A week or so ago, the American Council of the Blind held a Future of Screen Readers panel as part of the Information Access Committee seminar at the ACB annual convention. Serotek was one of the companies invited to attend remotely via Skype. Other remote participants were GW Micro and NVDA. Unfortunately technology failed (through no fault of Skype) and we remote participants did not get to contribute. But I thought the panel questions were extremely pertinent to all blind people and that it was important we add our voice to the conversation. So this blog post is Serotek’s way of making sure our voice, and the voice of many who share our view, is also heard. I’d like to begin with Question 6, because it separates us from most panel participants. I’ll come back and address each of the ten questions – which are included in their entirety at the end of this post. Question 6 said: “Imagine that you are participating on a panel five years from now. What do you hope you can tell us about the screen reader space and the role of your screen reader in it?” Serotek hopes wholeheartedly that in 2015 we can say the screen reader space has vanished. This change will be brought about through … [Read more...] about What is the Future of Screen Readers anyway?
I don’t usually post things from the Serotalk Podcast here, but, The Serotek Story Documentary is so compelling that I figured I would post it. Of course I’m biased!If you haven’t put the Serotalk Podcast on your RSS, shame on you! LOL! Really though, it is a great resource for information on what’s happening in the World of technology according to a few blind and rather disturbed geeks! So, if you’d like a few laughs and some pretty good information head over to the Serotalk Podcast! And hey, you might not even be sorry you did!Happy New Year! … [Read more...] about The Serotek Story Documentary A Must For your Audio Archive
A ghetto is a portion of a city in which members of a minority group are coerced to live through social, cultural, legal, and/or economic pressure. Ghettos are often separated from the city at large by a wall or other natural barrier. But the real barrier is fear: fear of outsiders by those within the ghetto and fear of ghetto-dwellers by those outside the ghetto.If you’ve read this article in AFB Accessworld, you’ll know I have firsthand experience with a ghetto. When my parents came to Miami from Cuba looking for new opportunities, they joined a community of other Cubans who were here for the same reasons. Our community was a place where we proudly celebrated our Cuban heritage and where the Cuban culture remained alive and well. But it was also a place that trapped us in poverty; a place where expectations were low; and ultimately a place which isolated us from the rest of society. It was a type of ghetto.Did we prefer being poor, stereotyped, isolated and hopeless? Of course not! But there was an unspoken sentiment that leaving the ghetto would also mean leaving an important part of yourself behind, and that you would sacrifice the culture that made you who you were if … [Read more...] about Out of the Ghetto and in to the Digital Lifestyle
This week I am in our Minneapolis office and was able to work with my computer at home, my Serotek intranet, and even hear music. I did all this without even plugging in a thumbdrive. Using SAToGo I did it all. I got to thinking about this digital lifestyle.We’ve been seduced into it, often without even knowing that it is happening to us. In our pocket we have a cell phone that does an amazing number of things besides make voice calls. Quite likely we have some sort of music-playing device – an I-pod or MP3 player. We have a computer or two or three, probably wired together (or today, connected via a wireless network). Maybe we have a personal digital assistant or other type of note-taker. It’s a lot of gear, but we don’t think of any of these as gadgets anymore. They are necessities. We can’t imagine functioning without them.Welcome to the digital lifestyle. But it’s more than devices.We are also members of a variety of online services for social networking, entertainment, education, information. We order our movies and music online and maybe pizza. We “Google” anything we need to know. We are “wired” into any number of online communities and exchange information on our … [Read more...] about Living the Digital Lifestyle
Doom and Gloom! There, we got it out. Actually this article is about hope and promise and a better life for everyone, but the background is not very encouraging. And without the background, the discussion doesn’t make much sense.Here’s the basic premise. Vision loss and age are inextricably linked. There are eight million visually-impaired people in the U.S. and 80% are age fifty or greater. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. As we age our bodies deteriorate and the eyes are specifically vulnerable to diseases like:• Macular degeneration• Diabetic Retinopathy• Glaucoma• Cataracts• Corneal opacityThe current assessment is that 800,000 people age 65 and older in the U.S. are totally blind. By 2015 it will be 1.5 million and by 2030 it will be 2.4 million. The cause is simply the aging of the population. As the “Baby Boomers” hit retirement the graying population will increase dramatically and the prevalence of blindness will likewise increase. We can and are making great strides in attacking various causes of blindness, but we can’t stop people from getting older. Certainly everyone knows this “graying” is occurring. From AARP to Social Security there is a great deal … [Read more...] about The Coming Crisis