jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
contents: outdated language, patronizing assumptions, great tech

A creative way to reuse an out-of-date Android 4.4 (or better) smartphone/tablet: transform to an MP3 audio player with the most direct UI I've ever seen.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.
jesse_the_k: ACD Lucy holds two blue racketballs in her mouth, side by side; captioned "I did it!" (LUCY absurd success surprise)
...we have spent altogether too many hours juggling AV boxes. Now all caption formats viewable on our HDTV )

I have discovered how to increase my glee and reduce my anxiety. free my brain by doing healthwork first )

I started a good book (or at least, its first 60 pages meet that criterion). Not on Fire But Burning )

MyGuy found a beautiful, framed 1800 print of an iris at Goodwill this morning.

More news as it happens; maybe politics next time.

What's your favorite thing right now?
jesse_the_k: Photo of baby wearing huge black glasses  (eyeglasses baby)
I'm looking for a DVD/CD player which decodes the old-style, line 21, white-on-black closed captions. (Not the SDH subtitles chosen from a disk menu.) I've read rumors that the PS3 provides this feature. Run this simple test to confirm the rumor )
jesse_the_k: Red help button briefly flashes green and blue (Help! GIF)
We've been using a hodge-podge of modern and "classic" technology for AV and it died. )

Anyone reading interested in guiding me through this decision, or pointing me to a helpful user-run forum where these issues are discussed?
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
As a break from all the fanfic I’ve been inhaling, I’m re-reading Herman Melville's Moby-Dick. This will be my third time through. I was too stoned to remember my high school trip on the high seas. The cassette tape audio edition by a mellifluous American stage actor (name escapes) distracted me when I was stuck in bed a couple decades back. I think it fascinates me because it's epic, it's full of weirdly specific detail, the language rolls and pitches, and I grew up in the area where whaling created magnates.

My plan is to read a chapter online each day, and then read it again in audio. Modern technology eases the way.

While there are scores of instances of Moby-Dick online, I prefer this one:

It provides definitions of words which have fallen out of common use in 21st century English. (Who knew that "mole" was a jetty?) The low-key site design permits me to enlarge the font as needed.

There are more than one hundred different audio editions available on request at your library. For free,, the audio fellow-traveller to Project Gutenberg, has one:

To me the reader sounds like he’s acting, not reading. (I didn't link directly to Librivox because interface Reasons.)

Fortunately a stray tweet connected me to Peninsula Arts with Plymouth University, UK and their “Moby-Dick Big Read.” They’ve undertaken to produce and freely distribute an audio version of the complete Moby-Dick via the internet, with many different readers contributing.

They started on 16 Sept 2012 with Tilda Swinton slyly whispering “Call me Ishmael.” Other readers are famous (Cucumberpatch), appropriate (John Waters on whale foreskins, Stephen Fry on UST between Ishmael and Queequeg), unknown but talented (Capt R. N. Hone, Merchant Mariner), and much more famous (David Cameron).

Every chapter is at the Project's home page
for streaming or downloading.

You can grab it from iTunes or stream at your computer via Soundcloud

I know Moby-Dick has a fearsome reputation, but it’s the whale that’s big. The book is lighter than many fantasy doorstops — just 135 10- to 30-minute chapters.

(This literary enthusiasm is brought to you by Twitter. I kvelled about the project, and numerous tweeps were like, "Melville? Why? Really?" I spammed my list with cetacean promotion for 15 minutes and discovered I'd talked myself into it.)
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
Sounds like a neat new audio-production program for the Mac users among us, "Piezo" from Rogue Amoeba software. I've been using their products for six years. Support is great, docs are good, prices are modest.

Here's a detailed look at Piezo from my #1 Macintosh info source, TidBITS:
Piezo Makes Audio Recording Dead Simple
Rogue Amoeba’s latest effort — the audio recording app Piezo — makes recording audio from nearly any source on the Mac extremely easy, though the app has a few tradeoffs necessary for both simplicity and to get past Apple’s Mac App Store guard dogs.
jesse_the_k: NYC tourist postcard reads "The Muppets Take Methadone" (muppets on methadone)
Our current home entertainment system is cobbled from three decades worth of high tech, and the edges are starting to fray. Right now I have almost a dozen individual pieces, and I'd like to downsize in replacemnt. All the streaming gizmos -- Apple TV, Roku, Boxee -- do some of what I want.

My Ideal Magic Box would
bring internet in on coaxial cable
provide internet programming to the HDTV via Ethernet
create a wifi signal for the house
play music CDs and DVDs (Bluray if it's required)
provide an over-the-air FM/AM tuner
connect to a bunch of speakers

How come the sort of tools I found at Netflix "streaming hardware list" never include a wi-fi router?
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
I so wanted to love this book, and there were many excellent elements.

The title is funny, transparent and true.

The author is a freelance journalist, so naturally someone who's depended on the skills, talents, and kindness of librarians all over. She wants to repay the favor.

It mentions the Zotero bibliographic add-on for Firefox, which looks like it does everything Refworks does, saves the data in standard format, and makes a ZIP archive for your local reference to boot.

It school me about the heroic librarians in Connecticut who were willing to personally stand up for all of our rights under the PATRIOT act (and who were eventually joined by folks from NYC and the West, with fiscal support from the American Library Association and the ACLU). Not only were these librarians being all noble, the Justice Department was tying them up in a gag order explicitly so that this suppression of our rights could not be debated during the reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.

I did come away understanding that my starry-eyed admiration for librarians as guardians of justice, learning, and independent thinking is fundamentally correct. But actually I'd already got there.

And now the rant: the writer's previous book about obituary-writing, The Dead Beat, was very funny. It was also, it seems, uniquely suited to her attention span and organization skills. Probably the killer item, however, was the audiobook presentation. The narrator, Hillary Huber, was toneless. Although a native English speaker, she mis-pronounced several common words. That wouldn't be a capital sin over the span of a 8-disk work, but one of them was "lie BREH ee".

The author has what may be the world's most ugly and un-usable website. (As an Apple enthusiast, I hang my head in shame but that's what happens when someone uses iWeb, one of the very worst pieces of software Apple has ever come in contact with.)

So instead of wasting time with the book, here's a blog roll of connected librarians
jesse_the_k: kitty pawing the surface of Atlantic phonograph record on turntable  (scratch this!)
The song Bread & Roses was inspired by the IWW (Wobbly) organizing campaign in the Lawrence, Mass textile mills. The workers were almost all female (since the owners could pay them less) and mostly immigrants. My family history somehow intersects here: I heard fuzzy stories growing up about my Socialist Grandfather Knebel running away from the company police on the Lawrence train platform—I assumed he was in town making trouble.

March 8th used to be one pivot point of my year.
Read and hear all the details )
jesse_the_k: Panda doll wearing black eye mask, hands up in the spotlight, dropping money bag on floor  (bandit panda)
I've been enjoying podfics -- fanfics read aloud by fans (sometimes, but rarely, the fic's writer). Flannel-PJ type podfics really help me get to sleep.

I have a lot of experience narrating books, articles, and manuals for readers with print impairments, but podfic is *different*. I lack any creative writing skills, so podficcing looks like one way I could contribute to fandom.
So I'm soliciting beta readers for my first podfic )

Reply and I'll message you the MP3 link. Any comments you have to offer would be swell -- I'm a rank beginner!

Out Loud

Feb. 28th, 2009 08:07 pm
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
[ profile] kestrell has a wonderful post about reading out loud (Reading Allowed)
The truth is, we do not live in a culture which gives people a lot of opportunities to read aloud, that is, to practise freely using their voices (or perhaps that should be, to free their voices through practice).

Radiolab is a witty, rigorous and beautifully produced radio show. It's an intersection between "This American Life" and SCIENCE magazine (and better than either).

The December 2008 episode Diagnosis tells five stories where things are not exactly what they seem. Along the way, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich play around with soundscapes and blew my little brain.

They explore the social construction of both disability and disease. A father home-schools his son because he's ruthlessly teased in school because of his "oddness." He gets a diagnosis at age 28, late enough to escape the no-expectations non-education he might have received via sped. Doctors believe they're seeing pictures of moods on fMRIs. But in the 1920s, they were absolutely sure they knew the cause of SIDS, and confidently provided treatment that caused disease in healthy people and did nothing to prevent cot death.

According to MyGuy, who spent 18 years trying to work with doctors on quality issues, the med student's motto is: Sometimes wrong, never in doubt.

I know I'm particularly bitter on this topic.

My mother had difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term, and her OBGYN gave her DES, because he thought it would prevent miscarriage. It didn't, but it does make me more vulnerable to vaginal cancer (and more prone to infertility, which never bothered child-free me). At least Mummy was informed; thousands of women in the midwest were told they were getting prenatal vitamins when they were actually taking part in a drug study without consent.
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
I love Dmae Roberts's radio pieces. She explores vital, difficult issues and they're full of laughter. Listening to her voice helps me experience her insights more directly.
What are we but a collection of secrets? as we move through our lives, as we choose to reveal our lives, our stories, our very being to strangers—or not. 'How did your parents meet?'
Being visibly different in our racist society, she daily experiences rude questions from strangers. (Some of those same folks likewise see my power wheelchair as permission to say remarkably intrusive & thoughtless things.)

Her "Secret Asian Woman" explores the costs of passing. Her parents are White and Chinese, and she looks "White enough" to witness countless racist comments. She browses labels—"White," "half-Oriental," "Eurasian," "half-breed," "multiracial," "HAPA," "mixed,"—comparing their histories and fit. I laughed at her fellow-feeling with "Secret Agent Man," the 60s TV show: by being able to pass she inhabited the mysterious-infiltrator role into which many Asian women are cast.

more good stuff from Dmae Roberts )
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (focused eyeball)
Transom is a community for production, discussion, and distribution of interesting audio content—public radio with the dull left out.

CRAZIEST explores the almost invisible line between enthusiasm and obsession. There's an audio program and a Flash presentation at that link. They're both good; the visuals don't quite parallel (and don't quite intersect) the audio.
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (on guard)
This WIRED commentary introduces an open-source community project that enables sighted people to provide audio descriptions of divers porn clips on the net.

Not only a good idea in itself, but a possible resource for the wonderful slashers who are populating General Jinjur's podfic archive.

Let's reappropiate our cultural products as people with disabilities! To the barricades!

ETA: Yet another audio porn site. While these supplementary sites are lovely examples of free-will cooperation, it's a step backward in the accommodation arena. As long as our access depends on charity (no matter how sincerely or enjoyably proffered) instead of on civil rights, our participation is "special," marginalized, and totally fragile.
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
This NPR commentator, Bianca Butler, does an excellent job explaining -- in privileged talk -- the culture shock she experiences as a black, working class student at a Seven Sisters college.

Truth & Beauty clarified the class differences among writers as they learn their craft. Sarah Lawrence grads like Grealy & Padgett may have to work as waitresses, but they're also all over various "colonies" and "fellowships" (Yaddo, McDowell, Guggenheim, &c) pipelined to people like Sarah Lawrence grads. While "genre" writers scratch their way up by actually writing books (and working as waitresses).

Me, I'm just happy that I can look forward to reading all the stuff, who ever is writing it.

jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
Just finished Ann Padgett's memoir of her passionate friendship with Lucy Grealy. I was on the verge of weeping the entire time I listened to the author's narration on tape -- I can't imagine how she managed to keep her voice calm.

A testimony to female love between friends & to the bottomless holes we have in our hearts. Lucky folks can form functional scabs which coagulate a web of love and cognition and artistic expression and judicious medication (formal and improvised). Those bumpy clots protect our hearts from the whistling cold winds. In Padgett's telling, Grealy lacked the clotting factor. The huge gash -- made worse by endless pain and surgery -- could not, in the end, be stitched by the love of others or Oxycontin or heroin.

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jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
Jesse the K

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