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Dad’s memorial

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Next CAVI Semester is Ready to Go! Get In Now!

For those of you who desire to learn new things, take a look below for ways to grow in skills and knowledge. After all, knowledge is power, isn’t it?

Do you know how to use your Windows or Mac PC and your screenreader? Are you curious about the hardware inside of your computer? Do you want to sharpen your troubleshooting and computer maintenance skills? How about designing a website or running a Linux server? Perhaps you would like to build a computer or home network of your own.
The Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired enables blind students to enter the world of computer and Information technology whether for career advancement or to pursue a hobby. We provide courses tailored for blind and visually impaired students around the world. We do this using live online lectures by blind and vision impaired instructors, written lessons, and a community of students and instructors to network with even after students have graduated our courses.
The academy is currently taking applications for the first semester of 2013. We will be offering Computer 101 for Mac or Windows, IT Essentials, Intro to HTML 5 and CSS, Audio Editing Fundamentals, Discovery 1 with Exploration 1, and Linux server administration courses starting the second week of February.
Computer 101 is taught as separate courses for Mac and Windows users. It teaches basic computer and screenreader skills including adjusting screenreader options, working with files, chatting online, using email, and using web pages.
Intro to HTML 5 and CSS teaches blind people how to design attractive business and personal websites including graphics, audio, and video. It assumes no prior knowledge of HTML.
Audio Editing Fundamentals teaches principles of audio including how to choose and place a microphone, single and multi-track editing using tools like Goldwave and Reaper, and adding various effects to audio tracks.
IT Essentials is an introduction to PC repair including Hardware, installing and maintaining an operating system, Troubleshooting, portable devices, and customer service.
Discovery 1 is focused on home and small business networking. It is being combined with our Exploration course to provide a thorough background in networking.
Exploration is a more in depth look at networking, both theoretical and practical for those students who wish to really get into building and designing networks. After completing Exploration 1, students will have the skills necessary to take the CCENT exam.
The Linux Administration course introduces server-based Linux systems administration for vision impaired users. Students will learn how to install and configure a Ubuntu server system and install and configure a number of server based programs such as a web server, Email and a wiki. The course aims to take a student from asking, “what is Linux?”, to installing and using a Linux-based server system via SSH.
Each class runs for a total of six months, with online lectures. The classes are self-paced so you can finish them in a month, or take the entire semester if desired. The cost for each course is 500 US dollars however; scholarships are available to students who are paying for their courses out of pocket that lower the price to $150. Your eligibility for a scholarship will be assessed as part of the application process and payment plans are available. Students are required to have good internet access skills and be familiar with their screen reader of choice, or be willing to teach themselves the necessary skills as we go along. Students in the more advanced courses should be familiar with reading Adobe PDF documents, as they may be encountered while doing research projects. Course content is online, so a broadband internet connection is highly recommended. Students should also have a working headset/microphone and be willing to install Skype and Ventrilo, in order to attend lectures and communicate with instructors. Applications will be accepted until February 6, 2013.
For more information on any of our courses or to request an application, please email
caviinfo@ciscovision.org
or visit our website at:
www.ciscovision.org
Enrollment forms are on our Intake page at http://www.ciscovision.org/2011/intake.php

If you are enrolling in the Computer 101 courses and need help enrolling, you can call 914-620-2284.
finally, we have a podcast about the CAVI program from our student’s point of view at:

We’re looking forward to hearing from you. Start learning new skills today.
Regards,
The CAVI Team

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Emoticons: not just for the sighted

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My sounds of summer in January

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Thoughts on software Keyboards

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Testing blog

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You Never Know How You Are Perceived

Ok, you may be thinking, what is this crazy guy doing posting a philosophical post? I don’t usually do these kinds of posts, but there is good reason for this. First, a little background is in order.

For those of you who are reading this blog for the first time, I am a blind guy at the tender age of thirty-nine. I have been blind all my life, and have seen people come away with various perceptions of how I influence them negatively and positively. I act sighted and don’t ware my blindness on my sleeve as I have seen some do. I have a good outlook on life and save the pity stuff for when I am by myself. I try to inspire, not hamper.

I play the drums and have done so since I was three years old. People have asked me if I ever took lessons from a professional. I smile at them and tell them no, I taught myself. I have a great ear for music and do not need to rely on notes. I have what you might call a “producer’s ear.” the best way I can describe this is excellent hearing and a tendency to anticipate what is to come. People who are producers will know what I’m talking about. Anyway, I received a very nice note from a fellow band member. I won’t mention who he is, but I will paste the e-mail in below.

Wil,
I like to live by the quote “Where you are 5 years from now depends on the people you meet, the things you learn, and the things you read.” Reflecting over the past 5 years of my life, you have certainly been an important part of my life. You are a great person and an excellent role model of battling over adversity. My kids look at you and see what you are able to accomplish without the use of vision. I like to think that Christ brought you back to Augusta to help people see (no pun intended) and appreciate everything we have. I just wanted to send a quick note to tell you thank you. My life is better now than it was 5 years ago by having you in my life.

I do have to say in today’s world of people constantly looking out for themselves and all the negativity we live in, this was a breath of fresh air for me to read. This type of note also tells me even though things are not where I would like them to be in my life with careers and direction right now, I am making a great impression for someone and their family because I continue to live positively and not let anything get me down.

Of course, the BOHICA monster likes to try to get me, but I flatly refuse!

I thought I would share this with my readers.

By the way, some good ideas for a logo for this blog are being tossed around, so I should have some kind of logo instead of the WordPress static image posted soon. Stay tuned!

Posted in General, Opinions.

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Current thoughts of now and future

I try to not portray myself as a negative person, so if this post comes across that way, it is not the intent of the post. I am just jotting down the thoughts that run through my head about the below situation.

The thing that has been dominating my thought processes these days is earning income for my family. Some women do not seem to understand the man’s drive of earning income. I feel I have not fulfilled my obligations to provide, therefore I feel like I have let Denise and me down. Lacking in a career has also been an issue due to job accomidations and the economy. I am not saying men should be the bread winners because that has never been an issue with me. It’s just that I am currently unable to bring home extra money for Denise and me to enjoy. It is through no fault of my own, but it sure feels that way. After losing my job with Freedom Scientific, I have struggled to find employment, and it has been four years and four months as of this writing. I have obtained an Associates degree in criminal justice, but I feel like I wasted my time with that, even though financial aid assisted with school and living expenses. I am starting to feel tired and worn down. There are all types of jobs out there, but it’s things I would not be considered for. I don’t think a truck driving company would train me for CDL and trust a blind guy with a truck. if I could see, I would go for anything, including flipping burgers or working at a convenience store graveyard shift just to bring in something extra.

I do have various skills, but the quandary I am running into is the money to purchase the tools necessary to do the job. For example, I could be a drummer for a local band at a bar, but you need your own drums for this. I could do DJ work for parties, but you need good equipment to perform the task. Plus, with my blindness, I would have to hire someone to drive me to and from the gig and also spot the party. I obviously would not be able to tell by sight what the crowd was doing or if they were into what I was playing. In order to make good money, I would have to charge an exorbitant rate just to break even.

This brings me to what I can do.

I play drums at our church on Sundays. I do it out of love for music and my enjoyment. I am glad to provide my time and talent to such a wonderful place like ?St. Bartholomew’s.

I have also done audio production work for the last twelve years for various internet radio stations. I have also provided my voice to Judgment Day by L-Works.

I have been tossing around the idea of marketing my production work I have done and actually trying my hand at doing jobs over the internet. I do have a profile on voices.com, but you have to pay to get listed at the top. So I figured I would see about doing self-marketing and see where that takes me.

As far as the future goes, I guess things will get better, but I have my serious doubts about that. I cannot honestly tell you where I will be in ten years. All I really know is at this moment, I am sitting at my desk typing this blog entry. Contrary to what this post may sound like if you’ve read this far, I do have hope things will change, and if something is presented that looks better than what I currently have now, I will naturally jump on it, even if it means we have to move again. I still look daily for jobs I could take on, but no luck. I still apply at Apple, but I get overlooked. I’m sure they have plenty of applications to go through, so it is understandable if mine gets lost in the shuffle. I know my work history shows I have done computer-related work for the majority of my work history and I would be a nice addition to Apple in teaching and genius bar capacities, but no door has opened in that direction yet. If I were given the opportunity to show off what I could do with Apple’s products, I would be more than happy to do so. For example, if I wanted to show someone how to use VoiceOver, I would make the person turn on VoiceOver, turn on the screen curtain, and try to work with whatever device I had them on. I could easily make them send me a text or e-mail. Some might say that is mean, but to my knowledge, the best way to teach someone is to actually put them in the shoes of the object you are trying to teach. In this case, the screen with nothing showing and speech coming out of the thing would put the person in my world so they could understand how I use my device. I feel if this was the case, a lot of people would understand and not assume.

Well, I think I’ve written enough tonight. I’ll try to make it a habit to post more often.

Posted in Assistive Technology News, General, Opinions.

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iOS 6.0 is Near

Last year, I was able to play with iOS 5.0 during the beta cycle. I was pleased with its offerings.

This year, iOS 6 is out, but I don’t have the beta for it. I’d love it, but don’t have the $99 to plunk down so I can test the newest iOS versions. I cannot justify paying Apple more money just to test. If I were an iOS developer, I could justify the money.

If the GoldMaster version works like last year’s did, you should not need a UDID to install it. Maybe when that is rolled out anyday now, I’ll take the plunge. I do miss the days where I have tested out new things, but I don’t do that much anymore. I like my equipment the way it is, and I guess I wore myself out on the Android system. I got burned out fucking around with that particular OS just to make it work for me. To quote an Apple fanboy, “It Just Works!” I am fully comfortable with that.

Until then, I’ll enjoy my phone the way it is. Now to find more interesting apps…

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A lot since the last post!

Since I last made a dedicated post to any one particular subject, a lot has happened to me. Amidst all the twitter posts on this blog are small updates, but I’ll point out what has happened since 2008.

I had murder committed to my career by Freedom Scientific in May of 2008. Since then, I have not been able to land a job in the workforce. I have applied to various companies over the last four years, but in these hard economic times, nobody is hiring. I would not doubt that my age (39) and my blindness has a lot to do with decisions on whetther to take me on weigh into the equation. Fortunately, I was able to claim unemployment benefits from the state of Florida for close to three years.

Denise and I have gone on to achieve college success! We both obtained Associates degrees in Criminal Justice and relied on financial aid from our studies while in Florida and have enjoyed our studies. We started school in May of 2009 and finished in May of 2011. We did not take the walk across the stage to receive our degrees because we had to move back to Augusta, GA while in school.

First off, since my surgery in 208, I have had a reversal, so the stoma referenced in this blog is once again back inside his host. I have fully recovered and am able to resume a normal life again. Healthwise, I am doing great! There are no repercusions from the ordeal I suffered in 2008.

Now, on to the bad news.

My mother died in February 2011. Denise and I were planning to move back to Augusta to stay with her and my dad when our lease ran out in March 2011. We tossed around the idea since August of 2010 and decided that was the right move to make since we would be finished with school and jobs were definitely hard to come by in Florida. Same story here, but it’s everywhere. There was no potential job leads that got us back here.

My mother started off 2011 by going in the hospital on New Year’s Day. Her kidneys were failing and the heart was further weakened due to congestive heart failure. After her hospital stay, the doctors recommended dyalsis, which she did take advantage of. Unfortunately, it was too late to save her. She was swolen pretty bad, and it was only a matter of time before she passed from the here and now to her new home in Heaven. Denise and I spoke with her hours before she died and we told her we were coming home to stay with her and Dad. She was pleased with our decision. Unfortunately, we did not get to see her. On February 11, she died at home resting in her chair.

Denise and I came to Augusta two days later to be with Dad and attend to Mom’s final requests. After her funeral, I stayed in Augusta with my dad and Denise went back home to Florida to pack up our house to move it here. I went back to Florida three weeks later to assist in the packing. At the end of March, we brought our stuff to Dad’s and stayed with him for six months. We made sure he was stable and taken care of.

Denise and I moved out of Dad’s in August 2011 to our own place because my brother was able to stay with Dad, and honestly, he could do a hell of a lot more for him than Denise and I could.

It is now July of 2012, and we have had to move again. the house we were in was turned over to the relatives of the landlord who had it, so we had to vacate it. We now have a house with a screened-in porch and a deck. We love this place! It is probably the best one we have been in!

Max and Titan are getting older, but they are very happy here with a dog door to go in and out as they wish. They play in the back fenced-in yard every day. In Florida and the one other house we were in here in Augusta last year didn’t exactly have the necessary room for the boys to rump around.

In a nutshell, that’s what has been going on here. I am still looking for work, but no luck so far. The Living On The Edge Radio domain is no longer active due to the current state of finances and the changing trends of internet radio. I loved having the station, but it got to be more expensive than I could manage, despite the marketing and other ways I tried to bring in revenue to foot the costs of running it.

Until next time!

Posted in General, Living On The Edge Radio, News about the site, Opinions, Uncategorized.




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