Thursday, July 31, 2014

Careful what you wish for: Service Dogs

Says RantWoman: long, with strong language. Good for big picture and background. Definitelyworth the read.

Recently RantWoman got asked why she is still stuck on a service dog issue from 4 years ago. RantWoman does not consider herself stuck on the service dog issue particularly. It's just that RantWoman abounds in opportunities to talk about service dogs and the one in question comes with other baggage.

In the case RantWoman got asked about, although there were unquestionably issues of training and definition, there STILL ARE all the reasons someone both really needs and is having a hard time getting what is needed.

Another reason is that the story is connected to another service dog issue a number of years earlier and even now that dog's handler almost certainly needs sensible backup!

RantWoman always needs people who get her weird humor and both of the dog handlers in question definitely do that, RantWoman persists and OCCASIONALLY even gets laughs out of the deal.

Lately, RantWoman's life has also been punctuated by idiotic owners of specifially not service dogs who do nothing to control their mutts while the mutts go nuts around actual trained seeing eye dogs. RantWoman apologizes but has no clear attribution. NEvertheless, read on:

Rules exist for a reason and when it comes to Service Dogs and Service Dog law, too many people have come to view them more as "guidelines." Whether it's someone who wishes they could take their dog everywhere or someone who has chosen to break the law by presenting their pet as a fake Service Dog, both actions cause damage and harm to the Service Dog and disabled community.

Fake Service Dogs
From time to time, when disabled Service Dog handlers or Service Dotrainers are out in public, they're approached by someone with a wistfu look and a story about how their dog would be "just perfect!" for Service Dog work. They wish they could take their dog everywhere, too, but there's one problem: they don't understand that the right to be accompanied by a fully-trained Service Dog comes with a cascading pile of problems no sane person would ever wish upon themselves.

Most people love their dogs, and usually, when someone tells a Service Dog team they meet in public that they'd like to know how to make their dog a Service Dog, their likely intent isn't malicious or meant to be hurtful.

Nonetheless, it's a poorly thought-out aspiration. It's similar to saying, "no offense," before insulting someone.

This issue is far more complex than it seems on the surface, especially when it comes to able-bodied people who actually carry out their wishes by faking Service Dog status with their pets. Read on to learn more about what you're insinuating by wishing for a Service Dog if you're not disabled, how masquerading pets as Service Dogs is not only extremely disrespectful, but also harmful, and some important points to consider about Service Dog partnership and the Service Dog community.

1] Service Dog Handlers Are Disabled.
First, per U.S. federal law and the ADA, Service Dog handlers must bedisabled. Service Dogs perform tasks that their disabled owners would otherwise have difficulty completing on their own. If you do not have a disability, then you do not qualify for a Service Dog. Period. End of story.Full stop. There are no exceptions. By expressing a desire for a ServiceDog, you're also wishing for the accompanying disability. For a disabled person, hearing an able-bodied person openly wish for a disability (even if you don't actually say those words) is deeply hurtful. It suggests you don't take them or their disability seriously and furthermore, it makes light of the thousands of hours of training and socialization their partner has undergone to perform his job.

You'd never say, "Boy, I sure do I wish I had a wheelchair, walker, cane, crutch, oxygen tank, or prosthetic leg to take with me everywhere!" Wishing you had a Service Dog is exactly the same.
You would never approach someone with a cane and enthusiastically remark,"Nice cane! Hey, you know, I've got a stick at home. Do you think I could make it into a cane?I'd just LOVE to use a cane everywhere I went just like you; I really think it'd be perfect to use all the time! Come to think of it, that's a really rad limp. I wish I had a mobility impairment that awesome. Tell me, what's it like to fall down all the time and to always live in fear of losing your balance? I bet it's just so epic; I can't help but wish it were me!"

Think carefully. When was the last time you heard someone say or you've said any of the following, either out loud or to another person?
"Man, I wish I were deaf!"
"Too bad I don't have severe balance and mobility problems!"
"Being visually impaired is SO COOL. Wish I were that way."
"I'd love if my blood sugar was entirely unpredictable and fluctuated without warning to the point of possible death. That sounds like fun!"
"My life would be so much better if I were forced to face crushing panic attacks and flashbacks every time I set foot out of my front door."
"If I could have debilitating seizures, you'd bettered believe I would!"
Seems a little ludicrous when presented in that light, doesn't it?

Furthermore, when you consider how Service Dogs are actually classified (asdisability-mitigating medical equipment), the sentiment, "I wish I could have a Service Dog!" or "How do I make my dog a Service Dog so they can go everywhere with me?" becomes even more outlandish. If someone ever did that, the following responses or reactions from the other party wouldn't be at all considered out of place:

There's a simple solution to this problem: say what you mean, and mean what you say. If you have questions about Service Dogs or about the job Service Dogs perform, ask them, as long as the question isn't, "How can I make my pet a Service Dog?" or "How can I take my dog everywhere, too?" The answer to those questions, unless you're disabled and your dog possesses the aptitude for Service Dog work, is ALWAYS: You can't. No equipment, vest, harness, special leash, ID card, "Do Not Pet Me" patches or anything else can make your dog a Service Dog unless you're disabled and your dog has been specifically trained to perform tasks or work that you would otherwise have difficulty completing due to your disability. If all of that isn't true, then it's ILLEGAL.

2 ] Service Dog Handlers Are Frequently Greeted With Judgment Secondly,
Service Dog handlers are often greeted by judgment and conflict - sometimes from the public, sometimes from friends and family, and occasionally, even from other Service Dog handlers. Service Dog handlers are regularly forced into confrontations concerning their canine partner's access rights.

Even though U.S. federal law is very clear concerning a disabled handler's right to have their Service Dog accompany them in public, many handlers, especially in smaller towns or more rural areas, face recurrent skirmishes.

From the "What's wrong with you?" questions to, "Show me his papers," life with a Service Dog is rarely smooth. When you blithely announce, "I wish my dog were a Service Dog," let alone fake Service Dog status or claim your pet is an Assistance Animal, you're not only making light of the discord faced by the Service Dog community, but also the hassle, lack of privacy, judgment, strife - and sometimes outright hostility - that accompanies Service Dog partners.

Fake Service Dogs only contribute to this problem. Dogs exhibiting poor
training, manners or behavior while marching under the "Service Dog" banner
cause everyone who came into contact with them to view the next team they
meet, even if it's the best SD team on Earth, with suspicion and judgment.
Under the law, people have rights. Dogs do not. A Service Dog without its
disabled partner is just a dog.
3 ] Service Dog Handlers Have Difficulty Functioning in Daily Life Without
Their Dog Individuals with a disability who partner with a Service Dog
require their dog in order to gain an additional degree of independence and
functioning they would not otherwise possess. Their canine partner is not
merely "company" or a "companion."
If you are not disabled and your dog does not have a fixed set of duties
performed to diminish the impact of that disability, your dog is not a
Service Dog.
Emotional Support Animals and Therapy Dogs often confused with Service Dogs.
Learn about other important types of working dogs here who do great work,
but aren't Service Dogs and who have no public access rights granted by
federal law.

Service Dog Difficulties
4 ] Service Dogs Undergo Hundreds, If Not Thousands, of Hours of Specialized Training Being a Service Dog is hard work. It requires a specific, rare temperament, an aptitude for training, serving and learning and a degree of stability most dogs simply don't possess. Beyond that, though, Service Dogs require hundreds of hours of socialization, public access training, basic obedience training and advanced training for their task work.

Even exceptionally skilled pet dogs rarely possess the degree of trainingmost Service Dogs undergo and claiming your pet, no matter how fabulous hemay be, is a Service Dog is like graduating from high school or community college and proudly waltzing around claiming you're a doctor. Both sets of actions are misleading, highly illegal and fraudulent. Don't mock a Service Dog's hard-earned skills by misrepresenting yourself or your dog OR by making comments like, "Well, all he'd need is a vest and then I could take him everywhere, too, right?"

5 ] "Fake" Service Dogs Do Serious Damage to the Service Dog Community Imagine you're sitting in a coffee shop, enjoying a good book and a hot drink when suddenly, the peace is broken by a woman and her loudly complaining dog entering the business. The noise is constant, high-pitched and without pause. The manager approaches and informs the woman that pets aren't allowed, but she breezily waves the manager off with, "Oh, she's a Service Dog." The dog jumps on the counter while the lady is ordering and growls at the barista - and when she gets her table she feeds the dog part
of her cookie.

After an experience like that, what will you think the next time you see someone with a Service Dog? Of course, you'll be wary and suspicious. If you're a business owner, you may even ask the team to leave. The experience tarnished your view of Service Dogs but more importantly, it may cause lasting difficulties for other teams that follow in their wake.
Additionally, that damage is massively exponential if the story becomes news. Every person who reads the story or watches the report will be affected by it. Every incident involving a "Service Dog" that's negative casts a shadow on the entire community.

6 ] Distracted Service Dogs Can Result in Hurt Handlers.Real Service Dogs are doing work for their handler. They're not just hanging out.
Even if it doesn't look like they're doing work to you, they are. If there's a dog around who isn't trained for public access work, they're probably going to be a distraction. The same goes for people who intrude on the team's right to work and be in public without interference. If a dog is meant to be continuously scanning for their handler's drop in blood sugar and they're not because a poorly trained dog who shouldn't be in public has Service Dog pounced on them and the Service Dog is struggling to perform their job as a result, it's entirely possible the Service Dog could miss a drop and their handler end up sick. If a person is relying on their canine partner for balance and mobility support and the Service Dog is accosted by a person with an out-of-control canine imposter, the Service Dog's person could fall and be injured.
When/If a person fraudulently takes their pet with them as a "Service Dog," the pet dog could distract or harm a true Service Dog, which could result in injury to the Service Dog's person. In the United States, most states have laws that protect both the individual and the Service Dog if harm is done or the team is knowingly interfered with and the crime is punishable by law.

7 ] The Media - and Well-Intentioned People - Can Do the Most Harm Mostpeople will never encounter a Service Dog. However, the degree of suspicion Service Dog teams face is further complicated by well-meaning - but ultimately hurtful - news, blog or social media stories that givethe public the impression society is being overrun by fake Service Dogs. The unintended effect is causing the public to be suspicious of every Service Dog team theymeet. While one poorly behaved animal in a restaurant can create a bad impression for 20 people, a story or social media post about the event will exponentially create a bad impression with hundreds or thousands - or millions - of people. The effect is exponential.
While people who fake Service Dogs are a very real problem, the only sure-fire way to easily identify imposters is by their Fake Service Dog dog's unacceptable behavior . When it comes to fake Service Dogs, actions speak louder than words. Under the law, Service Dog handlers are to be taken at their word. This allows individuals of questionable ethics to skirt the law, but telling them apart from legit Service Dog teams is simple. Real Service Dog manners, behavior and training cannot be faked.
Think twice before making blanket statements about fake Service Dogs. While you're trying to help, you may actually be doing more damage than you think. It's far more helpful to make statements like these:

1. There are no papers, documents, certifications, vests, tags or special IDs required for Service Dogs in the United States. Under federal law, disabled individuals accompanied by Service Dogs are allowed access to places selling goods or services of any kind, including places offering entertainment, lodging and food.

2. Fake Service Dogs can often be identified by their lack of manners,obvious lack of training and ill behavior. If a "Service Dog" is interrupting a business' daily operation with its behavior, it's a danger to anyone or its conduct is NOT conduct acceptable in a Service Dog (barking, growling, stealing food from other clients, knocking people over, jumping, or many other behaviors ), by law, the manager or business owner has every right to ask the person to remove the dog from the premises, "Service Dog" or not.

3. There are many different types of disabilities, and there are many different types of Service Dogs. You can't determine if a Service Dog is "real" based on sight alone. Service Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and breeds. The only indicator that team is "legit" is the dog's behavior. Service Dogs are well trained, well-mannered, calm, unobtrusive and handler focused.

As a result of the public self-appointing themselves as members of the "Service Dog police" and the media's sweeping statements concerning the Service Dog community, all SD handlers, especially those with invisible disabilities like hearing loss, diabetes, PTSD or a seizure disorder, face a sense of distrust from bystanders, business owners and the public that is sometimes palatable. Handlers frequently face silent stares, pointed digs or inquiries, outright invasion of privacy and many other difficulties.

You know that feeling you get when you walk in a room, it goes quiet and you feel like everyone is staring at you? Well, for many disabled handlers with Service Dogs, that's an everyday reality. Imagine encountering this almost everywhere you go. Please do not make light of the requirements and difficulties of Service Dog partnership, because when you do, this is the contribution you're making:

As more people learn that Service Dogs can help with a wide range of disabilities, both visible and invisible, as more trainers become knowledgeable about providing proper training, the numbers of Service Dogs will rise. Under the law, two things mark a dog as a Service Dog:

1. Being specially trained to perform specific tasks or work that a disabled handler would otherwise have difficulty completing

2. Partnership with an individual who has a disability That's it. There is no secret formula, required certifications/paperwork/documentation, or voodoo magic that makes a dog a Service Dog. Vests and patches don't do it, and no level of training does it without the handler having an accompanying disability. Now, there are requirements a dog should meet before being considered for Service Dog work, but those are the only two legally-mandated requirements for Service Dog designation.

If you can, help others. If you cannot do that, at least do not harm them. - Dalai Lama The message here is simple: don't fake Service Dog status. Don't make light of a disabled individual's history or circumstances. Don't make a mockery of the work that goes into shaping a Service Dog. Don't make universal judgments or statements, and don't think you can identify a Service Dog in any way besides their behavior.

Think before you act or speak, and the Service Dog community will be a
better place.

Partnering With a Service Dog
Our goal with this article isn't to point any fingers, name names or do anything except provide a reality check to those who consider faking Service Dog status with their pets to be acceptable. It's not. Period. "Taking your dog with you everywhere" carries a lot of weight, responsibility and repercussions. Wishing for it nonchalantly or with a casual attitude not only makes light of alternately-abled people everywhere, but also demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding concerning the realities of life with a Service Dog. We recognize this article is likely to offend some people and if you're one of them, you probably shouldn't be claimingyour pet is a Service Dog. If you're one of those who likes to longingly wish you had a Service Dog and share that desire with every Service Dog team you meet, please recognize that behavior can be hurtful. Our only wish for you is that you think about both what you're saying with words and what you're implying with the statement.
<http://www.anythingpawsable.com/fake-service-dog-complications/#.U8KpjmBOWU

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

AFB gathering info about using current telecommunications technologies.


YOU'RE INVITED!
Share Your Experience Using Current Communications Technology, and
Shape Future Accessible Technology Policy Making
AFB Gathering Your Input for FCC's Report to Congress on the CVAA

For further information, contact:
Mark Richert, Esq.
Director, Public Policy, AFB
(202) 469-6833
MRichert@afb.net

Background
AFB wants to hear about your experience using communications technologies, such as cellphones, tablets or computers to access the web, email and text messages. We also want to share your information with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is currently preparing a report for Congress on the extent to which the communications industry is complying with the historic Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), which became law in 2010. The CVAA requires technologies that provide so-called advanced communications services, such as electronic messaging, to be accessible either out-of-the-box or with inexpensive add-on tools. The CVAA builds on older requirements of law, specifically section 255 of the Communications Act, which requires that traditional telephone technologies also be accessible.

How You Can Help
To assist in the preparation of the FCC's report to Congress, and to help us and the FCC know how well the law is working, we are asking you to tell us about your experiences via email, good and bad, trying to obtain and use accessible advanced communications services, as well as more traditional telephone-like technologies. Please try to keep your comments focused on technologies you've tried to obtain and use in the last two years; we want to provide the FCC with good current information.

By Monday, August 11, send a simple email with your comments to AFB's Programs and Policy Coordinator, Heidi Walters, at:
HWalters@afb.net

Don't worry about making your email a formal communication, and write as little or as much about your experiences as you like. Be sure to include your name and contact information (i.e., physical mailing address). We hope you will help us develop a rich record of comments for the FCC to use, and identifying yourself as a real consumer of these technologies will make a  powerful statement.

However, if you do not wish to be identified in materials we prepare for the FCC but want to tell us about your experiences anyway, please email us your comments but make specific note of your wish not to be identified. The comments we receive may be sent to the FCC in full on their own or as part of a combined set of comments that AFB may prepare.

What Your Email Should Include
Tell us about your experience in trying to obtain and use a mobile phone, tablet or computer that you can use to access the Web, email, text messages and phone calls. Briefly describe your successes or challenges.

Please focus on technologies you tried to obtain in the last two years. The kinds of technologies we're particularly interested in hearing about include:
. Apple iOS mobile devices
. Android mobile devices
. MS Windows mobile devices
. Blackberry mobile devices
. Windows-based laptop/desktop computers
. Apple Mac laptop/desktop computers
. Google, Chrome OS-based devices
. Open Source (e.g., Linux) devices
. Other mobile and/or laptop/desktop devices you prefer
When you write about your experiences using your technology, be careful to
talk about the experiences you have had using the following specific
features:
. accessing the Internet/web
. writing/reading/editing email
. writing/reading/editing text messages
. making and managing phone calls
. navigating to and activating apps
We look forward to your comments. Thank you!
To find out what other newsletters are available from AFB, visit
http://www.afb.org/myafbnewsletter.aspx.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Emergency Preparedness Focus Group July 31

 Please join us for a focus group of people with disabilities to provide input on the barriers and challenges you face in receiving information and support for preparing for emergencies. An advocate, caregiver or family member is welcome to attend with you.   If you have been given emergency preparedness materials which are not as accessible to you as you need, please bring them with you. 
 
The UASI (Urban Areas Security Initiative) Vulnerable Populations Workgroup is funding a project to provide appropriate training curriculum and informational materials for providing emergency preparedness information to people with disabilities.  Your input is needed to ensure appropriate and valuable materials are developed. 
 
Date:       Thursday, July 31. 2014
Time:        1:30pm -3:00pm
Location:  Beacon Hill Library Meeting Room
                        2821 Beacon Ave S.
                  Seattle, WA 98144
 
RSVP:  Mary Ann DeFrees     maryann@disabilitypride.org
Space is very limited.  We look forward to seeing you at the focus group. 




 

 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

#KittyHall thank you letter and morality plays

RantMom would be proud of RantWoman. Writing thank you letters was a big deal in RantWoman's childhood and RantWoman needs to thank Mayor Murray for a proclamation. Unfortunately, RantWoman has lost patience searching for the exact proclamation and will simply get about the rest of the Thank you.

The short version of the story:

RantWoman is deeply touched. Mayor Murray invited the Seattle Animal Shelter to fill City, er #KittyHall  with opportunities to hang with kitties and be tempted to adopt one. This event occurred on RantWoman's birthday. Had RantWoman any other occasion to visit City, er #KittyHall, this would have been a fabulous birthday present. This year it would have been especially nice because also on RantWoman's birthday, someone RantWoman was quite fond of rudely went and died. Okay so it was after a long decline, but still.

Mayor's proclamation and press releas--which RantWoman cannot find.

Oh wait! The Queen of Spades would have NONE of any RantWoman fraternizing with other felines..

The Queen of Spades is the nom de blog of the duly licensed black domestic chorthair who has dominion over RantWoman's household. The Queen of Spades has a number of endearing behaviors http://rantwomanrsof.blogspot.com/2014/07/zen-cat-to-rescue.html

Alas, the Queen of Spades is a bit of a jealous companion. She would be having none of any #KittyHall visitations. But she does reckon wiht a certain RantWoman Big Sister vibe and suggest the following sequence of morality stories is probably on point. RantWoman also notes that The Queen of Spades better count herself lucky never to have encountered the Seattle Animal Shelter and enthusiastically recommends responsibility on the part of other humans involved with kitties.

A tale of two, well, three kitties, hamsterama, and Wonder Chihuahua.
The Queen of Meow and her brother, kitties 1 and 2 were born in MT at the home of the Rant Children's former piano teacher. They reached weaning age about the time Little Sister and future husband made a summer journey to MT. The kittens were probably used to having half of southeastern MT to run around in. Unfortunately seducing Little Sister meant that they came to Seattle and settled into a Belltown studio.

Settled is a word used with caution. They were kittens. The humans were gone all day so the kittens had plenty of time to sleep and store up energy for night after night of romping and running back and forth from one end of the apartment to another. The Queen of Meow was always more sociable than her brother; RantWoman feels a pang and wonders if a different approach on the part of the humans might have...
Along came kitty PUBERTY and thoughts of sanity for humans and separating kittens. Little Sister found a home for the Queen of Meow but took her brother to the Animal shelter one morning. By the end of the day, Little Sister changed her mind and called back. But she learned it was too late. Rest in Peace , Brother kitty. RantWoman making sad face.
The Queen of Meow went off to live with  church friend of Little Sisters. Church Friend called Little Sister shortly after RantDad Died and RantWoman had made a remark "I think Iwill get a cat." The Queen of Meow was pale substitute for RantDad but more than enough to take RantWoman's mind off at least SOME of the grief.
At this point, the Queen of Meow was about a year old. She still loved to run from one end of apartment to another at all hours of day and night. RantWoman is a generous sort and does not necessarily mind short-term stints as part of kitty running track. After about two weeks of this, RantWoman decided that sleep was imperative. RantWoman lived on a ground floor with a door that opened directly to the outdoors. RantWoman is aware of the hazards facing outdoor kitties in the city. RantWoman counts herself and kitty lucky:   The Queen of Meow proved a match for the mean streets.

More than a decade passed. The Queen of Meow charmed and endeared and tragically developed mouth cancer. But she had a good run and earned a burial outdoors under a tree.

Meanwhile enter the Big Purple Group Home, domicile of a friend of RantWomans. . If one is  going to wind up with more colorful housemates than one would perhaps desire, why would there not also be a pregnant teenage mom cat show up one day? The future Queen of Spades apparently had fallen under the sway of a big orange tom who lived nearby and she shortly delivered kittens behind the rainbarrel at the Big Purple Group House.

All of the kittens found homes and The Queen of Spades went off to live with another friend of RantWoman's; however, she came to RantWoman's one time for a catsit and, agreeably for both RantWoman and kitty, has stayed ever since.

RantWoman would have been happy to stop here but along came Hamsterama. Little Sister and Irrepressible Nephew (and Brother in law, but...) somehow acquired a pair of Siberian hamsters. One pair. It was not very long before Little Sister was having to spend a lot of time trying to sex baby hamsters and Irrepressible Nephew was getting early age exposure to the wonders of exponential growth..  Little Sister tried to adopt out. She tried to sell. Finally the hamsters, a ridiculously large number of hamsters, went to the Animal Shelter and debuted shortly after on the shelter webpage.

RantWoman does not even want to guess the hamsters' fate. RantWoman simply wants to note one more moment of family heartbreak. At some point a good while after Hamsterama, Little Sister and Irrepressible Nephew thought of adopting a dog. They thought of going to the Animal Shelter. They even pickedout  a dog and fell in love. Then computers whirred and the Hamsterama rap sheet came up and ....

When Little Sister and family failed in their quest to adopt a dog from the animal shelter, they instead hookedup online with a perfectly fin wonder chihuahua and RantWoman will refrain from furhter comment.

The Queen of Spades is much less restrained. She righteously entreats all humans please to try to avoid having your creatures land at the animal shelter in the first place. And RantWoman hopes everyone who visited #kittyHall had a grand time.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Charm Challenged

Paraphrasing from RantWoman’s email awhile ago:

 “RantWoman, I am orienting an new developer. He is asking whether, with all kinds of new screen technology we still need to think about high-contrast video.:

 "Yes, because the basic biological and neurological reasons people need high-contrast video have NOT changed.”

 RantWoman’s laptop had just died.  RantWoman was staring at all the life and pocket book disruptions caused by waves of upgrades and the treadmill of beta testing.  So, evem though RantWoman has maintained a longstanding aspiration to have a certain large software company ask HER for advice, when the ask finally came, with no stated budget for consultation, the asker got  the twitter version without even a suggestion to do further research for oneself.

 Can you say “charm challenged?” Should RantWoman also be saying “incompetent capitalist” and start charging people for such advice?

 
Charm challenged, Chapter 2.-, from a more recent email, forwarded from someone else with no time to respond, no less:

 Dear…. 
Following is a test page for online accommodations information that our office is developing. Would you please tell me whether you experience any difficulty accessing the information? The layout involves drop-down screens and I’m curious to know whether that presents any difficulty for screen readers. Also, if there’s specific information that you think is missing or should be changed, I would be happy to hear that, too.

 The office will present this site in a small meeting this afternoon, and I’d love to get feedback in ahead of that… "

RantWoman wrote back: 
"The link did not work for me. Is it possible it only works for people inside your firewall firewall if it is not a public link?"
Frankly, RantWoman gets a little grumpy when asked to do last-minute QA for people's accessibility efforts. RantWoman strongly encourages people to build accessibility and QA about accessibility into requirements a little further upstream than a couple hours before a demo. Plus, as you correctly point out, chances are it will take only a very small n of testers to break the site; if you break your accessibility measures further upstream, the demo should go better!
   More to the point, RantWoman has heard representatives of the very large software company featured in the other two items as well as from other very large companies: if you design accessibility in from the get-go, a better product overall comes out."

 

Charm challenged, Part 3: Add Faith community and Stir.

Someone from RantWoman’s faith community got tasked to assist RantWoman. The first problem: define the task. Sometimes this particular set of tasks is short term. Person Tasked to Help asked RantWoman a couple questions and Rant Woman concluded that he knew little going in. (RantWoman has learned she should be cautious about concluding too soon about this person, but RantWoman also concluded that the task definitely was not going to be short-term.
Exact an of time omitted. Exact zigs and zags omitted.

Enter name of person tasked to help into search engine of choice: Person tasked to help retired from managing a certain software product long grumbledabout by blind people and still on the #nfb14 list of products companies are please request to make accessible NOW. RantWoman did not check out final disposition of proposed resolutions. Rant Woman understands perfectly well that merely passing a “Make it So” resolution is insufficient on engineering grounds , but nice as Person tasked to Help is, RantWoman so would NOT mind having fewer reasons her faith community keeps reminding her why she really really really really needs a faith community!

 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Chris Hadfield: What I learned from going blind in space

RantWoman found this video while her search engine was grazing among other content. This clip is making RantWoman smile on so many levels that it fully deserves to be the way RantWoman observes the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

RantWoman also was inspired by the moon landing. RanttWoman remembers watching it on a black and white TV in a tiny graduate student aparment with 4 adults, 2 or 3 of whom where music grad students and 5 kids of various ages.  RantWoman remembers steamy humidity and erratic air conditioning. But that is nothing compared to the rigors of space travel!

SLIGHT spoiler: the blindness is temporary and VERY well prepared for.





RantWoman rules of content curation permit inclusion of other vaguesly topical links:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9249710/45_years_after_moon_landing_NASA_looks_to_next_giant_leap

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Blog by Blind Oceanographer Amy Bower

RantWoman has been reading Dr. Bower's computer questions and answers for a good while and is fascinated to learn what projects the computers get used for.

Enjoy!

Check out my new blog: OceanInsight--Musings of a Blind Oceanographer at
http://web.whoi.edu/OceanInsight. It's a mix of (hopefully) interesting tidbits about my oceanographic research and how I make the career work  as a visually impaired scientist. Right now I'm on a research cruise in the  North Atlantic, so I'm posting almost every day. I'm especially interested in reaching visually impaired students, so pass the link along to anyone
you think might be interested. Thanks.
-Amy

Dr. Amy S. Bower
Senior Scientist
Department of Physical Oceanography
MS #21
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA  02543
V:  508-289-2781
F:  508-457-2181
C:  508-564-3663
E:  abower@whoi.edu
www:  http://www.whoi.edu/scientist/abower