O the Days of Yore

Describe a phase in life that was difficult to say goodbye to.

So I’m writing in here again, mainly because I’m still paying for this thing and can’t bring myself to give it up after all these years of hard work. I’m going to use these writing prompts to try and get back off the pad (I’m reading a book about shuttle launches, hence that metaphor) and get the writing flowing again.

With that noted, I’m to write about a phase of life I found hard to let go of. Truth is, I still find it hard to let go of.

1997. I stepped from my mom’s car into the steamy Charlotte afternoon, stomach fluttering, as I readied to begin my biggest adventure yet. Freshmen year of college at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. And I may have written about this elsewhere in my blog, but hey I’m old and I ain’t going back to check.

Anyhow, my mom and I made a few runs up to my room to get all of my stuff installed. I briefly met my room mate (probably the part to which I least looked forward, and rightfully so) then we headed out to visit my sister in her apartment. She was also starting her attendance at that university, though unlike me this was not her first year in college overall.

When we returned to my dorm, my mom gave me a hug before parting and placed me on the wall. “Do you know how to get back to your building,” she asked.

“Yes,” I answered timidly. There was no way I knew how to get back over there yet, as I hadn’t undergone the grueling orientation and mobility (O&M) training I as a blind student would have to endure to get used to the campus. But I was too terrified to admit otherwise.

College, the five and a half of years I spent there, were far from perfect. I had some periods where depression became so intense that I was urged to seek counseling. I also didn’t do so well in some courses not because of my inability to understand the work, but rather an unwillingness to seek the resources I needed.

But college was fun. It seemed I rarely had to study to get good grades. I also made friends easily, and if I hadn’t been as shy as I was I would have definitely gotten into even more things. (Granted it’s probably good I didn’t get into some of those things, but I’m just sayin’.)

People told me over and over again that those days were not reality, and now that I’m an adult I can see that. Reality is for me, as for most of us, waking at 5 AM.M. To slog off to a long workday to bring home the bacon, as they say. As I do that, I’m glad I have those years to reflect on and give me many good memories. I also still have especially the music I listened to in those days, as it is so easy to just live in the ‘90s using SiriusXM and Apple Music. There’ll likely never be such carefree days again.

Freeing Refreshable Braille for More Access

Many in this era worry that the advent of digital audio technology will mean the end of braille as we know it. And there is already some truth to this, as very few totally blind people know or read braille as it is. But and I’ve seen this frequently in my training, those who depend heavily on audio to consume written content often are less able to spell correctly, which may well affect their ability to gain employment. Given the degree to which the cards are already stacked against us when it comes to getting jobs even without this challenge, we need to gain every advantage we can in any area.
These days, the answer to being more able to read materials in braille without having to produce the paper and take up the space this medium requires is to use a refreshable braille display. I’ve had a few of these devices, from the Braille Lite I got way back in the late 90s during my college career to the Brailliant BI 40 received from the I Can Connect program for deafblind individuals. And in 2020, I of course got the Mantis Q40 display I’ve written about a few times in this journal. And each of those devices opened up more of the written word in ways I could not have imagined.
The problem with these displays is and has been their expense. Most of us blind folks can hardly afford $2, 3, or $4,000 to get even a low-end display. Happily though, at least in the U.S, the National Library Service for the Blind (NLS) is making refreshable braille available for any eligible blind individuals. You have to be enrolled in the library for services, as I am, and call your regional library to request one.
There are two models of NLS Ereaders, as they are known: one provided through Humanware and another through Zoomax. I think you get the brand of reader that your library has available, so I received the Zoomax machine.
These models contain 20 braille cells, which is as much space as I had on my Braille Lite but only half the 40 cells on my other units. Reading with 20 cells is certainly doable, but it requires a lot more pressing of the panning buttons to advance through a single braille line. I’ve found though that as I practice I’m already getting better at it. My Mantis is currently on the fritz and I don’t know when or if I’ll ever see it again, so having this option so quickly available is vital to me being able to continue my work. I also like that it has a handy carrying case with magnetic snaps that keep it closed, which is kinda cool!
This reader is primarily designed to download and read NLS BARD books. However, it can connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone, and USB to the PC. It’s got an SD Card reader, and USB C port for the PC and a USB A port for a flash drive. I love that such a small unit contains so many ports.
It’s a pretty good device on the whole. The only issue I really notice, and this may be only in my unit, is that the battery gauge is unreliable. It says I have 50% charge, then 77%, then 19%, then 54%, so I can’t really tell how much juice it actually has. This is not a big deal though, as I’m usually close enough to a charging port at all times. I even have a portable battery I can plug in.
I am happy such a program exists. If you would like to take advantage of it, again just call your regional library and ask if they have an NLS Ereader. There was a slow roll-out, but they were at least hoping that all states would have units by the end of 2023. And happy reading!

2024 Arrives: On Work and Books

Hello to 2024! I know, I was pretty much nonexistent in this blog last year as I adjusted to full-time work on the computer. I probably said the same thin in my prior entry, but it’s been so long since I wrote that that I can no longer recall.
Anyway, I thought I’d quickly catch whomever still reads this thing up on my life’s goings on. And well as much as I’m about to have to shell out to keep this site active, I figured it was high time to start generating content.
Work is work. I pray, and feel like, I’ve really settled into this role now. I’ve chugged away at teaching JAWS in various formulations and based on the folks with whom I’m working. Every day is an important lesson in that regard. And of course every trainer is only as good as the learning they take on. So to that end, I continue to obtain certifications. I just got my NVDA screen-reader certification last week. I’m happy for that, but still have much to learn about that program. It’s free though, so could be useful for those who might not be able to swing JAWS. And that studying broadened my knowledge to boot. This work takes a lot of thinking at times, but it can also be quite rewarding.
And now I’ll document my reading. Because of course I’ve been doing more reading than writing, which I’d like to start to change someday but I ain’t making promises no more y’all. This year, thanks to my learning how to use Excel as part of the training I can now deliver, I created a handy spreadsheet to help keep track of the books I read, in addition to adding them to the Goodreads app so I could see what others have read as well. In total, I completed 79 books. Only 13 of them were nonfiction, I listened to 43 audiobooks and read 33 in braille. I assigned a 5-star rating to 30 of my books and gave only 3 of them 3 stars. I just didn’t finish nooks I would likely have rated lower, because there is not enough time to read the ones I want to read, let alone slogging through something I’m just not into. I’ll put my 5-star reads at the end, if you’re curious.
And that’s what I’ve had going on for the last little while. I’m curious to see how 2024 unfolds. 2023 was probably the best year of my adult life, something I’ve been saying since 2015, with the exception of course of the Covid-warped years of 2020 and 2021. So hopefully the up and up continues.
Five-Star Reads
1. Invisible Child, Andrea Elliot
2. Thank You for Listening, Julia Wheelan
3. Memphis, Tara Stringfellow
4. Hell Bent, Leigh Bardugo
5. The Maid, Nita Prose
6. The Calculating Star, Mary Robinette Kowal
7. The Fated Sky, Mary Robinette Kowal
8. The Relentless Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal
9. Corrections in Ink, Keri Blakinger
10. Loyalty, Lisa Scottoline
11. Woman On Fire, Lisa Barr
12. City of Refuge, Tom Piazza
13. The German Wife, Kelly Rimmer
14. My Love Story, Tina Turner
15. Drowning, T.J. Newman
16. African Town, Irene Latham
17. The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece, Tom Hanks
18. The Apollo Murders, Chris Hadfield
19. Remarkably Bright Creatures, Shelby Van Pelt
20. Out of the Corner, Jennifer Grey
21. The Last Thing He Told Me, Laura Dave
22. River Sing Me Home, Eleanor Shearer
23. The Catch Me If You Can, Jessica Nabongo
24. Things We Lost to the Water, Eric Nguyen
25. Cabin Fever, Michael Smith
26. Happiness Falls, Angie Kim
27. The Country of the Blind, Andrew Leland
28. Three Words for Goodbye, Hazel Gaynor
29. None of This is True, Lisa Jewel
30. Borderless, Jennifer De Leon

Time of My Life

I happen to be reading Out of the Corner, a memoir by Jennifer Grey. She’s the one who played Baby in Dirty Dancing, which came out nearly 40 years ago now and which my sisters watched for the equivalent of 2 months of their lives. I’ll admit to enjoying listening to that while stretching out on the floor during those long, languid summer days of youth. Anyway, that’s where the song in my subject line originated, and it’s an apt descriptor of this, the 44th year of my life. It really has been a “time.”
First, I haven’t written in this thing in ages. I guess I’ve just not felt as much up to it, given that the day job is now working on the computer all day. But I’m beginning to find my way back to writing, one ponderous word at a time. I’m actually working on another book (I know, I haven’t even finished the first, but this idea that my wife helped me germinate I too good to let pass). And, now I’m getting at least one day of remote work every week, on Tuesdays. And it’s great, now that I have a perfect home office with a nice high desk, a big comfortable swivel chair, and even a sleeper sofa. I’m living the life, truly.
As far as the actual work goes or has gone, it’s been good and is getting better. At this time last year, just a day prior to my birthday, I was getting wound up for an interview that I knew would set me onto a new career path. Since I have
• Yes, gotten off to a bumpy start: those three or four months of initiation made me grow in ways I couldn’t imagine and I just thank God I survived it and was willing to listen to people as they tried to help
• Made it to February, where I began to round the corner (trust me blind folks, it’s really important to learn proper document formatting in order to make it in today’s workplace)
• Did my first heavy-duty training starting in April with folks wishing to go into Customer Service
• Launched a JAWS class at the beginning of last month, where I had to learn to take a breath and give people time to process information and ask questions
• Am now preparing to do several levels of JAWS, iOS, and other computer instruction while working with a partner who’s going to do the career development/resume/interview kinds of things
So yeah, certainly from a work standpoint this is by far the most fun I’ve ever had. As I turn 44 tomorrow I find myself in deep introspection, with much to be thankful for and in anticipation of twists and turns I cannot see yet (blind joke, too easy). Maybe I’ll be around these parts more with the good stuff as it unfolds, but I just felt inspired tonight.

The New House, Our New Home: Moving In Drama

Now that we actually own the place, I am changing the name of this series. It will continue in ways I can not now foresee.
So we have arrived in the spot, having, basically, completed our move in yesterday. Well that’s a long story, parts of which I will tell, but at this moment I’m enjoying hearing SiriusXM piped from my windowsill as I type in the room I dub my Man Cave 2.0. I like the acoustics in this room better than my other.
I took yesterday off work so that I could help my wife load some materials as we prepared to make the trek from our apartment to the house. It’s about a 35-minute journey, and we were up and at ‘em by 6:30 A.M. So after slinging a couple of large trash bags full of clothes in the back, we made our way along i-40 in a persistent rain while wolfing down Bojangles biscuits and their delicious seasoned fries! Well at least I had seasoned fries.
We got to the house and made our way inside, and I began to come to terms with the fact that this was now my new residence. I went into our bedroom and crashed on the surprisingly sturdy air mattress we had inflated in lieu of our king-sized bed which was due to arrive later that day. They sure don’t make air beds the way they used to, and now they can really support your entire body quite well.
Anyhow, I wiled the day away listening to men’s college basketball conference tournaments and interesting podcasts. My wife had the movers scheduled to begin collecting our furniture from the old place at around 2:30. They arrived, and from what I gather things were bumpy from the start. First, they only sent two individuals when really there should have been three. And one of them had only completed two other moves, and well in the end he decided, rather unprofessionally, that this would be his last. So upset was he by the difficulty of the job and his inability to work with the other guy that later that night he just walked off of the job saying he’d quit.
But before we got to the pinnacle of that craziness, things just kept dragging along. My wife eventually told me I’d need to find my own food, as it was taking far longer than planned for them to complete operations there. So I called up one of the delivery services and found a delicious restaurant in my new area of town called Demario’s, from which I ordered 6 (SIX!) “drummettes,” which are small chicken drumsticks, green beans, and mac and cheese. The food was fantastic, if a little heavy on the pepper and salt (the green beans had a kick to them and the mac and cheese dried my mouth a bit). But I will definitely eat there again. I’m always pleased when I find a spot from which I can get a real dinner plate on days when I want something fast.
So the movers finally arrived at our abode somewhere around 8 P.M. They continued to snipe at one another and got very little done. The individual who did at least try was forced to throw in the towel after being abandoned by his partner. So he decided he would go ahead and help put our bed together as we’d need something to sleep on, and they’d take most of the rest of our furniture to a secure storage facility and bring it back to our home today to be offloaded.
This morning, three men showed up at around 8, even though they weren’t due to get here till about 10. They finished the job with far less drama, even as I shivered in the cold that came from the constantly open door and all of the windows also being open in deference to the fact that they were working and would likely get warm. It was a small sacrifice though to finally have this place mostly up and running. Now some things just need to be unboxed, and as usual when one moves we just have to relocate all that may have potentially been lost. But we’re here and ready for this new start. I have transportation set up to take me to work via the GoTriangle Access paratransit service on Monday, and we’ll just see how that goes. If anything interesting happens therein, you can bet I will write about it.

Road to Home Ownership: You Have Arrived At Your Destination!

Hello, and welcome to March!And welcome to my first post of 2023. It’s been one of the most stressful years on record, and unfortunately I haven’t felt as up to writing as usual.

But to avoid the journalistic faux pas of “burying the lede,” I shall announce that we closed on our house this past week. Monday afternoon, in fact. So that journey that really started just about a year ago has finally, mercifully! wrapped up. Getting there was really something, though.

First, as you probably know, interest rates have risen significantly as the feds fight to curb inflation, which really makes it harder for those of us who are not super rich to secure things like homes. As the cycle continued and they approached completion of our southeast Raleigh hom, we oscilated between whether we could or should take this on. In the end, we made what I think was a wise move and switched lenders as the closing costs the other would have reuired was well above what we could spare. We found a local guy who, in a month’s time, worked to get us a deal so good that we actually received a fairly nice refund at closing rather than having to pay anything. This gives us a nice leg up as we deal with starting costs like a new fridge and washer/drier.

So our original closing date was to be Februaru 15. As that approached, we hit a snag in getting all of the loan details completed and were forced to postpone to the 24th. This move initially made the price increase considerably, but negotiations ensued during which our realtor was a real help. We got things figured out, but because more paperwork had to be completed we had to postpone yet again till the 27th. So my wife and I worked the earlier half of the day and came home by noon so we could start mentally and physically preparing for closing.

We entered the law office shortly after 3, again delayed from the 2:30 time that had been initially planned because the legal folks needed to go over everything a final time with a fine-toothed comb. See how stressful it was? Then it’s listen to her read for a minute, sign, read, sign, reaad, sign, until your brain was just about oozing from your ears! Finally, mercifully! at about 4:25 we initialized the last document and she gathered them up for consultation by the legal team. And we waited… and waited… and “Um, you dated this document wrong.” Fixed, back out to them. “This number doesn’t look right.” Fixed, back out to them, “you signed too high on this one.” Grrr! Fixed, out again. At approximately 5:30, she returned with… the keys! We cheered, slapped hands, and got out of dodge before anything else could happen.

We topped that fine night off with dinner from our realtor at the Olive Garden, at which I found myself ravenous and slurped down that lasagna. “I guess that stuff’s not too hot,’ our realtor said. “Oh it is,” I replied “I just don’t care!”

Our last trip was to “our” house, completed and ready to live in sans a good scrub down. Having seen it from nearly the beginning, it was hard to fathom that the place had come together so quickly. I like the feel of it, though I’m hoping that once furniture is installed the downstairs with its nine-foot high ceiling and open-concept floor plan won’t have so much echo. We have until nearly the end of March to complete vacating our current residence, so no rushed move is required. But let the new era of my life and for us begin!

22 In Review: On Life And Books

So, where to begin in this strange year? Well probably by noting that, thank goodness, it has been much better than either 2020 or 2021. I do know that some of us are still being ravaged by Covid, and that it might break back out of the box at any moment as we’re really seeing in China. But more of us saw some sliver of normalcy than we had in a very long time.
My two previous entries are about my new job, so I won’t say much about that here except that I am still glad for the opportunity and yeah I’ll admit some learning is going on, but one would probably expect that when making the jump that I have. Just doing a lot of reading and watching videos and trying to get better at asking for guidance when I need it. I look forward to being able to use these experiences to mentor others with disabilities as I get farther down this road into my career.
As far as travel goes? This may be the most dormant year I’ve had since at least 2003, but that’s ok. We’re going to complete the first year since 2015 without having gone to the beach, so no relaxing roar of the ocean. I’m sure it won’t take long for that to be rectified though once we get on the other side. I was happy to get to visit my cousin twice in person though, well once he came up here in April and over the Thanksgiving break my wife and I went to Charlotte to see them. And we were able to enjoy watching some sports together for the first time in almost 3 years. It still feels like that time lost didn’t exist, or at least not in the usual plane of reality.
The biggest reason we didn’t do much travel this year is, as I noted in earlier entries, we’re preparing to get a home of our own. The structure, part of a collection of townhomes, is nearly completed; and our closing date is set for February 15, 2023. Now to just survive the paperwork involved in securing all of the mortgage and loan bits, but I am breathing a little easier. It’s quite a process, as there will for most of us be no bigger purchase than that of acquiring our own home.
And now for the fun stuff, books! My initial goal was to complete 60 titles this year. And I had fun smashing that! I actually got all the way up to 70, largely because once I got the new job I could enjoy a slightly more relaxed lunch and listening to my audio books for the entire 30 minutes rather than having to stop after 15 to start making my way back to my section. In total I read 34 audiobooks and 36 in Braille via my APH Mantis Q40 Braille Display, a number that surprises me. I think my previous record for Braille books read in one year was 17. In terms of fiction/nonfiction, I read 56 of the former and 14 of the latter. I try to read more nonfiction titles, but I usually like either to escape reality or find something that helps me look at it differently. I do enjoy memoirs though, as hearing all those paths to success gives me ideas I might use someday. And finally, I ranked 24 books with five stars, with an average rating of 4.3. In total, I read 27,346 pages at an average of 390 pages per book. So I didn’t read a bunch of short ones either.
And that’s about all for this interesting year. It’s been mostly level, with no real challenges to speak of or at least none I can recall while writing this. I seem to be in relatively good health, for which I am thankful. And there are lots of exciting things lurking just around the corner as we head into 2023. I’m just hoping it all goes as I need it to go. Here’s wishing us all a happy and prosperous new year. And maybe I’ll get back on my writing game, but no guarantees there.

Job Days No. 10: Embracing The New, My Life As A Training Specialist

Even though I typically only do one Job Days a year, I think this change is so big that I wanted to capture the feel of its early days. And it’s kind of cool that this will be my tenth Job Days update, giving it a little more gravitas. Hopefully it’s only the beginning of great things for me.
Nearly a month in, and I’m finding my footing. The day’s rhythms have certainly changed, but the overall goal of doing the best I cand and producing quality work are of course still there.
I get there around 6:35 A.M., and usually have to wait about ten minutes before my badge will allow me to open the door. Then I saunter back to my office, saying hello to the occasional co-worker I come across in the hall. Then, thermal mug of coffee at hand, I sit in my chair and read a good book until work commences at 7:30.
Once the watch begins vibrating at 7:25, I affix my computer to the docking station, clock in, and bring up email to see if anything has come in after I left the previous day. Then I get to work, flicking open planning files and half-completed training documents and working to wrangle them into something intelligible. Some weekdays, typically every other Monday, Wednesday, and Friday see me having professional development or planning meetings at 8 AM, after which I have to remind myself to stand and stretch periodically until my lunch break at 11:30.
I mostly just take lunch inside of my office, since the area near the building’s front entrance doesn’t get sun at that time of day anyway, but if it’s warm enough I will make my way out there just to see if I can cross paths with others. Of course that’s generally a difference with this position; I have less frequent social encounters than before. Although this is already changing and will continue to change as we draw closer to ramping up my training sessions with people by January. If inside, I listen to an audiobook while laying waste to a sandwich and other energizing foods like grapes or trail mix, then it’s hitting the grind again.
When I started in late September, the focus was largely on taking courses to prepare me for the office environment and learning how to complete reports, notes to go out to the company advertising our offerings, and participating in said meetings. But for the last two weeks, I have started building training sessions using techniques I learned like Action Mapping, which is a structured brainstorming method, and creating a transcript and design document. I hope to have a good body of course modules by the time I really begin working with others.
And I did do a little of that work this past week, as we did a Lunch and Learn Presentation on Accessing Basic iPhone Functions Using VoiceOver in which I answered a few questions and established a couple of individuals with whom I will likely work in training. I also worked during Open Labs to help people to get set up so they could explore the computer keyboard and learn other basic skills. I’m mostly getting used to moving around and assisting in a room where there can be many things going on at once.
My day ends at 4 PM, and once that alarm goes off I clock out, remove my computer from the station, and try to remember to collect everything I’m supposed to take back home with me. Every day is a little different, and I remain grateful to get this experience.

A Year of Work Pays Off: I got a new job!

I’ve worked with the Workforce Development Specialist for nearly 2 years in some capacity, but over the past year in particular I’ve helped with tutoring and training different people on the JAWS screen-reader, basic keyboarding, and smartphone use. These efforts have, excitingly for me, culminated in a job offer from my employer for Training Specialist. In this role, I will continue much of what I have been doing, as well as act as an ambassador to drum up interest in the program among the workers and with company leadership. I think I will occasionally produce copy for the company, their newsletter, blogs and social media feeds.
It has been a whirlwind month (my birthday month too, as I turned 43 on the 13th) of applications, interviews, and even something of a trial, and now I’m due to start officially on Monday.
The “trial” probably happened because the supervisor of my current department became aware of my knowledge in smartphone operation from a blindness perspective. So yesterday he called me off of the floor to come and help an employee to get his email set up on the iPhone.
Then today, I encountered another blind woman in the Go Cary Door-to-Door vehicle that usually takes me home. I happened to place a phone call, and she asked me how I had done that. Turns out she has an iPhone but apparently no one has shown her how to use it. I explained the concept of double tapping on things when VoiceOver is on, as she said she couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t work if she single-tapped and so put the phone away in frustration. She also told me she has a computer with Narrator, the built-in Windows screen-reader, which she doesn’t find very useful. I told her about JAWS, and also a lower-cost, well free if you need it to be but they ask for donations if you can, Non-visual Desktop Access (NVDA) reader. It does much of what JAWS does, and even outperforms it in some areas. Anyhow, she said that coming across me was “such a blessing,” and I hope that she is able to use what I told her. She had been sighted previously and so is more used to functioning in that world.
I feel like these happenings are a little confidence booster from somewhere as I prepare for this new endeavor. It will be my first working experience not tied to a manufacturing floor, after nearly 20 years of trying to reach such an achievement. I am pleased to see that many Ability One facilities, the places that generally employ people who are blind and/or have other disabilities, are starting to promote upward mobility, and are bringing in the people to make it happen. The Workforce Development Specialist began shaping me for this sort of thing really from the moment she set foot on our company grounds, and finding that you have someone who believes in your potential can take you to places you couldn’t previously imagine. I know the work will be rigorous, especially as we get things going, but I look forward to working as hard as I can to benefit myself and ultimately so many others.

The iPhone, 10 Years On

“This is ny first iPone status”
I composed that famous sentence nearly 10 years ago, on September 23 2012 from a relatively warm bonus-room sort of set up in my mom’s PineBluff home. It took me a mind-boggling 45 minutes to peck at that keyboard, double tapping on each letter I wished to enter and, I suppose, with no auto correct to help me. Yet I felt a sense of pride at having managed to at least get some sort of status up for my friends to see.
As told in previous posts, I’d acquired said iPhone two days prior, as I knew I would be relocating away from the city and wanted to have some sort of connection available. Little did I know at the time, but this old phone in its myriad versions has become so much more than I ever could have expected. (And as an aside, Itypedmyfirsttextwithnospacesinitatall. I am surprised the recipient was able to interpret that message’s intended meaning.)
That was way back in the days of the iPhone 4, when one’s cell company would allow them to be had free with contract. My poor self would likely not have entered this rarefied world of tech for another couple years otherwise, especially as I had no job at the time. And yes the main thing to which I had to acclimate was that small keyboard on the smooth glass screen.
With As my skills improved in typing and actually performing other gestures, the phone became a portal to the world around me in ways I could not have imagined. I probably have six GPS apps onboard, all of which give me slightly different information about things. One of my favorite things to do nowadays is to build a more robust mental map of city and country layouts by looking up the actual GPS coordinates. This even makes reading certain books, such as one I recently read about an Alaskan cruise, more fun.
I of course do more mundane but equally important tasks with this device, such as managing my credit card and bank account, paying bills, and the like. Hey, I can remember a time when blind folk would have needed visual assistance simply to complete those tasks, so I do not take their easy availability for granted. I know too that such things don’t come without risks, as I recently had to close a card because of some fraudulent nonsense, but sadly that’s just part of the price if one wishes to use electronic transactions in this way. You just secure yourself to the extent possible, and keep an eye on things.
I don’t really know how much more they can make this technology do, but I have recently downloaded iOS 16. I like it, but had chosen to get it being well aware that the earliest version would likely have some bugs. The main one I notice is that notifications don’t seem to clear from the Notification Center as quickly as they should. Usually I just have to do some swiping around though and the message will disappear. I also notice that VoiceOver, the iPhone’s text-to-speech reader, seems to pronounce some words more correctly than it had before and some less so. But then it’s likely near to impossible to ever get all of these pronunciations right, and it’s generally not a big deal for your average blind reader.
Probably the biggest reason I decided to get iOS 16 quickly is so that I could play with the new Eloquence voices, which are the same voices that many of us blind folks have used on Windows with JAWS and NVDA. I did try listening to these voices in the phone, but I suppose it will just take some getting used to. I know these voices are typically more discernable for me with my hearing loss on the PC, but they don’t seem to confer the same advantage for me in the iOS environment. This may have more to do with my having gotten used to the Samantha voice I’ve been using with VoiceOver since that long-ago 4.
And those are some random, varied thoughts I’m having as I celebrate ten years in possession of the iPhone. The models I’ve had over that time are: 4 (2 of them), 4S, 6 (2 of them), 7, 8, and 12 Pro. I do not plan to get another one until this I have now is no longer supported.