Archives for January 2008

Amazon Kindle

Amazon now has a portable wireless reading device that has readability like a printed page. Apparently, there is already a rather extensive library of books, newspapers, blogs and more that you can purchase and read. I like that it doesn’t rely on WiFi. Judging from the images, it doesn’t appear to enlarge fonts all that much, which is surprising to me given its $400 price tag! Maybe a future version will come with more accessibility for the blind and/or low-vision?

EDIT: The Kindle has dropped down to $359 and Amazon is currently taking another $100 off if you apply for their credit card.

EDIT #2: Surpass Hosting is having a haiku writing contest for a Kindle! Contest is now over.

Staring Contest

Thankfully, since I live alone, there’s no way to document her shoving her foot up my nose while I was sleeping off allergy medicine. Instead, I give you some photos of what greeted me when I awoke. I don’t put much into this vigil, by the way, she stares at me constantly. If it weren’t so cute, it’d be kind of creepy.

Yara staring at me with her ears back“I do not approve of this being sick thing.”

Yara - vigil“You moved, which means you’re all better now. Yay!”

Yara staring at me with her right ear back and the other alert“Hey, now, I’m comfy here. Who said you could get out of bed?”

I’m sure my not being active was quite boring for her. Poor thing. I must say, I did love that her ears went up after I started snapping photos of her and the minute I moved to get out of bed, they went right back down. Clearly, I make a good pillow.

No Rest for the Sick

Stephen Kuusisto recently wrote a post on his blog about not sentimentalizing your dog and it honestly rubbed me the wrong way for a few reasons; the major one being the matter-of-fact way he dismisses how profound a relationship a person and dog can have. Perhaps I’m suffering from an overabundance of lightheartedness, but it truly amazes me that there exist people who depend so much on an animal and then so casually disregard the very bond that is between them. Apparently, such a thought is sentimental? Color me insulted.

In more ways than I could ever detail, Dolly and I were very attune with one another. I’ve said on several occasions how much she was more an extension of my very body than “just a dog.” And not just as a guide. She always seemed very responsive to my mood. If I were feeling low, without any prompting whatsoever, she’d come over and snuggle next to me or drop one of her favorite toys in my lap. When I was sick, she’d be content to just lie by my bed and maybe rest her head on the side just to look at me, as if by instinct knowing not to smother or pester me.

Of course, that’s not to say that every guide dog team has so deep a connection. Yara most certainly is not so willing to let me rest in bed regardless of how sick I feel. In fact, today she made this point quite clear by sticking her cold, wet nose in my armpit and trying to shove her rather large paw up my nose. The little beast even stole all the blankets off my bed — and I was still in it! Still, she was a very good girl and didn’t leave the confines of my bedroom nor destroy its contents while I slept.

I don’t necessarily believe either dog was concerned for my health based on their behavior and actions, but I do fail to see how a cavalier attitude makes one dog more “self-reliant and confident” than another. And, okay, I admit it, I am a bit heartsick to think that these wonderful animals don’t give a damn about me when I have such strong feelings about them. Honestly, I don’t buy into it. I don’t think it makes me over sentimental; I think it speaks to the depth of our partnership. And even if it is sentimentalizing them, I fail to see how that is a negative. If there are dogs deserving of such a thing, it would no doubt be a guide dog.

ZoomText USB

ZoomText is one of the leading adaptive software programs for screen enlargement. I’ve been using it for over ten years now and one of my biggest gripes about it is that you must acquire a license for every single installation. That may not sound so bad, but take for instance my own experience: I had three licenses purchased and installed a copy on both my desktop and laptop. Then my desktop died and had to be reformatted. At the time I didn’t think about that I was using another license to reinstall my copy of ZoomText, but when I brought the program to work to have it put on my computer there, I wasn’t able to because I’d exhausted my licenses. Granted, a quick phone call to AI Squared resolved this dilemma, it was still an inconvenience and I ended up wasting an entire day at work.

Today I was reading the latest issue of The Braille Forum and saw an announcement for a new version of ZoomText on a USB drive. Not only can ZoomText now be brought quite literally anywhere, one doesn’t need to purchase multiple licenses to install it more than once. I’m wondering how plausible it is to get that as my next upgrade.

Now I just want to see a portable version of JAWS!

Obligatory Yara Photos

Because Kathy asked to “see Yara” — I give you some photos:

Yara lying on the rug near my desk, gnawing on a bone

Playing a game of fetch Yara has turned her head to the left, avoiding the camera

During a game of fetch Yara sits on her bed as sort of 'safe zone'

Getting candids of this dog is nigh impossible. Every time I try she stops doing whatever she was doing to stare at me!

Also, because you can never have enough cute in one day, check out this adorable chocolate lab puppy. Seriously, if those green eyes don’t melt you into a puddle, you might possibly be dead.