Saturday, March 15, 2008

THANK YOU SHERATON for offering the only flipping FREE WIFI access that I could find in the vicinity off LAX! I don't even know where the freaking Sheraton is around here, but apparently from the 17th floor of this hotel, we are in range of the Sheraton's wifi signal. The Marriott and Hilton both offer paid wifi access. How about NO. We are getting wifi signals from LAX itself, but there is a fee involved with that, too. No thanks. It really steams me because the Marriott in Center City Philadelphia does offer free wifi, so I expected the same to hold true out here. No dice.

So anyway, a big thanks to the Sheraton for allowing me the first internet access all week that didn't involve typing on a cell phone.

So, while I'm enjoying using the XO keyboard, let me write about the great day I had at the Braille Institute. The President Emeritus of Humanware did a demonstration of a soon-to-be-released product that will help deaf-blind people communicate with sighted, hearing, non-signing people. Thanks to KC, I went along as one of the interpreters who worked with the deaf-blind people who attended and wanted to learn more about it.

There were enough interpreters on hand that each deaf-blind participant was able to have one-on-one interpreting. So I got to work with someone who, at first, wasn't entirely clear on the concept of how this product was going to work. But then each person actually used the device one-on-one with the President Emeritus who was doing the demo. When the turn came for the person I was working with to use the device, you could literally SEE the moment when the Light Bulb Went On. When the person realized that this device could be used to communicate with bus drivers, store clerks, waiters, non-signing family members/neighbors/co-workers, etc, the person's face lit up with a big smile and they became VERY animated and wanted to know how to get one. :o) It reinforced my decision to get into the assistive-tech field, because it's a privelege to witness the moment when a person sees how something will make a huge difference in their life.

The President Emeritus has my contact info, as well as the knowledge that I have interest in training people how to use assistive tech for a living. They don't have a training force assembled yet for this device, as it's not available yet to the general public, but he knows I'm interested in joining their team. So we shall see. Heck, he was even interested in the XO, as well as my reasoning why I thought that it or something like it would make a good assistive tech device -- it's portable, durable, and might enable a person to make use of a laptop in situations where a standard laptop could not be used. So he has a pretty good idea how my mind works, and if he thinks I'll be a good fit for them, I hope they'll give me a call.

Anyway, good night/morning -- we have to get up EXTREMELY early tomorrow.

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