Sunday, December 12, 2010

Now for something completely different...

So, I decided to go to to try and save money. You are supposed to be able to trade books, movies, cd's, and video games you currently own for ones you want.

I discovered that "there is no demand for that" is a popular response to things that I own when I typed them in and expected to make a match to swap for something. 

 Maybe if the cd's were newer than say music from when I could last hear (last century probably)? 

Or books that were either newer (I've been making good use of the library and thrift stores) or less obscure (ex. Dancing with the Witchdoctor by Kelly James)? It really makes me assess my reading material. But, I know it won't change what I read. If I am going to take the time to read a book, by God I am going to read something I want to read and enjoy and not just something I feel I should read. Although occasionally the two do intersect.

At any rate, I can't say for sure that is a great site since it wanted me to trade my Dixie Chicks "Home" CD, the only thing I owned that had a match, for some Nursing textbooks. But I imagine occasionally people's desires do match up and a wonderful exchange is made satisfying both parties. Or else there are a lot of people posting things with wishful thinking. One of those.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

President Obama signed into law the legislation that will help make some things that hearing people take for granted, like the ability to watch and understand streaming media such as that which can be downloaded from Netflix, open to the deaf and hard of hearing too through the captioning of media like this. Caption2Action along with concerned citizens helped to make this happen. Read more about the particulars in. Lisa Goldstein's blog ADA for the Internet at

More on this can also be read at the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology website
Section-by-Section Summary: What S. 3304 (as amended) Will Do For Us
President Barack Obama Signs 21st Century Communications & Video Accessibility Act of 2010 on Friday October 8, 2010

And at the Caption2Action Blog

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Netflix Streaming CC choices Dismal

Lisa Goldstein over at recently blogged about Netflix and their streaming media and closed captioning. 

Once again the Hard of Hearing and deaf/Deaf are suffering. I think she makes an excellent point comparing what Netflix offers captioned streaming to what was available early on in videos captioned. You had to be so careful to check every box for the cc or the symbol. So little was available. And again...

Of all the movies and tv episodes that Netflix carries streaming, only 100 are captioned/subtitled at this time. That's really ridiculous! 

Lisa's blog is worth a read for an overview of the issue and how some of the others in the community view it as well. 

I liked the comment (among others) where the man tried to get his monthly fee reduced because he couldn't take full advantage of everything that they offer. I wish it had worked. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

A loan shark. Well not really.

So, my husband and I were talking about miscommunication through misheard comments. 

Seems one time he was at work talking with a guy who was getting ready to get married. The guy starts talking about his future father-in-law and his line of work. 

Husband hears, "He's a loan shark." And responds, "Wow, don't borrow money from him." 

Crickets start chirping. People look at him strangely. He says, "Not a loan shark?" 
His friend says, "No. A longshoreman."

Would it be as funny if it wasn't true? It's true though.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Campbell's Soup Kama Sutra

One of my most embarrassing hearing mistakes so far happened when I was working as a book clerk at Media Play years ago.

A woman and her teenage daughter came in when it was almost closing time. So, the book department was pretty much empty except for my ride home. The woman approached me at the desk and at the time we had a pocket size guide to sexual health that some company was pushing for the holidays on the counter. She glanced at the book and then asked me for what I thought was the Kama Sutra. I was thinking, "Wow. She must have some open relationship with her daughter if she can look at a book like that with her in tow."

I didn't repeat the title like I usually did. I just walked her over to the section and pointed out where the Kama Sutra books were. She looked at me blushing and puzzled. It dawned on me. I said, "That wasn't what you asked for, was it?"

"No. The Campbell's Soup book. The cookbook."

I was thoroughly embarrassed. At least she wasn't totally offended and I knew where the book was that she wanted. So, she walked out a satisfied if slightly embarrassed customer. And I lucked out that she wasn't offended enough to complain to management about my showing her and her daughter books on sexual health when all she wanted was as cookbook.

After that I learned to repeat back whatever title people gave me before I showed them the book or search results. Didn't totally stop mistakes, but it lessened the really embarrassing ones.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3 Hearing Impaired Women...

3 Hearing impaired women were sitting on a bench.

The first one said, "It's windy today."

The second one said, "Today's Thursday."

The third one said, "I'm thirsty too. Let's go get a drink."

This joke has been around for a while. And while it's funny, it is also a great illustration of the realities and frustrations of communication among and with the hearing impaired.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hooray for Big Step by YouTube

This isn't about TV captioning for a change. This has to do primarily with captioning on the web and YouTube.

YouTube is taking a big step forward and working to make new material captioned using voice recognition type software. More on this can be found on YouTube. This will be far from perfect for a long time to come, but in most of cases it can be a lot better than nothing. Accuracy depends on the quality of the soundtrack. How clear are the voices? How much background noise is there? Is there any distortion? Then there are some language problems inevitable. Someone mentioned in a comment that they had seen the word "mistakes" come out captioned as "Mexican steaks" on a video.

Still, this is a dramatic step in the right direction.

At the very least, YouTube recognizes that captioning is a valuable service and that there is a significant portion of the population that this will impact.

And on a sort of related note, I've been informed that captions a lot of the episodes of television programs, like "Burn Notice", that were not captioned on Comcast OnDemand. And Comcast does not caption any of its programming on its material available for viewing on the web. It views captioning as a nice "idea" that it will keep in mind for the future. That is from the Caption 2 Action blog, "Does Comcast Even Care About the Deaf?"

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Another Brief Captioning Commentary

So, this guy flies his plane into an IRS building in Texas this week. I turned on Headline News to see what's happening because didn't know about it until the afternoon. Most of the coverage was captioned even if there was the occasional glitch where he was referred to as a "pie lot" instead of a pilot. That I can live with.

What surprised me, was that the local cable news update that is 10 minutes long was not captioned. Not one bit. There was a zebra being led up the side of the highway in one segment while traffic was backed up. In another there was a car wreck with a car eerily resembling my daughter's. In yet another segment someone had been killed from a local high school. Another segment looked like there might have been a gas leak somewhere.

Silly me, I was hoping it was a glitch and it would be fixed soon. So I sat through the whole 10 minutes guessing at what the news was. A little unusual for me, I was still watching Headline News when the next local cable news update came on. The lack of captioning was not a glitch.

Does this mean that they think the local news is only important to people who can hear? Or that they just didn't think about it? Or they didn't want to pay to caption it? Or who knows? Now, who do I contact to let them know that someone does care whether or not this segment of programming is captioned...

Friday, February 12, 2010


Closed Captions are incredibly important to me.

Without captions, I just can't really enjoy watching a tv program or a movie. I wonder what dialogue I've missed even when I can follow the action and plot. After a few minutes, if that long, I usually give up. I've found I give up even if it is a movie or a program that I remember from when I still had some hearing. I just don't enjoy it.

And it goes beyond a matter of enjoyment. Sometimes it is a matter of critical information.

When watching tv and a news alert, a weather alert, or an amber alert comes across the screen, I want to know what's going on. Sometimes more information follows along the bottom of the screen or the programming is interrupted. Sometimes the interruptions are captioned; sometimes they're not. In the case of amber alerts, I was complaining about the lack of information to someone when they informed me that the rest of the information that I felt was lacking was spoken only and wasn't written or captioned. So, I guess it was only important for the hearing portion of the population?

And it's not easy or practical to try and speechread totally during a tv program or movie because of camera angles and people speaking off camera or obscured. And "the best estimates are that 30% to 35% of English sounds can be speechread under the best circumstances." But, that's only around 30% and the article goes on to mention that only about 23% of hearing impaired adults become effective speech readers.

So that leaves the majority of Deaf and Hard of Hearing with a necessity for captioning for enjoyment and understanding of programming on television and the internet.

That can really be hard for a hearing person to understand. I know it used to be for me. But, try watching tv programs or movies without the sound and without captions. You'll find yourself straining to understand what's going on. And how much you enjoy the movie, even one you've been looking forward to, goes down. Then, you start to understand how important captions are for people who can't turn the sound back up or on.