Snow Leapord – What The Media Have Forgotton To Tell

Apple – Mac OS X – Accessibility.

Snow Leopard the latest update to the popular Leopard operating system installed on all modern day Mac computers has got an update, it’s only a little one and mainly focuses around bug fixes, it’s not a complete overhaul of the way the system looks but at less than £30 you would not expect a miracle.

Opinion as I have understood it has been divided, many see snow Leopard as a bit of a waste of money and time, its well documented how it is faster than Leopard (which I have never found slow).

There are a collection of features that have not been spoken about in the public eye that I have seen in any way and that is the updates to the already good accessibility tools.

To put this into context most of the time I use something called Text- To -Speech or more commonly referred to in is easier form of TTS or a Screen Reader. For Mac this is something called Voiceover. Basically a lovely little American man called Alex reads me everything that happens on screen, all the things I would struggle to read. I navigate through different windows and applications with ease and am able to for the majority of my time edit the two websites and one forum which I own and manage solely using this software.

Its hard to explain to a person that has never used TTS but when Apple created Voiceover they took the manual on making TTS engines and threw it off  a plane before passing it through a mulching machine and stamping on its mussy remains. Voiceover is unique anyone can use it straight out of the box, no additional software needed.

A blind person can go along to an Apple store and say ‘I would like a MacBook please’, pay for it  return home open the box and use it straight off. Apple are the only computer and software developer to do this, they are incredibly committed to accessiblity and see there products as the way forward, even the iPhone3G S now has Voiceover and can be used by visually impaired people.

With the Microsoft  counterparts we all know and… hate that is simply not possible, you would have to purchase your laptop then spend an additional £800 on software to make it accessible and then install the software.

Snow Leopard is once again revolutionising the way that blind and partially sighted people use their computers TTS engines have forever relied on the keyboard to allow users to navigate their way around their computer, this is no more.

With Voiceover and Snow Leopard OS X 10.6 users can now not only navigate with the keyboard but also with the touch pad on MacBook’s using gestures. Now that for many people may well be the closest they ever get to using a computer mouse, something that if you have severe visual impairment you are seriously unlikely to ever do!  Voiceover is more powerful and better at handling complex web pages with the new release which will be very welcomed by many as there are certain web pages that Voiceover currently just does not have the power to understand.  For example the webpage I am writing this on right now, Voiceover cannot cope with all the information and the styling of WordPress, which is as much down to the design faults of wordpress as it is to the lack of Voiceover grunt. With increased power I hope that Voiceover will overcome the WordPress accessibility issues, but time will tell.

I must now buy Snow Leopard and quickly.

Alas I am not the only person jumping up and down giggling with technology fuelled excitement whilst drooling slightly at apples accessibility my freelancer friend Lesley Smith has decided to convert to the ways of apple, mostly because of the accessibility features I have just mentioned and a fair amount of persuading from me.

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BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – The ultimate Disability Bitch

BBC – Ouch! (disability) – Opinion – Disability Bitch – The ultimate Disability Bitch.

(One hell of a block quote coming up!)

The ultimate Disability Bitch

20th August 2009

Readers, I know I’ve said some unkind things over the years. I know I’m not always right. Actually that’s not true, I am always right. What I mean to say is I know that some people disagree with me, some of the time. They are idiots, obviously, but it does happen. What I’m struggling to say is that I feel I’ve been quite restrained over the years. There are many things I could’ve said that I didn’t, for fear of offending the nation. But today that’s all about to change.

The main thing, the real biggie, the important observation of all important observations, the one that I’ve deliberately held back on all these years is … and I’m sorry, readers, but I just can’t keep it in anymore. I’ve had enough. Hold onto your hats. I. HATE. NORMAL. PEOPLE!


There. I’ve said it. And it had to be said. You want me to explain myself now I suppose? OK. Well, it’s just, I’ve been on holiday for a fortnight now and I’ve had to watch the Normals parade up and down the beach, exposing their disappointingly monotonous flesh from tip of perfectly proportioned toe to the exquisitely coiffed hair on their textbook lovely heads, untroubled by imperfect mental health, functioning as human beings without the aid of seven different daily medications, and skipping along the sand without mobility aids like it doesn’t even require any effort.

Readers, I tell you what: if I didn’t hate them, I’d pity them.

Imagine how boring it must be, to wake up every morning knowing you’re probably not going to fall over, risk death by attempting to board a train in rush hour or play Russian roulette with your very life by forgetting whether or not you’ve taken your tablets at lunchtime. You have to feel sorry for them. No wonder they park in blue badge spaces without permission and use disabled toilets even when they’re not actually disabled. It’s the only excitement they get in their tiny little normalised lives: the thrill of seeing how long they can get away with occupying a ‘handicap area’ illegally before some junior authority figure has a stiff word with them. It’s the only thrill they get! Poor souls!

Don’t feel too sorry for them, though. There is one very specific reason why I hate the lot of them. It’s this: they all think we want to be like them. The sad, deluded chancers.


Seriously, here’s an example: The other day I was at a big party. And because it was a big party, I was using my most fashionable walking stick, co-ordinated perfectly with my drop-dead gorgeous outfit. This had not gone unnoticed: I was working the room.

Soon, a disappointingly dreary non-disabled stranger was making her way toward me. Of course she was. I am uber-cool.

“Disability Bitch?” she said. “You’re the Disability Bitch, aren’t you? I’m very sorry you have to use it, but that is a beautiful walking stick.”

Two things: first, of course it is a beautiful walking stick. Do you think I, Disability Bitch, would make my way to a massive festive gathering with anything other than a beautiful walking stick? Why are you surprised? Clearly you are of the belief all cripples are legally obliged to carry around ugly NHS issue grey plastic disability aids. That, you dear, sweet, naive little able bodied random party guest, is because you have probably only ever seen photographs of disabled people looking pathetic on charity advertising hoarding , and never actually met a disabled person in real life.

Let me try to find an equivalent situation you’d understand. Ah yes: It would be rather like me presuming all non-disableds look like the girl off the Wonderbra ad. They don’t. They are just trying to sell you something. You gullible idiot.


Second, why the hell are you, a tediously normal person who I have only just met this minute, feeling sorry that I have to use a stick? What business is it of yours how I choose to accessorise myself? You know nothing of my life, and yet you suppose it is a disappointment to me that I have to use a mobility aid, even while acknowledging that my mobility aid is one of the most gorgeous objects you have ever seen in your entire life.

Basically, you tiresome specimen of humdrum normality, you are assuming that your life is better than mine simply because I am disabled and you are not. How arrogant is that!

Give me one good solid reason why your life is better than mine. I bet you even have to pay full price to use public transport and sometimes have to stand up on buses. Yeah? I don’t. See! I win!

Oh dear. I did warn you I was especially cantankerous this week. I know. Every self-respecting cripple thinks these things in the privacy of their own head, but now I’ve gone and said them out loud.
I realise I may have single-handedly set the cause of disability rights back about twenty years. After all, it is the twenty first century, right, and we’re all supposed to be holding hands together now – those of us who have hands. We should apparently be joining forces and working together, disabled and non-disabled alike. Yawn. Do I look like I care?

If you want to be friends with non-disabled people, readers, that’s fine. Campaign for your own disability rights. Me, I’m going to be sitting here in my own little ghetto, minding my own business. I never wanted to be normal anyway.

The reason for such a large block quote, she may have not said it in the most dyplomatic way (its Disability Bitch, what where you expecting) but she is so 100% definatly right!

I hate it when ‘normals’  feel sorry for me or even worse fill me up with words such as ‘brave’ (my own personal most hated word) and inspirational.

Happy BADD – Lets all be positive about disability

As you should know by now if you read this on a regular basis today it is Blogging Against Disableism Day, clicking on the BADD banner on the right will take you straight through to the hub and I would recommend it.

If I am completely honest I didn’t know what to write about for todays BADD. I was going to write something positive about the things I am proud of as a disabled person, not in a everyone smile and cheer at the poor little disabled person getting on with there every day lives but looking at the positive things we as disabled people bring to our communities and on a wider level society.

To oftern the media focus on the negatives of disability or use a patronising tone, unfortunatly this negativity oftern extends to the genral public or even worse service providers. Today at work I was asked to put our this statement on to our jobs database, written by the charity themselves

” Transport is a particular problem for people who are blind and partially sighted. Fear and uncertainty of how to get to their destination, often preventing people from going out altogether, which then can lead to isolation and depression.”

So this add would leave every person that reads it to believe that every blind and partially sighted person in the country feels isolated, scared to leave there own home and depressed. Not just that but its not exactly well written anyway is it? I’m not one to talk about grammar but its just not right in lots of ways. I know that there are pleanty of VI people up an down the contry who live happy contented and actives lives

So why am I not writing about the positives then? (and this is where it gets ironic) Today I have had a very bad day with all my impairments, my shoulder was very painful this morning which made me late, my eye has been playing up all day and you know what I am just having a bad day with my depression, I tried to book an appointment to see my GP today and was told that there where no appointments on the system yet so I would have to ring back and can’t be seen till June.

So basically whatever I wrote today would be utter shit, I have been trying to write something good for BADD all day, but today I just can’t.

Success

Ha! I have actually had some success in modifying the style sheet when I publish, I can now actually look back and read what I have written, admittedly it now does not look very pretty but that’s progress!

I have also managed to import my previous blog DOAM here so if you really want to you could look back and read every single post from the very begging of my blogging journey!

The only slight issue aside form the accessibility issues I have faced is that what where my tags on DOAM have now shown up as categories, which is a little odd.

So what is all this about then?

Ok well here it goes my first ever WordPress blog post. I would normally start a blog by explaining a little bit about myself but it seems pointless to do that here thanks to the ability to have a seperate page, so I shant be telling you much about me here, go and look at the about me page.

Instead I shall write about Word Press and wow I am having some serious accessibility issues. The contrast on Word Press suck so its very difficult to read,  I used Safari to make the text bigger to try and compensate and Word Press can’t handle it the style sheet in edit mode is overlapping and going crazy.

I’m surprised considering the popularity of Word Press that there is no access mode, or options for high contrast large print themes,

Anyway as I said I’m not going to talk about me in this post, just try and explain the point of this blog.

I have been blogging for many years over at my blog DOAM using the Blogger platform. This is good but I felt it was time to try something more adventureious so I decided to give Word Press a go.

Finally I would just like to ask you to be patient, there are a lot of things I want to do to this site, its going to take some time to get it all how I want it.