It turns out one of the three ocular prosthetic makers in Wisconsin is a local hero. The process is fascinating:
Q&A: Dori Hosek found an 'amazing fit' making artificial eyes
I can speak directly to the exquisite details: Kes gave me one of her out-of-date ones and I wear it as a pendant (but only in geeky environs).
I didn't have to create an account: I just picked my local library from the list. Now every time I click an Amazon link, the extension shows me whether my library holds the book. So cool.
Right now it's only available for Chrome, but they promise a Firefox extension soon.
I operate my powerchair with a joystick, like a gaming control but much sturdier, smarter, and costlier. It’s a metal post sticking out of a rubber hood. One can readily change the handle that attaches to the metal post. My joystick came with a carrot–shaped handle. I was looking for a better fit that didn’t require me to pinch my fingers. ( I didn't buy a neat one but hacked a cheap one that works well )
A creative way to reuse an out-of-date Android 4.4 (or better) smartphone/tablet: transform to an MP3 audio player with the most direct UI I've ever seen.
Exact step-by-step details from the inventor, Marcin Simonides:
If you live in the United States and can't read regular print because of any impairment, NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped) provides thousands of books for free.
Office Black Opps Surviving Tip: No-cost Standing Desk
As the designer puts it, so not delicately:
What is the problem?
Well, I must admit that I am one of those persons who are renting their reproductive organs for money: time of my brain. I have to go to strange places, filled with strange peoples and fight for basic resources such as:
- An access badge.
- A project computer.
- A working user account.
- A set of production softwares.
- A place to sit.
- A chair in an acceptable hygienic state.
- The location of the next coffee corner, mensa, toilets the printer (in this order).
- An adjustable height desk.
They then provide detailed how-to rustle up the right tools by stealing them from the printing room.
Almost every wheelchair user is admonished to "drink plenty of fluids." But as ( Cupholders break. Here's one that doesn't )
( smirking at stiff language, pointing at class consciousness )
( five resources for SAD newbies )
I've worked as a freelance calligrapher, typesetter, and graphic designer. This cartoon beautifully, and painfully, captures the continual teeter-totter between "being true to your own self" and "getting paid"
I've been having more difficulty understanding speech, especially at noisy places like cons (use your mics!) and restaurants. I've also had a strange two-tone mechanical humming in my ears for the past year or so. Okay, time for a hearing test. Mostly painless: put on these headphones, play noise in one ear and words in the other, parrot back the words. But then there was
( non-consensual penetration of body cavities )
That was a lesson in how to alienate prospective patients. It makes me wonder what in hell medicos mean when they say, "this will be uncomfortable, but let me know if it hurts"? Is there some level of pain which reliably causes a reflex response in humans, and therefore docs can ignore unreliable information like "Oww! That hurts! Stop that! NO."? I know that enough pain makes me pass right out. Or say if I vomit, does that mean I've crossed the line from "uncomfortable" to "hurts"? How about if I curl up on cool bathroom tiles? Or maybe when I sandbag myself with microwave hotpacks? I'm just working back from the "pain behaviors" I've demonstrated when it's hurt too much for me at home.
Anyway, the exam result is: I have
- excellent hearing in optimal conditions (cool)
- difficulty "hearing in noise" (yeah, that's why I was there)
- tinnitus (Checking just now at HearingLossHelp druglist (PDF), I'm taking three meds known to cause tinnitus in some people. Huh and
She says wearing 29dB earplugs only makes the hyperacusis worse. (I wear them swimming and when I'm on the bus.) She's making "musician's earplugs" for me which dampen all sound equally across the noise spectrum which should "take the edge off" of the loudness of things.
I'm not going to provide a link, for reasons that will become clear.
That announcement pushed a whole row of my Assistive Technology Geek buttons, and I gotta rant. I'll use the LEGO braille printer "BRAIGO" to illustrate why I get so hot under the collar when I see this shit. (My cred: I've hung out with people who use assistive technology since 1982; I designed and sold braille translation software and embossers in the late eighties; and I've personally depended on assistive technology since 1991.) Based on thirty year's close attention to the development/PR/funding/purchasing/
( DESIGNERS GET COOKIES FOR PROTOTYPES, NOT AFFORDABLE PRODUCTS )
( DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT EXPERT ENDUSERS IS POINTLESS ) That's why the BRAIGO can't create useful braille.
( PR BECOMES DISINFORMATION ) A $350 embosser would be an amazing thing. Hundreds of well-intentioned editors and readers are willing to take the inventor's word for it. But this device is not a embosser.
( EXPERTS ARE AVAILABLE on REQUEST! ) We live in a press release culture: what the company wants to say is what we hear. Or in this case, what a 12 year old (who mentions absolutely no contact with braille users) says gets broadcast.
( FAST FACTS RE EMBOSSERS & BRAILLE )
Start from the first dot at the RNIB's Learning Braille site or pick an excellent start for adults at the Achayra firm in India. Teach more at the National Federation of the Blind's Braille is Beautiful resource for kids.
tl;dr Just because assistive technologies are tools for people with disabilities doesn't mean we must accept only good intentions. We want the best engineers working on our designs, the best marketers making them affordable, and the best politicians making them subsidized.
This is a meta post. I have something to sell that's not the tiniest bit geographically related (thus no Craigslist). I'd love it if you could poke this link and tell me about any errors or confusing bits or questions you have.
Now, on to the thing I'm selling.
Full details here:
The awesome vibes from my last post made it all the way to Chicago. Captain Awkward's letter yesterday was I'm in a wheelchair and people are condescending as fuck. Tasty reading, and hundreds of non-hostile, yet non-submissive responses.
Th@ is wh@ ma@ters( wh@'s up? )
Locked Out: Investigating Societal Discrimination against People with Disabilities Due to Inaccessible Websites
( A clear, fun, and useful presentation on the basics of why we need accessible sites )
Cyncism is consent
( a thought for the day if you're a weary advocate )
From the dependably funny, straightforward, and well-informed sex advice site for teens (it’s OK for adults to learn there as well) SCARLATEEN
When you're at an all-you-can-eat buffet, why only put one thing on your plate?
Gorgeous and Kind: An Elegant Wind-Driven De-Miner
Massoud Hassani, an Afghani designer, has developed a super-low cost appropriate-tech tool to set off land minds without risking life or limb. It's based on the wind-powered toys of his youth:
has movies and text describing the project.
( Really Pretty Canes )
( Other AT Bloggers )
( Quite a long rant about battling for, losing and maybe winning the captioning battle )
Moral: advocacy never ends. Always be at the standards table. Eat more greens.
Fortunately, where there's a need there's often a website, in this case:
Instantwatcher which works on the web and with apps and all sorts of good stuff. Log in to Netflix first, and you can stream from Instantwatcher's results.