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To amplify my point a
littlefurther, I have a blind, technophobic ladyfriend who lives
in an assisted living facility. She has been in complete
lockdown since mid-March because of Covid restrictions.
Visitors are not permitted to enter her tiny studio apartment,
except for facility staff and medical personell who are wearing
protective garb and equipment. She is not allowed to leave her
apartment for any reason. Meals are left outside her door.
It's like living in solitary confinement in a maximum security
prison. All this for $8000 a month. Her ten-year old Windows 7
computeris beginning to show signs of old age. Who is going to
set up a new computer for her if the old one dies? The
management of the facility has already told her that if her
computer, which she is totally dependent on to communicate with
the outside word, finally dies, she will just have to learn to
live without it. Thank goodness, she still has a working land
line phone, because her Jitterbug flip phone has also been
giving her trouble. So getting sighted tech help may be
difficult to impossible right now for many blind computer and
cell phone users.
On 10/19/2020 9:37 AM, Gerald Levy via
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 chauffeur?
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 disability?
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 results.
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
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
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.
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
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 useful.
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
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?