Are You the Boiling Frog in the Kettle?

Before I make use of the below metaphor, I want to emphatically state frogs are great…

I like them…

And I mean no harm to them!

In fact, in my little example, I even made a way for this little guy to be just fine.

That said, I’m sure you’ve heard the way to boil a frog without him knowing it is to put him in a kettle of cold water and then turn on the heat to gradually bring water to a boil, rather than drop him in a hot kettle, otherwise he’ll jump right out.

This is a metaphor used to describe how gradual changes eventually become detrimental without us being aware it’s happening.

It’s a silent killer of projects or even business.

Do you know as entrepreneurs, even though we are in control of our own destiny, our own business, that same thing can still happen to us?

Not only that, we could truthfully claim we were busy getting things done, and we still got boiled.

Let me explain it this way and see if we can save a frog today.

Let’s pretend we put a little frog in a kettle of water, we’ll call him Mr. Greenskin. We put the kettle over the burner, but instead of us turning up the heat, we’re going to let Mr. Greenskin decide whether he gets boiled or whether he can swim in his indoor pool and enjoy himself.

The basic rule is this; if Mr. Greenskin keeps the water clean of leaves and pieces of hay, the burners will not come on.

But, if he lets leaves and pieces of hay float around, the burners will come on, and its frog legs for dinner, right?

So, in goes Mr. Greenskin. We place the kettle on the burner which is off, and there’s the little guy doing the frog stroke all around his little pool there.

So far so good, no leaves or sticks of hay, so Mr. Greenskin is cooling himself nicely.

Let’s say we toss a couple flies in the water.

Oh, look at that, Mr. Greenskin likes that. Now he’s got a pool-side buffet.

Let’s toss in a handful of more things. We’ve got a couple dozen leaves of various sorts, a couple sticks of hay, maybe fifteen flies, ten red ants, and we’ll toss in a mosquito or two for good measure. All the things our little green friend needs to clean up, but only certain things to keep from turning on the burner and boiling the water.

Our little green friend is having a great time at work. He’s downed a few flies and an ant, and is thinking of one of those mosquitos for dessert.

He starts to notice the water is getting a bit warm, so downs the last few insects, and he’s stuffed. He can’t even move anymore he worked so hard cleaning up the water.

Floating there, he notices bubbles in the water and he’s breaking a sweat.

Mr. Greenskin’s in deep trouble.

He was busy cleaning up the water the whole time he was in there, so what’s the problem?

The problem was he only did the fun stuff. He didn’t give a rip about no floating leaves or pieces of hay which were the more important things to get done. It was the insects he was interested in cleaning up, because they were fun tasks to do, tasty too I might add.

Let’s pause our little story here.

Is that something you find yourself doing in your business or even at home?

Do you make this big list of things to do and start picking away at the easy or fun stuff to do?

Maybe you had to do a little research on a project or idea. You love research, not to mention the YouTube rabbit trails, so you grabbed a bowl of snacks and camped out at your desk.

Could be you had to create a spreadsheet. Since you love doing spreadsheets, you bought some special coffee and brewed some up for your little project.

Perhaps you needed to clean up the office a bit before you tackled the rest of the list of items, so you put on a new CD you downloaded and shoved a headset on while cleaning.

Maybe for you doing research, creating spreadsheets, and cleaning your office are like our little green friend’s yummy fun to eat insects.

Maybe you skipped the calls you needed to make, bills you needed to pay, and appointment you needed to make with an unhappy client to try saving his patronage.

And here’s a back pocket kicker…

When you get all the easy stuff done and you think you are finally ready to dig into the harder stuff, the harder stuff will have gotten even harder to think of doing, and there will be a fresh batch of easy fun stuff tempting your attention. Before you know it though, you’ll be breaking into a sweat noticing there’s steam and bubbles in the water.

Look, as business owners, there is always something for us to do. Some of it more pleasurable to do than others, and some no fun at all. Some might take us well out of our comfort zone.

The point is to keep from boiling in your own water, prioritize the list and don’t cop out by going for the easy-peasy stuff.

You don’t want to look back and see you had been busy the whole time taking care of business items, but missed the things that kept everything in perspective and operational.

I’m all for making tough things fun to do, and even doing some of the more enjoyable parts of business after a rough day, but that doesn’t take away the fact the more challenging stuff needs to be done.

Often times, these are the backbones of your business and a bit of a personal challenge. Handle them and not only will your business do better, but you’ll gain a boatload of confidence having plowed through those items.

Next time you’re faced with challenges? They’ll seem a little more like the easy-peasy stuff and less of a challenge!

Happily Mr. Greenskin tossed out all those bits of leaves and hay at the last minute and he’s back to doing his little frog stroke around the pool.

Until next time…

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

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Serotalk Extra: CSUN 2015 Part 3

Listen to SeroTalk Extra: CSUN 2015, Part 3

In this special Joshua Loya speaks with some Sensotec representatives about Knfb Reader. He also chats with Harpo American Thermoform Corporation and Hims as well as a few other nuggets.

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.

Thanks for listening!

Posted in CSUN 2015, Interviews, Uncategorized | Comments Off

Serotalk Extra: CSUN 2015, Part 2

Listen to SeroTalk Extra: CSUN 2015, Part 2

In this special, Joshua Loya speaks to Steve baum from Kurzweil Educational systems He also has a chat with Mark Solomon of AiSquared, and a representative from AccessAMed along with some other surprises.

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.

Thanks for listening!

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SeroTalk Extra: CSUN 2015, Part 1

Listen to SeroTalk Extra: CSUN 2015, Part 1

In this special Joshua Loya speaks to Bill Mccan of Dancing Dots as well asBrad Davis of Freedom Scientific and Glen Dobs of Logan Tech.

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.

Thanks for listening!

Posted in CSUN 2015, Interviews, Podcasts | Comments Off

Real World Fitness 2: Michael Elliott – Muscles and Brains

Listen to Real World Fitness 2: Michael Elliott – Muscles and Brains

Michael Elliott began his life as a normal child with 20/20 vision and dreams of becoming a professional basketball player. As an adult he earned a masters degree in clinical social work and climbed the ladder of professional success to become the bureau chief for the Board of Education’s Division of Blind Services. He is a multi world record holding powerlifting champion and recently started his own IT business, soarconsultants.com,) all while being totally blind!

Interview highlights include:

  • Always a great athlete
  • How he got started in weight training
  • From Goalball to powerlifting
  • No adaptions needed
  • His DBS career
  • S.O.A.R consultants
  • Being a part of the USABA
  • Athletics support social interaction

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

Opinion: why does Netflix exclude the blind?

When I was a little kid, I had an excessive vocabulary. I knew what the word ‘superficial’ meant, and also even bigger words, like ‘garrulous’. But even with these words and countless others in my head, there was one that wasn’t – and that word was Accessibility.

Back when I was seven, many things were accessible, and if they weren’t, my grandmother would help make them so.

Not being able to see, my primary way of learning was through reading, touching objects, and listening to explanations. Of course, all my other remaining senses came into play, but hearing and touch were, and are, my primary link to the world not constructed by books.

Even though I had never heard the word Accessibility, I was an early adopter of its concept.

One day, my grandmother took me to a museum that was new in town. It was different from the ones we frequented, and I was very eager to feel exotic artefacts under my fingertips, and experience paintings through verbal descriptions given to me via headset. I eagerly speed-walked with my grandmother into the museum, my stomach full with butterflies over the soon-to-be.

When the tour started, I could sense the body heat of a dozen people beside me. I waited for my grandmother to take me to the artefact so I could explore it. She didn’t. I began to tune into the many exclamations beside me describing how wonderful the artefact was. Why was it so wonderful? I wanted to know too! I wanted to feel it and see what people were talking about. I soon began to cry, and people’s feet shuffled as they turned and stared at me. With steely resolve, my grandmother picked me up and pushed her way to the front of the crowd with my white cane dangling in my grip. When she reached the front, she ducked under the rope and placed my hand on the elegant statue carved with dynamic symbols. People started complaining that a sign said ‘Don’t Touch’. Soon, a stern sounding man cleared his throat next to me.

Miss? I’m the manager here.”

I felt the air whoosh as my grandmother whipped around. With slicing syllables, she told the manager:

“If you tell my blind grandson to take his hands off this statue, I will take every ‘Don’t Touch’ sign down and burn them all. I will then tell the police what I did and sue you for lack of accessibility.”

nineteen years have passed since then, and I have heard and witnessed countless instances in which companies and people just don’t exert any will to include the blind and the visually impaired whatsoever, unless forced by law.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was a huge breakthrough for our inclusion, but it didn’t merge us with the sighted world. People didn’t want to include us, so often we had to go to special groups, events, and even jobs for the blind. We also had to fight for education as well. Entertainment was, and still is an issue accompanying all the other accessibility barriers.

It took a law in 2010 to make Audio Description available on television. Before the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, we couldn’t watch movies, TV shows, or any visual media with audio description as frequently as today. Audio Description is as important to us as closed captioning is for the Deaf. It opens up a whole new mode of entertainment that we’ve never been able to experience before.

However, there are still a lot of companies that don’t want to offer it, and are not forced to by law. Many of these companies reside in the internet realm, a place the law hasn’t even scratched yet. Audio Description is available on TV, and more DVDs, and even more movie theatres. The law applies to the top 25 TV networks now but will increase.

But even with all this inclusion, no Video on Demand service, such as Netflix and Hulu, has Audio Description.

I’ve wondered why Netflix won’t provide Audio Description, or even accessible interfaces so that our adaptive software can interact with their website and web player fully. I’ve examined this through all different angles, even finding out for myself the cost of describers, and other production costs. It’s not all about cost however. The BBC has shown that cost doesn’t matter when it comes to Accessibility, offering an Audio Description On Demand service through the BBC iPlayer. Many other companies and organisations also show that having audio description on the web is not hard at all. All of these can be found on our audio description on demand page.

It wouldn’t be hard at all to include Audio Description on Netflix. Two methods could be done to achieve this. Closed Audio Description, where the viewers would need to select a language track, requiring less bandwidth and less server space on Netflix’s part. There would definitely be downsides to this as well, such as that Audio Description wouldn’t be able to be available on every Netflix compatible device, such as the Nintendo Wii, as the Wii even has a hard time with closed captions.

Another way is to have a separate blind version of the same movie or TV show, like iTunes has it. But this will require that the film or TV show be uploaded twice. From a technical point of view, this would be the easier thing to do, but who knows, the servers might buckle.

For years, the blind community has asked and even begged Netflix to make their site and service accessible, with accessible web design and Audio Description, but Netflix have said “No” repeatedly, and eventually the blindness advocacy groups just give up.

I refuse to give up though. Which is why I started the Accessible Netflix Project.

Our aim for the project:

Netflix is a popular internet streaming and rental service that streams TV shows as well as movies. It also allows subscribers to rent DVDs. The Netflix platform isn’t accessible and that’s what this project aims to change. With the help of the community we will make Netflix a truly accessible place for everyone to enjoy.

The Purpose (Mission)

  1. To provide accessible software and interface to Netflix users

Implement and ensure future accessibility practices and consideration

  1. Ensure that relatively all types of disability are taken into careful consideration at all times

These are the targets we want to meet

  1. Provide a screen reader friendly experience to all Netflix functions on the PC and mobile devices with all screen readers

Provide an easily navigable interface for the mobility impaired using adaptive technology.

  1. Provide easy access to audio described content for the blind and the visually impaired on streaming services as well as DVD selection currently and in the future.

Regardless if it’s inconvenient or costly, Netflix should provide Accessibility solutions. Many blind people pay for a service they can barely use, whether they are a novice or advanced Screen Reader user.

It has been a long 2 years since I began the project. So far, they have told us “No”, directly, nine times and counting.

Determined to have the freedom to enjoy Audio Description on the Internet, a place that has become a utility for my work and entertainment needs, I decided to ask them why they said no. The first time, they said that:

We don’t have control over the content that makes the Audio Description, so we’re not the people who you should be contacting.”

So, I started contacting studios for the next three months, often going through back door connections to get to producers, and explaining the situation. Seth MacFarlane, the producer of Family Guy, a show that has Audio Description on TV, was one of these connections. I wanted to make it as cheap as possible for Netflix, so I asked these producers if they would simply give the Audio Descriptions to Netflix at no charge. Many, including Seth, agreed to this.

I replied to Netflix with the fantastic news, and this was their response:

Hi Robert,

Thank you for being a Netflix fan and for being so passionate about making Netflix more accessible. At this point we have no immediate plans to add Audio Descriptions to our service. We continuously evaluate this and we will let you know if there’s a change, but don’t expect it to come in the near future.

I don’t understand why they’d say no. Even after contacting 56 different people in the company, they all said the same – don’t expect it anytime soon, even with the studio support.

It deeply disappoints and frustrates me that access to a service that’s so accessible to my wallet is impossible for me to use independently, simply because I require adaptive technology. I can’t even manage the site independently, no matter how many advanced keystrokes I learn or new Screen Reader tricks. Blind and visually impaired people shouldn’t be banished to outside sources to get described content. We are millions and millions strong, and our revenue would help grow Netflix. And, small aside, they’d surely be given excellent publicity for being the first mainstream company to do this.

The accessible Netflix project has grown and, with it, we have dedicated team members who will ensure equal access to entertainment simply because it should have been done a very long time ago. There isn’t an excuse anymore as to why this can’t happen. My team and I are here for entertainment equality and we will continue to be for years ahead.

The ADA was meant to include and not divide. Blind people should have reasons to spend their income. We should be able to laugh with glee with our family, enjoying an Audio-Described comedy. We should be able to proudly call ourselves a Netflix customer. My team and I will do whatever we can to ensure everybody gets past the unnecessary velvet rope and touch an accessible Video on Demand service that is accessible to everybody else. I don’t understand why Netflix doesn’t want to give us that inclusion, and I possibly never will, but I do understand one thing for certain – it should happen. It will happen, with our leadership.

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness and Low Vision, User Submissions | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

SeroTalk 224: Red World Z

Listen to SeroTalk 224: Red World Z

The new team is back for its round 2 of the SeroTalk Podcast!

This episode was brought to you by the good folks over at Audible. Want to get your free audiobook download? Laine recommends The Escape by David Baldacci. Download it or your own choice of audiobook at AudiblePodcast.com/SeroTalk.

PC Talk

We discuss Lenovo’s Superfish security snafu. It’s hard to tell whose fault it is what with all the finger pointing. For some helpful tips on cleaning your new laptop, and not just Lenovo, check out this helpful article from Wall Street Journal.

Thankfully, not all is gloom and doom in PC land. Microsoft is making Windows 10 free to Windows 7, 8.1, and Windows Mobile 8.1 users. Are you on the fence about upgrading to Windows 10 when it finally releases? You might be enticed with the New TTS voices. Check out more improvements to Cortana at the Windows Weekly podcast.

Also check out Cool Blind Tech for more on breaking in Windows from an accessibility perspective.

Even if you choose not to enjoy the new OS in its native environment, you may find certain popular Microsoft apps in the Samsung S6 as part of a joint effort, of sorts. Not so much into Android? Okay, here’s info on the preview for your Windows phone.

A Bite of Apple

In Apple news, the Cupertino giant is fighting iOS bugs with their first-ever iOS Public Betas. Jonathan Mosen says this is great start, but only part of the solution.

You know what does make for a wonderful solution, on the iPad? Microsoft Word! Check out this article on Accessibility in Word for iPad.

And if you want to read a little more about other Apple app goodness, tricks and tips, check out this helpful website.

The Internet Debate of Things

Even though there has been an FCC ruling on the subject of net neutrality since we recorded this episode, you can read about that ruling here, it’s unlikely the matter has been entirely settled. Read Robert Kingett’s take on how the issue affects persons with disabilities.

How long have you told yourself you are finally going to cut your cable and save yourself a lot of money? This diary Of A cord cutter just might lay out some compelling reasons why it might be time to give it serious consideration. Don’t forget to read parts 1 and 2 in what is so far a 3-part series.

Accessibility Talk

We like doing what we can to save you money. Hence, it was perfect timing for Jeff Young to offer this piece on keeping pace with modern adaptive technology on a very low budget.

Of course, one thing that will not cost you any money unless you donate, and you should, is the latest release candidate of NVDA 15.1.

So, think of this for a moment: Will tech put an end to disability? Some in the disability community disagree with leaps in that kind of human engineering. Others wish they could obtain it but find the process too bureaucratic and/or expensive. In the case of one mother, she defied the status quo and created a Groundbreaking Tool for People With Visual Impairments.

Speaking of low vision, our very own Laine Amoureux was featured in a Women’s Health article discussing what it’s like living With low vision.

CSUN 15 will be in full swing by the time you probably read this. Sendero will be in attendance with special deals for attendees.

Human Interest

Did you hear about the new study that says it’s okay to skip the gym and go straight to the pub? This item quickly imploded at recording time, but rather than edit, we offer it in most of its raw goodness.

On a more serious note, what would you do if you knew you only had a few months to live? This gentleman says it’s “my own life and gives us lots to put into perspective.

On the other hand, Mars One, a dutch company, says We’re all going to die, but it’s important what you do before you die.

Mailbag

The mailbag comes bearing feedback from Episode 223! In addition to an iReport from Ben and an audio response from Hartgen Consultancy in response to our coverage of J-Say, the mailbag brings this:

From Twitter, this comes to us via Adrian, who tweets: I was just listening to the newest @serotalk podcast.I really enjoyed the newest epasode of it.

kaveinthran tweets: @SeroTalk new voices,new shape and new host, makes serotalk, appealing

Eden Kizer tweets: @SeroTalk Good job, but as for Be My Eyes, some people don’t have a lot of family or friends they can just facetime.

Finally, Rachel Keyte tweets: I decided to have a bit of a listen to the Serotalk podcast and even though the prev team sounded great, I like this new sound a lot. :)

Tony and Tina Sohl, via SAMNet, write:

Hi we would like to express our appreciation for the hard work the staff has been doing in this time of transitioning. First, the content team has worked very hard in updating described movies and TV shows. In the past several weeks, we have noticed a lot of material has been added such as TV shows and movies. Second, the SPN (Serotek Pod cast Network.) We like the new shows including Triple Click home and the most recent pod cast. Third, the Customer Portal is very easy to work with. In Conclusion, everyone at Serotek is doing a wonderful job and keep up the good work!

Also via SAMNet, Scott V writes:

podcast 223 I thought it was wonderful. The content was good, and also the audio quality was fabulous. Not to loud, just right. Thank you. Scott

Get in Touch!

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

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!

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One Essential Belief of the Entrepreneur

There is an absolute essential principle every entrepreneur must adopt. If they don’t, they’ll fail.

I’ll share that little nugget with you, plus give you a link to something worth listening to which describes the life of an entrepreneur quite well.

First, let me invest in a few sentences to set the scene.

Its 2005 and I’m in Nashville for a week, sitting in a room full of serious songwriters at a writer’s camp which was put on by the top songwriting organization in the country.

At the front of the room are hit writers whose tunes were on every station program directors playlist across the country at one time or another. And … There I was, a corn-fed, do-it-yourself musician from the Midwest expecting these folks to take time to show me how to write songs.

Granted, I was in a room full of peers who were looking for the same information, and the instructors were getting paid handsomely to teach, but that’s not how I felt sitting there. It was pretty intimidating. I wondered if my music and I even belonged there.

Opening the week’s event, one instructor walked up to the front of the room, put his foot up on a chair, leaned on his forearm resting across his perched knee, looked at all the people sitting there anticipating his words, and said:

“There’s one thing you need to know about your music. There will be times when you are the only one who will believe in it. Publishers, industry pros, … No one else will get it. You will be left alone with your music, but, if you don’t believe in it? No one else ever will, and it won’t go anywhere!”

What he said really stood out to me. First of all, it was addressing the doubt I was feeling sitting in the front row. Secondly, I realized that principle is huge for any entrepreneurial endeavor we chase.

We often hear the romantic side of working for yourself. And it is true; there is that side of it. I have the good fortune of working with my sweetie each and every work day. We don’t have to ask permission from anyone to have an extra cup of coffee in the morning, to take an extra-long lunch, to run personal errands as long as we’re out and about, or to say, “You know what? Let’s skip work today and go play a bit.”

Ever been in a job where you only get so many days off, sick or not, and if you surpass it, you’re fired? I don’t worry about it. As I type this I was scheduled to be a work, but my wife and I are a bit sick, so we stayed home. No calling anyone, no pretending to sound sicker than you are on the phone so the boss doesn’t raise a judgmental eyebrow.

Those decisions don’t require much belief though do they? They are rewards.

There is however, another side to the time card. When it comes to problems at work and there seems to be no solution, and I’m in a real pinch, there ain’t a boss to hang the problem onto while I go home for the night either. There are times when it’s literally midnight and creative solutions need to be made, and there is no one there to say it will work or it won’t. It’s my call, and I had better believe in it.

There are times when you must believe what you are doing is right, watch for evidence of that, and where things need to be adjusted, adjust them and move on.

In other words, one has to have the confidence and strength to get through the tough times, or just like that songwriter said, if you don’t believe in it, it all stops right there.

Plus, like anyone, I make wrong decisions. Do you think that has an effect on the next time I’m forced to make a call on something? It can if I let it, but it’s a good idea to adopt the notion that tomorrow starts a new day, the slate is clean, and any mistakes we’ve made is strictly for purposes of learning, not creating debilitating fear in the decision at hand. The past does not have to equal the future.

So, if you are contemplating entrepreneurship or just now entering it and are having some doubts, first know that we all experience frustration and overwhelm. There are times I wonder why I just don’t go get a job and work for someone else so I can come home at 5:00 p.m. and leave the day’s worries behind me. There are times of vehicle breakdowns, overbooking my time, unforeseen snags cropping up, and we better not leave out technical problems like a computer crashing.

But, I can look back on past challenges where it appeared there was no way through it without loss, and see somehow we made it through. And not only did we make it through, but confidence gets a boost in the process. Once again, I’m so glad to be a free spirited entrepreneur, and really, I could do it no other way. I believe in what I am doing.

A 9-to-5 person asked an entrepreneur, “How can you go to work and not know how much money you are going to make that day?”

To which the entrepreneur said, “How can you go to work every day knowing the most you can possibly make that day?”

For us entrepreneurs it is the freedom, the challenge, the unknown that is thrilling. It’s a strange balance of taking risk and realizing our potential. Without the belief in our ideas or plans however, especially in the rough and challenging times, we will fold. Give yourself some credit, realize you’ll make mistakes. It’s not that we’ve made them that matters, it’s what we do with them. It’s about not letting our confidence be shaken, but to forge ahead because we know what we want in life.

I don’t know if you ever heard the below monologue. I believe it is meant for high-school or college graduates, but if you listen to the words it clearly defines the life of the entrepreneur. I listen to it every so often. I love it. There is so much truth to it.

Have a listen to, Oh The Places You’ll Go.

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

Posted in Entrepreneurship | 1 Comment

Real World Fitness: England’s First Blind Fitness Trainer

Listen to Real World Fitness: England’s First Blind Fitness Trainer

The SeroTalk Podcast Network proudly introduces a new member to the SPN family. Here is Bill Kociaba’s debut on the Network:

An Interview With Jaina Mistry

I recently interviewed an extraordinary young lady from the UK. Jaina Mistery began her life as a typical young girl growing up in England. Her life was pretty average until tragedy struck when she was only 17. How she bounced back from that tragedy and what she has accomplished since then makes for one of the most inspirational stories you will ever hear!

Interview highlights:

  • A typical teenager

    • Poor body image

      • How an allergic reaction to penicillin changed her life

        • Steven’s Johnson Disease

          • Her 3 month hospital stay

            • RNIB

              • Complimentary therapies

                • Finding out who her real friends were

                  • 2009, back to the hospital 3 times

                    • Finding a trainer

                      • Not the most cooperative client

                        • Achieving her first fitness goal

                          • Her best birthday present ever

                            • A new friend and new found confidence

                              • National fitness award

                                • Jaina’s Journey

                                  • UK’s first blind female fitness instructor

                                    • Where to next

                                    To learn more about her, stop by her Facebook page, Facebook.com/jainasjourney.

                                    Also, to learn more about me check out SeroTalk episode 220 or go directly to my website, Kociaba-Fitness.com.

                                    If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at kociabafitness (at) Gmail (dot) com

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The Argument for Becoming Multi Access Tech-Savvy

There is a lot of discussion out there regarding which screen reader and operating system combination is best. Each camp has their arguments, and honestly I can’t disagree, to adimently, with any of them.

The thing is, in my experience, those who are fluent with as many tools as possible are the most successful in employment. What matters more, your convictions for the tool of choice, or having a job that pays the bills, and allows you to live the quality of life you desire? I thought so! So, it is time to become multi-tech-savvy.

The Employment Environment

I am exposed to a variety of potential employment environments as an AT specialist, with an emphasis in communicating with employers and job site accommodation,. Most employers take advantage of networking to distribute information to employees. More recently a trend toward web-based applications has been observed. The web-based applications tend to be written for one web browser or another. Often the companies web app can only be displayed in Internet Explorer, or in Mozilla Firefox, and the screen must be set to a specific resolution to display the contents.

Hardware Decisions

Businesses have to make decisions regarding what hardware and software to purchase, deploy and maintain. The decision is often based on matching the technology to the environment and nature of the business. In retail business owners have multiple choices. They can purchase a Windows, or Mac based Point of Sale system, or a mobile point of sale system that utilizes either IPad, Windows tablet or Android tablet hardware. If one chooses to learn only how to use an IPad, with VoiceOver or Zoom, they may be limiting employment opportunities.

Browser Decisions

It seems unthinkable that a business could operate, in today’s market, without an internet connection. Web browsers are designed to be the gateway to the Internet. Business owners again have many choices. The decision regarding which is best for the companies type of work, need for security are likely to outweigh their desire to accommodate an individual users preference.

Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox are reviewed as having superior security and privacy features. This may be one of the reasons that they are common among business information infrastructure. A web search reveals that from year to year, and version of browser to version of browser, one or the other will boast greater security or faster speeds than the other.

Access Technology Decisions

In recent experience, and simply stated, NVDA works better in Firefox than it does in Internet Explorer 11 and later. JAWS works better in Internet Explorer 11 and later than it does in Firefox. Some web pages display better in Firefox than they do in Internet Explorer and vice-versa. Toss Apple products into the mix, and you will likely see the same thing.

There are also differences between how one screen magnifier will display a page verses another, and this is compounded by the diversity in how browsers display text. Screen magnification users may have to learn to configure how the text is displayed in the browser, as well as how to enhance the text with the magnifier, to identify the optimal viewing experience.

Training Decisions

Q:Which screen reader, or magnifier, and browser combination do I need to learn?

A: As many as possible!

In Conclusion

At one point it was safe to say that Microsoft Windows was the business standard, and that if one wanted to be successful in an employment environment they needed to be proficient with Windows, Internet Explorer and a Windows-based access technology. This is no longer the case, as business owners/operators have a variety of choices available to them, and select the hardware, software and web browsers that best meet the business needs as far a security, data sharing and other factors. Great news, many of the options available to employers are accessible to consumers of access technology! Bad news, this can make it difficult to know which access technology one should learn to use effectively.

If one limits him/herself to the use of a specific access technology, employment options could become limited. Title I of the ADA uses the term “reasonable accommodation” to allow employers and employees some leeway in job site accommodation. Is it reasonable to ask an employer to risk their companies security or, potentially, rebuild their communications and data sharing infrastructure to accommodate a single users preference in access technology when access is available through other access technology tools?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

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