Thursday, July 03, 2008

Behind The Scenes: Down And Safe

One of the best Sci Fi shows of the past 30 years for me is “Blake’s 7”. In that show the team would use the phrase “Down and Safe” when they had successfully teleported from their ship the Liberator. I always liked that phrase of confirmation and I use it occasionally today with people who suffer with me and my inner circle of insanity. And with my track record of bad flights I find the phrase comforting when I utter it to others from the safety of the hotel room. Oh and it is geeky as all hell. So strike up another reason for me saying it when I travel.

I’m back from my Dallas spacewalk and now it is time to sort through my notes and materials from this year’s 2008 NFB Convention. I have to sit down and remember everything from my worse than usual notes via bad spellings. Plus I have to remember what stuff is public knowledge and what stuff I can’t say here. Once that is all sorted you can expect some better posts out of me over the next few days. Ah, and I will update the poll and the sidebar links on the right of the page too.. promise.

But first a bit of a honest appology for not posting more on the fly during the meetings. My Toshiba of many years, and several Vista beta tests, gave up it’s fight for the right to party at one more convention. I guess it heard about the heat and just said forget it I guess. No worries as I will take my trusty dusty $20 from Fry’s Electronic Microsoft 1000 keyboard and the backup work laptop right? How does the Enter key and the Escape key go out on a keyboard at the same time? The wire isn’t split and the board is clean. Rats. I’ll just type on the Gateway as is or will as the need arises. And you saw the results of that one on Sunday. So I thought I would just wait and summarize the day in the hotel room afterwards. But then I remembered that I was cheap and I didn’t want to spend $10.95 for broadband access for the room. Then came the experiment of posting while being hunched over a small footstool and balancing a 17 inch widescreen laptop in such a manner that I could nab the free lobby wireless in the “poor” state rather than the “fair” one I was hoping for at the time. As a result of that one post I had created two new tags for posts. And badly spelled as well. I also got kisses from at least three Dog Guides because I was at “Dog Level Access” or close enough to the floor to get a uninitiated lick from the passing pooch. They probably smelled that I’m a dog person but they were working and I didn’t want to be a distraction. Especially in that hotel. And a lot of the meetings I attended weren’t in the Lecture Halls like the 2006 convention. Writing in the other rooms was just too difficult because the meetings were packed to the rafters in some cases. So I kind of gave up.

Next time I will just go commando with a wireless keyboard and Tweet the whole thing like reporters do from WWDC. Hmm, an uncensored Ranger Station. I don’t know if the world is ready for that.

Conditions aside, I have some product impressions and a funny story or two to write about. And as always I appreciate the kind comments I got from those of you who I met at the convention who do read this site on a regular basis. It really is shocking to me still when I meet someone who says “Oh, I’ve been reading for years” and then they quote something I don’t remember writing. Thank goodness I can spot my own sad attempts at humor when someone quotes what I wrote back to me. It helps me remember what I said whenever I wrote that thing that they just said they found entertaining, or even scarier, informative.

No wait. .  the reading for years bit. That scares me more. TRS is almost “thwee and a half yeawrs ol’d”. Minus six months for the cartoon refrence’s sake. For those who have been reading for years not only do I salute you but I think I owe you a drink. Bless you all for staying and thank you all for reading!

I’d usually say something like “I’ll do better” or “I will strive to provide a better experience”… Which would be a lie because I know, and you know by now, I’m a computerish kind of guy and we just love to push stuff back into development another six months if we can. Therefore pretend I said something more forward thinking and inspiring please. It will foster a better relationship for us if you do just enter Mr. Ranger’s land of Make Believe/positive comments. Ooo Here’s the trolly now. Say “Hi” to King Friday as you go past.

what I will say, and totally admit to when asked, is that I did take my foot off the accelerator with this blog for a while. Some of that was due to me being under several NDAs at one time and another aspect came from a not so safe ability for me [and a few others in the blog’o’sphere] to discuss Assistive Technology openly. I don’t want to rehash the past but to put it bluntly the Assistive Technology Industry has matured a tad and it can survive a few school playground insults, name callings or out and out critical analyses of their products by people like me and other newly minted self proclaimed informative pundits on the web.

I had the luxury to speak to some of the movers and the shakers of our industry in a series of quiet meetings at this year’s convention. And I have to say that the views of how some of these companies view the net, and blogs like this one, has changed for the better. I’m not saying that it is all wine and roses. But I think we as Blind Tech Enthusiasts may be approaching the brink of a Trade Press collective. Or I had one whopper of a dream from that Pizza Hut special that I ordered. Either way I came away with a positive feeling for writing more indepth here and I think a few others who aspire to do more may also find a similar frame of mind over the next few months.    

So I return to the title of this post. Turmoil in our industry continues, however, for now I’m “Down and Safe” and a bit recharged, along with feeling a slight more empowered, by some fantastic comments to broaden the range here a bit. Time is a slippery weasel that I can’t seem to catch. Hopefully I may not have to chase him down as much and I may post a bit more over the coming year.

Now if those Kiebler Elves would stop making those delicious cookies and get back on adding a few more hours on the day like I asked them for things would be fine and dandy. Of course they probably never hear the requests quite right because they have all those free cookies in the waiting room and my mouth was probably full when I made the request. Oh well..

A shout out to the commenter who wanted to know more about Mobile Geo. I didn’t get a chance to go into that meeting and I had a bunch of other things on the table with Handytech North America/Code Factory. But the gang at Blind Bargains picked up the ball I fumbled and ran this down for you. Check out their interview on Mobile Geo at the link below. And next time we are at the same spot JJ we gots to hook up!

And here is the link for getting $100 off if you pre-order it soon.

1 comment:

J.J. said...

Thanks for the shout-out, and the amazing coverage as always. I really have been presently surprised to the eagerness of the various companies when I've approached them about doing interviews. We're certainly not CNN, and I'm sure they could get more exposure elsewhere. But embracing the users of their technology and talking whtm them is a definite good sign. In ATIA, the sole focus was technology and I was able to get our content posted the same day, which naturally was my plan here. Unfortunately, we happen to have a few hundred friends here, so much of that is delayed. But there's plenty more audio and comments to come. Oh, and if you're looking for me, try the sports bar in the bomb shelter. Talk about crazy ambience.