fred olver goodfolks at charter.net
Mon Aug 24 21:29:54 UTC 2009

When I was 12, I won a set of encyclopedias for asking a question, of course they were in print. 

When I was in college I had to endure the readings of older women on boring subjects on reels of tape which I could speed up to twice the original recorded speed and still absorb the information. 

By the time I was 31, I was working for one of the first companies to develop talking software, and if you didn't mind the electronic voice of the Echo II synthesizer, you could actually create and make use of printed documents. 

By the time I was 41, Windows was a reality, and although I didn't care much for the idea, I eventually made the switch. By the time I was 51, portable terminals with either speech output or Braille output were a reality and although the operating systems were different than my desktop or laptop computer, there was access of portable devices which I carried to meetings and and appointments. 

Now I am 56, and in my mind there is no plausable excuse for inaccessability of just about anything you'd care to name. There are $1,500.00 camera phones which will read to you menus in restaurants or newspapers, there are $1,000.00 speech programs which will open up the internet and many other software programs for our use, yet, TV stations can't seem or rather, producers of infomercials can't seem, to vocalize a phone number at the end of infomercials and one phone producer can't seem to go beyond the first level of most of their menus on their phones in order to make them accessible for blind folks when making use of speech, or should I say unless they want to, say in their contacts area. 

News-letters by a satellite radio provider have links with random letters and numbers rather than text-links and although one, that's right, one, might complain it doesn't seem to make a difference, so I was wondering, what if ten, or 50 or 100 people went up to some of these sites, or called their 800 numbers and complained what their reaction would be? So, I'm going to give each of you that opportunity, to make a difference, or to send a message of need, to providers of services or items which we might use better if we had access.

LG phones are most prevelant in the market, my last three phones which I have purchased each had the capability of speaking the first level of menus.  I called them last week to ask them why their phones were not accessible, say to set the alarm, or to do other things beyond reading a phone number or tell me the name of a menu, only to tap the OK key and have the menu beep at me when I tried to move up or down through it. 

LG Electronics MobileComm U.S.A, Inc. Corporate Headquarters
10101 Old Grove Road 
San Diego, CA 92131 
Contact by Telephone Toll Free: 1 (800) 793-8896

This is their customer service number, however they are supposed to get back in touch with you in 24-48 hours.

Do you have an XM or SIRIUS receiver, do you subscribe to their news-letters? Can you read the links? I can't, and so I'm giving you another chance if you are a SIRIUS listener/user to make a difference. If we remain complacent we will get no where. I have made it my goal, each time I get a news-letter from them where the links are not readable to call them and ask why or let them know that they need to consider making these links accessible and you can too. 

Here is the contact information for SIRIUS.

SIRIUS® Radio 
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
SIRIUS Customer Care: 1-888-539-SIRIUS 

Do you watch infomercials, well I do, and some of them sound like fun. Sometimes I do searches on the internet, and yesterday I called the hotel where a seminar was to be held as well as the TV station where the information was coming from. This morning the TV station called me back and gave me the number I wanted and I called them to make my reservation, but what if it's a cable channel and there is no place to be called, what then?  We can only hope, but if we do nothing, make no attempt to stem the tide of video placement and no audio then nothing will change. So I urge you, if there is an infomercial on a local channel call the TV station at that moment or the next day to get the information you want, then if the company who is doing the infomercial has a website, go to it and to to the "contact us" link and send them a note or call them on the phone. IF we do nothing we are doomed to fail. If we do something and enough of us do the very same thing we might just succeed.

It doesn't matter whether you are in the NFB, the ACB or the BVA, or the A S P C A, the fact is doing these things can make a difference for everyone, besides, it only takes five minutes to make a phone call.

Fred Olver  goodfolks at charter.net

P.S., the more people we get to do this, the more of a chance it will get done so pass it on, to your affiliate, to your chapter members, to your friends and why not your relatives. If we do not raise the awareness of those around us we have no one to blame for what we don't have access to.

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