Archive for July, 2012

Lou Gehrig May Have Been the Luckiest Man On the Face Of the Earth, but I met the Dumbest Man On the Face Of the Earth!

July 10, 2012

Nash and I headed in to the city today, and what a relief as it was not for a doctor appointment or a hospital visit. We did start out going to the Animal Medical Center, but not for a Nash check up. We had to pick up his allergy meds. Unfortunately, they weren’t going to be able to fit him in to get his nails clipped. When we got to the dispensary only one set of Nash’s pills were there. Yup he is on two kinds of allergy pills. Poor little guy. They paged his vet, and she came out, and I snuck in a by the way, any chance you might be able to clip his nails? Of course, how could anyone resist the Nashee, and she was very kind to fit him in. His nails had gotten real long which was a problem, because when I would lay down with him within two hours of his feeding time Nash smacks me I assume telling me not to fall asleep as it is in the two hour window of his dinner time. I don’t mind the playful smacking, but the nails had gotten a little painful.

After our visit to the Animal Medical Center we headed over to the cross town bus. It really must have been our day because the bus pulled up immediately. Now Nash is trained to go to the door when I tell him the door, and like a good guide dog he went to the bus door, the only problem it was the rear door on the bus. I realized it and told him sorry pal unlike you, I actually have to pay to ride the bus, so we have to go to the front door. We were greeted by the bus driver, and he said, haven’t seen you in awhile. I said, ugh yeah we had to move to Queens. The people on the bus were so nice to move over and make room for Nash and me at the front of the bus. Wow, three things in a row going my way. As soon as we sat down, Nash let out a big sneeze, one passenger chuckled politely and said I’ve never seen a dog sneeze. Hey, he has allergies.

We took the cross town bus over to the Apple Store. My iPhone has been having a few problems, and I finally had some time to get over to the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue. I decided to test out a new app called Blind Square, it is another GPS specifically designed for blind people. I found the Apple Store on it, and set the tracking on to see how it worked. The cool thing about the app is even while we were on the bus it was telling me stores and restaurants we were passing, but I am not sure of how accurate the accuracy is, but it is nice to know what sores are around you. I had a blue tooth earpiece in, so I could hear what Blind Square was announcing. We got off the bus on 57th and Fifth Ave. I wasn’t sure what side of the treat the Apple Store was on as I had never been to this one. I have always heard that this particular Apple Store was an absolute mad house, so I have always avoided it. Another cool thing about Blind Square is the app will tell you the direction of the store you are tracking according to the hands on a clock. We were heading North towards twelve o’clock so when the app told me the Apple Store was at two and than three o’clock I was able to tell it was on the East side of the street. The only thing that didn’t work well, is it kept jumping between 200 and four feet sometimes telling me the latter number as I was getting closer to the store. When I was right outside the Apple Store the app still told me I was 60 feet away from the store. I have traded tweets with the developer of the app and this is something that is supposed to be fixed in the next update to the app. The app definitely has a lot of potential.

Wholly tornado of people Batman. It was packed Disney World style with people in the Apple Store. Of course, the Apple Store staff was very helpful and took us right over to the Genius Bar, but I was able to tell that it was an absolute zoo in there. The Apple Store reinstalled the latest version of IOS so hopefully that will fix the battery life, Siri, and speaker phone issues I have been having. Only time will tell. It is amazing how much you can sense going around you. I asked the man helping me if he knew how much all the Apple products in the store were valued at? He said, he couldn’t tell me. I said you don’t know or you can’t say? He said he wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I than said, so how’s your security? If that Apple store gets robbed tonight, I might be in a little trouble.

Nash and I then headed over to the Lighthouse on 59th Street. It was so great to walk all over the city today. When you get banished to Queens you really enjoy all the energy of the city when you are there. We got to the Lighthouse front desk and the man sitting there asked where we were going. I told him to the Light Expo. Of course he had no clue what I was talking about. I told him the exhibit going on here today. Still no clue. Then the dimly lit lightbulb in his head went off and must have told him the thing on the second floor that all the people are going to. He told me it was on the second floor, and said take the elevator. Wait for it, wait for it, wait for it. He than actually said while working at the front desk of the Lighthouse an organization where blind people are coming through all hours of the day, and me who is standing there with dark sunglasses and a guide dog, he says, go where I am pointing! I said what, he says where I am pointing. The only thing that could come out of my mouth was you could be the stupidest man on the face of the earth! I know the Lighthouse isn’t going to shell out the big bucks for the people who work at the front of the desk, but are you kidding me, Go where I am pointing. And they say there are no jobs out there, well fire this moron and than there will be one job available.

21st Century Communications and video Accessibility Act

July 3, 2012

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore. On July 1, 2012 the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act finally took effect. This act requires the Networks and a few of the top cable channels to provide about 40 hours a quarter of descriptive video programming, roughly about 4 hours a week in the Top 25 television markets. This is something that is long over due, consider how long television has offered close captioning for the hearing impaired, so why have the blind been ignored for so long?

I have been counting down the days until the act went in to place, and it is finally here. I began researching how to receive the programming with the descriptive video. You basically have to set your television to receive the SAP signal, no that’s not just for Spanish programming. There is a setting to receive the secondary English audio programming which I assume is an audio feed that has the audio described programming. So why am I mad as hell now that July 1 has come and gone?

Because I am not receiving the secondary audio programming. My anger is directed at a few companies and organizations. You would think that this law which had to be voted on by Congress to take effect would be a big deal, but it’s not! In my research, I discovered that freakin Canada has been providing audio described programming for over ten years to there blind citizens! England and Australia have also been providing described video for their blind citizens for many years. So why does a country that prides itself on always being there for other people and thinking we help the world care less about its own people with disabilities? So yeah, I am angry at the United States for taking so long to get this act passed.

My anger isn’t solely directed at Congress, as I mentioned I haven’t begun to receive the audio feed. I am a Time Warner Cable subscriber, so I had the fun task of calling the cable company today to find out what I had to do to get the described video. And we all know how much fun it is to call the cable company. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the customer service rep I was speaking with had at least heard of descriptive video. She told me they mentioned it briefly to them, but that was it. Are you kidding me, what did the meeting go like this. Ok everyone Congress is forcing us to provide descriptive video for those blind people out there, so you may get some phone calls about it, but we’re not going to tell you how to instruct those blind people to actually receive the audio described programming or what television shows will be described. Fantastic. That’s right, after holding for awhile, I was told they knew nothing about it, and with the holiday they will have to call me back on Friday. I’m not holding my breath for a call back from the cable company. It gets even better, as minutes after hanging up with Time Warner I received an automatic call from them to rate the service I received. I started to do the survey, and there was no way for me to express my displeasure as there were just options to press and no comments to make.So this is how much juice Congress has? They can pass a law but getting it implemented is a whole different issue. Speaking of which I recall about ten years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the United States had to make money accessible to people with disabilities. How’s that coming along? I also recall either a Supreme Court ruling or another useless ruling by Congress that all future technologies meaning future designs of TV’s, microwaves, DVD Players, etc had to be accessible to the blind. What the hell ever happened to that? I’m pretty sure that in the last five years the equipment manufacturers have produced a new model or two. And guess what none of them are more accessible to the blind. Yet in England and Australia they now have talking set top boxes and in England they have TVs that read the menus to the blind. What the fuck Congress could you be any more useless. Just passing a law and not enforcing it doesn’t change a thing. So yeah I am angry at Congress and the cable companies, but it doesn’t end there.

I can’t tell you how many times a week I receive an email from one of the blind organizations asking me to donate money. A lot of these organizations like The Foundation Fighting Blindness, American Federation For the Blind, National Federation of the Blind, etc do a lot of good work. But they also drop the ball a lot. These organizations are supposed to be looking out for the blind more than anyone. You would think with a historic act like the 21st Communications and Video Accessibility Act going in to place there would be a lot of press releases and news put out there instructing blind people how to receive the content. But of course there is nothing. You know what comes up when google Audio Descriptive Video? Definitions of what it is, Wikipedia on the history of, and resources for companies selling their services to describe videos. Not a thing on how a blind person can receive the descriptive video or what programs are being described. So yeah, my anger is also directed towards the blind organizations, as they should be at the front of a media storm getting this information out there. I guess they are just to busy putting together the next email I will receive asking for more money. Thanks for looking out for me. That last sentence was sarcasm.

On A Really Hot Day Give A Dog A Bone and Kick Back and Watch the Yankees Game

July 2, 2012

It’s definitely summer as a really bad heat wave hit New York this past weekend. How hot was it you ask? All I could think of was that really annoying Buster Pointdexter song Hot, Hot, Hot continuously going through my head, and you know that is not a pleasant song to have stuck in your head. If you are a regular reader of my blog, than you know how much Nash loves his bones. If you are not a regular reader what’s wrong with you? I had picked up a new bone for Nash, as you have to do so every so often. I gave Nash his new toy this weekend, he was so excited that I probably could have given him the bone with the plastic still on, as he couldn’t wait to get his paws on it.

If WordPress actually successfully uploaded the video, than you can click on it to watch Nash playing with his new bone. Unfortunately, WordPress is not completely accessible even though they claim to be, so I have no idea if the video successfully uploaded to this blog. If it has than you can see that my days of being a film maker are over. Hey this is a blind guy attempting to take video of Nash playing with his new bone. And what you hear in the beginning is me trying to get to the stop button on the phone, yes, that is Voiceover working. Not sure why they would think you might want to hear the VO being read in the video you are taking, so I doubt this video will go viral, but for those of you who know Nash, it will be nice for you to see him

On a cuteness scale, Nash would have shattered it this Saturday night. As it was around midnight, Nash was asleep in my bed as he usually is, and I was watching TV. Out of nowhere I heard Nash shake himself awake, than the leap from the bed to the floor, followed by the pitter patter of his paws as he entered the living room. I said, uh oh, here comes trouble. Kidding of course, as I thought Nash was coming out to play a little past doggy bedtime. Ends up Nash walked right past me and around the ottoman to where I keep his bones. I put them all there, as he does have access to them and that way I don’t step on them and slide across the floor. He has about five bones in the pile. Hey a guide dog has got to have choices. Nash went over to the pile, picked up his brand new bone, walked back past me and all the way back to the bedroom. He went around my bed to his bed the whole time with his new bone in his mouth. Than I heard him plop down and begin playing with his new bone. To cute and funny. He knew that he had a new bone, wanted to play with it, and even more impressively knew that he is not allowed to play with his bones in my bed. He did that once, and his chewing on the bone left a big wet area in the bed, not to pleasant to get in to. I kept expecting him to eventually try and take the new bone in to my bed, but he didn’t. He played with the bone for about an hour, so I am guessing he really loves the new bone. At the writing of this blog, the new bones whereabouts are unknown. Will have to go and try and find it for him, as sometimes he likes to knock it under the bed where he can’t get to it..