You are probably not surprised that Gus slipped in an episode of Audio Tidbits on us. I don’t think he knows yet that I know about the last episode that he slipped in. At least he sent this one to me before just posting it. Who knows that Gus is a philosopher. He has a fun take on the everlasting success that’s there for all of us. I finish up with a success tune from Kevin, so please enjoy.
Hey Tidbitters, Welcome to Audio Tidbits.
It’s Gus here, taking a turn at hosting the podcast.
Gary doesn’t have time right now to record an episode for you, so I have slipped behind the microphone to give it a try.
Ok, that’s not quite right. Actually, it’s not even close to not right. I didn’t tell Gary that I was highjacking his microphone and recording this episode.
What do you think? Just how annoyed with me do you think he’s going to be when he finds out what I’ve done?
It’s kind of that old thing where sometimes foregiveness is easier to come by than permission, not that I’ve tried the permission route. Maybe I’ll try that next time, if there is a next time. I for sure hope that there will be a next time.
Since it’s too soon to start worrying about the next time, I best get on with this time. …
I have a new co-host. He’s Gus from Sweden. He wasn’t missing. It’s just that I never knew he was anywhere. How we made a connection is a long story, but the short version is that he wasn’t and now he is, here for all to enjoy. I hope you give him a hardy Tidbitter’s welcome.
What if the witch in the box is you or at least indistinguishable from you?
If, like me, you can’t see, there are quite a few annoying problems that pop up; and they all are due to not being able to see. I’m sure that either of us could make a very long list. A number of little frustrations would be on both of our lists, but there would be some that show up only on one of our lists. We each have our own pet peeves.
For me, most of my can’t see annoyances can be put into only a few categories. What is it? Where is it? Which one is it? How does it work; and more to the point, how can I get it to work for me?
First, let’s get some perspective. Everyone has similar annoyances whether or not they can see. Being irritated by this and that now and then is liberally spread around for all of us. It’s easy to get the feeling that life has dealt us a worse deal than everyone else, but that’s just not true. The world is more accommodating to some of us than to others of us for sure. It is what it is. If we were to make a list of the ten worst limitations we might have, we might think that not being able to see would be at the top of the list, but that’s mostly because we haven’t experienced the other nine. My point is that coming up short in the seeing department only means that I’ll just have to figure out some other way to know what it is, where it is, which one it is and how to make it work for me.
Here’s the good news. Let’s call what, where, which one, and using it the big four – That’s the big four annoyances due to not being able to see, of course. I don’t have to puzzle out the big four for myself. If you insist on figuring them out for yourself, have at it. For me, I’m happy to know that others have already figured them out so I can just use their strategies and solutions. I’m sure that either of us could likely figure out ways around the big four by ourselves, but why bother? We can just use someone else’s strategy, modifying it if necessary. Easy Peasy.
The solution to “What is it?” and “Which one is it?” is not complicated. Open the Aira or Be My Eyes app on your smart phone and ask the agent or volunteer to take a look and tell you what it is or which one it is. We discussed those options in the last episode of Blind How. They also may be able to help you to find something that you dropped or just can’t find, if you know approximately where it is. You will recall that they are also usually willing to read something for you, if it is not too long or overly private. But there are other options.
You won’t be surprised to know that those other ways involve apps on your phone, using the phone’s camera. Although I don’t understand much about how they do what they do, it’s usually referred to as OCR or Optical Character Recognition or as A I or Artificial Intelligence. One of the most popular apps like this is called Seeing A I.
There are several vision assist apps available to us and they do various tasks with mixed results. They can read, identify money, tell us whether the lights are on or off, identify things around us, help figure out what color something is, identify products, read bar codes, and other things related to providing visual information. How well they will work for you can only be determined by you giving each app a serious try. I think you can try each app for free, but there is a cost if you want to keep using most of the apps. I can tell you that the more you use a particular app, the more effective it will become, as your skill with using it improves.
As with other apps, you will need to use your developing skills to find and try out the available visual assistance apps. As a place to start, try Applevis.com to find out about these apps and how to use them. There are also quite a few blindness related podcasts that will add to your explorations. And searching Google for “OCR” and “Blind” is likely to point you in helpful directions.
If I’m leaving you short, leaving you annoyed, I already mentioned that I’m not going to hold your hand, step by step through the options available to you for visual assistance, or for anything else for that matter. I’m eager to point out what kinds of things are out there, ways you can do what you want to do by yourself. I am suggesting which mountains you may want to climb, but when and if you climb them is up to you. There is one thing that I can pretty much guarantee though. If you successfully climb any one of the possible mountains available to you, you will find that climbing the rest is merely a matter of your personal interest and motivation. Each mountain is still a long way up; but once you have been there and done that, the next mountain is just another mountain; and you are now a competent mountain climber.
(Guest Post) For those of us who can’t see, getting what we need and most of what we want is at times quite challenging. Sure, it’s challenging for people who see fine too. But for us, there are a couple of additional factors requiring extra attention. Let’s give them some thought here.
First, I’m only talking about those things we need or want that we would simply do or get for ourselves, if we could see. As it turns out, this can be a long list. I have discussed that in earlier episodes on BlindHow.net, so don’t need to review the list here. Suffice it to say that we each have a lot of items on our “would be easy if I could see” list.
For any of the items on our list, we have options. The easiest option is to skip the particular item, just get along without doing it or getting it. For me and most likely for you, the do nothing option is sometimes tempting and occasionally the choice we make. What we need or want is just not worth the bother right now. And that’s okay occasionally. People who can see do the same thing now and then. Whatever they want or need is just not worth the time and energy it would take right now. Their motivation is not strong enough, although they could do whatever without much extra effort.
But for most of us who can’t see and most of the time, doing nothing is not an acceptable option. Even if we can’t see, we are determined to do what needs done, determined to get what we want. I discussed that decision in the last episode of Blind How.
But how do we do that, how do we do what we want to do, get what we want? There may be more than three options, but I know of three general approaches that usually cover the challenge for me. First, I can get someone who can see to do it for me or get it for me. Second, I can enlist the help of someone who can see to assist me with doing it myself or getting it myself. Third, I can develop the skills and strategies I need to do it myself or to get it by myself.
It’s important for me to emphasize that each of these three options is perfectly legitimate at times and in some situations or circumstances. At other times, insisting on one option over another may be inappropriate or counterproductive. Those of us who can’t see need all three options and the ability and determination to use them as needed and as appropriate.
Each of these three options requires good communication skills and especially good conversational skills. Why? For the first option, having someone who can see act on our behalf includes our being able to help them understand what we need or want and what we think would be the best way for them to proceed doing for us.
For the second option, having someone who can see assist us with whatever we need or want involves even more and continuing communication. As for the third option, think of observing someone who can see while he or she does what you want to do, actively participating while you work together to do what you want done and then working increasingly independently over days, months or years to perfect your ability to do it by yourself.
Here’s something to consider. Each of us, whether we can see or not, have needs, problems and vulnerabilities beyond our individual ability to cope. We all need other people with skills, talents and resources who are available and willing to help us compensate for our limitations. Our challenge is to learn about those people and resources and then access them for our benefit. Meeting this challenge for those of us who can’t see, among other things, rests firmly on our ability, and on the ability of those who advocate on our behalf,to effectively communicate our special and general needs and wants, and the best ways to satisfy those needs and wants. Parents do this for their children who can’t see, teachers do this for their students and you and I will either do it for ourselves or it likely will just not happen.
If it is to be, it’s up to me, getting people who can see, to:
• Do it for me,
• Get it done by working with me, or
• You know, don’t you? Sure, I’ll just have to figure out how to do it for me. If you have a tip for doing it myself that you are willing to share or a question about how to do it yourself, pop it into an email and send it to Tips@BlindHow.net.