deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
I've been thinking a lot this week over what my ideal Dreamwidth UI would be. To be honest, it wouldn't be that different from what we have now, in many ways. This is possibly an unpopular position. 😉

Here's what I'd like to see on Dreamwidth:

General things


  • Accessibility remaining at least as good as the status quo no matter what features we add. Since our accessibility is pretty awesome, that's a nice high bar.
  • A site that works well on desktop and mobile, where all pages scale well on mobile. A solid, highly-usable mobile-friendly site is in many ways superior to an app (since, among other things, it doesn't put you at the mercy of Apple).
  • A posting interface that allows you to use rich text, markdown, or HTML, with easy-to-find help links describing how to use each of them.
  • A dynamically updating (AJAX) preview mode, in a side-by-side or in-page tab interface, not a whole new window.
  • No reblogs / retweets / shares. I think I was pretty clear about a small fraction of the reasons I think those are a bad idea.
  • No like / kudos / ❤️, though I feel less strongly about that than I do about reblogging.

Little things


  • Increased options in the "embed" link, specifically including the ability to use twitter's embed code (and then probably reformat into something that uses a Twitter-esque stylesheet but doesn't actually pull JS from their site).
  • A posting interface which lets you add images directly when posting.
  • A la carte image hosting increases for paid accounts.
  • An image upload page which integrates well with phone upload.
  • A general improvement in the image user experience, including integrating the view and manage pages, making it clear which bit of the image text becomes alt text, and having a better UI than "copy and paste this HTML into your post."
  • Scheduled posts
  • Making it much easier to choose an all-site tag search as well as a single-user tag search. maybe as a paid feature.
  • Tag and word blacklists (ie. "don't show me that post"), preferably with an indicator about the blacklisted post, along with some metadata, so you can make an informed decision about whether to read it.
  • A paid model for small video snippets. None free, but at least little Twitter videos. Heck, we could do six second videos and do Vine.
  • An optional way to generate a card snippet from a URL in a post (the way many sites turn a URL into the page title, an image, and a brief text snippet
  • More legal CSS, well document, and an easy way to create a user stylesheet you can use in your posts (as at the AO3)


I also have very mixed feelings about adding a "someone is talking about you" feature. Sometimes in a threaded conversation it drives me up the wall that if I say "It's like [staff profile] mark and [staff profile] denise said upstream," and yet [staff profile] mark and [staff profile] denise will be unlikely to see my comment. But on the other hand, on Twitter, it's clear how much people abuse at-mentions, to the extent that it becomes a form of harrassment. So I have no idea how to make it work.

I know I don't understand how roleplayers use the site, too; they have their own use patterns.

What else would you like to see?
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
Every time some other social media site does something to drive away a large segment of its users, there's often an influx to Dreamwidth. This varies based on the userbase which is ticked off, of course; it tends to be the more female and more fannish users who are driven to Dreamwidth, while white supremacists and MRAs driven from reddit or Twitter are more likely to end up on sites such as 8chan or Gab.

This has two side effects: Dreamwidth users being excited that our platform is getting love and activity on a level that's been more rare since the great Tumblr + Twitter exodus of several years back, and new Dreamwidth users (and returnees) asking for some of the features which they loved at their old social media site. I am absolutely a fan of new people coming to Dreamwidth, and I undoubtedly agree with everyone that the UI is showing its age. It was not built in a mobile-first, multimedia-above-all world.

But it also true that the Internet is a more toxic place than it was in the heady days of Brad's garage in 1999, or in Mark and Denise's inspired 2008. Which leads me to the two hot takes I've been mulling over for several years:

  1. Some of the features people want are products of the Toxic Internet, which has trained people to expect them
  2. Dreamwidth's relative unpopularity is what keeps it great

Addiction and Anti-patterns

Read more... )

In defense of unpopularity

Read more... )
deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
Kristin Cashore, author of the Seven Kingdoms series (Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue), posted on her blog last week "Brother Cansrel, Father Leck."

Content notes, in Kristin's words: "priests, rape, suicide."

And secondly, two disclaimers: One, Kristin is my friend (I've never talked about any of this with her), so the objective close reading I think I'm bringing to this post is almost certainly bullshit. And two, I'm not discussing any authorial intent in my interpretation below (even where Kristin explicitly claims one in her post). Instead, I'm musing on places where her post has made me rethink my own interpretation of the characters.

This post is not about the horrible real world events. It's just about how that very personal blog post gave me a new way of looking at the residents of the Seven Kingdoms, especially (but not exclusively) the women and girls. But because of the subject matter, look here, a cut tag! 👉🏽

'Ware the content notes. Also, probably, spoilers. )

On a less serious note: fanfic about Katsa's, Fire's, and Bitterblue's conversations with their therapists would be rad.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Dreamwidth's most recent code push included a wonderful change from [personal profile] allen. It's a clear example of enhancing usability for all while maximizing accessibility. Full Disclosure: [personal profile] allen asked my advice about the best way to make this feature accessible. But disclosure about the disclosure: I love that he asked me. When developers aren't sure about accessibility of new designs and features, especially for Javascript-reliant features, they should always turn to accessibility experts for advice! (Also, if anyone finds accessibility bugs in the feature, report them; I'll fix ASAP if I can replicate.)

[personal profile] allen's fix, reported in Code tour: 2017-05-01 to 2017-10-28, adds keyboard and touch shortcuts for advancing to the next or previous entry. The settings can be seen on the account settings page for a logged-in user:
keyboard shortcuts settings tab

Image long decription
The "Keyboard shortcuts" tab has the text "Keyboard and mobile (touch) shortcuts" and offers the following configuration options:
  • For Keyboard shortcuts: A checkbox labelled "Enables keyboard shorcuts," followed by two choices: "next" and "previous". Each has a text entry field in which the user can enter any character, and checkboxes allowing zero to three possible keybindings (Control, Alt, or Meta).
  • For Touch shortcuts: A checkbox labelled "Enables touch shortcuts," followed by two choices: "next" and "previous". Each has a choice to set a particular touch gesture, or disable that gesture.

This settings page presents options for all the keyboard shortcuts you can use on Dreamwidth, which, currently, are only shortcuts to skip to the next and previous entries. (It's unlikely that this list will get much longer. [staff profile] denise has some Very Wise Thoughts about decision fatigue, user experience, and a surplus of options.)

So, yay, keyboard and touch shortcuts to make pages faster to navigate! A clear usability win for many people, and perforce a clear accessibility win! But why is this more accessible than always-on, non-configurable settings pages? I'm so glad you asked.

Many assistive technologies set their own keyboard shortcuts. In fact, many browser add-ons set their own, as well. When these conflict with one another, there can be very unexpected behaviour. I set these keys to unmodified J and K, which work splendidly as easy-to-dictate and easy-to-type commands, but conflict with most screen readers out of the box. In fact, because of their broad adoption in many applications over many decades, they'll also conflict with many browser extensions out of the box. There's no such thing as a universally safe keybinding.

A few years back, when I was using Gmail for work, I had to disable every one of the keybindings! It turned out that on in my environment, something (I never tracked down what, exactly) was causing a conflict where sometimes characters typed or dictated in a text field were being interpreted as Gmail shortcuts. It made it impossible to send mail, for obvious reasons. Other webapps I've never been able to use at all, because their non-optional keybindings conflicted with accessibility settings I've set in my own environment.

So kudos to Dreamwidth for this beautifully accessible usability enhancement.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
tl;dr: Use ARIA, and use it wisely.

This spring, I gave a tutorial at Ebooklib, "WAI-ARIA In Practice: E-Books That Are Dynamic, Beautiful, and Accessible". My whole session basically boils down to "look at all these awesome things you can do with WAI-ARIA, but look at all of these terrible things you can do with WAI-ARIA, so please use it, but pretty please with sugar on top only use it mindfully -- read the documentation!" (Powerpoint slides with notes, PDF reading list.)
aria-roledescription, speech recognition users are not screen reader users, and button labels )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
A story from International Business Times went viral last night: Donald Trump White House Dress Code Policy? Female Staffers Must ‘Dress Like Women,’ President Says. It's terrible, and confirms everything we believe about Trump. It spawned a hashtag, #DresslikeaWoman. It's also not true.

It hurts the fight against Trump to share false stories about Trump. It makes us weaker.

Information literacy -- the ability to recognize when you need to acquire information, and the skill set to locate and assess the quality of that information -- is one of the most important skills we can have in this #AlternativeFacts, #FakeNews era. While the Trump administration has used the fake news label as a pejorative against any story with which he disagrees, or which has any facts which are contradicted by other sources, we know better. Fake news is the reporting of false stories, or true stories reported with hyperbolic, overblown, or outright false context. In the social media snippet era, in which all of us are guilty of sharing stories we haven't read or investigated based on headline, a tweet, or a brief Facebook post, we are all responsible for being more careful.

There are a lot of ways librarians teach information literacy. One of them ("trust sites that end with .gov") is getting seriously rethought in the Donald Trump era. One of the other important ones is both assessing whether or not something that appears to be a news site actually is a reputable news site. Advanced information literacy techniques include understanding the different kind of sources of information even reputable news sites use, and understanding how to assess their likely truth value. Note this is not a way of addressing the question of whether sources lie or disagree with one another. That's going to happen, and that much harder to address. But we should be able to understand when a story is flat out, on its face, total garbage.

So what's wrong with the "Dress Like a Woman" story? Everything.

how to see the story is false )

One of Trump's methods for success in 2016 was that he accomplishes six outrageous, inhumane, and occasionally illegal actions before breakfast. How can you cover a man whose every pronouncement is ridiculous? It leaves us unable to focus on any one of them to the extent that we should. So much as happened in the last 48 hours that people have already forgotten that he casually threatened to invade Mexico. He's a fire hose of hate and incompetence.

(ETA: An anon in the comments points out that I got not played myself in this piece about being careful about not being played. Although the original allegations about Trump's threat to send troops to Mexico was reported by the Associated Press, both the White House and the Mexican government deny those allegations.)

This means two things:
  1. Getting outraged about things that didn't happen is a distraction from being outraged about that far worse things that actually did happen.
  2. There is literally no purpose in making up fake stories about crappy things he is doing, because there is a mountain of crap that is actually happening.


In this era, a responsible citizen must read beyond the headline, read beyond the lede, read beyond the tweet or the Facebook repost.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
[personal profile] allen and I formed Suberic Networks back in 1997, which is hard to believe. Our baby is a millenial! Over the years we've providing hosting solutions to myriad non-profits, small businesses, informal organizations, clubs, and individuals. When doing freelance programming, we've done so under the umbrella of Suberic Networks.

Suberic was formed back in the wild old days of the Internet, when "there shalt be no commercial speech on the Internet" was extremely recent history (only three years after Canter and Siegel spammed Usenet). We've grown a lot over the years. I can't recall for sure, but I bet we once had little icons that said "Bobby approved!" and "Best when viewed in Lynx."

Today we're launching the new home page for Suberic Networks, LLC. Our gorgeous new logo was designed by Pablo Defendini. The site's launch aims to showcase my freelance programming work.
We build database-backed software solutions with rich user interfaces that provide a tested and welcoming user experience. Suberic Networks is particularly adept with the Perl and Python programming languages, and we can modernize legacy software as well as design, build, and test new projects. We have specialties in accessibility, user experience, digital libraries, and publishing.


I know many of you are involved with accessibility, library, archives, and publishing. Not coincidentally, those are particular strengths of Suberic Networks consulting! I encourage you to consult our expertise and consider whether we might be of use to your organization. And I'd be grateful if you'd signal boost (without spamming, of course) to interested parties.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
My favorite Nazi puncher is my 91-year-old cousin Arthur, who, at 65, got arrested for punching Salem, Massachusetts's least favorite hometown Nazi at a protest against a Holocaust denialist.

Arthur was fined $1.

May we all look at Cousin Arthur as our role model in these dark days.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Jason McIntosh ([twitter.com profile] JmacDotOrg) interviewed my household about the way we play videogames: "Play of the Light #11 - The Freaks on group-playing single-player RPGs." This is vaguely connected to accessibility, just because we touch, somewhat, on how we play in a way that doesn't use my hands, although that's not the focus.
deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
Four days ago, I read the Kirkus review of Lara Avery's The Memory Book after seeing it linked on the Kirkus Best YA of 2016 list. I promptly placed a library hold.

One day ago, my hold came in at the library and I read this novel from the point of view of a teenager diagnosed with Neimann-Pick type C, a rare lysosomal storage disease which causes physical and cognitive degenerative symptoms.

Two years and two days ago, my sister died of Late Onset Tay-Sachs disease, a rare, adolescent-onset lysosomal storage disease which causes physical and cognitive degenerative symptoms.

So. That happened.


Some spoilers behind cut, warned for. )

In conclusion: Fuck Tay-Sachs. And Neimann-Pick, and Gaucher, and this whole shitty family, and all the rest of the rare diseases.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I spent two and a half hours yesterday in the ophthalmologist's waiting room with dilated eyes, like you do, so I ended up listening to several podcasts. And by pure serendipity, I had queued up two consecutive literature episodes, each with a children'sand YA lit focus, of non-literature podcasts.

First came the "Why Are Samosas In Every Single Book?" episode of the BuzzFeed podcast, See Something Say Something. (Accompanying recommended book list for See Something Say Something.)

Youth Lit authors Hena Khan and Sara Farizan talk about writing young Pakistani and Iranian characters, and wonder why every single book set in South Asia includes samosas. Plus, they give Ahmed some writing advice and read from their own work. Hena shares an excerpt from her forthcoming novel "Amina's Voice," and Sara reads from "Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel".

Then, by sheer coincidence, my phone decided to entertain me in the eyewatering, glaring boredom of the doctor's office with another BuzzFeed podcast: Another Round. The episode, "All Stars: Lit is Lit," isn't explicitly a children's lit episode. But it does feature Jacqueline Woodson, Marley Dias of #1000BlackGirlBooks, and asked a slew of adults when they first saw themselves in books, which led to a very children's and YA lit-centric conversation. (Accompanying recommended book list for Another Round.)

This week, you’ll hear from past guests - prolific writers & avid readers - answering questions ranging from, “When was the first time you saw yourself represented in literature?” to “Why are so many books about white boys and their dogs?" You'll hear from Roxane Gay, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Chirlane McCray, Jacqueline Woodson, Saeed Jones, Jeff Chang, and more. #protip: this is a great episode to suggest to a friend who's new to the show!
Both these episodes were fabulous: interesting, funny, and informative. They also gave me thinky thoughts about representation which I'll put in a second post because they got lengthy.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Those of you who subscribe to the childlit mailing list will understand why this clip has been looping endlessly through my head for the last day.


(Transcript)

Those of you who don't can extrapolate.
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
I'm seeing a lot of people post about how, in light of current political shifts, everyone should increase online security. A few points on this:

  • Yes.
  • This is always true.
  • Most of the advice going around is a mix of good, reasonable, difficult, and bad. (eg. One list going around says Gmail is totally safe because it won't get hacked. Google (and Facebook, and Apple, and others) explicitly cooperates with the CIA, the NSA, and other governments around the world.
  • There is a conflation of different concepts of online security: protecting your data from theft, protecting your data from government abuse, protecting your accounts from hacking. There's no point in getting paranoid about Internet security if you don't know which of these dangers is most important to you, how much you can assess risk, and what measures specifically apply to that danger.

Don't take the advice of activists about security. Take the advice of professional Internet security experts (I am not one). Start with Brian Krebs ([twitter.com profile] briankrebs) and Bruce Schneier ([twitter.com profile] schneierblog). A lot of what they have to say is aimed at security experts and you can ignore it; focus on the pieces that are obviously relevant to you, such as Brian Krebs' Tools for a safer PC. If you are the kind of person who likes to look for the work of women and people of color when you are looking for expert opinions, don't hold your breath when you are looking in research for computer security. That is not to say that there are not security experts who aren't white men, but infosec has notoriously always been so misogynist and such a cultural cesspool that it appalls even the rest of the tech industry.

When it comes to protecting your accounts and your own devices from hackers, the tips you get from experts are only somewhat inconvenient and a great place to start.

However, when it comes to protecting your information from the panopticon, whether corporate or government, I've got some bad news for you:

If the advice sounds easy or socially convenient, it's false.


  • Cloud services put you at risk. (Twitter, Gmail, Facebook, and technically Dreamwidth, though the scale of Dreamwidth allows many of us to have a relationship of trust with the site.)
  • Credit cards put you at risk, whether or not you have ever purchased something online in your life.
  • Using an email address in multiple places put you are risk.
  • Having ever given your telephone number, email address, or Social Security number to a business puts you at risk.
  • Having friends who know your email address or your phone number puts you at risk.
  • Not knowing the underlying tech infrastructure of the online services you use puts you at risk.
  • Browsing the web puts you at risk.

If you are going to be engaging in the kind of activism that will put you in a government's crosshairs, and you have a sincere, evidence-based belief that you are going to be targeted by a government because of your activities, and you want to protect yourself, you need to do some serious, hard-core curation of your available information online. You are not going to fix your problems by installing Tor and using two-factor authentication on your Gmail account. You are not going to fix your problems by any tip sheet that is currently being circulated around Twitter. And you are not going to fix your problems easily. It is difficult to address this kind of situation without a major life change. For most of us, resources would be better spent on lobbying the companies we do business with to mitigate the damage from these kind of practices writ large. That is to say, not necessarily helping ourselves, but trying to diminish the surveillance state as a whole.

Here's a very brief summation of the problem. Okay, not so brief. Be Afraid. )

tl;dr

If you are seriously worried and have good reason to be exceptionally careful:

  • Encrypt everything.
  • Only use cloud services where you explicitly trust the host and know their policy about government requests for information, third-party vendors, and their third-party vendors' similar policies.
  • Only use throwaway cell phone numbers, email addresses, and credit card numbers to do business.
  • Never, ever use social media.

For the rest of us, well. Here's what we can do.

  • Take a deep breath and acknowledge that any reasonably competent government and sufficiently well-off corporation already knows anything about us that it wants to.
  • Protect our devices and our accounts from explicit hacking.
  • Lobby for institutional change in the surveillance state and the industrial panopticon.
  • Stop panicking.

And seriously, folks. Install 1Password, KeePass, or some other locally hosted password manager, and switch to unique and difficult passwords for every account you have. And then install Ghostery on your browsers.

And don't panic about this. Be concerned, and be careful, but panicking is counterproductive; the cat is so far out of the bag for most of us that there is not even cat hair left. We have a lot more to panic about than whether the government can find us.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
This is primarily just a collection of links, pointing to some of the current activities of the Digital Publishing Working group. I'm posting from the conference where I can't dictate, so I'm not adding much context. But please feel free to ask me questions.

To begin with, here's the briefest of introductions to the core standards body: The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). There rest of my presentation covers the accessibility activities of the Digital Publishing Interest Group (DPUG IG). I'm an Invited Expert on DPUB IG, and I'm a co-chair of the DPUB IG Accessibility task force, with Charles LaPierre of Benetech.

You can follow many of the activities of the DPUB IG on the W3C blog, category digital publishing, RSS, [syndicated profile] dpub_w3c_feed.

deborah: Kirkus Reviews: OM NOM NOM BRAINS (kirkus)
I've updated the online reading list for my Fantasy and Science Fiction class at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College.

Some random statistics might be interesting. I kept track of them for my own purposes, and then I had too much fun with pivot tables, so I'm sharing some of my results. Keep in mind these are often guesses on my part, because I only needed rough numbers, and I could be wrong.Many stats! )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Longdesc doesn't get stripped from entry source, but nor does it get displayed on entries. This is a test to verify that.

Update: Ah, this makes sense. Longdesc that's encoded as a data URI gets stripped. Data URIs are a great way to encode longdesc, but it makes perfect sense to strip them. This is now a test to verify my new understanding.

Linked longdesc:

Dreamwidth logo

Data URI encoded longdesc:

Dreamwidth logo

Update 2: Yep, verified.
deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
first she had on her own checkered cap, then a bunch of gray caps, then a bunch of brown caps, then a bunch of blue caps, and on the very top a bunch of red caps.

Apologies to Esphyr Slobodkina


(For those more in the loop of
  1. obscure fairy lore or
  2. Dungeons & Dragons baddies based on obscure fairy lore than on
  3. 76 year old picture books
the allusion was to me being a person who chooses to wear many hats. Any implication of being beleaguered by monkeys is purely coincidental.)

After several happy years at Safari Books Online working with Python, I'm moving on to other projects. For now, I'm moving on to a variety of open source projects. I hope to have the chance to talk about the bigger ones soon. As for the smaller ones, well. Expect pull requests from me soon!

Seriously, though. I'm trying to talk myself out of adding (imagine Allie Brosh-style self-insert here) Fix All the Accessibility Bugs! to my todo list. That seems like a Poor Life Choice.

Much love to all my Safari Co-Workers who've been mentors in my journey into Python Infested Waters. I'm sure I'll see most of you in my new spaces as well. Liza will be sad that I'm looking forward to having time for Perl projects again -- though probably happy to know that I'm a convert to the Python culture 100%, if only partially to Python-as-language. (You'll pry regexes out of my cold dead fingers, Liza. Well, pretty easily; you've seen my fingers. But out of my metaphorical fingers.)

W3C work isn't going away, especially not since my W3C colleagues have been making noises about increasing their demands on my time, you know who you are. And there's likely to be more children's and YA lit in my life soon, as well! More details will be forthcoming if that happens.


Further up and further in!
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
True Story: I only eat oranges when someone offers them to me. I can't peel them, I can't use (as seen on TV!) orange peelers, I can't scoop them out with a spoon like they're tiny grapefruit. I can sometimes peel a clementine, but not reliably. Yes, I could ask a friend to peel me an orange, but honestly, I have to ask people to do so many other things for me just so I can eat (carry that bowl; drain that pasta; chop that onion; open that bottle); I'm not going to waste one of my precious asks on an orange when I could just eat an apple.

Another True Story: My mother brought me up to feel real shame over convenience items. She was willing to compromise on keeping tinned soups in the house we kids could make for ourselves, and buying bakery bread. But everything from supermarket bread to pre-chopped garlic to cake mixes were items worth nothing but scorn. (Oddly, we had a microwave. Also, I'm pretty sure that in the 70's vegetables grew in rectangular frozen bricks.)

#OrangeGate thus hits home for me.

A summary of The Case of the Package in Orange: Last week, [twitter.com profile] awlilnatty tweeted:



The image in the tweet is of peeled oranges being sold in plastic tubs by Whole Foods.

Social media backlash was huge, Whole Foods pulled the oranges, the press covered it in multiple countries. Meanwhile, disabled folks on Twitter said "WTF, those oranges are awesome!" and got called Earth-destroying demons by some asshats on the Internet. (References: Crippled Scholar, "When Accessibility Gets Labeled Wasteful". [twitter.com profile] AnaMardoll, "Feminism: Oranges and Disability Accessible Items".)

Every time I purchase a convenience item, I argue with the inner puritan my mother instilled in me, the shaming voice that sounds like an army of Twitter eco-activists happily tweetraging away from their rare earth-filled mobile phones. I am lucky enough to be a well-to-do person with a disability, so I can make convenience choices: the robot swiffer; the accessible doorknobs and taps I've installed in my home; the touchpad remote control; the top of the line microphones and adaptive tech. And every one of these makes me feel lazy and shamed.

Once, I bought a motion-sensitive liquid soap dispenser. It was awesome, especially in the mornings when my hands are minimally functional. Later, someone I follow tweeted mockery at an ad for the dispenser. When mine subsequently died, I couldn't bring myself to replace it. Seriously, every time I see it in the drug store, I think about buying it, but stop myself. I've even put it in the shopping basket before putting it back. I hear my inner puritan yelling at me, now combined with the mockery of people on the internet. So in the mornings I struggle with a regular soap dispenser (uncomfortable, awkward, sometimes painful) or bar soap (constantly dropped, difficult to grip, sometimes painful).


  • The robot swiffer means I can help out a little more around the house and not rely on my partner.
  • If it weren't for [livejournal.com profile] diceytillerman reminding me I'm allowed to take taxis, I'd see my friends even less often.
  • Do you know they make tool that both unscrews bottles and opens that annoying wedge of cardboard you're supposed to push in with your thumb? It's amazing.
  • My partner has to pop daily pills into a pill case for me, because nobody's invented a convenience tool that defeats blister packs.
  • If I could bring myself to buy pre-chopped onions, I'd cook far more often than I do. But every time I think about it, I'm confronted with people making fun of them as luxuries as in this old piece from Consumerist.
  • My mother shames me for buying sliced sandwich bread -- from the bakery, even, not from the store -- because if I won't bake it, she can bake it for me. But the store bread is sliced. Slices matter.
  • I remember when I could eat artichokes. I haven't been able to eat an artichoke in 15 years because I can't grip the leaves, but I can eat a canned artichoke heart.



Disability is expensive. An adapted life is one which is allowed to have a footprint on the world. Living without convenience items by choice is a luxury, and you should be grateful you can.

Excuse me. I need to go eat an apple.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
It's a good thing I don't live near DC, because I would apply for this job in a hot minute.

Department: Executive Office of the President
Job Title: Accessibility Officer

Duties )


Step one: teach the people running the job board that you don't use all caps for headers, you use regular capitalization and style to caps with CSS if that's what you want. :D

Do people in jobs like this get fired when the administration turns over?

...Now I'm imagining the accessiblity officer in the Trump administration.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
New project DictationBridge will make screen readers play nicely with dictation software: speech-to-text working well with text-to-speech! So excited about this. The first revision will be NVDA and Windows Speech Recognition, followed by Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and eventually other screen readers.

It's being billed as for blind and VI people with RSI, but as a sighted RSI accessibility programmer I am going to love this. Also since I have a cordless headset I might become a person who full-on computes while cooking.
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