This morning I read an article from the Blind News mailing list (link above) by old buddies Jim Fruchterman and Greg Vanderheiden that I recommend you read in its entirety at the link on the headline. The article, entitled, “Everyone deserves access to technology” ran in the Sacramento Bee both online and in the print edition of the paper.
Jim and Greg are two of the most energetic and intelligent people I’ve had the privilege of getting to know in the world of technology for people with disabilities. Jim, as you may know first founded Arkenstone and now runs Benitech, the home of BookShare.org. Greg is director of the TraceCenter at U. Wisconsin, one of the most important centers of research into technology and people with disabilities. Neither Jim nor Greg self identifies as having a disability but both have contributed immensely to our community.
I have enjoyed working with Greg on numerous forums, committees and other projects and have very much enjoyed talking to and just being around Fruchterman as his genius and energy is highly infectious and can elevate the mood and intellect of any group of people with his larger than life presence.
I have only one area where I disagree with the point of the article: they say that the project should start with California and I want it to be Florida or Massachusetts as that’s where I spend most of my time.
The only other item that makes me bristle a bit is the question of why it takes two relatively wealthy sighted white men to make the argument about the absurd economics that blind people, who need a $1000 piece of screen reading software to use a $300 Dell Computer, to get into a mainstream newspaper? I also wonder why the established blind publications aren’t asking this same question in every issue?