Join us for this week’s edition of the SeroTalk Podcast where Jamie, Ricky and Joe discuss the top news stories of the week. After the news, Jamie talks with Jeremy Curry of GW Micro about Window-Eyes for Office, the program whereby anyone running Microsoft Office 2010 or later can get a free copy of the Window-Eyes screen reader. Topics discussed in this week’s podcast include:
Blog comment from Beth:
Regarding the article entitled “Why Do We Fear the Blind?” – from the NYTimes.com
What comes to mind when you hear the word “Amish”? Peacefulness, joy, a bucolic setting, good health, right? Well, yes, of course but there is much more than that. Turns out, the above ideas about the Amish are stereotypical. I am reading a very interesting book about the Amish and some intriguing realities about their lives have been imparted to me. This blog post is not meant to be a book review, I will post the book title and BARD number here so you can read it if you wish.
“Amish society” DB 51601
Here are a few things I have learned and, again, these are generalizations. Some of the Amish are rule-bound, with even some innocuous doodad on their horse harnesses being an offense. These strict rules can breed hostility and anger, which are often suppressed, since these emotions are not to be shown. It is now my understanding that mental illness is rather common among the Amish, which surprised me, again, a stereotype on my part. The book also stated that the Amish seem so gentle to tourists because, for a brief time, there can be conversations about the outside world, which interests many Amish and they can relax and converse normally, without having to think about rules. Also, there have been many church splits among the Amish, which make for family and other social upheavals and bitter fighting, which can last for generations. Some Students long to go beyond the eighth grade but can’t readily, which produces turmoil. So, wow, the Amish are just like the rest of us at th e core of things. Stereotypes are surface things, they always have some truth to them but look beyond the surface. Beth
I have a quick question, or maybe not so quick, for all you guys and dolls there at SeroTalk. With all the news you cover, how do you keep up with it all? Ok maybe I have a second question here. Where do you guys get all your news that you cover? I know of some sources like Engadget and sites like it but what are some others you guys use?
Greg Wocher(My last name is pronounced like poker with a w. So it is pronounced Woker)
Follow me on Twitter @GWocher
From Pam Francis:
I think the biggest reason, if there is one for general society to “fear the blind” is lack of education along with the stereotypes portrayed in movies & other media. We are supposed to be musical, as have been Stevie Wunder & Ray Charles.
For those who are old enough to have seen the movie, A patch of blue, the blind girl in that movie was cast as an uneducated helpless imbecile.
Those of us who have been employed, live on our own & function within normal society; though we may need adaptive tools are seen as “amazing.”
Though the ADA has made strides with reference to various means of accessibility, no legislation can force acceptance.
I also think mainstreaming in schools has a double edged sword. Though it allows the person who is blind to interact with sighted piers, it does not offer valuable skills one needs to function in the world without a sighted family member.
I was exposed to both public school & the state school for the blind. I am thankful for both experiences; as it taught me when & how to ask for the help I needed at the time I needed it.
Given today’s technology, I still find people who find it unbelievable that I am able to use a computer & a normal smart phone.
A quick story to validate my point is this.
I did the normal traditional Christmas meal for my daughter & grandkids. My 5 year old grandson asked me to bake him a blueberry pie. While at our Christmas table, he innocently asked, “Grandma, how can you do this if you are blind? I was prepared to answer his question on a level he could understand, however my daughter chastised him for asking such a question.
I only hope the next generation of people who happen to be blind are treated with a little more respect than our generation has been. We all have to earn what we get in this world, be it material or respect for our character.
We shouldn’t have to go uphill to attain the same accolades our sighted piers take for granted.
Blog comment from Russ Kiehne
After reading “iPad, Not the Most Economical Choice for Blind Consumers” and Testing Android Accessibility: I Give Up”, I’m glad I ended up buying a refurbished ipad mini. It has more volume and better sound than my ipod touch, victor reader stream booksense and plextalk pocket. With being able to lock the screen while playing audio content, I get much more play time than with my specialized players.
With the bard mobile app, I can read nls books on it. Books can be directly downloaded to the ipad mini. This can’t be done on my specialized players.
It’s going to be a while before bard mobile comes to android!
With the audible app, I can read books from audible. Books can be directly downloaded to the ipad mini. I can’t do this with my specialized players.
With the Kindle app, I can read Kindle books from Amazon. I can’t do this with my specialized playrs.
With voice dream reader, I can read books from bookshare, unprotected epub and other file types. I use it to read multi-part mp3 audio books.
What’s nice about voice dream reader, you can download books from both bookshare and Project Gutenberg directly to the ipad mini. I bought the optional neospeech voice to make it sound just like a booksense when reading any text based file. Voice dream reader is supplied with Acapela. I can switch between Acapela and neospeech. I can’t see buying a second generation victor reader stream in order to download books from bookshare to it. With the specialized players I have, I can’t download books from bookshare to them. Is there an app like voice dream reader for android?
With the downcast app, I can download podcasts directly to the ipad mini. I can subscribe and unsubscribe to podcasts on it. With my plextalk pocket, I can’t subscribe and unsubscribe to podcasts on it. With the other two specialized players i have, I can’t download podcasts to them. Is there an app like downcast for android?
My ipad mini is now my favorite device for reading books, downloading and listening to podcasts and old time radio shows.
Your article and discussion about perceptions about those of us that are blind really hit home with me. I was mainstreamed before mainstreaming became in vogue in the 60’s and 70’s in Pittsburg California.
Recently, I decided to touch bases with a former classmate. During the first couple of conversations things went well. The individual even told me that I should keep in touch. I noticed that during our third conversation that things changed abruptly. It was like I was having a conversation with a brick wall. Because I’m facebook friends with the sister of the individual concerned, I asked her what his problem was?
Here was the answer that I received. “I don’t understand Stan’s situation.” He further stated that he hoped that my feelings weren’t hurt. That didn’t exactly make my day. I really hate dealing with fake people.
From Mike Arrigo:
Happy new year!
I found Chris’s article about giving up on android interesting. He was actually on the eyes free list for a while, so many of us responded to his messages when he wanted to know how to do things. I think in some ways that his expectations are not realistic. Sure, 100 percent accessibility would be nice, but, we don’t have that on any platform.
If we go by his logic, than we should give up on windows, unless you use narrator for everything, you have to install and use a third party screen reader to use windows. Also, in many cases, we tweak our windows system, such as disabling some of the animation, or the arrow interface so the screen reader works better. The fact is, on every platform, you will need to use some work arounds to access everything you want. The main question is, on android, are you able to do every major task you could want such as phone calls, text messages, twitter, facebook, listening to music, email, etc. The answer is yes. I don’t think it matters whether you use the built in applications or need to install third party apps, especially when most of the third party apps are free. As Ricky said, that’s one of the great things about android, you can configure a device exactly the way you want it.
Blog comment from Tim Hornik
With regards to the comments from the Eyes Free Google Groups from Chris, I definitely understand his perspective. Android ventured a long way into the land of accessibility for the visually impaired. However, it has a little more to go within its stock set of apps before it will reach a level of ease for those transitioning or first time smart phone users. Yes, I have picked up a Nexus 7 a couple of months ago, and have enjoyed the experience.
However, for Droid to truly become a great competitor against iOS, two things must happen. First, the assistive technologies trainers, professionals, organizations, and similar must adopt Android as an alternative device for mobile computing. In my experience, only a few of these blind rehab specialists have embraced Android and offer it as an option. Secondly, the pool of resources needs to grow a bit more. I understand the difficulties with the various incarnations of Android, Sandroid, etc out there, but compare that to iOS. Maybe later on this year, this gap will shrink tremendously, especially as websites and resources like That Android Show, HTB2.com, Wolfdream De-Mystifying series, and numerous other websites and communities mature.
On a side comment about the security stuff, I could swear that some company called Serotek has this program called Socializer that has users inserting their social network login information for various accounts. Wait, I believe they also have some cloud service for storing OCR’ed documents. BTW, I use both. Anyways, I am weary about the NSA stuff, but care more about private companies who store and monitor my stuff. But this is my digital life, and not my real life. You can take all of this stuff away, and I am still me. Unless, we get to the point with neuro chips and our ghosts get hacked by the puppetmaster.