Sarah Einstein writes

Redstone SFDisability is created by the ways in which we live. I couldn’t carry two five gallon buckets of water from a communal well to my house a few miles away or easily climb the steps of Machu Picchu in the thin air of the Andes. Because I am a privileged, twenty-first century American woman, this does not make me disabled, but if I were living another life, it could. I am able-bodied because the place where I live already accommodates the ways in which my body does not function optimally. What would a world look like that accommodated all kinds of bodies, all ways of communicating, every way of being an embodied human? How will the need to accommodate alien bodies influence how we accommodate our own? How will science help us build fully inclusive communities?

There is too little science fiction written that envisions a fully accessible, universally designed future. And so we are asking you, gentle readers, to do just that. We’re announcing the first contest to be sponsored by Redstone Science Fiction!

A science fiction writing contest. What a superb idea. Science fiction exists to prepare us for the future. What kind of future are we preparing for in terms of people with disabilities?

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Snow Leopard

August 28, 2009

Snow Leopard, the development nickname for Macintosh OSX version 10.6, is available for sale today.
It has new accessibility features.

PCWorld article on these.

I’m particularly interested in the mirroring the screen with the trackpad feature. The trackpads on the new unibody laptops are huge. And I recall that Apple has patents on some haptic feedback touchscreen ideas. Could a built-in braille reader in the Macbook be possible?

Must remember to do a blog post about Windows 7 when it comes out.

Text-to-speech under attack

February 27, 2009

In case you were not aware, Amazon’s Kindle 2 electronic book contains a text-to-speech feature that reads e-books out loud using synthesized speech.

Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book

Amazon's Kindle 2 e-book

People with vision impairments or who are otherwise unable to read can download the newspaper or a novel from anywhere (it uses 3G over the cell-phone network) and it will read it aloud.

Cool feature, right?

Roy Blount Jr, president of the Author’s Guild doesn’t think so. Read the rest of this entry »

Apropos to nothing

February 17, 2009

It would appear that the jet pack situation of the 21st century (i.e. the lack of jet packs) is on its way to resolution.

It’s less a commuter vehicle than a $130,000 variant on water-skiing/parasailing, but clever nonetheless. Makes me feel a little more Jetsons.

It’s 2009

January 1, 2009

So what does “21st century” mean?

Jet packs

Jetpack

Jetpack

and

flying cars, of course.