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Friday, January 24, 2014

tech stinks

You love it,
but it loves him,
and he loves something else -
You just can't win.
And so it goes until the day you die.
This thing they call tech,
its gonna make you cry.

I've had the blues, the reds and the pinks.
One thing's for sure...

Tech stinks
Tech stinks... yeah yeah...

It has been awhile since I wrote about the wonders of assistive
technology. That's because it's been good to me. Now it's not. We
can't live without it. We can't deal with it. Sometimes we just
want to scream, "Tech stinks!"

Oh, dear. That does make me sound like a negative person. Well,
sometimes I am. Real people are not 100( positive 100% of each
day. Why should that be different for people with disabilities?
I'm frustrated and need to vent. And since this is my blog, I'm
gonna do it!

I'm still taking computer training to learn how to use Jaws and a
braille display with a regular computer. How I'm doing depends on
your point of view. My teacher praises me highly and seems so
happy. I don't feel as optimistic. I still struggle with just
about everything I do on the PC. It feels like I'll never be
proficient with it.

We finally started Dragon Natural Speak. This allows me to
dictate my blogs or other documents. It's going better than
anyone expected. Of course, Dragon is learning my voice and makes
the silliest errors. That doesn't bother me. Mostly I laugh and
correct the mistake. I also post about them on Facebook. I like
to share the joy about goofy things this program does.

I want to practice with Dragon at home. The problem is that my
desk is in the living room. I live with a 12 year old. Silence is
not something you often hear in my apartment. I need a quiet
atmosphere so Dragon can understand me.

I don't even have a computer chair most of the time. The exercise
ball Joseph uses as a computer chair has a leak. He's been
stealing my chair.

On Monday when he was at Boy Scouts, I reclaimed my chair and
took advantage of the silence to dictate two paragraphs of a new
blog. It's taken me all week to get back to it. Now Joseph is
with his father. I've got my chair, a quiet apartment, old
headphones, new headphones and a lot to say. Guess what? Dragon
won't work!

I tried this. I tried that. Dragon won't roar. That's why I
decided to sing my own version of Adam Sandler's "Love Stinks."

My BrailleNote Apex is doing well. I love this machine. But it
doesn't have the deaf-blind software that would allow me to do
text messages or use it as a braille TTY. It's also limited,
especially with the internet.

I'm tired of dragging my BrailleNote Deaf-Blind Communicator out
with me whenever I leave the house. It's big, slow and doesn't do
as much. I need it for the deaf-blind software. The DBC is my
only access to text messages. Too bad it's dying.

I can maybe send a text message and maybe receive one. You never
know what the machine will do. That's not good. I can't rely on a
totally unreliable device.

Sooner or later, I'm going to get an IPhone to use with my Apex.
The future is so bright... but I have to wait. There's a federal
communications program known as the National Deaf-Blind Equipment
Distribution Program. Can you say that three times without
passing out? That's why the program is also called I-Can-Connect.
There's no doubt about it, ICC rules! They will purchase an
IPhone and small braille display and train me on how to use it
with both the Apex and little display. It's better than
Christmas, but you have to wait for it.

I'm in that waiting stage now. I don't think the order has been
placed yet. I'm eager. I'm annoyed. I want my equipment, and I
want it now! I'm only half being a princess. The loss of reliable
access to text messages has hit me hard. I need a new system
before I lose what little I have.

I don't plan to get rid of my DBC when I get the new IPhone.
There is one thing the DBC can do better than any other
equipment, in my opinion, anyway. It is an excellent braille TTY.
I plan to keep it around just for making land-line and relay
service phone calls.

Of course, there's a flaw in that plan. Several cells on the DBC
braille display are malfunctioning - including the very first
cell. Extra or missing dots make it hard to read. I have no
warranty on that device. It will cost a lot of money to fix.
Maybe it will be cheaper to buy a used machine and add my
software. Can that even be done? I don't know. This is a problem
that can wait for another day.

My rant is finished. Tomorrow Dragon will work, and I can finish
my blog. Or it won't work, and I'll pull out my hair. Don't
worry, I need a hair-cut. There's one thing I know for sure -- I
can't get that stupid Adam Sandler song out of my head!

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