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contents: outdated language, patronizing assumptions, great tech

A creative way to reuse an out-of-date Android 4.4 (or better) smartphone/tablet: transform to an MP3 audio player with the most direct UI I've ever seen.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: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
Thanks to the Disability Studies in the Humanities listserv, I found this wonderful review from my hometown paper I would have otherwise missed.

Katherine Schneider is a retired psychologist, who coordinated psychologist training at UW Eau Claire. When she criticizes how blind people are portrayed in the book she's to assigned review, she suggests three books which address the same issues and handle blindness adroitly. It's a very effective technique, and one I want to deploy in future discussions (and protests).

Just Read It | Katherine Schneider : WSJ
begin quote

In many blindness fictions, blind women show up as someone needing to be cared for and unacquainted with the realities of the world. If your taste runs to romantic fiction, instead of reading Danielle Steele's "A Perfect Life," why not try "The Unexpected Gift" by Berna King. The author is blind and gets the details right about two blind characters. Blindness is part of their lives and people's sometimes misguided attitudes about their blindnesses are also just part of their lives.
end quote
jesse_the_k: Two bookcases stuffed full (with books on top) leaning into each other (books)
By Blood—Ellen Ullman5 of 5 )

Madness: A Bipolar Life—Marya Hornbacher5 of 5 )

Lock In—John Scalzi3.5 of 5 )

Peace meals: candy-wrapped Kalashnikovs and other war stories—Anna Badkhen5 of 5 )
jesse_the_k: Alan Cummings, all glammed up in blue eyeshadow and filmy red dress vamps in lime green room under the words "drama quee (Alan the drama queen)
Kim Stanley Robinson: 2312
available in print and ebook; 6/10 stars
Excerpt here thanks to publisher
4500 words re pushing through the last 300 pages )
Thanks to Luzula who said she was interested in my reaction. It's much easier to write to a known reader.
jesse_the_k: harbor seal's head with caption "seal of approval" (Approval)
I've read almost all that British writer Alexander Masters has published, and I seek out his work. He writes from his daily experience, but is always ready to peel away his daily assumptions and received wisdom. books movies articles )Two books, the movie, scores of articles. Take a look the next time you see Alexander Masters' name.
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
There was ample reading on our trip to the North Woods.

Rhinelander, pop 8000, used to support two daily newspapers; now it's down to one company which publishes a weekly tabloid as well as three shrunken broadsheets a week. Which is to say there wasn't that much in the way of newspapers. Turns out that life without the net or the news is okay.

We are all completely beside ourselves )
Four Freedoms )
My Life In the Kitchen )

The whipped cream on top: the origin of Rhinelander's name. We'd always assumed it hitchiked with the thousands of German immigrants who spread all over Wisconsin in the 19th century. The truth is more mercenary: the capitalists who'd purchased extensive timber lands realized it was worthless without transportation. They convinced F.W. Rhinelander, president of a railroad with a line nearby, to extend the rail service to the town. In return for naming rights (and eventually half the land) the railroad arrived. Fortunes were made via clearcuts, and it took fifty years before there was any logging opportunities again. Tourism and paper mills bridged the gap.
jesse_the_k: White woman with glasses laughing under large straw hat (JK 52 happy hat)
I was delighted by the remarkable story in the NYTimes today about modular/prefab bridge building. A steel-concrete bridge that customarily required two years of road and rail closures was fixed in a weekend.
link to story and video )

Our lovely Madison-based book group, [community profile] beer_marmalade, recently read China Miéville's YA book, Un Lun Dun. I was disappointed. )

Luckily for me, [personal profile] kestrell recommended a perfect palate cleanser: Boris Starling's VISIBILITY. Highly recommended! )
jesse_the_k: Hands open print book with right side hollowed out to hole iPod (Alt format reader)
The Teleread Blog aggregates all sorts of useful news on ereaders, epublishing, e this and e that.

From the source:
Eleven free stories by Philip K Dick

To librarians:
Self-service iPad checkout for libraries

To the consumer:
eReader Interactive Database Comes on Line
This last is an awesome tool with 128 devices and selectors for screen kind, size, OS, price etc.

To assistive technology (YAY)
Switch-based Access to Three Kindle Models

Here's the RSS feed I made and added to my reading list (long form).

To add Teleread to your daily inhale, visit that link and then choose subscribe from the navigation bar on top.
jesse_the_k: Robot dog from old Doctor Who (k9 to the rescue)
Even when I'm offline, it seems, I'm opening tabs!

Prof Deb Reese accomplishes two useful things here at her American Indians in Childrens Literature blog: a. Speaking up on why the phrase "a few dead Indians" is problematic and b. Documenting info and rumor flow via Twitter, blogs, email, &c.

Web-related book rave )

Jesse Goes to the Ball Park )

Ooops! Time's up! Back at you in a couple days.
jesse_the_k: Photo of baby wearing huge black glasses  (eyeglasses baby)
Just finished Joe Sacco's Palestine, graphic non-fiction about Intifada I. As with all his work, the narrative is honestly brutal and the drawings squirm with detail. I wholeheartedly recommend all his "comic books" (his preferred term). At Mother Jones, when he talks about his latest, Footnotes in Gaza, he explains why graphic non-fiction can sometimes tell a story better than words alone:
 begin quote  But one of the advantages of comics is that you're drawing frame after frame after frame, so almost in the background scenes you can create this atmosphere that's following the reader around, that doesn't necessarily relate to the foreground action but is somehow always present. For example, the way the buildings look—I can show that over and over again in the background, so in some ways I think you can really put the reader in that place, just with all these repeated images. If there's mud in the background, you can show that in every frame, so the mud is following the reader around. If you're a prose writer, really what you're doing is just mentioning it once, you're not going to keep mentioning it ever few lines—"and by the way, it was really muddy." So it's this constant reminder of what the place looks like. quote ends 
jesse_the_k: Slings & Arrows' Anna sez: "I'll smack you so hard your cousin will fall down!" (Anna smacks hard)
I've now heard and tried the talking Kindle 2. It's basic, but it's there. Folding assistive tech into mainstream products is Universal Design, one of my holy grails. That the Author's Guild is claiming this will cut into sales of audiobooks is evidence that they've not sat down and just listened to the Kindle. The TTS is nice, but it's nowhere near as good as the current top-of-the-line technology, much less a human narrator. People without print impairments read audio books while exercising and on the road; neither of those activities lend themselves to audio Kindle reading.

So I'm delighted to report that the Reading Rights Coalition plans an April 4th demonstration against the Author's Guild (as well as the on 24-25 April at the LA Festival of Books). Participants include both organizations of & for the blind (NFB and ACB); AHEAD representing folks providing disability services in secondary education; AAPD, a cross-disability lobbying group; DAISY the standards organization which has guided the creation of structured, random-access audio with parallel text; and many more.
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (Default)
DSQ, the Disability Studies Quarterly is an academic journal where academics, scholars, and independent thinkers have been poking at the meaning of disability, impairment, handicap, and other problematic labels for two decades. Both DSQ and its newer cousin, the Review of Disability Studies, are available free online. One reads DSQ in one's browser; RDS is downoadable as PDF or DOC files (an odd choice).

Since I now have two handheld reading devices, I'm always slurping up digital content. Which is where I encountered this, in Michael Davidson's review of Tobin Sieber's Disability Theory:
If a constituency is perceived to define rights claims for "special accommodation" around individual medical conditions, then that group could be said to be self-serving and narcissistic — hardly the best climate in which to mount a social movement.

Ah! This is why the Clint Eastwood-pattern "why are they asking for special rights?" objection stirs such a visceral reaction! I'm being called out as selfish, greedy and needy.

The reviewer further discusses how this book challenges the simple binary between the "medical model" and the "social model" of disability:
As I read (and teach) new scholarship on disability studies I see the same rhetorical sleights of hand being used to deconstruct ableist ideology without much critical reflection on the assumptions that underlie this endeavor. Siebers' book is a caution about how easily academic discourse produces the illness it seeks to cure. "We" all agree that the medicalization of the body has been harmful to persons with disabilities. "We" all agree that this model locates the "problem" in the impairment and not in the social and cultural barriers to full participation in social polity. "We" all agree that ideological state apparatuses reinscribe power on the body and render them docile. But as Siebers points out, the social model, by focusing on the social meanings of disability tends to dismiss the body as a kind of empty code of signifiers. That is small comfort for a person experiencing chronic pain or receiving dirty looks when boarding a bus or being denied access to a job, courtroom, or medical insurance.

Can't wait for Seiber's book to arrive!
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (on guard)
This is Your Brain on Music
The Science of a Human Obsession
Daniel J Levitin
ISBN 0-525-94969-0
Dutton, 2006

Eight out of ten stars.

A delightful, page-turning introduction to the neurological basis of musical performance and appreciation. I love "scientist-for-a-day" books, which explore a topic in enough depth to surprise and educate me, and are aimed at the curious lay reader who lacks calculus, chemistry, or other deep scientific fundamentals. I have the flattering illusion that I actually understand the material as I read it, and retain some high points. and you'll read about them in the cut )
jesse_the_k: Perfectly circlular white brain-like fungus growing on oak tree (gopher hunter)
Bookhunter by Jason Shiga
documents the die-hard police force that library miscreants should have to face. Very funny and well-drawn in an entertaining collision of Peter Lorre and the Muppets.

An amber book that captures and demonstrates the cutting edge technology for librarians and the phone system in 1973. And since, after all, the characters are guardians of all knowledge, they know just how quickly their elaborate current system will be outmoded.

A desparate needle search through the hay depot of the Oakland Public Library's card catalog yields one three-foot drawer odd enough to warrant a consultation with the Czar of Cataloging. His quick assessment: "Now I can tell right off the bat there are 12 cards missing here. ... In a few years we'd be done 10 minutes ago"

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Jesse the K

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