Technology: ESight

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with another Assistive Tech Post!

ESight

I bet you’re wondering, “What is ESight?” Well, it is a pair of glasses that has a camera that is attached to them and what it does it tries to give someone who has lost some sight regain some of it back to be able to see in front of them again. This was developed in Canada a few years back and well Momma Gondras saw it on Rachael Ray and saw someone was able to see with these glasses and they were talking about how it worked for them. I have met people that has tried these glasses out and one person it didn’t work out for them while the other it did. Reason why I am writing about it here is because I tried them today.

How I Got Onto the List? Well, like most places there is a waiting list for this thing due to how long of a list to demo these glasses can be a high demand. I want to tell you a little bit about my past before I got onto this list.

When I got diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, I wanted to find ways of seeing again since I was an artist and well you know makeup has been a new creative outlook for me and still wanted to find ways of seeing again and able to draw again. Not only that drive too since my dream car is still a VW Beetle in blue, either the old Herby model or the newer ones since I am not picky. Anyways, I always saw an eye specialist in Miami and he was helping me with research in getting something to help me see again but as time went on my hopes kind of stalled out since I was getting comfortable with my visual impairment even before getting my job as an Adaptive Tech Instructor. That was when Momma Gondras came in last year and it was during Irma hitting. I told her my plans in being a tech instructor since it is a field that they need more people in and volunteering at the middle school I used to go to was helping me get over some hurdles that I have noticed during my work experience and she was asking me about job related stuff and it was hard for me to answer to tell you truth. Heck, I wanted to go back to school even for my Grad Certificate for Adaptive Tech. After that, I learned that I shouldn’t share my dreams with the future-in-law if they don’t share the same ideas or aspirations as you. Apparently, there were things and said and done which was that Gondras put me on the waiting list for ESight. I was surprised by that because I wasn’t expecting it due to how skeptical we felt about it and will get to that.
Why Were We Skeptical? Now! I and Gondras were skeptical about this device because we didn’t get that much information through the website and that is why I don’t feel like posting the link, best to Google search for yourself. Most websites that talk about tech items do talk about the specs of the item, what it is exactly and so on. For example, I will use Apple for this. For a lot of their products they talk about how big their Mac Books or even their IPads, heck the newer IPhones with the height and width, what the camera is like, Siri of course, and the latest I OS that will be coming with the device and what else can be done with that particular product. With the ESight website, on the other hand, the information is repetitive, not too much to talk about even with pricing, and doesn’t give success stories if it has worked for a lot of people.

What even has me more worrisome is that it lists off different eye conditions that it can help but the issue is that people have different types of an eye condition and the degree of sight can change over time, which I will tell my experience with this device next due to my degree of vision. Plus, an eye condition can take place at any time in life, like me with getting my condition in high school for example and going blind at twenty-three. Not only have that, depending on the amount of sighted loss it can be tough to regain which I will tell you my experience now!

My Experience with These Glasses! Trust me, I was really not looking forward to this demo since I did take the day to do it due to how bad traffic can get between Daytona and Orlando, especially the part of town it was taking place. I felt a bit off with the address first, but let me start with the call though. I was working on my Chrome Book when I got the call and the person was very friendly and told me that he was from ESight and explained things that looking back at the website now was not mentioned there. A little red flag right there! Oh yes, the Red Flag Kitties were there waving their little flags! I had a feeling if I turned them down I wouldn’t be left alone without guilt after waiting on the list since 2017 after Irma. Got to talking more and got some pricing, which looking at the website, another Red Flag Kitty pops up because he mentioned the prices and how low it has gotten and I remembered the fundraising option if it did work. This device was originally $10,000 which is more than the Braille Note Touch and the Braille Sense Polaris on their own own. Even though they dropped the price it would have taken most of my pay and have me eating ramen for the next few months and probably skip more conventions and probably makeup re-stocking. And not only that, there was a home trial but it is a risk to take because if these didn’t work you lose $500. For anyone who wants to try these you are getting some warning while reading this and I care. I even almost had a major spit take with the home trial option.

So, fast forward to today. Getting to Orlando was a breeze even though there was some traffic on Sand Lake which the address that was given was at an office building that felt like in the middle of nowhere. I have gone to similar buildings but they did have names when it came to job interviews but this was kind of weird in a way since I didn’t know where I was going and I remembered that one guy I used to know had his demo at a hotel. I think it would have been better if it was in a place that is well-known like an office inside of a mall or at a doctor’s office, heck even at one of the Lighthouse locations would have been nice since that was mentioned during my demo. Getting into the building was even more of a pain because the elevator in the parking garage was a freight even though we were able to get to the basement level, yes it has one of those, and the stairs were leading to doors either private or there was no exit on the floor I was supposed to be on. I am not kidding, I felt like I was in a bad Escher painting. With my experiences being at my dad’s doctors or other parts of Orlando with parking garages with office buildings at least I could get in and out without a problem. Anyways, so we got in and was seen pretty quickly.

So, it started off telling the salesman about myself, my degree of vision, and he did explain what the glasses were, what the camera does, and that it doesn’t work for everyone, oh right also get to adjust the glasses if need be with a remote that is attached. He also had me try and see one of those eye charts we always get tested on. I admitted I only saw his arm holding it not the card since I can only see in my peripheral which brings up another red flag which I will get to the next point of the story. So, the glasses felt like standard blind man glasses as in sunglasses with a camera attached and there was a strap to hold them on. The strap felt like a tourniquet. I know it’s supposed to be adjustable but I felt my head getting tighter despite the adjustment and. So, he had me try to see my dad with these on and unfortunately I couldn’t. My dad did not appear clearly which they were supposed to. So, this brings up that one Red Flag Kitty which the person on the phone explained that with my RP versus the standard that it can be worked with the camera versus the tunnel vision standard. With the demo it shows that it didn’t! The guy in the room did say reason why it didn’t work on me is due to the lack of natural vision that is left in my peripherals and I can see why.

How I went blind was an interesting tidbit which I will share here. When I was trying to draw something a few days after designing my first costume on paper, I noticed my right eye turning. It was like a hurricane on a weather map and knew that I lost my right eye and then a year or so after my left eye followed and yes I may still have some vision in my peripheral like a flounder but not enough for these glasses. I am taking Anatomy of the Human Eye I and I learned so far that not all eye conditions are the same even with mine. I have met people in the past that are going through RP but different versions even different ways with the same thing as mine. These people working on ESight feel to me, well mostly to my dad, is that they are just there to sell the product. Plus, Gondras did bring up that it feels like a VR set that is not made to fit a certain degree of vision that a person may have and should make the tech help for those different degrees of sight loss and I agree with him. I did tell him that we were right about not working but at least I did try it for free rather than shelling out major cash. Even my dad asked if we had to pay up front. It can happen with some places.

Final Thoughts: Even though the glasses didn’t work one me doesn’t mean it won’t work for anyone but I would say is that think before signing up for a demo because the website is not a good place to check because the pages repeat the same information over and over and once you’re on the phone with someone or there at the demo that is where the true information is given.

I’m sorry but being a bit harsh here, also honest, but when looking for something like this you need more information, actual testimonials to see if it worked, and give the price tag on the website and any information about how to get the funds to pay for it. If it had worked for me, then I would have a Go Fund Me raise the money for one after hearing someone have this device work for them.

Another thing is, please don’t go in with hopes of it working. Technology works in different ways and can either work great or not for someone who tests that new toy. Just know that yes it is a possibility of seeing again but if it doesn’t work out then find a different avenue which I did appreciate the guy giving an alternative for something similar. And now looking at it, I am also thinking that the people who worked on this device should look more into eye diseases because not all of them work the same way, they get diagnosed differently and people have different ways of losing their sight due to that condition like I had. Not only that, get a better website because I feel it needs to show better information about the product and how it works and explain the tech better. Plus, the pricing which is the first question on a lot of people’s minds when going into something like this. Even when I tried confirming on their website, it did have a question, “If this does restore some residual vision, how much will you pay?” And gives you options from highest to lowest so that is why a price guide on the main website can help.

So yeah, if you’re thinking about having a demo, just look out for some things even with the website and if not, I understand!

Well, that is it for this experience. I know it was an interesting experience with the building I went to but I rather try this at a doctor’s office or at a Lighthouse knowing that I am in a safe and familiar environment. Plus, I feel as though that this device should be improved upon even with the website because of how many eye conditions can happen at any moment. Which I need to get back to that Human Eye class because I am learning a lot of stuff as time goes on.

That is it for this post. Sorry for a bit of a mishap but my Boxy Charm was not shipped yet so hoping to see if it will soon because I have seen some people on YouTube get theirs so far. Next up is one of our interviews from Holiday Matsuri! Stay tuned!

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Bests & Worsts of 2018!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! It is time for the final post of 2018!

Bests & Worsts of 2018!

We are at that time again my friends and that is the bests and worsts moments, beauty items, movies, and so on of 2018! This year was a life changing year for me so let’s start with that!

New Job & New Home in a New Location! Well, last year I said 2018 was going to be my year of getting a job and hoping to move out and guess what? I just did that in November! I did get interviewed for the Adaptive Tech Instructor in Daytona and I got it! I have been a student at the Rehab Center I’m teaching at and glad that I got to move up and doing it in something I wanted to teach and that is Adaptive Tech which I use on a daily basis especially with writing Nerdy Shique Universe by using JAWS. I knew I had to also move out for this job because I can’t drive and got my own place and loving it! Me and Gondras are sharing it so he will be moving in with me so we can be a full on couple, well engaged couple here together. We will be commuting back to Orlando for conventions since we do have Omni Fandom Expo in March and also Ranger Stop if we get another press badge since we did enjoy that one too. There are conventions here in Daytona too but haven’t heard from them much. I have to get back in contact with them since one is a writing convention and there are some authors on my Net Galley shelf that will be appearing there. How do I like living on my own? Well, the good news is that it made my mental health a lot more easier because it was stressful living in a big city where the job market is still unsure about hiring blind people even in call centers and I did try going for volunteering at the Lighthouse but that didn’t go through as planned for their Adaptive Tech Department. Glad I am working in it and plus I have changed dramatically since I did take a Self-Esteem & Adjusting to Blindness class which helped me understand more and understand myself when it comes to adjusting to being blind. Plus, getting to cook my own food feels a lot better too since I did go through back seat cooking with my parents and it caused some stress too, even when I made potato salad and wanted to follow the recipe but mom wanted me to do it our way. I did get to make her black beans and it felt like home even with the Adobo seasoning for my pork chops. Plus, I get a bigger closet too which made me happy along with smaller furniture than what I had in my old room at my parents’ place. Not only that, transportation is also better here because you have more bus stops to get to and the paratransit is way better, not only that the Lift drivers are very friendly! So yeah, I am at a better place in life, I have a great job teaching, now I can write my book in peace as well since I did re-start it again. I know, this is becoming annoying when I should have finished this year. Well, living on the coast will help me out since my first two books were done while I was a student. Let’s cross our fingers!

Being Certified In JAWS! Next is another great aspect this year and that is being JAWS Certified! I have been using this software since 2010 and figured being certified in this software could help me get into the field of tech more and I was right about that. The test was hard and I had to study a lot of things from the Help Topics to knowing what the commands were, especially when they tested more on the Laptop Keyboard Commands versus Desktop, and so much more. I was glad to pass and now waiting on my certificate so it can be in my office!

Getting a Chrome Book! Speaking of tech, I did get a Chrome Book for myself this past month because I wanted to see about the operating system and since my mom returned hers after having it for a few weeks, I really wanted to see about its built-in screen reader after seeing the ones on display at the NFB National Convention. So far so good it has been working out because of how the commands are like JAWS but with a different modifier key. I have to play around more with it since I am creating a Chrome Book workbook on Excel to help me and any other instructors.

Getting to Go to the NFB National Convention! I finally got to attend the NFB National Convention for its last year in Orlando, which it will be in Vegas next year. It was an amazing opportunity since I went with the Jernigan First Time Scholarship, I tried for National Scholarship but didn’t get it and now holding off on my Grad Certificate at the moment, and got to enjoy the convention. I even volunteered at the Braille Book Fair to get my interaction with younger kids better since I wasn’t doing it in the school system at the time. It was fun and getting to talk with a mom about how she is trying to get her child’s dexterity back after a stroke was even life changing too because it was sad hearing about it but I did suggest some things since Braille does help us out. I did get a new watch from this convention along with a few other items and got to meet the many other chapters in the United States and knowing that we’re not alone in the universe. I am going to try and join the chapter here in Daytona but due to how busy it has gotten unpacking and getting things for the apartment, even working, it will be a little bit before I join since being in the NFB shows that we can self-advocate and do have family and friends to help us. Oh right…let me save that for later!

Bests

Now to start with the bests since there are tons of awesome things going on this year and I have to give it to a lot of people and moments!

Game of the Decade: War Frame! First is Video Game of the Decade and I give it to War Frame! All this year Gondras has been playing this game and it is also up my alley with story since it’s a science fiction story where a metallic virus turns humans into robots known as War Frames and you as the Tenno pilot these robots to travel across the Solar System to take on the threats that want to take over. You also get more War Frames along the way, especially one where it was from a secret event story that dealt with one who had darkness take over. Now the game is where you go to Venus and get to explore the now icy planet to meet robot dwarves and even have hover boards. This game is very pretty and now that we have a new tv in our living room, yes good to say that, it will look even better. For anyone who has a Nintendo Switch, it’s going to be available for the Switch! Now you can play it on PC, PS4 and Xbox! Amazing work!

Movie of the Year: Avengers: Infinity War Part 1! Movie of the year goes to Avengers: Infinity War Part 1! We all know that it has come down to this where we see the Infinity Gauntlet is completed and now the Avengers must come together along with the Guardians of the Galaxy to take on Thanos and his gauntlet. Can’t wait what Part 2 has to offer since we are getting Captain Marvel next since she will be important in that part!
Runner Ups: Black Panther and AquaMan! Can’t forget these two since they have appeared this year. Black Panther was another great movie from this year since we got to see an African-American superhero take center stage for his origin story in this movie. It also became a hit at box offices back in February and schools even took kids to see this movie as a field trip which was even more amazing. While AquaMan, on the other hand, was something DC should have done like with Marvel and start with the origin story movies before diving into the big team up films. I did enjoy Jason Mamoa as AquaMan and we get to see a mix of villains which made it more interesting. Nicole Kidman did a great job as his mom on top of it. Too bad we’re not doing MegaCon next year, interviewing Mr. Mamoa would be pretty sweet! Speaking of interviews!

Interview Opportunity: Apl DeAp from the Black Eyed Peas! Yes, another moment this year was getting to interview a Grammy winning artist and that is Apl DeAp from the Black Eyed Peas and it was during the NFB National Convention. When I first heard he was going to be performing at it, I had to get the interview and what surprised me was that he is visually impaired himself. He has Nystagmus which causes severe near sight and he did tell his story behind it which you can still see here and over on our YouTube Channel’s Interviews Playlist. It felt great to meet him and brought us another musical artist to our channel since we did interview Traverser not long after. If you get to meet Mr. DeAp, just say hi not wave because he did explain it’s hard for him to see it.
Runner Up: Trying Out Skype Interviews with J. Michael Tatum, Brandon McInnis, and Traverser! As you know being at a convention you can get busy as a guest or even as a musical artist your schedule gets packed before a show so that is why we went one step beyond with our interviews this year. We used Skype to interview J. Michael Tatum and Brandon McInnis, since there schedules were full during Holiday Matsuri 2017, and Traverser, since they were returning to the stage after three or so years. It shows how we got over the obstacle of not being able to interview people face to face and hoping to get more in 2019 since I have a list in mind for the year.

Anime: My Hero Academia! Speaking of Tatum! It is the Best Anime Category and this year it goes to My Hero Academia! GOndras did start watching it himself and then shown it to me and man it is one of the best dubs I have seen so far! It is like the movie Sky High but what if it’s an anime and your main character, Izuku, is not born with a Quirk and has one transferred to him by his idol, All Might! I can’t wait for the next season because the last season ended on a pretty good note.
Runner Up: Overlord! I have to hand the Runner Up position to Overlord because it is an anime series that deals with a video game you have never thought to be better than Sword Art Online. Why would I say that? Well, in Overlord, you get to see new worlds being built, characters going through certain adventures that help them get better in fighting, and not only that take over towns like a usual fantasy RPG. Plus, with the main character, Momonga, we not only see him in the game but see his player in the real world thinking about what to do next and how to interact with the party. I would say check this out if you can!

Male Performance in An Anime: Justin Briner in My Hero Academia I decided to include this after watching the anime and I give it to Justin Briner because he gave a stand out performance as Deku in My Hero Academia. He is a new voice to my ears and I have heard him in Team FourStar’s Final Fantasy VII Abridged as Cloud and trust me I was thinking to Cloud watching MHA A. I hope we get to interview him either over Skype or in person at a convention.

Female Performance in an Anime: Monica Rial in Shimonetta! I know, it’s a weird title but when Gondras shown me this one on Funimation Now I never thought it would be hilarious especially with Monica Rial as Ana. I bet how many takes it took for one certain line, if you are of age, watch it!

Best Supporting Role in an Anime: J. Michael Tatum in My Hero Academia! Final anime related thing and that is best supporting role and it goes to J. Michael Tatum when he played Tenya Ida in My Hero Academia.

Makeup Brand of the Year: Cover Girl! I decided to give this year’s Brand of the Year to Cover Girl because this year they made a huge change from being a brand that wasn’t Cruelty Free to one that is now is and Leaping Bunny approved! Brands are trying to get away from animal testing and glad to hear that Cover Girl is the first even close to the end of the year, especially many months after Nars has joined in being sold in China during the beginning of this year. Hoping Cover Girl leaving China and being on this list can be an example to others and saying, “Join us and be Cruelty Free!” Now China is fighting to have better ways of testing at the moment, so more news on the horizon!
Runner Up: Urban Decay! 2018 has been a huge year for Urban Decay since they have released a lot of collections and discontinued a beloved product and that was the Original Naked pallet. Trust me, it was sad for me to hear since I was doing my Urban Decay Look Series on the YouTube Channel. But they have released many pallets this year that have been a success so far and they are the Beached Pallet in the summer, Born to Run, Naked Cherry, and Elements for the holidays. Now they have announced Naked Reloaded which is the Naked pallet but with new packaging and shades. Plus, the Naked Honey, and Naked AF soon to join the series! Will 2019 have all three? We will have to see!

Collection of the Year: Wet N Wild Flights of Fancy! I have to give this award to the Wet N Wild Flights of Fancy Collection because it has been a really good collection that was released during this year. Not only it had new items like a lip scrub and baked blushes but it also had donations from each box set go to the Audubon Society to help with a species of hummingbird that is native to California. A great cause for a great box! Let’s see what WNW brings to 2019!

Set at Electric Daisy Carnival Vegas 2018: Alan Walker! Even though I can’t take a flight to Vegas every year for EDC but this year’s videos shown a lot of great sets but I have to give it to Alan Walker’s set! I like his music the most because it has a science fiction feel to it and of course I did create a makeup look to his song “Ignite.” His newer stuff is pretty good too and I highly recommend. If you can’t make any of the EDC events this year, you can always catch it on YouTube!

Worsts

I do have a few worsts this year since I felt like not that many had happened but I will get to it!

Moment at a Convention: My Cane Breaking! I never had this happen before and that is my cane breaking at a convention. Someone pretty much stepped over and got caught in my cane and caused it to crack. Still makes me mad that people are blind to blind people and well, thinking we’re are like Terezi from Homestuck which we’re not, the cane is real. Hoping this year with cons I don’t experience this again because it’s not fun meeting an annoyed mobility instructor at work, even though it was not my fault because I was using proper cane etiquette and the person just shown up out of nowhere.

Makeup Moment: Being Makeup Shamed! Apparently, this year there has been a bit of makeup shaming taking place, more recent actually and I became a victim of. Seriously people? When did we came down to this? I understanding roasting someone for laughs but doing it with makeup is not cool. I did hear there were Cosplay Shaming Groups but there are groups for makeup and a newer one came up and someone from the What’s Up In Makeup Group did use my pic for it. I don’t get why we feel the need that this should be okay when makeup is a creative outlet for a lot of people, especially me. At least the person got kicked out for it because in the group you are being watched.

The Most Okay Movie: Solo! I had to mention an Okay Movie but not necessarily a Worst Movie either and that goes to Solo. It’s the movie that tells the story about how Han Solo got the Millennium Falcon and we get to use Lando get his butt kicked for it. It was not that bad and it did get bad reviews for it, when you look at it, it was competing against a Marvel movie at the same time. We did enjoy it.

Game: My Hero Academia! I have to mention this one because Gondras was looking forward to this game but it didn’t come out to being the one he was hoping for and it was the My Hero Academia game. It was supposed to play like Ninja Storm where you got to play the different story arcs but the only ones you get the arcs from the Stained arc through rescuing Bakugo! Even though those are nice arcs but Ninja Storm started from the beginning so you could play through them while here it’s the best arcs being played. Not only that, they didn’t use the English cast for this either. The Funimation dub of the show is one of the best dubs they have done and wishing they recorded this with them because they picked a lot of great actors to be in the dub. Sorry My Hero Academia, we prefer the anime.

What’s Up For Us in 2019? Well, another year at Omni Fandom Expo and just in time for new promo material. Even though we have business cards but we need to step it up and we will get it in time for this year’s convention. We aren’t sure about other cons but shooting for another year at Ranger Stop and of course new content for the YouTube Channel including new playlists to come! Also, I just re-subscribed to Boxy Charm and glad to get it back! It will be separate from Ipsy so stay tuned for our new stuff in 2019! Until next time everyone, have a safe and Happy New Year and see you in 2019!

Television: How I Watch Power Rangers As a Blind Person!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds, I am back but this is a re-write to a post I had done and tried posting but somehow things didn’t appear. Let’s try this again shall we?

How I Watch Power Rangers As A Blind Person!

As you know I was at Ranger Stop 6 this past weekend and after meeting so many cast members from the vast series, I was inspired to write something.

Three years ago before I got the Press Pass, I remembered how I was meeting Jason Fond from Time Force and he asked about how I was able to watch Power Rangers as a blind person. I did give him a short answer but will go into more detail right now!

The Tone of Voice: As someone who has really good hearing, being able to tell the characters apart in how they sound give a different idea of who is good and who is evil. One example is Rita Repulsa with her scary voice since she is supposed to be a witch and Goldar having a very growling, bass voice. I know Finster sounds more prim and proper but he is on the bad guy’s side due to what he does and how he talks about the many monsters he creates for Rita. While the good guys, the sound strong, sometimes very positive and peppy but with their own personality on top of it like Kimberly in Mighty Morphen being that tough valley girl in how she speaks. Even Princess Shayla in Wild Force being the mentor figure that also sings and does help the rangers with her advice to them. So many aspects and attitudes that can be portrayed in someone’s
tone of voice.

The Music: I didn’t get to mention it in the original so I am bringing it here and that is the music. Each show has music for the bad guys and the good guys to show where we are in each episode. I will use Light Speed Rescue for example. When we see Diabolico and crew we hear the menacing music in the background as they speak, heck Vipra even had a bit of a rock sound while driving her car across Mariner Bay in one episode and the Rangers had to chase her to get to her. While the Ranger side had a very uplifting orchestra sound showing who they are even when they appear. Plus, you hear the instrumental version of the theme song when the transformed. When the Lost Galaxy Rangers even had their music when the crossover happened. In the end, the music tells you what side is which even how it changes between the two even in the fights.

The Grunts and Calls While Fighting: During each episode we tend to see the Rangers fight the foot soldiers or the henchman hand on hand before the monster grows. While hearing these grunts I can tell that the good guys are putting up a fight and even say some cheesy lines while doing it, it is a show for kids on our side of the planet after all. When they get hit, it’s easy to tell that the bad guys are making the fight even harder for our heroes. No matter what kind of fight it is hearing those grunts and cries can show what is going on.

The Morphing Phrases: Besides the fighting and hearing the voices, hearing the morphing phrases does give another idea who is also on the good side. Each season has their own morphing phrase to go with their suits and some of them are either lengthy or just easy to say but the same result is that they transform into their multi-colored suits. Well, the sixth ranger does have their own phrase to call out which makes them even more unique.

People Screaming: I know I should’ve mentioned this earlier but there are times where the citizens of the town getting attacked by the monster of the week. When hearing these screams it gives the signal that everyone is in trouble call in the good guys! Even when someone gets captured in a certain situation, like a volcano erupting in Mariner Bay where Dayna is in a bus with some people even a burglar, not kidding, and they get trapped. No matter what, each episode does show people being attacked and gives the idea that heroes will be coming to rescue.

The Monster of the Week Growing: Next is how the monsters always grow so that the Rangers would fight in their robots. When hearing this the voice on them does gets deeper and more growl sounding due to how huge they’ve gotten. Plus, when hearing their footsteps on the ground it does add more to the sound effects. Plus, the music is an added factor because of the idea they have changed in size.

The Zords: Next is the Zords! Every season has their own unique zord and sometimes they can be either animals, dinosaurs, even vehicles like in Turbo, Light Speed Rescue, and RPM. When that monster grows and our heroes call on their zords to come we tend to hear the music change to the instrumental version of the theme song, I think in some other seasons we do hear the lyrics as well or just a few mixed in. Still, knowing that these robots come and help save the day does give another telling.

The Weapons and Cycles: I decided to add these two together because they fit. Besides the zords and the suits, each team has their own weapon to go with what they change into. They tend to either have the same kind of weapon like the Rescue Blasters or their own weapons like in Mighty Morphen but no matter what each team had weapons to help take on a monster or one of the bad guys in that hand-on-hand combat. Not only that, in a lot of the seasons to add more speed they were handed motorcycles like Light Speed Rescue, Wild Force, and SPD for example to chase the villain in order to get to the scene on time and sometimes they do use these weapons in conjunction with their cycles or even with their zords as some sort of key. No matter what there is some sort of weapon that gets used or a motorcycle to give that extra speed.

Well, that’s it for this post. I am hoping it shows up this time. I am really sorry for Word Press doing what it did in not showing anything. I hope you guys enjoy this post and stay tuned for our coverage on Ranger Stop 6!

Technology: How to Make An Accessible Convention Schedule

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with something completely different!

Creating a Simple and Accessible Convention Schedule!

As a blind person myself, it’s sometimes hard to read a convention guide with or without the accessible apps. Ever since last year, I have been creating my own Convention Schedules through using Google Sheets which makes it easier on myself, even if we have a press pass or not. I did have the Word Document version of the NFB Convention Schedule but wishing I had done that spreadsheet because it was a little tedious going through all the different pages in the entire guide. If I were to go to future NFB related events I will definitely do that. I bet you’re wondering, how am I able to get access to that document? Well, with the technology we have today there are different apps we can use in order to read documents and of course with how Apple has the Files app in order to access the Pages and Numbers apps to read things alongside Google having Drive and I did review the Polaris and how Drive can be used. So, here is how I make my Convention Schedule:

What You Need: Either a Tablet or a PC in order to access a spreadsheet program and either One Drive, Drop Box, Google Drive, and other File Sharing apps. If you have one, a Braille Device with Android Tech or you can just save it to a Thumb Drive.

1. Look at the convention schedule for the one you’re going to. Conventions tend to have a short list of events and then add onto it, which to keep the document ready in order to access again to add onto it.
2. Next, on whatever spreadsheet app or program, at the top of the columns, title them “Day,” “Panel Room,” “Time,” “Panel/Event Name” or what name you want it to be. You can also do a Notes column where you can write in what you want to have your friends do if they are on your press team or if you don’t have a press pass but want video for a YouTube Channel you like to put your convention videos on, you can also mention video or pictures. Also, if it’s a meet up, just mention that.
3. Next, this will get a little technical and that is merging cells to create blocks. This will help separate the days from each other, even the panel rooms where each event would be and their times. Such as this event will take place on Friday, in the same room as another but at a different time. So, in the Day Column from the day you type in do a Shift+Down Arrow and count each cell you may need to add the events, like if you want to go to four events end it at that by going home or heading back to your hotel room for the rest of the day which you would count three cells from Friday and it would select those blocks as you go. Next, there are times where certain apps give you the Alignment Box which gives you the options that gives options on how you want your text and cells be formatted. If you’re using Excel on a computer, you use the Applications Key and then up arrow to “Format Cells” and it will give you a box with tabs, which you can switch with either using Ctrl+Tab but now you can easily use Ctrl+Page Up or Down and just do that until you hear Alignment.
A. In order to get to the Merge Cells option in the Alignment area is by swiping on your device until you hear “Merge Cells” and sometimes depending on the device it will say, “Off” so double tap and it will turn on. Once you go back to the cells in your spreadsheet by either swiping or using a keyboard if you have one, it will say, “A2 to A4” Merged Cells!”
B. With Excel on a computer, once in the Alignment, you tab over to “Merge Cells” and hit the enter key on that option. And it will say the same message as if it was done on your tablet.
4. Once you have all of the events you want and added into the spreadsheet for the entire weekend, there are many things you can do with it:
A. For the Braille Device user, for the Polaris since I use that, best way of being able to view this document is by a PDF. First, go into Docs on your Polaris and go to the apps area and you can either access Docs or Drive and whatever account it’s saved under make sure you’re on that account. Next, either first letter navigate or tab, F3, to go to the spreadsheet it’s titled as and then use one of the scroll keys to go down and hear “More Options for this File.” Hit enter or Dot eight and then tab to where it says, “Send a Copy.” This will give you the option to save as a PDF, hit Enter once you tab over to it and tab over to the OK button and it will give you the options of apps to send to or save to and I choose Drive where once it’s entered on that, it will give you the OK button to send it over. Once that’s done. Go to Drive and it will give you all your documents you have saved through the different Google apps, find that file you saved as a PDF and once you tab to More Options, hit Enter again and then tab down to Download. And it will download to the Downloads folder in the File Manager. When you open that file from Downloads, all your information you have entered will be there. You can also save it as an Excel format, if you haven’t used Excel Viewer which I had to look up, there are commands to use in order to view your information. I find the PDF view easier since all my information is aligned.
B. For anyone who doesn’t have the Android specs, you can save the information to a thumb drive and save the file to your device by cutting or copying the file to your clipboard and paste it into your documents folder and open it from there to view it. If your device has the Excel Viewer like mine, I think the U2 had it f I remembered, you can find the navigation keys in the Help Menu.
C. If you have Numbers, even though it has changed with IOS 12, or have Sheets as well, you can use the Bluetooth capabilities with your Apple device in order to navigate a spreadsheet if it’s saved as one or copy down the schedule into the Pages app as an easier alternative to using a spreadsheet app. And of course with I Cloud on your device, you can save the many spreadsheets as different formats and send it to Drive if you prefer it that way and download it from Drive on your Polaris, you an also do it that way.
Well, that is it for this post. I know it was really technical in a way and tried to make it as simple as I could. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating this schedule, whether it’s through using Excel on your computer and saving it to a thumb drive or just doing it through Google or Apple, you can create something that can help you get to your events during a big weekend. I will be using this idea with Ranger Stop this weekend and will give you an update in the Convention Spotlight in how it worked. I will take a look into what happened with Numbers and may make a post about that since I noticed some changes since IOS 12 has released. Stay tuned for that and anything else! Until then, stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Technology: Review on the Braille Sense Polaris by H. I. M. S. International

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast universe! It’s time for a technology review!

Braille Sense Polaris by H. I. M. S. International!

Disclaimer: This review is based on observations and experience of the lead writer of this blog. Please respect her thoughts and opinions!

It’s a long time coming but finally get to review this device and that’s the Braille Sense Polaris. As you know, I have been using Braille tech for a long time and this is the latest note taker that has been released a year ago.

Built with Android tech, the Braille Sense Polaris not only acts like a Braille note taker but also acts like an Android tablet using apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store and use a touch bar under the the routing buttons right above the Braille display. There are many functions it can do such as reading books, using the Word Processor to take notes and even read Excel Spreadsheets, on top of that also has a built in camera to use many apps that rely on it.

My thoughts on this device has a lot of pros but does have its cons with it too, let’s see what I think!

Thoughts: I have had much experience with the H. I. M. S. International Braille Sense line with starting with the Braille Sense plus QWERTY model which is basically what if you took a keyboard from a computer and attached to a Braille display and took notes that way. Reason why I went with this one is because being in college you have to pay attention to the lectures and and figuring out the contractions while the professor speaks then you will miss something important and having this one did help me out, even though I am a fast typist and there were times when it couldn’t keep up. Plus, it did help with reading some books that were hard to read for class assignments. This did go on with using during my earlier press jobs at MetroCon 2013 and 2014, Omni Expo 2014, and of course MythiCon 2014 until one of my keys ended up breaking off and that got me to the U2, which introduced me to the Perkins Brailler keyboard. I thought it would be simple but it wasn’t because unlike the QWERTY counterpart you have chords to use which is a Braille character with the spacebar combined. I did have to remember a lot of them as time went on but got a hang of it until the battery decided to give me issues and knew I had to step up and that’s where the Polaris came in.

There is another device I was introduced to and knew about and that was the Braille Note Touch which what if you took an Android tablet and placed a Perkins keyboard on top and you can also use the touch screen to Braille with it as well. You can even use Bluetooth devices with it too but one thing I didn’t like about it was that it was heavy. You not only have the tablet portion but you also have the keyboard on top to add to the weight which as you know I do press at conventions and having something lightweight helps so that is why the Polaris was better for me. As in, going from panel to panel, being able to access it easily to interview people and so on made me choose this device more. Plus, I am more familiar with the Braille Sense line than the Braille Note line which makes it even easier for me to use the Polaris more.

What Do I Like the Most: What I like the most about the Polaris is that it added more features to it since we are not only playing with a single product but with a second platform at added to it which is Android and it gave Braille a better advantage since nowadays people are using Android and Apple devices for their daily tasks. Besides note taking, I do love using my Polaris to pair with my phone in order to navigate through Facebook, Instagram, and even sometimes email with it since dictation likes to be tricky even in text messages but of course I have been using it with the video function on my phone because well if you have seen my earlier beauty videos, Siri talked a lot in them. Imagine with all the comments I got, I did get some tips from someone from a tech company who did demonstrate the two devices for me. It did help and using the Polaris with the phone while recording does tell me the video is still recording without having to get up and go to the camera to see if it is still recording. Nice little feature.

Another thing I did like is how the Help Topics were expanded because you have so many new features to use within the Polaris itself and remembering everything can be a hassle so having different Help Topics to go back on does help out, heck even there was a section for me to look at on the Touch Bar itself since I didn’t get much information about that which I will talk about that later and will talk about the Touch Bar now!

The newest feature that was added was the Touch Bar which is a strip placed in between the routing buttons and the Braille Display itself. You can turn on the Touch Bar by using the Global Settings Options and use this feature as if you’re navigating a tablet screen. As in, you can swipe with your fingers across this strip to go between the programs, double tap to go into apps, and so on. It’s a fun little feature and yes if you have long nails it can be tricky so I would say clip your nails back if you can.

Another feature is of course being able to download apps from the Google Play Store and being able to use them in this environment. Great thing about this feature besides downloading is that if you have an Android phone or tablet yourself you can download the apps you had on those devices and place them onto the Polaris itself which is great because you can use Google Docs and Sheets between the two and able to save and open these kinds of documents between the Braille Sense side and the Android side. Not only that, other apps can be downloaded too if you haven’t used them on other Android devices such as a printing app. My mom has a wireless printer and during the summer I didn’t have any ink in my printer so I decided to try out her printer with my Polaris and downloaded the printing apps I needed and it worked out beautifully! And remembered when I mentioned the camera? There are apps you can use with this feature and one app I did test out while using it is of course Be My Eyes! While I was at the NFB Convention this summer, I did ask if it could work on a Braille device with a camera and they weren’t sure about it and afterwards I put it to the test and downloaded it to my Polaris. It did work! Even though you can’t see the object through the camera but it does act like a video camera for the volunteer? I also heard that KNFB Reader can also be used this way so I am waiting for my chance to download it during a sale, if I can, to see how well it works out for me. I would love to read my documents during work with this app and it is a dream of mine to be able to have it.

Cons: Besides the Pros, there are cons to this device. First is and hearing it was fixed with the last update and that is how in Word Processor where writing gets jumbled. As in if I was writing something, it gets moved automatically like if you were using a laptop, trust me I didn’t like that due to the Mouse Track Pad. I wasn’t the only one who experienced this either since other people at the NFB Convention also went through what I went through. Now I have to see about it being fixed during Ranger Stop when I take notes.

Another con is using Google Docs and Google Sheets, I am not sure if this is the same issue with Slides but I have noticed while trying to type in Docs I sometimes get taken out of the document area and it’s hard to get back in. Now, I am not sure if it will work better since I have been trying the Touch Bar and if it would still have me in writing a document but this annoyed me while trying to write my latest fan fiction and had to restart the chapters over and over. I will see how it goes with using the Touch Bar feature and get back to you on that. And with Sheets it feels like when you add columns it’s hard to go back to previous columns since it can only fit a few on this kind of display. I did mention Touch Bar and I will see how that goes and may write a post about my experiences with the Touch Bar since apparently I am the only one so far trying it out. Anyways, I do like how I can just construct the spreadsheets on this device but trying to navigate the columns and rows not so much, wishing they can expand on this which I will mention in the Improvements area.

And finally, not all of the apps are optimized for this kind of environment. What do I mean by this? Well, while downloading some of the apps through Play Store, I did notice there was a message mentioning that this app is not optimized to the Polaris itself as in its optimized for tablets and phones only. I understand you’re using a Braille device but being able to have the Android system built in to add more functionality to the device itself the app should be able to operate normally and optimized to be used in this environment. Not sure how well the apps are able to work on the Braille Note Touch, I have a feeling since that that has a screen it is optimized better in their environment. Not only that, some apps can’t be used on this type of device which includes Kindle which makes me sad, I did suggest that they should add Kindle in order to have more reading options.

How Can This Product Can Be Improved? There are many ways such as making the apps be optimized to fit this device more since it is a new tech being used and of course it is new to this market. I would have to say the most would being able to use the G-Suite Programs without any issues as in being able to type in Docs without being kicked out of the document area. If we’re using Google Suite programs we should be able to use them to their fullest potential especially in the classroom. Yes, we can copy and paste what we wrote in Word Processor but being able to just type it right there it would be easier than just going from one area to the next. Goes the same with Sheets too, having that ability to just create spreadsheets and going back and forth between columns if they get added can be a better extension of using a Braille device with Google.

Another improvement is that that there are recordings of videos about how to use the Polaris and not only that recordings done with the audio recorder on the Polaris too. Sorry to say H. I. M. S., with my super bat hearing I can’t hear it! As in, the audio is so low it is hard for me to hear even raising the device volume to its fullest. It goes the same way when you watch the videos on YouTube on a PC and probably goes the same way on other devices that use YouTube. Hello, a microphone can help out and don’t just use the audio recorder on these devices, no offense I have used it before and it doesn’t record anything loud enough unless you put it closer. Best to just use a microphone and probably talk a bit louder if there is no mike. I even talk loud in all of my videos in a loud room, why not do the same?

Another thing is talk about the Touch Bar more. What I mean is that yes it can be a tricky thing to do and use which I admit I always find myself in the Global Settings if I’m not careful enough but being able to talk about this feature and train people on it, even doing it as an instructional video, can give more functionality to this device. This takes me back to the G-Suite thing, if you guys built it into a device then why not show how to use it? I did say I was able to find out how to use it on my own and as a new A. T. Instructor knowing about this feature does help. Plus, it is a neat feature to use after my small experience with it and its fun to play around with and being able to train someone after learning it first can help give new customers to the company and also show what else the device does besides using the Braille keys. It’s like using the Terminal Mode with the phone, I sometimes need to swipe in order to get around on my IPhone while navigating on my Polaris and cool thing is with the Touch Bar you can swipe to those apps too. So, talking about this feature more can expand what the capabilities are. If Human Ware has the touch options on their devices so does this one and as said before should be talked about more.

And one more thing, knowing with updating the Firm Ware on this device, there should be flash messages saying, “Hey! New Update!” Instead of just guessing. For instance, there was a new update and it was supposed to be released at the end of August but didn’t show up until mid-October. I did check the Update Firm Ware to see if there was one and having a message saying it can help because there are Notifications on this thing like a regular Android Tablet Apple Devices why not do notifications based on that since a lot of these note takers do use Wi-Fi.

Rating: 4 Star Paw Prints Out of 5! Not all devices are perfect and this one is one of them. I know I had some cons and some improvements that should be made. I wills see how the Touch Bar interacts with the Google Suite Apps because I feel like they would benefit more with it than just the keyboard use. Not only that I am hoping Kindle can be used on this thing since I have a ton of books needing to be read and if I’m at a convention and having a break and want a good book to read then that is what I can fall upon besides using the DAISY Player and Bard Mobile. In the end, H. I. M. S. has done a pretty good job but does need to make improvements along the way and hoping they keep making devices like these due to how much tech has been growing and it was a great step up for them due to how much Apple and Android has been big parts in the mobile devices market. Plus, good thing is this can help with getting into Android a little since not everyone uses this type of tech platform and I did say in the Life After Sight Loss live stream recently that you can see what’s best for you by being able to test both platforms and good thing with this kind of device you can use the Bluetooth settings with Apple devices so they can go hand in hand with each other. I think I did make a good choice with this device since I am familiar with the products and now Accessibility and Braille is starting to get more into the high tech field by catching up with Android so it’s living strong. I bet you’re wondering, would I have gone with the Braille Note Touch instead? Even though the features were nice on that thing, if it was lighter than I would but as someone who goes convention to convention, I’d rather go for a lightweight device and not slow myself down. If I were to save up for the Touch itself then I would probably consider it to see how it works and expand my tech knowledge more. Who knows what will happen but I am going to stick with the Polaris and see how much it will improve over time.

That is it for this review! I am glad that I was able to talk about this device since so many people have seen me use it before and always ask me questions. Ranger Stop will be its first convention that I will be using my Polaris at and will be having some fun with it. Let’s see how it goes! In the meantime, follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for the latest updates and until then stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Accessibility & Beauty: Finding Ways of Making Beauty Accessible!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with a new post and something we haven’t thought of.

Ways to Make Beauty Accessible to the Blind!

I know it’s weird to see something like this but hear me out! I watch what’s up in Makeup and they had a story where Herbal Essences is now having something new starting next year and that’s placing special markings on their shampoo and conditioner bottles to help people with visual impairments. It’s hard for me being blind not being able to see a certain item on display or know what shampoo or conditioner I’m using since I tend to use rubber bands but they do break over time and having some things easy to tell what’s what can help and this is how! Brands, I hope you’re reading because you need to take notes!

Putting Special Markings: Like with Herbal essences where they are doing lines for shampoo and dots for conditioner, having that special symbol on your product can help give an idea of what someone is reaching for or what new item would be. Yes, we do use apps to help us out to use UPC scanners but once it’s in the shower or the packaging with the writing on it gets removed then it’s hard to tell. Having some kind of marking system can help give an idea of what it can be like having a star for serums, a circle for leave-in conditioners to expand on the dots aspect, and even have a triangle for dry shampoo on the cap to tell apart from hair spray if those had squares on them. Having this kind of marking system can be beneficial to someone with a visual impairment. Another thing that can be helpful…
Having Braille Imprinted: Besides getting special markings, Braille can also help. When I posted about doing this post on what’s up in Makeup, someone on the group talked about how she ordered a skin product from Brazil and there was Braille imprinted on the packaging. It also calls back to how a salon helped blind women in Sao Paolo by putting Braille dots on the compacts and brushes which this can be something that can help in making beauty accessible. Having the imprinting not only helps but it’s better than having Braille tape to tell you the truth. It feels like nowadays Braille labeling tape is not holding its tackiness like it had been when I first learned, I even asked on my Facebook if anyone else faces this and they do. Having an imprint can help us with knowing what the product is in our hands, what color it is with foundations, lip colors especially where that packaging can be very slippery for a Braille label to stay on and having it on brushes can also help in knowing what kind of brush it is and what it’s used for if it has abbreviations like fnd for foundation or pow for powder for example. The possibilities with imprinting Braille is endless and or anyone who may think its dead it’s actually not. Braille has come a long way since the 1800s where we have Android tech in the note takers.
Having Raised Print On Brushes: What about the people who can’t read Braille? Here’s a nice tip. Some brands tend to have engravings on their products for holiday time and instead of engraving why not raise it? Having raised print on a brush either on the feral or close to the bottom or right on the flat bottoms of some brands’ brushes can give an easier way of identifying the brush. Another thing for brushes…
Creating Different Grooves in the Handles for the Series: Since I talked about Braille and raised print, there is one more thing I have noticed that some brush brands place on their hands and that is a grip like groove on the handle. As you know I am subscribed to Ipsy and there were two brushes in the past I have received that had grooves to act like pencil grips. I know there aren’t really any pencil grips for brushes because they tend to make brushes with a plastic part that is the grip and I got paint brushes with that bit and why not extend it to makeup brushes? I thought the grooves would be easier because they can be carved out as the brush is being made. Plus, it can be changed from big too small or even make it into different groove shapes by making them smaller or wider, etc. I figured this would help since brands love to have different series for their brushes from Pro Series down to the Metal Series and so on and some of these brands include Royal & Langnickle, Morphe, Real Techniques, Luxie, and so many more. Creating that groove can help to tell apart that brush or maybe do what I mentioned…
Creating Plastic Grips For Brushes: I did mention how paint brushes have them for one brand why not keep it going for makeup brushes? Adding on a swirly type grip for one series and a different form of a plastic grip for another can distinguish what that brush is and what series it is. Like with the grooves idea, make sure there is a key or a part of the description on the product page talking about which grip is for what series of that brush it’s from because it can help with difference and knowing the brush to get again too. Unless you make your brushes last by keeping them clean like I do. Still, it does help.
Increase Print Size: Okay, I talked about imprinting, markings, and even how to make brushes accessible, now onto people who need large print. Sorry brands, your print is too tiny even for someone who has pretty good sight. Enlarging the print for people who need it and some people who have a hard time reading it anyway can help out. I know the different cosmetics aren’t as big but just having a small enlarged print can be easily seen whether on the bottom or do it horizontal on the packaging like a lip gloss so it can be turned on its side to view the shade better even a lipstick too. With foundations and powders, it can be easily enlarged with the real estate that a lot of packaging has on the top. Yes people need to see the brand but that it’s usually enlarged anyways and the print for product is smaller and that can be a bit tedious to see so why not add a bit more size to the printing to make it easier on the eyes.

That’s it for this post! There may be more ideas to improve on beauty but these are some ideas I came up with even after watching the latest what’s up in Makeup! I hope more things come up in make beauty products more accessible for people with visual impairments. Not only books have been accessible, newspapers too, now beauty products are starting and hoping to continue here in the states!

What’s next on here? Will be doing a review on the latest book by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff and of course my September and October Favorites for this year and of course Ranger Stop is almost here! So, stay tuned to our Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for any new updates! So, until next time! Stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Accessibility: How Nerd Conventions Can Be Accessible!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds and welcome back! I am back with another post and this time it does deal with blindness and accessibility and my convention world.

How Nerd Conventions Can Can Be Accessible to the Blind

As you guys know and might have read The Blind Perspective: Convention Stories from the Dark, I’ve been an anime or more like a nerd convention goer since 2004 if you count a day at JACON but didn’t really start going until the year after while being with THEE X at the time. I have had many stories from my being an attendee with some sight and when I lost my sight it became a new outlook and perspective in going to these events. As years have gone, I have noticed things about the nerd conventions and that is some accessibility issues. I have posted an idea over on the Holiday Matsuri Facebook Group and decided why not expand it to here since I do write blindness related topics and Accessibility has been a huge topic being thrown around and I felt like why not show what I think should make a convention more accessible to the blind.

Town Criers Yelling Out Different Areas: This year I went to the National Federation of the Blind National Convention and while attending I heard people calling out where different areas are like where Registration was, where the General Sessions were and so on and it did help out because it told us as blind people where to go. I posted this exact idea on the Holiday Matsuri Group which got a lot of good responses because some conventions are held at very big locations like MegaCon at the Orange County Convention Center and Holiday Matsuri at the World Center Marriot. Another example, DragonCon in Atlanta spans over five hotels and knowing those are also huge in their convention center area. Reason for posting this besides getting the idea from the NFB Convention was that last year I had a hard time finding the Main Events room and I asked people and they pointed and said, “Over there!” As a blind person you don’t know what “Over there” is and I will touch on that even more next. Having people call out the areas like “Panels Over here to your right” or “Main events down this way!” It will help out because it not only shows its location but helps with going in the right direction. If it happened last year and heard, “Main Events down this way!” I would know just to head straight and then ask the person calling it to make sure and they said, “Just head straight.” Because there were times where I heard people ask the people for a double check and they answered the question.
Volunteers Being Sighted Guides: Touching more on the “It’s Over There!” Someone did post that they had a similar situation with a staff member where the person was pointing and tried to tell the staff member that they can’t see pointed fingers and didn’t do more about it. This is where the idea of having a sighted guide volunteer comes in. Conventions have asked for a lot of volunteers over the years and they do get tons over time, heck I have volunteered myself at JACON when it was alive and MegaCon twice before doing press. Having extra volunteers on hand can help anyone who may need the sighted guide help in getting to a particular area of the hotel or the convention itself? For instance, Omni Fandom Expo Year 1 I had a volunteer help me to get around since Omni was also at the World Center and it was hard to navigate when my mobility skills were rusty at the time. She helped me out getting to some of the signing tables and even to the bathroom which was great. Yeah it took around twenty minutes as a guesstimate but it did help out in a way. Having the volunteers able to do this can help someone who may be lost or can’t find the room if they couldn’t hear the person yelling or someone on a speaker system, trust me it was hard to hear the speakers in the MegaCon Vendor Room back in the past. What about getting to know about sighted guide if you’re a staff member reading this? Proper sighted guide is where the person offers the elbow or arm and the blind person grabs on not the other way around. A newer technique is also grabbing above the elbow like a cup to make it more comfortable. And another thing is, during volunteer meetings try asking the volunteer meetings if they can be able to guide anyone to certain areas such as bathrooms, panel rooms, even the doors for any ride pickups that a person need help with. In the end, volunteers are there to help and should help even further.
Having Convention Guides As Accessible Material: One thing that makes a convention exciting is the convention guide that tells you about guests, events, and the hours of the vendor room and gaming room but issue is not being able to read it and seeing the pretty pictures. Having an accessible digital version of the convention guide can help! I remembered having the full on Convention Guide for the NFB Convention on my Braille Sense Polaris as one huge Word Document. Did it help? Yes! It did tell me what events are at what time and where to go and the times for the Independence Market too each day. Whether it’s in PDF format or a Word Document, having the convention guide in one of these formats minus the photos can be something very easily accessed even placed onto a device that is portable like a phone with Google Docs for example or like I said above, my Braille Sense Polaris so I can read it in Braille. Which brings me to another point.
Placing Braille Index Cards with Room Names on Cardboard Signs: Yes, another point I found is that on easels placed around most conventions there are signs showing what room it is and/or just the panels being in that room. Since I mentioned the accessible document for Convention Guides, having an index card with the panel room number and the actual room’s name can be easier than just guessing or getting the rooms mixed up. There may be a volunteer at the door or not but after double checking the schedule for a specific event or seeing if you’re at the vendor room by finding the card on the easel can tell that you’re in the right place. Plus index cards aren’t that expensive but getting them made best to look into a Braille printing service or know someone who’s blind that can do it.
Having Music Zones: Someone posted this as a comment on my idea why not music in certain areas play. It would be a nice idea but it can get a little louder and a little bit mixed up because I admit I have that happen sometimes but if the music is more subtle and I walk towards the door and hear “Jingle Bells’ on a small speaker for Registration or a video game song like “Casino Night Zone” for the gaming room for example then I know where I am. Having that subtle speaker next to the door can help with what room you’re about to walk in. Even MegaCon had some subtle background music during the more main panels like the Mass Effect panel and the Flash panel if I remember. Yeah, I noticed with my hearing, it shows that music shouldn’t be so loud to scream over nor too low to hear it has to be just right.

Well, that’s about it for this post. Hoping for anyone that is on staff for a convention reads this and can pass it along because as a nerd I and how big accessibility is becoming it gives more inclusivity. For instance, movie theaters having the audio description option for movies and how Audible is having more audiobooks in their library for people. Heck, back to the accessible document, I helped with making Nemecene being more accessible if you haven’t read the review for the first book. All in all, more places are getting more accessible and now nerd conventions should join in since there are more blind people getting into a lot of these things.

So, what is next for Nerdy Shique Universe? I’m still reading the Alex Verus novels, still on Veiled and hoping to keep on reading. I know the Ipsy October bag will be here and once it arrives I will post about it. So, make sure you follow us on Twitter and stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Blindness: When Sight Loss Is A Tragedy But Blindness Isn’t!

Hello to all my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe I am back with another past and it’s a bit of a response post!

Your Life Is Not Over When You Lose Your Sight!

I was inspired by Derek Daniel from Life after Sight Loss which is an awesome podcast by a blind person who lives life after sight loss and gives tips how to get through it and one of his videos was about life not being over after sight loss and wanted to do my own response about it.

I felt like responding to this now because I was in a Facebook Live Chat earlier and I felt like I needed to get some of the negative aspects off because as a person who has lost her sight at 23 I had so many life changes during that time and yes I was one of those who thought my life was going to end because I’m blind, even when I tried finding a job at 28 after graduating from college that I couldn’t find anything but knowing about this podcast did make me think more in a positive light and feel like doing my response now.

Actually, the video I’m referring to is that Sight Loss is a Tragedy but Being Blind Isn’t and I agree with the title since he does give good points.

Why is losing sight a tragedy but not blindness? Derek said that going blind is a tragic event while being blind is just the journey because yes we can lose our sight in many ways whether it being all of a sudden, having Glaucoma, having my eye condition, or even losing your sight due to an accident it can happen in different ways. While blindness, it is just the journey you have to take in order to live your life the way you want it to be. Yes it can be hard, trust me I went through that while losing my sight and going through college but I was able to learn different techniques of doing things like sewing, writing, and using different technology such as my IPhone and now going to work teaching Assistive Technology is something that came from my decision of switching my job goal gears years ago. While with the tragic experience of losing sight loss is depending on how the event affects the person since it is surrounded by sight loss. It depends how someone feels when they lose it and it can take a jolt, as in, “Holy moly, what just happened!?” And then things start to take shape.

What I noticed in the Facebook chat we were talking about how different people who may be performers or even YouTubers that are going through their own visual impairments have to go through a lot like trying to live life daily and how not getting enough in Super Chat from YouTube is not fair to the person because they’re blind. Yes, blindness can be the factor but to me it’s how you handle it in order to get around it. One good example if you saw my interview with Apl DeAp at the NFB National Convention, one of my questions was asking how is he able to perform on different stages? He did explain that he has to be more careful in what he does onstage performing whether it’s jumping around or doing break dances for example. Heck, I remembered when I entered one of the costume contests at a convention and they helped me with the stage before the event. Still, even if you’re visually impaired as a performer there are other ways of performing onstage and not only that getting your music produced and of course you have crowd source ways of helping you to achieve your music goal, even Traverser did a pre-order thing with their last album to help them fund their finishing project. And what about YouTube? It goes the same way, yes it may be unfair to some that they’re not getting all the money back from their Super Chat, take me for example where the YouTube Channel for this blog got de-monetized due to the new guidelines and yes I was mad but I do have Patreon just in case to help fund stuff even though we haven’t gotten any donations but that’s okay, I still go on with my channel as much as I can by posting when I can. It’s not over and see I don’t include my blindness in this because it sucks to be blind but there are other ways of getting around the issues of not getting the funds from your video or other projects. You just have to problem solve and find different ways and keep going from there.

So in the end to make this post a bit short, going through sight loss is a tragedy because we have the emotions of going through our sight loss depending on the different circumstances but being blind is a way of getting on with life, yes you have to re-learn things such as cooking, cleaning, and even navigating around your local mall but we can’t always make it seem like a negative aspect because we’re blind. We have to not only empower ourselves to get out of bed, go and find a job, or even write a book and then that passes on to empowering others to learn about the disability itself and know how you’re able to advocate yourself in a certain environment. I mean I go to the House of Blues for shows for my friends in Traverser to support their music and show that I can rock out like a sighted person!

Well, that’s it for this post and it was kind of short. I will include the video I was referencing so you can see what I was talking about. I also suggest if you know someone who’s blind or if you’re a sighted supporter, I would suggest the Life after Sight Loss Podcast and YouTube for tips, advice, and any tech tidbits! So, that’s it and stay beautiful while traveling the universe!

Technology: Introducing N Reach!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds and welcome back from traveling the vast universe! Today will be a twofer special of posts! First a new app for you all Visually Impaired Nerds out there!

Introducing N Reach!

No, it’s not spelled wrong, that’s how this app is spelled and it’s kind of clever even with its website. This is a new location app that was introduced at the NFB National Convention this year and I am an affiliate with these guys since I have been using Soundscape and that app not always picks up on locations but this one will. Let’s get into what it’s about!

Behind the App: Created by James Dye and Steven Moldenhauer, this app is created to help people understand the world around them more by being able to have businesses make their signs more accessible by buying beacons to place with their signs that is connected with this app. Once the beacon is set and activated and someone has the app on their phone then they will get a message sent to them telling them about the business and what they offer. Heck, even menus to the place if it’s a restaurant. I have met the creators and James Dye is visually impaired himself and has been a big drive in accessibility and helping businesses to become more accessible while Mr. Moldenhauer is a thought leader and technologist that makes many technology solutions to help businesses spread their messages.

This is a great idea because as a blind person myself it’s sometimes hard to find a specific place and asking people where it is and being directed can be a pain, trust me, try being at one place and having people point and say, “It’s over there.” With an app like this, it can give you the information about the place because of this beacon or beacons since a business can get these through….

Affiliates! As I mentioned above, I am an affiliate with N Reach and in order for businesses to know about this I do get in contact with some and have done it with a few already or show up in person and hand them a card which an affiliate gets given a pack of a hundred of these things. It gives the information to where to go to sign up, what pricing packages are there in case you want just one beacon for one location or more to put on locations across town. It is a service so I will make sure to include the link which is….

For Businesses: For any businesses who may be reading this and want to know more about N Reach and what its message, what price packages are available to you you can go to http://www.nrea.ch for pricing, videos to show what this program is about, even what it can do for someone who is a customer with a visual impairment that comes in regularly to your business either alone or with friends, since I do hang out with my gal pals once a month and if a new place comes up on the N Reach app with the beacon I can open it up and have it read out to me or them for the info. It does help us a lot even if we’re traveling alone. So make sure you check out the link and I will place one of their videos in this post to see what your business can do when it comes to accessibility.

That’s all I have so far. If you have a business and may want your customers, blind or even sighted people can get this app, you can go to http://www.nrea.ch for all of the info about pricing and the packages available. If you guys want me to interview the founders, I will gladly do that since we have recently did another Skype interview with one of our local bands in town. Which reminds me, I need to get in contact with the House of Blues about N Reach!

That is it for this short post on a new app, also if you want to be an affiliate yourself to help your blind community members or your Blindness Organizations, you can also check out that link I have included because we need more businesses to join this network. Stay tuned I have another post for you all today! Follow us on Twitter @ Nerdy Shique for all of our updates and will even update with my second post. So stay beautiful while traveling the universe!
Official N Reach Website

Assistive Tech: Meet the Be My Eyes App!

Hello to all of my beautiful nerds traveling the vast universe! I am back with another Assistive Technology post!

Be My Eyes!

Since I’ve been talking about Microsoft’s Soundscape for a while now it was time to bring something new to the Assistive Tech category on here and that’s a handy little app known as Be My Eyes. I’ve known about this app for a few years now and it has changed the accessibility game even for myself since I have to rely on my sighted peers or parents for help but this is a great app to help you when you don’t have anyone around.

The Idea Behind It: Before we get into what it does I feel like talking about the idea behind it. This app’s story started in Denmark in 2012 with Hans Jorgen Wiberg who is a furniture craftsmen that was also visually impaired and all thanks to his work through the Danish Association For the Blind he recognized that the blind people in his community need a little help and with a blind friend having video calls with family members to give him assistance, Hans came up with an idea to use video chat features on someone’s phone or tablet to get this kind of assistance and that deals with volunteers instead.

What It Does? What this app does basically opens up on the main area of the app, when you first register which you need to is that it does ask if you’re a volunteer or the blind person using this app and I’m blind so I have been using it, and it gives you the button when you’re the person using this app as a blind person a button to call anyone and it sends a call to ten people and whoever gets it then they can see through your camera and you ask what you need help with, for example I needed help with money once and Seeing A. I. didn’t have the Currency channel at the time and my little gadget from the Talking Book Library died right about that time and the person was able to help me out. Another example, I don’t like interrupting conversations unless I need to and during a luncheon with the NFB of Central Florida I got a raffle ticket and someone who still had some sight was busy so I opened up Be My Eyes and used it to read out the last three digits out to me. As I said, it can do anything! I remember a British lady did do an interview where she demonstrated how to find a green spool of thread.

I bet you’re wondering, does the sighted volunteer get any information or looks at anything else that might be private, I did go to the panel on this during the NFB National Convention and all they see is what you is in front of them to help guide. One thing is they need more sighted volunteers at the moment and I suggest downloading the app and sign up for it because it would give you some nice work experience. Trust me, volunteering does help and doing it for the blind is even more helpful!

I’m going to try and see about interviewing the Hans since of course Denmark is six hours ahead of us and it would be cool to do a Skype interview with an app developer that has been helping for three years now. Oh almost forgot!

What Platforms Is It Available On? You can get Be My Eyes on the IOS App Store which I did for my IPhone and my IPad one time and of course on the Google Play Store for Android. The great news for anyone who has the Braille Note Touch or the Braille Sense Polaris, you can get it on the Play Store too through those devices because I asked during the National Convention if it could work with Braille devices since now they are building the note takers with cameras and Android tech, don’t worry will get to that review, and they didn’t know. A few days of resting, I decided to test it on my Polaris and it does work! I know it seems odd to hear a Braille device having a camera but they do see what’s in front of them through Be My Eyes and I used it with a pack of Oreos my dad bought for my nephews while they visited and they saw it clearly through the app. So if you have a Note Touch from Human Ware or a Polaris from HIMS it’s available and you just wear the device so in case if you’re somewhere with it and need help with a hand out from a teacher or what’s on the board you have Be My Eyes. And good news is that it’s free by the way. And by the way…

New Features: There is a new feature for Be My Eyes and that is the Specialized Help tab in the app. This is where you can connect with the Be My Eyes Technical Support and also Microsoft! They are trying to grow this where you can suggest other companies and maybe they should have Apple and Google Support for the Specialized Help, or even Freedom Scientific, you never know!

Well, that’s it for this post! Next app I will be talking about is a new one for locating places and that is N Reach! So stay tuned for that! And also in other news, we will be interviewing the band Traverser through Skype! Yay! We wanted to interview them for a while and they’ve been out somewhere in the universe and back for a new performance in August and will be interviewing the guys as they are about to rehearse for the big show! I will try to get an interview with Hans from Be My Eyes since this has been a big help so far in my life, heck even Nerdy Shirts was surprised that an app like it exists. So make sure to follow us on Twitter whenever we tweet about any interviews going up on YouTube and a lot more over @ Nerdy Shique! Until next time, stay beautiful in the universe!

Note: To find out more about Be My Eyes, link included in this post even for anyone who wants to volunteer!Be My Eyes Official Website