Hey all. I was perusing AppleVis just a few weeks ago as I often like to do, and came across the following blog post. Please note I have yet to try this new screen reader out. I might not even do that, but the jury's still out on this one. I was at first a bit skeptical about this, but upon further investigation I discovered that one of the guys involved with the project has been involved with screen reader development for many moons and is well-respected by many throughout the field of assistive technology. I have not met him in person, but I have been a frequent visitor to his blogs for a few years and have come to appreciate both his writing style and integrity.

Some of you may be asking yourselves why I don't just use VoiceOver, Apple's on-board screen reader. Well my friends, that is a very good question indeed. After all, I used the AppleIIE back in the day with its built-in speech. But that was not a screen reader, as defined by today's standards. Like I've mentioned previously on here, I have been a proud Mac user since 2014. Well actually I got my Mac 2 days after Christmas 2013, but I had to get used to a whole different operating system and that didn't happen overnight. Once I got the lay of the land on here, I naturally started to feel more comfortable again about the company. I think their accessibility folks have done a very nice job with VoiceOver, and it is sufficient enough for me at this time. I have not played around in the OS X terminal much if at all, so I can't and won't verify what others have said about VoiceOver's performance in there.

That said, I think this new screen reader has a lot of potential based on what I've read. What's more, people who know me well will tell you that I like to tinker around with things and they're absolutely right. I'm approaching this with a fair amount of caution as I don't want to break anything. I'm not a programmer. But here's the link: https://is.gd/Fk6SYy . Do please check this out and, if you are so inclined, grab yourself a copy and show these guys a little love. I'll do likewise at some point.
Hi everyone. Well I'm back to give my thoughts on Apple's latest update to the Macintosh platform, called High Sierra. This was just unleashed on Monday to the masses, and as with their past few major updates I thought I'd play it safe and check AppleVis first. Sure enough, AppleVis has their run-down based upon testing carried out by the brilliant team of editors over there. Then on Monday night I started the update process. This didn't take quite as long as previous updates, perhaps due in part to me backing up my Mac beforehand via Time Machine. But I have done that now for some time. I went to bed, and within about fifteen minutes of being in bed I heard VoiceOver telling me that the installation process was a success. So I came back in here, turned off my charger and shut down for the night. Then when I booted up the next morning, I found I had the new update. I'm very pleased with it thus far. For those VoiceOver users who have yet to update or whatever, you're in for some good stuff.

First off, pdf support in VoiceOver is now much better. I tried this on a couple .pdfs so far, and am happy to report that they both work great. I haven't yet been able to test out an online .pdf, but I trust that Apple did the right thing and these are more accessible too.

The new feature that I'll mention here is image descriptions. This is still in its infancy, but based on what I've seen thus far it works well. Pressing Control-Option-Shift L on an image gives VoiceOver users a description of that image.

There are other things, but those are discussed elsewhere. So for those AT users and nonAT users alike who use Macs and wish to update, go ahead and do so. Or not, depending on how you feel. But don't come crying on my shoulder if bad things start happening, lol! You have been warned.
Hello to all my eclipse-loving readers. Hello to everybody else out there as well. I'm proud to announce that Monday's program about the Great American Eclipse of 2017 has now been archived for your listening pleasure. The direct link is as follows: https://is.gd/HQDGjw . I'd like to give a big shout out to the good folks over at ACB Radio, and the good folks over at the Audio Description Project, for doing a wonderful job and posting this.

As for me, I did get to watch the eclipse live from a car that was traveling to a doctor's appointment. We had on Chicago's NPR member station, WBEZ 91.5 FM. They were broadcasting tidbits about this and other eclipses along with some cool historical facts. Oh and yes, my follow-up doctor's appointment went well. I've only seen this doctor 3 times thus far, but he's great. Actually he was with another patient this time, so I saw one of his assistants.
Why hello to everybody. It has once again been like forever since my last entry. But fear not, I'm still alive and kickin'. I've been busy with mostly good stuff, but with some bad things mixed in. I had a cold and my ears filled up with tons of wax. I was honestly not that sick, but I had a lot of trouble hearing and you can probably imagine how tough that gets for a blind guy like me, lol! But anyhow, I had eardrops put in both ears and then they were flushed out last week. Actually the process of flushing them out was kinda cool. I had it done once prior to last week, a few years back at the same office. For those of you who have never had this done, it tickles a bit. But I'm ticklish so that wasn't bad at all.

The other bad thing that happened was that my toilet seat busted. The good news however, is that just a few nights ago when my awesome father dropped me off here after a lovely Father's Day weekend, he brought not one, but 2 new toilet seats and lids and his toolbox and went to work. So I now have a brand-new seat and lid on my toilet. I have since had occasion to use the toilet in my apartment, and had no trouble thus far. I cannot thank my father enough for what he did. In addition, I cannot thank my neighbor across the hall enough for letting me invade his bathroom. Even though his bathroom is honestly not that great of a place, I was able to take care of business in there.



On Monday, May 16 I flew out to Santa Barbara, California with some coworkers from JJ’s List. The purpose of this trip was to train several employees from Toad & Co., a clothing retailer. We flew out on United Airlines, and the accommodations provided by all airport and airline staff were very helpful.


First off, immediately upon our arrival at the security line when departing Chicago, we were greeted by a nice employee who had a wheelchair for me. I am able to walk just fine with my white cane, but the purpose of my ride in the wheelchair was to get through the security line quickly. The last thing I wanted to do was miss our flight; therefore, causing everybody else to miss the flight. I sat in an aisle seat on the airplane, which worked out very well. The flight was enjoyable despite some turbulence. Immediately upon our arrival at LAX, a wheelchair was ready for me. I rode in it out to the Enterprise Rent-a-Car area, where my group leaders picked up 2 vehicles.


The hotel in which my group and I stayed was very nice. I had one of the accessible rooms all to myself. I am not a wheelchair user, but I very much appreciated having an accessible room. I slept well, and the accessible bathroom was nice.


The training went great, and several Toad & Co. employees came up and told me how much they benefitted from it.  After the training we took a group picture with everybody. Then it was time to say goodbye, and we were on our way back to LAX for our return flight to Chicago.


This trip was rather short but fun. Thank you to everybody—including our fearless group leaders—for making this trip a big success. I really enjoy these Disability Awareness Trainings, because people learn a lot about interactions with someone who has a disability. I've often wondered if these trainings would make an iota of a difference at the state/government level, especially for states like Illinois where we have had a major budget crisis.

Hello everybody. Nope, I'm not talking about being a year old again.
Believe me, when I was only a year old I most probably didn't even
know what the heck the Internet was. What's more, Dreamwidth wasn't
even a figment of somebody's imagination back then. At least I don't
think it was. I would, however, like to travel back in time via the
Dreamwidth teleporter if and when we get that working. But what I am
talking about is my first birthday celebration of 2016. That's right:
I will be a year older and a year wiser over the weekend. I'll most
probably be celebrating at my parents' house, but more on that after
it actually happens.

But earlier this evening I celebrated with the other residents in my
apartment complex, along with my tutors. A great time was had by all,
and the food and drink was delicious. Thank you one of my tutors and
Jewel-Osco for making that happen. My neighbors and my other tutor
gave me cards and a lovely birthday dessert. Yay for awesome neighbors
and tutors! This all took place down in our brand-new community room,
which is very spacious and wonderful. But for now I think it's time to
say goodnight.
Hi everyone. Once again it's been rather hush-hush around here, so I thought I'd post an entry. The title I think is pretty self-explanatory, but I still want to update this thing. I'm coming to you today from none other than my parents' new house! Drumroll please! My parents moved out of their previous house a couple days ago, and into this one. I'm so missing the old house, that I think I'm gonna cry. Can ya see all my tears? Lol I'm only kidding. Actually I am one of those people who just doesn't get all emotional over things like this. I mean, I do miss the old house but I also think it's time to move on, and I was very excited to see this place. My folks had been living there for several years, and they felt it was time for a change. I agree with them, and I like the new place. I only got here almost 24 hours ago as of this writing, and there's still a lot of unpacking to do. But I did get a chance to explore the place and I'm happy to report that I definitely approve of it. I think the rest of my immediate family does as well, or at least those family members who have seen it.

But there's another reason I chose to come here. Last weekend some tiles fell off one of the side walls in my shower. Fortunately this happened just a few minutes after I had gotten out of the shower, so I was not harmed. But what I did was to email someone right away, and that evening someone was sent out to my apartment to look at the shower. To make a long story short, the new landlords for my apartment complex are having a new shower put in my apartment. It is scheduled to be ready sometime this weekend, so I'll know more when I return.

I think that's all for now.
Greetings everyone! Hope you're well and staying outa trouble. I'm
posting today to let everyone know that my interview about life as
somebody who is visually impaired has now been posted on the
DiversifYA website. I first learned about their website right here on
Dw, so thanks to the person who posted a link. Also my thanks go out
to the folks at DiversifYA not only for taking the time to interview
me, but also for posting that. It was a lot of fun being
interviewed by them, and I hope to do something like this again. For some reason I couldn't get the direct link to copy
and paste, but I'm providing a link to their website's main page. More than likely
I hit the wrong command, but that's all cool since I'm still getting used
to how exactly things are done in the wonderful and revitalized world of Apple. So just point your favorite browser to http://www.diversifya.com . Happy reading and I eagerly await your comments, good or bad. Comments will be accepted here following this entry only. Comments are no longer being accepted though on their site, probably because no comments were posted there yet. I'm not sure though.

October 2017

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