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Playing the Quarters Game

September 23, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

For many years now, Karen and I have been able to purchase rolls of quarters at our nearest Circle K convenience store. We primarily need quarters for doing laundry. Our ability to obtain quarters is essential, since the washers and dryers do not accept any other form of payment. Imagine my surprise this afternoon when my request was denied.

As I usually do, I went up to the counter and asked to purchase a $10 roll of quarters. The young man at the counter told me the rules have been changed. Now, each customer may obtain a maximum of $2 worth of quarters each day. Apparently, according to this employee, banks charge extra for these rolls and the store was losing money selling them to customers. I asked him if, due to the fact that I am blind and it is difficult for me to find another possible source (especially due to all the construction work in the area), he could possibly consider making an exception in my case or having the manager come to the counter to make a decision. Unfortunately, the manager “had to go home early” and there was to be no empathy for my situation. So, logic would dictate I had two choices; right? I could just take the $2 and go home, or take the $2 and go somewhere else, hoping I could find more quarters. After all, $2 is insufficient to do two loads of laundry when it costs $1 for a wash and another $1 for drying. I wasn’t about to let this guy off easy, especially after the total lack of caring for my situation he had just demonstrated. So, creatively, much to the annoyance of the clerk and the line of customers behind me, I decided to make a third choice.

The rules were that I could have only $2 in quarters. So, after making the purchase, I gave the customer next in line another $2 and asked him to hand it to the clerk for another $2 worth of quarters. After doing this same deal another three times, I finally had the $10 I required. So much for Circle K being “the best and most convenient place to shop”. Though following the rules and getting what I needed, I managed to slow down both the clerk and all the other customers in the process. In fact, one of the people in line behind me had the nerve to whine about this, complaining that I was slowing everyone else down. Do I feel at all sorry about doing this? No! Not a bit. The clerk didn’t show an ounce of empathy toward me, wouldn’t put me in touch with someone else who might be able to make a more favorable decision and, in general, just acted like a jerk about this whole situation. Do I feel at all sorry for the other customers in the line? Heck, no! They’re all driving away from that store to live out their easy lives as people without disabilities, while I walked home for more than half an hour, part of that time being out in the street, through some potentially dangerous construction work!

It really is too bad the battery in my iRiver had gotten low enough so it would no longer record. That would have been excellent material for another podcast!

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Podcast is NOT Apple’s Trademark Petition

September 23, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The podcasting community would like Apple to clarify its intentions with respect to concerns it may be attempting to take the term “podcast” as part of its iPod trademark. Many of us believe this is inappropriate and potentially harmful to the podcasting community. iPods are certainly not required to play podcasts and iTunes is not the first or only available software for receiving podcast enclosures. Further, the ongoing inaccessibility of Apple’s iTunes player on both the Macintosh and Windows platforms means that any attempts on Apple’s part to close the ability to receive “podcasts” to alternative software could spell unmitigated disaster for blind listeners. I have signed, and urge everyone to do likewise, the ‘Podcast’ is NOT Apple’s Trademark online petition asking Apple to stop sending cease and desist letters to podcasting related companies and explain the company’s intentions toward the podcasting community.

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Is Apple Trying to Hijack the Word Podcast?

September 23, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Todd is incredibly unhappy about Apple’s apparent moves to use its iPod trademark against the podcasting community, and so am I! What is Apple really trying to do here? Do they want us all to play our “podcasts” on their iTunes software? If so, well, the blind community says “no thanks”! iTunes remains largely inaccessible. Apple should be glad there are alternatives to receiving podcasts, otherwise they may actually find themselves in a world of hurt, with their iTunes University offering in clear violation of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect to accessibility concerns. I hope this all doesn’t turn out to be our downfall as a community, with the bulk of all podcast listeners now using iTunes, to the detriment of all other podcatchers. Not quite certain what should be done yet, but I’m quite sure the fur is going to fly at the expo next weekend. Too bad I’ll be missing the action!

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Walking Through Construction Work and Avoiding Raw Spinach

September 18, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Listen as I chat with all of you while trying to walk down the street to check out the bus stop Karen would use if she rode to work using that method of public transportation. You’ll get a sense on just how unsafe the situation remains with respect to the construction work in the vicinity of the stop and in many other places along the route back home. It is quite frustrating to have so much construction in one area!

I would also like to remind everyone to avoid eating any raw spinach, including that packaged in bagged salads, for the time being due to the potential for E. coli poisoning. Be very careful!

Download and Listen

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Newest UTF-8 TeraTerm Pro 4.45 – Accessible, Free Serial, SSH and Telnet Terminal Emulator

September 16, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

If you’re looking for an accessible, VT-100 terminal emulator for serial, SSH (including SSH2) and telnet connections, download the free, open source UTF-8 TeraTerm Pro 4.45 and get a modified set of JAWS scripts to enhance its accessibility by adding features such as the automatic speaking of new text as it scrolls to the screen.

Follow these steps to configure TeraTerm to work best with JAWS:

  1. Launch TeraTerm by pressing enter on the UTF-8 TeraTerm Pro desktop icon.
  2. Press escape on the list of available connections.
  3. Press alt+s to pull down the Settup menu.
  4. Press w to open the Window settings dialogue.
  5. Press alt+o to move to the cursor shape combo box.
  6. Press down arrow twice to select horizontal line.
  7. Press enter to accept the change and dismiss the dialogue.
  8. Press alt+s again to return to the setup menu.
  9. Press s to save the modified configuration.
  10. Press enter to accept the default teraterm.ini file.

After downloading the JAWS scripts, unzip them to your shared JAWS settings folder, which is usually c:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Freedom Scientific\JAWS\7.10\SETTINGS\enu. Once you have successfully installed the scripts, open TeraTerm and press JAWS Key+H for a list of all available hotkeys. The JAWS Key+A command will be of particular interest to those who wish to automatically hear new text as it scrolls to the screen during a session.

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We’re Filling in for Jeff Bishop Tonight on ACB Radio Interactive

September 15, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

After the fifth anniversary of 9/11, it has been a very difficult week for many of us. Unwind and relax this evening as Karen and I open the cafe under the Desert Skies tonight from 2 to 4 Universal Saturday, 7:00 to 9 PM tonight Pacific and 10 PM to midnight Eastern. We’ll be serving up your favorite
virtual appetizers, beverages, the famous (or is that infamous) impossible question and, oh, yeah, of course, your favorite tunes from the 1960’s through today. We’re on ACB Radio Interactive, so don’t miss us!

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