Category Archives: assistive technologies

My First Submitted Fiction – What A Ride

I need to just free write a post while my body calms down. I just submitted my final draft of ‘That Meddling Dog’ for the YA anthology. Now I wait. Will it be chosen? Will I get my first real rejection? What happens next?

I began work on the story on May 30 and received the final draft from my volunteer copy editor yesterday. the writing and revising was awesome, ending up five hundred words over the limit and getting it down to the six thousand, sending new revisions off to my friends and getting their feedback and talking about things that happened and how the story affected each reader differently and change this word for that and get rid of that story line all together because there’s no room for it and I wasn’t ready to introduce that character anyway but oh I still need to reference him ok let me just change his name.

All the creative stuff was awesome, naturally, then it was coming down to the wire, the story pretty much done, the surface so shiny from all the polishing that I could see my reflection and all that was left was formatting. the visual part.

I’ve known I have a trigger happy thumb. I’m sure it’s evident in this post since I’m not being careful at all, just getting thoughts down. I enter way too many spaces. There’s no way with Voiceover and my word processing program, Pages, to easily tighten up spacing issues. So I went character by character of a six thousand word document, deleting spaces.

Wanna hear a sample of that process?

After I got done deleting extra spaces, I went through and added all my paragraph indents. I do all my first drafts in a basic app called Text Edit, kinda like Notepad for Windows, since it’s the easiest for me to use with voiceover. When I’m writing my first drafts of a fiction story, I never remember to tab for paragraphs and dialogue and I’m not sure that would copy over to Pages anyway.

So I went through and added my tabs and then I counted the new lines of a blank document. fifty lines. I wanted to do that thing with new chapters so the chapter would begin halfway down the page, right? So I’d find the new chapter and press enter twenty-five times. In my head, there’s the white space for the chapters.

I exported the Pages document, was it twenty-seven pages or seventeen I can’t remember. Anyway, converted it to Word for my volunteer copy editor and sent it off Wednesday. Deadline Sunday. today is Saturday. Are you with me?

I’m feeling so good about it. Really good. I feel like the story is solid, the protagonist being a secondary character in the main novel I’ve had in my heart and have worked on for years, and the protag from that novel in the story too. I feel great about it. I’ve had fun hanging out with my kids and creating new ones.

Then Thursday morning, before I’ve had coffee, before I’ve played Trivia Crack, I check email on my phone.

Don’t check email on your phone when you haven’t had coffee or played Trivia Crack and you’re already a bundle of nerves from this whole process oh and when Brian is in Sedona for a conference and your sleep is all messed up from staying up all night on Tuesday in a Google hangout with your besties.

email from copy editor lets me know he found extra spaces and other formatting stuff. Extra spaces. After I spent two days going character by character to get rid of them. Words that aren’t capitalized, crazy stuff. Stuff I know I fixed right?

turns out, when you export from Pages to Word and vice versa, formatting errors occur. So I can’t just go through, read his comments, fix what I agree with, stet the rest. this isn’t going to work. I can’t fix those visual errors. I can’t figure out how to make his comments correspond to the area of the manuscript which they refer. I start to panic. I’ve worked so hard. I love this story.

I’m reminded that I’m blind.

later I talk to Ricardo on the phone. He looks at the document with voiceover on his Mac. We try and figure out the comments thing. It’s all so overwhelming. It’s Thursday and the deadline is Sunday. Should I send the manuscript to Amanda who is also blind but uses Jaws with Word? She can fix the formatting issues, keep it in the blind family. but then I still can’t convert back to Pages.

Oh crap I totally left out the cathartic screaming crying fit from earlier in the day. I threw myself on the bed and screamed into my pillow so hard it hurt. I sobbed and sobbed. the cats piled on the bed with me. All I want to be is a writer and there’s all these barriers.

When I’m talking to Ricardo I’m trying so hard not to let the tears come but they do because I can’t do this. I can’t be a writer. There are too many challenges. I need Jaws and Word. All those things I’ve heard for years about Mac and voiceover not working well for professionals, all those things are true. Who am I kidding? I’m a blind disabled nobody and that’s who I’ll stay.

No.

Fuck that.

Deep breath.

Talking to Ricardo. He’s saying all the things I know in my heart, all the things my doubts want to kill. Sure it’s hard. Sure there are barriers. But there are also resources. Amanda told me to use my tools. What are my tools.

Email from the Professor. He can fix the visual stuff. He can just do it, we can talk in the morning, Friday, then he sends me the Word file, I don’t touch it, I submit that.

I tell Ricardo. Should I do that?

Hell yeah!

Weight lifts from my shoulders. People. People are my tools. People are more than happy to help a person who’s doing as much of the hard work as she can on her own.

I think back to the meetings. God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. For me right now, god is those people.

I’m going to be a published writer. I know this. This experience has been so valuable. Even if TMD doesn’t get picked for the anthology, the things I’ve learned from making it the best story it could be are invaluable.

And if it does get published? It could be a launching point.

I struggled with whether to include in my bio that I’m blind. I don’t want to be picked because I’m blind I want to be picked based on the merit of the work. But then I thought back to my last job, the one voc rehab helped me get and they told me not to disclose my MS. Look where that got me? I didn’t get any of the help I needed to be successful while working with a debilitating disability and I went blind.

so I chose to disclose. If I’m going to use the resources available as a blind writer, I can’t pretend I’m not. Hey look at that, tense change. I’m really bad at staying in tense. Hehe! Wait, in tense. Hahaha. Oh but I am so intense at times. In tense. intense. I love freaking words.

I thought back to an essay I read years ago that pissed me off so bad I almost wrote about it here but chose not to. the essay was written by a visually impaired woman who had kept her impairment secret for the same reasons I almost did. She had to admit it though, because she was loosing more and more of her vision.

I was so angry at her at the time but now I get it. It sucks to have to look your weakness full in the face. it sucks to admit oh crap, I can’t do this all on my own. It sucks. It’s painful. I understand now why she wanted to hide it and how much pain she must have been in the day she decided to post that essay.

I have put myself out there now. Until today, five people read TMD. Two blind friends, a young adult friend, and two sighted friends. Friends. All people who care about me. Now the story is in the hands of strangers.

It’s like bearing your soul, which Strunk prepared me for when I read his book.

I slept and slept and slept last night. I woke up at eleven this morning, an hour into the Rays game. So not like me! I was, and still am, exhausted.

After the Rays won (yay!) I opened the submission manager. Deep breath. Heart began racing.

“My heart is racing,” I say.

“Why, because you guys won?” Brian asks.

“No, I’m about to submit the story.”

“Oh!”

He knows what a journey this has been. He’s heard me mumbling during revisions, that doesn’t sound right, how can I reword that, he knows how important this is to me.

Of course I ran into a quick technical issue while looking for the file, the only one on my desktop, to submit. Silly mac.

I clicked submit. There goes the bio I wrote, there goes my baby, bye!

“Your submission has been sent.”

Oy vey, right? Holy crap. I mean holy crap! I tweeted, then grabbed Timmy and went to cuddle him in bed. His purring soothes me. I lay in bed, collecting my thoughts, the feeling slowly returning to my feet.

Now we wait. I posted on Facebook that I’m equal parts sure it will be accepted and that I’ll get my first real rejection.

Whatever happens, I’ll keep writing. Ren and georgie insist on it and their story isn’t done. They’ve got at least an entire novel to appear in, if not two or three. And my friend Dulce made her appearance in TMD when I had to work in a flashback to explain something. We find out she had her first kiss. And Dulce the character needs to meet Jedi the dog, who will love her as much as Jayden loves the real Dulce.

This story isn’t over. It’s just beginning!

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cats, coffeeholic, faith, fellowship, gratitude, Jaws, Jayden, Microsoft, misty eyes, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, Voiceover, writing

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Two

Ok, so day two of the trip of a lifetime. This day was supposed to be a recovery day after traveling. It’s a good thing I planned a recovery day in case I needed it, but I didn’t need it. I must have slept hard after staying up late the night before talking with Manda. The Starbucks iced mocha after I landed in Tampa was probably partly to blame for staying up late haha. I would have slept later if not for the seagulls. Did you know those birds scream in the mornings? wow. Oh and my room was right next to the pool. And there were a lot of kids staying at the hotel. The combination of seagulls and kids screaming makes it pretty impossible to sleep too late. It’s a wonder I slept as long as I did. Thank you, ear plug.

I got up and for once Jayden didn’t get excited the second I got out of bed. I could imagine him laying on the bed, opening one eye to look at me and then deciding he was on vacation and didn’t need to budge. I used the coffee maker in the room to warm up water to make my Starbucks instant coffee. That is the best way to avoid nasty hotel coffee. At least it usually is. The coffee maker didn’t make very hot water so I woke up with some lukewarm coffee and checked email and Twitter on the iPad.

I had made plans with Davis for that morning. I had asked if he could bring Egg McMuffins since I can never get to a McDonald’s before they stop serving breakfast. Foiled again though, since I didn’t wake up until around 10am. Why couldn’t those meddling kids have woken me up earlier?

Davis came buy anyway because he wanted to see how Voiceover works on my iOS devices. Davis is blind in one eye and since meeting me, some of the fear of losing his good eye has gone. It was good for him to see how technology still works for me. I showed him some of the apps I use that help me identify objects and color and text. He’ll just need to switch to iOS from Android haha. Though I hear Android is making great strides in accessibility.

After the technology demo I was feeling a little hungry so Davis and I went to downtown St. Petersburg. I had decided I wanted to try the Tijuana Flats place he goes to all the time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! There was some car rase going on downtown and when I opened the car door I was greeted by the distant whine of racecars! So cool! Oh we had also driven by Tropicana Field. I’d finally be there the next day!

When we went to the counter they all knew Davis by name and after he introduced me, one of the girls started calling me Arizona. Nice! Like Alabama in the Quentin Tarantino movies!

I ordered nachos and got a plate big enough for Hagrid to eat. I check in on Foursquare where Davis is the mayor so in the comment on the checkin I wrote, “Lunch with the Mayor”. I think my dad thought I meant the actual mayor haha!

I don’t have a picture, but I VandalEyesed the napkin dispenser.

After we ate we walked over to Starbucks so I could get more of the Via instant coffee. It turns out the ones I bought in Tucson with my friend Lori were not the right kind even though Lori specifically tried to make sure they were. The barista had kept trying to give me decaf. The ones I finally got were caffeinated but they turned out to be the iced coffee blend, which I didn’t know until Manda read the package at the hotel. All that joking Lori and I did about my Florida friends not wanting to see me decaffeinated and I still ended up with the wrong coffee. So we got the right stuff and Davis drove back to Treasure Island.

We took Jayden to his litter box and then decided to walk down to the water. I took a couple videos. Too bad the iPhone can’t block wind sound. That’s loud! The first one is a little over two minutes as we were walking. I’m holding the phone so I bet it’s bouncy haha. The second one is about 45 seconds with feet in the water. I tried to get Jayden reacting to the waves.


Direct youtube link #1

Direct youtube link #2

The sand there is not like what I’m used to. It’s not fine like the sand in San Diego. There’s a lot of history about the Treasure Island beach that Manda told me about the night before but I can’t remember the details. There’s actually plants and trees on the beach which I can’t even begin to fathom. The waves didn’t roar like they do in SanDiego since Treasure Island is on the bay. I didn’t feel the power and enormity like I did in San Diego. It’s a gentle tied. It’s like a different world!

After Davis left I hung around for a little bit and then Manda came over so we could write in the cards I got from the Guide Dogs for the Blind store to put the tickets to the suite. I had the suite schedule for each of the three nights so I would tell Manda who the card was for and how many tickets and she’d describe the puppy pictures on the cards. It was good times! I told her what to write in the cards and several times I got emotional. The enormity of the trip had finally sunk in. Tomorrow I would be going to the Trop for the first time and I’d be meeting even more people. I was suddenly exhausted!

I don’t know how we got through all those cards. We took a break at one point and ordered Cheesesteak delivery.

Manda organized the cards into piles so we could keep them all straight. I don’t remember what time we finished and called it a night. I just remember being exhausted from getting so emotional. I thought I would sleep like the dead. I didn’t sleep at all. I rotated between trying to sleep, listening to my book, checking Twitter, but no sleep. How was I going to manage Opening Day on no sleep?

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Filed under #RoToTrop, accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, coffeeholic, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, num num food, plugs, silly girl, spoons, twitter me this, video, Voiceover, weather, working dog, wow, youtube

Handwriting in iOS 7 – Most Excellent!

The other day when someone retweeted @Ducktail’s demo of handwriting in iOS 7 I played the demo not sure what I’d find. Not long into it my hands were covering my face as I listened, completely amazed and filled with gratitude toward Apple.

In iOS 7, we’ll be able to draw letters on the screen! Not only will this allow us to hand write text, but it can also be used to search the device for apps. Looking for Sound Hound? Draw an “s” on the screen and a list of all your apps beginning with the letter “s” come up. I cannot wait for this feature! I hadn’t thought about how much I miss writing letters!

It seems like this could definitely be difficult for those who never used handwriting, for sure, but for someone like me who wrote the letters of the alphabet until I was twenty-nine, this will bring back something I thought I’d lost forever! The ability to hand write! Oh man. I’m so excited hahahahaha!

Ok, as LeVar Burton likes to say, bydhttmwfi. go have a listen to the demo. It’s an auto play Dropbox. Just go listen. Oh man! So cool! So amazing! Thank you, Apple!

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, misty eyes, plugs, screen reader, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow

Demo: Creating custom audio labels using Digit-Eyes

This is a demo of using Digit-Eyes to create custom audio labels. If you are unfamiliar with Digit-Eyes, you can listen to my first demo and you can visit www.digit-eyes.com/ for more information and to purchase the app and labels. The website also allows you to print your own labels if you have a printer and sheets of blank labels. I don’t have a printer, so I have the pre-printed labels from Digit-Eyes.

This demo is about thirty minutes long. Today was the first I had recorded any custom labels and I did some practicing before recording. As with any new technology there’s a learning curve. Just be patient and before you know it, it clicks.

Digit-Eyes Custom Labels Demo

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Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2012, plugs

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

Writing the letter to my fourteen year-old self was fun. The writing prompt I took the idea from said to follow it up the next day with a letter to myself in twenty years. I didn’t give it much thought until it was the next day and the thought of the future was too scary. I think today I am ready to do this since two fictional worlds I’ve dived into recently are more scary (hopefully) than twenty years from now will be.

So, fifty-three year old Ro, I hope you are alive to read this. If you are not fifty- three year-old Ro, meaning you are Ro and not fifty-three yet, don’t read this. You can’t read this until November 11, 1032. Oh wow.

Oh and readers, you should leave a comment. If this blog is still here in twenty years, hopefully it is, your comments will be in a time capsule of sorts haha!

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

Wow, so did I make it this long? Mom didn’t make it to fifty-three so if I’m reading this in twenty years I better be grateful. Remember how you thought you’d never see thirty because of how crazy your life was and then you literally didn’t see thirty because you went blind at twenty-nine? Yeah, I still think that’s funny today. Do you still find it funny in twenty years? I hope so, because without humor there’s just no point.

Do you need a refresher of what life was like for you at thirty-three? Well, I’ve been with B for just over five and a half years now. Are we still together in twenty years? If we are, what is he like? Did he ever start eating vegetables? I know, that’s probably a really stupid question. My three best friends are Carol, Chupa and Georgie. How are they? Ok I’m misting up thinking about these people in twenty years. Do you remember being convinced that everyone would die before you and you would be left alone in this scary world? That was only like two months ago, before I started Lexapro. Thinking about the people I love the most and how it will be in twenty years is starting to freak me out. It’s a good thing I’m medicated.

What about Erik? He’s my only friend who’s younger than I am. Only by a few months but still. How is he? I hope you are still in touch with him. We’ve been friends so long and there has always been gaps where we lose touch. Although ever since I went blind and started using my Macbook, we haven’t lost touch, so I hope in twenty years we’re still close.

Ok, so speaking of my Mac, what is technology like? Do people have stuff implanted in them yet? I always imagine little nano chips for phones and stuff. I mean seriously, the technology has to be amazing in twenty years! Or is it scary? Has it gotten out of control? It could go that route too. Right now you have an iPhone 4 running iOS 6.0.1. The latest iPhone is the 5. What is the iPhone in twenty years? Do you have an iPhone? Has any other phone ever rivaled the accessibility of the iPhone? I have a Macbook they don’t even make anymore. I was almost completely out of space on it so I started converting videos to mp3. What do you have in twenty years? Do they even make laptops anymore? Do they use wires at all? I can’t imagine there would be wires anymore. Am I right?

What animals do you have? Right now I have Jayden and Timmy and Spinelli and Fi. I can’t think about the future without them.

Are you still blind? Did they figure out how to give you new optic nerves? If so, did you get them? As of right now, I can’t imagine seeing again. I’m so used to things the way they are, so I don’t know if I would try anything to see again. I remember when I first went blind I wanted more than anything to see again, even just a little bit. I was ready to get on a plane and go to the UK where they were experimenting with a cancer drug that helped MS patients regain lost functions. Now though? I couldn’t imagine testing a drug. It’s a scary thought. So what have you done in twenty years?

I’m afraid to think about what the MS has done to me in twenty years. It’s impossible to think about my future self though without wondering about that. I won’t think about that now. Maybe you’re reading this in twenty years and smiling because nothing horrible has happened. Is that too much to ask for?

There really isn’t much more to write. There isn’t much to say to a future self beyond asking questions. I can say I hope you are as happy as I am today. Though I hope you are happier. I’m happy, but I could be happier. I just hope you aren’t less happy. I hope you’re still sober, though obviously when it comes to that I can’t really think beyond today. If you’re sober and still smoke free and at least as happy as I am now, then you’ve got it good.

Oh hey wait, I have to ask, is there equality? Have people finally quit being so damned uptight about gay marriage? Has racism and bigotry finally really gone away? Do women still have freedom over their own bodies? Has the insanity over birth control gone away? Did people start finally focusing on the real problems? God I hope so. If there isn’t more love an acceptance in twenty years, how are you managing?

I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”, do you remember reading that book? It’s incredibly depressing. It’s what could happen if the crusty old white guys don’t stop wanting to control the female body. It’s terrifying. I hope it’s nothing like this in twenty years because if it’s going to go down that path, I hope the Mayans were right. If they were right, you won’t be reading this in twenty years, no one will.

Ok wow, this turned very doom and gloom. I was afraid this would happen when I thought about writing this letter. Writing to fourteen year-old me was fun because I don’t fear the past and because I knew what happened. This letter is nothing but fear of the unknown and my dwindling hope for a happy future.

I guess my only hope is that there’s just more love in the future. There has to be, or the future is grim grim grim.

I should end this on a happy note. Hmmm, happy. So have the Rays won a World Series or five? Ten? How long did Evan Longoria stay? Please tell me he didn’t end up with Boston or New York. What about David Price? Did I ever meet any of them? How are all my online friends? I don’t want to start naming them all because that’s a lot and I’m sure I’d end up leaving someone out.

One last question, what kind of voice are you listening to on your Mac? I can only assume you still use a screen reader and a Mac. Is it still Alex or have they made new voices that are just as good? Knowing Apple, they probably use human speech in twenty years haha. Ok, I just heard my DM ping. I think that’s my cue to wrap this up.

I hope this letter finds you well , my fifty-three year-old self! Oh, happy early birthday!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – Do they have replicators and/or transporters yet? Did you ever publish anything?

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Solo-Dx – The Next Wave of Audio Descriptions

I used to enjoy movies back in the day but since going blind, they have lost their appeal for the most part. When I do take in a movie it’s usually alone when I can get my hands on a described version. For those who don’t know, audio descriptions are sometimes available for the blind and visually impaired. This will be a narrator describing the action on screen when there is no dialogue.

While this is great, it’s not easily accessible since it will be in a DVD or Blueray menu and not available at all for streaming movies. B and I have watched a few movies together when he was renting DVDs. If a movie sounded interesting to me he would check to see if it had descriptions and most times it didn’t. So I only got to do a few movies with him that way and while it was great for me, it was annoying for him because sometimes the narration would describe action before it happened on screen. The narrator can only speak when there is no dialogue so often times something is described right before it happens visually on screen. I’ve completely gotten away from enjoying movies, so imagine my intrigue a few weeks ago when I checked the Roof’s mail and found this from a company in Los Angeles that specializes in audio description, hollywoodaccessservices.com.:

“Located in the heart of the entertainment industry, Hollywood Access Services, LLC produces audio description that is faithful and appropriate to the source material, offering a vivid experience to visually impaired consumers of motion pictures, home entertainment, and television programming. 

Here’s a little bit about our new product: Solo-Dx Solo-Dx is a new premium audio description MP3 file that you can play along with your favorite movie at home. Each Solo-Dx track is written and produced by experienced entertainment industry professionals. Solo-Dx helps bring movies to life for individuals with visual or cognitive impairments.  Solo-Dx works with any standard media player. The only other thing you need is the movie itself on DVD, Blu-ray, streaming, or Video-on-Demand.  Simply follow the directions narrated at the start of the Solo-Dx file, sit back, and enjoy!   You can learn a little more from our website at solo-dx.com.” 

I was able to choose Hunger Games to try this out with and was sent the Solo-Dx track. Time kept passing and I kept not having a good chunk of uninterrupted time to enjoy a movie. It’s amazing how quickly you get out of the habit of setting aside time for movies and television when you no longer enjoy such activities. Finally today I had time so I rented Hunger Games from iTunes. Solo-Dx had sent me the description track and I had that loaded on my iPhone all ready to go.

Wait, back up! I can hear your thoughts. Rented a movie, track on the iPhone, what what? The Solo-Dx track is an mp3 file you download from iTunes or Amazon. Currently the tracks are $1.99 but I was lucky enough to get Hunger Games complimentary. Unfortunately I don’t have a Netflix or other streaming subscription so I needed to rent the movie from iTunes. Lucky I don’t need hi-def so I only had to spend four bucks on the rental. I had never rented a movie before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Once you download it you have thirty days to watch it. Once you press play, you have twenty-four hours to watch it. I couldn’t get the movie to start right back at the beginning again after I messed up the syncing of the track. I was able to get it all lined up though and we’ll get to that in a minute. I was jus able to start the movie again after completing it so I presume you can watch it as many times as you can in that twenty-four hours.

I put the Solo-Dx track on my iPhone but you can put it on any device. I would think it would be difficult to play both on the computer since you would need to play the Solo-Dx track using a different audio player. On the Mac you could do this with Preview by showing the Solo-Dx track in finder and pressing space to play the file at the appropriate time. So this would be possible without another device.

I had misgivings about doing this with my iPhone since it’s a phone and phones interrupt things. We’ll get to that. You sync the track and the movie by first listening to the track and the directions. Using Hunger Games as an example, the instructions said music would play for about ten seconds and then a distinct guitar would sound. When you hear the guitar, start the Solo-DX track. After it told me that, it counted down to three and there was a beep. You pause the track at the beep and wait for your guitar. When this was explained to me I thought it all sounded rather complicated though it made sense and I figured actually doing it would make it clear and it did.

I was disappointed when I had the track all cued up on my iPhone, paused at the beep, and the darned movie was too quiet and I didn’t hear the beginning music. The guitar started but that too was quiet so I quickly paused the movie and tried to find a way to restart it. I couldn’t find how so I got frustrated and thought how will I ever sync this? I checked the time elapsed and it was thirty seconds. The instructions said there was about ten seconds of music so I restarted the Solo-Dx track and paused and unpaused both track and movie until I got it lined up. I was lucky because the description said something about a girl running down the stairs and I got it lined up perfectly with the sounds of running feet. Lesson learned so I’ll be prepared next time. After finishing the movie I replayed the beginning and got it all synced up perfectly the first time and it was pretty sweet that way! I hadn’t missed anything with my syncing attempts before luckily.

So wait, you put the descriptions track thing on your phone? You didn’t get any phone calls or anything interrupting the description track?

That had been my first huge misgiving about this. I could have used my iPod but I didn’t want to use earbuds and I keep it in my room with my audio books on it. I know, luxury problem. I thought I would just use my phone and my Bluetooth earpiece so I’d have the descriptions in one ear while the movie played on my computer speakers. I ran this by Solo-Dx and it was suggested to either use airplane mode or the new do not disturb feature in iOS 6. Perfect! I would just use airplane mode I decided. Do not disturb would still allow favorites to ring through unless I went and changed settings so airplane mode was just easier. Only problem with that was it also disabled my Bluetooth earpiece so I was back at the ear buds issue. I decided to just use the built in speaker on the iPhone.

It turns out that my pickeyness here was a benefit, at least in my opinion. The female narrator’s voice on the Solo-Dx track took on a different audio tone than the movie so it was easy to separate the two. Also, neither ear was taken up with anything so the movie took center stage and the Solo-Dx track was secondary. I was comfortable on the couch with the phone either resting on my shoulder or sitting on the arm of the couch. (Obviously in a theatre or with others I’ll use my earbuds.)

An awesome thing about this was I could control the volume of the audio descriptions. When the movie volume increased, I just put the phone closer to me and when it got quiet again I moved the phone again. This was great, because I’ve noticed when watching movies with audio descriptions built in, sometimes the volume of the narrator isn’t adjusted so when the scenes get loud, you can barely hear the descriptions. It’s either that or sometimes the volume of the action fades out so you can hear the description. Either way it’s disruptive and draws your attention solely to the narration.

With the Solo-Dx track on my phone, the voice of the narrator at a comfortable volume, easy to control when I needed to, the movie was brought to life more than I’ve ever experienced since going blind. It was truly remarkable, being able to completely control both aspects of the movie. I never thought about it before but just like with a bad audio book narrator, a bad descriptions production can really take away from a movie. The Solo-Dx track was clear and easy to understand and the narrator portrayed the emotion of scenes without going overboard or being boring. It was really freaking awesome, no other words I can think of!

I emailed Solo-Dx excited to let them know I’d finally watched it and how cool I thought it was. They let me know some exciting news:

“We just came out with Solo-Dx for the first 4 episodes of the Walking Dead.  On iTunes it’s album-only
for $2.99.  On Amazon, it’s 99 cents per episode, or $3.96 for the album of all four.”

I’m excited about this because that show has sounded awesome but just like with movies I’ve been unable to really get into TV. I will be checking these out for sure!

So, what do you think? I think this is pretty fantastic. I had a lot of misgivings going in but now that I’ve tried it, I’m very impressed. By the way, Solo-Dx isn’t paying me to write this or anything haha! I feel very lucky to have been considered a good test subject to check this out and help get the word out to the blind and visually impaired community. I think I have a pretty good grasp on this product so please feel free to ask questions in the comments or email me and I’ll see if I can answer your questions or forward them to the Solo-Dx team.

I’m really excited about this. I think the opportunities are great in that we might be able to take descriptions with us to the movies even! I can watch movies with B and have descriptions all to myself. He no longer rents DVDs anymore since he as access to any movie he wants with his streaming subscriptions and since he does that now, descriptions are out of the question since you don’t get cool DVD menus.

Once the Solo-Dx catalogue really expands, maybe I’ll be able to say, “hey, I have this movie available, want to watch it?”

The only real lingering question I have is pausing when I watch a movie with him or someone else. Today it was simple, I just unlocked my screen and put my iPhone on my shoulder. I put my keyboard on my lap and on the second two fingered tap of the pause/play double tap, I pressed the space bar at the same time with my other hand. I paused the movie several times in this manner and only once did I get a little out of sync when my phone didn’t play it. It was easy to get it back but I’m not sure how this would work trying to pause a movie with another. I think B would probably need to let me control that when one of us needs to pause. He would need to just show me the button on the remote I suppose. I hope anyway! I look foreword to trying it eventually.

This is going to make me want to get back into movies and TV, I can tell you that much for sure. And the cool thing about these tracks being on iTunes and Amazon is you can get gift cards from friends and family to help with this. I know even $099 on a tight budget can be a lot for entertainment. I think those of you who have Netflix and such will really benefit. I might look into that myself since if I start doing more movies and TV, that might offset the cost of iTunes rentals. As of right now, Amazon streaming isn’t accessible with my Macbook which is too bad since I have a Prime account and get a lot of free streaming content. I need to email them about that. Ah, I digress.

Is Solo-Dx the next wave of awesome assistive technology for us? Could be! I’m very impressed. Oh and Hunger Games? That’s a hole other blog post. What a messed up movie!

Oh one last note, I listened to the entire credits at the end of the movie as well. The narration reads all the credits and the music was nice at the end. So if you’re wondering who played who and don’t feel like going to IMDB, just listen to the credits haha! Ok, I think that’s it.

Oh except this, follow Solo-Dx on Twitter @SoloDx1

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, Amazon, apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool blinky stuff, cool product, iPhone, iTunes, plugs, twitter me this, word pictures

Demo: Digit-Eyes

This is yet another goofy demo of an iPhone app. I don’t think I’m capable of doing anything not goofy. This also turned into a commercial for several products haha! There a couple I give you the chance to guess though I don’t really give you too much time. I also experimented with adding an intro but I didn’t have the volume up high enough.

So without further delay, here is the forty minute Digit-Eyes demo. Here is the Digit-Eyes website. Here is the link to the AppleVis page about the app. I read through the comments there before deciding to get the app. It’s quite helpful.

Enjoy! My next demo is going to be on Text Detective. It kind of took a back seat when I got Digit-Eyes so I need to get a little more practiced with it.

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From the Desk of My Sleep Deprived and Hopeful Mind

I suppose it’s time for another sleep deprived stream of conscious post. And now I have to Google “stream of conscious”, because I can never remember if that’s correct. See it’s a good thing I turned to Google since it’s actually “stream of consciousness”. I think I knew that deep down but then I thought well conscious works too. I mean I’m conscious. I’m sleep deprived but I’m awake.

I woke up at around 2:30am. Mafia Guy Bladder woke me up and I checked the time because my body felt awake. You know those times? When you wake up and your body feels awake so you’re like oh it must be time to get up soon but you check the time and it’s only 2:30am? I could tell I wouldn’t get back to sleep. YOu just know. I gave it the old college try though. Lay there for an hour and then just wanted coffee.

What’s with the saying, “gave it the old college try”? Don’t we use that when we fail at something? Yeah I gave it the old college try but it just wasn’t meant to be. So are we referencing failing college?

The Rays gave it the college try but it wasn’t meant to be. They won last night but were eliminated when the A’s beat the Rangers. I don’t feel like talking about that.

I went to the doctor yesterday and had an anxiety attack. Yes! Yes? Yeah, I was happy about it. You know when your car is making a funny noise and you take it to the mechanic and it stops making the noise? I didn’t want that to happen. I mean I know my doc and she would believe me when I told her about the anxiety and depression but I’m just glad she got to see it. I had scheduled my appointment for 1:10, her first appointment after lunch. Paratransit got me there about 12:50 and they had to unlock the door to let me in. Receptionist said they’d call me up in a bit to check me in when it was time so I used the restroom, came out and sat down. I heard another paratransit and then I heard a white cane and a woman checking in. A slight pang of fear went through me, wondering if they signed her in ahead of me but I thought they knew that duh, I was there, right? Wrong. They called her back first even though I heard her say her appointment was at 1:20. Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me. I know it’s usually a wait at the doc but at mine it’s never that bad. The problem is that taking paratransit means you’re always watching the clock. I thought I scheduled it fine, just like I always do. My return window began at 2:10, an hour after my scheduled appointment. It would have been fine, if it hadn’t been (for those meddling kids) a Monday first of all and then I later found out that they were implementing a new computer system as well.

By 1:30 I hadn’t been called back yet and I felt the anxiety well up. I gave myself a pep talk. If I miss my ride, it’s fine. It’s not going to harm me. I might wait awhile but it’s going to be fine. Stop panicking. Stop it. Oh crap there’s the tears. Well, at least she’ll see what I’ve been going through. When they took me back to do vitals the M.A. tried to help calm me down. I did a little and she said I’d be done by 2:10, the doctor was just finishing up and she’d be right with me. I sat in the room and time ticked by and I started dreaming of grabbing stuff and throwing it. When the doctor came in and saw me she said my dog looked worried. Not, oh hey what’s wrong, why are you crying. Your dog looks worried. My doctor is brilliant. Get me talking about my dog. Calm me down. I love that woman. She assured me I’d be done in time and we were just wrapping up when the driver got there. When you hope the driver will be late, they never are.

Long story short she checked my heart, it sounded fine, she ran through questions and I’m starting Lexapro. I couldn’t get it yesterday. Insurance problems. But of course, right? It’ll be a low dose. I’ve been on it before; it’s what they gave me when I went blind to help me ease into the adjustment. I probably should have just stayed on it. Oh well, lesson learned. I was also cleared to exercise again so yay! There is hope. I feel hope.

I do have to laugh though. She asked me if I’m sleeping. Oh yeah! I sleep great! It’s 4:40am as I write this and I’ve been awake for two hours haha!

I’m going to take a break from this for a minute. I’m hoping to record some blabbering later since I got a new mic so I don’t want to just write everything that’s on my mind and have nothing left to blabber about.

Well that wasn’t much of a break since Twitter is kinda slow. Speaking of Twitter, I has a funny. I’m going to include this in the audio too but this is just too good. Yesterday on the way to the doctor I was on the paratransit and wanted to send a tweet so I started typing in Fleksy listening with my Bluetooth headset. Unfortunately Voiceover just isn’t very loud on the Bluetooth and the paratransit van was noisy so I didn’t really hear Fleksy correctly. I tweeted the following:

@Raynaadi – I’m getting notion sink on this transport wide. #vomit

I didn’t know this until I got home and checked my mentions and Steve asked if I meant to tweet that or if it was an autocorrect fail. I thought with Fleksy you couldn’t have autocorrect fails but apparently that only works if you can really hear Voiceover well. Lesson learned, next time I’ll turn spell mode on when surroundings are loud. It sure made for a great belly laugh though when I really really needed a good belly laugh. I favorited the tweet for future laughs. I’ll definitely include it in the audio though since it’s funny to hear Voiceover say it.

It’s 4:54. I think I’ll edit and see what we’ve got.

I heard a Twitter mention and a DM. Wow both! I also have that Call Me Maybe song in my head. I started thinking about the Rays rookies dance number and now that song is in my head. *Shakes fist* damn you James Shields! I’ll get you! And your little meddling kids too! Or dog. Kids? Dog. Ding don the witch is dead! Another mention, shiny! Ok, that’s a wrap. A 30. It’s 5:16am. Do you know where your slippers are?

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Filed under assistive technologies, baseball, coffeeholic, doc, funnies, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, Sleep Deprived Fun, treat for me, twitter me this, Voiceover, workouts

A post with thoughts and links and stuff

As I was reading Twitter this morning I opened a lot of links. Some days there is just some really good stuff being tweeted and today was one of those days for me. I started thinking I might get a blog post out of it all and decided I’d write it up after the Rays game. The game ended up going to extras and lasting five hours before the Rays lost in heartbreaking fashion. I’m not sure but I think I ended up with one or two more links to discuss because the game was so long. Day games tend to mess me up during the week so you can imagine what a long extra innings game does.

I took care of some phone calls and then sat down to write. I went into Safari history and started pulling up all the sites I want to link to. As I was doing it I thought, Safari is gonna freeze. Ok, it’s gonna freeze when I pull this one up. Ok, maybe I should write the post and grab the links as I go. Oh, but so far so good, open up one more. Busy. Busy. Busy. Darn. So now I’m going one page at a time. Happy, Safari?

About a year or so ago, I got a new follower on Twitter. I checked out her bio and was curious about why she followed me. At the time she was a writer for the New York Post I think it was. She followed a ton of people and had even more followers. I checked out her timeline and was intrigued so I followed back. I’ve had a few quick Twitter conversations with Mandy Stadtmiller and she’s definitely one I enjoy following.

If you’ve read here recently you’ll know that I’ve been in a pretty deep depression. It is slowly lifting but it’s definitely not gone. This morning Mandy wrote 50 Reasons Not To Kill Yourself. I really enjoyed this and related and felt not alone. Go check it out, and see if you spot anyone you “know”. You never know when the things you tweet might end up in an article somewhere.

Another link that caught my attention was Is Pirating Books Ever OK? The article mentions people who pirate digital copies of books they own in print. They reason that they have already paid for the book once, so why should they have to pay for it again? No one is going to scan in every page of their print book just to get a digital copy. One of the arguments mentioned was that people burn their CDs to put on their iPods, so how is pirating digital books any different?

I’m really not sure how I feel about this. Honestly my first thought was, all that money I spent replacing all my Harry Potter books. I think two of them were gifted to me but I can’t even begin to think how much those seven books cost on CD. That was back before I discovered Audible. I think I finally got wise at some point and bought two of the books on CD from Amazon, but by the logic of this article, I could have pirated those books and felt ok with it since I had all the books in print form before going blind.

I also recently read tweets by a couple of authors I like discussing their books going on sale for Kindle. One author’s book was on sale for $1.99. To me that was insulting. That’s not much better than just having the book pirated. To me it’s like leaving a server a five cent tip when the service has been dreadful. That gets more of a point across than no tip at all.

Also, what if a book is only available for purchase in abridged format when the author’s original work is available untouched, but not for sale? I’m not sure that happens in formats other than audio, but it’s food for thought. I’m all for authors and writers earning money for their hard work. I am more than happy to pay for books I want but I’m not paying for abridged books. I think in some situations, pirating isn’t a bad word. Regardless though, please support your writers when you can.

Speaking of books, I loved this article about the husband of E.L. James, writer of the Fifty Shades trilogy. It’s really interesting to hear about the phenomenon from the man who is “not Christian Grey”, who helped his wife with editing and who decided to follow his own dream and write a book as well. I’m curious about his book since he helped James with editing and I said I wanted to edit the heck out of it when I reviewed it here.

While I was reading the trilogy I discussed the music in the books with a friend also reading them. I know one of us mentioned wanting to hear the music and the other said there must be a list somewhere online. I don’t think either of us ever looked. Never fear, iTunes is here! That album has classical pieces from the book. I cracked up when I read some of the reviews on that page. People are acting insulted that these beautiful pieces are being lumped in with such smut haha! Hmmm, how about capitalizing on something that is raking in the dough? How bout exposing people to music they might never have checked out otherwise? I love it. I just love the contempt prior to investigation and the judging people do of these books. I can say that because I was one of those people before my friend practically tied my hands behind my back and made me read them. I might just download that album. I love classical music so why not?

I’m not sure how to transition from Fifty Shades to Apple so I’ll just jump right into these next few links. Unless you don’t read any kind of social networks and probably not even blogs or anything on the internet, you’ll know that Apple just revealed the iPhone 5 yesterday. I followed the event on Twitter just because I was already reading Twitter at the time. Sure the phone sounds cool but if I were to get it, my Otterbox case wouldn’t fit it. No, that isn’t the only reason I’m not gonna run to the iPhone 5 but it’s part of it. The new design is a taller and thinner model. Taller and thinner model? I swear I didn’t have that sentence in my head before it just came out but it’s pretty funny. Ok so anyway, all the accessories I have for my iPhone 4 won’t work with it. Although really that’s just my Otterbox, since I can no longer use my docking speaker with my phone since putting the case on it. I use my iPod with the docking speaker in my room for books now. I digress…the main reason I’m not getting it is I can’t afford it and I like my iPhone 4.

Twitter was rather fun yesterday with everyone discussing the phone, the people contemplating running out to get it, the people lamenting not being able to get it since they weren’t up for an upgrade etc etc. I sat back, happy with my iPhone 4 and wondering what will be in the upgrade I do get in a few years.

There can be a lot of pressure from fellow iThing users. You’re not going to upgrade? Really? Why not? I actually got into bit of a tiff on Twitter when I waited awhile to update to iOS 5. I didn’t feel the need at the time and had heard the update was buggy. So I waited. I finally updated to get people off my back about it and because there was an app that wouldn’t update without iOS 5. iOS 6 is coming out soon and I plan to wait on that as well. Maybe not as long, but I’m not gonna wait for a really long download time while everyone else is getting it. I’m content to let everyone flock to the App Store and I’ll grab it after the crowds subside.

I’m guessing the poster of this post on AppleVis was feeling the same pressure but it did make me laugh, especially the replies. One commenter pointed out that the law requiring one to upgrade their iPhone has not yet been passed. Perhaps those pressuring people to upgrade should read this article about getting off the upgrade treadmill. I don’t really know anyone who fits the type of person described in that but I do know of some people who like to hurry and get their hands on shiny new tech immediately. While I roll my eyes at them I have to admit that part of me is also jealous at their ability to afford to get on the preorder list haha! I’m currently saving for a new Macbook and this article helped me know my decision was the right one. I’m not upgrading just to upgrade, I’m doing it because I want the accessibility features in Mountain Lion and my Macbook won’t run it.

I think I fall somewhere in between people who use majorly outdated stuff and those who have to have the latest and greatest. When it comes to apps I have to dive right in, for sure. I was shocked recently when a friend who got an iPhone didn’t immediately start playing with Fleksy when he downloaded the trial version of the typing app. This leads me to the last thing I wanted to share. This article explains more about how Fleksy came into being. I didn’t know that the developers originally wanted to improve on auto correct and eventually developed the amazing typing application that has blind iPhone users singing their praises. Since I began using Fleksy to type on my iPhone, I started using my phone so much more for other things. Knowing I wouldn’t have to expel so much mental energy to type a tweet if I wanted to reply, I began reading Twitter on my phone more often. Using Fleksy has made me more confident with the on screen keyboard, so entering usernames and passwords isn’t nearly as daunting as it was before. Basically, I got Fleksy so I could type faster but the result has been that I use my phone much, much more, making the money I spend on it totally worth it. Before all I ever really did on it was make calls and listen to baseball games. So I really enjoyed the above linked article! I have a feeling that company is going to go far.

So, those were the thoughts I had today after opening those links. I certainly didn’t expect to still be writing this post at 5:30pm. The Rays game was not supposed to last five hours! I suppose I’ll go edit now and see if this monster turned out interesting at all.

So speaking of auto correct, the word “suppose” there at the end was corrected to “supple”. No computer, I was done writing about Fifty Shades.

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First day with the iPhone and Voiceover

I’m very lucky to have gotten help from family for that ridiculous deposit I had to pay to start a contract with Verizon. The nice thing is that after a year of on time payments, we’ll get that back with interest, so I’m just gonna set up automatic payments. Now that that ugliness has passed, I can get to the awesomeness that is iPhone.

My other phone was completely on it’s last legs, dying constantly and making it so I was uncomfortable going out. For those interested, I had the T-Mobile Dash, basically a Blackberry, with Mobile Speak installed. Sure, tactile buttons were nice, but the screen reader was quite garbled, and unless you were on a home key or the D key with the dot, you had to really be certain which button you were hitting. I basically kept one button poised on delete since I didn’t know what button I was pressing for sure, until I selected it.

I called Verizon Tuesday morning and got my iPhone via FedEx yesterday. I was surprised when the driver showed up at 10:30. Yay for not waiting all day! On a side note, she asked me a very odd question. After she helped me sign that tablet thing she asked,” so do you just stay home all day?”

I had been giving myself pep talks about the iPhone. I knew there was going to be a learning curve so I just kept telling myself to take it slow, be patient, don’t throw it.

I set the box gingerly on the coffee table and opened it up. When I took out the slim, sleek, square device, I was surprised at how sturdy it felt. It’s also got a heft to it I wasn’t expecting.

I had been talking to Georgie that morning and she said there were two volume buttons on the upper left side as well as a switch to turn off volume. She described the home button on the bottom middle of the phone and also a slider on the touch screen near that button that you have to slide to unlock the phone. I was glad she told me about these things.

I found the USB cable and plugged the iPhone into the Macbook. iTunes had been open, waiting.

The sales associate told me I would just plug in the phone and iTunes would finish the deal. Sure enough, there was a message from Verizon that popped up on iTunes solidifying the contract and such. After all that I was able to go into the iPhone through iTunes and turn on Voiceover by selecting the general tab and scrolling down to Universal Access, I believe it’s called.

As soon as the checkbox was checked I heard a female voice come from the phone, saying voiceover was on. I was ready to go. Incredible.

I left it plugged in to the computer since the battery hadn’t come fully charged. I began dragging my finger around the screen, listening as the voice told me what I encountered. At the top left is my signal strength and then as I moved right I heard the time and charge level. As I moved down there were icons like mail, messages, phone, Safari, iTunes, iPod, etc etc.

You activate nothing while you’re doing this. If you stop after you hear messages, the voice says, “messages. Double tap to open.”

Oh and that slider Georgie told me about? The voice says “slide or double tap to unlock.” Very easy.

Initially I was amazed as I dragged around exploring. Once you select something like messages, basically all that means is you stop dragging when you hear what you want, the focus stays there. You double tap anywhere on the screen to open. You don’t have to double tap on the icon itself, which is nice. Can you imagine trying to aim a double tap when you can’t see?

All my contacts were synced from the address book in the Macbook, so everyone was already there. I was able to open up a contact by double tapping anywhere on the screen when I heard their name.

Unfortunately there was one step the sales rep hadn’t mentioned. The phone was on and stuff, but not hooked into Verizon’s network. I tried calling it from the home phone and got a recording that the number had been disconnected. So they cancelled the T-Mobile account and imported my number, but the iPhone wasn’t talking to the network.

I didn’t know how long that switch took so I kept playing. I decided to see if I could dial into voicemail and when I tried, it asked me to enter the phone number. Haha! I thought, it’s gonna take me five minutes to find the keypad so I started saying to Silicone Sally that I needed customer service. That Sally isn’t as smart as T-Mobile’s Sally, but she finally got what my frantic words meant and I got a representative.

Turns out I had to activate the phone. She gave me instructions and I wrote them in a text document on the laptop and began. I double tapped the phone icon which brings up your keypad. It tells you you’re in edit mode so you know you have a keypad or keyboard.

I had to enter star and then three numbers. It was tedious and new, but fairly simple. I managed to hit send. Then I had to press one. Aaah ok drag around, hear one, double tap. Then it had me enter the mobile number. I wasn’t fast enough. Sally kept saying invalid invalid and hung up.

deep breath. You can do this. I must mention it’s harder to work a touch screen for the first time in your life when your hands are shaking because you’re feeling rushed.

I got it on the third time, even when she asked for the last four of my social. Finally it was done and I could now make and receive calls and text messages.

I managed to send B a text that read, “iPhone text”. That took about five minutes hahaha!

I practiced answering a call by calling the iPhone from the home phone. The answer button is on the bottom of the screen and while the call is coming in, you can still drag and wait to hear “send”, then double tap. The phone announces who is calling.

Gamma called shortly thereafter and I was able to answer the call.

I somehow managed to call B when I was trying to reply to his text message and it took me awhile to figure out how to end the call. That was a long voice message haha!

There was never a moment of oh my God I can’t do this, no moments of sheer frustration and panic, nothing. I just played and explored.

I opened up youtube and managed to do a search. You just drag until you find the search field and then double tap. The phone tells you you’re in edit mode and you find your keyboard. I’m a fast typer on the laptop so I know the layout of a keyboard. This helps as you’re dragging to find keys. I would find the key and double tap. It was tedious. I managed to search for Emeel Salem and clicked the Rays Talent Show link that popped up. I played the video. It was awesome! Oh, and you can actually control youtube videos on the iPhone, unlike with the Macbook where I can’t pause or anything. You can on the iPhone. Sweet!

I spent the afternoon just playing. Of course I had to do the most important thing of all – assign ringtones. I can even give people custom text tones. Now I won’t ignore B when I’ve got baseball texts coming in.

I was able to answer the call when B called and end it this time. Hahaha!

Pretty much all I knew about how to work the iPhone was from this page. I had checked it out briefly a few times but didn’t want to lust after the iPhone too much until I was in a position to have one.

A few hours after I had it, I listened to the video there. It showed me a much better way to type. Using both hands, drag a thumb around until you hear the key you want. Leave your thumb there and tap anywhere with the other thumb. Sooooo much faster.

The voice says the letter with a higher pitch so you know you’ve selected it. When entering secure text in a password field, it won’t repeat the letter, playing a sound instead, and only enters bullets. Someone could still hear what you’re entering unless you’re really fast, so if you’re in public, use your headphones if you’re worried.

The phone came with earbuds that are also a headset so you can talk into them on a call. They feel kinda flimsy. I hate ear buds because they tangle so I’ll probably sync my Bluetooth at some point for calls.

I have yet to put music on the phone but that’ll be soon.

Oh one thing I really like is the fact that the screen locks pretty quick after it’s idle. I thought that would drive me crazy having to unlock it but it’s fast and when it’s locked, nothing is going to happen when you pick up the phone. Also, when it’s locked and you hit the home key, she says the time. Nice and easy way to check the time in the mornings.

I haven’t figured out how to adjust volume and rate of Voiceover, but it’s actually good where it is. The voice is much easier to understand than Mobile Speak was.

Since I’m already familiar with iTunes and how to control iPods through it and such, it’s nice and easy for me to do anything to the iPhone like adding apps and stuff. For someone completely new to all of it, it might be a little challenging, but there’s always help online.

Especially with Twitter. You get answers fast. Amanda helped me find the Twitter app she likes and another friend helped me figure out the three fingered swipe to page down in my contacts list or on the ringtone page and such.

There’s a lot more left to learn, but I had the basics down by the end of the day.

I love it so much. If it asked me to marry it, I would!

I had seen an iPhone for like five minutes back when I could see. I knew nothing about it really until I had it in my hands. Remembering where things are is key and once you’ve got that down, you’re gold. You can also move icons on your home screen so things are positioned where you like them. That’s fun, to be able to drag and drop again.

Ok I think that’s it for things to touch on. If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment. Also, if you know of any good resources for really getting in depth with the iPhone and Voiceover, let me know. I learn best when I have a web page or a blog with hints and such. Apple’s site is great, but I’d like some more in depth stuff.

Oh wait, the compass. Have to mention the compass briefly. It’s already on the phone and it’s amazing! I use a braille compass for orientation so I really like this feature. Ok, that’s it. REally.

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Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, emeel salem, Gamma, iPhone, iTunes, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow, youtube