Category Archives: Gedanken

Sie sind frei, sie schwirren herum, und das meist in meinem Kopf.

Petition: Apple, Improve the Accessibility in Garage Band for MacOS

Apple’s striving to include accessibility in mainstream products and make them usable by all customers regardless of talents, sensory or physical restrictions is unparalleled in the industry. This is why Garage Band on the Mac is a very popular tool among blind musicians to create and publish their work.

However, myself and other blind users of Apple’s screenreader ‘VoiceOver’ face one big issue in Garage Band; and this issue has been reported by numerous people on numerous occasions: Automations are not accessible.

What does this mean? I, as a blind musician, am unable to fade-in / fade-out individual tracks, regions or define the fade-duration of the entire project. By implication, as these curves cannot be defined by VoiceOver users, other rising EQ effects and the likes are also inaccessible to us.

Garage Band has these basic features which one can expect from an audio workstation, and they are available to sighted users.
This is solely an issue with Garage Band & VoiceOver.
Thanks for sharing and for your support! If we wake up Apple’s accessibility engineers, you may hear more great music by great blind musicians in the near future! 🙂

You can follow this link to sign and share this petition.

I have also put together a short video clip on my Youtube channel to go with the petition.

Ireland, Ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

I would like to encourage all readers to sign this petition to motivate the Irish government to finally step up their game and ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD).

The matter is personally relevant to me and my wife. I am blind, and my wife is in full-time employment. My blindness support is fully means-tested on my wife’s income. In a nutshell:

The more my wife works to support us, the less support funding I get; and
the more my wife works, the more often I cannot avail of her as a driver or assistant, and, as a result, the higher my costs of living are.

This is MY blindness, not hers.

This degrading, demotivating and unfair system is hardly suitable in a 21st-century social state. There are other EU countries which, unlike the Republic of Ireland, have already ratified the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities, countries where the “blind pension” is not a pension but rather a non-means-tested and non-taxable support payment to compensate higher living costs which blind people evidently have.

The present legislation does not merely deny the existence of blindness-related costs of living but also interferes with the spouses’ fundamental rights under the constitution of the Republic of Ireland.

The right to earn a livelihood

“As a citizen, you have a right to work and to earn a living, whether you are male or female.
The State is under a duty to protect your right to work and earn a livelihood from unjust attack.”

The means test of the spouse’s income is a prime example for an unjust attack on the spouse’s fundamental right to earn a livelihood. The working spouse should be allowed to spend their hard-earned salary whichever way they wish. They should not be held responsible to shoulder costs which are the responsibility of the social state which they already support as tax payers. It has been highlighted that there are other payments, for example, from the Health Service – also means-tested – and tax reliefs.

    I can claim a VAT refund on assistive technology such as screenreader software or my laptop with built-in accessibility features, to which I say: Well, yes! Whilst funding is being made available to make houses wheelchair-accessible, and recurring blindness-related costs are ignored, a one-off VAT refund is the least we can expect.
    My wife enjoys an income tax relief of €600 per year. This might sound decadent, but it amounts to less than €12 per week, which does not even pay for one return taxi ride per week when my wife is at work and unable to give me a lift.

Update:

I furnished ministers Leo Varadkar (Department for Social Protection) and Finian McGrath (Minister of State for Disability Issues) with my thoughts on the present legislation. Here is my follow-up post with some very telling statements.

Augenmaß ist völlig überbewertet, sagt ein Blinder.

Ich könnte mir vorstellen, dass ein späterblindeter Mensch in Sachen räumlicher Vorstellungskraft einem geburtsblinden Menschen gegenüber leicht im Vorteil ist. Ich würde mich über vergleichende Kommentare und Anekdoten hierzu sehr freuen. Mir ist heute morgen wieder einmal aufgefallen, dass ich ohne Sehkraft in den vergangenen Jahren ein paar Treffer gelandet habe, die manche Menschen in meinem sehenden Umfeld in leichtes Stirnrunzeln versetzt haben. Lest hier weiter für ein paar Anekdoten.

Meine Meinung zum Thema #Twittiquette

Jeder hat seine eigene Meinung, und dies ist meine. Jeder hat seine eigene Art und Weise, Twitter zu nutzen, und dies ist meine. Es geht mir hier nicht um Inhalte, die auf Twitter geteilt werden sondern eher um deren Präsentation.
Ich mag Twitter sehr und bin stets daran interessiert, zu lesen, was Menschen zu sagen haben.
Es gibt aber zwei Lieblings-Hassobjekte, die meine Motivation, einen Tweet zu lesen oder gar der Person langfristig weiterhin zu folgen, drastisch reduzieren können.
Lest hier weiter, welche Sorte von Tweets ich hasse.

“Have you always been #blind?” – Follow-Up on my previous post

In my previous post I aimed to draw the readers’ attention to some phenomena in speech interaction, namely how to say one thing while meaning quite the opposite. The first example I chose, “I don’t mean to patronise you, but…” opened a door which lead the topic into a different direction. Is it patronising to offer somebody help?
Read more…-—>