locked Re: Amazon: Am I the only one that feels this way?

chris judge

And can you call and book a ride on a whim, or do you have to plan your trips in advance. Here we have the access-a-bus, but you have to book your trips days in advance, so when I travel I use the same system my sighted counterparts use, it's called taxi, or, hopefully in the not too distant future, uber or lift.

Chris Judge

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: October 19, 2020 10:46 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Amazon: Am I the only one that feels this way?

But it is often inefficient and is not remotely equivalent to having your own private car and chauffeur, available to take you anywhere, any time. If you have to wait twenty minutes or half an hour to be picked up, and twenty minutes or half an hour to be picked up to return home, that is hardly reasonable access to travel.

Where can you find help? The law can't solve everyone's problems. {Perhaps a local computer club would help. Perhaps an amateur radio club would help.
Perhaps a reader would help. All these ways are assuming you don't have a friend who could or would help.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gerald Levy via groups.io
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2020 8:37 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Amazon: Am I the only one that feels this way?

This is not quite true. As a blind person, you are most definitely entitled
to a special car and"chauffeur". It's called paratransit, and it is a
service availabel for reasonable fare in all major cities includingChicago.
Non-disabled residents cannot take advantage of this service. So what if
the car isn't a Rolls Royce? It will still take you where you want to go.
So your argument isspecious. And by the way, sighted consumers who have
dexterity or other health issues that make using a touchscreen impossible
are just as entitled to accessible smart phones with tactile keypads or
voice command capability as blind consumers. And where do you find sighted
help to set up a smart speaker for you, anyway? My sighted elderly
next-door neighbor wouldn't know a Google Home mini from a kumquat. Besides,
because of the surging pandemic in most parts of the country, it may be
difficult to impossible to find a tech-savvy sighted person who is willing
to visit your home right now. My tech savvy friend would be happy to set one
up for me. Except that he is currently in lockdown and quarantine for the
foreseeable future, and refuses to use public transit to visit me, because
he believes it would be risky. And good luck trying to get help from a
social services agency.


On 10/19/2020 8:31 AM, Gene wrote:

And I can't afford a chauffeur. Am I entitled, because I'm blind and can't
afford one, to have one provided, on 24 hour call on accessibility grounds?
given the amount of money I have access to on my fixed income, a new car
would be an economic burden and a used car would be something I wouldn't
want to spend money on. Am I entitled to one or a free state owned car and

And what about all the sighted people who can't afford new or reasonably
afford used cars? Do we, as blind people deserve one on accessibility
grounds while denying cars to everyone else because they don't have a

At some point, the law stops being able to solve every conceivable problem,
and trying to do so may yield perverse or manifestly unfair or unjust

And what about sighted people who can't or won't use cellular phones?
Should they have an accessibility cause of action in this case?
Accessibility law doesn't and has never said, that every conceivable
disability problem must be addressed. It uses, as the law so often does the
reasonable standard. Accessibility is to be achieved if it does not place
an undue burden on the entity in question. Sometimes, the disabled person
has to find a way to solve a problem.

If someone sets up a Google Voice, it can be used from then on accessibly by
the blind person. And I believe the question of using an IPhone out of the
box has been discussed on lists I follow before and blind people can start
voiceover out of the box without sighted assistance.


On 10/19/2020 6:57 AM, Gerald Levy via groups.io wrote:

An Apple IPhone starts at $700. To me, this is expensive. Accessible? I
understand thatthe the newly released IPhone 12 has no physical home
button, so how would a blind consumer turn on Voice Over without sighted
help? Oh yes, I can buy a refurbed IPhone 7 or 8 online for a few hundred
dollars, still expensive by my standards, that does have a physical home
button, but probably not at an Apple store. And kindly provide the make and
model of an Android smart phone that has physical buttons that can be used
to set up one of these smart speakers. I am a senior who finds touchscreens
difficult to impossible to master for a variety of reasons, and so like many
other blind consumers, prefers a cell phone witha tactile keypad.


On 10/19/2020 7:02 AM, John Dowling wrote:
I'm going to have to disagree with you there.
It's very easy to set up both an Amazon echo and google home. There
respected apps on both ios and android are very accessible.
May I ask, what smartphones were you referring to when you said expensive
and inaccessible.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having
positive results. -Willie Nelson

On Oct 19, 2020, at 6:46 AM, Gerald Levy via groups.io
mailto:bwaylimited=verizon.net@groups.io wrote:

The bottom line is that both the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers
were never really designed with accessibility in mind in the first place.
To set up a Google Home device, you need an expensive smart phone, which,
itself may not be all that accessible. The Amazon Echo can allegedly be set
up by computer, but I have not seen any rports from blind consumers
successfully setting it up this way without sighted help. Large tech
companies seem to be sliding backwards when it comes to accessibility. For
instance, PayPal, which claims that they are dedicated to making their web
site accessible, no longer offers telephone customer support for disabled
customers who encounter problems with the site. The blindness advocacy
organizations have been uncharacteristically quiet about this issue.
Despite the problems you have described, they have never demonstrated any
inclination to take legal action against these companies to force them to
make their products, apps and customer support more accessible and
blind-friendly. Probably because their wimpy lawyers are afraid to
challenge big bad Amazon and Google and the likes of Jeff Bezos and Eric
Schmidt. They are only interested in litigation if they see a big payday
for themselves. For instace, years ago when the NFB successfully sued
Target to force them to make their web site more accessible, they pocketed
$250K in punitive damages, and since then have not bothered to regularly
inspect the Target site to ensure that it remains accessible. In factthe
Target site, at least from my perspective, has become progressively less
accessible since thesettlement. So we blind consumers really have nobody
fighting on our behalf for better accessibility.


On 10/19/2020 3:58 AM, Leedy Diane Bomar wrote:

I believe in inclusion. Amazon has improved significantly over the last ten
years in this area. We can now use their hardward devices, including those
with screens. But, they still have a long way to go as far as their app and
web site are concerned.

My issue is a mindset and culture concern. We are still considered a
"special" group. In other words, they still think that a separate website is
what we SHOULD prefer, though very few use it. I believe that most of you
would agree the using the app and website should be designed correctly so
that it is equally accessible and usable for blind and sighted users.
Separation is never equal.

So, why is it that when one calls the departments that provide customer
service on using their hardware devices, which include accessible features
such as voice view, the reps are not trained on those modes and want to send
us to the Accessibility Department? Tonight when trying to set up my new
Echo Show, the rep insisted that I could only use it by visually reading the
screen. She was adamant about this fact, though I knew that wasn't the case.
The standard help file they send out has no reference to using the device
non-visually, not even a link! The Accessibility department is a misnomer,
in fact, a rep from that department referred to it as "search and rescue"
which may be a more apt title. They certainly don't have the tools to allow
them to use their apps with voice on either iOS or Android! At best they can
give descriptions of products and put them in your cart, which is often

But, am I wrong in believing that the device reps should be trained in using
those devices by a blind person? Shouldn't they even know that it is
possible, and research how to set it up?

I had this issue with my first Kindle Fire, three years ago, and raised
quite a ruckus about it, and hoped it had been resolved. But, it obiously
has not. Tonight, I spoke with a supervisor who confirmed that the reps are
not trained or even told that a blind person can make the screen be
accessible by voice output.

Am I the only one that is bothered by this attitude and its results? Am I
the only one who writes to the Accessibility development team with
complaints and suggestions. Several years ago, I even wrote to Jeff Bezos,
and was contacted by a moron from their Executive team, who was supposedly
in charge of "accessibility". He said things like: "they were really lucky
to find me." "Why don't you just use the special access site?" "I used to
have a blind friend" and worst of all was going to hire Freedom Scientific,
who he had met at CSUN, to come in and give JAWS training to a group of
developers while blindfolded! I asked him why they needed to be blindfolded,
instead of just turning off the screen, and his reply was "but then, they
could see the keyboard!" I pointed out that the developers needed training
on coding for accessibility.more than learning JAWS, but he was a
know-it-all. He refused to attend consumer conventions, saying that he had
no time for that. I don't know if he is still there, but, he caused more
problems than fixing anything.

Anyway, I am sorry that this seems like a useless rant, but, I would like
input from others, of how to address this mindset problem. Is it just me,
and an unrealistic belief in full inclusion, or, is it a problem for others?


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