Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Need Clarity

I am no different than most of my peers -- I need magnification. Today we just expect it. We enlarge the fonts in our phones, we zoom the screens of our computers, we pinch up to make things bigger on our touch screens. It’s not a special feature anymore, it’s pure necessity.

How I would love to have a stylish little magnifying glass hanging from my key chain or tucked into my clutch. But now, I opt for power over pretty, never quite sure why I can’t have both. My magnifiers today are digital – and although you cannot get these at Prada – you can only get them at Prada prices.

After resisting for a while, I succumbed. I found a magnifier I like so much – I got two. It fits in my pocket (when most others don’t). I can see just about everything that I could not see without it. I like it so much you’d think it was designed by Miuccia herself.

My magnifier is called the “Compact mini” by Optelec.. It works really well for me (and everyone else I’ve recommended it to). But still, I found myself wishing for one thing that could make it even better – an app for my iPhone. The idea is far from original. There are plenty of magnifying and zoom apps available for iPhone. Unfortunately, I have yet to find one that actually works the way my “Compact mini” does.

Imagine my delight, several weeks ago when I received an email informing me that Optelec made my dream come true. Sort of.

I downloaded the Optelec app immediately into my iPhone. I tapped to open the app and soon realized this one doesn’t work either! There is no focus – it never gets clear.

On Sunday, in the supermarket, I realized I did not have my “Compact mini” – so I gave the Optelec app another try. Sorry to report – it was useless…just terrible.

If I can’t count on Optelec for clarity…who can I count on?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

If You're in the Neighborhood

Come to my workshop.

Thursday, March 21
Apple Upper West Side
Broadway at 67 Street

I'll show you how iPhone and iPad accessibility has changed my life.

Friday, January 13, 2012

That Was Easy!

On my desk sits an “Easy Button” (from Staples). It reminds me that when things are working well, they’re easy. This pertains to people, it pertains to process, and it pertains to technology.

Just imagine if you always had two choices -- the easy way -- or the hard way. Which would you take? Me, I’m opting for easy. I find way more satisfaction accomplishing a task without sweat and anxiety. I love a little Zen.

Tonight I hit the easy button, quite accidentally, while downloading a book on I have been buying audiobooks exclusively from the iTunes Store because they made it simple. I do not venture out looking for free or discounted titles because a cheaper book does not thrill me nearly as much as getting it on my iPod ASAP.

This summer I tried out the Kindle on my vacation at the beach. I loved the simplicity of downloading books on to the Kindle and I set up an account. The experience of reading (listening) to an audiobook on the Kindle was not nearly as good unfortunately. That is how I ended up with credits on Audible. I decided to step out of my comfort zone and figure out how to download books into iTunes from a source other then the iTunes Store.

I logged on to several times and could not figure out how to get my downloaded book into iTunes. There were many options, but not one that said simply “download to your ITunes library.” I even Googled “Download from Audible to iTunes” and the results made me dizzy.

So finally I broke down and called Audible’s technical support and got ready for the Tech who would start rattling off all the circuitous steps to the eventual resolution of my issue.

My Audible Tech told me first I’d have to download some software by going to the very bottom of the webpage and clicking on an obscure little “Software” option. I did that and he asked me if I was on a PC or Mac. I said, “Mac” and he said, “Oh, you don’t need the software, just go to the “My Library” tab and click the “Download” button the title you want. Now Open iTunes.”

iTunes opened and my book started to read. That was easy!! With just two clicks I was reminded how technology is supposed to be -- intuitive. I was also reminded why I love my iMac!!

It is no coincidence that the book I downloaded is Walter Issacson’s biography “Steve Jobs.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Grand Central Through My Eyes

New York's Grand Central is the largest train station in the world (according to Wikipedia). Step inside this terminal and there is no denying it's grandeur, it's beauty, it's history. And sometimes you also must acknowledge --- it's insanity.

Last Friday evening during the maddest of Grand Central's rush hours I was joined by three graduate students from NYU's Journalism Institute. Laura Edwins, Tracy Levy, and Nadja Popovich worked like true professionals filming my sometimes awkward journey through the high anxiety of Grand Central --- on low vision.

Their objective: to report on an often "under covered or overlooked topic."
My objective to bring attention to the little things that could make a big difference --- for everyone!

Watch the video "Grand Central Through Other Eyes" now.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Get Me to an Xbox

Never did I think I would be interested in Xbox ---- until now. The New York Times reported Microsoft’s Xbox Live entertainment service will allow subscribers to access television and video content right from their Xbox 3600 console.

Okay, so that’s nice, but not enough to get me on an Xbox.

I continue to read and learn you can search for the programming you want with Voice Commands. Yes, that’s right; just tell your Xbox what you want to watch – verbally.

Apparently I am not the only one having difficulty operating (the now almost archaic) remote control and cable programming guides. The clunky old cable box may soon be an antiquity.

“In a demonstration of the technology last week at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., Michael Suraci, director of marketing for Xbox Live, told an Xbox to “Bing Sandra Bullock,” which promptly found “The Blind Side,” “Crash” and several other movies starring the actress that were available through various sources of video on Xbox Live.”

“Mr. Suraci also used a sequence of voice commands to switch to an app for Verizon’s FiOS TV, within which he could flip among live channels by using more voice commands or a swiping motion with his hands.”

Now I have one very important question. Does it talk back?

Read the New York Times article:
“Xbox Live Challenges Cable Box”