Monday, November 24, 2014

Update: Kevin Gallagher to return to SMC in 2015

RantWoman is reprinting this item verbatim from email update about ASL interpretation for Seattle Men's Chorus performances.

Kevin Gallagher is returning in 2015.  As for now, SMC will hire
qualified/certified interpreters from now to provide access.  However,
they are keeping Kevin. He will continue to provide his "interpretation"
for separate shows. He will return to "performing" in the Spring.
We, as of the SMC team, are still processing this information and we need
your input. Please email me directly at kmroberts75@gmail to share your
thoughts and input.

We need to hear from you. We want to know how you feel. We want to know
how you feel we should respond.

Here is the link to the blog  so you may read the full text of the letter
Flying House Productions sent out to their fans.

RantWoman offers the following observations:
--RantWoman is glad from the links  that Seattle Men's Chorus at last recognizes that they have a problem.

--RantWoman says "At last" because RantWoman remembers Ferrener Husband's first and only attendance at an SMC performance. Ferrener Husband is Deaf, from a Deaf family and another country. He became Husband partly because he was willing to stand up as firmly as RantWoman does about some issues important to us. But Ferrener Husband a number of years ago came home from an SMC concert so disgusted by the interpreting that he could barely speak; he also said other deaf people had been trying for years to make improvements without success. So RantWoman is grateful for progress however modest.

--RantWoman is familiar with the whole genre of non-native speakers of one or another language making audio that encapsulates multiple kinds of mistakes that can creep into language: pronunciation, vocabulary, syntax. RantWoman suggests that people welcome Mr. Gallagher warmly but video tape his performances and then provide captioning of how song texts go awry in his arms. RantWoman suggests that this be done as affectionately as possible, in a spirit of honest effort to find fun in the situation. RantWoman does NOT mean to minimize continuing concerns but instead to grab them and keep shining light in their direction.

--RantWoman is reprinting this announcement verbatim, without succumbing to temptation to make small edits, to make the point that ASL is a separate language from English with different syntax. RantWoman is not in a position to evaluate whether the points she might edit to standard english reflect artifacts of writing ASL but is leaving them in the document to promote readers' awareness about the possibility.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Eggnog. Braille. Panini


RantWoman would theoretically prefer not to have anything to do with Christmas until after Thanksgiving. RantWoman makes an exception for eggnog. RantWoman in the last couple days has enjoyed both an eggnog milkshake and and eggnog latte.

See recently RantWoman received a Starbucks gift card, a Braille Starbucks gift card, the perfect excuse to eat lunch at Starbucks.

First RantWoman must digress about the experience of the Braille gift card: the card has Starbucks on it in uncontracted Braille. It could just as easily have a tactile version of the Starbucks logo. Then maybe it would be easily findable by people who are blind but do not read braille. RantWoman does read braille. RantWoman appreciates gift cards whether they have braille on them or not but definitely considers it easier to find the right gift card if there is some kind of tactile clue to its origin. Call this a qualified endorsement.

Now back to the dining experience: RantWoman over the summer became quite fond of Starbucks savory croissants, both spinach and squash on whole wheat dough, the kind of whole wheat that leaves one with a lovely nutty flavor on top of the vegetable goodness.. RantWoman is unclear whether they were an option this time.

RantWoman wound up being seduced by a turkey and stuffing panin. There was nothing seductive in the plastic packaging in the cooler but somehow the lighting at the counter won RantWoman over. That is a good thing because RantWoman finds the lighting and signage at a typical Starbucks unhelpful because of bright lights at eye level and  print RantWoman is always foolishly tempted to try to read. Other hint: half the time the fastest way to see waht is available is just to listen to what other customers might be ordering.

Anyway, the thing came out of its sad plastic packaging and a trip through the microwave and went into a nice hot bakery bag. Brilliant except RantWoman was in a hurry and wanted to eat on the go, but not to have to fight gravity and juggle a hot sandwich trying not to lose its filling. Definitely not lose the filling, or the outside either. Crispy panini, slightly mushy stuffing and turkey mix. Piping hot from microwave.

What ELSE to grumble about?
The stuffing needed more vegetables, onion, celery, herbs. It would be very difficult to have too much celery around RantWoman. Yes, RantWoman knows opinions about celery are quite varied. RantWoman would also think to include either fresh or dried cranberries or raisins. But who knows whether RantWoman will even be a repeat customer!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Gender Terminology: short snapshot

If RantWoman were a more thorough lexicographer, she would compile a number of sites discussing language used for cross-dressing and transgender and intersex persons. This site is intended to be not a terrible start.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think

It's Thanksgiving season and RantWoman thinks the spiritual discipline of being grateful is especially appropriate this time of year. Unfortunately, this IS RantWoman.

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
A deaf person to open the meeting! Instant credibility.
A deaf person who specifically does NOT promise to fix everything: even more credibility!

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
Look, I know you work really hard on this, but I HATE YOUR PRODUCT for all of the following reasons....

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
Ya know, if the hardware depreciation period were 5 years instead of 3 years, there would be time for reasonable application development, time for training, and not so many gooped up features going way underused. In other words there would be time for the humans to be part of the picture not just slaves to the machines' treadmill.

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
Awhile ago RantWoman was talking to someone tasked to advise your company about how to be friendly to startups. RantWoman's advice: build the accessibility in. Do not turn off the accessibility features. Make it easy to USE and interact with the accessibility features. RantWoman is not a very competent capitalist though. RantWoman neglected to provide this advice for free and also did not think about a way to get paid for it. File this with "what RantWoman thinks about."

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
Okay, really, sometimes I HATE THE CLOUD. Sometimes i want to go off grid and write and just write based on what I have and not have to down in global infoglut while I comb the nuggets out of all the verbiage I can already generate.

Thank you so much for asking me about screen readers and screen enlargement.
You know that thing that all the sighted developers are too squeamish to name, I agree with all the blind people who think "Nose print remover" is absolutely hilarious and deadly on point!

Thank you so much for asking about my autodetect fantasies.
Look, maybe this is weird fantasy life, but RantWoman frequently reads amterial that contains text in more than one  language. RantWoman LOVES it when her screen reader automatically switches back and forth and between languages. Too often, this is a fantasy!
Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
RantWoman at one point asked for walking directions from someone who from the sounds of things clearly drives. Score one for the usefulness of wayfinding!

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you waht I really think.
Putting a bunch of blind people and people with hearing impairments and hopefully some other disabilities in a big noisy room with lots of conversations going on in the same area is a good recipe for brain melting. It's a great opportunity for all of us to commiserate about our different issues and MAYBE to share tips about work arounds.

For instance RantWoman made a point of trying to look at one person who says she lipreads. RantWoman knows she herself used to lipread; now she assuredly does not and therefore she has lots of trouble sorting out conversation threads in a big room. RantWoman peculiarly finds it easier to filter things in languages she does not speak; other people merely find that additional languages are another way to be driven crazy.

Thank you so much for inviting me to tell you what I think.
The term "inclusive computing" sounds like a really interesting concept. RantWoman's first screen of search results turned up a couple links RantWoman skimmed:

We here at the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing offer for consideration the following inclusive computing realities:

--Customers and staff who between them reflect a whole spectrum of sensory , physical, cognitive, cultural idiosyncrasies sufficient to qualify us for the term "diversity on steroids."

--one clump of about 3 customers who between them muster enough literacy to read their desired webpages.

--one customer who needs cheerleading so that the chatter in her head does not get in the way and she can, after visits over a couple days, interact with a certain online bookseller.

--RantMom whose search algorithm for info about bus boarding during a recent closure of the downtown Seattle bus tunnel was "call Little Sister and have her look it up." RantWoman is grateful RantMom did not ask her: RantWoman at the time was talking on the device she might haveused to look up the info if the device got to the desired info fast enough to suit RantWoman and in a format RantWoman could deal with.

But definitely, thank you very much for inviting me over because I am crazy enough sometimes to enjoy being driven crazy and especially getting to talk about it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Salmon Cannon (HBO)

Life around RantWoman is a real laugh riot sometimes. For instance, how about a rousing Saturday night spent making outrageous fun of an important wildlife conservation issue of extreme importance in the Pacific NW.

Research Study on Blind People's Document formatting Skills Seeks Participants

RantWoman probably actually has too much vision to participate in this study but in the interest of not biasing the feedback, RantWoman first presents a clean version of the announcement pasted as selected from her Gmail inbox with no adjustments for paragraphs, etc:

We are researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz. We are
investigating ways in which tools may assist blind people with tasks related
to document formatting. As a first step, we need to gather information about
document formatting practices, errors and barriers of blind persons. To do
this, we need to collect a large number and variety of documents that were
created and formatted by blind persons (with at most some light perception)
without help from sighted persons.
Please help us by providing documents (at least
3 pages long) that you have created with any word processor (Microsoft Word,
Apple Pages, etc.) and formatted without help from a sighted person.
We will run a drawing for two $50 Amazon gift certificates as a token of
appreciation for those who provide at least five documents that follow the
previous criteria.
Note: As this is a National Science Foundation study, we follow a strict
rule of maintaining your and your documents confidentiality and destroying
documents after the study is finished.
If you are interested in helping, please email your documents or any
questions regarding the study to:
Also, if you know someone who fits the criteria and might be interested in
helping us, please forward this post. We really appreciate your help.
Thank you for your time.
Best regards,
Lourdes M. Morales Villaverde
Computer Science Ph.D. Student
Interactive Systems for Individuals with Special Needs (ISIS) Lab Baskin
School of Engineering University of California, Santa Cruz

Nevertheless, if you or someone you know fit the criteria, sign the heck up!

Readers who have scrolled this far get the following additional comments:
--RantWoman gets plenty of documents created by sighted people that show no command of even modest formatting niceties such as headings, never mind accessibility featurs for forms .

--RantWoman interacts with plenty of PDF's whose creators have no concept of the various accessibility nuances associated with PDF's.

--Just today RantWoman had anotehr of her Death by Powerpoint experiences. The sin: printing on black and white without checking for meaningful contrast. Whine.

--Readers of RantWoman's blogs will note that she herself has not bothered to pay attention to options for bulleted lists and tends to do as this post does on aregular basis.

--RantWoman's blogs are a natural product created with uneven visual attention to formatting. Sometimes all RantWoman does is reread with JAWS. Other times if RantWoman has more visual energy more visual niceties may occur. RantWoman does not really have any frame of reference as far as how other blind bloggers handle visual presentation. Plus the study criteria specify documents created with a word- processing tool, not a blogging tool.

RantWoman has newly discovered that Google docs ALMOST works with her screen reader; RantWoman wonders whether Google Docs count.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Africa For Norway - New charity single out now!

RantWoman notes the invasion of an Arctic air mass deep into the heartland of the US and recommends distracting ourselves. Perhaps the US can get in touch with the heroes of Africa offereing to send radiators to Norway. Perhaps they have some to spare for the US too.