Re: Admin's Notes Re List Conduct, Please Read #adminnotice

Devin Prater

Stuff inline.

On 1/4/21 2:37 PM, Orlando Enrique Fiol via wrote:
At 01:35 PM 1/4/2021, Brian Vogel wrote:
Assertions by some others to the contrary, this is not limited to
Linux Land nor to computing.  I have never met anyone who has not
needed, at one point or another, to look something up for themselves
and then, sometimes, struggle through the material alone for the most

Okay, yall. Since I never took a single blind rehab agency computer
class in my uneventful life, I can't answer this question. For you
folks who have undergone such torture, how many of you took graded
classes with graded exams for which you had to study manuals to answer
specific questions? I'll wait with a cup of coffee.
I could use some of that coffee. Anyways, I am a technology trainer in
one of the adult education rehab centers for the blind, and I want to
World Services for the Blind, or whatever they're calling themselves
now, in Arkansas to get my Assistive Technology Instructor
certification. Sure, many on the list will just spout out "Well
certifications aren't worth much," or whatever. And I agree. But shoot,
at least it got me a job. A lot of what we did was go through books on
using and teaching Microsoft Office. We teach some of that here, except
Outlook, but we also teach Internet and Email skills, along with
Windows, screen reader (NVDA), and other Assistive Technology like Note
Takers and whatever tech the student comes with. For both places though,
you don't really fail the class, you try again until you succeed.

Most blind folks learn what passes for computer skills in entirely
low-pressure environments where they're fed every freaking keystroke
by the instructor, who usually is only five keystrokes ahead of the
students. There are no manuals or online search skills being taught,
and certainly no exams with actual consequences for which such skills
would matter. Make blind folks answer graded exam questions based
exclusively on help manual and online search content, with
scholarships contingent upon their grades, and we'll master those
skills right quick.
I agree. Our performance tests hinges upon students' knowledge of
keyboard commands and their ability to perform them. I also agree that
using a search engine should be stressed more.

But our piss-poor, shameful and shameless rehab culture teaches us not
to excel because it knows the dirty secret: excelling doesn't make any
difference to our professional trajectories. So, they just teach us
the minimum we need to get by. Some people are so down on themselves
for being blind in the first place that they don't demand more or even
wonder if they can manage more because their families, friends and
teachers are all smacking them down, reminding them to be "realistic"
and know their places, shielding them in poisonous pseudo-protective
cocoons wherein no one outside the family can be trusted.
That's one problem I have. I don't know if I can be a programmer, my
thoughts are so slow and it takes me longer to understand things. At
least, that's how I feel compared to other people. And even
professionally, I don't know if I'm doing enough for my students, or how
I can better teach them and help them grow in confidence with
technology. I mean, we try to help them be independent. They student
course work on their own, using keyboard commands for both studying and
practicing what they learn. I'm just not very creative.

These tactics are all designed to keep us down, playing accessible
games all day, living at home with our parents, collecting our measly
SSI checks, participating in our conniving and manipulative blindness
organizations, perhaps dabbling with some hobbies such as cooking,
knitting, hand radio, digital audio workstations, or Linux.
So how can we change this? How can I help change this? Then again, most
blind people I know don't even consider things like Linux or audio
workstations, and quite a few don't even play games.

The luckiest of us land jobs at call centers doing customer service
for inaccessible products or speaking inaccessibly about operating
systems. Better still, some of us land the really choice jobs:
teaching other hapless blindies in a haphazard rudimentary manner how
to use today's devices using last century's mindset.
Last century's mindset? So, what mindset is of this century?

The only way, of course, to keep the cycle going is for the students
to be eventually employed teaching computers and smartphone to fresh
meat. Each one who lands one of these jobs is so thankful that they
don't question what's at the end of the line for them and for their
students: a big bunch of nothing. No jobs, no promotions, no health
care besides Medicaid or Medicare, no high living standard with nice
clothes and vacations.
I mean, I don't really need nice clothes, I'm not really into all that.
I am pretty thankful for this job, I just want to do it the best I can,
and be as helpful to my students and coworkers as possible.

That's what we get, a whole lot of nothing.
So, unless we start rolling up our sleeves and pushing back with all
our mind against this low-expectation racket, we'll keep getting a
whole lot of nothing. But, we'll be able to browse the web with human
speech as entertainment. Ever wonder why so many rehab agencies offer
us computer classes? It's not for employment. They know we won't be
turning out Powerpoint presentations or using Microsoft Access any
time soon, presenting exciting ideas at regional or international
conferences. All this computer push is to keep us entertained. As long
as we're able to post on Facebook and download idiotic Youtube videos,
perhaps read some romance novels on Bard or Bookshare, we're
entertained and preoccupied, blissfully unaware that our living
standard hasn't improved in fifty years, that we're still living below
the poverty line, deciding between food and prescriptions, evaluating
everything on the basis of affordability. Thusly entertained on our
devices, knowing just enough to stay entertained, we eventually become
inured to unemployment and poverty, disfunctional familial and social
relationships, so much so that our devices become our refuges from
everything that sucks around us.
I think this is a problem with our global culture at large, not just
with blind people. Although, it is more noticeable with blind people, as
the "amusing ourselves to death" problem is more starkly outlined in our

Folks, push for more! Use your devices for much more than
entertainment. Learn how things work in terms *you* understand, not in
some translated sightling mumbo-jumbo. Learn how to set up your own
rules for your own game, because the sighted world sure ain't giving
you a shot at winning theirs.
Okay, I guess that's something I'll have to Google search, right? <smiles>


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