Category Archives: Uncategorized

Because Those That Help Occasionally Need It Too

Because Those That Help Occasionally Need It Too

Some of us know exactly “what we want to do when we grow up”. Others are still figuring it out. In the case of one of my friends Epi not only does she know what she wants to do, but it is clear through the passion in her writing that it is a calling. Epi is trying to get into Medic School to finish her education and continue on her path in prehospital emergency care. Due to personal reasons it is possible she may not get to start class as intended. Bernice has started a campaign to help Epi with her financial situation. I know money is tight for all of us, but if you can help at all it will make a huge difference.

I can’t say it any better than Bernice, so go read her original post and if you are so inclined please help however you can.

She’s a fantastic EMT, and will be a fabulous Medic too. I know I’d trust her if one of my loved ones was in need of EMS.

NFB March for Independence

NFB March for Independence

Hello Friends,

On July 6 the National Federation of the Blind will hold the third annual March for Independence. This march, a walk for opportunity, is one of our organization’s chances to help raise money to support our programs for the coming year. Programs that promote the independence and inclusion of the blind in society. You’ve heard Treva and I say it before, and we try to live it in our lives, we firmly believe that with the right training and opportunity blindness can be reduced to an inconvenient characteristic.

We’ve talked before about how the work of the NFB has made a difference in our lives. The collective experience and advocacy efforts of thousands of blind people have given us opportunities we may not otherwise have. Working for the NFB our jobs bring us into contact daily with other people that are benefiting from the work of the NFB. Treva works with young blind people who are involved in the mentoring program and get connected with competent blind mentors who can guide and teach them. The mentors develop relationships with blind youth and inspire confidence in them that they can do anything they want with the right training and opportunity. The work Tony participates in with the Access Technology Team is changing how blind students access online course materials that have not previously been accessible and helping to connect users with technology that will allow them to do the jobs they want to do.

We don’t tell you this, or ask you to help the organization, to ask you to help pay our sallaries. We want you to understand that we are deeply committed to changing the lives of the blind and promote the inclusion of properly trained blind people in society. The NFB has many programs that make a difference on the local level. In fact, much of the money raised from this effort will be divided amongst local affiliates and chapters. Through grants, another portion will be again distributed to the states to create programs for blind youth, parents of blind children, and other local programs that impact blind people directly.

Additional funds raised from the March will go toward developing programs to promote Braille literacy for the blind. Two-thousand nine marks the 200th anniversary of Louis Braille’s birth, and we are striving to change the literacy rate among the blind. Currently only 10% of blind children in the United States are being taught Braille. That means 90% of blind children will graduate high school being functionally illiterate. Audio books and computer driven speech output have their place, but Braille is the only way for a blind person to learn gramatical structure, syntax, spelling, and proper formatting. You can’t hear the difference when misspelling “here” and “hear” with synthetic speech, nor will spell check pick up on either of these as incorrect, but you can feel that with a Braille display.

You know Treva and I do most things together, as a team, this is no different. We are asking you to partner with us to help change the lives of blind people inΒ  this country. Tough economic times may impact what you are able to give, and we understand that, but know that any amount helps. Please visit, click on Sponsor A Marcher and give to either one of us.

Thank you for your support.

Tony and Treva

Dallas FD Automated Dispatch

Dallas FD Automated Dispatch

I’m currently in Dallas, TX for a couple days of teaching a company about web accessibility for the blind. As usual I havethe scanner with me.

When I was here last July I noticed that Dallas Fire (it may be the county, but I’m pretty sure city) does an interesting thing with their radio notification of calls. Their CAD system sendsout an automated message that seems to be put together from samples of someone recording unit and address numbers, street names, and chief complaints. I assume they are also using pagers, MDTs, or “rip and run” printers to get the calls out and using the automated system so other units know what’s happening. (I assume this because the alert tone is standard and not a two-toe or other individual unit notification).

I mentioned this on Twitter and a couple people asked about it, so I recorded a couple of pages. Quality sucks cuz I did it with the cell.

I remember reading about something like this during my phase of wanting to be a public safety dispatcher (yeah, okay, that’s not really at all a dead dream), but had never heard it in action. I’m curious what my public safety readers think of this. I personally think it’s a little hard to understand (because it’s sort of choppy).

Dallas Fire Department Automatic Dispatching

What Not To Do

What Not To Do

If you desire to end your day at the office without frustration, take note, the following is not how you send a report to a colleague for proofing.

  1. Write report
  2. Click File, Send To, Recipient as E-mail
  3. Enter e-mail address in the “To” field
  4. Accidentally start typing the message in the attachment field; erase beginning of message
  5. Write message in body field.
  6. Send message
  7. Close document without saving because: a) it’s attached to the e-mail and you likely won’t need it again; b) you’re trying to answer a question on the phone, and; c) you’re a moron.
  8. get an e-mail from colleague stating, “Sure, now try attaching the file”

*headdesk* CRAP!!! Yeah, deleted the attachment as well as the unintended text. Thankfully it was only a page and I can rewrite it.

Seven Years

Seven Years

Every once in a while an event happens and it has enough of an impact that people ask “where were you when…” I doubt any of us alive on September 11th, 2001 will forget where we were when we heard that our country had been viciously attacked.

It was my Freshman year of college. My roommate and I had left the television on overnight. When I woke up, I heard a news report that sounded incredibly confused and disjointed. I fell back asleep for about a half an hour, thinking that I was having a strange dream. When I finally woke and realized what was happening I couldnt believe it was real.

I actually went to my class and most of us were sitting around talking about what happened. Everyone was in shock. When the professor came in and started class as if nothing happened people asked him what he was thinking. His response, “If we stop moving on they win.” Most of us were pretty bugged by that.

Too many lives were lost that day in acts of senseless terrorism. Too many lives changed forever. Never forget what happened.

Epi linked to a post from Lucy which tells a moving story of how a group of eighth graders learned that Freedom Isn’t Free.

My Chaotic Schedule

My Chaotic Schedule

First, thanks to all of you who wished me happy birthday and celebrated it with me by sending me birthday wishes. It was really neat to get all of the e-mails.

Tony planned what was supposed to be a surprise dinner out for me, but I found out about it a few hours before it. I always find out about the surprises
that Tony tries to plan. I’ve challenged him to plan a birthday surprise that I don’t find out about before the event. I had a lot of fun! There were 13
people there. We went to a nice Italian restaurant. Tony got me talking crayons, a tactile coloring book, and a 16G SD card for my birthday. I’ve thought
since then that I should do some coloring, but unfortunately I haven’t had time.

During the week of July 21-27, I helped out with a Junior Science Academy at the National Center. We hosted 28 blind kids from grades 3-6 and their parents.
While the kids did science related activities, the parents worked on learning about how to work with their kids to enable them to be more independent.
We taught the parents cane travel, Braille, advocacy, and more. We taught the kids science by helping them use alternative techniques to explore and experiment.
We had 10 blind mentors to be role models and work with the children. I was much more involved in the program than I had originally anticipated, and most
days I was at work until around 11:00 PM. It was a really neat learning experience for me, and I had a lot of fun. It was really exciting to see the kids
learn from me and other blind mentors. I was also really amazed at the growth that I saw in the parents.

Last week I caught up on some mentoring work that I had neglected during the previous week. Then on Friday I went to Utah for a mentoring event there.
I had a blast. They had there event on a lake at Jordanelle State Park. The Utah contingent persuaded me to go tubing. I tried to convince them that the
mentors and mentees all needed to go before I went, but they ignored me. I really need to have more control over them. πŸ™‚ It was actually amazing. I’d
never been tubing before this. I kept telling them to make the boat go faster. However, I’m paying for that because my arms are sore today.

Tomorrow through Wednesday I’m headed for what I think is going to be a boring but necessary conference in Arlington VA. It’s a conference hosted by the
Rehabilitation Services Administration, which is a government agency. Hopefully we’ll learn about more funding oppertunities for the mentoring program.

On Friday I leave for another mentoring event that is in Austin, TX. This one is going to include us working with mentees on some job readiness and travel
skills. Maybe when I get back from that I’ll have time to take a break. Ha ha! I do love all of the traveling for work. I’ll keep all of you posted on
where I’m going next.

Hitting the Road

Hitting the Road

I survived grocery shopping… mostly… and I realize I owe a post on the events of the convention. You will get it assuming I survive my trip to Brookville or Ceder Grove or wherever this client actually lives (according to the people in my office it’s anywhere between here and the Kentucky line :-)). Look like we might be driving through some fun weather too. Best make sure the HT is reprogrammed from Atlanta with local stuff.

Only 2 more days until HP 7 comes out. Well, more like 40 hours and 10 minutes. Not that I’m counting.

NFB March for Independence

NFB March for Independence

I know I haven’t written in almost forever, but I have a huge post that I’m finishing up to make up for it. In the meantime I wanted to post this in case anyone is interested in sponsoring us for this exciting event.

As most of you know, Treva and I are active members of the National Federation of the blind and will be attending our annual convention in Atlanta in just a few short weeks. At our 2007 national convention the NFB is going to have a 5K walk to raise money for our Imagination Fund. Walkers must raise at least $250 to enter into this March for Independence. we’re not good at asking for money, but you know that we are firm believers in what the NFB stands for. Would you sponsor either of us by contributing towards our $500 goal? If so, we would be most grateful.

If you would like more information please reply to this email, or call one of us. Your sponsorship is fully tax deductible and a receipt will be provided. Online donations will receive automatic acknowledgements.

Since we are both marching, you can feel free to contribute to whichever of us you like best or just pick at random. We promise we won’t hold any grudges based on who you pick. πŸ™‚

To make an online donation please visit one of the following addresses or give us a call if you have questions.


Thank you for supporting our efforts as part of the nations largest and oldest consumer organization of the blind.

I promise a post about my new job is forthcoming! Don’t yell at me SL πŸ™‚