Saturday, December 08, 2012


Your smartphone is not a horseless carriage

Let me explain why your smartphone is not a horseless carriage. When automobiles were first invented, they were called horseless carriages. When you drove one of these early automobiles you not only had to be the driver. You had to be the mechanic. You had to know all about the motor, the brakes, and the tires. You have to stand to the ready to fixing any of these items if anything went wrong. You also had to continuously tinker with your automobile in order for it to run right. Today when we climb into our car we don't have to worry about any of these things. That's because the intricacies of the automobile are now so automated that you simply transport yourself from one point to another point. By enlarge you have a transparent carefree experience. You are no longer concerned with the mechanics of the automobile. It also doesn't matter if you're driving a Cadillac or a Hyundai. We say the car has disappeared and we're left with just a traveling experience. An inexpensive car will get you to your destination same as an expensive car. We have now reached this point with computers and smartphones.

Over the past 25 years if you used either Windows PC or Macintosh, you always knew that we were on the computer. We were like the driver of the horseless carriage. We had to know all about the mechanics of the computer. We had to worry about our files, our hard drives, our Internet connection, and our printers. We were constantly tinkering to make sure that this conglomeration would actually work. Then came along smartphones and a touch screen. The small devices with their touch screens have finally given us a transparent and carefree experience. Let me explain.

Computer geeks are quick to point out that a smartphone is a small computer. But we actually don't experience it as a computer. We are no longer concerned if it is a computer or not. We are happy that it gets us from point A point to B without even thinking about it. How is this magic accomplished. It is accomplished because of the wonderful touch screen. Human beings are built for touch screens. From the very beginning of humanity we would see something; we would grasp it; and we would manipulate it. Anthropologist tell us that there are two things that distinguish humans from all other species. The first is that we walk upright on two legs. The second is we have opposable thumbs on our hands. We can grasp and manipulate objects like no other animal on the planet. People have been built over eons of time to look and then to grasp and then to manipulate. This essentially is the smartphone experience.

The smartphone is as simple as a book. We pick up a book, turn the pages, and read to our hearts content. We are not concerned that this requires an author, an editorial staff, a publisher, a printer, and a bookstore. We simply enjoy the experience of reading. This is how our smartphones have become. We pick our smartphones up and turn them on, press an app, and are immersed in an experience. We don't experience the smartphone as a computer. Instead we have an immersive experience.

An immersive experience has the qualities of being immediate and responsive. Our smartphones give us this. Here is a list of immersive experiences that we gain from our smart phones.
Community experience of sharing
Communication - voice - text
Maps and guidance
Music - collection and stereo
Books / newspapers / magazines
Instant knowledge (research)
Education - courses - lectures from Khan Academy to MIT and Harvard
Therapies - medical and social
Writing communication - typing - handwriting
Camera - photos - video
Movies - YouTube
TV - Hulu to Cartoon Network on our trip
Games - from preschool to old age
Calendar - a PLANNER
Shopping - window shopping - buying
Transportation - fewer drivers licenses
Accessibility - All these experiences are accessible to people with disabilities

We do all these things and never experience the smartphone has a computer. We simply have experiences. Marvelous experiences.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


iPhone/iPad Accessibility

Accessibility for persons with handicapping conditions is limited and expensive. Most accessible tools do just one or several things. This requires buying expensive devices or software to achieve accessibility. Often accessible devices are not easily portable. So when away from the accessible device accessibility is no longer available. I am legally blind and have dyslexia. The iPhone and iPad is very portable and offers 50 accessibility features to me at little or low cost beyond the iPhone or iPad.

Pinch and Zoom -- easily accessible screen
Magnifier app -- potable hand held magnifier
VoiceOver -- easily accessible screen reader
Siri -- speech recognition assistant and dictation
iBook Store-- easily browse and buy books
iBooks -- every book a large print book
iBooks and VoiceOver -- every book accessible
Bookshare -- accessible library
VoiceOver reads news -- accessible newspaper
Wikipedia app -- accessible encyclopedia
Safari -- easy Internet surfing with VoiceOver support
email -- easily used email
Audible & Audiobook apps -- audiobook collections
Prizmo -- portable scanner/reader
Pages app -- write papers
Keynote app -- make presentations with presenter notes
iTunes Music Store -- easily browse and buy music
Music app -- find and listen to my music
Music streaming app -- large music library
App Store -- easily browse and buy apps
Talking clock -- talking clock radio
Calendar -- day planner
Count down timer -- count down timer
Shared calendars -- shared calendars to know what others are doing
Radio apps -- easy to find and listen to radio
Dictate Texting -- texting friends and family free
Voice activated phone -- inexpensive or free no contract phone
Contacts -- easy to use address book
Camera -- portable camera
Video camera -- potable video camera
iPhoto -- photo library and photo display
Photo apps -- easy photo editing
Apple maps.-- mobile turn by turn guidance
Google search -- easily locate businesses
Locate near by restaurants/stores
While navigating announce streets by name
Identify buildings
Weather apps -- my weather and weather where my friends live and around the world.
Podcast apps -- technology presentations
Calculator -- portable talking calculator
To do list -- easy to do list
Amazon app -- easy shopping
Bus schedule -- local bus schedule
Games -- games to play with my grandson
YouTube app -- share YouTube with my grandson
TV Remote app -- access to TV remote and DVR
University app -- access to university games
AAC apps -- affordable AAC
Facebook app -- stay in touch with friends
Netflix -- watch movies up close

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