Reader’s Forum for July 25, 2011

For your convenience, all Reader’s Forum submissions are separated by the ## symbol.
In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – Sound Reasoning, Marie wrote:
Oh, my yes! Valerie’s article hit a good chord. When I was small, my parents had a cuckoo clock–until I tried to give the cuckoo a bath and ruined it. I got whipped for that. There was no more cuckoo clock after that–until my mother got one from a blind friend after my father’s death. When she passed away, I got it. It was a genuine Black Forest clock and played “Emperor’s Waltz” on the hour. I don’t remember if it went off on the half hour. Then, in 2000, I bought a battery-operated one from Speak to Me, which played twelve different tunes and cuckoos, and it is nice. I still have it to this day.
Let us not forget the numerous talking toys and musical toys I had as a child. If I only had some of those, they would be antiques today! And, starting in 1980, all kinds of talking clocks and such, through the years. Now, I also have a mantel clock which chimes or plays music if I choose either mode. Three other clocks talk, one of which is an atomic talking clock, and there is a clock on my cell phone which speaks, too. Since no alarm clock can wake me (I don’t use them anyway) I have a vibrating clock, but if I am in a very deep sleep, that won’t do. Most of the time, though, I wake up on my own, or my cat pats me, because she is hungry. That gets me up for sure.
I am addicted to talking devices–my Victor talks, my digital talking book player from the library talks, of course. My desktop and laptop computers talk, too. I don’t know what I would do without speech!
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In response to Contributor Valerie Moreno – Sound Reasoning, William wrote:
I am writing in regards to Valerie Moreno’s article on the talking clocks. We have them all over the house–4 alarm clocks, a calculator, we even have a talking glucose meter now and everything. The biggest thing I enjoy strictly for pleasure is our bird clock. It is hard to keep animals in an apartment, and that bird clock hangs on the wall, and when he gets in trouble I just go buy him some new batteries. If I had the money and the room, I would have them all over the house. I jokingly tell them I have everything that talks, even the talking wife. Thank you for your articles. The talking clocks are the best thing they ever did for us blind people.
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – Will Braille Ever Be Affordable?, Bill wrote:
I have to say right on. Braille is horribly expensive. I was at the ACB convention in Reno last week and the rep from Humanware was there demonstrating the Apex. When I asked him what we are paying for when we purchase this device he said the Braille display. When I asked him about establishing a payment plan he said that the company is too small and the interest would be very high. We are really getting the shaft. Some way has to be invented to make technical Braille cheaper to produce.
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In response to Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Sir Paul, Here We Come, Chela wrote:
Here is a note I wrote about a concert I recently went to.
As several of you may be aware, last year on a Facebook group, Smooth Jazz Spot (smoothjazzspot.com), which is run by Ken Levinson, had a discussion back in March about alternative ways of listening to jazz–in particular, smooth jazz, since all the terrestrial radio stations that were playing primarily smooth jazz owned by Clear Channel decided to go rock style instead. Somehow in the middle of the discussion, it shifted to who our favorite artists are and some of them actually have links to their broadcasts like Dave Coz. I mentioned Chris Botti as my top favorite and the owner told me that I should contact him and tell him that his music inspires me to play. I laughed at the thought of it and told Ken off the group in an email how it couldn’t be done and the website is not screen reader friendly, not to mention when he had the amazon.com chat about his Live In Boston CD, the chat wasn’t accessible, either. I said, “Fat chance.”
But it was Ken Levinson who really nudged me to go for it. He told me to compose an email to him and then he’d give it to his friend who also is Chris Botti’s friend, saxophonist, Dave Coz. So I did, and through a chain of multiple people, it made it through to Chris, who then shared it with Archie Castillo, who invited me to one of the concerts.
So my 26th birthday comes along and my mom and dad were telling me we should go to Yoshi’s instead because Chris Botti’s concert this year is expensive, almost $300 for two people to go. But I really wanted to go–I was desperate and prayed that somehow Archie could offer me two free complementary tickets the next day. So, April 7th comes along and I get an email from Archie Castillo! Thank God for people like him! He told me he had two tickets available for me under my name and that they are free and would be available at will call at 6 PM.
The night of the concert, my mom helped me with my makeup and straightened my hair with her curling/flat iron, which I’m afraid of, by the way! Then I at 3 o’clock, called the box office to double check if the tickets made it and they said yes. So I dressed up and was wearing a silk black dress that went to the knees, my boots, a nice necklace, and a nice black sweater. Mom loaned me the necklace and sweater. My dad wore slacks and nice shirt.
Mom took a picture of us before we left. Thanks to dad’s GPS we found the Davies Symphony Hall and the Lighthouse for the Blind is across the street. We got the tickets and decided to go grab dinner before the doors opened.
After our meal, we go back to the Davies Symphony Hall and we snag a parking spot. We went in and located our seats and we were 9 rows away from the stage. But best thing of all, even though there was no flash photography allowed, and cell phones had to be turned off, and no recording, I snuck in my DS50 Digital Voice Recorder and no one knew. Yes, call me a sly jazz cat but if there weren’t going to be any pictures, I figured capture it somehow. The audio turned out well, but unfortunately, I just found out my recorder and its software is not compatible with my version of Windows. It goes from XP to Vista, yuck! So I’m praying I’ll get an XP Desktop so I can load it on there someday.
Chris was amazing. I dug every note he played, improv or not. That was one night I’ll never ever forget thanks to Chris Botti and Archie and Dave Coz and Ken Levinson for a wonderful birthday gift for my 26th year. Virtual hugs one for each of you!
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In response to Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Sir Paul, Here We Come, Roy wrote:
My favorite concert of all time was an Elton John concert I attended in Nashville, TN in 1993.
I have been to nine Elton concerts and this was by far the best. It was at the Grand Ole Oprey House and I was in the fifth row from the front. And on stage was Elton, all by himself, no band or anything. Just Elton on the piano, entertaining what seemed like only me for two hours. He opened the show with “Tiny Dancer,” which is my favorite Elton song and he just seemed to get better from there. Thank you, Elton, for such a wonderful show!
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In response to Feature Writer Op Ed with Bob Branco – Appealing to the Consumer Groups, Edward Zolotarevsky wrote:
All the best planning and training might not help. Most companies do not hire disabled employees. For instance, I attended a job interview that ended quickly. The interviewer told me that they already hired a disabled employee. If I turned out a top job candidate, they would not hire me. If a company has “equal opportunity employer” posted on their front door, would the statement ensure employment of blind candidates? If the answer is yes, why are so many blind people unemployed? If more blind people should be hired, it’s a question of civil rights. Therefore, ADA should be amended to entitle the disabled to employment rights equivalent to those of the able-bodied. Our disabilities do not prevent us from performing our jobs. To our potential employers disabled people are seen as not worth hiring.
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In response to Op Ed with Bob Branco – Appealing to the Consumer Groups, Bill wrote:
I say you’re right on target asking the question why the unemployment rate for the blind is still 70 percent after thirty years. I believe and I said it before that the consumer groups are not doing enough to educate employers as to our abilities. I believe a lot more work has to be done on this issue. Right on, Mr. Branco.
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In response to Feature Writer Alena Roberts – TV Speak by Codefactory Comes to the US Market, Larry wrote:
I went blind in March, 2004 and five years ago I discovered audio descriptive television. I discovered DVS by listening to my television guide on NFB-Newsline on the phone. In February 2011, I changed my cable company and got Verizon Fios. On installation day, the Verizon tech said that Fios does not offer the SAP needed for the DVS. I was told that it may be available in the summer. I called Fios in June and was told it would not be available at all. I contacted the Verizon president’s office and the representative tried to help, but was not able.
I then sent an e-mail to WGBH in Boston and in less than a week Mr. Chris Clark solved the problem. I needed the help of my sighted reader because you must use the cable menu on the screen.
It is a shame that we in the blind and visually impaired community are still treated like second class cable subscribers who pay a first class fee. I understand that the FCC is considering changing their rules to rectify this atrocious wrong.

One Comments

  1. Who should I contact about helping me with my invention idea for a cheaper and more durable braille display? I would appreciate the help. Thank you.