Potpourri

Hello Everyone! I apologize for my lack of posting as of late. Seems like every time I sit down to write, I get sidetracked. Very bad. Anyway, I don’t have a particular story for today (though I have some brewing), so this post will be a potpourri of sorts.

First, I’d like to update on my last post “Yes, I love Technology.” One of my readers, washknight, turned me on to a much better and faster way of typing on my iPhone/iPad. Yayyyyyyy! This new way is called “touch typing.” With touch typing, I simply place my finger on the touch screen keyboard. As I move my finger around, VoiceOver reads the particular key my finger is resting on. When I find the right letter, I simply remove my finger, and the letter is inserted. This makes writing much less torturous. It does add to the number of typos experienced, so I turned my auto-correct function back on, and have, once again, entered the social world.

Honestly, I can’t believe I never figured this out before. But maybe, there is someone like myself out there who hasn’t stumbled upon this awesome feature yet either, so I will quickly tell you the steps 
1. Have VoiceOver on.
2. Go to an editable document, such as Notes, and double tap “add new”
3. Once the text is editing, take your thumb and forefinger, place them on the screen above the keyboard (so, in the center or top of screen) and move them clockwise, as if you were turning a radio dial. This is the rotor
4. Continue moving your fingers in this fashion until you hear “typing.” Then swipe up with one finger. You will hear “touch typing,” and VOILA! Life will be much better for you.
5. Don’t feel silly for never figuring this out before, because some tech-loving chick in NYC didn’t find this option for nearly two years.
Next, I’ll give a quick update on the puppy process for those who are wondering:
As you all know, I got accepted at the end of February. Since then I’ve had to send in a little paperwork, and now I wait. I have about 4.5 months to go…time is flying already. So, still on the list, and just waiting for my turn 

Finally, thought I’d post a pretty cool link. These shoes use your smart phone to navigate you via vibration. Sound pretty cool to me. Get some of these and my Mercedes, and I’ll be set! They’d be my magic shoes…Mama said they’d take me anywhere I wanna go
http://gizmodo.com/these-smartshoes-help-the-blind-navigate-city-streets-1536067120

Interviews with the creator and testing for those interested:
http://www.healio.com/ophthalmology/neurosciences/news/print/ocular-surgery-news-europe-edition/%7B8bbadef6-a081-4609-963c-afc8071e4fdc%7D/haptic-shoe-provides-gps-directions-for-independent-motion-of-blind-visually-impaired

http://blog.ted.com/2013/03/03/soul-to-sole-eye-surgeon-anthony-vipin-das-has-developed-shoes-that-see-for-the-blind/
Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know I haven’t abandoned my blog, and I do have some stuff in the works. For all of you east coasters, enjoy this lovely weather. Looks like spring has FINALLY arrived!

Advertisements

Yes, I Love Technology

Hi ya’ll! First, I want to thank everyone who has commented or emailed me questions. I can’t wait to answer them, and hopefully, satisfy your curiosity. Keep them coming!

Today, I’m going to answer two questions that I’ve been asked by several people. The first is short, so I threw it in the post. The second is rather long, so, I apologize in advance. If you have insomnia, I suggest reading this post once or twice, and you won’t have to worry about counting sheep 😉

1. What do I do at my job/ what is my profession?
I am a Marketing and Development Associate at a non-profit cultural access organization in NYC. My organization’s mission is to remove barriers to arts and culture for traditionally isolated populations of the city. It’s a great place, with great people!
What I do is mainly a lot of writing. On the marketing side, I wrote a lot of text for the organization’s website when it was being overhauled. I also write posts for our blog, outreach materials for various programs, letters, and miscellaneous tasks. Though I’ve listed several marketing activities, my job leans heavily toward the development side. I spend at least 90% of the time writing proposals, letters, and requests for funding. I also research potential funders, and am the outreach person for city council activities, including funding requests, invites to events, and meeting schedule/attendance. That’s it in a nutshell.

2. How do I operate technology, i.e. Computer, iPhone, iPad, blog and work?

iPhone/iPad:
First, I want to say that Apple is AWESOME and the mac daddy. Apple products are great because they are sensitive to making their products accessible, and include accessibility software hardwired into their devices (unlike Windows). I use a software called “Voice Over” on my iPhone and iPad. It sounds much like Siri. If you have one of these devices, you can check out Voice Over by doing the following:
Tap “settings” > tap “general” > tap “accessibility” > tap “Voice Over” > turn Voice Over on.
You will notice that turning Voice Over on changes how you have to use the touch screen. For instance, you have to select an item and then double tap to activate it, instead of just single tapping it. To move between screens, or scroll up or down, you have to swipe three fingers instead of one. You’ll also notice that Voice Over will read everything you select on the screen- hence, how I operate my phone.
Voice Over is great, but is not without its own flaws. It takes an excessively long time to write a text message (unless you’re using the dictate function) because you have to triple tap each letter, once to select, then double to insert the character into the message. Also, not all apps are accessible. I may have a totally awesome app, but because accessibility was not programmed into the app, I cannot operate it. This happens more often than I’d like. A lot of apps will create an image with text on it, but won’t program a text descriptor. Unfortunately, a text reader cannot read an image, so I will just hear a little thonk-like noise (yes, I did just make up the word “thonk”), and that’s as far as I get.
Another problem with any text-to-speech software is that it doesn’t function as fast as an eye. With an eye, you can skim over the material at a very fast pace. With text-to-speech, you have to listen to every word to skim. Being a little impatient, I’ve trained my ears to listen quickly and have Voice Over set to 90%. (Try changing the speech rate when you’re messing around on your phone for kicks).
One last thing is the software uses a lot more processing power, especially with the speech rate turned to 90%. This results in my phone/iPad randomly freezing and shutting down apps. It also makes some things take longer to load. BUT, all in all, I am SO blessed to have this kind of technology!!! I’d be lost without it.

Computer:
At work and at home, I have Windows computers. These computers require external software to operate. The software is called “Jaws.” It is an acronym for something, but I can’t remember what…
So, how to explain Jaws? Wow….
Okay, first, the voice is….interesting. Sounds like a cross between a robot and a nerd. Mid range pitch, and a bit monotone. I also have this buddy turned to around 85-90%…
Operating Jaws is actually a bit complicated. In fact, I took lessons in how to use the program a little over a year ago. The computer is controlled by a series of keyboard commands. There are many of these commands, and I am still learning as I go along. The mouse/pointer is not used at all. It’s actually a bit difficult to explain, but I will give you a quick example:
I want to search “cat” on the internet.
I hit the “windows” button on my keyboard. In the search box I type the beginning of either Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. Once my program says the name, I hit “enter.” Once the program is open, I use the keyboard combination “alt + D” to access the address bar. In this, I type “cat” and hit “enter.” Then I hit “tab” or “F6” to access the page displaying my results. Then I push “insert + F6,” which opens up the “headings list” (a heading is the title of each result). I use the arrow keys to find a heading that looks interesting, and hit “enter.” This puts my cursor over the title. I then hit “enter” again to go to the page.

This program, as annoying at it is, has made me functional in the electronic world once more, and for that I am incredibly grateful. It, again, is not without its flaws.
For one, sometimes the program has a hard time navigating. Even if I am doing everything right, it sometimes doesn’t want to select a link, or perform some other function. Not all elements on the computer are navigable. Many times, a random window or notification will pop up on screen, and my program simply will not let me navigate to the window to read it. Some very simple, very mainstream programs can give me trouble. PDFs can be tricky. Thank goodness at work I have the newest version of Adobe Reader, but older versions, and the one I have at home give me more than a little difficulty, and often won’t let me read the PDF. Additionally, sometimes the voice will simply stop working and I have to shut my computer off manually in order for me to be able to get things to work again. Finally, many websites can be quite a bear to navigate. Either they won’t work, or make my software skip over vital elements of the page or links won’t work because they are designed for a mouse to hover over them, and so, aren’t registered as links at all. If I have to do much typing, I have to use Internet Explorer. Google Chrome is great, but when I backspace, my software only says “blank” instead of the letters I am removing, which can get confusing really quick.

With these programs, I have had to become okay with doing nearly everything in a roundabout way. For instance, when posting a blog on the computer, I can only do it a certain way, or else, I will end up throwing my computer across the room in frustration. In fact, it took me hours to post my first couple blogs until I figured out the only way I could maneuver the site. Other than that, I move to the appropriate text fields, type the title, past the text (that I’ve created in Word), and add tags.

So, that is a basic overview on how I operate technology. I could fill hundreds of pages with more in depth information, but I think this post is already way too long and way too dry to drone on anymore. For those of you who are not slumped over your computer/tablet/phone drooling from this post putting you to sleep, I congratulate you! For those who are, I apologize for the wiping up of drool you’ll have to do when you wake up, but hey, at least you got a nap out of it 