- Digital books may not be for everyone. But for blind people, they’re a true revolution | Peter White | Comment is free | The Guardian 081712
[I don’t agree with this blind reader about talking books (they are reading, too) but I’m down with scan-your-own!]
Peter White: “It’s not perfect yet. Scanning books page by page is tedious; variations of type and print size can often produce equally variable results, which require skilful editing to make legible; and every time someone upgrades software or changes an operating system, you find yourself back at square one. With books being produced electronically as a matter of course, publishers, authors and agents could be much more helpful. Surely a way of making digital versions of books available to blind people prepared to pay for them, or borrow them under clearly defined conditions, could be devised without bringing down the publishing industry in an explosion of piracy? While we wait for the publishers and the blind organisations to get their fingers out, we blind readers take matters into our own hands, passing our scanned books quietly among ourselves like kids with drugs on street corners. But hey! For a few of us lucky enough to have the equipment, the money and the help, things are so much better today. Now it’s me who is able to take as many books on holiday as I like, all packed on those little cards, while my wife has to limit herself to three or four paperbacks. The days of War and Peace in 21 braille volumes, slipping the postman’s disc as he staggers up the path, are nearly over.”
Re-Imagining AccessibilityRe-imagining accessibility through the transformations of culture -- particularly the transformative promise of accessible technology for people with disabilities -- is the work of the Fair Use Lab. What does Shepard Fairey’s Hope poster have to do with accessibility? Read more: Shape-Shifters in the Fair Use Lab [MiT6 2009]
Remix: Danger MouseWill DJ Danger Mouse become the Che Guevara of digital sampling? Consider the case for fair use made by The Grey Album.
Blind PhotographersIn the moment when Paul Strand photographed her surreptitiously on the street in New York, the social engineers who created a system for licensing beggars never imagined that a blind woman had culture or could make culture. She herself may not have imagined it. Paul Strand probably didn’t give her much credit for making culture, either. Read more: Curiosity & The Blind Photographer [MiT5 2007] See more on blind photographers.
Disability As PraxisI am a parent, homeowner, knowledge worker, and person with disabilities. Oppression is not my true word, but praxis is. In Paulo Freire’s transformative work, I find an affirmation deeper than ideology or political activism -- an affirmation of the dynamic role of disability in culture. I believe the daily praxis of making adaptations and negotiating accommodations represents a significant form of cultural production. Read Disability As Praxis.
ADA 20th AnniversaryOn its 20th anniversary, pundits will debate what the Americans with Disabilities Act has accomplished. I still believe what I said in a TV interview after the ADA signing ceremony in 1990. “The ADA will not end disability discrimination overnight. But in a nation governed by the rule of law, getting it in writing is the place to start.” So what is the ADA's legacy? A Generation of Problem-Solvers.