Saturday, November 26, 2011

Blindness: There's an app for that!

A few days agoI went shopping for a new phone. It was hard to tell which phone would be the best with all the choices between iPhones, android, and the multitude of phones ranging from basic to the latest multifunction gameplaying, texting, web browsing, communication devices now crowd the shelves of Best Buy and a multitude of other retail outlets.

The sales assistants was quick to help, I explained to her that I was looking for an upgrade of m current phone which I have been using for about two years now. My presence contract with AT&T has expired and I aooking to have a phone which I can use for normal voice calls, texting and one which may be available with some speech to tacilities and preferably one which I can see with my failing eyesight.

She called over several of her colleagues and they all  gathere eagerly  in order to share
.their idea as to which phone would be most suitable . fo Fme.. . I was surprised in genera. al Aof them. su Sested phones. ot Or than the. la Lst iPhone..

 I looked at one sales assistants with my best incredulous look as he sahe"  Oh blind! I think this phone has an app  for that."

 I can Hardly imagine a company producing an app for blindness. 

  Actually,  what he had really meant to say was that the phone he was suggesting for me had which enlarged any text on the screen and had the ability to download software to enable speech to text.

For  me the best thing about  the phone he was suggesting was not just that it could be used by me quite easily ,but that it was available for free.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Intel Reader Review

I bought my Intel Reader in early September 2011.

The Reader measures about 6x4x1 inches and weighs about a couple of pounds. It contains a high quality camera and text to speech software.
The Reader comes with a carrying case which allows you to use the reader from within the case. There are openings for you to reach the neccessary buttons and which allows the camera to see the text that you require to read. This case means no worrying about having to extract the Reader from the case each time you want to use it.

The Reader is simple to use. Just click the large shoot button on the top right corner and it scans the text. The Reader then needs about thirty seconds to scan and interpret the trxt on a simple page, books can take one or two minutes but you can scan several pages of text and read already scanned text as the very powerful processor works on completing its scan.

There are some areas which I think will need to improve in later versions, but which don't really detract from this product.

1. The Reader can only read text in forms such as Times New Roman, Vereena and Calibri fonts. Italic fonts or the many artistic fonts are not read by the Reader in intelligible forms. Neither is handwritten forms, letters which you might want to use.

2.  The power supply for charging requires an earthed power outlet. In my house we have only four of these, three in the kitchen and one in my office. It is therefore difficult to recharge if my wife is cooking and I am on my desktop computer.  Recharge is quite raapid however, mine has recharged in a little over three hours.

3. If you attempt to scan large amounts of text and there is a problem with the scan, it is difficult to go back and fill in the failed scan. For this purpose I would reccommend only scanning small pieces of text at anyone time.

I really do like the Intel Reader though, it has some quirks, as does any technology, the speech is clear but does come easier to understand with practice.

I would say it was well worth the almost $1,000 which I paid for the Reader alone.

To read a review of the Kindle Touch e-reader Click here

Disclosure: I have no financial interest in Intel nor any suppliers of this item. I will not receive any payment or commission for this article, and have not been requested to write any product review by any corporation or company . This article is purely for the purpose of sharing information for you to to use in decision making if you should buy this product.
Links are provided from this document only to allow access to images and no suggestion is made that you should buy from any particular supplier. No endorsement should be seen as explicit or implied.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Going for the Masters Degree

We are in the final week off preparations for beginning my Masters Degree in History with National University.

I have prepared my books with my Intel Reader, the text to speech scanner which I piurchased several weeks ago.

It is a great little device. It has coped pretty well with some hefty textbooks for my first class which begins next Monday, 11/21/11.

My first class will be World History. It looks interesting as a subject. From the textbooks there appears to be a great deal of recent social history. Matters such as industrialization and migrations. With just four weeks, there is a lot of work to do. I am glad that some accommodations were made available, extra time on timed exams is always nice, also some time extension was granted on papers if needed.

I will add that I have rarely need to call in accommodations in the past. With help from readers/typists in exams in the past I usually completed exams in the minimum time. I only needed one extension on a paper deadline with my BA History, and that was because I was in hospital with Valley Fever, a nasty fungal lung infection, not because of my blindness.

In that case I made a bet with my teacher, if she allowed me to stay in class, I would finish on time. Provided she allowed me to get out of hospital to complete my assignment. As I have always found, high level teachers are wonderfully supportive if you are honest with them. She gave me a grace period to complete the paper and I caught up with the class and finished on time.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

With Sadness

I don't know what it is. Maybe it is getting to be fifty, just a few weeks ago.

My AARP card now has it's own place in my wallet.

It may be the ticking of the clock, this seems to be the time of losing friends.

A few years ago, I met someone whom I felt was special. This was before I met the woman who was to become my wife. We had been close friends but it was always more friendship than romance for her part. For me I had hoped for more, I will admit that. But it is always the woman who really chooses. So we went our seperate ways. Keeping in touch until I married.

I still had some contact from another mutual friend. Monday I heard that our friend had died.

I have been no real stranger to death. My father died when I was a child, mygrandparents had died in their time and my mother several years ago. Other friends too have died, in accident and war.

This is the first death of someone however that I had imagined sharing my life with. It has come as more a shock than anyother.

Going blind is not as bad as the pain of mourning someone special. 

It brings me to think how special my wife really is. How much I should treasure her friendship. Afterall, she suffers from my blindness too. She guides me, lifts me up when I fall low in spirits. Puts up with me one my worst days, laughs at my awful jokes.

I can no longer think of maybe writing an occasional e-mail to my late friend. But I can hold my wife close and dear for one minute more.

Thank the Lord for all we have ever held dear in our hearts.