Search Results for 'voice'

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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Boris Chertok, nonagenarian, and Sputnik, quinquagenarian

It’s pretty amazing to have outlived the Soviet Union and been able to recall how science is actually conducted (gosh, it’s a human activity!)

Boris Chertok, Oct 2006 photo click photo to view Voice of America article

the first artificial satellite in space was a spur-of-the-moment gamble driven by the dream of one scientist, whose team scrounged a rocket, slapped together a satellite and persuaded a dubious Kremlin to open the Space Age.

And that winking light that crowds around the globe gathered to watch in the night sky? Not Sputnik at all, as it turns out, but just the second stage of its booster rocket, according to Boris Chertok, one of the founders of the Soviet space program.

Chertok couldn’t whisper a word about the project through much of his lifetime. His name, and that of Sergei Korolyov, the chief scientist, were a state secret. Today, at age 95 and talking to a small group of reporters in Moscow, Chertok can finally speak about his pivotal role in the history of space exploration.

“Each of these first rockets was like a beloved woman for us,” he said. “We were in love with every rocket; we desperately wanted it to blast off successfully. We would give our hearts and souls to see it flying.” …

The satellite, weighing just 184 pounds, was built in less than three months. Soviet designers built a pressurized sphere of polished aluminum alloy with two radio transmitters and four antennas. An earlier satellite project envisaged a cone shape, but Korolyov preferred the sphere.

“The Earth is a sphere, and its first satellite also must have a spherical shape,” Chertok, a longtime deputy of Korolyov, recalled him saying. […]

I hope the story stays up on the news site. It is an interesting read.


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Newsbits for the elderlies

Nunavik elders raise voices at Quebec seniors’ parliament Last Updated: Monday, September 10, 2007

Four Inuit elders from the Nunavik region in northern Quebec will speak for the first time Monday at that province’s seniors’ parliament, in the hopes of raising issues specific to seniors in their area. Politicians in Nunavik have long lobbied to have the elders address the special assembly, which runs Monday and Tuesday in Quebec’s national assembly. They will speak in their own language and demonstrate the challenges they face as Inuit elders, including the lack of Inuit language in government documents. Currently, such documents are only offered in English and French.

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Is dignity at home too much to ask for our elderly?
Jo Revill, Denis Campbell and Amelia Hill, Sunday June 17, 2007

Hundreds of thousands of Britain’s elderly rely on home care visits to live a dignified life in their own house. But as local authorities reduce funding, an increasing number of our most vulnerable citizens are being neglected and are suffering as a result. Now, with our elderly population set to rise dramatically, we launch our campaign for the right to stay at home….

The Observer launches its Dignity at Home Campaign, to fight for the right of such people as Miss Tugwell to receive the care she needs in order to maintain a decent life in her own home. We have discovered that an insidious kind of rationing is happening in England and Wales, more covert – and in some senses more cruel – than the kind we read about when an expensive cancer drug is not prescribed by the NHS. It is a rationing that involves not giving baths to frail elderly people who are unable to clean themselves, cutting back on the daily visits from care staff, closing day centres, not visiting homes to ensure they have the right medication. No dramatic headlines perhaps, but home care is a lifeline for thousands of old people.’… More and more of us are seeing this indignity and disgrace inflicted on our elderly relatives,’ said Mervyn Kohler, director of Help the Aged [see sidebar]. ‘It is shameful that as people in such a wealthy society, we can treat our elderly in this way. The care services have been eroded to a point where they are no longer meeting the needs of people who really deserve more than this.’

read more Growing old

11m Number of pensioners living in Britain
20,000 Number of pensioners believed to be abused in their own homes and nursing homes every day, according to a report by Age Action
£2bn Amount of unclaimed benefit each year. Almost half of older people entitled to Pension Credit are not receiving it.
£21.50 Average amount spent each week by pensioners on food and drink
13 Percentage of elderly people who do not get out of their homes more than once a week
Tell us your stories, Write to Dignity at Home, The Observer, 3-7 Herbal Hill, London EC1R 5EJ or email news@observer.co.uk, placing ‘Dignity at Home’ in the subject field.
On the web
www.helptheaged.org.uk/
www.ageconcern.org.uk/

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Now the elderly will get equal rights Radical initiatives will benefit all older people Ivan Lewis Sunday June 24, 2007

As The Observer is rightly highlighting, there are few more important challenges than the way society treats older people. The realities of demographic change, the expectations of the ‘baby boomers’ and the values of a progressive centre-left government are all reasons why this issue must move from the margins to the mainstream of the government and public policy debate.

Equally, demographic pressures and a largely unreformed social care system are leaving too many older people with inadequate support. The quality of provision is patchy from service to service and area to area. People who pay for their own care are frequently left alone to make difficult choices and eligibility criteria take little account of loneliness and isolation. The current system was built in a postwar era when Alzheimer’s disease, elderly carers, scattered families and elder abuse were unknown forces. Today, 70 is the new 50. Older people view post-retirement as the next stage in their life; many grandparents are surrogate parents to their grandchildren; medical advances and greater affluence will continue to extend life.

This week, I will be launching a new national framework for the funding of continuing care, the intensive, long-term nursing care for the elderly outside hospitals, mainly in nursing homes. This will seek to end the current postcode lottery that has seen some older people wrongly denied NHS funding for the nursing element of their care…. [continue reading Ivan Lewis is the Care Services Minister]

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Sunday, 2 September 2007, 23:03 GMT

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How To Steal an Estate

…Identify Elderly Affluent People Who Are Alone – Target people who do not have strong family relationships, who are either estranged from their families and children or whose families live and work out of state…. Aversion to Extended Care – Targets often exhibit a horror of nursing homes and extended care facilities and have a strong desire and determination to continue living in their home until they die. If they move, your years of hard work may be wasted…. Alcohol Helps – Alcohol lowers people’s resistance, raises their susceptibility to suggestion, makes them relax, feel good and festive. It’s easy to manipulate alcoholics and make them angry and emotional… People Are Especially Susceptible To Suggestion When Sleepy – During those hazy, lazy moments when they are just drifting off to sleep or waking up. Visit or telephone when the impact of your communication will linger in their minds long after you finish. …

[continue reading Protection – Defense and other helpful pages]

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Retirement out of sight? Working past 90: 1 million elderly Americans still in work force By John Chrisoffersen The Associated Press Article Last Updated: 09/02/2007 11:35:07 PM MDT

…Manpower has urged companies to start thinking about ways to retain and recruit older workers, through flexible scheduling, for example. This will help them fill positions as the labor pool shrinks. According to Holmes, companies need to extend their diversity training to include age, as well as race and gender.

…Experts cite several factors for the growth, including people living longer and the Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act in 2000, which allowed workers 65 through 69 to earn as much money as they want without losing Social Security benefits. Other reasons include the gradual increase in the age for receiving Social Security benefits to 67 and a decline in traditional pensions and retiree health benefits. [read more, They’re all younger than Waldo McBurney, a 104-year-old beekeeper from Kansas who was recently declared America’s oldest worker.]

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Oldsters Help Propel Wii to Number 1

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TOKYO TURNING GREY…By 2020, about 14 percent of the population of greater Tokyo — around 4.9 million people of a predicted population of 35 million — will be aged 75 or older. Currently only around 7 percent of the greater Tokyo area are in this age bracket.

Within the next 15 years, the bustling city that never stops will be one of the world’s greyest metropolises…. Though greater Tokyo does not yet have a clear strategy for dealing with its greying population, some other Japanese cities are already taking steps of their own. [read more By Hideyuki Sano TOKYO, Sept 21 (Reuters)]

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.

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Legendary Flying Tigers nurse, nonagenarian

Here’s another really interesting person. I think many people remember the movie and hearing of the exploits, especially during the 50s and 60s when there was just the one (Good) China and that other, Red. China The Flying Tigers became a freight service, post-war, and then merged into FedEX covert CIA Air America

Rita Wong , nonagenarian Rita Wong, 2006

BEIJING, June 7 (Reuters) – A legendary Chinese nurse who cared for injured U.S. Flying Tigers airmen during World War Two and suffered beatings during the Cultural Revolution has died at 95, state media said on Thursday…

The Flying Tigers was the nickname for the American Volunteer Group that formed a fighter group that trained in China and defended the Burma supply line to China over the Himalayas known as the “Hump” before the United States entered the war.

At the beginning of the last century, when most Chinese girls married in their teens and stayed at home afterwards, Wong, also known as Huang Huanxiao, decided that she should receive an education and become a professional, the China Daily said…. She had just finished her course in nursing and started her internship at a hospital in Hong Kong, when Japanese troops attacked and took over on Christmas Day, 1941.

“She died with a smile, just like her Chinese name suggests – it translates into joy and smile,” Xinhua news agency quoted Gao Demin, Wong’s eldest son, as saying.

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/PEK177324.htm

from China Daily August 15, 2006–

Rita Wong, who escaped the Japanese in Hong Kong to join the Flying Tigers in China, had lived in anonymity in Kunming, capital of China’s southwestern province of Yunnan, for the past six decades, the China Daily said…

The woman from Macao, who got her degree in nursing at the University of Hong Kong in 1941, had lived in anonymity in Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan Province, for the past six decades.

Wong’s children didn’t even guess how eventful her life used to be until she and her husband, who was the only Chinese doctor at the hospital, took them to the Hump Flight Monument in the suburbs of Kunming one day in 1989… With a hunched back, which was broken in beatings during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76), she read out the inscriptions in a firm voice and a graceful British accent.

In 2002 that she began to write down her memories in a diary, which she initially kept to herself. But in 2004, the 92-year-old learned from media reports that several Flying Tigers were to visit their old airport in Yunnanyi town in the mountains of Yunnan’s Dali. She told her children that she wanted to go and meet them.

[Wong and her husband] stated to work at a local hospital after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949… They had a happy life in the following years, apart from during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76). The couple had two sons and a daughter.

When China opened its doors to the rest of the world at the end of the 1970s, Wong set up a toy factory in Macao at an age of 67 with funding from her sisters sent from overseas.

She became the general manager and had more than 200 people working for her three years later.

Read the rest of her story here http://www.china.org.cn/english/NM-e/177978.htm

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Actually, all of Chinese and Chinese-American modern history (late 19th and the 20th century) is interesting. I wish we were more aware of the pre-Nixon stuff (Pacific Rim and California, Sun Yat-sen; but for the political junkies– all the Washington intrigues with Madame Chennault; Formosa or Taiwan; one China or two; Vietnam; those two little islands and WW III, etc.).

[Much of the Chinese significance in US history is little understood, e.g.,

Irvin Lai of the historical society and one of the most vocal critics of the MTA’s handling of the situation, said he hoped the remains and artifacts would not be rushed back into the ground. He laments that no major academic institution has volunteered to conduct a study… “We have very little history of these sojourners in Southern California,” he said. “We need a lot of study. We need a professional person. We want to know how they lived, because we have very little records. Most just died and were thrown into graves.”
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-graves7apr07,0,6430629.story]

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