the marketing industry to gain customer’s trust of their product, service, or company based on the word of others. It isn’t new, but the more our busy lives become reliant upon the internet, the more role social proofing plays in our decision making.

    There are several…

    Types of Social Proofs

    • By the masses.

    We see this in product reviews, YouTube comments, and Facebook “likes.” Proof is validated by the viewpoint of many individuals or companies.

    For instance, if we are interested in purchasing a new microwave, and our research shows many product reviews of satisfied customers, we tend to trust them. You’ll find this on Amazon for instance. You’ll even see a note at the bottom of the page saying…

    “Those who bought this product also bought…”

    We find comfort in the views and actions of others. We assume at least some of those people did their research, bought the product, and now give their thumbs up.

    Social proof tells us, after all, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but not all of the people all of the time.

    • Expert’s endorsement.

    Another method of trust is through an expert in a field. When looking for our microwave, if we saw an endorsement from a respected chef, a published nutritionist, or Consumer Reports; we trust their word.

    Again, we may not know much more than to hit the coffee cup icon to heat a cup of water, but these other folks? They know their stuff, so we can trust them.

    • Celebrities.

    Closely related to an expert is an endorsement of a celebrity. Odd really, because years ago you’d see Michael Jackson doing Pepsi commercials and he never even drank Pepsi.

    Actors, singers, politicians, or anyone in the public’s eye, provided they are well liked, achieves similar social proofing.

    Whether they use the product or are just getting paid to put their face to it, it doesn’t matter. It’s what people perceive that matters.

    • Testimonies.

    Testimonies from individuals in similar life situations also works. For instance, one like…

    “A single parent trying to raise three young kids on two part-time jobs… sigh… it’s nearly impossible to find enough time and money at the end of my week to put a decent meal on the table. I don’t’ spend it if I don’t have to, but my ten year old microwave died last month and I couldn’t go any longer without one. I bought this one and boy is it a life saver. It wasn’t as expensive as many out there, and it’s super easy to use, easy to clean too which I really like… not like my old one. Plus, I got some really good vegetarian ideas from the recipes that came with it. Got to go, one’s in the high chair screaming as I type.” –Bea Leever, Anytown, USA

    This type of proofing carries a little less weight than the others, but somewhere out there among the many single parents out there identifying with trying to make ends meet, this testimony is selling a microwave.

    • Friends and family.

    Last in our examples are the people we know and trust. We will buy a particular product based solely on the fact someone we knew bought it, rather than its cost or even if it is the best of what we’re looking for.

    We trust the person, so we trust their judgement. We drag our entire opinion, love, and loyalty of that person right into the product catalog with us.

    Of course, if that person said they didn’t like the product, as with any of the above social proofing types, we won’t buy.

    So, with that very brief description of social proofing, when doesn’t it work?

    Social proof will not work if it has…

    • Negative foundation.

    Or…

    • Little proof

    Negative Foundation

    If we were to advertise our microwave like…

    “We may not have the most sales in the microwave market, not everyone quite gets it yet, but we have the best one out there, hands down.

    Be the first one on your block to sport the industries quietest, sleek profiled machine while chatting with friends over Chicken Paprika or Italian Lasagna.”

    Although we are enticed to be the first to get in on something, and are tantalized with a couple delicious meals, the underlying proof is…

    We are told very few people want this machine just now. So, we begin to distrust it, or ask why aren’t they the largest microwave seller.

    Market tests show negative social proofing has the opposite result. In Arizona’s Petrified Forest, there was a problem with people stealing pieces and destroying this natural treasure.

    A sign was placed to please not do as so many have done before, taking pieces, and to please help preserve the park.

    The result was, because visitors were told so many people had done it before, it must be alright, despite the plea not to steal.

    Astonishingly, they found theft had not only continued, but tripled in the area of that signage.

    In our little microwave case, we are sure to send customers running to the microwave manufacturer with the most sales. Let someone else be the first on the block to buy this one, right?

    Little Proof

    This one is not difficult to explain.

    If you are on Facebook, you get a friend request, you go on-line to see who it is, and seeing they have ten friends of which you recognize no one…

    Are you going to confirm the request? No.

    If you see an awesome microwave on-line. It really has some convincing copy. It looks really good, but there are only two reviews, or worse, you see the… “Be the first to review this product,” notice on their home page…

    Are you going to buy it? Not likely.

    Very simple if there is little proof, people won’t reach in their wallet.

    It’s better to side step social proofing all together until there’s enough backing to make it a credible trust factor in the marketing equation.

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… Try, try, try until you succeed!

    Posted in Entrepreneurship | Comments Off on These Two Social Proofing Mistakes Will Kill Your Sales

    Listen to Rwf25: When Pushing to your Limit Can be Counter-productive

    This weeks show is very different from previous ones.
    Lisa will be with us to discuss some of the health bennifets of cocanut oil.
    We do not have an in depth interview with a fitness or nutrition  expert nor do we have an inspiring story of a great athelete who has overcome tremendous obsticles to achieve glory in their sport.
    Instead I discuss my recent health scare and how it can effect anyone out there who pushes themselves to the extreme!
    Weather you are a crossfiter, a marathon runner or any other person who likes to train to or beyond their limits this is a must listen for you!
    Listen to RWF 25: When pushing to your limit can be counterproductive

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Listen to Rwf25: When Pushing to your Limit Can be Counter-productive

    Listen to Real World Fitness 24: Marana Weber –a rising star

    Listen to RWF 24: Marana Weber –a rising star
    In this weeks show I chat with a young woman on a mission.  Marana Weber is one of the most focused and determined people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
    Marana has clearly defined goals and eagerly seeks out the knowledge she needs to achieve them.
    Some of what we discuss includes:

       
    • Strength training and BJJ

    • Finding a coach who understands the special challenges associated with diabetes
    • Growing up
    • Skinny but not healthy
    • Why low carb didn’t work for her
    • Steady state cardio burns glucose
    • Her future plans

    Additionally Lisa has another informative article for us.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Listen to Real World Fitness 24: Marana Weber –a rising star

    Meet and Greet with Bill Kociaba

    Have you ever had questions about general fitness, but you didn’t know who you could ask or where would be an appropriate place? Do you think that you pretty much know what there is to know, but you might have some questions anyway? You’ll have the chance to get all those answered and more, and to listen to Bill kociaba, of the Real World Fitness podcast give a live question and answer. It’s Bill’s turn to be interviewed this time. Bill has done everything from body-building to weight loss, over the last 35 years, so he most certainly knows a thing or two. If that isn’t enough check out Bill’s web site for even more interesting articles. If this interests you, come to the lobby on Wednesday, August 5th at 7 Pm Eastern using your Samnet client. If you do not have an account and you wish to sign up, you can grab the software and sign up for a trial and see what all Samnet has to offer. We, and most especially Bill, look forward to seeing you there.

    Posted in Announcements | Comments Off on Meet and Greet with Bill Kociaba

    Phil Brooks and the irt-1 Infared Talking Thermometer

    [Listen to this Serotalk Extra with Phil Brooks.](http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/media.serotalk.com/podcasts/SeroTalk/Phil Brooks Interview.mp3) In this seroTalk Extra with Phil brooks, of Brookes Technology, he Describes and demonstrates the IRT-1 infrared
    Talking thermometer.

    We learn How infrared energy works, how an infrared thermometer
    Differs from a conventional thermometer, and his very interesting story about why a “regular sighted normal guy” decided to develop products for the blind.

    If you’re interested in purchasing an infrared talking thermometer,
    Phil has graciously given the SeroTalk community a discount. When
    You purchase directly from the Brookes technology website you can
    Use the coupon code
    Serotek
    When checking out. If you have questions or would like more information you can contact
    Brookes technology via the following methods. Website http://www.brooks-technology.com/ phone:408-781-4577 during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm central time.

    Feel free to send your feedback on this show to resources@serotalk.com

    You can always find the latest on this show and others on the SeroTalk Podcast Network

    using iBlink Radio for your iOS device, the Kindle Fire, the Mac or your Android device. You can even leave us an iReport right from the iBlink app.

    Posted in Interviews, Podcasts, SeroTalk, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Phil Brooks and the irt-1 Infared Talking Thermometer

    The Imhotep Labyrinth, A Strategic Game You Should Grab!

    Serotek Corp has financially supported this effort and encourages you to do the same!

    The Imhotep Labyrinth is a strategic board game for 2-4 players. It can be played in 3 versions with varying degrees of difficulty. In the easiest version, it takes about 10 minutes to comprehend the rules and the following game lasts approximately 20-30 minutes. Once players have had some practice, then the most difficult version of the game can be played in approximately 45-60 minutes.

    The Imhotep Labyrinth is specially developed for the blind but at the same time can be played on equal terms with persons who have normal vision; thereby providing a level of interaction between the two groups in a strategic game, that would not normally be possible.

    Today, virtually all board games are developed for people who have normal vision. Games for the blind are normally games that have been developed for people that have vision, but have later been adapted so that blind people may also play them.

    The Imhotep Labyrinth is a game that from the outset was developed for the blind but with the aim of also allowing people with normal vision to participate. In effect, the game can be played by everybody. There was no necessity to adapt an already existing game.

    The result is an extraordinary game that the WBU (World Blind Union) considers to be very helpful and supportive in their efforts to integrate the blind into normal everyday society. At the same time, we hope that due to the natural interaction that occurs during the course of a game, barriers between the blind and those that can see will be removed; and that attention is drawn to the challenges that the blind have to face every day, due to their lack of vision.

    Link to our website where you can read much more about the game:
    http://theimhoteplabyrinth.com/

    Link to our Indiegogo where we need donators to continue with this great project. You can buy your copy of the game cheep if you are fast. There are limited copies of the cheep version where the shipping price is included. Yes, we do ship world wide:
    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-imhotep-labyrinth-a-visionary-game#/story https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-imhotep-labyrinth-a-visionary-game

    Link to our Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/theimhoteplabyrinth

    Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Imhotep Labyrinth, A Strategic Game You Should Grab!

    What Are Your Brain Games Telling You?

    Recently, I saw an episode of National Geographic’s TV show Brain Games. One segment was on confidence and how it plays out in our actual performance.

    To illustrate this, they got the help of both a pharmacist and a professional basketball player.

    They gave a basketball to the pharmacist who admitted she sucked at the game, never plays, and was just kind of going along with the exercise.

    They made her shoot ten free throw shots, of which she made absolutely none.

    Then they gave the ball to the pro ball player. He got nine out of ten on his turn. To be expected, right?

    Then they blindfolded the pharmacist, encouraged her to take a couple shots, and gave her the ball.

    She shot once and the crowd went wild with her having made the shot. The host was amazed.

    She took a second shot, and again, she plunked that baby through the hoop. The crowd freaked and the announcer was ecstatic.

    Then they took the blind fold off the pharmacist, gave her the ball again, and encouraged her to shoot another ten shots. After all, she aced the first two blind-folded and was feeling pretty good about herself.

    Remember, the first time she tried, she got zero out of ten baskets. This time she made four out of the ten shots. A40% increase from her original try.

    Can you see how confidence worked for her?

    By the way, when she was blindfolded? She really did miss the hoop by an Arizona mile, but she was convinced she made the shots by the encouragement and false positive feedback she got from the crowd and show host.

    Maybe you’re a doubter and are excusing her four successful shots by saying, “Yeah, but she had some practice shots and so she’s inevitably going to do better. Odds are in her favor she’d make some the second time.”

    Okay, explain this.

    The pro ball player, having missed his blind-folded shots with a less than encouraging crowd, was getting ready for his shots without the blind-fold.

    The crowd was eerily silent, and when the ball player shot and made one, the crowd remained silent and talked among themselves. If he missed I think they even snickered and booed trying to embarrass him a bit. Basically, they were feeding him negative influences.

    Remember he originally, being a pro ball player, shot nine out of ten shots before?

    He now only made five out of ten, pretty close to the same 40% difference, only in reverse.

    Can you now see how both outside influence and our own confidence and positive outlook has a major impact on how we perform?

    So, how does this apply to business?

    First, don’t hang with people who have a negative attitude or want to dump on your success parade. Those people who enter doubt, even if they seem like they mean well, can bring you down.

    Find people who are encouraging, who cheer you on even in your failures. You know, those folks you can always count on to not let you off the hook and help get your head on straight.

    And most importantly, don’t listen to yourself when you hear yourself say things like:

    “Who do I think I am that I can be a business person anyway? I can’t even remember that person’s name I met this morning!”

    “If I was so smart, or meant to be an entrepreneur, I’d have done it years ago. I’m too much a late bloomer for this now.”

    “I should be further along than I am; maybe I’m just forcing something that shouldn’t be.”

    Learn to recognize when you are telling yourself this crap, and stomp it out immediately. And I mean immediately!

    Give yourself a break. You are going to have failures. Well, they are not failures if you learn something, and you will learn something. No one gets it right from the first crack.

    Famous basketball player Doctor J said once that everyone was so amazed when he made it big. Everyone thought he was such a gifted player, but they never saw the thousands and thousands of hours he practiced.

    There are no people so gifted they get it without failures or distinctions, there are just good marketing behind them to make it look like that is the case.

    Here’s an assignment for you. Go look up just about any sport Hall of Famer. They got there by the awesome success they achieved, right?

    Maybe. Did you know they all have more failures than successes? Like two-thirds more failures than success.

    They had plenty of failures they could have turned into self-doubt, but they didn’t.

    It’s what you tell yourself and who you listen to that will make you a success or not.

    You can have all the training in the world, all the digital gizmos, all the fancy tools of the trade…

    But if you believe lies about your ability and doubt yourself?

    You ain’t goin’ nowhere baby!

    Here’s a friendly little anchor to remind you to think on the sunny side of life.

    When you here a weather forecast that is anything other than a gorgeous day…

    Something like, “We have a 40% chance of isolated showers today.”

    Ask yourself why the weatherperson is so negative.

    Change what he or she said to, “We have a 60% chance of beautiful sunny weather today! For that leaner side of percentage, bring an umbrella, just in case.”

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… Try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Blog, Entrepreneurship | 4 Comments

    Listen to RWF 23: Randy Roach –Personal trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt 2

    Listen to RWF 23: Randy Roach –Personal trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt 2

    This week’s show features the second half of my conversation with my good friend Randy Roach. This week some of the topics we discuss include:

    •   http://www.musclesmokeandmirrors.com/Muscle, Smoke And Mirrors
    • The challenge of losing his vision half way through the project
    • The truth about early  protein powders
    • Questionable supplement industry practises
    • Digitizing Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors
    • Our mutual love of wrestling

    additionally Lisa joins us with another interesting article

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Listen to RWF 23: Randy Roach –Personal trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt 2

    Rwf22: Randy Roach –Personal Trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt. 1

    Listen to RWF 22: Randy Roach –Personal Trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt. 1
    This week I have a conversation with my Canadian brother, Randy Roach.
    www.randyroach.ca
    At virtually the same time I was discovering bodybuilding here in Florida, Randy, also with limited vision was discovering it in Canada.
    While I was training people and having welders build equipment for my gym, he was doing  exactly the same thing  a few thousand miles north of me.  And today both now age 56 and totally blind we continue to train clients and spread the word.  I say have a conversation because this is far more that than an interview.
    Where we lose our simalaritys is Randy’s huge acomplishments as a historian and author.
    Some of the highlights of part 1 include:

    •  Early athletics

    • Stevens Johnson Syndrome
    • Dealing with lifes changes
    • Dave Draper, an early hero for both of us
    • Early employment and education
    • Designing and building his own gym equipment
    • How losing his vision made him a better personal trainer
    • Finding the right approach for each client

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Rwf22: Randy Roach –Personal Trainer, Author, Inventor, Pt. 1

    SeroTalk Extra: The Future of SPN

    Download this SeroTalk Extra: The Future of SPN or use the audio player below the show notes to tune in.

    Where the heck is SeroTalk 229?

    That’s been the gist of an increasing number of e-mails to the SeroTalk team, for which we are grateful, and at long last, we have some developments to share.

    Join Hope Povenmire on an interview with Mike Calvo concerning the upcoming changes to the network. We’re remodeling the party palace, and we think you’ll like what you find in the months ahead. Or, you should, considering you’re going to be a more active part of it.

    But, tune in to decide for yourself.

    As always, for comments, questions and criticisms, please leave a comment on this post, e-mail them to resources inbox,, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in SeroTalk | 7 Comments

    RWF 21:Allison Kuslikis -Healthy and Fun Eating

    Listen to RWF 21:Allison Kuslikis -Healthy and Fun Eating

    Bills guest this week is Allison Kuslikis
    Allison is a young mother who decided right from the start that her children
    would live and eat in a healthy way. Both she and her husband Todd are
    plagued with food allergies so she has had to learn to be very creative in
    the kitchen. Allison is an engaging and charming lady who is sincere in
    wanting to help others raise their children in a healthier manner.

    Some of the interview highlights include:

    • Starting her kids off on the right nutritional path
    • chocolate is good for you, the right chocolate
    • fruit is still sugar
    • Eat more greens
    • Food intolerances
    • coconut sugar
    • Her future plans

    Additionally, Bill has a couple of very exciting announcements.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com.
    You can also visit his site at
    http://kociaba-fitness.com Or, feel free to
    leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 21:Allison Kuslikis -Healthy and Fun Eating

    Listen to RWF 21:Allison Kuslikis -Healthy and Fun Eating

    My guest this week is Allison Kuslikis href=http://kalecuties.com/
    http://kalecuties.com
    http://kalecuties.com%3c/a .

    Allison is a young mother who decided right from the start that her children
    would live and eat in a healthy way.Both she and her husband Todd are
    plagued with food allergies so she has had to learn to be very creative in
    the kitchen. Allison is an engaging and charming lady who is sincere in
    wanting to help others rais their children in a healthier manner.

    Some of the interview highlights include:

    • Starting her kids off on the right nutritional path
    • chocolate is good for you, the right chocolate
    • fruit is still sugar
    • Eat more greens
    • Food intolerances
    • cocanut sugar
    • Her future plans

    Additionally I have a couple of very exciting announcements.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com.
    You can also visit his site at
    kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to
    leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | 1 Comment

    Listen to RWF 20: Mike Katz

    Listen to RWF 20: Mike Katz Mike Katz  is truly  a man with a big heart.  He did not make it in bodybuilding without a serious effort.  As he trained for his competitions, he worked as a high school teacher. He always had his eye on the top prize in the  sport and his unwillingness to give up on that quest  served to inspire everyone he came in contact with from his students to his fellow competetors. From humble beginnings in his basement gym to the NFL to his teaching career to his partnership in a chain of successful health clubs, this giant of a man has never lost sight of what  is really important in his life.   Some of the topics we cover in this lengthy and inspiring interview include:

     
    * His early training
    * Squatting with no squat racks
    * His  early bodybuilding compatitions
    * College scholarship offers
    * Playing for the New York  Jets
    * An offer from the WWF
    * Why he left the A.A.U.
    * Losing to Lou Ferrigno in ‘74
    * His teaching career
    * From World Gym to Planet Fitness
    * Mike’s thoughts on Crossfit

    ### Contact Bill!

                                            To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at [kociabafitness@gmail.com.][1] You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.
    
    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Listen to RWF 20: Mike Katz

    DocuScan Plus V3.0 is Here and It’s Brought Discounts!

    After extensive development and excellent feedback from the community, we’re ready to unveil the final release of DocuScan Plus V3.0 for Windows and Mac! Already the most affordable assistive technology OCR package in the industry, we’re saving you even more money in the month of July. Keep reading for details.

    What is DocuScan Plus?

    DocuScan Plus, or DSP, is your affordable gateway to the written word. There are excellent mobile apps that let you snap pictures of items to read text, and while amazingly convenient, you sometimes need the efficiency of a dedicated computer app to consume books, brochures, bank statements, manuals, and important documents without fretting over camera views and proper angles.

    Every technology has a time and place. With DSP, we’ve taken what you know about using a computer and created an intuitive means of converting print to spoken audio. Each upgrade brings a new wave of features and improvements.

    Introducing DocuScan Plus V3.0

    Is the new upgrade worth it? Well, check out these new features:

    • You can count on clearer text results with the help of an updated OCR engine.

      • With the new DSP, it’s possible to grab your favorite bestseller from Bookshare right from within the DSP application.

        • Rely on nimble navigation of large files with better heading detection and place marking.

          • Speaking of large files, launching and navigating PDF files is now a breeze.

            • Want to convert between formats? We heard you, and now you can convert text to DAISY, MP3, or Braille, and store them in the cloud; formats include: .epub, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .html

              • Now it’s even easier for you to open image files, including: .jpg, .png, .tiff, .gif, .bmp

                • Why launch an OCR application and then open a file when you can open files in DSP directly from Windows Explorer?

                  • Do you find yourself switching between Mac and PC? Well, you’ll be pleased to know there’s now better consistency in functionality and UI between the Windows and Mac versions of DSP.

                    • Don’t you hate it when other OCR products make you put your screen reader of choice to sleep? We’re partial to System Access, but we know you may disagree so feel free to use DSP in conjunction with the Windows screen reader you prefer.

                      • The new DSP comes with OCR for other languages, including: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (including Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish

                      Download the Windows installer here.

                      Download the OSX installer here.

                      A Month of Discounts

                      OpenBook and Kurzweil 1000, the other OCR options, cost $995. To each his own. At Serotek we work hard at developing solid performers without breaking the bank. The regular price for DSP is $299, and unlike our competition, we even give you payment options to make our lower price even easier to digest.

                      But, wait; in this month of July, we’re going to sweeten the pot even further.

                      Get your copy of the new DSP for only $249! Ready? Get the installers for your PC or Mac.

                      Can we do better? You betcha! Because you can get the new DSP for only $199 if you also take advantage of our discount on System Access.

                      Through the month of July, get your copy of System Access for only $299. At home, in school, and on the job, System Access is your key to popular applications. System Access Standalone lets you install full versions of the software on two computers. Stay on top of your e-mail inbox. Take control of PowerPoint presentations. Balance spreadsheet records. Read and write comprehensive reports, and navigate the web with the confidence of a seasoned professional. It’s your digital life after all. Own it!

                      In short, you get two great products for $498.

                      Accessibility Really is Anywhere

                      So, let’s recap up to this point. DSP normally costs $299. Right now you can purchase it for $249. If you also want to buy System Access, you can own it now for $299, 25% off the normal price, which also means you can buy DSP for $199. Remember this is only good through July 31.

                      Surely it can’t get better than this? Actually, it can, because you do remember our kitchen sink deal, right?

                      Accessibility Anywhere is the perfect toolkit for a balanced life of work and play on your Windows machine, Mac and iOS devices. Pick and choose from the growing features of a screen reader, an OCR app, and a combined social network and multimedia library to stay on top of your job and special interests no matter where you are.

                      Subscribe to Accessibility Anywhere for $21.95 a month or $240 a year. Remember as part of your subscription, you do not pay separate for the new version of DocuScan Plus V3.0. It’s already a part of your subscription plan!

                      Questions?

                      Leave us a comment or get in touch with our helpful technical support staff.

    Posted in Announcements, Blog | 3 Comments

    RWF 19: Marc Halpern-Keeping It Reasonable

    Listen to RWF 19: Marc Halpern-Keeping It Reasonable
    Bills guest this week is Marc Halpern, whose website is located at http://findtimeforhealth.com  Marc likes to lift heavy things because of what it enables him to do elsewhere in life, like skiing and hiking. He doesn’t eat egg whites and lettuce for breakfast, he eats real food. 
    As a Registered Dietitian and strength coach, Marc’s philosophy is to keep it reasonable and feeling good. Marc has over fourteen years of experience. He started his journey when he lost seventy pounds in high school. It began a career that has gone from New York, to North Carolina, all the way to Utah.
    In addition to working with clients, Marc spends a great deal of time in Dan John’s Lab (aka garage) constantly looking for better ways to do things. He combines evidence-based practice with experience and real-life application. Some of the interview highlights include:

    • His personal transformation

    • How to know you are in the right job
    • Connecting with Dan John
    • Bacon
    • Building good habits rather than counting macros
    • Minamum effective dose
    • The new website
    • Health first

    In addition Lisa will be back with some very important information about diabetes

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 19: Marc Halpern-Keeping It Reasonable

    RWF 18:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik (Part 2.)

    Listen to RWF 18:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik
    This week Bill features  the second part of an interview with two of the most knowledgeable people in the physical culture world.
    Brooks Kubik www.brookskubik.com and Clarence Bass  www.cbass.com.
    Between them they have authored more than 30books and hundreds of articles for all the major fitness publications.  In addition to their literary prowess they have both  excelled in their chosen strength sports.  Brooks as a powerlifter and Clarence as an Olympic lifter and bodybuilder.
    This is a lengthy and informative conversation with these two great men.  Some of the highlights of part 2 include:

    • Facing the digital dilemma

    • Dino training in India
    • The Amazon advantage
    • What’s happening in Brooks’ future
    • “50 Shades of Dino”
    • What’s next for Clarence
    • The importance of  finding new challenges

    Additionally Lisa will be back with two interesting articles.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 18:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik (Part 2.)

    RWF 17:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik

    Listen to RWF 17:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik
    This week Bill features an interview with two of the most knowledgeable people in the physical culture world.
    Brooks Kubik www.brookskubik.com and Clarence Bass  www.cbass.com.
    Between them they have authored more than 30books and hundreds of articles for all the major fitness publications.  In addition to their literary prowess they have both  excelled in their chosen strength sports.  Brooks as a powerlifter and Clarence as an Olympic lifter and bodybuilder.
    This is a lengthy and informative conversation with these two great men.  Some of the highlights of part 1 include:

       
    • Clarence is everywhere

    • Brooks’ positive response to his digital products
    • Clarences nutritional roots

    • The natural progression
    • Whole foods and a balanced diet
    • You don’t need to count calories
    • Real world eating and training vs the “muscle Beach” fantasy
    • The importance of being active  between workouts
    • Taking things in the proper context
    • Recognizing  changes you need to accept as you age
    • Bills interview with Bill Pearl
    • Keeping near top shape so you never have to starve yourself

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 17:Real World Training And Nutrition With Clarence Bass and Brooks Kubik

    RWF 16: Dan John –The Coaches Coach

    Listen to RWF 16: Dan John –The Coaches Coach
    This week Bill once again has the pleasure of sharing the mic with Dan John. www.danjohn.net Dan  is one of the most in demand coaches and lecturers in the world!  He is constantly traveling,  presenting sold out workshops all over the US and abroad.
    In this interview you will hear first-hand the relaxed, yet concise and to the point style that makes Dan such a great teacher  as we discuss his new book Can You Go?
    Some of the highlights include:

    • What category determines what you need

    • Tiny habits by B. J. Fogg
    • A sip of water
    • Why can’t you stand on one foot for 10 seconds?
    • It’s all about self awairness
    • The1-2-3-4 assessment
    • Finish the program
    • Build upon your successes
    • Food is food
    • Take care of your teeth
    • A, not A
    • It’s not what you want it’s what you need
    • “Art of Coaching” 

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 16: Dan John –The Coaches Coach

    DocuScanPlus First Thoughts on V3

    There are many OCR options available on the market. They come in all shapes and sizes, hardware and software configurations, variety of features and prices. In the end, they all provide electronic text that can be access with through built-in TTS or a screen reader or customized for visual access. With OCR now available for free through Google Docs, web-based services like www.robobraille.orgg and free, or very low-cost Apps for iOS and Android devices why would you pay even $299 for an OCR software package, let along $999 – $4,000?

    Aside from the obvious, everyone’s needs, desires, preferences etc. are different the answer, in my opinion, lies in the flexibility and ease of use of the paid programs. Though, I too struggle with paying $999 for software that has a free alternative. I find DocuScanPlus to be that solid middle ground in price, ease of use, flexibility and quality.

    iOS, Android and Google Docs Web App are making it easier than ever to perform OCR, and access previously blank pieces of paper, anywhere. That is of course if you like spending time making sure that the lighting, distance from the paper, and coping with all of the other factors that go into taking a picture with a mobile camera, or are a Google Web Apps master, and have screen reader access on every computer you might possibly interact with.

    And, if you want to access that text on any of your other devices or formats, well, I hope you like jumping through hoops. DocuScanPlus price tag still makes a few people cringe, $299. However, the easy to use interface, cloud storage built-in TTS option, and multi-platform capabilities certainly make it an appealing, flexible, accessible and more affordable, option than some other programs or hardware combinations.

    It is not possible to stress the ease of use of DocuScanPlus enough! The software is simple to install, recognises the image capture hardware/software attached to/installed on the computer automatically, and there are no complex menus to navigate, you don’t have to memorize keystrokes to make it easier to perform actions, and the language used to convey the meaning of different buttons is clear and easy to understand.

    There are only five (5) options when you first launch the program: Scan a Document Read a file on this computer Manage files Download from Bookshare Send Feedback How much easier does it get?

    The one thing I do find to be a bit cumbersome is saving the scanned document in a different format for use on other devices. This would intuitively be something you could do, like saving, after scanning a file, however the options are only available once the document has been saved to the DocuScanPlus Cloud and you open the document again using the file management tools. Compared to the process of scanning? uploading to Drive > converting > converting to .doc, .txt or .rtf format > downloading from Drive > moving to portable device, that is involved in performing OCR using Google Drive however, this process, and the variety of formats available in DocuScanPlus puts it a bit ahead of that free competition in my opinion. You can save documents in the following formats in DocuScanPlus MP3 Structured DAISY Braille Text Large Print text

    In tests the recognition process accurately recognizes and formats links, e-mail addresses, and often recognizes heading structure/formatting correctly. In 9 out of 10 scanning tests the heading structure of a pdf I had previously saved on my computer was recognized correctly. In all 10 of my scanning tests the recognition errors were never so significant for me, as to impact my comprehension of the material scanned. Was it perfect, no, but it was close enough that I could get the idea, and if I wanted I could confidently edit the errors out, without sighted assistance to compare the printed copy to the newly created electronic copy.

    There are a few things I’d like to see added to the newest release of DocuScanPlus, and I’ll be taking full advantage of that send feedback button, but all-in-all I’d say that Matt has done it again, created an intuitive, easy to use product, that allows users to get the job done with as little hassle as possible!

    Update: June 16

    I knew when I posted my initial thoughts that changes would be made, as DSP V3 is in a testing phase. In fact just a short 7 days after writing the first
    draft changes were made, and if the fact that in that 7 days the placement of buttons for saving, or converting, scanned documents into different formats,
    were created and implemented in more intuitive locations, doesn’t speak to the developers commitment to the product, and making it as easy as possible
    for the end user I don’t know what will.
    In addition to more intuitive placement of these types of controls I also found that downloading content from bookshare is an easy and intuitive process.

    I hope to have time to write a bit more soon!
    If you haven’t tried DSP yet I’d encourage you to do so, and keep in mind that feedback really is taken into consideration!

    Posted in Blog | 1 Comment

    Nine Simple Words Did What?

    Are you a believer in the power of words, check this out.

    Back in the day, Texaco wanted to boost their oil sales, right? This was in the early 1930’s.

    So, what did they do? They paid a man named Elmer Wheeler $5,000 to come up with nine words they could use.

    Is that ridiculous or what? Maybe not, we’ll see.

    Remember, this was in the Great Depression, not to mention the difference on the dollar through the decades. Who knows what that’d be worth today…

    Even back then, it was roughly $555 per word.

    Here is what thick pockets Elmer did.

    Back then they still had full service gas stations. You’d drive up, ride over a hose that rang a bell inside when you drove on it. A person would come out in a blue uniform, a logo on the front shirt pocket, a light red cloth hanging out the back pocket, and a coin dispenser belted on the waist.

    They’d start filling your car with gas, wipe down the windshield, and in Texaco’s case they’d ask…

    Check your oil?

    Elmer suggested they ask a different question instead. The question was…

    Is your oil at the proper level today, sir?

    That little question got Texaco under the hood an extra quarter of a million times in one year.

    When you hear the new question, you begin to doubt the level of your oil. How do you know what level it is at anyway unless you just checked it?

    You think, “And what if it is low? I better have them check.”

    Then leaning out the window towards the man wiping the windshield you’d say…

    “Can you check it for me please, thanks.”

    Questions, they are the master of sales.

    Similarly a waiter or waitress might change the question from…

    “Can I interest you in a glass of wine?”

    To…

    “Do you prefer red or white wine with your steak, sir?”

    The trick is to not be pushy. I hate pushy myself. But, you don’t want to leave them an easy way out either. In a way, it’s making someone say ‘no’ to the person asking rather than the wine. Very subtle difference, but a difference none the less.

    It should come out as natural as, “Wafer cone, waffle cone, or cup?” When you are at the ice cream Shoppe ordering your Swiss Cream and Cappuccino treat., because you’d never dream of having it without a container, edible or not.

    If I were in the restaurant business, I might even try instructing wait staff to ask,

    “And is that Rhubarb-Apple Pie or Cherry Cheese Danish for pre-ordered dessert? Cherry Cheese is the special today and both travel well for tonight’s midnight snack.”

    If you are in the electronic gizmo business, you might ask,

    And would that be extra lithium batteries or wall charger to go with that?

    If Texaco invested five G’s to come up with nine words that changed the revenue of a huge company like that…

    What kinds of questions could you ask your customer to get you under a quarter-million more hoods this year?

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all…try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Blog, Entrepreneurship | Comments Off on Nine Simple Words Did What?

    RWF 15: Bob Backlund, SuperFitAt 66

    Listen to RWF 15: Bob BacklundSuperFitAt 66
    Bob Backlund www.backlundenergy.comholds the distincshon   of having one of the longest uninterrupted title reigns of any World Wide Wrestling Federation champion. He held the title from February of 1978 until December, 1983!
    Throughout his30+ year career in the wrestling ring he maintained an incredible level of physical conditioning and was always considered to be one of the most fit people in the business. On more than one occasion he demonstrated his fantastic condition by exercising nonstop throughout an entire one hour TV wrestling program.
    In this interview we focus on the early years of his life and how he got into such fantastic shape and how he maintains it today at age 66
    Some of the highlights include:

       
    • Wrestling since fifth grade

    • Why he refused to attend the university of Mn.
    • Creating his own training methods and equipment
    • His first exposure to prro wrestling
    • Danny Hodge
    • Good enough to wrestle without attending practice
    • Playing in the Rose Bowl
    • Breaking into pro wrestling
    • Sleeping in his car
    • One of the longest WWWF title reigns ever
    • His exact training program
    • How he trains today
    • 8 hours of the step test
    • Apple cider vinegar
    • Bob’s diet

    In addition to the interview with Bob we  introduce a new feature with my friend Lisa, who will be sharing some interesting information on various health related topics from time to time.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Interviews, Podcasts, Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 15: Bob Backlund, SuperFitAt 66

    DocuScan Plus 3 Release Candidate Now Open for Testing

    Download the DocuScan Plus V3 audio demonstration or use the audio player below to tune in.

    Serotek proudly announces the first public release candidate for DocuScan Plus V3, a powerful and affordable OCR option with cross-platform support. Before we deem it final, we’d like you to help us kick the tires. You do not have to be a current Serotek customer to participate, but note that certain features may only be available for customers who have pre-ordered the product.

    New features

    • Updated OCR engine
    • OCR for other languages, including: Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (including Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish
    • Bookshare integration
    • Improved heading detection
    • Place marking within large documents
    • Ability to import documents in popular text formats so users can convert them to DAISY, MP3, or Braille, and store them in the cloud; formats include: .epub, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt, .html
    • Ability to open image files, including: .jpg, .png, .tiff, .gif, .bmp
    • Ability to open documents in DSP directly from Windows Explorer
    • More efficient processing of long PDF documents
    • Better consistency in functionality and UI between the Windows and Mac versions
    • Better support for third-party screen readers in the Windows version; users can use DSP in conjunction with a third-party screen reader rather than putting the screen reader to sleep.

    Install the Release Candidate Now!

    The installation process will be intuitive. Remember, you do not need to use System Access as your screen reader for DSP to work. Feel free to stick to your own screen reader on Windows.

    Download the Windows Release Candidate here. The RC is a part of our normal Windows installer. Simply choose the correct package at installation.

    Download the Mac version here.

    Full documentation will be provided upon final release. But, don’t panic. Our products are traditionally designed to be as intuitive as possible, beginning with the installation.

    Questions?

    If you have any questions, please contact technical support.

    Posted in Announcements, Assistive Technology, SeroTalk | Comments Off on DocuScan Plus 3 Release Candidate Now Open for Testing

    SPN Pulse Check

    The new SPN team has been at it for six months now. We’d like to think the results of our labor have been successful, but it’s always good to take a pulse of the listeners, gauge interest, and make sure we remain humble enough to listen to what you think.

    For example, we’ve taken a hard look at our coverage of technology. As more mainstream products become accessible to blind persons, you can look beyond the current slate of excellent blindness podcasts to a broader landscape of tech journalists reporting on news and development on a daily basis; therefore, does it make sense for us to echo the stories you’re already hearing elsewhere?

    So, where does that leave us? Internally we’ve kicked around the thought of moving more squarely into lifestyle topics. The Real World Fitness and What’s Up were the first steps in moving in this direction. Now we’re thinking of turning the ship more fully onto this course, pulling back from technology and blindness as a focus and carving out our own niche in popular culture in a way that integrates our community with the mainstream market.

    We want to hear from you. What kind of stories and interviews outside of technology would you like to hear in our podcasts? What kind of articles would you like to read in our blog? We’ve received a number of suggestions pointing us to more instructional materials. We’ve also heard requests to concentrate tech coverage on household products.

    All your suggestions are welcomed as we prepare for the next phase of our growth. There are definite plans in the works, but before moving full throttle on executing any of them, we want to know if you’re ready for a change, or frankly, if you think SPN should be put to rest. Either way, talk to us. Leave a comment here, or if you’d like to submit something private, please send it to resources@SeroTalk.com.

    Thank you for being a part of SPN!

    Posted in Blog | 13 Comments

    Blind Crossfitting

    Listen to RWF 14: Blind Crossfitting
    This week we discuss the extremely popular and some times controversial phenomenon of Crossfit.
    Bills guest is Mike calvo http://mikecalvo.com   Mike is a recent convert to the Crossfit lifestyle and he wanted to share how it has impacted his life and his personal fitness program.
    Some of the topics They discuss include:

       
    • Middle aged and out of shape

    • Conventional strength training is not for everyone
    • Adaptations his coach has made
    • You’re where you’re at
    • The importance of perfect technique
    • Don’t skimp on your equipment
    • The  value of community
    • email Mike
       

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on Blind Crossfitting

    SeroTalk Extra: All Aboard a Cruise Vacation

    Download SeroTalk Extra: All Aboard a Cruise Vacation or use the audio player below the show notes to tune in.

    What better way to ring in the unofficial start to the summer season than a comprehensive look into cruise vacations? For some, this multi-billion dollar industry adds up to the perfect vacation. For those who have never been on a cruise, it might sound more like the perfect nightmare.

    Our guest on this SeroTalk Extra is Bill Kociaba–who, in addition to a wealth of knowledge on all things health and wellness, knows a thing or two about those floating cities on the sea.

    Show Highlights

    Among other topics, we discuss:

    • Hey, aren’t cruises generally for the newly wed or the nearly dead?
    • Why would I want to vacation on a ship and not a resort?
    • What are the various types of cruises?
    • Before I get excited, how much does it generally cost?
    • What does the price generally include?
    • Okay, so maybe I’m on the fence. What’s the best way to book a trip?
    • What are the passport requirements, and what other logistics should I consider?
    • What should I pack?
    • Are there such things as healthy meal options aboard these ships?
    • What kind of medical services can I count on while aboard?
    • Fine fine, but what if I spend the whole trip feeling seasick?
    • What can people possibly find to do to stay entertained aboard a ship?
    • What’s the one cruise and/or excursion I should consider taking?

    Additional Reading

    So, are you interested yet? Fantastic! Check out these helpful articles:

    Repositioning Cruises: How to Get a Luxury Cruise for Cheap

    How can you land a $400 room on the Celebrity Reflection for just $62 a night? Keep reading.

    Imagine finding a luxury hotel room that costs just $62 a night, a price that includes all of your meals and a view of the ocean from your private balcony.

    Sounds like a pretty great deal right? Well, it’s for real.

    That’s the kind of nightly room price you can find when booking a vacation on a repositioning cruise. Read more.

    How to Save Money on Your Next Cruise

    Sometimes you have to make a choice: go for the easy cruise fare, or spend a lot of time searching for the perfect rock-bottom rate. With multiple lines
    offering a range of ship classes with sailings every single week of the year, you can go nuts researching all the possibilities and picking the best offer. Let us help you simplify. Here are our top 10 tips for saving money on your next cruise. Follow our advice, and you can be confident you’re not getting
    gouged on your vacation bill. Read more.

    How to Save Big Money on Cruises

    The cost of vacations at sea can quickly add up — but it doesn’t have to. The trick to saving big money on cruises is to shop smart and make the most out of the deals and discounts cruise lines and related industries have to offer. With a little savvy ahead of time as well as on board, you can have a blast for less during your next floating holiday.

    Step 1

    Score heavy discounts by booking your trip during wave season, which lasts from January to March. This is the time of year when the cruise lines offer lots of money-saving enticements to persuade travelers to book vacations. You don’t have to travel during wave season — you just have to book the trip. Committing at the beginning of the year during this deal-heavy season can get you various extra perks, such as onboard credits, cabin upgrades and free airfare. Read more.

    Get in Touch!

    Have any tips of your own? Have you been on a cruise and want to share your experience? Or, did you go on a cruise and hated it? Send us your feedback!

    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please leave a comment on this post, e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in SeroTalk | Comments Off on SeroTalk Extra: All Aboard a Cruise Vacation

    RWF 13: Bill Pearl – A True Legend

    Listen to RWF 13: Bill Pearl – A True Legend
    Bill Pearl www.billpearl.com is a true legend in the world of physical culture. With a highly successful  competitive career lasting nearly 20 years, he is unquestionably one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time!
    He is probably the most traveled Mr. America ever, having gone around the world doing exhibitions and  spreading the health and fitness message for nearly four decades!
    To his credit he has coached more top level bodybuilders (including 14 Mr. Universe winners, 10 Mr. America’s and one Mr. Olympia) than any other person. He is truly “The Trainer of Champions”.
    World class bodybuilder, successful gym owner, author, coach/trainer entrepreneur, husband and father! To say Bill Pearl has done it all is a huge understatement!
    Through the efforts of our mutual friend Mr. Olympia, Chris Dickerson, Bill was given the pleasure of speaking with this legend of the iron game. The biggest thing I took away from this conversation was that Bill Pearl is the absolute definition of a gentlemen and a class act!
    I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed chatting with this  legend of the fitness world:

       
    • The early years of training

    • From Leo Stern to Chris Dickerson
    • 1953 was quite a year
    • Why he was a success in the gym business
    • His competitive career
    • Why he never entered the Mr. Olympia
    • His Strongman act
    • Mail order training courses
    • KEYS TO THE INNER UNIVERSE
    • Becoming a vegetarian
    • The name game
    • Women’s’ bodybuilding
    • What he does today

    Here is a partial list of Bill Pearl’s many accomplishments;
     

    • 1953 A.A.U., Mr. America

    • 1953 N.A.B.B.A., Mr. Universe Amateur (London, England)
    • 1956 Mr. U.S.A., Professional
    • 1956 N.A.B.B.A., Mr. Universe, Professional
    •         1961 N.A.B.B.A., Mr. Universe, Professional
    • 1967 N.A.B.B.A., Mr. Universe, Professional
    • 1971 N.A.B.B.A., Mr. Universe, Professional
    • 1974 W.B.B.G., World’s Best-Built Man of the Century (New York, New York)
    • 1978 Entered into W.B.B.G., Hall of Fame (New York, New York)
    • 1978 Elected the I.F.B.B. National Chairman of the Professional Physique Judges Committee (Acapulco, Mexico)
    • 1988 Entered into Pioneers of Fitness Hall of Fame
    • 1992 Entered into Gold’s Gym Hall of Fame
    • 1994 Guest of Honor of the Association of Old Time Barbell & Strongmen 12th Annual Reunion
    • 1994 Entered into The Joe Weider Hall of Fame
    • 1995 A.A.U. Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 1995 Oscar Heidenstam Foundation Hall of Fame
    • 1996 American Powerlifters Federation Hall of Fame
    • 1997 International Chiropractors Association Sports & Fitness Man of the Year
    • 1999 I.F.B.B. Hall of Fame Inductee
    • 2000 Spirit of Muscle Beach Award
    • 2001 World Gym Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 2001 Society of Weight-Training Injury Specialists Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 2002 Canadian Fitness Award for 60+ Years of Inspiration to the Industry
    • 2002 National Fitness Trade Journal Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 2003 Iron Man magazine Peary & Mabel Radar Lifetime Achievement Award
    • 2004 Arnold Schwarzenegger Lifetime Achievement Award

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

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    RWF 12: Laurel Blackburn Super Strong Nana

    Listen to RWF 12: Laurel Blackburn Super Strong Nana
    Bill’s guest this week is Laurel Blackburn  www.bootcampstogo.com. Laurel is the owner of Tallahassee Kettlebells  and the Tallahassee Strength Club.   
    Laurel has been afitness leader in her local  community  for the past ten years and has been featured on CNN as well as such major publications as Woman’s Health and Oxygen.            Laurel has numerous fitness certifications to her credit and constantly strives to learn more so she can be an even greater service to her clients.
    Some of the highlights of our conversation include;

    •  Discovering Kettlebells.

    • Starting her “Bootcamp” business.
    • Being a part of the community.
    • Recognizing the value of making adaptions for “special needs” clients.
    • Learning from her clients.
    • Her first certification.
    • The RKC difference.
    • Z health.
    • Don’t let your age inhibit you.
    • Check out laurel’s blog 

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

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    RWF 11: LILO, One Amazing Lady

    Listen to RWF 11: LILO, One Amazing Lady
     
     Bills very special guest this week is a truly extraordinary woman!  Ljiljana (Lilo) Ljubisic www.liloinspires.com  is a 5 time Paralympic champion with an amazing story.
    Lilo has represented Canada on the international athletic stage since 1984 with an unprecedented 19 podium finishs!
    An amazing athlete undoubtedly, but Lilo is so much more.
    Some of the highlights of our conversation include:

    • Growing up in an athletic family

    • Discovering Goalball
    • Vollyball and basketball Lilo style
    • How Lilo found me
    • 26 years of pure hell
    • Strength training for women
    • The best addiction you could possibly have
    • Good nutrition is a must
    • The athletes advocate
    • CHOICE – COMMITMENT – COURAGE

    Some of Lilo’s acalades:

    •  2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award recipient

    • 2011 Canadian Paralympic Committee  Sport Hall of Fame inductee
    • 2010 Coquitlam Sport Hall of Fame inductee
    • 2007 “Juan Antonio Samaranch IOC President’s Athlete Award”.
    • Recognized as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 for 2007.
    • 2004 presented the Isabel Ferrer prize by the European commission.
    • Named to Canada’s Top 20 most influential women in Sport 2003-2007
    • 2005 Athletes CAN Leadership Award.

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Interviews, Podcasts, Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 11: LILO, One Amazing Lady

    Senior Citizen Dating Has a Business Principle?

    One of the places I frequent in my current day-job business most always has attendants at the info desk. One of the attendants we see often happens to be a 76-year old lady.

    Now, this old gal isn’t your typical blue-haired senior moaning while reaching for an agitated vertebrae shuffling across the room.

    This gal skis, hikes, canoes, fishes, and I still have one brow raised, but I think even hit on me recently. I’m still reeling over that one. She plays cards to keep her mind sharp and just have fun. More on that in a minute.

    In fact, I was shocked out of my socks to find she was 76-years old. I knew she was somewhat older, but figured just an active 60-year old gal trying to pick up guys on the dance floor on Saturday nights.

    She recently regaled us with a story about a gentleman who she claims is just a friend. He put on some music, popped the cork from the wine bottle, and served up some dinner.

    I said to her, “Oh he’s hitting on you big time.”

    “That’s what my sister said too,” she replied, “She said I ought to lay a big smacker on him. But, no, no, we’re just good friends is all.”

    A bit perplexed, I asked her why she thought that.

    “Oh,” she sighed, “I’m done. I’m burnt out. I can’t find anyone to keep up with me. I want to go hiking, skiing, and canoeing. I asked this friend to go dancing a while back,” she rambled, “and he said he couldn’t, his knee hurt.”

    She went on in a disgustful tone about how he couldn’t go fishing, a less active sport, because he was having his elbow checked out.

    Sport after sport she cited his excuses about something that hurt on him or didn’t work. He even confessed, he didn’t think quote, it, unquote worked anymore.

    Do I need to explain what “it” is?

    Well this gal’s name isn’t Alice, but if one were to, ahem, see Allice, it might give a clue to what he was referring.

    She admitted, her last surgery might have ruined that for her…

    Somehow I think she was just playing to his sympathy. I digress here before this no longer is a business related blog. And we really are getting to a business point, trust me.

    Finally, I said to her, “Sheesh, he probably would have finger trouble playing checkers even.”

    “Well,” she said, “we were going to play Cribbage, but he had a headache.”

    Really, a headache? I thought that excuse was reserved only for a certain activity. Oh well.

    She closed up her diatribe with a laugh saying, “And he’s 13-years younger than me!”

    I couldn’t help but chuckle through her entire recollection. Man, I hope I’m as active and young as she is at that age.

    Reflecting on my conversation with her, it made me think of how that very situation happens in business.

    No, not clients getting picked up by business men and women. Well, okay, that happens, but that’s not what I mean.

    What I’m getting at is there are times, just like this young-hearted gal found with her potential 63-year old boyfriend, where a client just isn’t a match. There will be times where as hard as one might try, personalities won’t gel, timelines never seem to work out, or excuse after excuse the info you need doesn’t get to you.

    It seems forced. And you know what? Like this gal, there comes a point where you’ve just got to say, “I’m burnt out here.”

    Sometimes, it’s just best to have a chat with a client and agree to move separate ways on the project. I tell you, if you feel the disconnect, they likely do too, and they’ll respect you for recognizing it and acting on it.

    Of course, you want to be courteous and professional about it, but there are times it’s best to move on.

    If you are starting out, it is tempting to tell yourself you need the work, and how a testimony from a satisfied client will help, not to mention the pay. But if it’s that much of a struggle it’s likely things will deteriorate anyway. I’m not suggesting however, to give up at the first sign of trouble or challenge, because there will be those as well.

    Over time, if you pay attention you will know when things are stalemating. You’ll feel it in your gut. There will be a certain sense of forcing the relationship or project.

    So rather than waste your time and your client’s time, agree to move on and start a project that will move you forward.

    Even this young-spirited gal’s friend with the poor health who tried so hard in his sedentary way to swoon her with wine, music, and dinner; recognized he was no match for her. He finally told her, “You need to find a boyfriend.”

    After finishing up my chat with this lovely old gal, opening the exit door she said it was card night that night.

    I yelled out to her as she passed through the door…

    “Hey, none of those wild poker games now!”

    I was going to say no spin-the-bottle or strip poker, but I figured I better not be so explicit with her.

    Hollering back at me she boasted, “Oh, that’s Saturday night!”

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Blog, Entrepreneurship | Comments Off on Senior Citizen Dating Has a Business Principle?

    RWF 10: Setting Goals and chatting with a 3 time Olympian

    Listen to RWF 10: Setting Goals and chatting with a 3 time Olympian This week’s show is a little different from the past sevral. Bill has a wonderful interview with 3 time Olympian and nutrition expert  Arlene Semeco. They discuss:

     
    * Her training at age 15 vs age 31
    *   incorporating strength training into her swimming
    * Her next competition
    * Must have supplements
    * shooting for her fourth Olympics

    Additionally he offers a fool proof plan for setting and achieving your personal goals.

                    ### Contact Bill!
    
                    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at [kociabafitness@gmail.com.][1] You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.
    
    Posted in Interviews, Podcasts, Real World Fitness, Uncategorized | Comments Off on RWF 10: Setting Goals and chatting with a 3 time Olympian

    The RunDown 6: Believe That?

    Listen to Episode 6: Believe That? to hear the latest and hottest sports stories and our take on all the fast paced action.
    We are nearing the second round of NBA playoffs; find out which teams have advanced and which have been eliminated.

    Get all the latest news on the latest injuries and how they will affect the Pursuit of the NBA Finals.

    The NHL Playoffs are also heating up, which teams are still alive on their push to win the Stanley Cup?

    As the Champions League boils down to just four teams, find out who AZ and JDR pick to win the prestigious tournament.

    Hear who gets our Technical Fouls of the week as well as our book recommendation of the week.
    Get in Touch!
    Find us on Twitter
    Like us on Facebook
    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please e-mail them to resources@serotalk.com Tweet them to @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport! You could end up on the show!

    Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The RunDown 6: Believe That?

    SeroTalk 228: Go Freeze Yourself

    Download SeroTalk 228: Go Freeze Yourself or use the audio player below the show notes to tune in.

    This week’s book Audible recommendation is Unwind by Neal Shusterman.

    In a society where unwanted teens are salvaged for their body parts, three runaways fight the system that would “unwind” them.

    Conner’s parents want to be rid of him because he’s a troublemaker. Risa has no parents and is being unwound to cut orphanage costs. Lev’s unwinding has
    been planned since his birth, as part of his family’s strict religion. Brought together by chance, and kept together by desperation, these three unlikely
    companions make a harrowing cross-country journey, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

    If they can survive until their 18th birthdays, they can’t be harmed – but when every piece of them, from their hands to their hearts, are wanted by a
    world gone mad, 18 seems far, far away.

    In Unwind, Boston Globe/Horn Book Award winner Neal Shusterman challenges listeners’ ideas about life – not just where life begins, and where it ends,
    but what it truly means to be alive.

    Download your free copy at AudiblePodcast.com/SeroTalk

    Headlines

    These are some of the recent headlines since we last chatted:

    Cyanogen partners with Microsoft to integrate Bing, other MS services

    What’s next for Microsofts Universal Apps

    Google and Facebook change their algorithms

    EU to investigate transparency of internet search results

    Many Government Tiplines Not Encrypted

    Match.com’s HTTP-only login page puts millions of passwords at risk

    Verizon introduces new ways to customize FiOS TV subscription

    Facebook unveils phone app Hello

    This ‘Smart’ Pillow Connects To Your Phone And Uses Speakers To Help You Sleep

    MIT’s Media Lab develops new “NailO” fingernail trackpad

    IKEA Introduces Wireless Charging Furniture; Going to Hit Markets Soon

    FBI and TSA Warn Airlines to Watch Out For Wi-Fi Hacks

    Accessibility Talk

    Congratulations to this year’s AFB Access Award Winners

    Including Microsoft, but what’s this opinion by NFB Computer Science President Curtis Chong claiming Accessibility at Microsoft More Challenges than Victories

    And a response from Chris Hofstader: Accessibility and NFBCS: More Questions Than Results

    But, don’t come down too hard on the NFB. Among other projects, they’re tackling Indoor navigation

    And they’re not the only ones. Video Game found to help the blind navigate buildings

    And this guy’s planning on replacing guide dogs with drones? Eelke Folmer uses human-computer interaction research to help blind and visually impaired people

    Finally, some audio description! Netflics Dare Devil accessible to the Blind After Complaints Check out these additional articles for helpful tips. Instructions to toggle descriptive audio & control Netflix videos in Chrome on the Mac And, How to Enable Audio Description on Netflix for iPhone, Android, and Apple TV

    Maybe it’s not such a bad time to be blind. What say you? What it’s like to go blind And Am I Really Blind? Adapting to Adaptive Technology

    Human Interest

    This guy says Disability will be conquered this century. Don’t believe him? Suit yourself, or, freeze yourself, because this 2 year old was cryogenically frozen by her parents.

    Mailbag

    We weren’t able to cover all the feedback in the recording, but here is some of the feedback that made it out to us before release:

    From Jenine:

    Hi Gang,

    Yes, a couple of these robot guide projects have been done before, mostly in Japan.

    Maybe this one though will prove a bit more realistic. It seems when people try these kinds of things with the focus on blindness, they allow all sorts of stereotypical experiences of blindness to interfere with the actual use of the device. even when they include blind people in the testing, their focus often goes wrong, sideways somehow if you know what I mean.

    Having a larger sample of people and experience to work with, plus a pretty demanding population, First Responders who are used to their equipment working, as well as having life and death in the balance, will hopefully yield a bit more gravity to the product.

    In other words, everyone can relate to being in a smoke filled building and needing help to find someone or the way out or stairs or whatever. They don’t inflict their own perceptions about things like blindness on to that experience as they would if creating for just “the blind”.

    And hey, if this robot happens to also help blind people by becoming a robot guide, great!

    I just keep thinking of K9 from the Dr. Who series.

    Can I get one with anatomical features and fur? If so, I want a dire wolf guide, though I hear they are pretty big.

    Sadly, given that most of the trouble with fake service dogs is with those claiming to be for emotional support or things like allergy detection, the robot guide wouldn’t help. Nice thought though.

    Jenine Stanley

    From Louis:

    Hello Joe, Katie, and Laine,

    I am listening to episode 227 as I’m typing this, and I’m enjoying the show immensely. I think each of you bring a unique opinion to the table, so keep up the great work and bring on the controversy!

    I was talking to someone the other day, and I expressed my frustration with how ignorant/oblivious the general public can be towards people with disabilities. I’m sure you’ve experienced the being talked to like a toddler treatment, or the let’s grab your arm and drag you in this direction treatment, just to name a few scenarios. The response I received was that the struggles we are experiencing are similar to the struggles women and African Americans experienced as they fought for equal rights. How do you feel about the parallels being drawn between the trials of these three groups?

    As the conversation went on, we touched on the topic of blind people being compared to certain blind celebrities. For example, I had someone tell me that it’s great that Stevie Wonder can have people help him everywhere. If someone is a disabled celebrity, do you think they have a greater duty to show the world what we are capable of, rather than cementing certain stereotypes? Also, if they do not have certain skills, like say mobility skills or independent living skills, is it their fault for showing their inadequacies to the public and not seek the training that would make them more independent?

    Last question, when is it okay to be mad/annoyed, and when should you just grin and joke about public misconceptions?

    Thanks for reading my musings, and I hope to hear your thoughts.

    Louis

    From Josh:

    Hello all. I really enjoyed Serotalk Podcast 227 and the Triple Click Home extra on the Apple watch. I wanted to share my opinions on assisted suicide and the usefulness of Braille. As a Bible believing Christian, I believe all human life is precious because I believe that God is the creator of life. I am therefore categorically opposed to assistive suicide regardless of the circumstances. As someone who has undergone two craniotomies as well as several other operations, I understand the agony and depression pain can cause. I also know that God has taught me many important life lessons through pain. While I will take advantage of a sight restoring method if one is created, I am also thankful for my blindness and problems, because they’ve made me a more mature person.
    I also take some issue with Joe’s definition of literacy. As an avid reader of audio books, I believe that while reading is important, it doesn’t have to only mean recognition of how letters look. While I am not advocating for the use of audio books only, I don’t think the question should be either or, but both. I realized that reading textbooks in Braille was slo and absolutely inefficient for me in high-school. On the other hand, if I couldn’t read braille signage, I’d be in big trouble! Have a wonderful week,

    Josh in Illinois

    From Jesse, regarding the SeroTalk Extra Tech Chat episode:

    Hello everybody,

    I really enjoyed the special. It is nice to hear a bunch of people get together and hash things out. It was an informative, and sometimes slightly heated, debate. Overall, I thought it went well. Mike might have become a little aggressive in defending his opinion but that is just how it seemed from my end. I just wanted to give my thoughts on what was discussed in regards to the future of AT if we continue on this road to mobile devices.

    While I think Apple should be held accountable for its actions now that it has become a provider of assistive technology, I slightly agree with Mike that we can’t hold them to the same standard. This is because Apple doesn’t have as much experience with accessibility as third-party assistive technology companies have. Most of these companies have been dealing in accessibility for a long time and also, they only make assistive products. To my knowledge, Apple hasn’t been dealing in this market as long as companies like Freedom Scientific or GW Micro and even though Serotek hasn’t been around as long as some of the pioneers, Accessible products is what they do. I do not, however, think we should continue to give Apple a pass. In this fast-moving world of technology, Apple has been in the AT business quite a while and it is time they really start getting it right.

    I worry that we will have the same problem with Microsoft. I have not played with previews of Windows 10 but I have heard that Narrator is improved and I assume Windows wants to eventually have integrated accessibility like Apple has. If Matt Campbell says it is going to become difficult for third-party screen readers to “hook and hack” as we move toward a more mobile lifestyle, and who would know better than somebody who has to do the hooking and hacking, we may have to rely on an integrated screen reader. I see two solutions to the worry of having no other choice than substandard screen readers.

    The first, which was mentioned on the podcast, would be for blind programmers to grab the opportunity and offer their services to these companies. I think this will be the answer to Apple’s problems.

    The second would be for Microsoft to purchase one of the existing assistive technology companies or at least the screen reading and magnification sectors. These are companies with products which work already and who know a lot about what they do. This way, we could unbox our Microsoft product and have JAWS, System Access, NVDA or WindowEyes integrated into the OS. Sure, it would eliminate choices but it looks like that is inevitable anyway. It beats getting stuck in the same situation with Windows where we have a fully functional screen reader but find ourselves overlooking inexcusable mistakes because we are just glad to have access.

    I apologize that this message is long-winded but I really wanted to get my thoughts out there and ask the question of why Microsoft doesn’t just save a lot of hassle and buy something that already works. Great job on the podcast and I hope it can keep informing people for years to come.

    Regards,
    Jesse Tregarthen

    From Keith:

    Hi everybody!

    I found podcast 227 to be exciting and informative.

    Regarding guidedog robots, that might possibly be interesting or maybe not, but because we don’t actually have them around to see what reactions are, its hard to say one way or the other.

    Regarding what Joe had to say about that Social Security article, I find myself thinking that one day we will either have increased taxes, or one day actually no Social Security.
    In 2016, we’re going to be seeing lots of babyboomers retiring.
    Then we’ll see more and more continue over the next several years to retire, leaving the rest of us to deal with what economic situation this will ultimately create.
    I for one, don’t believe that we’ll have Social Security forever.
    And I think that it is about time that people started thinking about relying les on the Government to take care of tere futures mmoney wise, and started thinking about other ways of making a living so that you can be in charge of your own future.
    Personally, I see entrepreneurship as the solution, I believe in empowerment of people, rather than employment being the ultimate answer.

    However, that being said, I think that for those that choose employment, that’s awesome.

    Whatever works best for you ultimately despite my opinion is what matters here.

    But I’m curious what the rest of you think.

    Does anybody agree or disagree or have any other thoughts about Social Security ultimately not being something that will continue to exist?
    As more people lean on Social Security, I think we’re going to see money disappear from the program.

    Pensions are an old concept as well that no longe rapply to most young folks today trying to find work.

    Then we have the issue of defined contribution retirement vs defined benefit plans.
    Most folks aren’t even putting anything in to their retirement plan.
    And at the age of 65, the IRS will require taxes to be paid on those plans.

    So, ast o if we’ll have enough money int he long term to keep thigns going the way they currently work?

    I believe no, but would like to see what the rest of you have to say.

    Thank you for another awesome podcast and I look forward to the next one.

    I enjoy the stile of the new voices on the podcast as well, and like hearing all your different perspectives on the topics that come up for each show.

    Sincerely,

    Keith

    From Gary:

    Hi Joe,

    I listened to your excellent Serotalk podcast this evening. During your discussion of Braille, my impression was that you were coming very close to equating Braille and literacy. There is little question that were one suddenly able to become a proficient Braille user, few would decline the opportunity, including me. Braille is a skill I would like to have developed when I was young. However, when I did try to teach myself as an adult, my success was minimal. Even so, the little I did learn was very useful.

    Having acknowledged the point that being able to use Braille efficiently would be a very good thing and further knowing that young blind children learning Braille would be a good thing as well, please do not suggest that learning Braille is the only path to literacy. The notion that not knowing how to read and write using Braille is somehow equated with not being able to become fully literate is silly and quite wrong.

    I also think that is a deep rabbit hole you head down when you suggest that using readers or text to speech or other electronic methods is not reading. Since few written materials were originally produced in Braille, having them converted to Braille and then reading the Braille is not much different than having them converted to speech. You come close to arguing that your accommodation is better than my accommodation which is another one of those silly arguments.

    Thanks for the time and effort you and the others devote to making the podcast available to those of us who enjoy it a lot. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say.

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide this feedback.

    Gary Crow

    p.s. Your point about Braille and better spelling is quite likely very true.

    From William:

    i am pretty frustrated with Sero talk podcasts. I like getting information from serotalk but its become a chore to slog through long podcasts of often dubious conjecture about what Apple or Microsoft will do in the future in oreder to get to where some actual useful information is conveyed. How about splitting a 90 minute podcast into segments sent as separate episodes? That would allow us to spend our time on the stories and comments that were useful to us and skip over those stories or opinions that we may feel are wasting our time because they are of no particular interest to us?

    Secondly, on the matter of Braille, an opinion was expressed and agreed upon, that if one did not learn Braille one was illiterate. That comment was surely not meant to be as offensive and bigoted as it sounded to those of us who loss sight later in life and have never learned Braille proficiently. One who takes advantage of electronic text and does not know Braille is far from illiterate. I assume this comment was made in an off hand manner and was not well considered.

    I also found the comments on the future viability of social security disability benefits to be based in a lack of depth of understanding of this rather important but complex issue and seemed to reflect the commentators political bias then any real understanding of the issues involved.

    I would love to see SPN use its fantastic resource of talent to do “how to” podcasts”. How to use our dvices to the fullest, how to navigate unknown places, how to use excel as a blind person, for example, or any number topics where your resource of knowledgeable talent can be put to use making great tutorials. I think that would make SPN a real winner.

    sincerely,

    William Austin

    Special Note

    In response to the Braille feedback, there’s a blog post response here you can check out and join the dialogue.

    Get in Touch!

    Want to connect with our hosts? Tweet us! Katie @holnan, Laine @laine_amoureux, and Joe @ScribblingJoe.

    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please leave a comment on this post, e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in SeroTalk | 2 Comments

    The RunDown 5: Dunks, Pucks and Punks

    Listen to The RunDown 5: Dunks, Pucks and Punks

    The NBA playoffs have started, find out what your hosts think have been the most impressive stories so far.

    In the NFL, Adrian Peterson has been reinstated, we discuss if he will still be a Viking at the start of the NFL season?

    The NHL playoffs are also in full swing, we hear from one of our listeners as he gives us an update on his favorite team.

    The WWE is back in the news, and unfortunately for them, not for good reasons.

    JDR and A. Z. throw out their Technical’s of the week. Find out who gets a Taste this week.

    Check out the show and make sure to sound off on our different avenues!

    The audible book of the week is:
    The Brass Verdict by Michael Conelly. This is the second book in the Mickey Haller series. Get your free copy here!

    Get in Touch!

    Find us on Twitter @therundownsports Like us on Facebook Rundownradio.

    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport! You could end up on the show!

    Posted in Rundown Sportscast | Comments Off on The RunDown 5: Dunks, Pucks and Punks

    RWF 9: Joshua Loya – Martial Arts, Hypnosis, and Motivational Speaker

    Listen to RWF 9: Joshua Loya – Martial Arts, Hypnosis, and Motivational Speaker

    My guest this week is Joshua Loya ServantWarriorOnline.com

    Joshua is truly a multi-faceted individual. He is an accomplished martial artist with three black belts to his credit. He also is a practicing hypno therapist as well as a life coach and motivational speaker.

    Some of the topics we cover include;

    • Discovering martial arts
    • His first teacher
    • Baseman Josh
    • Guardian Martial Arts
    • Weapons training
    • Adaptive martial arts program
    • Teaching others makes you a better martial artist
    • Talk to Josh
    • Studying hypnosis
    • Some of his client successes
    • Being your personal best

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | 1 Comment

    On The Apple Watch, New Macbook and First Generation Devices

    Spring is upon us and with the weather improving some are engaged with the recently released accessible Apple Watch. Some say it will flop, some have already immortalized it as a smashing success, and the rest of us are taking the wait and see approach. Which, in my view is the only approach worth taking. In addition to the watch, Apple has launched an all new redesigned MacBook which is stirring up lots of discussion.

    In this post I will not be advising you to purchase a shiny new Apple watch, or futuristic MacBook, but I feel it is time for a retrospective on other first generation products, and how they have faired. For the purposes of this article we will examine previous releases of Apple products, . although we could easily find many examples from other well established companies.

    The first generation iPhone.

    In 2007 Steve Jobs announced the iPhone. It certainly wasn’t the first smart-phone on the market, but it brought internet connected phones into the conscience of most Americans. To this point most smart-phones and PDA’s (remember those) were running clunky versions of the now defunct Windows Mobile operating system. The iPhone brought a simple yet elegant OS coupled with Apple’s usual hardware excellence. Furthermore, it combined the necessity of a phone with the features of an iPod.

    As intriguing as it was, the iPhone had many short comings.

    • It could not send multi-media messages. (MMS)

    • It did not support 3G networks. That’s right 3G, not 4G.

    • You could not perform simple editing functions such as copy and paste.

    In short the first generation iPhone showed signs of the future, but fell short in many crucial areas.

    The first Generation iPad.

    In January 2010 Steve Jobs jump-started the tablet craze by announcing the iPad. To chart the iPad’s progress check out this review of all nine iPad’s released at the time of this writing. Like the iPhone, it was a good start, but it too had it’s limitations.

    • It had no camera. Front or rear-facing.

    • Their was a 3G option, but their was not a 4G LTE option.

    • It was only updated to IOS 5. Even the iPhone 3GS got IOS 6. Really Apple?

    The original iPad tells us at least a little about how Apple feels about it’s early adopters. Which is to say not much feeling At all.

    Other first generation Apple products.

    If these two devices aren’t enough to illustrate wariness toward 1.0 devices, search Google for reviews of the first Apple TV and Macbook Air. Like the iPhone and iPad these devices had some cool features, but they did not exude the longevity usually associated with Apple hardware–with the exception of the iPhone of corse. Furthermore, like most of Apple’s first run units they had major shortcomings. The original Macbook Air had many hardware sacrifices the world was not ready for–not unlike this new one port Macbook.

    What does the future hold?

    Know one can say for sure, but if you follow tech trends, you can form some ideas. More and more we are moving toward a mobile first life-style. The value of wearable technology and the internet of things has yet to be determined, and I can’t tell anyone what they should spend their hard earned cash on.

    I will not tell anyone to buy an Apple Watch, or 2015 Macbook, but I do advise taking a long hard look before placing your finger on the home button to activate Apple-Pay. If you have the disposable income, or you just plain don’t give a damn about longevity, then go for it. As for me, I’ll enjoy the toys I’ve got and try not to drool over the ones I don’t currently possess.

    Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on On The Apple Watch, New Macbook and First Generation Devices

    No Braille? No Literacy!

    On SeroTalk 227 we featured an article contemplating whether or not Braille was headed for obsolescence. The idea is not a new one. Everyone can agree technology is reshaping the way a blind person consumes information, but the debate prompts a larger question about whether or not there is a link between Braille and literacy. This point has also made its way around the block but is still igniting heated responses.

    The question could boil down to this: If you are a blind individual unable to read printed information, are you illiterate if you cannot read Braille?

    In today’s politically correct and overly polite society it’s easy to express hesitant opinions that fear offending opposing viewpoints. These opinions are sadly watered down and do nothing to stretch our intelligence. I have no interest in offending anyone, but as someone who has a high regard for your intellect, and as someone who enjoys spirited debate, I trust you will take me to task, and back up your arguments, if you disagree with my opinion that you would indeed be illiterate.

    We received the following responses shortly after the release of 227. Although these comments will be featured in their entirety as part of our regular Mailbag segment in 228, I offer the relevant statements here for the sake of a concentrated discussion of this touchy subject. The point here is not to pick on these individuals, or their comments, but rather to respond to thoughtful viewpoints likely shared by others in the community.

    I encourage you to listen to the episode in question to draw your own conclusions.

    From Josh:

    I also take some issue with Joe’s definition of literacy. As an avid reader of audio books, I believe that while reading is important, it doesn’t have to only mean recognition of how letters look. While I am not advocating for the use of audio books only, I don’t think the question should be either or, but both. I realized that reading textbooks in Braille was slo and absolutely inefficient for me in high-school. On the other hand, if I couldn’t read braille signage, I’d be in big trouble!

    My response:

    Perhaps your issue has more to do with my interpretation of literacy. I would not be so arrogant as to define what literacy means to the rest of the world, so for the sake of neutral reference points to frame the discussion, let’s consider a few independent sources.

    First, the National Assessment of Adult Literacy provides this definition: “Literacy is the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

    Regardless of where you stand on the debate, I think we can agree Braille can substitute references to printed information moving forward, yes?

    Second, because people argue the definition of literacy has evolved, here’s a definition offered by the Ohio Literacy Resource Center:

    “Defining literacy in our changing world is not easy. Several years ago, being literate meant being able to read and write a little. Now, being literate means being able to read and write at a level to be successful in today’s world and also being proficient at math, knowing how to use technology, and knowing how to solve problems and make decisions.”

    Now, Before you seize on that reference to technology as justification for why you’re right and I am wrong, I think we can agree “literacy” in the Center’s definition is being used as a link to competence in a given subject. For example, an engineer is most likely literate in mathematics.

    Finally, just in case you were disappointed not to see a standard dictionary entry, Oxford defines literacy simply as: “The ability to read and write.”

    Okay, let’s drill down a little more, because that’s the second time we see a reference to “reading”, so what is reading?

    A Houghton Mifflin Company site offers the following:

    “Reading is the process of constructing meaning from written texts. It is a complex skill requiring the coordination of a number of interrelated sources of information (Anderson et al., 1985). …

    “Even definitions of reading that emphasize meaning indicate that reading is activated by print. The reader must be able to translate the written words into meaningful language. Virtually all four- and five-year-old children can communicate with and learn from oral language, but very few can read, because they lack the ability to identify printed words. While simply being able to recognize or “say” the printed words of text without constructing the meaning of that text is not reading, constructing meaning from written text is impossible without being able to identify the words.”

    Okay, so there you go, some unbiased definitions, none of them from blindness resources, that both frame the discussion and make my point. Are there texts out there that refute these terms? Perhaps. Feel free to make use of the comments to offer them.

    Now, as to your point about Braille and inefficiency, I believe this is a lack of support by school districts that: 1) do not believe in Braille as a viable reading process; or 2) lack the resources to teach Braille. Neither of these is the affected student’s fault, but these factors should be all the more critically weighed to prevent more individuals from growing up illiterate.

    From Gary:

    I listened to your excellent Serotalk podcast this evening. During your discussion of Braille, my impression was that you were coming very close to equating Braille and literacy. There is little question that were one suddenly able to become a proficient Braille user, few would decline the opportunity, including me. Braille is a skill I would like to have developed when I was young. However, when I did try to teach myself as an adult, my success was minimal. Even so, the little I did learn was very useful.
    Having acknowledged the point that being able to use Braille efficiently would be a very good thing and further knowing that young blind children learning Braille would be a good thing as well, please do not suggest that learning Braille is the only path to literacy. The notion that not knowing how to read and write using Braille is somehow equated with not being able to become fully literate is silly and quite wrong.
    I also think that is a deep rabbit hole you head down when you suggest that using readers or text to speech or other electronic methods is not reading. Since few written materials were originally produced in Braille, having them converted to Braille and then reading the Braille is not much different than having them converted to speech. You come close to arguing that your accommodation is better than my accommodation which is another one of those silly arguments.

    My response:

    If Braille is not the only path to literacy for a blind person, what alternatives should we consider? You mention electronic methods. I disagree and will get to that in a moment. In 227 a point was made about raised letters, and I suppose that is another viable path to literacy. Yet, if there is a lack of resources to teach and produce Braille, I find it hard to believe there will be adequate resources to teach and produce raised text. Remember the lack of resources devoted to Braille is based in part on the notion that screen access software is replacing the need for blind individuals to learn a conventional reading method. In other words the lack of Braille support is partially based on an attitudinal perception about what is best for a blind person. Maybe the lack of Braille support is even driven by financial convenience since it might be easier to buy someone an iPad than it would be to send a teacher out to a location for proper Braille instruction.

    You suggest readers, text-to-speech and electronic methods provide an alternative path to literacy. First, these factors fall flat if you accept my contributed definitions of what it means to read. If you have a definition other than an interpretation of printed symbols, by all means share it in the comments, and let’s debate its merits.

    Second, since you mention readers and text-to-speech in the same sentence, I’m left to assume that by “readers” in this context you are referring to human readers. If Jack reads Jill a bedtime story, are you suggesting Jill is equally partaking in the reading process as Jack? I am going to submit that Jack is the only one reading. Jill is only listening, which leads to my final point.

    Third, let’s use an example of linguistics. Language proficiency exams test on writing, reading, and listening. There is a reason why there is an accepted difference between reading and listening. There is a different level of cognitive activity between the two methods. Or, is it your position that a blind person ought to be exempt from the reading requirement in such a scenario because, for a blind person, reading and listening are intertwined?

    Now, you make the point that “since few written materials were originally produced in Braille, having them converted to Braille and then reading the Braille is not much different than having them converted to speech.” If we’re drawing a direct comparison between Braille and print, print is print regardless of whether you’re looking at text on paper, splashed across a screen or scratched in dirt. Braille is Braille regardless of whether the bumps form letters on a display, a sign, or cobbled out of egg cartons. In short, the production process will differ, but the emphasis in our discussion is not the production process, but rather the consumption.

    You say I come close to arguing my accommodation is better than yours. I honestly don’t understand that argument and welcome you to elaborate so that I might better respond.

    From William:

    Secondly, on the matter of Braille, an opinion was expressed and agreed upon, that if one did not learn Braille one was illiterate. That comment was surely not meant to be as offensive and bigoted as it sounded to those of us who loss sight later in life and have never learned Braille proficiently. One who takes advantage of electronic text and does not know Braille is far from illiterate. I assume this comment was made in an off hand manner and was not well considered.

    My response:

    Bigotry refers to an unfair dislike or intolerance of other people or ideas. I never claimed to dislike, or be intolerant of, people who cannot read Braille. I may have a range of reasons for why I dislike certain people, but somehow being illiterate will never rank high on that list. Let’s have a hearty debate here, but let’s not put words in people’s mouths or throw out accusations that are as inconsiderate as the claim.

    The point is raised about people who are not proficient at Braille because they lost their sight later in life. Putting proficiency aside, a point could be made that if a person has some Braille instruction, they may be what is called functionally illiterate. According to Wikipedia: Functional illiteracy is reading and writing skills that are inadequate “to manage daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level”.

    I won’t expand too much on this point because it’s too likely we’d get sidetracked on issues of daily living, employability and overarching philosophies of blindness and independence. Suffice to say we could get into the weeds of degrees of literacy. I submit it’s a slippery slope and could create a cop-out for people not interested in forming their own definitive conclusion.

    It’s worth contemplating maybe our methods of learning Braille are insufficient. Reading Braille on an electronic display could be more convenient than reading it in a large physical volume. Reading Braille as part of a communication with other people could be a lot more enjoyable than reading a one-sided narrative. Braille communication can be as dry or as engaging as we make it, but make no mistake, it must be made a priority if we are to get good at it. Otherwise, we would have chucked our iDevice if we had not made learning the navigation of touch screens a priority.

    Final Thoughts

    Let’s see the discomfort for what it is. I believe people would generally agree the lack of Braille in some circumstances equates to illiteracy but feel offended to be called illiterate. This is cold comfort, but if this is you, then you are part of about 32 million Americans, or 14 percent of the population in the United States, according to the Department of Education in 2013. 19 percent of high school graduates cannot read. Surely we are not pretending the evolution of technology has single-handedly solved the literacy problem across the board? Has literacy become an illusion? Rather than draw flimsy links between listening skills and active reading, we might do well to get angry with such statistics and do more to promote literacy among our peers regardless of their visual impairment.

    Yes, there are some circumstances where Braille is not a viable option. There are medical conditions that would make the process of distinguishing dots difficult or downright impossible. Only you can decide if your impairment is genuine or self-imposed.

    Maybe it’s time to stop complaining about how your teachers didn’t offer it growing up and make it a point to learn it now. You’ll never lose anything by learning the skill.

    If you learned it but do not feel proficient at it, maybe it’s time to devote time to practicing it. You can’t really lose your literacy once you’ve gained it, just like you don’t ever really forget how to read Braille. It’s like riding a bike. Anyone can pound out the rust from any dormant skill if they want to bad enough.

    If you never learned Braille and have no other way of processing printed information, and if you’re okay with that, then embrace your illiterate self! Don’t let me or anyone else dictate what skills you should or should not possess to meet your personal definition of success, but don’t feed me this bologna that because you can listen to a book with VoiceOver reading more than 300 words a minute you are as literate as I am. I hate labels as much as you do, but the undeniable truth is this: I can also listen to a book with VoiceOver working at high speed, and, I can read Braille. So, who’s the real badass? 😛

    Okay, over to you. Hopefully I’ve lit enough of a fire under your butt to motivate a comment or two. If I’m right, back me up in light of the many others who will say I’m totally wrong! :) And, a huge thank you to Josh, Gary, and William for sharing their thoughts. If we always agreed on everything, life would be a pretty dull state.

    Posted in Blog | 31 Comments

    My Crystal Ball Repaired

    In a recent SeroTalk Extra I joined Mike Matt, hope and Derick for a roundtable discussion of smart watches, home automation and the future of the PC. I learned my lesson – BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING! Including Mike to interrupt the flow of thoughts & Jo to put me on the spot and ask for predictions… I failed miserably, but in an effort to redeem myself…

    Wearables

    According to a forecast published by Grand View Research the primary market for the smart watches is, and will continue to be, the health & fitness market. I don’t think this really comes as a surprise to anyone. The variety of sensors built into the watch have yet to prove their worth/ability, but in our ever health/exercise minded culture I think the smart watch manufactures have found a niche market, that has already proven its spending power. A CNet review covers the Watch in detail, and points out the major weakness is definitely the battery life. I however would not be surprised to see the Apple Watch revolutionise the world of health & fitness, much like the IPhone revolutionized the Smart Phone market in 2007. One thing we did not discuss in the recording was wearable accessibility. A few web searches have yielded nothing of value, for me, as it relates to accessibility of other devices. I’ve been able to locate information about how the app for the smart phone is accessible with the devices accessibility features, but nothing on the devices actual accessibility. That is, except for when looking at the Apple Watch. Since just before the release on April 10th, and since, there have been a few reviews on Apple Watch Accessibility. One of my favorites is “Apple Watch and Accessibility: First Look and More” by Steven Aquino.

    Life or Death of the PC

    Much like the Apple Watch, Pebble and other smart wearables are accessories to the smart phone, I think that the smart phone/tablet are, and will remain, accessories to the PC in the near future. While most high school students I have spoken to recently believe that the computer is dead, they reluctantly admit that there are still things they have to do on the computer because it is just easier. They write drafts of papers on their smart phone or tablet, but they need to, or prefer to, use the computer to put the finishing touches on it. If you’re looking for a wearable device that would replace your computer, tablet, smart phone and smart watch consider checking out the Neptue Suite Hub project on Indiegogo.

    Life or Death of Access Technology

    It seems as though it is impossible to have a discussion regarding the life or death of the PC without also having one on the life or death of access technology these days. Everywhere we turn mainstream companies are building access technologies into their devices. This is great! However, it is important to keep in mind that to mainstream companies we are, at best, 15% of their market base, and that access to a device is different than the usability or learn ability of the device and its access features. A 2013 report by Gartner Inc. encourages companies to integrate assistive technology into development. The report explains how features, once considered assistive technology for people with disabilities (PWD), are now being used by non-disabled people to solve situational/environmental disabilities, which expands the access, or assistive, technology use to a larger market.

    The access technologies that have been built in, in many cases, have been designed for the casual alternative access user, not the every day user who accesses the devices with alternative strategies and tools. People without disabilities use things like Siri differently than someone who cannot use his/her hands or eyes to interact with a device. Siri is a great solution for speech-to-text for a able bodied person driving a car, but not for a quadriplegic. The text-to-speech feature of Siri is great for a sighted driver, who needs/wants quick text-to-speech response from his/her device but is not the same as VoiceOver, and gaining access to the device for someone who is blind. Don’t get me wrong, I love VoiceOver on my IOS device, and it gets the every day job done, but there is still much to be desired, in my opinion.

    While Mike and Matt rightly point out that mainstream companies are moving to a system in which 3rd party access technologies are being cut out, like the Apple ecosystem, I don’t think that the day of 3rd party access is over. Do these mainstream companies get it? Do they really understand how people with disabilities access their devices? I don’t think they quite get it yet. One of two things needs to happen, in my opinion; either access technology companies need to quit complaining and start innovating to keep up with the trends, or they need to start applying for management positions within the mainstream companies and start building teams of engineers who do get it, and can work from the inside to build access solutions that do not just give access to the devices, but deliver true usability with an easy learning curve.

    Home Automation

    I’ve clearly had some more time to think on this topic. However, I have nothing new to add to my thoughts in the recording. Home automation is not even on my technology radar. Maybe it should be, but our environment, and experiences, shape our interests, and I trust the little old lady across the street far more than I trust tech. If I forget to turn the crock pot on before leaving for work, and I call her to run over and turn it on, not only will I get dinner but she’ll probably bake cornbread or cookies or something to add to the meal. Lets see your home automation system do that! :)

    Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness and Low Vision, Blog | Comments Off on My Crystal Ball Repaired

    The RunDown 4: Thrillers and showdowns!

    Download The RunDown 4: Thrillers and showdowns! or use the audio player below the notes to listen.

    The audible book suggestion of the week is The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Conelly. Get it for free at AudiblePodcast.com/SeroTalk.

    In this week’s show we cover the end of the regular season in the NBA as well as Golf’s latest news and latest sensation Jordan Speith. We also discuss what JDR will have to do since his team the Rockets lost to the Spurs two games in a row. The Manny Pacquiao VS. Floyd Mayweather fight draws closer and the price to watch the fight is ridiculous, find out if your hosts will be watching and what they think of this fight. We end the show with our Technical fouls of the week!

    Get in Touch!

    Find us on Twitter @therundownsports Like us on Facebook Rundownradio.

    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in Rundown Sportscast | Comments Off on The RunDown 4: Thrillers and showdowns!

    3 Reasons to Avoid Low-balling Your Business Rates

    Two weeks ago we talked about how helping our customers meet their goals can also help us meet our own. We saw how doing that develops loyalty and a mutual win for both businesses.

    In the comment area, Joe brought up some really good points of caution. There was mention of not taking it to extremes, or get in the business of providing pro bono work. We are in business, and have to pay for groceries just like the next person.

    While I whole-heartedly believe in having an ethic of doing more than agreed upon is a success model, and which many businesses have founded and maintained their success, there are indeed some temptations to watch out for. This is especially true if just starting out.

    Let’s face it, when running head-to-head with competition in a new venture, we need to find a benefit that makes us stand out differently than our competitors.

    Perhaps it’s a higher quality product or service, a unique product or methodology no one else has or does, a longer guarantee, a faster turnaround, or the ever popular attractive pricing structure.

    It seems freebie work or severely undercut rates are the popular baits many startups offer their customers, and the customer is more than happy to nibble away until there’s nothing left but an empty hook, only to move on to the next fishing line dangling in the water.

    Trust me, we don’t want those types of customers anyway. We want customers and clients who respect us for who we are and what we offer, who see our expertise as an investment in their sales or tool of success, not something they randomly pick off the shelves of Wal-Mart.

    With that said, here are…

    3 Reasons to Avoid Low-balling Your Business Rates

    1. Establishing precedence.

    Let’s say you are just starting out in the physical training and consultation business. Your overhead is low with mostly just your time and experience as the heart of your business. You really have no expenses to meet at the end of the month, so you got some wriggle room on your fees.

    You have zero customers, the phone hasn’t rung, the inbox is empty, analytics show web traffic is low, and you are really anxious to get started.

    One day while standing in the grocery line, you strike up a conversation with a shopper who has been advised by their doctor to undergo some exercise. They are complaining, because they have no idea of what to do or how to start.

    Oh boy-oh boy-oh-boy-oh boy! A potential customer!

    You aren’t doing much anyway, so you fall into temptation of giving this person a $10 per session deal sort of willy-nilly right there, instead of the going rate of $50 per hour.

    What do you think he or she will tell friends and family after you’ve given some fantastic training? It will be…

    “Hey, if you need personal training, go to this person, they are only $10 per session.”

    When we set precedence, we put ourselves in a box. Plus, when realization comes to raise rates and fees, we run the risk of offending and losing that customer. Not only that, the word of mouth to friends and family will now work against us, not for us.

    So, what seemed like a good idea, might not be so good in the end.

    We do often see reasonable introductory rates, or sometimes “buy one session get another at half off the next one,” but those are typically promoted with a predetermined expiration date or limited to the first X amount of people. There is some structure to it so people aren’t offended when it goes to regular pricing. They understand going in it is a structured limited offer.

    2. Self-confidence.

    Let’s say you are looking for that first personal training client, and decide to offer a freebie to your pastor, brother-in-law, or neighbor down the road. And to gain some experience you decide to do a number of those.

    You might even think it’s a good idea to do freebies in exchange for testimonies you can put up on your website.

    The problem with that is, in a time when you are most vulnerable in wondering how you will do in business, subconsciously your confidence could be taking a hit. You might be subconsciously thinking people are getting what they paid for, nothing. The longer you go, the more distanced you can feel from your expertise. You’ll likely begin to doubt your value. Questions enter your mind whether you are worth as you once thought.

    Then, when you think of the rates you should be commanding, you might hear yourself say, “Who am I to think I’m worth that much? “It can begin to work on your psyche.

    That my friend, is not a place you want to go.

    It is true you’ll get some good comments and accolades, that is always nice, but the bank account is still at zero.

    It is human nature to think you get what you pay for, and that belief is not limited to the customer. It can have an effect on you as well. Do that long enough, and you’ll begin to doubt your abilities and value. Eventually, your work and enthusiasm will suffer.

    Am I saying to not plan for some intro work? To come out of the gate demanding the highest fees and rates?

    No. There are times we enter into a so called internship, or getting our feet wet and hands dirty without full pay, but again, these are predetermined, controlled terms. We control them, not bargain hunters looking to lead us by the ring in the nose.

    If you plan to develop your own internship as an entrepreneur, make it short, include it as part of your goals, outline what you will do and how much, and stick to your deadline of when it will end.

    Refuse to give in to bargain hunter’s counter-offers when your internship is over, and stick to what you are worth. Know in your own mind you are consciously doing this for a reason, find your value in it, and move on.

    This is where, if you are that personal trainer for example, you might offer some bonus material. Maybe you offer to e-mail them a pre-formatted training journal, a couple articles on nutrition, a report on the best times of the day to work out, or a link to videos on warm up routines.

    What are we doing here? We’re helping them meet their goal with some information we have around anyhow, but not sacrificing our rates. They find extra value in meeting their goals, and you are giving up little.

    In fact, you might even have it part of your business planned to give everyone that information kit as new clients, but it appears to the customer they are being treated special, because it is not promoted on your website.

    3. Market pricing.

    As an entrepreneur, it is a good habit to look at the extremes of a situation. Doing so really helps clear the lines of possibilities and pitfalls. Don’t hang out there, but use it for perspective.

    One extreme to look at when low-balling pricing is asking yourself, “What if everyone did this? What if everyone used pricing to lure in would be customers?”

    The answer is slave labor.

    I’ve seen this as a performing songwriter, in the freelance writing field, and to some degree even way back when I was in the roofing game.

    For instance, go take a look at elance.com or odesk.com. It is loaded with bargain hunters looking to pay freelancers next to nothing for their expertise.

    And why? Because they know if freelancers are hanging out there, they are likely just starting out, or for whatever reason, are willing to work for peanuts.

    For instance, writing an 800 to 1000 word case study for someone on elance.com or odesk.com might earn you $48 – $60 at $0.06 per word.

    That same case study written for a savvy business owner could earn you $500 – $1500 depending on how much interview work and research goes into it.

    This is a generalization of these types of sites.

    The former business looks at your work as an expense, so they are looking for a bargain. They see it as X amount of words costing them X amount of dollars.

    The latter savvy business owner sees your work as an investment or tool. She sees that work converting to tens of thousands of sales, so your rates are a drop in the bucket. If you deliver as she expects, the investment to profit ratio is a joke and she’ll pay you that all day long.

    Or, what if you are that personal trainer. A client can look at your expertise as an extension of their doctor’s prescription, and expense an insurance company won’t pay for.

    Or, they could look at it as an investment in their health. Instead of paying tens of thousands in medical co-pays and prescriptions, not to mention higher insurance rates for the rest of their life after a major health incident, they are saving money and feeling full of energy and great every day.

    Realize that when we accept low paying jobs, we help to bring the entire market down. No doubt that will effect us later when we want to command pay we’re really worth. The bottom-line here is to make a calculated start up plan and follow through. Resist the temptation to work for ridiculously low rates, even when it means you miss out on that $60 elance job.

    If you are going to give your work away, do it for your favorite charitable organization where you can find good Samaritan value in it and possibly a statement of value from the organization which you can use for your taxes.

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Blog, Entrepreneurship | 3 Comments

    DOKY iPhone App: Non-Visual Reading and Editing Structured Documents

    You may find the following item of interest if you are a mobile technology user and are looking for an alternative means to edit documents.

    The original message follows:

    Dear Member

    In the frame of his Ph.D. project Martin Dorigo developed a novel system for reading and editing structured documents in a non-visual way on mobile and wearable devices. This App is called DOKY and it is available for Apple iPhone, iPad and Android devices!

    DOKY provides you amongst others the following 3 unique key features:

    1. A fast overview over the document structure
    2. A fast skim and scan over the document content
    3. Move, remove and insert elements and text

    He would like to invite you to test his system. It will take you 15 minutes only:

    1. Please go to the Apple AppStore or Android PlayStore and search for DOKY (written with Y).
      Or use the following links:
      http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/doky/id975186203
      http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ch.dorigo.doky
    2. Install and start the DOKY app
    3. Follow the spoken instructions

    In order to reach significant results the participation of a lot of people is required. May I ask you to forward this message to many others.

    Please test DOKY until April 30th 2015. With your valuable assistance the reading and editing of structured documents will be revolutionized!

    Thank you so much and kind regards,

    Martin Dorigo

    Posted in Blog | Comments Off on DOKY iPhone App: Non-Visual Reading and Editing Structured Documents

    RWF 8: Tracy Reifkind: Queen of the Swing

    Listen to RWF 8: TRACY REIFKIND: QUEEN OF THE SWING

    My guest this week is Tracy Reifkind of www.giryastrength.com She is known world wide as “the queen of the kettlebell swing”.

    At age 41 she totally transformed her body losing over 100pounds! Now, 10 years later she looks and feels better than ever.

    In this inspiring and fun interview we discuss;

    • The chubby girl
    • Learning through exposure
    • Life was good
    • Dodging the bullet
    • Stop doing what’s keeping you fat
    • Getting excited about it
    • Discovering the kettlebell swing
    • Tracy’s system
    • How the first DVD happened
    • “The Round About”
    • The book
    • Tracy’s message

    Check out Tracy’s blog

    Contact Bill!

    To submit questions to Bill Kociaba, drop him a note at kociabafitness@gmail.com. You can also visit his site at kociaba-fitness.com. Or, feel free to leave your comment below. You may also use your iBlink Radio app to leave an iReport.

    Posted in Real World Fitness | 1 Comment

    Tech Tip: One Way to Synchronize Your Favorites

    Do you want to be able to access your favorite websites across Internet Explorer, Firefox, iOS and OSX across different devices? This is not the quickest method, but nor does it involve the alternative registry tweak that is too likely to lead to problems if you flick the wrong setting by accident.

    Before starting, I’m going to assume you are: 1) at least an intermediate computer user; 2) using a PC as a starting point; and 3) currently using a file sharing service like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll stick to Dropbox as a reference point moving forward.

    OK, first, in Dropbox, create a folder called “Favorites.”

    Now, in Windows, we need to change the default location of where your Favorites are stored. Currently your Favorites will be located in your User folder:

    C:\Users[User Name]

    • Right click on Favorites.
    • Click on Properties.
    • Move to the Location tab and browse to the Favorites folder in Dropbox you just created.

    This is important: If you do not select the Favorites folder, your links will end up scattered all over your Dropbox amid your other files, and while it is possible to reverse the process, it’s completely unnecessary to make that mistake.

    Okay, boom, your favorite links now reside in the new Favorites folder in Dropbox, which means you can now access the same links via Internet Explorer on any PC where you have Dropbox installed, right? Not so fast. You will need to change the default location for Favorites in subsequent Windows machines as well, because those subsequent machines are still pointing to the default location. Yes, you only have to do this once.

    You with me so far?

    Okay, the problem is that the default Favorites folder links to Internet Explorer. If you’re like me and switch between IE and Firefox, you need to create a bridge between the two browsers so that the Favorites you see in IE are the same Favorites you see in Firefox, and the simple answer is the Plain Old Favorites add-on in Firefox. Download it, install it and enjoy accessing, adding and reviewing the same Favorites no matter whether you choose IE or Firefox. Since your add-ons travel with your Firefox profile, as long as your Firefox profile is loaded in additional machines, you’ll retain the same access to Favorites no matter the PC you’re using.

    Still hanging in there?

    Great! Now, how do you suppose you synchronize your Favorites between the PC and, say, your iDevice? If your mental answer was iCloud! you would be correct.

    Download and install iCloud to your PC, tell it to synchronize Favorites, and enjoy Favorites across Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari on iOS and OSX.

    Okay, after reading all that, you want to hear the kicker? You could theoretically use EverSync to do the same, including Android and Chrome, but as I have not tested the app for accessibility, I cannot personally recommend it just yet. Hence, that is why I began by pointing out this would not be the quickest method, but it’s the strategy I’ve been employing thus far and it has served me well.

    Thoughts? Alternative methods? Leave them in the comments!

    Posted in Blog | 4 Comments

    A blind weekend at the Godfrey Hotel

    The bus lurches to one lane and the other as my driver and I plow down the highway like we are on a heist.

    “Where you go again?” the driver asks as he screeches to a halt before the light flashes red ahead of us. When my head springs back onto my neck I give him a smile, wondering if any other riders of this short bus understand that we’re in captivity with a very radical driver, who’s possibly a dog lover and republican.

    “I’m going to The Godfrey, sir.”

    “oh! is that hotel?” the driver asks sincerely. I retract my statement about being a dog lover. He’s definitely asexual.

    I am on my way to The Godfrey in Chicago, a place I am sure, that’s packed with people who know how to be fancy and high class, whereas I know how to be lower middle class. Before this trip, I even looked up classy in the dictionary so that way I could have all the knowledge I’d need to blend into this wholesome environment.

    I am staying at The Godfrey thanks to the wonderful folks in the PR department. Their emails were shiny and it didn’t include anything about going libertarian so I accepted the days that they chose for me.

    Bouncing along the cold Chicago streets, I wonder what a fancy hotel will have. I’m sure it will have room service and a host of ebony men who I can’t flirt with because they are on the job. I wonder how much accessibility features this hotel will have though. I don’t know. I have saved all of the links the PR department gave me a few days ago to look at after the stay, to see if everything adds up, as if I am the singular soul who can judge accessibility. I know I can’t be that singular person, however, simply because I don’t have the best looking hair and the disability community needs excellent hair to represent them.

    Finally, after a few more lurches and tire squeals, the spunky driver tells me that we have, indeed, arrived at The Godfrey hotel. My heart doesn’t understand this yet because it begins to pump even faster, as if I am facing immediate death.

    As soon as the driver opens the door to the short bus, a bellman materializes out of thin air, sticks his head in and asks for a Mr Kingett. I spring up like I am in a drill line and ready my bags, a backpack and a short suitcase. The bellman helps me down the steps and I tap alongside him to the entrance of the hotel, where I’d be housed for two days. He’s exceptionally friendly. I wonder if he knows that I eat meat.

    We’re very chatty going to the front desk, where I am checked in by a man named Frank. When my stay is confirmed, I am taken to my room.

    The Godfrey is a hotel, not of mystery and intrigue, but comfort. Even though my good eye is swiveling to the left and the right, as I am wondering where we’re going, unable to see in the dim hall lighting, the carpet is so fluffy and soft that I don’t even hear our footfalls as we step towards an elevator that doesn’t talk. The elevator whisks me up to my floor. Soon, I am marveling at how easy it is to slide the key card in and I am soon in my sanctuary.

    Once I am in my room, the adventure begins. Tapping my way along the carpeted floor, I pass by a small counter with empty wine glasses on it. A pitcher of water rests beside the glasses, begging to be sipped. I am utterly amazed that I haven’t done anything radical, like dance around my plush room.

    Naturally, I want to find the most important arsenal in a travelers toolkit. The thermostat. This proves to be quite the challenge, as I don’t have any knowledge of what the thermostat looks like. It also, doesn’t talk, so I can’t quite just randomly mash buttons I find on panels around my apartment, for fear that I will cause the hotel to be on the evening news.

    For some reason, my quest takes me into a brightly lit bathroom, where, I am very pleased to see that there’s epic smelling shampoo resting in a tidy beaker on the sink. The floor is a dark mahogany, which provides wicked contrast, all the more better when I am hunting for my sock I am sure I will lose when I get out of the shower tonight. This bathroom has everything I’d expect to see in a bathroom for the disabled. Bars that look as if this is a training Dojo rather than a place to read books, an easy to open shower door, and isolation for when tone deaf people start singing.

    I exit the bathroom again and browse for the thermostat in my plush room. It has to be here somewhere, it just has to be in here somewhere.

    Though I don’t find it, I set my mind to checking out the hotel after connecting to their wireless network. I am amazed that I don’t have to squint too much walking down the hallways. The halls stretch and curve, with speckled dots of tiny bulbs just above my head. While they don’t light up the hall enough to where I can navigate by sight, there are big patches of light near the elevator. This definitely helps in navigating.

    My stay at the hotel is quiet. As I rest in my room, walk around the hotel, and meet some very interesting people without life insurance, it is soon Sunday morning and I have to leave. I am even more amazed at how lost I became resting in the bed, and dining in their open restaurant.

    The restaurant, I am proud to say, is delicious. I didn’t make it to breakfast, but I did make it to lunch and dinner, where I feasted on every type of burger from the traditional cheese burger to a delicious French burger with blue-cheese that made me moan aloud, making people wonder if I have life insurance.

    Sunday rolls around sooner than I’d like, and I soon have to pack up and leave my epic room, complete with a crafty thermostat. As I approach the elevators, ready to depart, I thwack a woman in sandles who smells as if she took a dip in chocolate.

    “oh. Excuse me.” I say. “I’m sorry. I’m just trying to get on the elevator.”

    “yeah. You and the rest of us kid.”

    “what do you mean the rest of us?” as soon as I ask that question, I look around to see that the hall is filled with people. We’re stuck on the tenth floor.

    We stand there for twenty minutes more, me wishing I had life insurance, before I address the crowd.

    “I have an idea! Why don’t we take the stairs!” even though my CP will kill me as a thank you for walking down stairs, I don’t want to stay rooted in this hallway forever. Luckily, everyone agrees with my logic and soon, we are off to the stairs.

    The stairs are what freaks me out. They are very thin, and small, and everywhere is white. The sun streams in flooding our skin with a wash of light as we descend. Behind me, a black guy watches me like a hawk in case I fall down or look like I will fall down.

    Finally, we reach the bottom.

    “alright dudes!” a black guy says as he readies his key card. “this should work!” with a flourish, he swipes the key card against the machine. Nothing happens.

    “what’s going on?” I inquire.

    Looks like my card don’t work!” he exclaims sounding as if he’s surprised the Easter Bunny doesn’t exist. A blonde woman tries. Nothing. I try. Nothing. Now, we’re stuck in a stairwell.

    We whip out our cells and try to get signal. I don’t know about anybody else, but I don’t have any signal, nor life insurance. The few who do manage to get signals place a futile call to the managers of the hotel, asking for a rescue and why none of our keys work. As it turns out, keys only work on our floor we’re assigned.

    It’s a good twenty minutes before we are rescued. As the time passes, I chat with Jake, the black guy who stood behind me going down the stairs. He is a music agent. There’s woman who thinks I am adorable, and she makes me blush. There’s another black guy who flirts with me in the stairwell and I exchange emails with him. There’s a woman who’s hysterical and believes we’re locked in here permanently. She has life insurance.

    When all of us are rescued, we race to the brightly lit circular lobby. I admit, compared to getting good life insurance, and meeting epic people in a stairwell, I am glad I chose the latter this weekend. The accessibility is something to behold, certainly, but the adventure is much better. Better than the dashing food and striking black managers who work there.

    I think the hotel should change it’s motto to “stairs are but an adventure.” it would be accurate, and better still, it would be a clever hint to the fun someone could have at the Godfrey hotel;.

    Posted in Blog | Comments Off on A blind weekend at the Godfrey Hotel

    SeroTalk 227: These Raised Dots Spell Controversy

    Download SeroTalk 227: These Raised Dots Spell Controversy or use the audio player below the show notes to tune in.

    On this episode, the audiobook recommendation from Audible comes to us via Katie, who recommends Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz, which you can download for free at AudiblePodcast.com/SeroTalk.

    SPN has been growing in leaps and bounds. Would you rather only receive the material you care about? Check out our Subscriptions page to sign up for the specific content you want.

    Tech Headlines

    These are the tech headlines that popped up since we last got together:

    Microsoft’s new Surface 3 tablet: Hands-on review

    Verizon Wireless Customers Can Now Opt Out of ‘Supercookies’

    TrueCrypt security audit is good news, so why all the glum faces?

    Microsoft will not enable Do Not Track by default in Project Spartan

    Apple Watch for Sale in Retail Stores by Reservation Only, No Walk-In Sales

    Apple will let you trade in your Android phone toward a new iPhone

    Gmail for Android Gets a Combined Inbox View, Better Search, and More

    Want to secure your social info? Facebook shows you how

    Amazon takes on Angie’s List with handymen for hire

    Comcast Speeding Up Its Broadband With 2-Gigabit Fiber Service

    Samsung patents tech that lets you control your phone with your eyes

    9th Circuit rules Netflix isn’t subject to disability law

    Accessibility Talk

    Don’t forget! Registration for the 8th annual ACVO/StokesRx National Service Animal Eye Exam opens April 1

    Of course, the announcement may be irrelevant since ‘Robot on reins’ could soon replace guide dogs

    Facebook Wants Your Business To Learn From Its Accessibility Efforts. You’ll note Joe expresses a bit of skepticism. Of course, after recording, the AFB’s AccessWorld® comes out with a positive take on the site’s accessibility. Check that out here.

    Elsewhere in tech accessibility, or evolution, we have Five years ago the iPad changed clicks to touches – but another tablet revolution is coming.

    And on a more serious note, here are 7 huge disability issues you may not know about, or at least your general peers may not be aware of them.

    And, it seems the question persists: Is Braille Obsolete?

    By the way, did you hear our very own Laine is being honored this month? Laine Amoureux – National Achievement Awards

    Human Interest

    In human interest, A Blind Mman Flies a Plane for the First Time But, what about everyone else? When You Realize You’ll Never Get Your Dream Job.

    From the Mailbag

    From Juan:

    Hi guys,
    Thank you for your good work. A shout out goes to my paisano Joe Orozco, and another shoutout to the pretty ladies who make The podcast possible. I liked the comment about how Audible portrays hispanics with a thick accent. I live in California, but when I attended the Louisiana Center for the blind, I received negative feedback from those around me over there, as they weren’t accustomed to being around a Mexican American. I do believe that as being blind and Mexican-American, I am as equal as those who are black, white, Asian and cited.

    On another thought, I enjoy the way you guys present the Podcasts With brief useful information, and thoughts about the articles; and on the same time not get off tangent. I also like how you guys have provided more of the users’ feedback publicly, as a lot of the topics that you present are very sensitive in the blind community. And sometimes need more discussion from several points of view, so that we can all be educated, and feel better about Sensitive issues.
    I could say more, but then I would be publishing a free book online.

    Keep up the good work.

    Sincerely,

    Juan Avila

    From Jenine,

    Hello Joe, Katie and Laine,

    Joe, thank you for noting that your article’s title was more about the marketing than the actual sentiment that guide dogs are necessarily a bad idea.

    OK, let me put on my school hat here and say that I work in the Consumer Services department of the Guide Dog Foundation and America’s VetDogs. We serve people with guide and service dogs and my job is talking to those who are considering partnering with a dog for a variety of needs.

    I like your points, Joe, and often point out such things myself. I’ve heard the argument that the guide dog school literature can be cloying and overly syrupy about our experiences with the dogs. Yes, this can be true to a point but most of us will admit that we are pretty psyched when that brand new dog allows us to do something we’d never been able to do before and we can’t help but gush about it. I think many of those gooey sentements are heart felt and true at the time. Then we return to our normally cynical grumpy selves and realize we were blathering. grin

    That said, I think another thing that gets people into trouble when considering any type of assistance dog is that we do make the dog life style look so good, so comfortable and easy that it sure can smell like The Cure!

    “If I just a dog, I’ll be able to get around without being scared or nervous or just frustrated.”

    I see many people who do fairly well at the limited mobility tasks they have but want to do more. Most who come to guide dog class are ready but some are not. I try to explain to people that the difference between getting there with a cane and with a dog is like riding a bicycle versus driving a car. the car is going to go a lot faster with more force and though you’re in control to a point, the car will also behave as it will given physics.

    There’s another saying I love from a guide dog instructor. “You have to learn to skate before you can play hockey.” that was said of the process it takes to be ready for a guide dog.

    The conflicts created by denial of access can hit people hard. You’re on this high and then someone utters that phrase “No dogs!”

    Even if it’s a simple misunderstanding, if you are not ready for it or you have never really learned to deal with conflict, it can seem like the end of the world. this is very true for some of the people we serve who have hidden disabilities. They have the dogs to assist with social anxiety and Voila! Having the dog causes social anxiety. It’s a jarring thing.

    We are one of the programs that has shortened its training time to 2 weeks. I can say, because it’s a huge part of my job, that we have not lessened the amount of training we give people on the ADA and other laws and public access. that said, there is never enough time to fully discuss and remember all of those things during the standard 3.5 week class much less a shortened time frame.

    Your point about contacting your school for assistance is great! that’s my job in part as well, to help people figure out what to do about violation of their rights, or if their rights were in fact violated.
    U
    Sadly, so many people seem to be afraid of their guide dog schools. We grant ownership upon graduation and still people are afraid to call us because they think if they have done something wrong, we will take their dogs away. We don’t have that power. We don’t want to take anyone’s dog away either, too much paperwork. grin

    Seriously though, it’s got to be a partnership and if you feel it isn’t, the good news is that you have choices in this country, unlike many other areas of the world.

    Is a guide dog right for everyone? Obviously not or everyone would have one. It’s a huge commitment and there are days, especially with a new young dog as I have, when I wonder what I was thinking. Then we negotiate some tricky obstacle and I remember why I have him. I’ve also become a much better cane user since getting a dog. I can’t exactly explain why but it happened.

    So everyone enjoy your mobility choices and remember, practice makes, if not perfect, at least pretty darn good.

    Thanks Jenine, and here are some relevant articles you guys may enjoy reading on the subject of service animals:

    From Brad:

    Interesting items again this time crew.

    Glad you didn’t apologize for your dog-gone dog comments Joe. You got people reading with that ear-turnign headline, a marketers trick there. But, you got people to dig in why it is good to have a dog, you sly dog you. Oops, pun intended I guess.

    I found the topic of opting out of restoring sight if given an opportunity pretty interesting. I’ve heard others say that too.

    Me? I’d do it yesterday. There are limits to invasive techniques I’d never do however. But, give me eyeballs, and I’d relearn whatever I needed to. I realize I’ve spent over half my life thus far as a sighted person, so I know that weighs in huge. I might not feel the same when the scale tips toward the other side a bit.

    That said, I don’t go around flinching at every article that talks about hope for us RP folks either, spend my days boo-whooing feeling sorry for myself, or giving up on life today with it’s opportunities and activities just because I have a vision issue.

    I’ve ran the gamut on emotions over many years starting as a fully sighted person all the way to what I guess would be considered light perception. Blurry shapes and hues to either help me with mobility, or pulling an unsuspecting half-sighted joke on me if I allow it. There’s a ton of us out there, and not just RP folks either.

    I understand Joe’s apprehension on losing usable sight, and the disappointment or adjustment needs to follow.

    I remember one particular time years back when RP was more clinically documented than a daily life changing deal for me. My wife and I were all jazzed up about taking up racquetball.

    We were financially strapped as a younger couple with two single-digit aged kids, and this was a big deal for us. We really were jazzed about joining the YMCA and having a weekly date wacking the snot out of each other on the racquet court.

    So, we get on our garb, head to the reserved court, and grip those racquets with GI Joe’s Kung Fu grip… not you Joe, we know you could easily wup up on the real-life GI Joe just by staring him down. Anyway…

    The gentleman I am, I let my wife wack the ball first while half-crouching facing the far end of the court ready to do business.

    All I heard was the whop of her racket, an echo on the wall in front of me, and the ball bouncing around like popcorn in an air popper.

    I didn’t see a freakin’ thing. It never occurred to me at that point, with RP I’d never see a fast moving ball, much less track it.

    With my wife saying, “What’s wrong, why didn’t you hit it?” I had to explain there was no way I was going to be able to do this.

    I felt like crying like a baby with its bottle plucked from its sucking mouth. I felt like I’d let her down, like I let her believe a lie, like I disappointed her; and yet it wasn’t my fault. I was taken in just like she was that this was going to be a new activity for us.

    Rpers have the distinct privilege of fielding many different stages of loss, and we have an excellent opportunity to crawl in a whole and not come out if we so choose.

    But, we also find our strength, resourcefulness, and maybe even get a little hacked off and determined when we’ve had enough of this limited-life bulldung.

    In the end, yes, blindness is a nuisance, well, sometimes more, sometimes there is advantages, but overall a nuisance.

    But we go on, life is good, and we have opportunity to achieve our goals in spite of it and serve hopefully as role models to those who watch us from a distance. Somehow, it all works out if we want it to.

    Good job again this time boy and girls.

    SeroTalk Extra Feedback

    Listen to our SeroTalk Extra Tech Chat Edition episode.

    From Mike Arrigo:

    Enjoyed the show about the Apple watch. I won’t be getting one for several reasons. For one thing, I usually don’t buy the first version of anything, I would rather wait and let them work the bugs out first.
    Second, I just don’t see the point. What would a watch give me that my phone doesn’t already do? It may sell at first just because it’s a new thing, but I agree that it’s a solution in search of a problem.
    I think Mike is right about IOS 8. It’s ok now, but I am so glad I waited until after several updates before leaving IOS 7. Even on mac OS 10.10, there are still a few issues that it has compared to 10.9. If Steve were still here, I’m sure he would have never tolerated that kind of quality.

    From Dave:

    Hi, Dave from Vincennes In.
    One comment as far as pc versis mobile phone/tabs. I like 3rd party s.a’s because of the bigger variety of voices. You don’t have that option of 3rd party voices with mobile phones or tabs. With maybe, one exception. I was attrackted to My Iphone because right from the factory it had some voices so I can opporate the phone and alot of apps. I like neo vlice paul for my lap top wich, is a windows computer but Paul is not available for my Iphone. Keep up the great work Serotech!

    From Ken:

    Hello SeroTalk Team,

    Introduction

    I normally restrict comments for podcasts like SeroTalk to resources for people asking for help finding products or services. My views tend towards the unpopular and since I am not within the Assistive Technology community are condescendingly dismissed as being from an uninformed dullard. This is a simplified paraphrase of the adtual comments about the points that I make but the purport is correct.

    Personal History on Commenting

    Several years ago, I sent a question to Joe Steinkamp for another SeroTalk tech chat type show. He asked for questions from the community. VoiceOver NVDA and mobile platforms were touted as soon killing off proprietary third party Windows screen readers at the time. Mr. Steinkamp did a reasonable job of expressing my views. My points were:
    · The Mac was not widely used in the workplace and was not robust enough for it
    · NVDA was not robust enough for the workplace and did not appear to be developing fast enough to be a viable workplace solution in the near future
    · Mobile platforms were and still are poor environments for creating professional level documents.
    My question was just how realistic was it for people planning to work outside of the Assistive Technology and blind support services industries to abandon the third party Windows screen readers? My cautions were dismissed because I was unduely pessimistic about the rate of change for the technologies and only a dullard would raise the issue.

    I have had similar responses when commenting beyond simply offering resources in other cases.

    Vindication

    I am glad that a large part of the SeroTalk team of experts have come around to my views on the death of Windows and the end of laptops and desktops.

    Screen Reader Double Standard

    I beg to differ with Mike Calvo about not holding Operating System screen reader developers like Apple to the same standard as third party Windows screen reader developers. If Matt Campbell is correct about the convergents’ of desktop and mobile style OSs squeezing out third party screen readers, the blind community cannot afford to wait for OS developers to decide that they need to improve screen readers within their OS and applications. To many blind people will loose their jobs and will probably not be re-hired into comparable positions.

    I lived through the DOS Windows transition and saw Microsoft’s initial assertion of we have given you enough access to the windows OS to enable you third party developers to create screen readers and its policy of benign neglect when challenged about the accuracy of the assertion. While Apple has developed a screen reader, their apparent current stance of we have done enough strikes me as being eerily similar to the early days of Microsoft Windows. I do not want the blind community to go through another experience like the DOS Windows transition with its associated loss of jobs and opportunities for blind people.

    Blind Consumer Power

    I also beg to differ with Mr. Calvo about the power of blind consumers to change corperate behavior. The fact is that VoiceOver was developed in response to a lawsuit and not to the power of blind consumer advocacy alone. I will point to two other recent situations to emphasize my point about the failure of blind consumer power alone to change corperate behavior.

    The Blind Consumer and Cell Phones

    My first review is that of the accessible feature cell phone. The following framework is based on my observations of the United States market and is somewhat arbitrary. Due to technological limitations,The first generation of feature cell phones provided both blind and sighted individuals with the same level of accessibility: no screens and maybe some tone based feedback at best.

    With the advent of feature phones with screens, the situation changed radically. The second generation feature cell phone provided sighted users considerable enhancements like phone/address books that blind users did not enjoy. Cellular phone providers’ response to complaints by blind people about the lack of access comparable to sighted users was benign neglect at this point. Eventually due to political pressure from the blind community and low level threat of regulatory intervention, cellular providers started providing extremely limited accessible feature phones with no where near the power enjoyed by sighted users.

    When truly advanced feature phones started appearing, cellular providers suggested that blind people buy the higher priced phones that could have screen readers added to the phone even if they included unwanted features and by the way the blind consumers were expected to pay full price for both the phone and the screen reader. Eventually again due to political pressure and threat of regulatory intervention, cellular providers started offering subsidies for the screen readers dispite the fact that the phone still cost more than there less powerful cousins.

    The next step taken by cellular phone providers was to encourage blind consumers to buy smart phones with built-in screen readers dispite the fact that they both cost more to purchase and operate than their basic feature cousins.

    The pending implementation of regulations for the 21st century Communication … act finally led to cellular providers offering blind consumers feature cell phones that are in terms of accessibility nearly competitive with those offered to the sighted. The entire process was driven by political pressure and regulatory power consumer advocacy unless you include political pressure as part of consumer power had virtually nothing to do with the eventual offering of reasonably accessible feature phones that are comparagle to those offered to the sighted. Before you challenge me on current availability of highly accessible feature phones that are comparable to those offered to the sighted, please review the mostly accessible PDF manuals for the Revere three Gusto three and the Kyocera DuraXV on the Verizon Wireless website. My understanding is that other cellular providers are offering screen reader enabled feature phones that are generally comparable to models that are not screen reader enabled with rough price paraty though with far fewer model options.

    E-readers

    The analysis of blind consumer power’ alone failure to change corporate behavior is much simpler for E-readers due to short history and regulatory framework. I provide below a URL to the FCC’s website with an extensive statement about a waiver for E-reader produsers:
    http://www.fcc.gov/document/coalition-e-reader-manufacturers-petition-waiver-acs-rules
    I leave the reader to draw their own conclusions. In the end the blind consumer only has the option to buy a higher price alternative with possibly unwanted features to the E-reader. If these companies were truly guided by blind consumer advocacy alone, they would develop speech enabled devices comparable with the E-readers already in their inventory with cost increases required to cover adding speech output. A price that I suspect would be lower than those for full featured smart phones and tablets.

    Best Regards,
    Ken Scott

    Get in Touch!

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    For comments, questions and criticisms of the show, please e-mail them to resources (at) serotalk (dot) com, Tweet them @SeroTalk, or use your iBlink Radio app to send us an iReport!

    Posted in SeroTalk | 1 Comment

    S-O-S: Why to Never Fall Prey to It in Business

    I love the Tom Hanks movie, Castaway. The one about a FedEx plane crash out in the middle of the Pacific. Hanks washes up on an uninhabited island and has to live off what he finds clinging to the shore or on the barren island. Hanks does a great job of playing the part.

    When he paints a happy face on a volleyball, names him Wilson, and makes him his silent friend; we sort of chuckle internally at the ridiculousness of it.

    Later, in a wild card attempt for rescue, our heart-breaks right with Hanks’ when his friend Wilson gets knocked off the raft and blown out to sea.

    Not to worry, he won’t drown; he’s a volleyball for crying out loud.

    Anyway, it’s not an action movie, so if you’re in to those you might not appreciate it, but I love the psychology of it.

    As you might guess, stranded on the island he finds a way to get a huge S-O-S out on the beach just in case a plane should happen to fly by.

    Well, fat lot of good it did for him, and you know what? Fat lot of good an S-O-S will do you in business too.

    Maybe I better explain. In a distress situation, S-O-S means save our souls. While we could find ourselves in distressful situations in business and in need of saving, the S-O-S I’m talking about has a different meaning.

    The S-O-S I’m talking about stands for shiny object syndrome.

    What the blazes is that?

    Let me explain it this way. Let’s say you are a person interested in getting into the adaptive equipment field.

    Great, so you decide, “Dog-gone-it, I’m going for it! I’m going to be my own boss and control my own future!”

    So, you make a business plan, figure out what equipment you are going to handle, put together some marketing ideas, and basically you are very close to launching.

    But wait!

    You think, wouldn’t it be cool if on my website I had a podcast giving some tutorials of the products I’ll carry? Yeah baby! So cool!

    So, you start to work on that.

    But wait!

    Hey now, wouldn’t it be great if I had a shopping cart instead of these old school PayPal buttons for payment? After all, that would help make sales easier for customers, and you know the rule… more than three-clicks and you lose people’s attention. I need that for dang sure.

    Hold it now!

    What if, yeah this one is really good, what if I were to hold a live webinar and offer a discount or package deal for attendees? Now we’re talking modern marketing methods here!

    Hey, now here’s something what if…

    Okay, enough is enough. Do you see my point?

    Are you starting to feel like you’re listening to a commercial with an announcer screaming…?

    “But that’s not all, for only three-easy payments of just $19.99 you’ll not only receive our mini-widget Wacker unit, we’ll include our handy widget polish absolutely free. And not just one bottle of our incredible polish, but two bottles of our “never before released” space-age polish. Think that’s all? Guess again, we’ll also include a widget alignment device, again, absolutely free!”

    Shiny object syndrome is that incredible shiny business idea, trinket, or brainstorm which always seems to catch your attention. In reality, it keeps you from putting soles of shoes to concrete and getting your business launched or moving.

    Look, there are many, great, legitimate ideas and tools out there to help businesses, but as much as each might lead you to believe you can’t do without them, sooner or later you’ve just got to start where you are and get down to commerce.

    Nothing will chew away at your confidence ever so slowly and silently than having those elusive trinkets and tools and ideas just out of arm’s reach for you to focus on, rather than picking up the phone and making those calls, writing those e-mails, setting up those appointments; or whatever it is you are really supposed to do to get your business moving towards success.

    One day you’ll look at the console of shiny objects surrounding you, reflect on the calendar of when you started the business, and feel a failure because you have all this stuff and all this time invested, and a zero bank balance to show for it.

    Please, don’t do that!

    Don’t fall for S-O-S. Start where you are, you have enough to start, so just go for it.

    Envision a happy customer thanking you for the extra attention you gave them, and while they’re walking away with their new adaptive technology piece, you are filling out a deposit slip for the bank.

    You’ll eventually have some time to work on those trinkets, or maybe you’ll decide to farm it out while you do what you do best, educate and help others with their adaptive technology device needs.

    Until next time…

    Live like you’ll never get hurt, dream like nobody is watching, and above all… try-try-try until you succeed!

    Posted in Blog, Entrepreneurship | Comments Off on S-O-S: Why to Never Fall Prey to It in Business

    RWF 7: Beginning Yoga for the Blind

    Listen to RWF 7: Beginning Yoga for the Blind

    My guest this week is Marty Klein. Marty is the creator of the Beginning Yoga for the Blind audio program. Some of the topics we cover include;

    • Growing up in Brooklyn

      • Being gifted can be as hard as being challenged

        • Enlisting to avoid the draft

          • Dealing with his vision loss

            • Enjoying his new life

    Posted in Real World Fitness | Comments Off on RWF 7: Beginning Yoga for the Blind