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I have a love of life. Some may call me a cynic but I'm truly an optimistic realist. I work on the philosophy “If you expect the worst but aim for the best, you'll land somewhere that's comfortable.”

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14 April 2017

I'm Alive - Ask A Blind Person

I would state the obvious by saying it's been sometime since I last wrote a blog post but... You can see that from the date stamp on the last one.

So, what's happened? We've not quite got to world war three like I purposed, however, I don't think that we're all that far off now. Ever the optimist.

Now the UK is leaving the EU and we have Trump. By we I mean the world. I can't really complain I voted for both, despite not being a US citizen... That one is so worn but I'm into recycling.

In my life, I completed University. Well, one module which was ample education in social sciences for me. I'm fairly sure University is a waste of time unless you want to, cut people open and build stuff. Even then I don't see why a modern apprenticeship would work for either of those. I may go back and do a module about personal finance, at least that way I may learn where all my money is going.

Ask A Blind Person? (#AskABlindPerson)

 I was going to write a whole #AskABlindPerson post but that didn't get very many questions, so you can stay ignorant for all I care just don't blame me if I give you a dressing down for being silly. You have had your chance!

For those that did ask questions here are some answers:


Q) How do blind people use Twitter etc?

A) I use a screen reader on my phone called VoiceOver. This is built into Apple products as standards. It's quality varies from device-to-device – their phones and tablets are the best in that order. Where as, their computers have some way to go to compete with other screen readers like JAWS for Windows. There is a similar but less functional screen reader on Android devices called TalkBack which personally is a heap of crud. I think on both platforms you can access Voiceover/TalkBack by going to Settings → (Apple) General → (Both) Accessibility → VoiceOver/TalkBack and then toggling it on. It's worth barring in mind that to turn them off again you'll need to double tap the toggle switch.

The only thing that screen readers can't do is read images. At least those without Alt tags added in their coding. However, Facebook and Apple are changing this. Facebook has developed a not so good version of Apples idea of auto text. This works using some sort of dark, sinister technology called AI. It analysis the image and comes up with a best guess of what is in the image based on what humans have told it similar things are. Facebook has told me that I'm smiling and the picture is a close up, with me wearing shoes – yes, I was smiling, Yes, it was sort of close up but no, I was just wearing a hoody, bra and pants... Some way to go yet. Apple's process was able to describe Stonehenge as a megalith which is a good shot. It also tells you if someone is smiling and if the image is sharp or blurred but this is often not so sharp itself.

Q) Don't you get bored watching movies because you don't know what's going on?

A) No because there is a thing called audio description, see my earlier post about this. It's more and more widely available. Netflix and BBC iPlayer have it on their streaming services. Netflix allows AD tracks to be downloaded unlike BBC. However, in the BBC's defence, their DVDs often have audio navigation, meaning a blind person can navigate all those menus that come with DVDs these days.

Q) Do you read... oh sorry... I mean...?

A) I can read, like letters and words and stuff. I often tend to use audio formats because my eyes tire really quickly and sore eyes aren't fun. I could read braille at one point but then someone decided all braille should be the same and I haven't bothered trying to learn the new modified braille code. It's fairly pointless while I have ears to listen and fingers to type with. Plus, my braille skills were so crud that I was reading o n e l e t t e r a t a t I m e, so it wasn't very fast. I'm sure I would of got quicker but technology right?


A) Firstly, well done for knowing the answer to Q1! Secondly, no. VoiceOver will either read it as a normal word or it will read out the letters individually. You could maybe use the loud speaker emoji to tell us blind people that you're shouting. Or, keep your shit together an have a rational conversation, even in real life, if you shout I stop listening. Also, it's SUPER ANNOYING WHEN YOU REPEAT EMOJI 🐸🐸🐸🐸

Q) How do you have/do sex?

A) Pretty Well! No complains so far at least... Seriously though – not everyone has/wants/does sex and if they do it's often tackled in different ways. Otherwise there wouldn't be a need for sex toys and sex-bots because we would all be satisfied and we wouldn't complain she/he/they don't do X, Y or Z the way I like/at all.

Q) Do blind people only see black?

A) Black is a colour. Colours are concepts that require us to agree on what frequency of light waves we are all seeing. I refer you back to 'that dress'. If you can't see light you can't see black. I have a little bit of sight but for those that are totally blind (I've been one of those for a short time a couple of times as a kid) – you see nothing your eyes don't work. Put your hand in the air (if you have a hand) and task yourself what you can feel? The answer presuming you're not in pain is nothing. You feel your hand and that's all.

I did get some other questions but I can't remember them or maybe I'm lying and there were no others... If you have any, tweet me @Pipa)Riggs or comment below.

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