What happens when technology can do great things for humanity, but doesn't make a lot of money? Technology and social entrepreneur Jim Fruchterman explores the social good side of technology applications: how to get great tech tools to the people who often need them the most, but are least able to afford them!
I just completed a short paper on Google Print Accessibility. The potential of the huge scanning effort Google Print is undertaking is especially exciting for the community of people with print disabilities. However, we need to get Google thinking about this (they are now) and get the publishers and libraries to provide Google with permission to make this information accessible.
Vinod Sena in memoriam I had a very unfortunate reminder of the fragile state of each human being this week. Just after returning from India and Bangladesh, I received word that one of my key contacts and hosts had suddenly passed away. Professor Vinod Sena was a retired professor of English literature at the University of Delhi. Visually impaired his entire life, he was a tireless advocate for the blind and visually impaired as well as a shining role model. He has been described as the pioneer of Talking Books in India, and had been campaigning for a copyright law change to make it easier to provide access to accessible books. While I was in India, I picked up the newspaper and saw that he had just received a Helen Keller award for his work. I know that the advocates for the blind and visually impaired will continue his work, initially with a heavy heart, but with the confidence that they are following in the footsteps of a great man.
Why You Shouldn't Depend on a For-Profit Business to Defend Your Civil Rights The Kindle2 is a hot topic in the disability field right now. Many print-disabled people (people who are blind, severely dyslexic or a have a physical disability that keeps them from reading regular print books) see electronic books as a dream come true. But, it's a dream that the commercial ebook vendors keep dashing. The Kindle2's text-to-speech feature wasn't something that actually worked for blind people, but you could imagine how a software update could make this into an incredible product. But, we just saw Amazon fold when the Authors Guild pushed them to turn off the voice of these books: Amazon to flip on Kindle . And that is setting back the cause of people with disabilities who need that kind of access. We have an action by Amazon that sets back years of work to make ebooks accessible. Print-disabled people of the world shouldn't be surprised that Amazon isn't going out
On February 16th in Los Altos, California, I shared these thoughts on Robin Seaman’s impact on the world with her family and friends at her Celebration of Life. Robin was beloved by the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who had the honor of coming into direct contact with her. That's the Robin we all collectively know personally. The sister, the aunt, the friend, the mentor. The shining bright spot in our day. A woman with that ineffable quality of elegance. However, I'm here to spotlight the impact Robin had on millions of people who never had the pleasure of meeting her personally. You all might have heard something about Robin’s dedication to helping people with disabilities that affect reading. People with disabilities like blindness, visual impairment, dyslexia, physical limitations and returning vets with brain injuries -- anyone who cannot simply pick up a printed book and read it. The nonprofit Benetech team built the revolutionary Bookshare library for thi