The Technology I Use

I love to use technology to assist me with my vision.  I am very open to trying out new things some things work very well others don’t.     These are the things I use regularly or rely on entirely to get through the day.

The Technology I Use Podcast
I manage my day on an energy budget.  Seeing is a lot of work and the less seeing I do the more seeing I can do where and when I want to or have to.    I have to extend a certain amount of visual energy at work to eat.   So it’s good to have some energy to extend or I won’t eat.    However I also want to enjoy my life and share my life with those around me so I want to save some of my visual energy budget for myself.   What do they say pay yourself first.     All of these things help me extend my visual budget on a daily basis.

Personally I use a white cane either with a marshmallow tip or today I’m trying out a wheel.   I like the wheel so we’ll see how it goes.     The cane keeps me safe.  I recently went through reconstructive surgery on my ankle.   I have been overly proud during my life to the detriment of my physical well being.  I’ve broken or sprained my ankle so many times that it was starting to cause me major trouble.    Don’t let this happen to you.  When light conditions change and I am effectively a totally blind person. pride doesn’t get you very far and pride usually gets you injured.    You can’t be afraid to cross the street and the white cane gives me the confidence to feel safe in my travels.

I also use a Tissot T-Touch watch to tell time.   The Tissot vibrates for the hour and minutes.  The watch is also high contrast and is very easy to read.    It’s nice to be able to tell time without everyone around you knowing your checking the time.   We all experience it when we are bored or tired.   “When is this meeting going to end?”.    The Tissot allows be to check the time without being blatantly rude by sticking the watch in my face.

Reading is the biggest challenge I have.   Before I reached middle age.  Yes it’s the millage baby.   We all reach middle age and our sight changes.   Well so did mine.   Nice to be part of the crowd but good grief.  The changes of middle aged sight took away any ability I had to read without technology of some kind.   Not being able to read unaided is one of the biggest annoyances of my adult life.    Most of the rest of the technology besides the white cane or the Tissot watch are all used for reading. Either books or presentations.

For me it’s about speed.  Speed of access to information makes you competitive.    I learn so fast by listening to people it’s unnatural.   But stick me with a manual and you might as well forget it.

For my work computer I use a 30” monitor to help magnify and give me more information than a screen reader would on its own.   I still use a screen reader and magnifier but the monitor on its own generally is enough for me to work.

I use Zoomtext from Ai Squared for a screen reader and magnifier it’s enough for me and gets me through my requirements for access to data presented on a computer screen.

I also use a Kinesis Advantage keyboard.   Because of my vision I am slouched over the keyboard to see the monitor.   I’ve tried monitor stands etc. but they really haven’t helped.  I was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and tendentious but these conditions have both been managed with the Kinesis keyboard.

Adjustable desks help….

I love my Herman Miller Aeron chair.   When I broke my ribs cycling it was more comfortable to be in the Aeron then home in bed.    I continue to be very religious about my chair preference.   Aeron rocks!! Dear Herman Miller please bring back the color Purple. Mine was squished by the movers. I have a new Blue one but Purple is where it is at.

At home I have started to use a Samsung 46’ television as a monitor for my computers.    It’s hard using a computer screen with your glasses on.  Especially since I’ve always taken my glasses off to read. I have reading glasses and distance glasses there I admitted it.    I don’t have to use the reading glasses with the larger screen.  In fact I don’t have to take off my glasses at all to see it.    I do love the monitor.

I convert books.   It’s a really interesting thing having the opportunity to convert data from one format to another.     People get all upset.  I buy a book take it to the copy house cut the binding off and scan it with a duplex document scanner.    The people at the copy house were very upset when I brought my first box of books in.  They were concerned about the legality of it all.  I explained being legally blind I have an exemption from the law about copying or scanning books.  I am allowed to convert the data from one medium to another.

Not to start a debate or anything buts it’s interesting to me that if you have a license to use content be it music or book or video.   Why is it bad to convert the license to a new format or delivery method.  I licensed the content not the delivery method.  Anyway I’m confused.

I tried using a regular flatbed scanner to scan books it wasn’t happening.  Scanning a thousand pages of a reference book one page at a time was going to kill me.    So I use some really cool stuff.   I use EMC QuickScan Pro with a Cannon duplex document scanner.   I can convert a thousand pages of book into screen reader format in about forty five minutes.   It’s the way to go.  I convert the scanned images to Kurzweil 3000 format and enlarge them and use multi sensory reading.  Magnified text and converted text to audio to read books.   Works well.

For quick and dirty reading, for example a label in a store I use a hand held CCTV for magnification and for books or things I don’t have time or can’t whack at the copy place I have a desktop CCTV which will magnify text for me.

I wish I had this stuff when I was going to school.

Speaking of school or presentations or lectures or exhibits.  Or anything done in a classroom lecture hall or performance hall.    When I started using a monocular in grade nine my grades went up about thirty percent across the board.  I went from being a barely passing student to an honor roll student over night.   Very cool.   These days I use an Enhanced Vision Jordy.   Amazing use of technology.  Basically a video camera hooked up to TV screens put in front of my eyes I can zoom in and enjoy many things I’ve never experienced before.    When I seen my kids faces while they are riding a bike or performing in a concert at school it is very emotional for me.

I had a guide dog for a time.  I miss him.    He was retired because his allergies were so bad.   Anyway I hope to get another guide soon.  Guide Dogs for the Blind is an exceptional school.

None of these technologies are going to make you un-blind or less-blind they will extend your energy cycle for the day and allow you a broader range of capabilities for participation and enjoyment of your daily activates.

For a list of the stuff I love check out my links page on this site.

About the Author:

Kyle has ocular albinism and has been legally blind since birth. Kyle leads a very active live and is besides his professional career involved in many projects for persons who are different.

Post a Comment