moderated Re: more about another jfw list discussion list

Orlando Enrique Fiol

At 11:20 AM 5/18/2021, Brian Vogel wrote:
God bless you. I have been waiting for someone who is blind to say
this, and this clearly, for ages now. When I say it the response is
always hostile and generally met with some form of, "You're sighted,
so you don't understand." I am sighted, but I do understand, all too well.
Somewhat off topic, but analogous, I was "watching" the most recent episode of My 600-Pound Life last night. This week's subject was 39-year-old Chrystal, mother of two girls, 4'9" and 611 pounds. She lived in filth and squalor, immobile and depending on her daughters to cook, "clean" and wash her, to the point where our Iranian hero, Dr. Nowzardan, commented on her offensive body odor during her first appointment.
Anyway, throughout her lengthy, whiny narrative, she kept insisting that non-obese people don't understand food addiction, how much she *needs* food for comfort and to help her through unspeakable trauma. Well, as it turns out, Honey Pie, my beloved and I do indeed understand binge eating and food addiction. Except, rather than live in squalor with the highest BMI recorded on that TLC series, we did something about it and had bariatric surgery before we reached such critical obesity levels.
Digression aside, the point is, some people insist that no one understands in order to complain on the throne of their own pity party, as though understanding entails letting them off the hook from taking any action. They get bent out of shape when someone in their same situation uses their indisputable empathy to advocate for tangible change rather than justify incessant complaining.
Don't get me wrong, there are many aspects of my life that I cannot personally change, about which I complain and advocate whenever possible. But, rather than throw in the towel with things I can control, I especially relish opportunities to do for myself, to start from 0, work hard and proudly assert that victory is mine.

And even if someone is a neophyte, and does not know how to search for
information, the first thing they need to do is learn how, And those
who react negatively (including myself) to the asking of questions
such as, "What is aquamail?," will be glad to assist you in gaining
the skills you need if you don't have them. But when we say, "You
really should have done a search for that," we're not wrong.
you're not wrong, but admonishing them to search online before asking questions invariably takes up more characters than answering their questions, as your example below illustrates.

That's a real-world example of something that just passed by on another
list. Someone had mentioned using aquamail. The question itself,
if put in a search engine, any search engine, gets you the homepage
for the product as the first result, and the homepage for the product
answers all the basic questions one might have. The questioner
waited many hours for the one line answer, "It's an email client for
Android," then followed up with, "Does it run on the PC?," which I
answered with, "No," and gave a direct link to the AquaMail home
page. If someone can tell me why they think it's a kindness to allow
this sort of thing to drag out, over hours, multiple messages, and
multiple participants rather than saying, "You really need to have
done a web search before asking something like this," then I want
their rationale.
Fewer characters?

It certainly isn't kind from where I sit.
In any potential act of kindness, one must balance between the giver and receiver's perceptions. Were I to have gone to Chrystal's house and thrown out all her junk food, she likely would not have interpreted it as kindness even though it surely was.

And if you are someone who doesn't know how to do one, then the follow-up
should be, "I'm not good at that, would you help me."
As I explained to you privately, blindies have this peculiar trait; if we've spent our entire lives having our initiative smacked down, sabotaged or thwarted by uncontrollable circumstances, we often fail to take initiative when circumstances change to be in our favor. Someone who has always felt intimidated by the internet is going to hold fast to that belief rather than gradually prove to themselves that it's not that intimidating at all. This brings up one of my all-time pet peeves: Blindies are all too often rote trained for very specific tasks. If any variable in those tasks' execution changes, or if a new task is presented, they're literally lost because they lack general conceptual grounding within the framework in which that task is one of many.
The only skill necessary to perform online searches and make sense of their results is to master one's screen reader's and web browser's navigation keys. When I Google search, all I need is E, which moves me between edit fields, and H, which moves me between headings; that's how each search result is displayed. Since there's so little text in each search result's thumbnail presentation, navigating by textual unit with N or shift+N usually does little good. I occasionally arrow up and down to catch whatever text is included with each hit link, rather than continuous read, which can quickly get out of control, like a runaway freight train.
So yeah, yall, if you know how to type in an edit field and navigate by heading, yall can search for, I don't know, midgets in 19th-century Mongolian literature.

But in 2021 it is not unreasonable in any way, shape, or form to
presume that anyone, blind or sighted, that's an active participant on
a list such as this one doesn't already know how to do a web search
and review the results. There will be the rare complete newbie who
may not, but it would be insane to believe that most people you meet
in cyberspace don't already know how, and should consider when, too.
If anyone, anywhere, says to you, "You could have found that with a
web search," you had better considering that you are very likely in
the wrong for having asked a question that you could have easily found
the answer to yourself. That sort of response doesn't come from
asking complicated, or even just unusual, questions that don't have
thousands of ready-made answers that can be found with a simple web
search. I have never seen anyone, including my
much-hated-in-these-venues self, say that to anyone asking a question
that doesn't have a dirt simple answer that has often been answered
both here, and on the web, literally thousands to hundreds of
thousands to times in total and that can be found with fewer words in
a search than the message asking took to type out. That matters.

Okay, let's address the time/speed issue. Part of many blind computer users' fundamental feeling of intimidation is the unfathomable quantity of information being thrown at them. Their solution is often to try and suppress as much information as possible, which can be dangerous. As an easy example, suppressing notifications would "blind" you to a warning about a program you really need, such as your screen reader, that your antivirus deems malicious and will either quarantine or remove. If you happen to activate this notification mistakenly and again happen to activate the Remove button, your entire computer access is kaput.
So, no, suppressing information is not the way to go. The way to go, dear friends, is *directed listening*. The most important skill with a screen reader is knowing what to listen for. If you don't hear that, or something related to that, keep it moving.
When you first open Google, you don't need to hear "I'm feeling lucky" or "I'm feeling hungry," Advertising, Business or "Google for Everyone". In fact, in Chrome and Edge, every screen reader places you right in the edit field where you'll type your search. So, if your screen reader is not reporting control type and state information, turn that stuff on right now! There is also a wonderful Chromium extension called Chrome Sound Effects. It's like web Sonic, previously discussed here, except that it covers browser events that Web Sonic does not, including a typing sound for input fields.
Since I have that extension installed, if I type even one character and don't hear that manual typewriter sound, I know that my focus ain't in the edit field. If that extension is on, I press enter on a link and don't hear the click of a new page loading, I kknow the friggin page never loaded.
Anyway, all you gotta do is type your search term in that edit field and press enter, which activates the Search button. You can also tab just once to it and press space or enter. Once the result page loads, navigate by heading using H until you hear "Search Results" or "Displaying Search Results". Don't let the new page read, even if your screen reader is configured to do so; mine is because I prefer being able to silence speech with the control key, something I can quickly do with one finger, than invoke continuous reading, for which I need two fingers.
Anyway, *Directed Listening* tells me that I want to hear "Search Results for..." the stuff I just typed in the search field on the previous page. If I don't hear that, I navigate by heading or text unit until I do. If I get really frustrated, I go back a page with alt+left-arrow, retype my search terms, reload the results page and move by heading until my results appear. For each result I want to read, I press enter and navigate the new page. I then return to the previous page and navigate by heading for the next result, rinse and repeat until my question is answered or I throw up both jazz hands in resigned frustration.
Folks, that's all yall need to do online searches: something to type in the search field, and some simple web navigation skills.
If any of you don't know how to navigate a web page by textual unit, heading, frame, control, edit field, check box, etc., bone up on that or ask us old heads. And, above all, when we answer your questions with phrases such as, "JAWS will say: ..." that's probably the most important information we're providing, because, it may take two or five tab presses to get to that Change button. It might take seven down-arrows because your lis box has more items than mine. But, what your screen reader needs to say is the same in everyone's Windows dialogues and in everyone's application windows using identical versions.
OK, over and out. Point and click.
Orlando Enrique Fiol
Charlotte, North Carolina
Professional Pianist/Keyboardist, Percussionist and Pedagogue
Ph.D. in Music theory
University of Pennsylvania: November, 2018
Home: (980) 585-1516
Mobile: (267) 971-7090

Join to automatically receive all group messages.