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More on computer accessibility: let your uvula do the browsing

The notice of the Vocal Joystick for accessibility comes from

Opera browser uses voice commands. Now I’ll have to actually test it to see how well it works. The Vocal Joystick would work on all software that uses a mouse device. I thought something like Dragon Naturally Speaking can command more than the voice recognition software? Somewhere in the back of my mind is a little piece of software I’ve seen that also does voice commands ➡ not a mouse substitute but nevertheless slick and free (for Firefox) (originally noted at Paul Hamilton’s FREE online resources and downloadable programs for learners and their teachers.

University of Washington researchers are developing a new “Vocal Joystick” interface to make software more accessible for people who don’t have use of their hands or arms. The software converts simple vowel sounds and other intonations into cursor movement. The louder the sound, the faster the cursor moves. Saying “K-Ch” represents a mouse click and release….

“A lot of people ask: ‘Why don’t you just use speech recognition?'” (electrical engineering professor Jeffrey) Bilmes said. “It would be very slow to move a cursor using discrete commands like ‘move right’ or ‘go faster.’ The voice, however, is able to do continuous commands quickly and easily.” Early tests suggest that an experienced user of Vocal Joystick would have as much control as someone using a handheld device…

“The tool’s latest developments will be presented this month in Tempe, Ariz. at the Assets Conference on Computers and Accessibility.

Vocal Joystick detects sounds 100 times a second and instantaneously turns that sound into movement on the screen….

Versions of Vocal Joystick exist for browsing the Web, drawing on a screen, controlling a cursor and playing a video game. A version also exists for operating a robotic arm, and Bilmes believes the technology could be used to control an electronic wheelchair.” […] http://uwnews.org/article.asp?articleID=37134

Video demonstrations and publications are available on the group’s Web site,


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Alaska Long Term Care Community Forum August 2008

Not exactly community-involvement but at least comments are possible on the draft.

[deadline]

Long Term Care Community Forum for Stakeholders of State Long Term Health Care Services and Supports [sic]

The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has hired HCBS Strategies Inc. to develop recommendations for improving the long term care services it provides to older adults and individuals with disabilities of all ages. As part of developing these recommendations we have obtained feedback from stakeholders such as consumers and their families, providers and direct care workers. We are holding Community Forums to gain reactions from stakeholders on our draft set of recommendations before they are finalized. All those interested may attend.

Individuals are welcome to participate in person or through a web-enabled conference call. Individuals must pre-register for webinars in advance! For those that have limited computer or internet access they may participate by phone only by using the conference call numbers listed below.

Dates/Locations:
Tuesday, August 26th from1:00 – 4:00pm: Downtown Anchorage Marriott- Anchorage/ Via Phone: (702) 824-9512 Access code: 224-977-617 Audio Pin: #

Wednesday, August 27th 5:00 – 8:00 pm: Centennial Hall Convention Center- Juneau /Via Phone: (702) 824-9512 Access code: 126-987-378 Audio Pin: #

Friday, August 29th 1:00 – 4:00pm: Westmark Fairbanks Hotel- Fairbanks Via Phone: (702) 824-9512 Access code: 177-724-278 Audio Pin: #

To for more information or to register for the Forum webinars please go to www.AKLTC.com
If you have questions please contact Kristy Michael with HCBS Strategies by e-mail Kristy AT hcbs DOT info or by phone: 410-858-0807


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Nonagenarian greatgrand to Alaska teacher

Katherine Fink, nonagenarian Katherine Fink of Green Bay. Click picture to read more

A retired regional supervisor for AAA, Katie never backed away from a challenge. Learning to downhill ski at age 58 and looking rather like a Mountie in her orange jacket, she quickly gave up the bunny slope for the ‘big ones’. After retiring, she took computer classes so she would be able to be of help in the office at Trinity Lutheran Church. A gifted seamstress and tailor she also became an accomplished and prize-winning porcelain doll maker after retiring.

http://victoriasjourneys.blogspot.com/2008/03/katherine-fink.html from Kasigluk

Alaska senior center blogroll addition

Thank you to Charles Osborne for letting us know about the Anchorage organization for older people. Mr Osborne is their Programs Coordinator and invites everyone to stop by to visit when in Anchorage.

There are several interesting things about the non-profit compared to Bethel’s–

  • the senior center is run by the organization which is composed of those over 55 years of age

In Bethel, older people were not allowed to participate in the senior center transfer from City to tribe (both groups said elders are unable to run their own center).

  • their operating budget is about half of Bethel’s

Their By Laws and Policies are on-line as are the extensive membership benefits, staff list, events, dance bands (including KOLIGANEK RIVER BAND), etc. They even have a nonagenarian club.

Anchor-Age Center is a non-profit corporation. Anchor-Age Center was incorporated effective August 31, 1981 with the State of Alaska.

Mission Statement

Anchor-Age Center is a non-profit organization that operates the Anchorage Senior Center. The Anchorage Senior Center enhances the quality of life for people 55 years old and older in the Anchorage Bowl and serves as a resource:

1. To encourage independence through socialization and the promotion of healthy lifestyles;
2. To assure that all seniors in the Community are aware of the various services for seniors at the Center and in the community; and
3. To provide a central meeting place for senior organizations and others.

Operations

Anchor-Age’s purpose is to improve living conditions for elderly. To advance that purpose Anchor-Age Center operates the Municipality of Anchorage’s Senior Center by providing seniors with access to services and information key to senior living, health and housing. Anchor-Age members enjoy other benefits such as instruction in crafts, arts, computers, and fitness. Members can also take advantage of recreational pursuits such as billiards, cards, dancing, monthly birthday party, and other social events.

A voting member of Anchor-Age must be 55 years old or more. Associate members can be any age. Dues are paid annually.

Anchor-Age Center must engage in fund raising activities to cover the approximately $350,000 annual operating obligation. Anchor-Age operates a restaurant, a gift shop, catering services, individual room and facility rental as funding raising tools. Anchor-Age also sponsors fund raising with annual community events such as the fall bazaar, spring plant sale, book sales, raffles, and monthly events such as dances.

http://anchorageseniorcenter.org/aacpage.htm

Ralph White, MD nonagenarian

This was a nice surprise in my E-mail, an article about Dr White. Not only is he still contributing to his community (well, duh 😉 ) but he is one of the unique Orange County residents who have seen southern California’s orchards, onion farms, and dairies.

Retired 97-year-old O.C. doctor is still in the game
By GREG HARDESTY, The Orange County Register

…White, two weeks after suffering a minor stroke he diagnosed himself, is touring the $203 million Patient Care Center at St. Joseph Hospital, where he began mending bodies in 1939, in the old hospital building that now houses administrative offices.

… The sleek operating rooms inside the new St. Joe’s facility, opening in October, have ceiling-mounted surgical lights and voice-activated surgical equipment, flat-screen computer monitors and tiny video recorders to transmit live feeds of procedures… White used to make $15 house calls at a time when Orange County’s population was 130,000 (Irvine alone today has more than 200,000 residents).

He’s delivered more than 1,500 babies….

One former patient takes him to lunch every year … on his birthday (June 30, 1910). White diagnosed her breast cancer in the early stages, when she was in her 40s. She’s in her 60s now. Perhaps these connections explain why, after retiring as a family practitioner 31 years ago – the year Jimmy Carter became president – White still hasn’t had his fill of St. Joe’s. Since retiring, White has volunteered more than 11,000 hours at the hospital – the equivalent of working for more than five years, every day, without a day off. […]

Dr Ralph White, nonagenarian

http://www.ocregister.com/ocregister/life/themorningread/article_1803814.php

Read the rest, especially his list of the changes he’s seen in healthcare over the years, White titles his list, “From Cradle to Grave Practice.” That would make an exciting oral history or blog. Especially for eldercare from the participant/observer point of view.

Add this to Bookmarks:

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