Friday, May 26, 2017

Give us this day our daily usability whines

The world is writhing in the throes of the latest global hack, also known as a guerilla effort to map places still heavily reliant on Windows XP and other organizations that do not automatically install every Microsoft update that comes along.

RantWoman can attest that accessibility requirements, version issues for accessibility tools, and proprietary applications and acccessibility customizations are all really big reasons organizations do not automatically install OS updates. RantWoman is going to skip Dial-a-Tirade excursions into politics but IS going to go on a bit about all her usability issues in one fairly ordinary day.

1. Get prescriptions refilled. RantWoman called the pharmacy Tuesday or Wednesday last week. One of the three requested refills happened fairly promptly but the robocall notification did not mention that the others needed refills from the doctor. RantWoman learned this upon picking up the one that got filled. RantWoman did not get the pharmacy called back until after Dr's office business hours on Friday. In the past RantWoman has gotten results by contacting the on-call number on Saturday, but this time RantWoman's weekend was too busy.
RantWoman started her week in her doctor's hold queue. Nothing like an inventory of eye conditions other than one's own to enhance the hold queue experience. Add the obligatory suggestions to log into an online portal. Very funny. If RantWoman remembered her username and password....

RantWoman waited out the hold queue and talked to a nice human about her refill needs. Then RantWoman asked about the online portal issue.

No, the nice human has no way to email a password link to the email RantWoman has on file. So nice human will send snail mail in small print to RantWoman's mailing address.

Does anyone else see the problems with this? Will RantWoman cause earthquakes making a reasonable accommodations request to consider options to do what lots of other electronic entities do and work out an email protocol for password ight? How much free consulting does RantWoman want to provide?

This afternoon RantWoman had an opportunity to do real training in depth with someone who knows LOTS of features of Zoomtext much better than RantWoman. Thent is running Zoomtext and Internet Explorer 11. This means that some of the features RantWoman could have learned about did not work as expected. Ok, good to know the features are there, but not helpful until there is money for a ZT upgrade. Sigh. It was a great class, but...

Now late at night RantWoman is bravely attempting to do blog posts on Chromie. RantWoman's habit frequently is to compose in gmail and then copy and paste. RantWoman did a whole post about beep baseball and even fought Google's tendency to think it knows what RantWoman wants to look up better than RantWoman does. RantWoman found and copied  and pasted links into her draft email. Chromie let RantWoman do select all in the draft email but did not let RantWoman paste her efforts into Blogger. So  this post is being composed inside Blogger. That actually works better with Chromie than it does in Windows. Too much fun. Now RantWoman will attempt a different reading and editing exercise.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

South King Sluggers vs Seattle Police THIS Saturday,Rainier Beach HS Softball Field

RantWoman makes an effort to perform social interaction about baseball basically in two situations, when the Mariners are in the playoffs and for the annual beep baseball exhibition game between the South King Sluggers  and the Seattle Police Department.

RantWoman has a schedule conflict but enthusiastically invites people who actually like baseball to this year's beep baseball game.

Date: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Time:  Starting time is 11:30 A.M., but you should arrive by 10:30 A.M.

Activities should wrap up at 1:30.

Location: Rainier Beach High School softball field: in Seattle; S. Henderson St and 52nd Ave S.

If you are being dropped off, be sure to let your driver know you are going to the baseball field. 
Volunteers will be there to assist you to the correct area.

Event day features: parade of guide dogs, guest batter, Lions Club grilled Brats, WCB President welcome, a special police appreciation ceremony, and some great beep baseball play!

Guide Doge Users of WA State will be there selling snacks and other goodies, and we want to honor many guide dog teams in our parade during half time

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cat food again

If it were up to the Queen of Spades, RantWoman could be dispatched to restock the Cat larder would come home promptly and resume service as cat furniture. RantWoman would not mess around with silly things like eggplant or fresh limes or ensuring that the eggs do not prematurely get scrambled on the way home. And we will not even discuss RantWoman’s need to have post-shopping conniptions.

The Queen of Spades is NOT in charge.

TJ bag and carrot pouch

RantWoman’s conniptions of the day:

--Thank you for handing RantWoman the avocadoes and the bananas. Do not even try to pack them with other items. Just hand them to RantWoman and let RantWoman stow them. That way if something gets squished, RantWoman will feel responsible and will not silently curse random store clerks.

--If RantWoman hands you a bag like the large one in the picture, DO NOT turn it inside out to hide the reflector strips. RantWoman is allergic to getting run over. The reflector strips are THERE FOR A REASON! Even if the outside of the bag is grungy, Rantwoman expects the inside will be fine for receiving groceries. PLUS if it is raining, as it does frequently in Seattle, RantWoman really does NOT want to get the insides of her bags wet.

--That cute little nylon carrot thingie: RantWoman is easily seduced by nylon bags that can go into other bags. RantWoman GREATELY appreciates rubber bands to hold egg cartons closed in transit, but it turns out the carrot pouch opens and then wraps and ties nicely to contain the eggs. At least it works so far.

‘kay? Thanks Bye

The All-Male Panel on Women's Health: The Daily Show

RantWoman offers this moment for people seeking to clear their brains:

Friday, May 12, 2017

New Holly Virtual Reality

RantWoman imagines the following moment:

Alexa, tell me the name of that movie about Virtual Reality and People with Disabilities that was at the library awhile ago.


Alexa, how are you any better than Eliza, the online psychiatrist program Rantwoman played with in college.?Eliza was NOT a good source of psychiatric counsel. For one thing, it would be quite easy to wind up feeling worse from the limitations of Eliza’s ability to interact.

Never Mind. Mental note: search strings “meat space.” “augmented reaity” “virtual reality.” RantWoman is aware that many people with physical disabilities are very interested in virtual reality as the next frontier in exploring things ther cannot do at all in “meat space.” RantWoman herself is not super into gaming or into needing to put on some complicated helmet to relax and consumer entertainment, but is intrigued by things like haptic gloves that might help potential to help someone who needs tactile sign language interpreting.  Anyway RantWoman is always willing to listen to a good Gee Whiz story.

 Cut to the recent virtual reality “pop-up” at the New Holly Gathering Center

An online promo. RantWoman hopes there was good signage or dissemination in other media too.
One online announcement

 Here is a promo article from before the event

 An article after the fact
Starbird Reality Item about Virtual Reality popup at New Holly

RantWoman comments about the reporting and a further conversation:
RantWoman would have loved some Gee whiz comments from people who came,not just presenters.

RantWoman is impressed that there were people for WTIA and the Seattle Office of Economic Development. RantWoman considers that a constructive way to work with findings from the most recent Fair Housing Assessment: affordable housing is more likely to be located in areas with relatively less economic opportunity. RantWoman would consider it an awesome outcome if more popups led to opportunities right in the area perhaps addressing problems in the immediate vicinity.

To STAR Center Colleague, thanks for the link about the thing at New Holly. Now, did you go to the virtual Reality thing at New Holly?

Yeah and it was REALLY COOL!

The place was packed. There were several stations and there were LONG lines to try the experiences offered at each station. STAR Center colleague uses a wheelchair and found someone helping him bypass the long lines.
Favorite moments:

 At one station, an “immersive” event under the sea with a shipwreck in one direction and a winking whale in another direction.

 At the second station, a hand crawling along the ground (kind of like Cousin It in that 60’s show…). The hand started crawling up something and that it became clear the hand was crawling up a giant robot. The hand crawled along and then attached itself correctly to the robot!

 At another station, there was an archery event. STAR Center Colleague said he could actually feel the tension as he drew the bowstring back! RantWoman has dabbled enough with archery to think this would definitely be really cool thought Rantwoman would also wish for some kind of sonic cue to help with aiming.

STAR Center colleague is definitely interested in ways to follow up.

 RantWoman is not that into having to navigate big crowded room but loves passing oninfo about cool events.

One more comment from the followup article: RantWoman appreciates some notes of returning to one’s roots, but “transracial” is NOT a thing. Perhaps interracial or multiracial. If Rantwoman were being editor, Rantwoman would probably ask what the author meant and then supply a link to say, the recent Ijeoma Oluo Interview with Rachel Dolezal and then try to get to a better word for what was meant. RantWoman says this fully aware that her blog is full of MANY moments that probably would benefit from tighter and more thoughtful editing. Now, can we do editing exercises or complex social discussions through virtual reality????

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunday supper and Home Tech Support Hour

Chromie has agreed to serve as scribe for tonight's exciting episode of the Home Tech Support Hour as long as RantWoman does not insist on going on forever about that Kindle Fire thing. RantWoman does not promise her devices anything but will see what can be done to keep things brief.

RantWoman turned on her somewhat neglected Kindle Fire. RantWoman really likes Fire's sharp audio. Fire gets used for some kinds of document reading and storage but RRantWoman needs some kind of nudge to make more use of media options. Fire gets used sporadically enough that RantWoman also has to be aware of keeping Fire charged. Tonight while plugging Fire in to be charged, RantWoman received the news that Alexa is now available on Fire. RantWoman managed to open the Terms of Service for Alexa. The applicable webpage is only slightly less verbose than War and Peace. RantWoman of course read every word of this tome? Uhhhh, well, um...

For RantWoman's trouble Alexa was unresponsive when RantWoman responded to a suggestion to ask about the weather for tomorrow. Oh well. On the way to reading the terms of service, Rantwoman found a setttings option to set some fonts on Fire larger.  RantWoman also managed to install some kind of file archiver and Twitter. By this point, after the moments described below at RantMom's RantWoman had had as much home tech support fun as anyone should try to have for one evening. RantWoman will fiddle around some more with Fire another day.

Mainly, the Fire moment was postlude. RantWoman is certain the world awaits news of tonight's after-dinner tech support efforts at RantMom's.

Hey Mom, have you thought about reading  passages for Bible study on your phone?

in a word, no.

Here, Mom let me show you a few things on my phone:

--settings in one of the apps RantWoman has intersected with to enlarge the font.

--An app with daily devotionals with live links to bible gateway. Good. RantWoman has not tested Biblegateway in awhile but the app used to have this annoying data input issue some other apps also have. One tries to type and the search input field instantly shifts to the address bar. RantWoman finds this annoying enough just not to use the app; RantWoman hopes one of the updates might have fixed this. In the meantime, links that do not require data entry have much to recommend them.

What's an app?

After a couple exchanges like this, RantWoman asked RantMom just to let RantWoman play on her phone. RantMom was willing. RantWoman found settings options to make fonts larger and to change wallpaper to something with better contrast. RantWoman will think about whether it is worthwhile to make a RantWoman accessibility profile ion RantMom's phone in order to turn on things she uses and then switch back to the accessibility features RantMom uses.

--RantMom complains that what seem to RantWoman to be normal phone usage gestures send the phone all kinds of unexpected directions. RantWoman thought maybe that was some kind of RantMom neuropathy issue, until RantWoman started messing around on RantMom's phone and having the same problem. Bleah.

--Note to self: see what help lurks behind a search bar.

RantMom was apologetic about her awkwardness. After fiddling around wiht various settings, RantWoman is prepared to think there might be some kind of device problem. RantMom's phone jumps to places RantWoman has not tired to naviage to. RantWoman was explaining about the Play Store and free apps. RantWoman tried a couple times to type Transit into the search bar and only got symbols despite the keyboard sounding like it should enter letters. Finally RantWoman got so exasperated that she invoked Off Switch therapy.

Off Switch therapy / rebooting the device resolved the keyboard problem and RantWoman downloaded the Transit app, but then could not find it on RantMom's phone.

Verdict: RantWoman will try to find time with RantMom to call tech support during daylight hours. RantMom MIGHT be able to explain the problem to tech support, but RantMom is severely challenged by off shore tech support staff, eager young people with their carefully cultivated American phonetics.

In the meantime, regardless of whether the rest of the world finds actual p-p-p-rint hopelessly retro, RantMom will just take her Bible to Bible study.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Chromie Goes To Auburn

Auburn used to be called Slaughter, after one Lt. Slaughter. There was also a hotel called The Slaughter House. For more detail check out  Auburn history on HistoryLink

RantWoman first learned this information from a neighbor and travelling companion for the journey reported here. Neighbor shares RantWoman’s possibly surprising appreciation of the Muppets. RantWoman is aware that one usage of “Muppet” is a derogatory term for people with certain disabilities. RantWoman is happy to live with that reality but that does not diminish RantWoman’s respect for her neighbor’s capacity sometimes   to come up with really interesting bits of history and local lore.

In that spirit, something else to look up on HistoryLink

Angel of the wind casino

A digression while looking up Lt. Slaughter. The Auburn Library founded by the WCTU

 Now, Chromie the Chromebook’s first actual road trip, to an accessibility resources fair at the Auburn WA Public Library .  http://The STAR Center did not think to have an actual presence there but RantWoman and another stalwart handed out a few business cards.

 First load up the bus. 4 wheelchair users, 2 with caregivers. Room to tie down up to 3 more wheelchairs.  One person who uses a walker. RantWoman and Ambassador Thwack. Room for at least 4 more people in seats. Mostly congenial companions.

Paratransit situation: LOTS of people who qualify for paratransit who want to travel together. Multiple wheelchair users very happy to expound about the dearth of vehicles in the various for hire services that can transport wheelchairs. Other point relevant to RantWoman: RantWoman is very happy to learn bus connections for places she goes to regularly even as rarely as once or twice a year. However, if it is the first time RantWoman visits a place or if the destination is far off RantWoman’s usual beaten track and she does not expect to go back anytime soon, door-to-door service is REALLY helpful. See further comment below about a RantWoman bus stop pet peeve.

 Drive and drive and drive. RantWoman really appreciates all the foliage and tree cover. RantWoman does not appreciate the overwhelming impression that S King County is friendly mainly for cars. RantWoman would SO like to keep the green space and maybe put in some nice multifamily, transit friendly housing, and if possible how about better looking designs than all the built out to the property line boxes going up around Seattle? 

 But we digress.

 Diversions to two shopping destinations and then the 3 intrepid accessibility fair goers arrived in Auburn. Bus driver was being a little squishy about the point that he is a paratransit vehicle and it probably does not make sense to suggest picking up travelers with wheelchair, walker, and white cane  for the return trip at a nearby bus stop if the library parking lot were too full. The bus worked fine in the parking lot, but RantWoman managed to check out the bus stop anyway. RantWoman’s gripe: the bus stop is at the edge of a driveway but RantWoman could find no sidewalk between the bus stop and the library entrance. Frownie face. RantWoman also did not investigate return trip options, either some route that continues from the current stop OR locations of a bus stop for a return trip. The library is on a very busy highway and RantWoman had no sense of nearby stoplights. Sigh.

 RantWoman is sort of blasé about going to information fairs, even information fairs for people with disabilities and getting a lot of PRINT. RantWoman is happy to have picked up some info she and RantMom will digest related to dealing with hearing loss. RantWoman is happy to have picked up a number of pieces of transportation info.

 Most important, after RantWoman got tired of chatting about resources, RantWoman and Chromie found some tables and outlets in the lobby. Chromie had no problem finding the library’s wi-fi. Chromie was even willing to show off for another Service Provider for the Visually Impaired. .Service Provider was impressed despite the fact that RantWoman still feels pretty inept. Service provider even reported that someone she knows would like to recommend Chromebook world domination for customers served by one particular agency.

RantWoman finds that an interesting perspective, except that RantWoman sometimes applies the multiple family members in a household test to new technologies: Family mileage probably varies. In the RantFamily, the RantSisters and RantMom all have different accessibility issues, not to mention different usage strategies.  If RantWoman has a device and RantMom gets the same device (or a device with the same OS at least) will there be a mutually reinforcing cycle of happiness?  

 Uhhh, let’s just say that touch screen seems to pose some challenges for RantMom. Plus the technology application most on RantMom’s mind at the moment is Bible Study:  RantMom has Bible Study buddies who have tablets to look up their Bible passages. RantMom kind of wants a tablet. RantWoman only recently realized that maybe it makes sense first just to see what RantMom can do with the relevant apps on her phone.  RantWoman and RantMom are definitely going to check out bible reading options on RantMom’s smartphone; on the other hand, although RantWoman is quite enjoying adventures with Chromie, RantWoman does not think having RantMom deal with Chromie would be fun for anyone.

(RantWoman neglected to mention: while tabbing around not quite mindlessly, RantWoman found keyboard pathways to both information about how much battery life she had and to turning Chromie off. Has RantWoman found either pathway again yet? NOPE.

Stay tuned for the next exciting adventure.