Question of the day.

What is something that sounds safe but actually isn’t?

My answer:

Registering somewhere online. ANYWHERE! Creating an account. Especially when they want your email! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ It’s like opening yourself to evil because you let all them companies and big tech people invigilate and track you and eavesdrop on you and read your most important emails (even the ones you didn’t send ’cause they were too cringey but still keep in drafts) and probably even your thoughts because they always show you the ads of things you’ve been thinking about recently! It’s not just Facebook and Google (although of course Google is the worst and responsible for all the catastrophes in the world) but everything, even small businesses which want you to log in on their website, they actually sell your data to China and God knows what else they do with it. ๐Ÿ˜€

That’s what my Dad recently shared with me. My Dad is slightly, well, perhaps more than slightly, backwards when it comes to technology, but he has no shame about it, and he doesn’t have to because he has Bibiel to deal with that when it comes to his work stuff, and other than work stuff, he only uses his computer to watch YouTube (I don’t think he realises it’s actually Google), go on Marine Traffic, which is also kind of to do with his job as he delivers fuel to ships among others, browse the Internet (using Bing), “travel” (with Google Maps, which he’s perfectly aware of, but oh well), go on OLX (which is like a Polish equivalent of eBay (logging in from Mum’s account, or rather not logging out), and sometimes watching some regional online TV and stuff like that. He also has an (Android) smartphone (from China) and to his credit he had a smartphone LOOONG before I did, but the only smart functionality of it that he uses is (paradoxically) Google Assistant, when he needs to look something up on the phone on the web, because asking Google is faster than typing. Oh and he also uses some app for translating in real time when he interacts with people at work who speak other languages, which I’m sure also uses Google Translate and Google speech recognition system, so… Somehow when it comes to the phone it doesn’t bother him so much that he uses Google as the search engine, and although I tell him that repeatedly, he still doesn’t seem to fully grasp or accept or something that his phone’s system is actually from Google.

He does NOT have an email address, well, to be exact he has several and with different providers, probably even more than I do, which either Mum or me or Sofi or Olek helped him create, but he doesn’t use any of them because (a) he doesn’t know how and doesn’t have the patience to learn, and (b) he doesn’t remember his passwords, or he doesn’t remember where he put the piece of paper where he wrote the password down. Back when he was still somewhat motivated to learn to use an email address, he’d ask me what his password was, as if I could have any idea about that, and then he’d be mad at the whole world. ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyways, quite recently he was sharing with me some of his tech woes and how he was trying to buy something online from somewhere else other than OLX, but they wouldn’t let him, because they wanted him to log in, to even see the seller’s phone number. I said that it seems pretty reasonable to me, it’s easier to shop when you create an account, and why would the seller want their phone number to be visible to all the random peeps in the world? I also began to wonder why it’s such a problem for him to register somewhere. I mean yeah, it can be a hassle, I myself don’t like registering somewhere where I don’t really feel the need to simply because it’s waste of time and sometimes you can still come across surprises like visual captchas which are very annoying and discouraging, some bigger websites can also be pretty intrusive with all their nagging, but generally I don’t see much of a problem with registrations alone. He doesn’t have an email address but Mum lets him use hers for stuff like OLX shopping so he could use it for registrations. So I asked him what his problem with registering was, was it too difficult or something, and that was when he told me all that amazing stuff about how it’s unsafe and evil. Well yeah I exaggerated it a bit for satirical purposes, but even knowing his paranoid tendencies it was a surprise for me how skewed his idea of Internet privacy is.

And don’t get me wrong here, I don’t like big tech either, I hate Facebook, wouldn’t use Google if there were better alternatives for some of their services and I value my online privacy very dearly and some people would probably also call me a freak in this regard. I totally get people’s concerns over their privacy online, but the extent to which my Dad takes it is quite hilarious, especially given that he doesn’t really understand how Internet works and really enjoys invigilating all those ships, looking up where people live etc. and it’s funny how he uses so much stuff from Google without even realising it, while at the same time hating it so much.

So that was the first answer that came to my mind when thinking of such unsafe things that sound safe. Being more serious, food is an excellent example, it can make you vomit. And can make loads of other things to you. Allergies, poison, choking, cancer, diabetes, what fun!

Also amusement parks and similar, all the rides in them. They always say they’re safe, but accidents seem to happen regularly. Oh yeah and you could also vomit from it and make your vestibular system go nuts.

Your turn. ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

What is one old piece of technology you can’t bring yourself to part with?

My answer:

For starters, it was less than a year ago when I finally decided to take the risk and part with my good ol’ Nokia E66 with Symbian. For most people, that’s really strange. Even many blind people don’t understand things like that because, yes, smartphones can be a very helpful assistive technology, and many think that the only explanation for when you cling on to your old phone must be that you’re afraid of new things. Which, admittedly, was partly true in my case, as I typically dread change, but that’s only part of it. I would often tell people, and also here on my blog, that the reason I was still clinging to it was my loyalty to Finland (Nokia is Finnish, in case you don’t know). And, honestly, we’ve been through so much together during those ten years. And she was working perfectly fine, so why fix what ain’t broke. Although in those last few years I didn’t use this phone very extensively as I hardly ever talk to stranger people on the phone and don’t feel the need to talk on the phone to people I know ’cause we either see each other IRL or can email, and emails are also way better and more interesting than texting. But mostly, what held me back was that I didn’t think I could deal with a touch screen, and that’s not because of my lack of sight, but more the associated stuff. As you likely already know, I also struggle with coordination and dexterity, and have a hard time with spatial orientation be it on a big or small space. My previous experiences with other people’s smartphones (usually with Android, which is a bit less accessible, and its free TalkBack screen reader) weren’t particularly encouraging either. I did know that you can use a Bluetooth keyboard with iOS and there are various accessibility features that can make it easier but didn’t think that would be enough for me as you can’t do every single thing on iOS via the keyboard because it’s just not made this way really. But then as I’ve already written on here, Sofi got her first iPhone and let me use it, and while I still wasn’t convinced that I could find my way in the world of touch screens, I felt like perhaps it would be interesting to just try. I could buy myself an iPhone and if it won’t work out, I can simply sell it and come back to my old Nokia. Also I would need to find myself some other phone sooner or later, as even if my Nokia will keep going for the next 50 years, it soon won’t be supported and won’t have service, so it would feel safer to experiment now than last minute. Now that Sofi has an iPhone she could help me figure it out and maybe it’ll even work somehow. Then I came across a review of iPhone SE 2nd generation by some blind guy who also has dyspraxia, where he also mentioned that he uses a keyboard and, while in his situation it’s not ideal either, it works way better than the screen. Based on the review, he was a rather advanced user, so that really made me think. I do not have dyspraxia, my difficulties aren’t as severe as that, so if a dyspraxic person can manage an iPhone with a keyboard and use it efficiently, perhaps I could too. I definitely should try, that’s for sure.

And I did, and, as you know, I didn’t sell my iPhone. In the end I decided to use it in combination with my Braille-Sense which is a Braille notetaker which can work as a Braille display plus keyboard with the iPhone, although I do have a little keyboard as well which can be useful as it’s more portable and less clunky, and I can do most things this way. I do find it quite laborious to use the screen itself, but can do it if I have to and have gotten used to the laboriousness. I’m not the speediest iPhone user for sure when I have to do things from the screen, and I have to take my time to do some things, but because I theoretically know how to do most things on the iPhone, I can practically do pretty much everything I want to do, as long as it’s doable with the screen reader and as long as I have the time and patience, which I typically do. Well okay, my pics are still quite bad and I know some blind people do better, but that’s a bit of a different kettle of fish, and sometimes I also manage to take a decent one without any assistance. I still have the Nokia though. Just so it can work as an exhibit for future generations. ๐Ÿ˜€

But there’s still one old piece of technology I’m holding on to, despite I theoretically don’t have to now that I have the iPhone because the iPhone could do that job. It’s not quite as ancient, actually the current one I have is only over a year old, but generally the technology in it isn’t particularly cutting-edge for our current standards, so much so that many features it has that rely on external services are no longer supported because its firmware is a bit outdated and I guess no longer developed even though the device is still sold. It’s basically a specialised device (with a very specialised price, as with most of them) for reading books and playing multimedia. You can read ebooks on it with a speech synth or audiobooks, listen to music, podcasts, radio, record audio, it also has a calendar, alarm and other such little gimmicks which you wouldn’t normally expect from a multimedia player. Now that smartphones are being very widely used as assistive technology and many expensive, special assistive devices with limited capabilities have a hard time competing and don’t even try, book players like that are seen more and more as something for elderly blind people, say, such who have lost their sight late in life and don’t necessarily feel like dealing with an iPhone, especially if they wouldn’t even feel like having a smartphone if their sight was good, and currently sold “dumb” phones don’t do screen readers.

Why would I use an outdated and pricey thingamajig about which even its own producers forgot when I have an iPhone which can do its job just as well? Well, comfort is key when reading books. PlexTalk is smaller than my iPhone and easier when you want to read for example while commuting. It doesn’t have a touch screen, which could be accidentally activated while you go about your business with it in your pocket or bag. It’s faster to use for me personally. And, what Bibiels like best is reading in bed for a while before sleep or after waking up when I have the time. At the same time, Bibiels don’t do silence at night, so there has to be some music quietly in the background, or a radio station where they talk some fabulous language, it’s good to have a soundtrack to your dreams as long as it’s not too loud or intrusive. The music for a long time used to go from my computer, but my current computer is super noisy and that’s very uncomfortable for sleep, makes me feel like I’m having a sleep study in a lab rather than sleeping in my own room, and my speakers are also weirdly noisy in themselves, making the weirdest sounds, and I can’t seem to be able to fix that in any way, I guess it’s something electrical, which is okay during the day but not at night. So now the way it works is I have my lovely little B&O speaker which I connect to the phone, and it plays. iPhone, as you may or may not know, only supports one audio source at once, so I can’t possibly both listen to music and a book at the same time from it, and then maybe even set a sleep timer for the book, but not for the music. Not doable. Even if I could have two audio sources play at the same time, I think it could get quite overloading if they were both playing from the same device unless you could manage the volume of both separately.

So yeah, there’s an amazing app for reading ebooks, or texts in general, called Voice Dream Reader, which has speech synthesis for many more languages than the PlexTalk which only has, in my case, Polish and English, there’s even the Jacek voice on Voice Dream Reader, the one that I really like but have lost and which is no longer produced in the form in which I had it, so you’d think I’d be super happy to use Voice Dream Reader and have Jacek at least in there. But no, reading on the phone totally doesn’t go along with my habits.

One of the secondary reasons which finally led to me getting an iPhone was that the support of Audible audiobooks had ended for PlexTalk last year. That was super dramatic, as I had only started using that feature extensively and the only reason for why I decided to buy PlexTalk again after my first one broke, instead of another, fair bit cheaper, device of the same kind was the Audible support. I wrote to the Audible peeps describing my situation and asking them if they could have some mercy on people with assistive devices so that their users can somehow still use their audiobooks despite the old format being ditched. They wrote me very diplomatically that they don’t really care, and I guess they couldn’t even do much about it if they did. I wrote to Shinano Kenshi (PlexTalk) peeps, asking them very diplomatically if they could finally update their flippin’ dinosaur firmware so that it could perhaps support the newer Audible format, which, in fact, sounds way better in terms of quality and has been around for a long time before so it’s not like it’s super new. They didn’t even get back to me, which wasn’t a surprise, as I had a feeling they have limited their activity around PlexTalk devices to only what’s absolutely necessary. Then, months later, when I almost forgot about that email, I got a response from them, diplomatically saying that, um, yeeeeah, maybe it is possible, but it really doesn’t pay off, too much bother.

Now, I have Audible on my phone, but I hardly ever use it, for the reason I wrote about above. The good thing is I now have pretty good access to English ebooks instead that, with a little playing around, I can easily read on PlexTalk, so it doesn’t feel that bad not to have Audible on it.

Do you have such an old device? Why is it so difficult to part with? ๐Ÿ™‚

I can deal with it.

I thought that I’d write another prompt-inspired, or at least partly inspired, post today. It’ll probably be long, so get yourself something yummy to drink and a snack and brace yourself.

The prompt I chose comes from one of my two books of journaling prompts – The Goddess Journaling Workbook by Beatrice Minerva Linden, and goes as follows:

“I can deal with it. You can. (…) Think about something which overwhelms you and imagine your life when that issue is resolved.”

I thought I’d twist it a little, or maybe a lot. Instead of writing about something currently overwhelming, I am going to write about something the perspective of which was always incredibly overwhelming for me, and I never thought I could deal with it, but, as it seems, better or worse, I can.

This thing is using my iPhone. As those of you who know me well or are regular readers know, I’d been loyal to my good old Nokia with Symbian OS for over 10 years, and I don’t even mean Nokia as a brand but one particular Nokia phone that I wasn’t changing as there was just no need for it. It was my first phone that I ever got and the only one until June this year. It was possible because, while in the past, my Nokia was through all sorts of things with me and survived a lot, in the last five years I used it very little. The people I usually text or call are my family, and now that I live with them there was little need for me to text or call them, and as I hate phone calls and always have the computer or Braille-Sense with me, I was always telling people that it’s easiest and fastest to reach me via email anyway. So it had very tranquil and idyllic retirement years with very little to do. I always joked that I stick to it because of my undying love for Finland (as Nokia is from Finland). But in fact I simply felt like, since Symbian had died, I had few alternatives.

As many of you also may know, the reason why I didn’t have a smartphone unlike a lot of blind people do now was that I had rather poor experience with touch screens when playing around with phones of other people, whether Androids or iPhones, they seemed extremely abstractive to me as I have poor spatial orientation and a coompletely flat surface doesn’t help you feel more oriented, and my coordination/fine motor skills are also a challenge – it’s generally a very mild and apparently not even diagnoseable problem, yet at the same time challenging enough that it affects my functioning in some ways and is evident for those who know me closely in real life. At the same time I had a terrifying feeling, that after all, at some point my Nokia will eventually die, and I felt clueless what I’ll do then. I contemplated buying another, used Nokia online, the same model as mine, or perhaps, what I would truly hate to do, get myself one of a few smartphones that have been developed with the blind (especially older blind people in mind). Why was it such an awful thought for me? Well, because the target market of these products is pretty small, they’re very expensive compared to their actual abilities and specs. They’re Android phones and run some pretty outdated Android versions, have very few capacities so you can barely call it a smartphone really, can be very sluggish, but they do have a physical keyboard and typically come with a screenreader onboard and running from the start, as far as I know. Apart from the physical keyboard, such a thing wasn’t really what I’d need. If I have to have a smartphone, I’d rather have it actually smart rather than just pretending to be smart and cost more than an averagely smart phone. I also contemplated on and off purchasing the dreaded iPhone and just using it to an extend that it would be possible for me. Which still felt far from satisfying because I didn’t feel like I’d be able to do more with it and iPhones are not the cheapest, and I’d probably be a little frustrated having a premium phone and not really being able to use its full potential, just because there wasn’t a better alternative for me. Yes, I’d of course heard that you can use iPhone with a Bluetooth keyboard, but I’d also thought somehow that the things you can do with it this way are limited quite a lot. But at least, I figured, I could learn iPhone better than I could Android phone, as I’ve heard about a lot of blind people who were less tech savvy or perhaps had some coordination issues like me or other motor problems, and were scared of the big wild world of smartphones and it took them a lot of time to make the transition, and found it easier to find their way around iOS rather than Android as it’s more accessible and kind of friendlier for this group of people.

So I was happy while my Nokia was still alive and clinging to it for dear life and praying that it would last for as long as possible, as I couldn’t make up my mind for years and felt mortified of the after-Nokia life. Deep down I knew I should change my phone or at least attempt to change it already while Nokia was still alive so I could see if it’s actually doable for me or should I better stick to archaic Symbian phones but I couldn’t get over my anxiety and doubts and thus had no motivation.

Despite that, it wasn’t my trusty Nokia’s death which finally prompted me to make a decision, which was good as otherwise it would probably be a little traumatising. I can’t really pinpoint what exactly it was, perhaps I just matured enough and ruminated it through thoroughly enough to be ready to make the big jump, or, which I personally think is more likely, it was a combination of different things.

My Nokia was visibly (or rather audibly) doing much worse, or to be more exact it wasn’t really the Nokia itself but its charger deteriorating. Whenever I plugged it in, it constantly emitted a high-pitched, ultrasound but nevertheless audible peep, just like a lot of obsolete chargers do. It was annoying but, worse still, it wasn’t even me who was most annoyed by it, but Misha! What better motivation for me to change my phone than have Misha tell me that he doesn’t like it! ๐Ÿ˜€ Very unfortunately, the power strip with the charger was right next to my bed, and on its – the strip’s – other side was Misha’s snack bowl, so whenever he had a snack, or slept in my room (his bed is up on my bed) and I happened to have the charger plugged in, he was clearly upset or even avoided coming near, and it took some time to figure out what was the problem. Well I’m still not perfectly sure, he didn’t tell me, but he always calmed down a bit when I switched it off and after I ditched the charger the problem magically disappeared so…

All the cool kids in Sofi’s class have iPhones. Sofi doesn’t aspire to be cool, I mean she already is in a way but doesn’t meet all the requirements, the key one being that the cool kids don’t really like her and are jealous of something about her, I guess it must be her confidence and perhaps that she’s so tall and has her own fashion style, but nevertheless the appeal of iPhone was huge for her. So last school year my parents prommised her that if she’ll have a certificate with honours, they’ll buy her an iPhone. She didn’t really, because there was lockdown and she had remote schooling and she didn’t do really well with this grade-wise, but she said that she sort of did and my parents didn’t double check, and bought her an iPhone, although a used (very heavily, as it seems) one and not in the best condition (so typical of my Dad ๐Ÿ˜› ).

Sofi kindly let me play around with her phone and VoiceOver (the built-in screen-reader in most Apple products) a lot, and I asked her tons of questions while she was also figuring out how to use it so I could get a better idea what it’s like, though Sofi wasn’t really particularly knowledgeable or exhaustive at answering my questions nor was she a good teacher. The whole idea was scaring me big time but at the same time I was feeling more and more like I’d actually like to try it out for myself and have my own iPhone, at least for a while, to see how much I can get out of it, how much I could achieve.

Finally, some time later I read about the new iPhone SE and that it has a physical Home button, unlike most other newer models, and read a review of it written by a blind guy who actually has… er… apraxia? (I guess, or something similar) and so definitely has coordination and motor difficulties bigger than mine. He seemed a long-time iPhone user and really liked the new SE, and that made me think. ‘Cause if he has apraxia and can deal with it, why can’t I? I mean, yeah, it’s possible that I can’t, because even if my difficulties are milder than his we’re still different people and there may be things that I find more difficult than he does or just differently difficult, but isn’t it a huge miss not to try it if blind people with apraxia do? I would probably regret it my whole life if I didn’t, especially that for most blind smartphone users, their smartphones are more than just devices for communication and such but also help make things easier in daily life, like recognising bar codes, to give you an example off the top of my brain, or doing other things that otherwise may be only doable with some fancy specialised devices.

So, all jittery, on 12th June I went to the nearest Apple store and got an iPhone with all the necessary accessories plus a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard.

It was all very different than what I imagined it to be.

My Mum helped me set it up even though she didn’t have an iPhone in her hand for longer than a few seconds ever before, and it all went well. I remember my cousin was staying for the weekend at Sofi’s and I had a proper cheerleader team consisting of Mum, Sofi and Dominika – my cousin – supporting me morally and helping practically as I tried to familiarise myself with iPhoneland. The first few days were so hectic and all over the place and it was all so abstractive, but, and it was very much an uphill struggle all the time but at the same time a very rewarding one and I never had weird problems like you sometimes do when acquainting yourself with a new device/technology that something is not working and you have no clue why, whether it’s your ignorance or the thing itself being so buggy or glitchy. Here the only things that went wrong were only down to me not knowing something which made things less stressful and easier.

I hate any major changes and typically don’t deal well with them, and to add to it I had a fresh but really nerve-wracking experience of transitioning computers earlier this year – and that’s only a Windows 7 laptop to a Windows 10 desktop, and it was harrowing! I may be not a tech geek but I’m also not totally clueless, but found it difficult to adapt probably because the whole process was very much over-extended and there were a lot of major glitches and other stressful stuff going on with this new computer thing.

The leap from Nokia to iPhone felt much more intimidating, and the change in terms of how my whole life could change due to this felt infinitely more significant, and so I expected being just the same bundle of nerves this time, especially that the level of difficulty of this challenge was waaay higher, but perhaps because there weren’t any major problems that would be beyond my control, and I didn’t feel pressured that I needed to learn it quickly, I wasn’t a bundle of nerves. Yes, I was anxious, I couldn’t sleep, I bit my nails raw as I always do when things are a-changin’, but the dominating feeling I had was some sort of healthy excitement, rather than pure freak out mode which is typical of me with huge changes. What surely helped me was that, as I said, I didn’t feel the pressure. I told myself that there’s no rush with it and if I decide that iPhone is not for me, it’s okay, I can sell it, I can give it to Sofi, I can throw it in the loo, I don’t have to feel obliged to anything, no oone can make me like or use it other than myself. I gave myself a month for at least the initial figuring out whether it’s worth exploring further or whether I want to give up on it. Already after a week or so, even though I was still struggling a lot with learning to use it, I was sure that I was not going to sell it and that I’ll stick to it, even if my usage of it will be limited by my limitations. I quickly grew to like it, probably largely because it provided me with the possibility of finally being able to listen to my music at night on something else than my loudly humming computer and because learning new things about it was (and continues to be) quite rewarding.

My Mum helped me a lot in the first days and then later with various tests and experiments I was undertaking, as did Sofi (I really don’t think it’d go as smoothly as it did if I didn’t have Sofi nearby to consult with sometimes).

I struggled, and still do, with some gestures. Actually, to an extend, I struggle with all gestures, even basic flicking/swiping and can get lost on the screen, which can be frustrating, but not hugely because I use a physical keyboard most of the time anyway, and even if I don’t, with more basic activities it’s usually somehow manageable and I do try to use my iPhone just via the touch screen and not run for a keyboard in every single situation when I don’t have it at hand and I need to do something on my phone, or for Mummy when something is not doable from the keyboard, although it does take me significantly more time than with the keyboard, and even with the keyboard I still do things way faster on the computer so I don’t have the experience of many people that it’s more convenient and faster to do things on the phone, it’s just totally the opposite for me. Longer writing/editing is the prime example. I mean from the on-screen keyboard it’s a torture but I don’t really know why it’s such a pain in the brain for me to do it from keyboard, but it’s really a lot of hassle and a good patience training.

But I consider myself a fairly efficient iPhone user by now nevertheless, perhaps not necessarily advanced but I do know where everything is in it, how to use things properly, how it works in theory, dare I say better than some sighted users I know, what all the settings do and how to change them, how all gestures work in theory, how to do everything with VoiceOver etc. etc. Though it’s not a huge achievement in itself because, apart from learning the touchscreen for me, the system itself is very intuitive in my experience. A huge help and source of knowledge in this for me was AppleVis, which is a website with all sorts of information on accessibility of Apple products for visually impaired users.

One of the more difficult things for me at the beginning was the so called rotor in VoiceOver (this is a feature that makes it possible to change different settings of VoiceOver), and it seems like I wasn’t alone with it at all. To move between different rotor settings you have to move both your hands in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion, people often explain it that it’s like turning a door knob. It felt very abstractive to me at first, then it made sense to my brain and imagination, but my hands responded with: “What the flip are you saying?!” I just couldn’t make it happen in the outside world for the life of me! But then I learned that you can change the gesture for rotor and that saved me. These days I can sort of make it with the original gesture but it’s too much thinking and trouble for me to put up with for such a vital thing because I do use the rotor a lot.

And I had to change a lot of other things as well to be more suitable for me because of what is not really doable for me and am so glad that these things actually are changeable.

My Mum says that she’s never seen it with me that I’d change my mind on something so radically in such a short time because from someone who thought smartphones are evil I suddenly magically changed into someone who claims that iPhones are the best and who likes Apple (even though I am not planning to equip myself with other Apple products any time soon but, as you can see from this post, you never know, right?…)

Despite I do have more or less touch screen trouble all the time, I use my iPhone extensively now, the more that I have set it up with my Braille-Sense, so these days more often than using the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard I use Braille-Sense to navigate on the screen and also to read what’s on the screen as I prefer to read things myself a lot of the time. And it’s easier to use it with the Braille-Sense as a physical keyboard. I only take the Logitech with me if I’m going out somewhere and really need keyboard because it’s very slim, dust-proof and not as valuable and flimsy as Braille-Sense.

I have got myself a great speaker and headphones just for the iPhone so that I can enjoy my music, especially overnight, even more. I have created Family Cloud for myself and Sofi, because my Mum is very wary of Sofi using the Internet and wants her to be safe and not overdose on screentime, and this is the only way which she agreed for Sofi to have any access to the Internet in her phone at all, so I monitor her screentime usage and do the bad guy job but also the good guy because otherwise she couldn’t really do much with her phone except for calling and texting.

I feel like I may need to start cutting down on my own iPhone screentime soon because I’ve become totally addicted to a game called BitLife lately (if you’ve ever played Alter Ego it’s something similar only more extensive and detailed). ๐Ÿ˜€ Just like Sofi is addicted to Brawl Stars.

So yeah, to sum up this elaborate post, my experience has shown that I can deal with it! And I feel really happy about it. I think I can even say proud and it won’t be a very big overstatement. I feel so especially because, except for the help of my Mum and Sofi’s, and referring a lot to AppleVis, I didn’t have any more external help, I mean, a lot of blind people have some training. I didn’t have that, and still, I figured it out. Perhaps if I did have someone who would come to me and show me things I could be better at it, but somehow I feel really sceptical.

Did I imagine that it could be this way if I managed to overcome the whole overwhelming touch screen hurdle? To a degree, yes. I knew that if I could make friends with iPhone it could potentially change my life in a good way and be very enriching. But I guess I didn’t imagine that it could be such a big change.

What’s something that you find very overwhelming and difficult to deal with, and how do you imagine your life if you could get rid of the problem? Or what was such a thing for you, and why/how did things change so that you now know you can deal with it? ๐Ÿ™‚

Question of the day.

Hi people! ๐Ÿ™‚

What was the last thing you purchased?

My answer:

I went with my parents and Sofi on Monday to do some shopping, Sofi needed some stuff for school and I needed to get myself a larger power strip for all of my newly acquired chargers and cables – to do with the iPhone. The strip I’ve been using for years is not enough for my needs at the moment, as it only has three outlets. I’ve actually purchased a new strip already last week or so, I bought it in iSpot – which is Apple’s reseller – I decided to buy it there as I had to get some accessories from them anyway so I got a discount for the strip – it was called Eve Energy Strip – and, as you could expect from Apple related stuff, the strip I got was smart and compatible with Homekit – so that I could control it from my phone, without having to dig my fingers into an outlet every time I wanted to plug something out or having to guess whether the strip is on or off as I had to with my old strip. With Eve, I could for example tell Siri to switch one outlet on, while all the others would be off, which was not possible with my old strip, which was either on or off, and so if you wanted something not to waste the energy you just had to plug it out. I really liked Eve and the level of control I could have with it, and how easy it was actually to use, but there was one huge problem. Despite the iSpot guy told me that it was going to have six outlets – three normal ones and three USB ones – it had only three outlets. Way too few for me now. I need at least six, ideally seven or eight. So as much as I liked Eve, I had to pack it away, and was going to return it once my Mum comes back from her trip in the mountains. I told Mum about that and she called the iSpot people, and the guy who sold me the strip was very apologetic, saying that someone in the magazine must have made a mistake and shipped the wrong one.

Mum came back last Saturday and we decided to call the iSpot general helpline and have them take Eve, while we would go to our local iSpot shop and get the right one in the meantime. Which we did on Monday. This new strip was called Koogeek and did have six outlets, although its cable was ridiculously short, which was a bit of a problem as the wall socket in my room where it was supposed to be plugged in is under my bed, so that meant the strip would barely stick out of there, and I would hardly be able to use my devices on the bed while charging, which I do a lot. But there was a much bigger problem with Koogeek, as it turned out when we got home. I installed the Koogeek app on my phone to connect the strip, and boy was I surprised by it! I think it must be some sort of a really geeky-techy app because I wasn’t able to do anything with it, absolutely flipping anything. The manual said I had to create a Koogeek account, and yes, there was a button called “Join Koogeek”, but when I tapped on it, it did nothing. Nothing was loading, opening or even trying to open, no communicate or anything. Oh well – I thought – must be something with VoiceOver. I’ve heard from people that some apps are so wonderfully made that when there is some sort of a checkbox, like for example when you have to accept privacy policy or stuff, for some reason you won’t be able to do it with VoiceOver, you’d have to disable it to accept or check whatever is required. I haven’t seen anything like this in my short time with iPhone but thought that must be the first time. I called Mum, disabled VoiceOver and asked her to look at it, but she also couldn’t do anything. There were a few other buttons as well and none of them did anything at all. We sat with it for an hour and both got very pissed, but it wasn’t helping either. In the end, Mum came up with an idea that I could return this shitty Koogeek thing, because even if there is some way for the initiated people to connect it to the iPhone, if there are problems with such a basic thing I probably would have more problems with this strip further down the road as well, and instead I could keep the Eve, which was still here, and get another Eve to go with it, and, with some rearranging in my room, have them both plugged in different sockets. This is some solution and after some thinking I decided it’s not that bad at all. For now I have my most basic stuff plugged into the Eve. Of course I could write to the Koogeek support now asking them for help, but with my luck with tech support people in all sorts of different companies I can’t see it could accomplish much and would be a waste of time.

Only then when Mum thought seriously about driving back to iSpot on her own (previously it was Dad who drove us) she didn’t like the idea. It’s rather far from us, in a big shopping centre, and Mum didn’t feel confident going there, as she doesn’t know the way there very well and she once got lost in that same shopping centre with Sofi as it’s really huge so she has like a mini trauma associated with it. And Dad definitely wouldn’t be up to going this far yet again, for such a trivial reason. So I decided to give the Koogeek thing to Sofi, who was very happy and didn’t care about the phone app and Homekit, and became even happier when she realised that, for whatever reason, her phone charger, which always made her phone act very weird while charging – it wouldn’t let her write what she wanted but would write some other characters or wouldn’t respond to her gestures appropriately – now worked just fine with the new strip. So that’s good at least.

But that means I’ll have to pay for THREE, not particularly cheap power strips, which is quite outrageous, and not fun as I’ve had quite a lot of expenses in the last few months due to the whole iPhone thing, especially with the headphones and speaker. At least I hope the two Eves will be usable for me for a very long time.

How about you? ๐Ÿ™‚

Testing, testing!…

Hey people! ๐Ÿ™‚
I have news of the year for you! Bibielโ€™s got an iPhone. ๐Ÿ˜„
Itโ€™s been hanging in the air for a while already, because Zofijka got an iPhone recently too, and as my ten-year-old Nokia wasnโ€™t getting any younger, I had to think about something new at some point. You may already know that Iโ€™d been very reluctant to have a smartphone because of my coordination and orientation difficulties and that it felt sort of surreal for me that Iโ€™d ever be able to use a touch screen, and all my attempts on other peopleโ€™s phones in the past were miserable, so I was always joking that Iโ€™m sticking to Nokia due to my undying loyalty to Finland.
Itโ€™s been one heck of a change, as you can imagine, but somehow Iโ€™ve been able to keep my stress and rumination at healthy levels so far, and am even a little bit excited about the thing. I have a whole lot of things to get used to and would definitely be lost if not my Bluetooth keyboard, as I can do barely anything on the screen, and so far struggle a lot even with the keyboard, but hopefully itโ€™s just the matter of getting used to everything.
I just wanted to let you know about it and test how the email thing works, as Iโ€™ve just set up my emails in the Mail app and am sending this via email. This is actually my second attempt as something didnโ€™t work out the whole time. So far Iโ€™m pretty sure itโ€™s not going to become my default way of blogging, itโ€™s really arduous.