Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Chopped cabbage, minced pepper, the forward button

RantWoman celebrates a culinary success for the weekly Sunday supper at RantMom's, a made-up recipe for spicier than average coleslaw. RantMom usually is not into too much spice, but the red cabbage, scallions, cilantro, minced pasilla peppers in ranch dressing combo that RantWoman concocted pleased RantMom enough that she wanted to keep the leftovers! Fine with RantWoman since she had more leftovers at home!

Saturday night RantWoman went to a potluck. RantWoman's potluck contribution was subject to typical transit friendly constraints: RantWoman left the house before 10 am and was not due at potluck until 6:30 pm and not due at home until after potluck. So RantWoman needed something that could work without refrigeration; RantWoman also recently acquired a couple frozen ice packs, but still. From the fridge: a head of red cabbage, a bunch of scallions. A bunch of cilantro. An unopened bottle of ranch dressing, not the cheap kind, the good kind.

Potluck host role rotates and RantWoman is not shy about asking to borrow a knife and a cutting board. Plus RantWoman's travel route took her late in the afternoon to Hay Tai Market on Aurora. RantWoman wanted limes for people who want something other than salad dressing on their salad. RantWoman also decided a pasilla pepper would be nice. Other niceties unneeded for the potluck also made it into RantWoman's shopping bag so RantWoman arrived at potluck well-burdened. Sigh.

For salads, RantWoman tends just to eyeball quantities in the first place. In the second place, RantWoman was not sure how many of the potluckers would want their salad undressed, so RantWoman went ahead and cut up the whole cabbage. It was small but that as still a lot of chopped cabbage. The potluck group always eats well and rantWoman was not surprised to have leftovers. RantWoman was surprised when RantMom said the coleslaw sounded good the next day. Yay leftovers!

RantWoman is in general glad to be well-fortified with fiber and flavor for a visit to the digital discontinuities du jour. RantWoman hardly ever logs into her Yahoo email. Turns out RantMom has been sending email there. RantWoman has no freaking idea why RantMom even has her yahoo email but she does. Tonight RantWoman logged in and would have LIKED to retrieve a couple items. The items got swallowed up in ads and dialogues about why RantWoman does not like the ads. And NO, RantWoman was not being patient enough to deal with screen reader issues either!

Comes now RantMom calling at an hour WAY past her bedtime and definitely past when she should be expecting too much of herself electronically. RantMom was trying to print something but her printer is not working. And neither she nor the RantWoman school of blind tech support can figure out how to Forward from her email on the computer. But Eureka! RantMom figures out she can forward from her phone. The email gets to AOL; RantWoman would prefer gmail. But AOL is preferable to yahoo. Yeah persistence and now bedtime for both the RantWomen.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

ONE more comment after the Microsoft Ability Summit.

RantWoman is unclear that the world needs one more gosh-danged comment about the recent Microsoft #abilitysummit. The world is getting another post anyway.

RantWoman has chatted with a couple people she saw there and there are in fact ideas simmering but elaborating them would be too much like work for the Sunday after someone RantWoman knows took her first #fremontsolsticeparade naked bicyclist ride.

RantWoman's head is also full of other "makes head explode" topics such as tariffs, nuclear posturing in NE Asia, kidnapping the children of people applying for asylum, attempts to cut SNAP benefits in the new farm bill....

All of this is why RantWoman is going to rattle on about people with disabilities in the workplace.

Some of the time, in the experience of many around RantWoman,  there is only one person who uses accessibility tools in an office. This places a burden on the person with disabilities and their tech support staff to network and connect to all the different pieces of mental lint sometimes needed to make accessibility tools play well with a specific environment. RantWoman kind of hopes that the wave of thought about accessibility over the last 10 years has helped ease the burden on both sides. RantWoman hopes this, but is not taking bets.

Alternately, some of the time, workplaces around RantWoman are likely to be peopled both by someone who uses Toby the new eye blink control mechanism and someone who relies on screen readers. That is Toby will be of no use to people in the second category, but they will need to collaborate. So it would excite RantWoman to see demo which show people with different disabilities using different accessibility pathways as they collaborate.

And one more thing just for the put EVERYONE to work crowd: sometimes people need the tool to figure out what they can do for work. RantWoman has a neighbor who MIGHT be able to use Toby. RantWoman's neighbor is interested in watching movies on the internet. RantWoman's neighbor can speak about 10 words in an hour; at the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing, she uses her words to tell the people helping her find her videos what kind of video she would like to watch. MAYBE she can get to enough Toby skills to find her own videos or still further to find videos and use a word search program to type reviews, emails.... MAYBE,. But that is a LONG way from her being in any world where RantWoman can see work outcomes! Better quality of life? Probably, but not work outcomes. Just sayin...

Monday, June 4, 2018

Automated Translation: IN Powerpoint

RantWoman is still digesting demos at the Microsoft #ability Summit.

In particular, RantWoman is interested in the translator demoed for Powerpoint and Skype. RantWoman wants to think wow gee whiz. Really.

RantWoman wants to think this, but questions also leap to mind.

The demo mentioned that school principals are trying this capability to communicate with parents who speak several languages. RantWoman would be VERY interested to learn: is this being done in contexts where there is careful evaluation of whether actual  functional communication occurs?

RantWoman further notes that many users might find to useful to have
--an automated transcription window as well as the automated translation one. RantWoman also wonders about parallel audio tracks generated in this program. Following a spoken passage and a written version at the same time is used sometimes by people trying to learn a new language.

RantWoman also notes the design feature of being able to read a caption in a specific window, but with some audiences it is not reasonable to assume the people needing the interpretation even read in their own languages. RantWoman also guesses that the Star Trek level of automated voice translation is a ways off.

Another language specialist question: is there a way to load the translator with a corpus of terms in the source and target languages. RantWoman thinks quality of output matters and being able to professionally translate a glossary would vastly improve RantWoman's comfort level about this whole application of machine translation.

And for extra grins, if this tool is going to get demo'ed in an audience full of blind people. OF COURSE people should expect questions such as will it work with Braille displays? Will screen readers be able to find the caption window? RantWoman gives the  demo team credit for an enthusiastic "We love impossible questions" at least.

Oh, and one more tirade in case RantWoman is going to get completely enthusiastic about replacing humans with machine translation:

bilingualism is good for brains

bilingualism is good for brains

bilingualism is good for brains

bilingualism is good for brains

Oh, and one definitely wants to measure that the machine option really is better than humans.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

The Ave, Live, with footwear

Footwear: the perfect excuse to blog about why shopping online is not always better.

As RantWoman  may have mentioned previously, RantWoman has shoes in her closet sized 9, 9.5, 10 11, 12 and 43. In other words, RantWoman just flat needs to put her feet into shoes before buying them. RantWoman also tends to think that the store clerk taking time to measure one's feet and present several options is more than worth the price differential between brick and mortar and online.  RantWoman gets disgusted easily with people who go to a store to check out what they want and then go home and order online. This entry is about in-person shopping and neighborhood and...

RantWoman went to a recent #Transittalk at the University Bookstore. Points that impressed RantWoman can be found on Twitter using hashtags #transittalk and #transittalks  RantWoman needs to have a Just Say NO campaign about adding any more meetings to her schedule, but a longtime RantWoman contact mentioned that yes, good to pay attention to the U District Conversation on Homelessness. Good to pay attention, so who can RantWoman recruit?

The U District conversation foreshadowed a comment at the most recent U District mobility workshop: businesses are too busy dealing with "street civility" issues such as people sleeping in doorways to want to talk about transportation. M'kay, so RantWoman will see whether she knows anyone interested in the ongoing conversations on homelessness.

After the event was over, RantWoman found herself in a bit of a quandary. RantWoman could get on the bus and go home and then come back to the U district for a late afternoon meeting. (The in-person meeting turned out to be very helpful even though the speaker rescheduled.)  OR RantWoman could find a place to hang out and see what she could get done on Chromie the ambiguously gendered Chromebook

First, FOOTWEAR. RantWoman has not walked past Shiga's imports in awhile. But RantWoman is ALWAYS tempted to look for blue satin Chinese shoes. RantWoman is tempted to look, but the family "large understanding" has expanded with age to the point that RantWoman would need blue satin about two sizes larger than the shoes currently come. RantWoman is in the market, though for some kind of indoor only shoe she can carry around with her for all the homes she visits where people take off their shoes at the door.

So RantWoman asked a clerk to help her check out the boring black men's slippers. Nah. Too narrow and RantWoman's instep is too high. But RantWoman did find...boxes and boxes of Chinese hand exercise balls. RantWoman has used the balls to help with recovery from both broken wrists. The salesclerk talked about her mom using the balls to deal with some kind of hand tremor. RantWoman decided she needed two new sets, one to see whether it will help about something for RantMom and one for RantWoman. Stay tuned.

RantWoman still had footwear on her mind. As a transit only person, good well-made shoes are every bit as important in RantWoman's transportation infrastructure as vehicles and sidewalks. Also Woolly Mammoth is right across the street. RantWoman has many happy experiences finding shoes that fit at Woolly Mammoth so RantWoman goes back often. RantWoman spends money less often. Spending money did not happen this visit. RantWoman will be walking around in Last year's Keens awhile longer. Sigh.

At that point, RantWoman just wanted to sit somewhere and blog. It was cool-ish and flirting with rain. In other words, weather that makes RantWoman want to sit outside and to reassure people concerned about this: RantWoman spent her childhood in CO and MT. RantWoman is fairly cool-tolerant. Plus RantWoman discovered Chipotle's wonderful covered outdoor seating area, got herself a bowl and some ice tea and settled in with two more meditations:

RantWoman's brain is full of news stories about straws in the ocean. RantWoman also LIKES straws. Urk!

A lot of the time. RantWoman would happily pay something modest like 10 cents to fill her water bottle with ice and skip the sugary beverage tax. That is RantWoman HATES artificial sweeteners and likes her beverages both sugared and caffeinated. The beverage of choice for the day was iced tea to which RantWoman added her own sugar but much less than ....

After awhile RantWoman's mind wandered to a couple things she would add to the Ave if she could.

There used to be a wonderful plant store on 45th. It had plants. It had refreshing UV lighting in the winter. The air inside was always very fresh. The Ave needs a store like it.

RantWoman would also add a crafts and fabric store, simply for the tactile and design aspects of sewing and mending. Possibly this is fantasy since RantWoman already has a number of half-done sewing and knitting home. RantWoman does not imagine people who frequent the Ave have any more time than RantWoman does. But it's an idea.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Mercury, Cookies, GDPR, Mobile Device tech support

No Mercury is not retrograde, RantWoman's first go-to explanation for technological hiccups as well as RantWoman's own diverse and colorful communications screw-ups.

But here is a good Mercury in retrograde calendar for the rest of the year:

No RantWoman does not think she does anything that will run her afoul of GDPR and yes RantWoman thinks she thanks Google and sundry other international electronic connections for bringing the entire topic to her attention. Go Europe!

Does RantWoman entirely thank Google for bringing this to her attention. RantWoman dutifully followed directions and pointed her blog at equivalent domain   RantWoman SEES the notification about Google's use of cookies. BUT  in first pass, RantWoman could not figure out a way to make Mr. JAWS read the text. What is RantWoman missing? Where can RantWoman even post the question?

Oh, and lest we forget, emojis or no emojis in Twitter handles?

Uhhh, RantWoman does not mind emojis via Talkback on her phone but is not crazy about them for other environments.

And as an aside, RantWoman wonders why the Dancing Broccoli emojis in her messaging app have labels like "Laughing" instead of "Dancing Broccoli."

Yes, RantWoman is a little bit procrastinating, a little bit digressing from a planned excursion about the wonders of NOT shopping online. Readers also have a phone malfunction, an underpowered battery and not one but TWO muddled calls into the technological customer service universe to thank for the timing of this post. RantWoman literally cannot call back about the phone charging malfunction until the phone drips in enough charge via the phone charging malfunction to finish the fabulous customer service experience she is having.

Let's restate: for a few days RantWoman's phone has been refusing to hold the charging cord. RantWoman has tried various approaches and the one that works the best seems to be to lay the phone on the table face down, plug in the charger and once RantWoman hears the Charging Started / Charging slowly messages simply to pray that nothing moves the charging cord until adequate charge is achieved. This kind of defeats the point of the word Mobile but oh well.

Wednesday enroute to a regular Wednesday activity RantWoman took the ailing phone into an actual Verizon store and had lovely attentive help from the person in the store. Person in store said "no it should not be doing that and yes it's still under warranty and here is how you start the claim." Person in store even started the needed phone call and was not sure whether there would be a deductible.

Email appeared in RantWoman's inbox There were some hiccups about how can one enter a claim number if one has to switch to the email app and back to the browser so RantWoman dawdled, until today. There was also the phone number in itsy bitsy teeny tiny type  on a teeny tiny card. Even someone whose eyes are supposedly okay had to squint to read it. RantWoman wrote it down and has now called it twice!

Random grumbles:

--being asked to state a PIN out loud instead of type it in.

--People who say "aks" instead of "ask." RantWoman is aware this pattern is one marker of a population who need jobs and RantWoman definitely wants to have jobs. Enough said.

RantWoman is being given the runaround. The phone malfunction is covered by warranty. RantWoman has been told this by both phone company representatives and by the company in an actual STORE that provides insurance under the warranty. The insurance company representatives even ACKNOWLEDGE that the run around is frustrating. SUCH a change of pace for other corners of RantWoman's life. However on the phone, phone company representatives either give runaround or just drop the call when the phone already needed more charge.

RantWoman just wants a short direct path to a new phone as provided by her warranty for the malfunction issue. Hopefully soon enough charge will have dripped in to call again. Hopefully.


Life intervened. RantWoman got her phone charged enough to call one more time about her phone. Then instead of a phone related call RantWoman used her charged phone for all kinds of other reasonable human activities. Then RantWoman went back to trickle-charging with one phone call to get the url of a service which seems to serve--or not--customers from several companies.

RantWoman found the "Resume a Claim" button and dutifully entered phone number and claim number from an email. Ta-da, a new screen, a new phone number, promiss that replacement is covered. RantWoman will call the phone number in daylight.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Iftar and


Today's festive Global Accessibility Awareness Day #gaad #disabilityinchurch reflection, from an item on the first screen of search results for the search term Ramadan Accessibility

RantWoman also appreciates a Twitter thread about fasting and the workplace, in what sounds like a cool workplace. Sorry RantWoman did not do anything to capture the thread so readers get to look for themselves.

RantWoman will also remember this when in meetings with people who are fasting.

RantWoman has new across-the-hall neighbors. RantWoman's new neighbors observe Ramadan. This means RantWoman's hall was filled last night with steam and pleasant cooking odors. One of RantWoman's neighbors got up later than average.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

"Jump Off A Cliff" featuring Emma Vrabel

"I'm sorry my disability is inconvenient for you. I just live with it. I cannot imagine what it is like to deal with me an hour every other day."

RantWoman NEEDS this video because of the moment above and several other comments.