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Well that ended my study phase

I guess it’s about time that I updated the site and clarified what’s been going on with me and around me.

The work I was doing for that University course never got completed and got recorded as a Fail. I went through several weeks of on-again off-again pain and the Tramadol taken with the Lyrica blew my concentration out the window. At times the sedation was affecting me so much that I would fall asleep every 30 minutes or so and if I was reading I’d forget what was the last sentence that I had read.

Even though I was given extra time, by July I had told the school and Open Universities that it simply wasn’t working out and to take me off their lists.

Since then I’ve focused on just getting through the day and doing as little as possible that might upset my arms and caused me to hit the painkillers again. Every now and then I find that I’ve been unsuccessful, the pain comes, I take the painkillers, I lose a day in a haze.

I’m still a little active, I still do chores around the house, at least the chores that I can do without causing the problems to exacerbate. At present I’m volunteering each weekend at the local hospital where I act as a patient guide providing information and physical guidance to help visitors get around the hospital. It is a lot of fun and the physical activity, I walk miles during a shift, it is very good for me and I feel better inside and out for doing the work.

So back to this site. I intend to keep it going.  It will cover the kinds of things that I’m doing or things I might want to add a comment about or events and activities that I get involved in.It will expand to cover other aspects of my life such as my Model Railway hobbies.

I hope I am able to keep a regular posting schedule but that depends on too many factors for me to say it’s going to happen like that.

I thank you for hanging around while all of this circus was taking place in my life and I hope in the future I can find more interesting things to share with you.

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The Spoon Theory … support for those with invisible illness or chronic illness

The Spoon Theory written by Christine Miserandino …support for those with invisible illness or chronic illness.

“I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.”

The Spoon Theory” describes what it is like to live each day making choices on what you can and can’t do with your day that the “normal” people just don’t think another thing about. Some days I have to make choices about ‘Do I brush my hair or not’ or a few times it has even been as base and elemental as, ‘what will it cost me in pain if I wipe my bum’.
I have had those days and there isn’t any joy there but you just prioritise on the things you have to do and other things get left by the wayside, family, chores, studies. Doesn’t matter. If they’re going to bring you more hurt then you drop them hoping that next day you might actually be able to get things done, that you will “have more spoons”.

it is all done hands-free

“it is all done hands-free with Dragon”

I do most of my programming these days in C# and it is all done hands-free with Dragon with some added voice commands (scripts) for automation purposes.

Basically using Visual Studio and even DNS Premium you can quite happily program completely hands-free in either C# or Visual Basic .net simply by using the already available tools that come with the Premium version.

I want to be able to use my Dragon tools to allow me to build the coding behind web sites, HTML and JavaScript for example. I am very happy to hear this person say that it is possible, it was a task that was worrying me if I had to do it by hand that would be a course I would have to avoid.

The text comes from a thread at KnowBrainer.com, a Speech Recognition provider and support base.

The Dragon gets new teeth

An update to my problems trying to get Dragon NaturallySpeaking to navigate the Internet through the Firefox browser. Earlier this week there was an update to a tool called NatLink / Unimacro which you can find at:

  1. Natlink (old pages)
  2. Unimacro & Natlink (new pages)

This tool does many things using scripts that plugs straight into Dragon NaturallySpeaking but the one that is really helping me at the moment makes the Firefox add-on that I had talked about before, Mouseless Browsing work under the Dragon NaturallySpeaking 12 which is what I’m running. Until this latest update of NatLink / Unimacro, Mouseless Browsing would not respond to voice commands, it would only operate from the number pad of my keyboard. Now when I have Dragon NaturallySpeaking running and Firefox running with Mouseless Browsing turned on. Then I give the voice command to Dragon NaturallySpeaking, “Numbers on” and the numbers appear alongside every link. Then I just tell Dragon NaturallySpeaking to ‘Press 6’ or else ‘Press 107’ and that link will be slected and activated.

mouseless-browsingIf you click on my screen grab (see alongside) it shows you how these programs put numbers onto the screen for every link, the goal of course is to minimise use of the mouse. Some things on the browser still have to be “mouse’d” but nowhere near the same amount had I not installed those tools.

My next trick is trying to get Zotero to work responding to Dragon NaturallySpeaking within Microsoft Word. All I’m getting for my effort is frustration up to DEFCON 2.

Accessible Games Websites

7-128 Software Simply Entertainment games7-128 Software has just published the winners of their Top Web Sites for Gamers who are Blind, Motion-impaired, or Deaf – 2012 competitions. They surveyed over 100 Web sites relevant to the accessible gaming community. Each entry notes what FREE and commercial games are offered, what game reviews, information and help are offered, what forums, blogs, and other community features are offered, how current that content is, and how popular that Web site is. The Web sites are ranked accordingly so you can quickly find the best of the best. This information is totally FREE. No registration is required. You can find it at http://www.7128.com/top25/topsiteslists.html

via Accessible Games Websites.

Not a good day :(

Facebook asks for a Status update saying, “How’s it going Ian?”
Well if you must ask its all going to garbage the moment. Seems that lugging my suitcase around on Saturday after my arrival back from the Linux Conference in Canberra has really upset my arms to the point I’m going to see the quack this afternoon to try and find some sort of relief other than painkillers that make me sleep or take my brain away for a holiday.
I’m having trouble doing the lightest of keyboard tasks and so relying on Dragon to type for me and may be even do some navigation of the browser.

I have 1000 word essay due on Friday and still have not been able to get the system working for me to get it started, to even find the rest of the research that I want to do on it, because when the pain comes my brain goes away. I’m already into a week’s extension that needs this to go away before I can start to concentrate and do some research, some study, some writing, hell even do some work, that would have been nice!

Sorry for not posting much but I’m just not up to it at this time.

Listen to me Write!

I am doing an Open University Australia Course on Web Communications.

The problem is that this is going to require a lot of writing and keyboarding. I don’t have that opportunity other than a little bit here a little bit there, anything requiring a decent amount of wordage such as the essays that are still coming, will have to be dictated using Dragon naturally speaking.

Although I have been using voice recognition tools on and off for quite a number of years I have not used Dragon on a regular basis for probably four or five years and now I have to get back into the swing of things. I’m using dragon 12 professional and so far it does seem to be picking up most of what I say although it’s not real good on where I want a capital and sometimes it completely goes and loses the plot.

Such as this morning while trying to finish off my first assignment I tried to use the word no one/Nolan/no/no no no no. It just doesn’t seem to get that I want to have it use the word known. Like I had to just now, I had to go into correct mode and then into spell mode simply to get to understand the word I was trying to say.

Generally speaking this will recognise my words straight out of the box without much practice, the better I get speaking with it the better it will get recognising the kind of words I use the more accurate will be my dictation.

In the past people have said to me, “if you’re going to go in and correct it why bother dictating it?” It’s a simple law of numbers if I can get it to tight for me approximately 97% of the words that I wanted to say then I may have to change perhaps 3% of them that still works out to about 95+ percent of the words that I haven’t had to type. With my disability that adds up to do I have pain at the end of it or do I not have pain.

Dragon naturally speaking has wide capabilities. It is supposed to have been able to help me navigate the web. It is supposed to be able to help me do many different tasks that I might otherwise use keyboard and mouse with. Chances are that I eventually will learn how to do these things for now just getting it to do the text is a big step ahead.

This blog is intended to be an irregular discussion on my progress in learning Dragon and conversely in how well Dragon is able to learn me.

Thanks for dropping by and if you have any comments or advice I’d be very happy to hear them.

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