Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category

Reid My Mind Radio: Cradle – The Cancer Detecting Smart Phone App

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

“You make something, it works very well and then you just give it away, as quickly as possible”

– Bryan Shaw

 

Bryan Shaw, after watching his child survive Retinoblastoma or Eye Cancer, develops an app that is already saving lives and sight in children.

 

In this piece for Gatewave Radio and even more included on the RMM Radio version, you will hear all about this Professor’s story and how personal tragedy led to a life changing app.

 

Get the APP on ITunes

Get the App on Google Play

 

Play the story!

 

Resources:

 

“Cheap, functional, reliable things unleash the creativity of people who then build stuff that you could not imagine” – George Whitesides

 

George Whitesides – TED Talk

 

For more on the white eye…Know the Glow

Learn more about those impacted by Retinoblastoma:

 

Reid My Mind Radio – Access To Print – Part 2

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

In this second part look at developments providing access to print for those with vision loss, we hear from Andrew Chepaitis of Elia Life Technology. The Elia Idea is a tactile format with supporting printer and tactile display technology that would like to be an alternative solution for accessing print especially for those who lose their sight as adults and are already familiar with the standard alphabet.

 

As stated in the audio multiple times…this is not a replacement for Braille. The goal is to enable those losing their sight to continue living productive lives.

 

Sleepless in the Poconos

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

There was a time in my life when I subscribed to the motto, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!” The idea behind this of course, is an over exaggerated way of declaring an inexhaustible level of energy and tireless work ethic.

 

Working hard of course is honorable and is still a quality I pride. Unfortunately, sleep, the all-important necessity for good physical, mental and emotional health has been lacking in my life for years now.

 

Around 40% of adults in this country do not get the proper amount of sleep.

Doctors recommend – between 7 and 8 hours a night.

 

I was, and still am, one of the adults included in this statistic, albeit for different reasons now.

 

Sleep was something I could do whenever and wherever I had an appropriate opportunity. My daily routine consisted of me waking up in the morning quickly getting ready to head to the gym. I would walk to the bus only to snuggle into a window seat in order to make myself comfortable to catch another hour of sleep. More than often Mr. Sandman would visit before we made it to the second bus stop only a few blocks away.

 

Falling or staying asleep was never a problem for me. That was, until I became blind.

 

Have you ever experienced that moment when you find yourself turning over in the middle of the night searching for that more comfortable position enabling you to fall back into a soothing sleep? If you’re fortunate, you probably don’t really ever think about this, because you do return to a dream state.

 

The problem begins when you realize, you are finished sleeping and it’s only 2:30 or 3 AM. This is really upsetting when it becomes a nightly routine.

 

So called remedies like, Sleepy Time tea, warm milk, or hot baths were not helpful. I later learned of Melatonin. I found it necessary to cycle Melatonin with Tylenol PM on a weekly basis. These really help me stay asleep for a solid 5 hours. I was somewhat satisfied and learned to manage the ever present desire to nap.

 

Check out this video describing a similar experience to my own.

 

I recently decided to participate in the Non 24 hour Sleep Wake Study.

 

Last week I was informed that I qualified for the clinical trial of the drug to aid this sleep disorder.

 

I can’t tell you how much I hope this is going to be an effective solution to this problem.

 

My concentration level has been extremely low. A lacking appetite and what seems to be a decrease in taste. Add short term memory loss and you have the motivating factors moving me to participate.

 

Last night was my first time on the drug. There was an obvious improvement in my sleep, but whether that is due to the medicine or something else remains to be seen. The total quality of my sleep was not much different, but I was able to fall back to sleep when I awoke in the middle of the night. I spent less time awake during the night, but I was still groggy in the morning.

 

As I write this in the late afternoon, I’m feeling like I need a nap, but not as badly as say this same time a week ago.

 

I am looking forward to reporting positive results, but even more importantly I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep!

Back from the Hill – ACB Legislative Seminar 2012

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

This past weekend I had the opportunity to participate in the ACB President’s Meeting and Legislative Seminar.

 

The President’s meeting is a chance for leaders of state affiliates of the American Council of the Blind to participate in presentations and share information all geared to aid the growth of the state organizations.

 

The Legislative Seminar focuses on the main goal of the organization, advocacy. The weekend consists of presentations designed to assure all attendees are prepared to speak to Federal Legislators on pre-determined imperatives.

 

For more information on the advocacy side, please read my daily coverage from DC posted on MCCB online.org.

 

Now you know it’s just natural that I would want to focus on the impact technology has made on the seminar experience.

 

While this was not my first time participating in the seminar, there have been a few technology changes since my first visit to DC in 2007. Although some of the technology was available in various forms, it was not as prevalent among people with vision loss due to the lack of accessible options.

 

Social Media

Although Twitter began in 2006 and became more popular in 2007, the lack of a truly usable interface limited its popularity and usage in the blind community.

 

It was great to see that access via ios devices and screen reader friendly programs has made its usage close to on par with those who are sighted.

 

Attendees and remote participants alike could collaborate on all things related to the seminar via the hash tag # NLS12.

 

I have to send a shout out to ACB National for their posting of notes during the seminar. They provided great information which enabled me to rely on their notes and comments for my own purposes.

 

ACB Radio has provided live coverage of the seminar in past years. A more recent development is the ability to access the audio stream while on the go. Again, smart phones, especially the IPhone, have improved this access for those of us with vision loss.

 

I’m almost ashamed to say that I did not take advantage of some additional tech that could have assisted my time on the Hill. Several people on my Twitter timeline talked about various Congress related apps that provide lots of information including quick access to email addresses and even Twitter handles to publicly thank the representatives for their time.

 

I thought of using a DC Metro map application to help with navigating our way from the hotel to the Capital. Unfortunately this thought came to me after we were on the train! Man, I must be slipping.

 

My focus was on providing those in my PCB family with varying forms of media to give them an opportunity to experience the seminar remotely. I attempted to shoot a video and load to YouTube, but unfortunately the audio was too poor. Video, you ask? Yes, indeed, remember not everyone in the organization is totally blind. In fact chances are that the majority have some usable vision. I know this is true in my local chapter. And why not, if we produce the video right, it is the most universally accessible and appealing.

 

I did get a chance to record spontaneous audio captured on the way home following our visit to the hill.

 

All in all, it was a great trip and I hope most of all that our efforts prove to be successful – we see the passing of HR 860 and HR 4087.

Author’s Guild Responds to Protests

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

I received the below email from the Author’s Guild in response to the Reading Rights Coalition protest held yesterday in NYC.

Based on their statement it  still appears that the definition of audio rights will have to first be agreed upon. As someone who has been reading both books using TTS and audio narration, I have to say there is no comparison. TTS is simply the communication medium available to those of us who are considered print impaired. Audio narrated books on the other hand  are performances of the author’s work.

 

The guild seems to be very eager to renegotiate contracts. They accuse Amazon of taking advantage of author’s audio rights in order to take a position in the E-Book market, but it seems the Guild is using this to force renegotiations.

 

I understand the guild’s focus is the welfare of their writer’s and Amazon is a business out to make money, but damn folks, all we want is equal access to books!

 

Something is wrong with this picture!

 

Author’s Guild response – April 7, 2009:

Dear Mr. Reid,

Thank you for your phone call today.  We issued the following statement today in response to the protest:

Authors want everyone to read their books.  That’s why the Authors Guild, and authors generally, are strong advocates for making all books, including e-books, accessible to everyone.  This is not a new
position for us.  For decades, we’ve informed new authors that the expected and proper thing to do is to donate rights so that their works
can be  accessible to the blind and others.  In October, we were praised by the National Federation of the Blind for the settlement of our lawsuit against Google, which promises "to revolutionize blind
people’s access to books," according to the Federation’s press release.

E-books do not come bundled with audio rights.  So we proposed to the Federation several weeks ago the only lawful and speedy path to make e-books accessible to the print disabled on Amazon’s Kindle:

1. The first step is to take advantage of a special exception to the Copyright Act known as the Chafee Amendment, which permits the blind and others with certified physical print disabilities access to special versions, including audio versions, of copyrighted books.  Technology makes this step easy:  certified users of existing Kindles could activate their devices online to enable access to voice-output versions of all e-books.  This process could be ready to go within weeks.

2. Since step one would help only those with sufficient eyesight to navigate the current Kindle, we encourage Amazon or another e-book
device manufacturer to make an e-book device with voice output capability that would be truly blind-accessible, with a Braille
keyboard and audible menu commands.

3. Finally, we need to amend existing book contracts to allow voice-output access to others, including those with learning
disabilities, that don’t qualify for special treatment under the Chafee Amendment.  There’s no getting around the need to amend contracts:  for the past 16 years, standard publishing contracts with most major trade
publishers do not permit publishers to sell e-books bundled with audio rights.  Fortunately, publishing contracts are amendable, and can (once terms have been negotiated) be handled in a systematic fashion.

The Authors Guild will gladly be a forceful advocate for amending contracts to provide access to voice-output technology to everyone.  We will not, however, surrender our members’ economic rights to Amazon or anyone else.  The leap to digital has been brutal for print media generally, and the economics of the transition from print to e-books do not look as promising as many assume.  Authors can’t afford to start this transition to digital by abandoning rights.  Knowing how difficult the road ahead is for the already fragile economics of authorship, we are particularly troubled at how all this arose, with Amazon attempting to use authors’ audio rights to lengthen its lead in the fledgling e-book industry.  We could not allow this rights grab to happen.  Audio books are a billion dollar market, the rights for which are packaged separately from — and are far more valuable than — e-book rights.

That said, our support for access by all disabled readers is steadfast, and we know how to make it happen.  The Federation rightly heralded the settlement in Authors Guild v. Google.  That class-action settlement represents a quantum leap in accessibility to books for the disabled. It will, if approved, make far more books than ever before, potentially tens of millions of out-of-print books, accessible to not only the blind, but to people with any type of print disability.

Through the Google settlement, we have a solution for out-of-print book accessibility.  We’re confident we can arrive at a solution for in-print books as well. 

Today’s protest is unfortunate and unnecessary.  We stand by our offer, first made to the Federation’s lawyer a month ago and repeated several times since, to negotiate in good faith to reach a solution for making in-print e-books accessible to everyone.  We extend that same offer to
any group representing the disabled.

—————

Feel free to contact the office if you have any questions or would like
further information.

The Authors Guild
31 East 32nd St., 7th Floor
New York, NY 10016
212-563-5904; fax: 212-564-5363