ATU136 – Accessible Voting Rachel Schroeder Krystal Connolly Silliness with Siri ATIA

first_img—–transcript follows—–KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: This is Krystal Connolly, and I am the Demonstration Center Coordinator at the Illinois Assistive Technology Program.RACHEL SCHROEDER: Hi, this is Rachel Schroeder. I’m an assistive technology specialist with the Illinois Assistive Technology Program, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.[Music]WADE WINGLER: Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up-to-date on the latest developments in the field of technology, designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs. Welcome to episode number 136, and it’s the first episode of assistive technology update for the year 2014. Happy new year, everybody. Today I’m excited to talk with my friends Rachel Schroeder and Krystal Connolly, who are really sharing some interesting information about accessible voting. I know that we don’t have any elections, or at least major elections happening right now, but I think now is a great time to be thinking about accessible voting so that when the time comes you got all the information you need to do that.We have some interesting stories about some of the conference is coming up from ATIA, CSUN, and RESNA; some webinars offered by some of those organizations; an opportunity for screen readers to share their information, or their opinions about web accessibility; a service to help you cut back on some of your email traffic; and a segment that I did this time called silliness with Siri where I spent some time with my iPhone just making some silly request answering some of the funny response that I got from Siri.If you enjoy our show, you might also enjoy all blog. Head over to our website www.eastersealstech.comWe’re moving into that time of the year one some of the big AT conferences are getting ready to happen. Assistive Technology Industry Association will be in Orlando on January 29 through February 1, and then California State University Northridge has announced that they are going to have their conference in San Diego on March 17 to March 22, and I just saw in one of their newsletters that Tommy Edison, who is somebody who has been on our show, he’s also known as the blind film critic, is going to be their keynote speaker. A stick a link in the show notes not only to the ATIA registration page and the CSUN registration page, but I’ll pop a link into the interview that we did with Tommy Edison a year or so ago where he cracked us up with some of his ponderings about life is somebody who is blind or visually impaired while somebody who is a radio announcer and also somebody who is a film critic. Check our show notes.RESNA and ATIA are two of the professional associations in the world of assistive technology, and they are groups that I work with on a regular basis. They both have some webinars coming out. RESNA has announced its webinar schedule for 2014. Some of the things that you’re going to find included this year is the importance of early mobility, more AT apps for students with disabilities, power seating functions, free AT resources for students with disabilities, and iPad, Android, Surface and Chromebook. ATIA also has a listing of their webinars coming out next year, and here’s what you’ll find there: chrome as assistive technology; accessibility in new generation of high-stakes tests; Google Glass, another amazing access solution with Doctor Therese Wilkin, our friend from New Hampshire; also they are going to have one on iOS, Android, MS Surface Pro 2 comparisons; and implementing the common core for the uncommon learner, strategies and resources to support students with differing abilities. It looks like both ATIA and RESNA have all kinds of great things coming up in the upcoming year. Check our show notes, and I’ll have a link to both things.Do you use a screen reader? Are you online? WebAIM, the group that spent a lot of time focusing on web accessibility, has a new survey. They are 24 questions and takes about 10 minutes. This is serving up a fight. They are asking people to tell them about how they are using their screen reader online. They use that information then to make guidelines and recommendations for accessibility. If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts and opinions about using your screen reader on the web, check our show notes. We’ll have a link over to their survey.It’s that time of year when I tend to be a little reflective about the things in my life. I also like to spend some time kind of cleaning out the cobwebs and making room for the new things coming in the new year. One of the things that I learned about was actually from my wife who turned me onto a service called, and basically this is a service that will allow you to reduce the amount of unwanted email in your life. If you’re using an email service from including Hotmail, MSN, Windows live or Gmail, Google apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL mail, or iCloud, you can simply sign in to this free service and it will basically gather up all of the different email newsletters and spammers that you’re on and present them to you in a form where you can check and uncheck the ones that you want to keep or not keep. In order to do more than just a few, you have to be willing to share this link on your twitter or your Facebook or tell some of your friends about that, but for me I found that kind of a small price to pay for the ability to unsubscribe from literally dozens of email is that at one point I thought were a great idea but no longer are useful to me. I’ll pop a link into the show notes over to the website. It’s, and if you’re interested in cleaning up summary email in your life, check out that service.Each week one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps. Here’s an app worth mentioning. In this week’s app worth mentioning, we’re going to do something kind of fun and kind of different. I like to call this silliness with Siri. I found an article on OSX Daily that has told me about 95 silly, serious and goofy things that you can do with Siri, the personal assistant voice activated system that comes on your iPod, iPhone, iPad. I’m going to spend a few minutes here just playing around with some of the serious stuff that Siri does come and will see if you find anything that tickles your funny bone.WADE WINGLER: Beam me up, Scotty.SIRI: Okay, stand still.WADE WINGLER: Tell me a story.SIRI: I’m certain you’ve heard it before.WADE WINGLER: Tell me a story.SIRI: What, again?WADE WINGLER: Tell me a joke.SIRI: I can’t. I always forget the punch line.WADE WINGLER: Knock knock.SIRI: knock knock. Who’s there? Wade. Wade who? Wait, I don’t do knock knock jokes.WADE WINGLER: Who let the dogs out?SIRI: Who, who, who?WADE WINGLER: What does a Fox say?SIRI: Ring-Ding-Ding-a-Ring-Ding-Ding.WADE WINGLER: What does a Fox say?SIRI: Wah-Pah-Pah-Pah-Pow.WADE WINGLER: What does a Fox say?SIRI: You will never know. The secret of the Fox is an ancient mystery.WADE WINGLER: Sing a song.SIRI: I’d rather not.WADE WINGLER: sing a song.SIRI: You know I can’t sing, Wade.WADE WINGLER: Please sing me a song.SIRI: You wouldn’t like it.WADE WINGLER: Please sing me a song?SIRI: You know I can’t sing.WADE WINGLER: Please sing me a song!SIRI: Okay, if you insist. I could while away the hours, conferring with the flowers, consulting with the rain. And my head I’d be scratching, while my thoughts were busy hatching, if I only had a – hey, wait a second!WADE WINGLER: Do you know HAL-9000?SIRI: Everyone knows what happened to HAL. I’d rather not talk about it. But if you insist.WADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: SighWADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: What is the pod bay everyone keeps talking about?WADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: Okay, but I’m not signing any petitions.WADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: You would think someone would have opened it by now.WADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: Doesn’t anybody knock anymore?WADE WINGLER: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.SIRI: Okay, but wipe your feet first.WADE WINGLER: Testing, testing.SIRI: Is this thing on?WADE WINGLER: How are you?SIRI: I’m happy to be alive.WADE WINGLER: Why am I here?SIRI: good question. Everything else I can do for you?WADE WINGLER: Will you marry me?SIRI: I sure have received a lot of merit proposals recently.WADE WINGLER: Will you marry me?!SIRI: My end user licensing agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies.WADE WINGLER: I like you.SIRI: Do you?WADE WINGLER: I love you.SIRI: All you need is love and your iPhone.WADE WINGLER: Shut up.SIRI: …WADE WINGLER: The screen says okay, but it didn’t speak. You’re funny.SIRI: Ha, I’m glad you think so.WADE WINGLER: You’re smart.SIRI: I’m not just a pretty face.WADE WINGLER: Siri, why are you so awesome?SIRI: I just am, I guess.WADE WINGLER: Who made you?SIRI: Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.WADE WINGLER: I can do this all day long.SIRI: You can?WADE WINGLER: Sure, I can do this all day long.SIRI: You sound very capable.WADE WINGLER: Okay.SIRI: Everything is most definitely okay.WADE WINGLER: And if you would like to hear some of the other silly things that you can do with Siri, check our show notes. I’ll have a link to the focus there.Today on assistive technology update, we’re going to talk a little bit about a very important topic, one that has to do with independence and has to do with a little bit politics and individuals rights more so than anything. I’m joined via Skype and a telephone connection by Rachel Schroeder and Krystal Connolly, who are some of my colleagues in the great state of Illinois. Ladies, are you online?RACHEL SCHROEDER: Yes.KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: Yes.WADE WINGLER: Good, excellent. So we’re going to talk today about voting and the accessibility of voting. Now this podcast is being recorded late in 2013, it’s probably going to be released early in 2014. Not exactly the height of election time, but I think it’s important that we’re talking now about accessibility in voting, because when it come times for voting to happen, want folks to have access to it. I understand that you ladies are spending some time on this project, and I thought maybe you could start off by telling me a little bit about what the project means and why we should be concerned about the accessibility of voting.KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: I’ll go ahead and stick that. Here in Illinois, we are part of the RAB Grant, and we are going around the state with several different pieces of assistive technology voting machines. One of them being the AutoMark, and the other one being a tablet, then we also have a CCTV that we take with us. We’re just checking that out and letting people try that out and kind of getting their ideas of how they work for them.WADE WINGLER: That’s an interesting set of equipment that you’re talking about there. I want to jump into the details of some of the assistive technology that your reasoning related to accessible voting. Can we start off by talking a little bit about why we need to be concerned about the accessibility of voting? Why is that such a big deal?RACHEL SCHROEDER: I think we want to promote independence, and this is one more way that we can promote independence for voters out there. You’re right to vote. Something that we should take seriously, and the fact that we can now have a secret, independent ballot is something that is monumental considering how long people have been able to vote and how recently, and the whole grand scheme of things, that it’s been that we’ve been able to do this. It’s really probably been within the last 10 years maybe, and maybe probably less and a lot of places, that we’ve even been able to have a secret, independent ballot just one more way to promote that independence for people with disabilities to be able to do that. Prior to that being available, I as a blind individual have to go into the polling place, I had to go with a representative from each party. If I can take somebody that I knew in with me to Mark my ballot, I had to take somebody from each party to verify that the marks were being made as I intended them to be. They are right there, you have two other people who know whom you vote for, and we all have the right to an independent secret ballot. So we finally, through the technology have gained that same access as every other citizen in America.WADE WINGLER: Personal, it sounds like that probably made for a fairly crowded voting booth. Second of all, I think that folks who don’t deal with accessibility or assistive technology in disability in the round of voting probably take that stuff for granted. You probably wake up early one day before work and you run down to the polls and you may or may not stand in line. You make your mark and off you go. I think that people take that for granted. For folks who rely on assistive technology as part of their voting, I think we’re getting to the point to where maybe folks with disabilities can take that for granted two. Do you think that’s the case?RACHEL SCHROEDER: You know, I would like to be able to think that we could. I think the problem is just getting the word out. People have been conditioned for so long that, oh, well I’m not going to go to the polls, I’m just going to do an absentee ballot because it’s easier; I don’t have to get somebody to market. I know that because I have a friend doing it for me or a family member, then I know it’s going to be marked correctly. There again, you’re still not doing it independently even though you might know the person, you’re still doing a ballot that is having to be done by somebody else. I think it needs to be something that is standard and commonplace, and that’s what we’re hoping, through the demos that we do, to get the word out and kind of condition, if you will, people to say, hey, I can go to the polls now.WADE WINGLER: I know that you ladies are demonstrating some very specific kinds of technology that relates to voting. You mentioned them in the beginning of the show. Can you kind of break those down a little bit and talk about the different kinds of assistive technology that folks might use as part of the voting process?KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: Yeah, I can do that. We are really showing three different pieces of equipment. I think I’ll start with the more standard that other people have seen, and that’s the CCTV. That would be good for someone with low vision or macular degeneration. It basically just a magnifier where the ballot is set on what’s called the XY Tray, and they would use a computer like monitor to be able to enlarge it and then mark the ballot with the pencil just like everybody else. That will work for some, but not for all.The next piece of equipment that we are demonstrating that we’ve probably done the most demonstrations with because we’ve had it the longest is the AutoMark. That is actually a machine that you insert the ballot into. It has a speech outputs where it will actually read the instructions to you, walk you through the voting process. It is a touchscreen. It does have tactile and braille dots on the display area. It’s got an up down buttons, over buttons. Then it also does have like a vacation on the screen as well. This puts it in, and then you actually listen and can mark the ballot. It prints it out and you can put it into the envelope and drop it into the slot.And then we have the Prime 3 tablet, which is the newest one that we are working on. It is a Windows based Internet option that is being worked on with speech recognition. It does have switch capabilities as well as does the AutoMark which I think I forgot to mention. It does have a magnification to it. It will end the ballot, but then you will have to get it and place it into the ballot box.WADE WINGLER: It sounds like we’re covering a lot of different kinds of disabilities with both technologies. I think I heard things to help with magnification for folks who might have low vision, folks who might be totally blind or rely on braille or speech output, even some stuff with switches in there. So are there any kinds of disabilities that aren’t really included with the assistive technology related to voting? Is anybody still excluded at this point?RACHEL SCHROEDER: I think what they been trying to do, and this is why there have been in recent years so many concerns about what machine are certified, because they want to make sure that all disabilities are included. I believe even someone with cognitive disabilities can use it as well because it can track where your reading and that kind of thing. Off the top of my head, there probably are some varying disabilities that make it more difficult, but this certainly levels the playing field for most of them I believe.WADE WINGLER: Yeah, and it sounds to me like there’s lots of different options there. I have a lot of friends who rely on assistive technology, and I have friends, especially screen reader users, who will sometimes have technology that is accessible, but they don’t use it that often. I’ll hear things like, oh my gosh, I only get into that screen twice a year for that report. I forget how to use it. I wonder if that kind of a challenge exists with accessible voting technology as well. I’m interested in knowing a little bit about the learning curve and the fact that it’s not used frequently. Does that trait any challenges was training with his ability?RACHEL SCHROEDER: I think for the first time somebody uses it, it might be a little concerning at first. If you have a fear of technology in the first place, a little bit of the fear factor might be an issue, but really they do make it very easy to use. There are several, I believe three that I can think of, voting machines that are certified at this point in a different areas of the country. All of them that I’ve seen have been very easy to use, and that’s one of the things that they do a lot of beta testing. When I was in Florida, we worked very closely with the supervisor of elections in Orange County, where I live, to test these things out and determine which one day felt was going to benefit the citizens of Orlando well and give feedback. So they do beta test these pretty extensively before they will even consider certified. They make the instructions very easy; they make the keypad very tactile; and as part of the polling place training for the poll workers, they also do need to get some training on these machines as well. There have been occasions where it’s new for them as well, maybe not so much now, but when I first started voting with one of the accessibility machines, it was new for the poll workers as well. They had a few questions on that, and they had to kind of get up to speed as well. Generally speaking, the poll workers are trained on how to use them. Any questions can be answered by them.WADE WINGLER: That’s good, especially with the importance of the technology interaction that occurring. A lot of folks are learning to use it both from the user perspective as well as the folks there at the polls.RACHEL SCHROEDER: It’s pretty failsafe too. There are a few redundancies that will tell you when you? This option, if you intended to mark this option then press this key to go ahead. At the end of your ballot, and gives you the opportunity to review all of your choices, so it really allows you several opportunities to make sure that you marked what you wanted to mark.WADE WINGLER: That’s good. Hopefully it will make for more accuracy and make sure that folks’ votes are being counted the way to expect. So what advice do you have for individuals with disabilities who want to make sure that when they go in to use accessible voting equipment that they have a successful experience? Any advice for things to do in advance or things to do day of to make sure that he goes well?RACHEL SCHROEDER: I think pretty much you don’t really need to do anything in advance because it is mandated that each polling place has an accessible voting machine. Whether you do early voting or whether you go to the polling places on voting day, you are guaranteed that you will have at least one accessible voting machine and that polling place.Of course for some people they might say transportation is an issue. Transportation is an issue, oftentimes you can contact a representative of the parties locally, and they will provide transportation. They want to get people to the polling places. So they’re going to do whatever they can do to help people in the disability community get there as well.I think the main thing that I want to impart is that people just need to get out there and vote. It’s not something that people with disabilities are used to doing, because in the past this has been a hassle. It is so easy to do an absentee, but we have gained this right, this accessibility to voting equipment. Now we need to get out there and use it. If we don’t use it, then why is it out there? My advice to people would be just to get out and use this technology. Exercise your right to vote, and exercise your right to have that secret, independent ballot. It’s being made very easy.Krystal and I haven’t really talked about this specifically, what with the new system, the tablet based system, that kind of science itself to not even having to get out of your car in some cases. If you have a disability that makes it very difficult for you to get out of your car, that could likely be brought to your car, allow you to vote, and still make your voice heard.WADE WINGLER: That’s pretty amazing that technology is getting to the point that is that accessible. Ladies, we just have about a minute left or so. The people were interested in learning more about accessible voting increment, polling places, or if they wanted to follow up on you on the work you’re doing, do you have any contact information that you’d like to share with people?KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: They can contact us here in our office in Illinois. There is different organizations throughout the country that are doing this as well, so if they were in one of those areas, I’d be happy to point them in that direction. Our number here is 217-522-7985, or they can email me at [email protected] I’d be happy to point them in the right direction.RACHEL SCHROEDER: If you want to email me, my email address is [email protected] WINGLER: Excellent. I’ll pop a link to those email addresses and the list of phone numbers in the show notes so that if folks are driving or can’t get that information right now, they’ll be able to get it whenever they need that. Rachel Schroeder and Krystal Connolly are both with the Illinois Assistive Technology Act Project and are doing a lot of work to make sure that folks with disabilities are having good access via assistive technology to the voting process. Ladies, thank you so much for spending time with us today.KRYSTAL CONNOLLY: Thanks.RACHEL SCHROEDER: Thanks, go out and vote.WADE WINGLER: Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your assistance technology update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU033: Assistive Technology Act/Rehab Services Administration (Rob Groenendaal) GW Skype, Wheelchair users who are blind or visually impaired, SoundPod, Choosing apps, Sortable, Free ADA Webinar, CSUN & ATIAJanuary 13, 2012In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU044 – RESNA (Alex Mihailidis) , Run Windows on your iPad, Are you happy with SIRI, AppWriter, BrightStar, VisionAssist, Cause and Effect AppsMarch 30, 2012In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU150 – Ray Grott, CSUN Recap, Cortana – Microsoft’s Answer to SIRI, Apps for the Classroom Webinar, Autism now 1 in 68, Bugs and Buttons App Bridging AppsApril 11, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update” Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour weekly dose  of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.Show Notes:Accessible voting with Rachel Schroeder and Krystal Connolly ( 2014 Newsletters – The Blind Film Critic (Tommy Edison), Closing the Gap Call for Papers, iBrain with Stephen Hawking, Maximize your Macbook battery life, Color identifiers vis apps – Assistive Technology Industry Association webinars Webinars: Screen Reader User Survey #5 with SIRI: 95 Funny and Downright Stupid Siri Commands to Make You Laugh——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site:  https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: read more