Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blink, Blink, Blink, You've Got Blog

I was asked to participate in a conference by filming some answers to a few questions and then sending the video along. The clips from my answers would be used, along with clips from others with disabilities across the country, during a conference presentation. When I got the email, I read the questions and though that every one of them would be interesting to talk about. Here on my blog I get to talk about my disability but, other than here, I don't talk about it a whole lot. Especially to the depth that the questions would have me go.

I agreed to do this for them.

They sent me information on how to do it.

Within seconds of reading the instructions I knew that I simply didn't know enough about technology to be able to participate. I don't know when it actually happened that technology passed me by, but I know it's definitely happened. I don't know how to download a song, I don't know why phones need to do anything other that be a phone (I think phones are now in desperate need of counselling as they search for their lost identity). I have a wee camera that sits looking at me while I type. But I got tired of the relentless stare and unplugged it. I think that doing this, 'blogging' is the last thing that I did that was 'modern'.

I wasn't over being amazed at what fax machines could do when fax machines became nearly irrelevant.

I have come to see that red, insistent, demanding, intrusive, demanding, incessant, demanding, light that blinks on my Blackberry as the most harsh taskmaster I have ever had. Satanic red, I'm sure they chose Satanic red for a reason. I was lecturing the other day and had forgotten to turn the phone over so I couldn't see the light. Shortly after starting, it started, blink (answer me) blink (answer me now!) blink (you'd better check) blink (it's probably important) blink (go on, you want to). I turned it over, but for the rest of the hour, that red light blinked in my head.

So, I guess I don't have the best relationship with technology. I do wish I could do what they asked me to do, I would have loved to participate in some way. But ... I simply have no idea how to do it.

Joe came home with a fan, we've been having hot weather here, and I watched him assemble it. I help him by not helping. We yell at each other less that way. When he he was almost done he reached in the box and I heard him howl 'oh, no!' ... 'it has a REMOTE CONTROL'. Another to stack up in the apartment. Another one where we will figure out one setting and leave it at that.

I figure if we can't get a 40 dollar fan to operate in oscillating sleep mode, I ain't never going to send a video email.

How are the rest of you ... have you been passed by too?


Tamara said...

I just read your blog on my new phone. It's a droid. Love it. I can download music and listen to it on my phone. It is a little larger than an iPhone - and videos look great on it. It takes pretty good pictures too - although I love my digital camera much more. I can read books on it. I love technology, except when it doesn't work, and I can't figure out how too fix it! Wish you'd get someone to help you figure it out and do the video!

John R. said...

I use the stuff to 20 % of it's function. For instance, I have a Mac Laptop, which I love, but use it for my presentations, writing, internet and e-mail...I may watch an occasional movie. That's it. this thing can do so much more but I tend to be slightly stuck in 1983 technology. I thought, and still think, IBM selectric typewriters were gift's from above. In fact, I use the typeface, American Typewriter, in all my presentation material in my power point will see my dabble in technology first hand in June. Hope the fan works.

Anonymous said...

I have those difficulties with new technologys too. I have no idea how to twitter, I am not able to use ebay and forgot how to use my google account - hence I've beeb writing all my comments as anonymous. I bought the same cell phone I use right now, so in case mine is not working any longer I dont have to get used to another of those "demonic" things.

The Ipad is only easy as long as it does most of the things by learning through the boots. I am not looking forward to the day that I have to upgrade it via my Dads computer. This thing does take everything and connects it even if I try to select. (and I have documents to go I want noone else to read...)

And I am almost thirty years younger than you and Joe!


Bubbles said...

Satanic red.... love it! I didn't realize until now that that is how I felt about it! I tend to be okay with technology but as of late I have noticed my children are bypassing me, at 11 and 13, in their understanding of how to use and access technology... I've also noticed that the radio stations I listen to have went from top 40 to easy listening in the last year or so... I think this may be normal as one approaches 40 but I'm not sure I'm ready to be disconnected yet!!!

Happy said...

I'm bedridden and peri-menopausal, so my remote control fan is a godsend. :)

I remember when I was younger wondering why older people had so much trouble with technology. I was so sure I wouldn't be that way. I still love technology, but I need a really good reason to upgrade anything I currently use, because I know there will take me much longer to get accustomed to it than in younger days. I guess younger brains really are more elastic and teachable.

joanne said...

remember the television commercial where the father calls the son to ask for instructions to fix the blinking v.c.r......and then dad says "never mind" because he's covered the blinking with masking tape? I loved that commercial! Perhaps that's what you need for your blinking phone?! have a great day Dave! :)

Liz Miller said...

Have you folks seen the German video where the young woman asks her father how he likes the new iPad she bought him?

You don't need to know German to watch it

If you'd like some advice, though, may I suggest that you ask around at Vita if there's anyone who feels comfortable helping you with the tech side of creating the video? It'd be a pity if you let a lack of ability in one area be a barrier to talking about disability in another area.

Andrea S. said...

Liz, love the video! Thanks !

This is one of those videos that really needs audio description to allow blind people to understand it, so I'm going to make an attempt to describe it below in case there's anyone reading here who cannot watch the video:

The video is entitled "So, Dad, how do you like the ipad we got you?" We see a young, blond, caucasin woman in front of a big pot on the stove. She is holding a peeled potato and knife in her hand, cutting pieces of the potato directly in the pot. An older man (the Dad)who is bearded and thinning hair on top, is behind her clearly cutting something on what appears to be a small cutting board on the counter by the sink. The young woman is talking. The man responds briefly. Having finished the cutting, he brings the cutting board with the chopped greens to the pot. The woman steps aside to give him room, and the man uses the cutting knife to swipe the greens from the cutting board into the pot. Except that we, and the young woman, can now see that it is not a cutting board after all--it is an ipad. The woman looks stunned and simply watches as the man brings the now cleared ipad to the sink, rinses it off with water and sticks it into the dish washer. The man turns away from the dish washer, sees the look on the young woman's face, drops his arms and looks back at her. The woman simply puffs her cheeks. This is the end of the video. (I'm not clear if either of them say something here--if he does, then lip movement was too slight for me to see it, and I'm deaf so listening won't help! :-) )

Others, please add comments if you think I missed anything important here. Because I'm deaf, I can only tell if someone is talking (regardless of what language!) if I see that their lips are clearly moving. If a person faces away from the camera, or if lip movement is very slight, then I may not realize if someone is saying something!

Andrea S. said...

Re, the video opportunity--I vote with others here who suggest asking around at Vita for some younger mind who can help figure out how to help Dave produce a video.

I have not quite yet been "overtaken" by technology. But the day may be coming. In my early 20s I was viewed as the "office expert" on computers, called upon to trouble shoot all sorts of tech problems, because the older office mates were so intimidated by the computers and I wasn't. But I was not really any better than maybe average tech skills compared to most of my age peers. And now, when I'm the one with tech troubles, I turn either to my wife (who is slightly older than I am but programs computers for a living) or my younger office mate, who is in his mid 20s

wendy said...

I'm a CPI instructor. At a recent conference we were talking about training strategies and how we manage and present some kinds of information. One woman said she had created wikki's for each of the components. People around nodded and made appreciative noises like she had come up with a fabulous idea. I sat looking blank and finally said, "I don't know what a Wikki is". Some people chuckled like they thought I might be kidding. I wasn't. The leader of the session then gave me a ringed not pad with 4 different colours of paper so that I, too, could organize my four types of information.
There's left behind and then there's "I have no idea what that even means!" I fear I've slipped head long into the latter.

Anonymous said...

I had to google "wiki" (apparently spelled with one k) to ensure that I understood correctly what that is myself. A "wiki" is basically a special web site that is set up to easily allow many authors/editors to collaborate in writing and editing the content. The best known "wiki" application is probably wikipedia ( ), which is basically an on-line encylopedia in which members of the public can jump in and edit any entry on any topic. (There are apparently ways for older or better known wikipedia authors/editors to monitor things to ensure that only changes by knowledgeable, objective, and carefully accurate authors are actually made public, and not just things written by people with an axe to grind.)

Apparently there are different kinds of "wikis" for different functions and purposes, but all are basically designed to make it relatively easy for multiple people to collaborate on the same website, including editing what other members of the team have edited, or making comments on other people's work.

Yeah, when someone says they don't know what something is, others should not just laugh them off. They should explain. I guess for some young people it is easy to assume that "everyone" must know about certain things just because THEY have been so fully immersed in it for the past 5 years or whatever (which, for a young person, can seem like ages and ages even though that can seem like the blink of an eye for an older person). I admit I still sometimes fall prone to the same error in thinking even though I am now in my 40s ... which I know is not old, but is also no longer "young".

Mary said...

My husband and almost all our friends have solid careers in IT, which means years of experience behind the scenes combined with a drive to stay up to date.

I don't. I have a reasonable standard of "end-user" ability, I can even confidently do normal upgrades and repairs on a bog-standard Windows PC, but it is not what I do for a living and I don't tend to modify.

This means that while in my own family I'm "the computer one", in my social circle I'm the one rubbing two sticks together and being surprised when they get hot.

It's not a comfortable position, but it helps to remember that context is everything.

Anonymous said...

I love helping out those who don’t do technology with those mammoth tasks that turn out to be manageable when we do them together.
I’m hoping there is some circular reciprocity and when I lose it with technological advances (it feels like I’m on the edge of that...) I will know somebody who will do the technology with me.

Kristine said...

I actually realized just this week that I'm in danger of being left behind, and need to do a little catching up.... Thanks to "reasonable accommodations," my classroom just got a lot more high-tech... My hands/arms/wrists have been getting weaker the last couple years, so reaching out and writing on the overhead (well, it's not an overhead, it's a document camera, aka "elmo"...) has been getting harder and more painful. So I did some research, found a solution, and the school district supported it. Now I have a brand new iPad, which I can write on more easily, because it sets on my lap. Everything I write on the iPad projects on the wall (via computer, which is hooked up to the projector). And for the first time in ages, I can easily write while teaching! It's amazing! And now that I have this awesome new iPad, I'm trying to figure out how to take full advantage of it in my classroom. But every time I start to read about ways I could use it, I fall down a rabbit hole of technology that I've mostly ignored the last few years. I didn't realize that I was burying my head in the sand, but now that I'm seeking it out, I realize that I have some catching up to do!

Anonymous said...

There is nothing more powerful than the pen.