Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dispatches via Friday Night at the Hackathon

RantWoman SHOULD perfectly well GO TO BED.

But RantWoman is still jazzed by the energy at the #cityforallhack   Okay, so a certain amount of social interaction in noisy environments seems to be required. Still RantWoman is excited by several ideas related to aging in place, social interaction, and of course transportation.

RantWoman appreciates the humor of making sidewalk repair and maintenance sexy. RantWoman finds herself torn walking in some neighborhoods. The sidewalks are crappy. The houses have Character, defined also in many cases as deferred maintenance and spendy old house problems. There are majestic trees. And it unfortunately would occur to RantWoman to rethink the neighborhood, build more housing, upgrade the sidewalks, and TRY to do it in such a way that there is still plenty of green space. in the meantime, RantWoman will see what projects and recommendations come out of getting a step or two past .csv files.

RantWoman pitched some thoughts about social isolation, faith communities, and what happens when an elder needs to quit driving, especially when the elder is also helping transport several others. The pitching and a certain amount of muddling around the room led to conversations about

--people wanting to go places like their faith communities at times when a lot of services other than bus and paratransit do not operate. RantWoman thinks there is value for these various communities in figuring out how to include aging members. On the other hand if a faith community is peopled by both healthy vibrant bicycle maniacs and elders who cannot any longer just hop on a bicycle, someone still needs to figure out how to help the elders get around.

--Many senior housing / retirement communities have some kind of vehicle able to do group transportation and even possibly group transportation for people who use mobility aids. The vehicles are underused though the tasks of aggregating demand  or potential demand scheduling, and dispatching, not to mention insuring and figuring out driver options would need work.

--Should developers be asked / expected to invest in local neighborhood transportation. If you ask RantWoman, YEP!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Age Friendly Seattle: Will RantWoman pitch

RantWoman is considering what to pitch or how to connect with an interesting pitch for the Age-Friendly Seattle hackathon.
RantWoman would definitely be up for working on some kind of accessibility scorecard or way to assess accessibility for a service, app, location....

RantWoman is into maps. RantWoman wants to see whether there is a team that cam put together some maps of locations showing nearby bus stops and giving opttions for routing from bus stop to destination. RantWoman wants maps that include information such as are there segments which are too steep for a manual wheelchair to travel unaided.  RantWOman does not want to promise enough detail for every blind person but wants at least a few landmarks.

If someone has access to 3-D printing, RantWoman would also find it interesting to play around about making tactile maps at different resolutions. RantWoman has access to Braille conversion software but hacks would probably be necessary to use Braille.

RantWoman collects data about the transition point where people for various reasons, vision, tremors, hearing loss, can no longer drive and need either to switch to public transportation or to get really friendly with Uber, taxis, and still driving friends. Just having to switch from a parking garage to the route from a bus stop to a front door can be very disorienting.

RantWoman collects anecdotal data from a number of faith communities about the clumps of elders who all ride to services with one person who still drives and everyone (except heartless RantWoman) keeps praying that the driver keeps passing her (odds are) eye exam. RantWoman always prays that if someone loses their license there will still be ways for clumps of people to get around on Sundays when the volunteer shuttles do not tend to run.

These clumps of people may or may not have thought to apply for paratransit, may or may not make it through the application process, and may or may not have the paratransit program try to guess whether they really truly can get there on the bus. Hello. People qualify for paratransit. SOME of them can ride the bus, but there are plenty of reasons locations might be inaccessible such as being up or down steep hils from bus stops. The other point is the social benefit of travelling in clumps though here RantWoman can be predicted to go off about lack of public transit vehicles that can accommodate multiple people with walkers or wheelchairs.

RantWoman collected data when RantMom moved to Seattle about her giving up driving voluntarily. RantMom was SO much happier even though learning the bus was a trial.


Is your mail order experience breeding Bolsheviks?

What's a Bolshevik, you ask? Layers of allusion to the Communist revolution of 1917 in Russia and to commercial propaganda in the US.

Allusion to Scott paper company campaign "Is your washroom breeding Bolsheviks?" Use your search engines to find the images because RantWoman has no patience to care about actual usage rights.

Blue Sky calendars for 2017 and 2018

Back to RantWoman and mail order. RantWoman has had several vexing efforts to spend money recently.

--There was a clothing order to a company RantWoman orders from about twice a year, in a transaction amount typical of RantWoman's usual order. Somehow RantWoman's bank decided the transaction should not go through. RantWoman is annoyed on multiple grounds. RantWoman has not made it back to the site and probably is going to have to go through all the work of picking her desired items all over again. Did RantWoman say she is annoyed.?

--Pens. RantWoman needs specialized pens, extra bold, with ink that does not bleed through paper. RantWoman's preferred brand just quit making the pens RantWoman preferred. RantWoman has had to COPE with an inferior product by mail order, or sundry unsuitable products of local store shelves. Hence the pens in the picture!

--RantWoman needed a 2018 calendar. RantWoman's favorite Office supply store downtown closed. RantWoman was VERY glad reliably to find calendars that met her specifications, week at a glance with the day sections horizontal and enough contrast in the printing that RantWoman can tell the days apart. RantWoman has been dreading the thought of mail order or letting her fingers do the walking to other locations where she might shop in person. No More! Yesterday RantWoman found a BlueSky brand 2018 calendar.What passes for bliss around RantWoman today.

Ahhh, but lest RantWoman become too contented, the universe brought still more vexations.

RantWoman got her new Blue Sky calendar at a new pharmacy chain on the ave. RantWoman dutifully consented to sign up for email. RantWoman even GOT email.

RantWoman got ...drum roll please....a SURVEY. A survey that asked RantWoman to input some 17-character code off RantWoman's sales receipt. Sorry! Sometimes RantWoman will make the effort and a chance to win $1000 might theoretically be a motivator. But the survey also was not behaving well with RantWoman's screen reader. Something got restarted once but RantWoman does not have enough patience to troubleshoot. Bleah!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Age Friendly Seattle apps the world needs.

RantWoman has two things on her mind right now, laundry and the A city for All Age-friendly Seattle hackathon. RantWoman needs to emit wild ideas into the universe.

For instance at the moment, RantWoman is thinking #InternetofThings and self-sorting laundry. RantWoman is deciding whether she would be willing to tolerate some kind of RFID in her underwear in exchange for the capacity to throw clothing into a pile and wake up the next morning with clothes sorted into the groupings they get washed in. RantWoman would also think to ask some blind people or other people who need / provide help getting dressed what aspects of the garments they might want to sort by such as color, fiber content and fabric, laundering instructions,

RantWoman has an equally important person-sorting problem: if it were up to RantWoman everyone would come equipped with some kind of WeedBeGone technology that frees the non-inhalers like RantWoman from the Hip Grandparents who are thrilled to be able to walk and bus around in a giant cloud of weed-based fog. RantWoman can envision various force fields or hermetic sealing options. However midway through the mental meander, RantWoman realized that just sorting people for example on public transit into preference groups could be at least as helpful and probably less drastic than hermetic sealing.

RantWoman is not planning to look for teams about either of these topics, but would not mind sparking someone's imagination.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Mobile Moments

RantWoman notes data points about people around her with various low-end Smartphone options.

Large neighbor is thrilled to have a phone even though she relies on Wifi for data. The price is right and it seems to open huge horizons for her.

Blind Meetup participants complain that 16 GB is not enough memory for maps and wayfinding apps. What is needed depends on the App. RantWoman is not at the moment doing detailed notes from a recent conversation. Cope.

RantWoman gets plenty of value from her Smartphone, but RantWoman is in a zone of experimentation: if RantWoman uses apps for her buying habits, will the bonuses and coupons offset some or all of the Smartphone? RantWoman quaintly thinks she has paid for the connectivity; the content should be part of the package. The world does not agree. If RantWoman decides actually to pay for content from some sources, will RantWoman at least get fewer ads and maybe even better interaction as far as accessibility needs? Stay tuned.

RantWoman's own smartphone achievement for the day: a favorite fast food chain emailed RantWoman a promo saying Use our App and ....  RantWoman previously received a similar promo shortly after #eclipse2017. RantWoman was annoyed by the wording of a Tweet but still RantWoman likes said fast food chain. There is a location near RantWoman. If RantWoman has the app, maybe the next time RantWoman does a road trip with a friend, the friend's iPhone will not try to send us to Utah for lunch but instead direct us to something closer to our location.

Anyway, the task. RantWoman actually already had the app though she had not managed to add a password or attach a payment option. It took RantWoman several tries and a password reset link to set the password. Next the payment option. To say the least, RantWoman is cautious but RantWoman did manage to enter card number, 3-character code, expiration date. Then it dawned on RantWoman, think about security options. Turns out either log out or set a PIN.

RantWoman set a PIN, after successfully paying for and eating lunch.

Yeah. It was like that. Would the process pass the RantMom test? Uh, put it this way, if the RantWomen go to the restaurant together, RantMom will use a different payment method or RantWoman will treat.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Success Verbatim

Center Park Bus Letter 8.31.17.pdf1/ 3
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    Metropolitan King County Council
    August 31
    , 2017
    Harold Taniguchi Director            
    King County Department of Transportation          
    King Street Center            
    Seattle, WA 98104-3856
    Dear Harold,
    We wanted to reach out to you regarding the planned discontinuation of the Center Park (CP) bus. We
    are happy that Metro has delayed the discontinuation until Spring 2018, but we believe there needs to
    be additional analysis and mitigating action before any discontinuation.
    We are aware that staff from KC DOT have been engaged with Center Park residents in order to prepare
    them for the elimination of the CP bus, and to educate them on alternative modes of transportation
    options such as fixed routes, Access Paratransit, and taxi script. With the recently completed audit of
    Access Paratransit by the KC Auditor’s Office, and recently announced steps by KC DOT to improve
    Access Paratransit, there are several issues that are of great concern to us. In addition, the Center Park
    residents themselves have contacted our offices with great concerns about the termination of this
    route. We understand there are unavoidable realities that must be faced: both CP coaches have neared
    the completion of their effective service life, without readily available replacement parts or comparable
    coaches within Metro’s current fleet. However, the pause in the RFP process for Access service and the
    dispatching of these services to address concerns with the RFP that were brought to light in the audit
    magnifies the need to delay eliminating the CP but and explore more viable, long-term solutions.
    Finally, several Center Park residents attended our Metropolitan King County Council meeting on
    Monday, July 24, 2017, to express their grave concerns regarding the elimination of the CP bus as well as
    the inadequacy of Access or other current service to fill the multifaceted purpose the dedicated bus
    provides. While we are aware that a certain amount of apprehension was to be expected, it is our
    feeling that the audit, the current RFP, and the extreme vulnerability of this population have created a
    problem with the timing of what would be a major change under ideal circumstances. To make this
    change now would not only be ill-advised, we believe it is counter to King County’s principles of Equity
    and Social Justice.
    Center Park residents depend on this route for more than transportation. For many, it is their only
    opportunity to interact with their neighbors, participate in social outings, and experience the sense of
    community we take for granted. As you’re well aware, the residents are low-income, and many suffer
    from severe physical disabilities. Some of those who suffer from other forms of disability have a difficult
    time qualifying for Access and their admittedly challenging qualification process especially for those
    who speak English as a second language. In short, we’ve found the Center Park residents to be proud,
    informed and resilient people. At the same time, due to certain limitations, they may be disenfranchised
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    without proper access to services. It’s at times like this that our oft-stated commitments to ESJ are truly
    put to the test.
    Therefore, we are proposing that the elimination of the CP bus is suspended until a viable and
    comparable alternative to address several of the needs of the residents can be developed. While we
    fully understand the logistical and fiscal challenges of another coach, we believe the highly capable staff
    Metro/DOT can develop an alternative that would provide the following:
    - Similar to the CP bus, there will be no barriers for residents to qualify, they need only to pay the
    - That a replacement have the ability to replicate the same “community” capacity regarding
    standard and large wheelchair space for shopping and other outings
    - That unlike Access it be readily available for certain scheduled social, recreational and
    practical outings for the residents without the tedious process of prior reservation, as well as
    some unscheduled uses
    We realize there are more facilities similar to Center Park than there were when a dedicated route for
    residents was initially developed. However, equity isn’t the withdrawal of services from one
    underserved population of residents so that they’re on a par with other, increasing numbers of
    similarly situated group of residents. We know that social interaction is a quality-of-life issue. The
    Center Park residents depend on the social interaction and subsequent outings as an essential element
    of their lives. While a dedicated Metro bus appears to not be a feasible option as we move forward, my
    sincere hope is that you can come up with a better long-term solution such as a modified large Access
    van or one similar to the Connector transportation coaches routinely used in our region.
    Thank you in advance for helping us assure that this dignified group of Center Park residents are able to
    continue experiencing the degree of transportation opportunities many of us taken for granted.
    Joe McDermott, Chair Larry Gossett, Councilmember           
    Metropolitan King County Council    Metropolitan King County Council   
    District Eight   District Two
    Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Councilmember Rod Dembowski, Councilmember           
    Metropolitan King County Council    Metropolitan King County Council  
    District Four District One

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Chromie at the Cloud Summit?

Cut to the chase for two survey questions from the Google Cloud Summit:

Yes RantWoman is considering using Google cloud products. One consideration in technology choice will be do the tools work with the various accessibility tools needed around the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing. Let's see: speech to text, text to speech, throw in Google Translate. What about capacity to index a series of voice clips, possibly with ability to distinguish one language from another? And do not forget tactile and other maps

We must not forget another highly desirable quality: ease of learning / designing for users with varying levels of technical prowess.

Would RantWoman recommend Google products to her peers?  RantWoman really does not know yet; she kind of has Business Analyst brain and is thinking about what all comes with use of the products and what questions buyers into comparison shopping need to ask of vendors. RantWoman would find it interesting to know what questions vendors wish potential customers would ask.

RantWoman is aware that if she wants to project technical competence, perhaps tighter and more formal presentation would be in order. On the other hand chronically underresourced nonprofits seem to be a realm where RantWoman finds her way easily. Hold that thought along with the organizational culture, IT needs and resource constraints of said sector.

Now the point of the two survey questions: Chromie the ambiguously gendered Chromebook, and a new buddy, Pixel the oddly-behaved Smartphone have a bit of a scheduling dilemma: RantWoman  signed up to attend the Google cloud summit. Then when a friendly voice called to confirm that RantWoman plans to attend, RantWoman sort of absently said yes even though in fact the summit lasts all day and RantWoman can attend both ends but has a schedule conflict in the middle, oddly enough related to IT and other needs of a couple different nonprofits. Luckily for mapping and wayfinding enthusiasts, RantWoman's other meeting is walking distance from the Cloud Summit so going away and coming back is an option.

Anyway RantWoman signed up but forgot to make her customary reasonable accommodations request: do you have handouts or slide presentations? if so, RantWoman always appreciates a path to get them electronically. RantWoman forgot to ask in advance and will, no harm, no foul ask upon registration. RantWoman knows it sometimes takes time to handle such requests but often the request yields something that can make a big difference. Anyway, show us what RantWoman and Chromie can do! Plus RantWoman bets she will not be the only person in the room who cannot read slide presentations or who would like them up close on a personal device.

Honestly, the usefulness of handouts varies. Handouts in advance can be a great help just in mapping out what might come along during the presentation. Sometimes RantWoman is better off just listening to the room and interacting with handouts another time, and not only because for instance her Chromevox is a little uneven.

But there is more to handouts than putting paper in someone's hand. On Saturday RantWoman was at an event where she had asked to have handouts emailed in advance. RantWoman got one handout but it turned out there were others. The presenter was apologetic about forgetting to email the other handouts. However, the presenter had a clear link to find the same handouts online. By the time she came over to apologize, RantWoman had already found the documents on Pixel and Talkback was chattering away, in an earphone for once. Plus the link means that RantWoman will be able easily to share electronically, always a big plus.

The last thing on RantWoman's mind: the networking reception. RantWoman is getting better at teamwork and RantWoman thinks she should just not attempt such encounters alone. But an app that helps one find people who have just presented would be really fun. Is the whole cloud overkill though?

And, what should RantWoman focus on in her own networking effort. Stay tuned?

Google Cloud Summit Seattle
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September 13th, 2017
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Know before you go.

Get the most out of your Summit ’17 Seattle experience.
Hi (RantWoman)

We’re excited to welcome you to Summit ‘17 Seattle. Before you attend the event, please take a two question survey to tell us what you think about Google Cloud.

We’ve gathered some helpful highlights and resources to help you enjoy Summit ’17 Seattle.

A few things to know before you go:
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Registration opens at 8:00 AM but please come early as the keynote begins promptly at 9:00 AM.
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Please bring your ID in order to pick up your badge. Your badge is your ticket in, so be sure you wear it to all day.
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Lunch will be served in the Pavilion from 12:45 PM to 1:45 PM.
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We will be hosting a networking reception from 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM at the Cloud Showcase and Partner Zone.
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Don’t forget to stop by The 5th Nine where you can meet and mingle with real Google Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) and talk about DevOps and what it really means to operate at cloud scale.
We have a jam-packed event in store for you including keynotes and sessions covering topics on advances in big data, apps dev, and machine learning, and more.

We look forward to seeing you there!