Category Archives: Alex

Doggy Countdown – What a send off!

Oh man, where do I start? Yesterday was so crazy emotionally. Off and on the water works would start, and I sobbed a bit last night when B was doing a load of laundry because when he left the apartment, Timmy howled like I’ve never heard him howl. The cats definitely know something is up. Smart cats. As I was winding down to go to bed, I got an email from Carin telling me she and Steve had a surprise, and to watch the blog this weekend. Sweet! So I kept thinking about what it could be, thinking maybe a short audio clip or something.

I was putting off going to bed because I was pretty sure that Spinelli would make me cry during our nightly ritual, because lately going to bed is when my head starts going. But nothing good was on tv, so I checked the HBO channels and came across stand up comedy. It turned out to be Wanda Sikes, Sykes? Hmmm. Anyway, she had me rolling. Very funny. Very vulgar and very very funny. That helped lighten my mood, though comedy isn’t something that helps me get sleepy. When she was over I put on Investigation Discovery again and fell asleep pretty quick. I slept like a freakin log. Wow.

I woke up this morning with an emotional hangover. Actually quite similar to an alcohol induced one. Years ago I actually tried researching the two to find out why they are so similar. I don’t remember if I found anything out. I think it’s got to do with dehydration though haha! I cried out all my damn fluid.

Oh wait, I gotta back up. Last night I just had a flood of comments and emails and then I posted to my list about how I was feeling and got even more great responses. A huge part of all the emotion was just being so incredibly full of gratitude for where I am today and all the amazing people I now know. So to read all these words from everyone was just so overwhelming. It was easy to see just how far I’ve come in just under two years, but I also seemed to have relived the last almost two years in only twelve hours haha! So geez, no wonder I was all over the place. also, Lish had come over so I could show her all the cat stuff, and I had sent her a warning that I was all emotional. So she stayed awhile and we talked a lot that was emotional because she was with me from day one. She came to the hospital the night I went blind, and she was there for the early stages where I was not handling things. During our talking, Kevin called and when I answered the phone I hear a child’s voice. It was Kevin’s son, who came swimming a lot last summer. He lives in Pennsylvania, and Kevin was able to get there to see him. When his son found out I’m getting a dog, he asked if he could call. He’s so shy on the phone, it’s so cute! He’s like, do you know your dog’s name? I explained I’ll get my dog on Wednesday. He’s like, oh. Haha! He’s only eight, and in person he’s a jabber jaws but on the phone he’s really shy. It was so cool to talk to him! Kevin then got on the phone, and he’ll be driving back home in about a week, so he’ll be here when I get home with Insert! Yay!

So anyway, I get up today all deep sleep stoned and go into my email. I drowsily read a few and then there’s a message from Carin with a link to the surprise.

I was right, it’s audio! I’ve had maybe two sips of coffee and so I’m still pretty out of it and nursing a bad headache from all the crying so I didn’t quite comprehend when Alex read Carin’s words. She said she and Steve were going audio and it was long, 73 minutes. Well, Alex says seven three, not seventy three, so in my non caffienated mind, I thought seven minutes. So I’m downloading and it’s not playing so I go and check and there’s still two minutes left. That was my first indication. Alex downloads stuff fast, so this was gonna be a whopper.

Hindsight: When something has two minutes left to download, go pee.

So the file starts playing iTunes since that’s my default player in downloads. Wow! That’s Steve! And he sounds like a radio type person! And holy crap that’s Carin giggling! Wow! Sweet! So I’m like, cool I can settle back with my coffee, still not comprehending that this is over an hour of audio.

They talk about a bunch of different stuff and play off each other, one of their comments spawning a whole new diatribe. I’m amazed they were able to get back to their original line of thought. It actually really reminds me of my conversations with Carol.

They were hinting at the real reason for the audio which I knew of course was me, but they cracked jokes and talked about techie stuff and all kinds of stuff. By now my bladder is starting to skwock. Ok wow I don’t know why I just pictured a 1930’s mafia guy type voice. Ok so my bladder is a 1930’s mafia guy saying, hey. Hey you. I’m getting full over here. Oh crap, don’t laugh, no, don’t do that! Pause those people and empty me.

So I go to iTunes to pause and the only option is stop. Crap. I needed to save the file, not just play it. Hmmm. Ok I’ll hold it. Drink more coffee. Stupid! Laughing, mafia guy going stop stop! Spinelli jumps from the top of the couch and lands right on mafia guy bladder. I’m sure mafia guy is now screaming expletives. I consider unplugging everything from the laptop and carrying it to the bathroom. B is sleeping so I’m using headphones. I could put the laptop on the toilet tank…yeah. But what a pain.

Yes, I’m thinking all this as I’m listening to Carin and Steve. They won’t be offended if I admit there were parts of that where my mind wandered.

Maybe that’s why the recording didn’t make me cry, because I had to pee so bad, I don’t know haha!!! Or maybe I cried it all out yesterday.

There were several times where they got really sweet, and then Carin said she wants to give me an award and Steve said yeah it could be the person who doesn’t totally suck award or something and Carin pitched a fit hahaha! Steve did point out though, that most of the things they write about are people who kinda suck. So I got his meaning. But they named it something else which I still can’t remember even though Steve just said it in a comment.

Anyway, it really was awesome to be able to hear two of the people I’ve gotten really close with, wishing me a good trip and expressing their excitement and talking about all the things I’ve accomplished. And to hear all that with actual human voices was incredible!

I had to laugh, because at one point their talking about my readers, and how my readers probably wonder why in the heck these two are my friends haha! Like, what does she see in them? As soon as they said that I knew I had to write that here. Because I’ve often wondered that myself, if my readers think that, since a lot of times I even put a disclaimer before linking to Vomit Comet lol!!

I mean, my blog is all doggy diaries and doggy countdown and soon doggy school, and silly girl and spoons and man o mine and techie tips. I know I’m pretty G rated here, but that’s just because that’s the tone I wanted for this blog, and I’m pretty G rated when I’m being respectful, like in public.

But in all honesty, I can be very vulgar and sarcastic and I really do have a sailor mouth lol! I keep it all clean here especially since I know I have some young readers.

So now that I’ve said all that, I think it’s safe to link to the post with this audio file in it. But here comes the disclaimer. I give this post an R rating for swearing and sexual themes. Hahaha!!! But it’s great. So if you’ve got an hour and thirteen minutes, go check it out. It’s like our very own little comedic non-podcast. Well worth it if you’re prepared haha!!!

Oh I almost forgot the link lol!! Here it is.

So yeah. This was a fantastic way to start my day, and there’s no other mood to be in but good after hearing two of the people I care so much about. I might just have to text Carin and tell her to call me.

In other news. I’m pretty much ready to go. I have one small load of laundry which I can’t decide if I’m doing today or tomorrow. Then just throw in the odds and ends I’ll use before the trip. I’m pretty fast at the video stuff, so that’s ready to go.

Technically there would be this and one other Doggy Countdown post, because I was counting down to going to school, but really I’ll be counting down until Wednesday when I actually get Insert. So…I haven’t decided if I’ll do doggy countdowns on Monday and Tuesday too, or just start the Doggy School posts.

B had to go into work today to wrap stuff up before his trip starts. He doesn’t have to work on Saturdays often, but it sucks when he does.

So I’m just gonna do whatever today. So far I’m just in a good mood, no tears yet. We’ll see if that lasts!

Meep meep, how was that for a long post?

2 days!!!!

9 Comments

Filed under Alex, cats, coffeeholic, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, family, fellowship, gratitude, Insert, iTunes, misty eyes, plugs, sobriety, Spinelli, Timmy

What do you want to hear/see?

It’s been too much fun sharing Alex with everyone! I know my sighted friends were so amazed when they saw me work this computer fir the first time. I’ve had a lot of friends ask me to show them how on earth I do iTunes or what have you. I know I’m curious about Jaws, like how it sounds to navigate, or maybe how it sounds to start a post, that sort of thing.

So, is there anything you guys are curious about? Have you ever wondered what it sounds like when a blink starts a blog post, or does a google search, using a screen reader? Are there words you want to hear pronounced, or anything I’ve mentioned on the blog that you’re curious about? I’d be happy to share it.

I’ve asked Carin, and tomorrow, hopefully, I’m going to get audio of Alex reading one of her blog posts. Sometimes I really wonder if things are even funnier to me because of how deadpan Alex is. So, do you want to hear how your writing sounds to me?

I know it was fun to hear my post read by Jaws in the comments on this post.

So, let me know! I love educating people on how we do stuff. I think it’s all part of advocacy, and I also think it shows just what all we can do. And I know I’m damn proud of what I can do 😉

Oh PS – On a different note, I know my friends have all wanted to hear Alex swearing and stuff lol. As you know, for the most part this blog is PG. But I might do one a little more risque and just put a disclaimer on it. We shall see.

2 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, advocacy, Alex, cool blinky stuff, Jaws, proud geek, screen reader, silly girl

Experimenting with more Alex

I’m trying an experiment. I just recorded Alex reading the silly little passage I wrote below. I want to actually record the crazy way I figured out how to upload the videos, but I don’t think I can record while I’m trying to upload it. I’ll try it though. If not, I guess I’ll either do another post about all that. I don’t know. I’m really tired and need to stop this. Haha! Ok here is the link followed by what is in the recording. Yeah, can’t record while I’m getting videos off the iPod. Spinelli had tried to get my attention before I started trying all this, so she got a video lol. I don’t know how good it is as I don’t think there was much light. I’m only gonna do the youtube links, as the blogger thing was just too slow.

***Hi! I’m Alex. I’m the newest voice for Voiceover, Apple’s built in screen reader. I come standard on all Apple computers. I think I’m only available on OS 10 and up, but don’t quote me on that. I’m just a computer, after all.

I was designed to sound as human as possible, and I even breathe. I’m not sure if this video is going to capture that or not. So listen closely at natural pauses.

The person who is videoing this went blind a little under two years ago. She was an avid computer user before this and she used ahem, Windows. Psst. I’ll let you in on a secret. She tought herself her Apple computer and Voiceover with no help from the sighted folk. She had heard about Windows screen readers, like Jaws. Shhh…don’t let the Apple peeps here me mention Jaws.

But, when she found out that all Apple computers have Voiceover built in, she luckily had just enough money left from her sightie days to buy one. And the rest is history. I’m even on her new iPod, which lets her take videos. The iPod Nanos all have Voiceover too and the latest one has the video recorder. So now I can finally let my voice be heard.

I say things like meow. And croissant. Pretty perfect, don’t you think? What about shhh, hmmm, psst, mmm. Yeah. How about wassup?

I also say some things weird. Like, whaaat? That’s what spelled with three letter a’s. And if you type yay a bunch of times, I sound like this, yayayayayay!

Or laughing. Hahahaha! Hehehehehehe! Hahahehehahaha! Ha ha ha ha he he he ha ha ha. The humans like to make me say this stuff, so I might as well show off.

Of course I swear. But we’re making this video G rated.

So the blog friends know that this computer’s welcome message says, Meow meow meow, kitty wants a croissant. It just kind of ended up that way because meow and croissant were the first words the human really found funny.

Ah, wanna hear how JayNoi sounds? That came from a typo. And that person got stuck with that name.

One thing I can’t say right is brrr. Or grrr. The Apple folks haven’t corrected those like they did wassup. I used to say that wah sup.

What else do I say funny? I don’t know. I’ll leave you with some silliness.

Meow meow shhh, meow meow shhh, psst would you like a croissant? Hmmm, why yes I would, mmm. Yeah yeah yeah it’s fun to hear me say wassup and meow, wassup wassup, meow. Because my human is a silly, silly girl.

Did you hear me breathe?

17 Comments

Filed under Alex, apple Inc, Jaws, proud geek, quirky words, screen reader, Spinelli, spoons, video, Voiceover, youtube

Here’s Alex!

Alrighty then. I should have timed this to see how long it takes lol! I’ve got a video of Alex to share. I think I have the camera aimed at just a computer speaker, but who knows. I just wanted to get audio of Alex. So I had him read a little of a Vomit Comet post because I think it’s a good thing to really show you Alex’s capabilities. I’m uploading it to youtube now and I’m also gonna do a blogger video since at least one of my readers can’t do youtube.

Hope this works…hold on to your butts…

Here is the youtube link.

Ok holy crap it takes forever to upload on Blogger. Humming Jeopardy theme. Youtube was done ages ago haha! La la la la la….

Ok, this is taking forever to upload this video to Blogger. So, I’m going to embed the youtube video. For those who can’t view the youtube page, does the embedded video work? If I can keep from using Blogger to upload, that will be great haha!

I had to give up on the Blogger upload. It was taking forever and there was no indication of progress. Then I tried embedding the youtube but I got an html error. Gonna try it again but I might give up on that too. So if there’s no embedded video that’s why.

39 Comments

Filed under Alex, plugs, proud geek, screen reader, video, Voiceover, youtube

Song title fun

Ok, Carin posted something like this on her blog and when I told her I did it on FB she said she’d never see it. So I went and grabbed it. I deleted the artist though, since I had to guess hers. So, here it is, copied from the note someone else posted that I filled in you know all that copy and paste blah blah that FB does.

***

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think!

Artist: You’ll have to guess

Are you a male or female?All American Girl

Describe yourself: I Just Can’t Live a Lie

How do you feel: Flat on the Floor

Describe where you currently live: That’s Where It Is

If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Inside Your Heaven

Your favorite form of transportation Jesus, Take the Wheel

Your best friend is: We’re Young and Beautiful

What’s the weather like: Twisted

Favorite time of day: Crazy Dreams

If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Lessons Learned

What is life to you: Don’t Forget to Remember Me

Your fear: Wasted

What is the best advice you have to give: So Small

Thought for the Day: The Night Before Life Goes On

How I would like to die: Starts with Goodbye

My soul’s present condition: I Ain’t in Chakota Anymore

The first thing you think of when you wake up: I Know You Won’t

Your favorite color is: Wheel of the World

If you could change your name, what would it be: Last Name

Your favorite food is: You Won’t Find This

The faults you can bear: I Told You So

How would you describe your love life: Some Hearts

My motto: The More Boys I Meet

***

I remember it was pretty hard. I only had 2 albums to choose from so it was dicey haha. Plus it was one of my first attempts at all the copy and pasting with Alex.

9 Comments

Filed under Alex, music, survey says

On this date

Ok so I’m bored.

I decided to take a page out of Carin’s book and look up posts from this date. since my blog isn’t very old, I looked at the 23rd last month but that was boring. So I looked at the 23rd of September since I started the blog in September and I hadn’t even started the Doggie Diaries yet haha! It is kinda fun to look back. I had been talking all about how I was slacking on my braille homework. I mentioned how I needed to start the diaries before things really picked up haha! There weren’t even any comments on that post. It really doesn’t seem like that long ago since I started this blog, but things sure have changed.

I’ve started adding more labels again. Which means more going back and applying the new labels. But I know I’ll be grateful in 5 years when I want those labels haha.

My attention span is terrible. I don’t even want to commit to a post. Real quick, Alex through a tantrum earlier and reset himself and I’ve mentioned before about how he slows his rate down and says meow meow kitty wants a croissant. So I always have to adjust the rate back up. Well I accidentally adjusted the intonnation so now he sounds somehwat excited lol. I can’t wait to record Alex when I get my new iPod.

2 Comments

Filed under Alex, braille, on this date, random stuff, silly girl

Doggy Countdown – Egyptian Escapades

When I made the decision to apply for a guide dog, I never in a million years expected the extended family I would get to become a part of. When I told Chupa I was applying and jokingly said, “I should do a doggy diary”, I never thought that would become a reality, nor did I imagine the amazing people I would meet when she suggested a Blogger blog.

I started this blog to document my own journey. At first, I didn’t even know how to find other blogs. Again, it was Chupa who told me how to select blogs on the Google homepage and start searching. Slowly, it became a 6 degrees of Blogger or something lol! I found a blog of a puppy raiser, started visiting blogs in her role, started leaving comments, and things just began to bloom. I started meeting incredible people. It was so wonderful not only to find other guide dog handlers, but just other blind people. Part of the adjustment to going blind, was not feeling like I fit. Not having “people”. Being plunged into this new dark life without others who understood.

The first blind woman I met, was a friend of a friend and we began speaking on the phone. This was long before my Apple, so she was the first blind person I got to talk to. She had a guide dog from GDB and told me about the program and how I should do it and I furiously said no way, no how, not gonna do it. Haha!! It wasn’t so much the fact that she had a dog, but the fact that she was blind that made her such a joy to talk to. She understood. She got it. She went blind later in life too, so she really got the sense of loss. Unfortunately, when I called to tell her I applied to GDB, I received the unfortunate news that her guide dog had passed. Her dog worked for nearly ten years, and the passing was quick. It was her first dog though, and she is grieving, and will not return for another dog for quite some time, while she grieves her first dog’s passing.

I really deviated from the point of my post here. My point is that the decision to get a guide has led me to meet the most amazing people! And in this post, I want to focus on two of those people.

I don’t remember how Natalie and I met. If she found me or if I found her. I can’t remember. I just know that we formed an instant friendship, because she is sighted and her boyfriend Darrell, is blind. So we were drawn to each other since I am also in a sightie blink relationship haha! We have since started commenting on each other’s blogs almost daily. In fact, Natalie is the reason for the Doggy Countdown, because she said she missed my 30×30 posts hehe! I also started following Darrell’s blog. He has a guide dog from GDB named Egypt. I recently discovered that he is not writing much about his experience at school so as not to ruin it for me haha! He’s fairly new to Blogger too. And, he uses Alex. Sweet!

Natalie is a beginning puppy raiser for a school in Texas. The name escapes me. It’s been so fun watching her excitement as she embarks on such an important journey. Not to mention her interaction with Egypt and helping the team orient to places and what not. The relationship these two have is one of compassion and understanding, and she just reminds me of B in so many ways. Helping out when needed, but letting Darrell do things in his own way as he continues to bond with Egypt.

Darrel hasn’t been blind his whole life either, and Egypt is his first guide, so the similarities between my relationship with B and Darrel’s relationship with Natalie, is something really fun to watch.

So yesterday Natalie put up a post. She likes to make her titles a little unclear, so you don’t really know what you’re getting lol! I could tell it was going to be a long post about her day with Darrel so I locked my VO keys and settled back to read. Midway through, my hand was clapped tightly to my mouth and my eyes were filled with tears.

About a half hour later, Darrel’s post appeared in my feed. Knowing what it was about this time, I again locked my VO keys, and got to read about this experience from his perspective.

It’s not often that you get to read about a couple from each of their own perspectives. It was such a neat experience to “watch” events unfold through both their eyes.

So, if you have some time and want to read something amazing, first read Natalie’s post. Then go read Darrell’s post. I promise you will enjoy!

I also recommend following these two’s blogs. We are all such a family here on Blogger, whether we’re blind, sighted, guide dog handlers, puppy raisers, cane travelers, service dog handlers, mothers, writers, photographers, professionals, retired or just blog addicts.

What a blessing that we can all be brought together over the airwaves, across the country, across the border, across the ocean.

Oh yeah, 25 days hehehehe!

3 Comments

Filed under Adjustment to blindness, Alex, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, family, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, misty eyes, plugs, puppy raisers

Doggy Countdown – The Nothing

You guessed it folks. Here comes an addition of The Nothing. For those of you who are new to the center of the roof, I have been known to want to blog, but have nothing in particular to write. I started labeling these posts “the nothing”. So this morning I’m thinking, I need to write a doggy countdown post before my day gets started, because I don’t know what the day will look like, when I’ll get home, how I’ll feel, etc. Hmmm. What to write though. I have nothing in particular to write about relating to my dog so hmmm. Can I do a nothing post in the doggy countdown? Hell, it’s my blog. Why not?

I have to say that I love the way my computer announces the time on the hour. I have Vicki tell me the time and I slowed her speech, so it sounds like one of those futuristic movies where that computer voice announces elevator floors or something. But, typical woman, she interrupts. So I’ll be in the middle of reading a long email or reviewing a blog post and she has to interrupt to tell me “it’s ten o’clock”. Grrrr. I’ve just totally lost my place when she does this. It doesn’t bother me when I’m typing because I just cut her off. She’ll say “It’s ten” and I shut her up. I wish it worked in other ways. Now, if anything else is announced, Alex waits. Like when someone comes online he’ll say, “yahoo! messenger has new system dialogue” and he waits to tell me until whatever he’s reading is done.

I wonder if my dog will recognize his or her name when Alex says it. That would be kinda funny.

The heater just went off. I wasn’t cold when I got up because I start drinking coffee but then I got cold so I put the heater on. But the bedroom window is slightly open. I should close that. But B is sleeping. We like it chilled when we sleep.

Somehow the phones get switched. We have on in the bedroom and one in the living room. I have the ringer turned off on one and that one is supposed to live in the bedroom. But they get switched. How? I have no idea. So Georgie called this morning and it rang in the bedroom. Do we have gremlins? Hahaha let’s switch the phone on the humans. Don’t get thoe things wet or they’ll multiply and get ugly.

I wonder what my dog is doing right now? Are the trainers off for MLK day? Are the dogs just chillin?

A cat just scampered by, but I don’t know which one.

The fridge makes this weird clicking noise. So it’s doing it’s clicking thing right now. I wonder why it clicks. At least the walls aren’t popping. That still freaks me out.

Oh, I finally got my new towels washed, so my bathroom is all redecorated! Yay! And the bath sheet is awesome, it’s huge! Oh and my dad bought me a little cart thing that is meant for groceries but will be perfect for laundry, so I picked that up at Gamma’s yesterday. Only thing is, there’s no liner, so things could fall out. I have this old mesh laundry bag that will work for a liner, but there’s no good way to fasten it, so I need to get binder clips. Then I can do my own laundry!! Wooo hooo! Bout freakin time. No more using being blind as an excuse to be lazy 😉

A cat is playing with something over there. Hmmm.

I think I’ll eat my popcorn and then shower. Hopefully CCR is reuniting today and it’ll probably be around one o’clock. It’s one o’clock. I just heard Vicki in my head. So anyway I need to be ready for if/when we chill. I’m addicted to this popcorn though. I’ve started putting safflower oil on it. Just a tablespoon. Georgie read a study about safflower oil reducing belly fat. It’s perfect on popcorn. And Lisa said popcorn isn’t that bad to eat. Yeah yummm I’ll have some in a bit.

Popcorn isn’t for dogs. The tree is far. Ack, I’m summoning Mitch Hedburg.

Oh crap, did I lose track of how many days again? I think I threw myself off with yesterday’s post about being a month away from Dog Day. I think yesterday was 29 days. Ok, yeah. Is that right? Crap I think Spinelli found a milk ring. Nope it was a folded up twisty tie. And I threw it out and then remember I need to start collecting those. They are perfect for tying up wires. Can you buy twisty ties? I used to collect the ones that came with trash bags but now we use trash bags with ties bbuilt in. I should just buy zip ties. They’re better anyway. Need to make sure cords are properly tied away.

Which reminds me I have to talk to B about the way he hooked up the tv and stuff. Cords everywhere, in front of the tv. Who does that? Cords go behind the tv, out of the way. Ugh. He’s not gonna like it when I ask him to re hook all that stuff up. Oh well, it needs to be done.

Alrighty, I’m just not feelin the nothing post today. Gonna go eat my popcorn and listen to Harry.

28 days? Isn’t that a Sandra Bullock movie? I like that movie. Is it 28 or 29 days? Not the movie, I know that’s 28 days, I’m referring to my countdown.

6 Comments

Filed under Alex, cats, coffeeholic, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, family, fellowship, Gamma, holiday, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, Spinelli, The Nothing

Amazon Accessibility

So if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know about my fairly recent addiction haha! I think I first ordered from Amazon months ago, just to give it a try. But it wasn’t until recently that I really started using it. Back when I first started using it, I could review items. It was tricky, and not clear, but I was able to select stars. Well, they’ve done something and now I can no longer select stars, and therefore, can’t review. I rely heavily on customer reviews. Product descriptions usually suck, so I read the reviews to get a better description of the product. I won’t buy anything with less than 4 stars.

Recently I wrote to Amazon and I cannot for the life of me remember why. I must have been in that winter fog or something, and I didn’t keep what I wrote. But I did keep the reply, which mentioned their “accessible site” which I looked at for a minute and laughed. It’s the mobile site, and it sucks. Now, I use the mobile Facebook, and I like it. I don’t get all that fluff. The here is a pretty sparkly star to decorate your wall because you are a shining star, stuff. But with Amazon, I want the fluff. I want to review items.

So yesterday I got an email asking me to rate the seller of a recent purchase. I didn’t think it would work, but I followed the link, and low and behold, the stars option worked like a charm. It had clearly labeled links. I was able to rate all my sellers, including the dreaded ring seller. They all got glowing reviews, except the ring siller who got a 2. But I digress. I thought, maybe if that worked, I can review products now. Nope. Still the same. I even tried group mode with Alex to no avail.

So I dug out that email they had sent in reply to the email I can’t remember writing, and I wrote their accessibility department. Below is the email they sent me weeks ago, followed by the email I sent last night. They actually did make a great change to their “my orders” page, which I pointed out. I’ve got a few more suggestions for them if they write back. I’ll update here as this goes. Blinks, if you have any issues with Amazon you’d like to address, the following email from them has their accessibility email address, or you can tell me and I’ll include it in any future correspondence. You know I live for this stuff 😉

Oh, I had copied and pasted the email address because for some reason clicking it didn’t work. There is a period right after .com so make sure you delete that.

***

Hello from Amazon.com.

Thank you very much for your feedback. While the Amazon.com website is generally usable for people with screen readers, we’re always looking for ways to improve usability of the site for all customers, including those with disabilities. To that end, we have formed an alliance with the National Federation of the Blind to work together to improve the accessibility of our website platform in the coming months and years.

In case you weren’t aware, Amazon.com has for many years offered a different version of our site optimized for screen readers and mobile devices at: www.amazon.com/access

We’ve also gathered together products for the visually impaired (such as large print and Braille books, and voice-recognition software). I hope you find this store helpful: www.amazon.com/visuallyimpaired

We always appreciate suggestions on how we can improve the shopping experience at Amazon.com, and I’m forwarding your feedback to the team responsible for website accessibility. If you have additional feedback for our website accessibility team, you may contact them directly at accessibility-feedback@amazon.com.

Please Note: We cannot respond personally to messages sent to the feedback e-mail address. If you have a question or need help with your account or an open order, please contact Customer Service by visiting our Help pages at www.amazon.com/help and clicking the Contact Us button in the left-hand column.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

***

Hi there, 

I am blind and use a screen reader. I recently became very active on Amazon as it is so convenient for me to shop independently. However, I’m having some issues. I used to be able to leave reviews for products, but I can no longer select the number of stars. There is nothing to select. I just heard “please select stars” or something. Today, I was asked to leave seller feedback, and there I could select stars. They appeared as links I could click, with a clear description. I was hoping this would work for products now, but it did not. 

I use an Apple computer with Voiceover and Leopard with Safari. 

I find the mobile site an insult as a solution for screen reader users. It leaves out options, such as writing reviews at all. This might be fine for mobile devices, but as a screen reader user, I want the same options as sighted users. Please do not suggest I use that site. 

I do have a compliment though. I really like the new “my orders” page. This set up is lovely! First, I can navigate my orders by heading, which is great. Additionally, I love the “track your package” link. It is wonderful to have the latest tracking information so readily available. I would love to see the heading option on the main search pages, as scrolling to different products is quite tedious. I’ve heard this complaint among other blind people as well. 

I will never stop using Amazon. I wish to tell you though, that I’ve had countless screen reader users tell me they won’t even touch Amazon, which is a shame. If I can help in any way, I would love the opportunity. I would also like to leave reviews because I rely on reviews to buy things. Product descriptions are usually pretty weak, so I rely on what others say, and would like to do the same for the wonderful products I have found. 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my suggestions. 

***

Well I just listened to their email again, and it sounds like they won’t respond directly from the accessibility email. Hmmm. But, the same thing was true with Facebook, and I had a human write me, so here’s hoping.

Also, I had forgotten that the NFB was involved. I wonder if the NFB thought the mobile site was good enough. Ick. I’m all ACB all the time hahaha!

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Filed under ACB, accessibility, advocacy, Alex, Amazon, assistive technologies, letters, proud geek, screen reader, Voiceover

L^2 Photography

I certainly hope L^2 won’t mind a whole post about her 😉

I wanted to write about the photos I ordered from L^2’s Photography Store. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been doing some home improvement projects and one of them is decorating my bathroom. I decided on purple and green, and I know that Carrot (I call her Carrot, because Alex says “L carrot 2” hehe) likes purple. So I thought about getting some pictures for the bathroom. Our whole discussion happened in a comment thread on her blog, and she recommended a picture of a purple crochet project in progress and a picture of her guide dog, Willow, laying on a purple striped sheet. I asked if she minded her guide dog hanging in my bathroom hahaha! Anyway, I ordered the prints, after she actually uploaded the pictures to her shop, just so I could buy them. That’s customer service. If you read her blog, you’ll get an almost daily sampling of photographs. She gives great image descriptions, too! And if you particularly like a photo, she’ll put it in her shop. She not only sells framed photos, but posters, and even clothing and accessories. Her shop is definitely worth a peak, and you might even be able to request something from her blog that you really like. She had a photo of a braille book laying open, and her description said the light make the bumps actually visible. I think that’s awesome. I’m trying to think where in my house I could hang that. I’ve never been a fan of a particular photographer, thus never collected photography though it was always a passion I never pursued.

My pictures arrived yesterday while Carol was here, and I was so glad to have a girl here to describe them. She said they’re absolutely lovely and exclaimed “how adorable!” when she saw the picture of Willow. She said the crochet picture could be hung many different ways, though the way the frame is, I can really only hang it horizontal, which is fine. The frames are high quality, with little eye hooks on the back, perfect for using picture wire. I’m going to use black yarn. The frame is black with a white matting. I feel very sophisticated having professionally framed photos from a photographer hehe!

Carrot is a wonderful person and her blog is awesome and creative, and she inspires me with her love of photography, her dogs, science and purple. 🙂

I think of all my recent purchases, these are my favorite. They are unique and they are from the creative mind of a friend. Thanks L^2 aka carrot! *hugs*

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Filed under Alex, crochet, fellowship, guide dogs, plugs, treat for me