Category Archives: OTHER VIEWS

Beyond vision, stories from the mind by the blinds

Paintings We Wish We Could Frolic In

Jeff Hanson is one of a kind. At 20 years old, he developed his own painting style, gave $1M to charity, and his colorful, textured artwork business is booming.  At the heart of his success is the sense of joy he communicates through his creations. Bold, primary colored shapes seem to jump out of their frame, inviting us to a world of uplifting sensations.  Jeff brings to us what he sees and touches like any other artist, except his vision is unique. Without talented individuals like him, we would never know that perspective.

To  visit his website http://www.jeffreyowenhanson.com

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Demystyfing Blind Judo

The Perfect Defect

Water will be low, snacks will be lite, legs will be tired, but Peter and Janos Kabai’s sense of purpose when biking on the Alaska Highway-one filled with narrow and sometimes unpaved roads, traveled by big trucks- will be plenty, especially when they remember why they’re doing it.

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Volunteering to Build Bridges

Communication.

 

Poster nfb 75thBIrthday

With the project 75 days of service, the Community Service Department of the National Federation of the Blind is creating the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that blindness has nothing to  do with being helpless.  This initiative invites NFB’s  members  to volunteer,  individually or with one of the NFB  local chapters,  to help make a positive change in their community.  Whether it’s engaging  in a community service project with other groups such as local churches and schools, or helping those in need  in their neighborhood,

To sign up for the Community Service Division list serve: http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/community-service_nfbnet.org .

For Facebook users: https://www.facebook.com/groups/20575977287705

Participants will be able to share ideas and receive support during bi-weekly conference calls every other Sunday.  The first call will take place Sunday, April 12, at 7 pm EST/4pmPT

For a complete call schedule:

dsmithnfb@gmail.com

(415)215-9809

 twitter: @goldengateace
Facebook: search for “NFB Community Service Division”.
Twitter:@NFBCSDivision

 

Using the hashtag #NFB75Serve, volunteers can tweet about their community service activities, and will also have the opportunity to write about their experiences on the National Community Service Division’s official blog.  The  purpose of the blog is to  communicate  that the blind  are active participants,  contributors and collaborators in society.”

This is very good news!

A great way to share experiences while reorienting misconception.

Sculptor of Sounds

Life is music for Jean-Philippe Rykiel, a Parisian-born musician   famous as a keyboardist, he is also composer,  producer, and tech wizard. Rykiel molds his notes and immediately add a rich and layered dimension to any style of musics.  He played with Leonard Cohen, Salif Keta, Steve Hillage, Youssou N’Dour, Lama  Gyurme,  and so many more…at ease with Avant-Garde, Jazz, African music, Tibetan or  simply himself,  being blind was never an obstacle to his musician life.  He uses technology as an extension of himself since a very longtime an shared with us some interesting insights. 

Which technology are you using  for this interview?
I’m  using Dragon NaturallySpeaking which is not yet perfect.

Which computer system are you using? I’m interested by the Mac universe but  I still prefer my PC. Apple computers are more fancy, even for the blind. They feel nicer to the touch, and it’s great that Apple made the effort of providing a free screen reader built into their system. However, I find windows more logic in its architecture.

And for  your music? Great efforts are made in the development of ProTools and Logic’s accessibility, (the most popular Digital audio workstations on the Mac), and folks who didn’t use Sonar before feel very comfortable with pro tools, which has become the must have in Music industry, a bit like Microsoft Word for writing.

But,  even though most musicians are using the Mac now, I get better results on my PC, using an old version of Sonar (8.5), with the jaws screen reader and the Cake-Talking scripts which has been designed for this version.

What  about  mobile devices? I use an iPhone. I’m incredibly happy with it, and I haven’t tried  other solutions, but thanks again to Apple for taken the  challenge of giving the blind accessibility to a touchscreen that has no touch feedback at all.

I know that regarding music  you are waiting for  a more helpful technology, don’t you?  I think the biggest problem we have right now is that developers don’t care about us, we are not that many, and it’s not profitable for them to spend time energy and money on developing something accessible.

So, it’s all in the hands of screen readers developers, or third-party developers, and it can be a  tough  job.
Sighted people must understand that screen readers can only read text written in what is called ASCII code. the text included in an image for example, cannot be read by a screen reader, unless it includes some kind of OCR, which started to be the case with JAWS 14, but is rather disappointing for the moment.
Blinds have two problems. One is Clicking on things, which can be easily solved by keyboard shortcuts, but the other one is reading the screen which is the hardest one.

What is your greater challenge in this area? Keyboardists create pieces of music called patches to be stored in a data base library for further used, they are keys to any musical creation. Right now we don’t have a system that can help us found,  and then retrieve the music we need, when we need it.  In the context of a live performance, a  text-to-speech can’t be used because it interferes with the music.

©GlobalReportage2015

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Below are links to: a Video clip,  music on Sound Cloud on Sound Cloud

 

 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Philippe_Rykiel

 

 

 

Hyper- Sensorial, the Blind Power

Translated excerpt from the page Voir Autrement

I’m blind from birth, but certainly not “unseeing” This is just one aspect of my life which I hope does not appear central to my social life or stories. Nevertheless it would be foolish to forget about it, especially because it can have a pedagogic property for at least two reasons:

– For other blind people, it can be a way, among others, to live with their cecity instead of treating it as an obstacle. That was never the case for me, and the experiences described in my site testify to that: I was free to pursue the exercise of my art as I wished, and probably as I would have done were I sighted; I met tons of inspiring people, I handle high-tech objects (synthesizers, sound elements, computers) often better than many others, I travel around the world and have played with a very large number of talented musicians during my various adventures… I do not aim to be a model or a mentor in the field of uninhibited blindness, but I hope to convey the message that we must have confidence in ourselves and our lives, long or short, with or without limitations, every life is worth living, and not at a minimum or a discount, but fully, to the extent of our dreams.

 For the sighted, I like to say that the problems we face are far from specific and that there is much to learn when it comes to ergonomic solutions that facilitate our lives and make more and more activities possible. But beyond this practical aspect, I would like to share how the simple fact of closing our eyes provides access to a world of new sensations, which is our permanent universe. It enhances all of our senses, not just hearing, but also smell, taste or touch, and understanding. Having a personal environment perhaps less vast but more dense grants more importance to vocal intonations, whereas the sighted could be deceived by appearances.

..read or listen more in French 

©GlobalReportage2015