Sunday, August 28, 2016

One more Find It Fix IT walk note

One more Judkins Park Find It Fix  it Walk note:

--Sign up for updates straight from Sound Transit particularly about the Judkins Park / Rainier Avenue station  here:
Mental note: there is an open house coming up. RantWoman did not find info about it in a cursory look.

RantWoman finds it, um, interesting to read about intention in the station design to add elements of public art accessible to the disabled community.

--One of two wheelchair users who RantWoman thought likely to attend made it to the #finditfixit walk. He noted that meeting on grass is not the most wheelchair-friendly approach. Luckilyh he is pretty relentless about participating anyway.

--The other wheelchair user RantWoman knows--who lives right on the edge of the park and has plenty to say about car-related public safety issues did not make it. Oh well.

Report from the person who attended.
--Lighting on the bicycle freeway and on the pedestrian paths: YES! YES! RantWoman would be interested in more detail and hopes notes about it are not just lurking in FrontPorch somewhere. RantWoman realizes it sounds downright unadventurous not to want to learn a new platform every other day, but tough, this is RantWoman.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

In praise of Corelle

Ahhh! Time warp! Nostalgia.

 Corelle! (necessary trademark implied)

Talk about blast from RantWoman's past.

Splendid white soup bowls
Two splendid new soup bowls

Long ago, shortly after the Rant Family moved from CO to MT, somehow the household acquired an entire 8-person set of Corelle dinnerware: large plates, medium plates, pie plates, saucers, cups, two sizes of bowls and probably a couple other items.

Corelle is supposed to be shatterproof.

The RantFamily had a concrete underfloor on the entire ground floor where our kitchen dining room and TV room were.

Gravity is remarkably consistent.

The RantFamily Test Labs determined that it is indeed utterly simple to shatter Corelle. Indeed, most--but definitely NOT ALL of the collection has gone down the path of entropy always increasing and then out the door and onto the crockery's next destinations in the universe. In fact rantMOm sill has a few of the original plates!

Peculiarly the Rant Family experience made RantWoman smile recently when she found the bowls shown here on sale just as some of her other less hardy bowls had done their cheap crockery thing.

Alas, RantWoman now also has a concrete floor and ardently hopes the new bowls will not be in any hurry to fly into the floor!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Dragon Naturally Speaking Accessibility Lapse

The Theme of RantWoman's day: Seemingly small matters that wind up being a giant pain in the neck for a small but crucial segment of one's customer base.

The first object of RantWoman's thematic focus Dragon Naturally Speaking version 13 and higher.

Some exuberant reviews

The problems:
Dragon and its parent company Nuance advertise Dragon as an accessibility tool BUT a change starting with version 13 makes the product completely inaccessible to one category of users and dangerous for other users who rely on multiple accessibility tools.

The change: The newest versions of Dragon turn off the microphone before the program goes completely through its shutdown routine. That means if one WANTS to review the check boxes about whether or not to save one's speech file and one is working hands-free, because of an injury, because one's hands to not work or one does not have hands or all the reasons people need to work hands free. once the microphone is off one no longer has control of the software.

RantWoman does not even want to speculate about whether this change is some thoughtless coding oversight or the result of testing only with users who do not rely on the product for accessibility. Frankly, why is a metaphysical question and RantWoman would just like the developers to rid the software of this accessibility lapse as quickly as possible.

The STAR Center  resident Dragon expert has spent hours on the phone with tech support. He reports that the helpdesk had to be induced to try the situation on their own computers. He also reports that so far he has heard NO offers to revisit the problem to fix this accessibility barrier say in an interim update.

So RantWoman will be adding her voice to objections AND seeing whether others who rely on Dragon for accessibility can also be encouraged to weigh in.

RantWoman's situation would be as follows.

RantWoman actually has considered Dragon. RantWoman, partly for lousy childhood emotional reasons is a lousy typist. RantWoman loves the idea of high-end users being able to feed Dragon a corpus of their writings so that Dragon can more easily match words regularly used with the voice training algorithms. RantWoman thinks this COULD be a giant boon to her own productivity.

RantWoman can actually use Dragon without the expensive and technically clunky add-in that keep Dragon and screen readers from frying each others' circuits. But this means relying on RantWoman's wonky eyeballs. News flash: rantWoman uses screen reading software BECAUSE her wonky eyeballs are not reliable. RantWoman would have visions of trying to shut down Dragon, not seeing whatever final exit checkboxes come up, leaving Dragon on, turning on her screen reader, and quickly making Dragon, the screen reader, and her computer completely unusable! That is the accessibility problem as hazard to some users issue!

In any case, RantWoman has not persuaded herself that the productivity enhancement would justify the cost and training time required for this software. There is a chicken and egg aspect of this problem: If RantWoman could get more done with less typing, she probably would be more productive in a work environment. However, RantWoman in self-employment mode feels too financially shaky to take on the technological risk.

Nor unfortunately does this accessibility lapse increase the odds that Rantwoman will offer unqualified positive buzz when talking to others about accessibility options. When do people really need Dragon? When will competition from Siri....?
Grrrr. Not like RantWoman has nothing else to do with her day besides document accessibility issues!

Now, though RantWoman will see whether her social media streams and limited capacity to do social media analytics will help her find others vexed by this accessibility lapse!

Stay tuned.

#a11y  #DNS  #accessibility #inclusion #employment

Two Deaf Women Show Us Bilingualism At Its Finest

If you only have 5 minutes to begin to dabble in questions of education and bilingualism for the #deaf, this is a great place to start. What wise parents. What great women!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Judkins Park Find It Fix It Walk: Opinions!

RantWoman is probably going to miss tonight's #FindItFixIT walk in Judkins park with Mayor Murray but since RantWoman, Little Sister in her wheelchair, Brother in Law with his bad back, Irrepressible Nephew and RantMom, along with all sorts of mobility-challenged neighbors  all vigorously participate in the travel environment in the area, RantWoman humbly offers some jottings to feed into the process.

RantWoman aspires to tighter editing; RantWoman thanks her readers in advance for coping. If anything is too inscrutable, leave a comment and RantWoman can follow up.

Random notes to get started
18th in terrible shape and big potholes in front of St Mary's and in street on way to food bank.

Big trucks because of the franz bakery. NIce that they do not seem to travel in the middle of the day but does the street need reinforcement so it doesn't crumble under the weight of the trucks?

23rd and Judkins:
YEAH for new concrete between the sidewalk and the curb by the bus stop on the SW corner. Now if the same thing could happen on the bus stop going the other direction on the SE side of the corner.

NE side of the corner: some serious crumbly #crappycurb issues in the crosswalk.

Out of scope of #FindItFixIt but on rantWoman's list anyway.
(See, see, world, RantWoman DOES SOMETINES understand the concept of in scope vs out of scope!)

The bicycle freeway, design for the Rainier Ave / 23rd Ave Light Rail station, now somewhere between 60% and 75% design completion.

--1 elevator on Rainier side means one set of passengers will have to cross tracks. So far changes add yellow raised bumps for deaf-blind riders. RantWoman has not tracked down the right design to have more opinions about speed issues for people who just move slowly and maybe have not been trained in the mobility skills assumed of a vigorous working age person. RantWoman has been assured by one person who now has a different job that the planned pedestrian amenities assume trains are moving slowly at that point entering or leaving the station. RantWoman also tartly notes that one elevator at all is an improvement over ramps that are too steep for some wheel chair users she knows who simply board the buses  that serve the current I90 freeway stop from other locations.

RantWoman has chatted with a different person about not having to rebuild exizxiting overpass and needing to fit elevator into space somehow. RantWoman is not an architect. or an engineer. RantWoman also tracked down these two people because of running into them at public events, public events not related to their job responsibilities, but still.

RantWoman has also had conversations about the bicycle freeway, the 23rd Avenue side of the station and people of all kinds of abilities who RantWoman expects to be using that station. Again, RantWoman has not looked in detail at designs but RantWoman has enough experience walking in the I90 tunnel at different times of the day to think this nexus at the proposed station entrance will need more attention.  RantWoman wants to know how routing will work so lowly pedestrians do not get tangled up in the bicycle freeway.

There. RantWoman has more opinions but this is more than enough to get started.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 24 Judkins Park Find it Fix IT publicity by Sneaker Net

Via a mailing list from the Mayor's office:

A Find it Fix it Walk with Mayor Murray

Judkins park area,

6 pm - 8 pm Wednesday August 24.

Here's the website address for the official flyer:

Find IT Fix It Walk 8/24
Find It Fix It flyer
editedin orange highlighter 
RantWoman tragically is unavailable in person. Stay tuned on this blog.

RantWoman also made liberal use of email forwarding AND figured some of the many people wiht interesting mobility problems surrounding her are more likely to show up at the walk if Sneaker net delivers signage to walls and elevators.

And, yes, RantWoman added the orange highlighter in faint hope that might draw more people actually to look at the sign. Word!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Let's Go Shopping!

One of the realities of the Friendly Neighborhood Center for Extreme Computing: sometimes we get visitors who are curious about who we are and how we do things. Recently we had a flock of such visitors, an entire design team who decided to come visit after one of our team journeyed out to their parts for a usability study.

We, the staff and regular customers at the Friendly Neighborhood Center had not really had time to plan a tour so we did introductions and then RantWoman made one proposal and figured the rest of the group would think of ways to entertain those not entertained by RantWoman. RantWoman guessed correctly.

RantWoman's offer: we just had a meeting. RantWoman has a to-do list from the meeting. How about some of you just come watch RantWoman work for a few minutes.

RantWoman's experience is that for complete assistive technology novices this approach sometimes leads to better questions than if RantWoman starts out all techie. A number of people took RantWoman up on her invitation.

First a summary of RantWoman's tools, Zoomtext 9.1 at 4 x magnification with some other nuances.
JAWS 15 set not nearly as blisteringly fast as RantWoman has heard on the internet.
Lots of keyboard shortcuts, use of the search bar. Lots of reasons an observer will not necessarily be able to tell what RantWoman is doing or how she gets anything done. Tough. That is part of the drill.

RantWoman always considers it rewarding when an observer notices something like "well the screen is not really designed for how you do things. There were voices like that.

There was the voice of another blind person who like RantWoman admits to not using many of the more sophisticated parts of our assistive technology tools.

The visitors graciously watched for a few minutes and then said more  or less, to heck with the to-do list. Do you shop online?

Look, it's the WORKPLACE. RantWoman tends to prefer to keep the workplace and the personal things separated at least in time.

And furthermore, NO, RantWoman does not like to shop all the time. RantWoman has to have time to go outside, wear out shoes, move large muscles, exercise, breathe fresh air, not to mention interact with people. RantWoman when shopping wants to get to what she wants, make buy or wish list decisions quickly and NOT get tangled up forever either in the interface or in some marketer's strategies for holding RantWoman's pathetic eyeballs hostage.

But Yes, of COURSE RantWoman shops online. RantWoman, like millions of others at least from the more privileged classes also shops online during work hours. Perhaps the world does not want RantWoman to meditate further on a certain #digitalequity thread for now.

Okay, show us how you shop.

Today RantWoman has a new PAPER catalog from  RantWoman cannot of course really appreciate the catalog: the print is tiny. RantWoman CAN see that some of the styles look interesting AND that the models look like they are of a size that would actually wear the clothing. That is they have arms thicker than sticks AND they have thighs.

Plus the catalog has one discount and the website has several other options.

What's to be curious about:
Shoes: a number of kinds of flats and boots. Also some stunningly high heels that RantWoman would fall off of as soon as she tried to stand up. RantWoman is annoyed that the shoes seem to have only one width, wide, but still. The shoes all, like the clothing also come in only one color. RantWoman wishes it were easier to find the shoes she wants to look further at.

Unfortunately RantWoman's experience is that she really needs to put her feet into shoes before buying them. Mail order efforts are unlikely unless RantWoman is buying the exact same size and style as she already owns. This rarely happens.

Some clothing styles that scream :no way" to rantWoman but some other things to poke at.

At the item level part of the website, the product info lists height and size worn by model. generally the smallest size sold, but oh, well. The model IS wearing the clothes.

Tunics are actually tunics with the length listed.

crop pamts with lace insets

Leggings in fun prints though a Tall Size option would delight RantWoman.

RantWoman is kind of charmed by some of the styles that she is too far past teeny-bopper to wear herself

The bad news and grumpiness.
No heading to find the product description easily on the item level order page

More goop than RantWoman wants to read every time she looks at a new item.

Something that is too bouncy for RantWoman's visual capacity and RantWoman loses patience quickly if she tries to read the whole page with a screen reader.

RantWoman would SO like to specify her profile of preferences for garment length, sleeve and pant length., fabric content. Set the search engine loose and get back her preferences at the top of the sort. RantWoman has been known to deviate from her stated preferences, but...

Some of the dresses are way too short for RantWoman. The worldr really does not need to see RantWoman's knees.

And to top things off, the website comes with a survey!

The survey is just as bouncy as the rest of the website and RantWoman already has no patience with her screen reader. To be fair the screen reader does read the page but RantWoman is just not patient.

The survey also has WAY TOO MANY required answer fields. Look, it's DATA.  It is not required to be complete. OR just give RantWoman 5 questions and an inquiry whether RantWoman would answer more questions.

Besides additional detail above, also on RantWoman's wish list for online shopping experiences.
--Allow a person who shops for more than one family member to create preference sets for each person.

--Make it easy to move things from shopping cart to wish list or vice versa.

--Perfectly fine and even preferable to have a sort for in stock vs backordered vs  out of stock.

There, enough free consulting for the day; now back to Non Profit Reality.

But one more thing: the print catalog says there is a store at Northgate Mall. RantMom really likes to fondle merchandise. There are other Rant Family shopping destinations at Northgate including options for school clothes s for Irrepressible Nephew who has grown another inch or so this summer. So MAYBE off to the mall it is one day soon.