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Some Closure to Karen’s Dial-A-Ride Disaster

July 18, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We have finally arrived at some closure to Karen’s Dial-A-Ride disaster in which she was made late to work twice in one week by our metro area’s paratransit service. The following actions were taken:

  • An overall emphasis will be placed on arrival times for appointments rather than on pick up times.
  • Karen’s appointment time to arrive at work has been changed from 7:50 to 7:40.
  • Dial-A-Ride tickets have just been mailed to Karen as a show of accountability and compensation for the hardships resulting from her being dropped off at work 15 minutes past the beginning of her scheduled shift.

While many might feel that our advocacy approaches are a bit extreme and “go overboard” at times, it has been our experience that, without insistent advocacy, the right things just don’t get done. Most people simply can’t be trusted to take proactive action to right a wrong, even when it is staring them directly in the face. We must strenuously do all we can to minimize the negative consequences piled upon us by the harmful actions or inactions of those who are in positions to care about what happens to us but choose not to take those responsibilities seriously. Karen and I asked that steps be taken to avoid future “late to work” incidents. System wide emphasis on arrival times and adjustment of Karen’s appointment time by ten minutes may represent positive progress. She hasn’t been late to work since the July 7 incident. We hope and expect this positive change to continue well into the future. We shouldn’t be made late to work more often than our sighted peers. The mailing of tickets to Karen should represent a sincere apology for the incidents, a show of accountability, recognition that placing a person with a disability in a harmful situation without taking prompt corrective action is wrong and compensation for the hardships caused by the hit on Karen’s work attendance record and the impression it may leave on her coworkers and management. We are quite confident that none of the positive results would have been achieved had we not taken quick, persistent action to absolutely insist on the right thing being done. Such extreme advocacy can be challenging, stressful and, perhaps, even hazardous to one’s health at times, but, it absolutely must be undertaken if we are to insure our ability to productively participate in society as full human beings and first class citizens. As the late Dr. Kenneth Jernigan, past departed leader of the National Federation of the Blind, has stated many times, “We want no strife or
confrontation, but we will do what we have to do.” We thank you, our families, friends, listeners and readers, for your moral support.

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PAC Mate and Cell Phone Tutorial Concludes This Week on Main Menu

July 18, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Don’t miss Main Menu on Tuesday, July 19, at 6:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 PM Eastern or 01:00 Universal Time Wednesday on ACB Radio MainStream as I conclude the tutorial on using the PAC Mate with a Nokia Symbian based cell phone to gain wireless connectivity through T-Mobile Internet. There will also be an update from Brian Hartgen on his new JAWS scripts for iTunes 4.9.

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Bookshare Featured in San Francisco Chronicle Article

July 15, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Check out this San Francisco Chronicle article featuring all the wonderful things Bookshare provides to those of us whom happen to be blind. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: If you are blind and use computer technology of any kind, then you’re absolutely crazy if you aren’t a Bookshare subscriber! Run, don’t walk on over to the Bookshare web site and sign up right now to gain access to more than 22,000 books on every imaginable topic! Bookshare also provides electronic access to the entire collection of technical books published by O’Reilly and Associates.

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Catch me on ACB Radio’s Main Menu Technology Program

July 12, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Be sure you don’t miss ACB Radio’s Main Menu technology program this week! Brian Hartgen will be discussing the scripts he has written to create some accessibility to iTunes 4.9, Anna Dresner will be talking about her new book published by National Braille Press on the iPod Shuffle and I will be presenting the first part of my tutorial covering how to connect to the Internet using the PAC Mate, Nokia cell phone and T-Mobile Internet. The second part of the tutorial will be broadcast on next week’s show. You will also hear a brief update from me concerning Google’s public commitment to resolve their inaccessible visual verification issues within one to two months.

Main Menu can be heard on ACB Radio’s MainStream starting this evening at 6:00 PM Pacific Daylight Time (01:00 UTC on Wednesday) and replaying every two hours for the rest of the broadcast day. This event represents my very first full solo appearance on Main Menu. Please listen and feel free to provide constructive feedback.

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Speakerphone Software, Total Recorder Issues Fixed, Skype Recording, Google and More on Accessibility Advocacy

July 11, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The past weekend was rather busy with accomplishments here at the journal.

  • I have now successfully implemented FAXTalk Messenger Pro with my speakerphone modem. It is now possible to receive, place and even record telephone calls using my primary workstation here in the Accessibility Command Center.
  • The extreme overall system sluggishness caused each time Total Recorder Professional 5.2 was installed on my primary workstation has now been fixed once and for all. If you are encountering similar issues, try opening Total Recorder, going into Options > Settings > System > Restrictions and checking the “disable accelerated recording” check box.
  • It is now also possible to record Skype conversations here in the Accessibility Command Center. After resolving the previous Total Recorder issue, I simply changed the sound drivers used by Skype to “Record Through Total Recorder” and “Playback Through Total Recorder”. All set now!

In this podcast, I also talk about the recent coverage of the Google visual verification issue and more about my ultimate position on my approach to advocating for accessibility.

Download and Listen

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