July 29th, 2014

Out of Sight



The Internet delivered on its promise of community for blind people, but accessibility is easy to overlook.

I have been blind since birth. I’m old enough to have completed my early schooling at a time when going to a special school for blind kids was the norm. In New Zealand, where I live, there is only one school for the blind. It was common for children to leave their families when they were five, to spend the majority of the year far from home in a school hostel. Many family relationships were strained as a result. Being exposed to older kids and adults with the same disability as you, however, can supply you with exemplars. It allows the blind to see other blind people being successful in a wide range of careers, raising families and being accepted in their local community. A focal point, such as a school for the blind, helps foster that kind of mentoring.

The Internet has expanded the practical meaning of the word community. New technology platforms aren’t often designed to be accessible to people unlike the designers themselves, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t used by everyone who can. For blind people, the Internet has allowed an international community to flourish where there wasn’t much of one before, allowing people with shared experiences, interests, and challenges to forge a communion. Just as important, it has allowed blind people to participate in society in ways that have often otherwise been foreclosed by prejudice. Twitter has been at the heart of this, helping bring blind people from many countries and all walks of life together. It represents one of the most empowering aspects of the Internet for people with disabilities — its fundamentally textual nature and robust API supporting an ecosystem of innovative accessible apps has made it an equalizer. Behind the keyboard, no one need know you’re blind or have any other disability, unless you choose to let them know.

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Reblogged from
July 21st, 2014
If you’re not including what will be the majority demographic in our country at the table in positions of leadership, your company just could not be destined for the level of success it should be destined for
July 18th, 2014
While my personal capacity to tell technology stories in the past year has diversified, I’ve noticed something: my beat is rapidly disappearing.

Dave Lee, technology reporter for the BBC

Technology journalists are facing extinction — Medium

July 15th, 2014

Kara Swisher: Tech’s Most Powerful Snoop — NYMag

This profile on Kara Swisher, co-executive editor of Re/code, is a must-read. 

Related: Swisher will lead a session on launching new news efforts at this year’s Online News Association Conference with Melissa Bell, senior product manager/executive editor at Vox.com and Lara Setrakian, CEO of News Deeply. There’s still time to register for ONA14 at a discounted rate. 

July 15th, 2014
[T]he little, insidious coincidences that start to add up and grate. It’s when no women (or people of color) are featured as speakers at tech conferences or even considered among the most “desirable” innovators to be invited. It’s when a man and a woman walk into a room, and the man is assumed to be the leader. It’s the online comments left by trolls each time a story about women in technology is published. And it’s even when an exhibitor doesn’t bother to spend a few minutes to acknowledge a female journalist who wants to learn more about the company and its products. It all begs the question about whether the technology industry is as much of a meritocracy as it likes to believe it is.
July 14th, 2014
As it considers rules governing the relationships between content creators and service providers, the FCC asks, ‘What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?’
As the leading organization representing thousands of digital journalists worldwide, we’d like to respond to that question: The right public policy is one that ensures the Internet serves as an unrestricted platform for a rich, diverse and inclusive news media ecosystem.
July 9th, 2014
Brown struck a bit of gold, while others pan hopelessly. But to pretend that a reward is always (or even ever) commensurate with the amount of work one does is to misconstrue how the world works. If potato salad leads people to reflect on the injustices of modern American capitalism, then we really may be on to something.
Ian Crouch on how Zack Brown’s ten-dollar Kickstarter campaign raised nearly seventy grand: http://nyr.kr/1jeqGK2 (via newyorker)
Reblogged from The New Yorker
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