I was honored to connect with Deaf Mom and read about her life on her blog Deaf Mom Shares Her World. I learned from her that video interviews are not accessible for people who are deaf, that text transcripts along with videos are accessible. She inspired me to become interested in the people friendly media technology available. Just this morning we were emailing about this need:
NEED: We are looking for a technology that can "transcribe" audio files to text.
Then today I read about another inspiring person (T.V. Raman, a Computer Scientist and an Engineer at Google) in the New York Times article "Going Where No Guide Do Can". The article describes him as a leading thinker for accessibility issues and notes that some of Mr. Raman's innovations may help make electronic gadgets and web services more user-friendly for everyone. For example, the article also mentioned that Mr. Raman said that with the right tweaks, touch-screen phones – many of which already come equipped with GPS Technology and a compass – could help blind people navigate the world.
I will be heading to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. I decided to add accessibility technology that can assist people with disabilities to the my list of things to look for.
Please comment on this post with any technologies (and links) you know of to assisting people who are Blind or Deaf. I would also like to hear from people with other disabilities to add the technology they use also and will post about that also.
After reading the New York Times article, I realize that my comments do have a captcha which may be hard to use for screen readers. If you want to comment, and find the captcha an issue – then please email me and I will add your comments to this post. My email is techmamas(at)gmail(dot)com.
Start with a visit to Words Matter – Writing about people with disabilities
Official Google Blog: T.V. Raman on Even More Books to Read
Google Accessible Web Search For the visually impaired (Google Accessible Search) and Google Accessible Search FAQ
Google Book Search Becomes Accessible
Links From Deaf Mom:
Techmeme posted with an interesting discussion around securing Wi-Fi networks. The discussion was started by an article in the Wired website titled: "Steal This Wi-Fi". In that article, Bruce Schneier admits that his home wireless network is "open" (no passwords or encryption). He discusses the security issues around having an open wireless system, but what really made sense to me was his point on where the security really should be – ON THE HOME PC’S OR LAPTOPS! Here is a snippet from his article:
"I’m also unmoved by those who say I’m putting my own data at risk,
because hackers might park in front of my house, log on to my open
network and eavesdrop on my internet traffic or break into my
computers. This is true, but my computers are much more at risk when I
use them on wireless networks in airports, coffee shops and other
public places. If I configure my computer to be secure regardless of
the network it’s on, then it simply doesn’t matter. And if my computer
isn’t secure on a public network, securing my own network isn’t going
to reduce my risk very much."
Here are my two cents on securing home wireless networks:
While major news outlets like the San Jose Mercury News are covering the California storm that is raging on, will the California Bay Area bloggers be able to blog if phone coverage is spotty? Some of my friends are without power, but I am somehow lucky to have power – and even better – WIRELESS!!. So here I am, liveblogging that the storm. The wind is powerful, rain is hard, puddles are plentiful (my boys can’t wait to go out to jump in them) and the little ones and zeros are still traveling in the air to enable mama
Oh, and a big shout out to Linksys, my Wireless-G Broadband Router is holding up just fine. But I am still eyeing the Wireless-N Broadband Router that I included in the TechMama’s Holiday Gift Guide. I guess I should also thank my AT&T Yahoo DSL…
I am happy that my tech buddy Sarah Granger guest blogged on Techmamas about the iPhone. Last year when I first went shopping for a smartphone, the iPhone was not out yet. Which is lucky for me because I would have been very tempted.
To help decide which smartphone I was going to purchase, I talked to the most important experts of all – my mom friends who had smartphones. After shopping around, I decided on the BlackBerry. And recently I just upgraded to the BlackBerry Curve. Yippeee, mama is never offline. Our family is a two BlackBerry family (happens often in Silicon Valley), so hubby and I never have to say "Put that thing away". Well, maybe the kids do say that…
I am still spending time getting to know the features of the BlackBerry Curve, but here are some of the my favorites. The start-up guide is helpful, and installation is quick and easy. I find the most important functions intuitive. Which is great for a busy mom who does not have time to read the full instruction manual. Not that I would read any instruction manual even if I did have time, I would rather read trashy magazines… After my kids are all back at school and I have one moment to sit down, I will post with a more detailed review.
My current favorite features: