accessibility

Blind Life episode 9: Visiting Guide Dogs for the Blind

Last time I was in the Bay area, I visited the Guide Dogs for the Blind campus in San Rafael. The GDB is a beautiful campus located in northern California. The hubs strapped a GoPro camera to my head as I got a crash course on how to work with a guide dog. Watch how I did in Blind Life episode 9.
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LookTel Money Reader, KNFB Reader & Be My Eyes: Apps that help the blind

Without asking a sighted person, how does a blind individual differentiate between a $1 bill and a $100? How does a visually impaired person read their prescription labels?

No, this is not one of those Singaporean logic problems that recently took the world by storm. They’re common questions I and other visually impaired people get whenever we meet sighted people who are curious about how we go about our mundane everyday tasks.

I say, thank God for technology.

Technology is a big part of our lives, and perhaps those of us without sight depend on it even more. I use my Macbook to write, email, create recipes, and curate menus. I use JAWS to post blog entries and conduct web research, among other work. I use my iPhone to post on social media, communicate (obviously), and read the news. I also utilize a few specialized apps designed with the blind in mind. Life ain’t easy when you’re blind, but it’s made just a tad easier with the help of certain technologies.
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Blind Life episode 8: How the Blind Snowboard

We took a trip to Colorado in January where I snowboarded and rode on a snowmobile (as a passenger, not a driver–don’t worry!). I strapped a GoPro to my helmet when I took to the slopes, and the hubs wore the camera on the snowmobile.
Here’s footage from our snowy adventures from Peak 9 and the Continental Divide in Blind Life episode 8: How the Blind Snowboard.
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Help! I’m a blind Mac user in search of accessibility assistance with Apple’s Yosemite OS X.

I can’t be the only one shouting those words into cyberspace, can I?

At the urging of the hubs, I upgraded the operating system on my Macbook last week to Yosemite, also known as OS X. While software upgrades are intended to make user experiences more efficient, they also often come with frustrating learning curves. This is especially true for the blind user, as so much of today’s technological innovations are focused on vamping up visuals. Sure, this is awesome for sighted users, but what about the rest of us blind folk?

My recent OS upgrade has put me in such a sour mood lately that I’m inclined to believe Yosemite was named after Yosemite Sam, the raging red-bearded cartoon tyrant of the Wild West (pictured below) because that’s exactly how I feel about the latest OS X.
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Adaptive Ski & Ride School: How the blind snowboard

**This blog post is largely excerpted from last week’s entry at NMO Diaries.

If you read last week’s blog post on what to cook/eat on a ski trip, or if you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you would’ve known I was in Breckenridge, Colorado, two weekends ago to work on my snowboarding skills. And yes, the blind can snowboard.

The hubs picked up snowboarding after he went on his first trip for his bachelor party five years ago. He was subsequently bitten by the boarding bug, and I’d since gifted him a nice board, and he goes at least once a season. Because I don’t believe in limiting myself with my vision loss, I decided to try my own hand (feet?) at snowboarding, if only to have a common enjoyable pastime with the hubs.
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Blind Life episode 7: Four Senses season 2

Season 2 of my cooking show with Carl Heinrich, Four Senses, premieres this Friday, January 23, at 7 PM on AMI!

It’s still kind of surreal to think I have my own TV show. Sometimes, the hubs pauses and goes, “Can you believe you won ‘MasterChef’?” And then I go, “Nope.”

But there it is: my cooking show I co-host with winner of “Top Chef” Canada season 2 and chef extraordinaire of Richmond Station, Carl Heinrich. And we didn’t get canceled after one season!
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Give thanks: “Four Senses” now available online!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about cooking aids for the blind to help those with vision loss gain independence in the kitchen.

If you’ve been following my life post-MasterChef, you may also know I have a cooking show called Four Senses, which seeks to inspire home cooks, especially the blind and novice, to conquir the knife and fire. “Four Senses” is a Canadian AMI original series, and since season 1 was released in January 2014, I’ve had friends, family, and fans from all around the world ask, “How can I watch your show if I’m not in Canada?”

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Kitchen aids for the blind cook

The best revenge is success. In this case, it’s success in the kitchen. With the festive holidays around the corner, everybody’s got entertaining on the brain. As a visually impaired home cook, you can succeed this holiday season with a little help from a few friendly tools.
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Eating NYC 2.2: My first visit to the Bronx


Created with flickr slideshow.

I know very little about the Bronx. Actually, I’ve never been outside Manhattan to any of the surrounding boroughs, with the exception of getting to and from LaGuardia airport and a couple of trips to Brooklyn. I only knew three things about the Bronx: (1) it had a zoo, (2) the Yankees play there, and (3) J. Lo is from the Bronx.

From what I’ve gathered from media over the years, I pictured the Bronx as home to the blue-collared working class. Tell me I’m not that far off…?

The thing about the working class is they are a no-bullsh*t type of people, which means their food is usually unpretentious, inexpensive, and flavorful.

Eating was, however, the secondary reason as to why I came to the Bronx in June. Danielle, founder of Global Pop-Up, asked me to visit the Lavelle School for the Blind to inspire the kids with a little talk and cooking demo. I’ve been so fortunate to be placed in such a position—to be able to inspire others towards unbound heights—so I accepted the invitation since I was in NYC already for the AFB 2014 HKAAs.
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Behind the voice of Siri

At the end of July, I released Episode 4: How the Blind Email, Tweet, and Blog (or “Yes, That’s Really Me on Facebook!”) of my Blind Life YouTube series. It was my response to all the questions about how those with vision loss use technology.

Yes, I use my iPhone every day, and without it, I’d be bored, disconnected, and lost. The hubs had showed me this video a long time ago about how Siri’s voice was created, and it’s so weird to hear “Siri” speak about anything other than telling me my message is sent, my reminder is set, or that she is searching the web for “‘House of Cards’ plot synopsis.”

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