Thursday, January 31, 2008

How did I caption my activation video?

That seems to be the million dollar question! By a stroke of luck, I managed to come across this website that allows you to add subtitles to any online video that has been uploaded to YouTube, Google Video, MySpace Video, Dailymotion and Veoh by using the Overstream editor. And did I forget to mention that it is 100% free?

You start out by registering for a free account with them. Then you can check out the FAQ section and look at the easy to follow flash tutorials on how to add subtitles to the videos. Once I familiarized myself with the controls of the Overstream editor, it was such a breeze to do. You have the option of keeping your video public or private. I kept my video private until I was finished with adding the captions. I was able to save the video as I progressed with the captioning, which was an AWESOME feature for online website. Kudos! .When it was all finished, I clicked on the Create button that created the link and html code so that I could embed the video on a website and went live. This is very user-friendly website once you get the hang of it. I strongly recommend this website to anyone who wants to add captions, subtitles, or simple comments to dazzle up their video. I wanted to reach a wider variety of people and that would have never been possible without Overstream.

I was contacted this weekend by the administrator (really nice guy!) of Overstream who featured my captioned video on the front page of

Hap tip in your direction Overstream!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Karen, the amazon woman!

Discriminatory practices still exist today. Read the following to see how difficult it was for one woman to order a milkshake from Steak 'n Shake restaurant in Chicago.

Karen Putz, who is deaf, drove past the drive thru speaker and went straight to the window to order two milkshakes as she has done several times before. She says the general manager who waited on her did not accommodate her disability.

"His response was, 'Could you please drive around again? Place your order'? And I was like, 'I can't do that. And I can't hear. I can't use the speaker back there,'" Putz said.

She said she and the general manager had a lengthy exchange at the window. She said the manager threatened to call the police on her if she didn't leave, and then he denied her service.

"He's like, 'That's it. I'm done with you.' And then he shut the window," Putz said.
Read Karen's blog here and the news coverage here and here and view the video, its gets better!

Talk about falling on deaf ears, what a wanker! You would think the Manager would have the common sense to correlate that being deaf and using a speakerphone doesn't work well because it requires, um well some HEARING! Where were his brains, in his... let me stop. If that was me, it wouldn't have been pretty. The inner Jersey in me would have quickly emerged, parked my car, flipped my phone to camcorder, marched right in, and begged him to call the police. That might or might not be the best way to handle that but Karen used her head. She went right to the media and told them about her experience with being denied service because she could not hear. This is a big issue today with deaf people and the lack of accommodations in the USA. I for one, applaud Karen for the courage and tenacity not to just sweep this under the rug but to exploit the fact that discrimination like this still happens today even with the Americans with Disabilities Act in effect, kind of.



I'm appalled at some of the comments on Karen's blog such as

Anonymous: .... However, I'm concerned about how you executed the complaint. "PMSing" is nothing but an excuse in light of filing a formal complaint. Your message has to be relentless in sticking to the discrimination bit.

Trailer park types are interested in drama. PMSing is reserved for the Jerry Springer audience.
Anonymous: ... wow, you could quite possibly be one of the DUMBEST people on the planet - I eat at that steak and shake, am hard of hearing and found the general manager to be highly helpful, maybe if you weren't trying to stand on a political soapbox, you would see that, don't let your disability define you.
Anonymous: ... I'm sorry you're deaf, but if you cannot use the speaker, get out of your car and go inside. No this does not excuse the employees treatment of you, but come on - you know you cannot order at the speaker - GO INSIDE!!

Tsk, tsk, tsk...

This is my comment to those flamers that I left on Karen's blog..

Holy cow! I am appalled by these ridiculous comments. Obviously they are not familiar with the law, allow me to share with you what the ADA CLEARLY states. Feast yours eyes on this Mr. Anonymous and I have even included a link for your reading pleasure right here

Sec. 12182. Prohibition of discrimination by public accommodations

(a) General rule
No individual shall be discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, of accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation.


(2) Specific prohibitions
(A) Discrimination
(ii) a failure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that making such modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations;

What does that mean folks? It means that anyone that has a disability deserves the right to have a reasonable accommodation made to help serve them. A reasonable accommodation would have been taking the damn order at the window. It should have not been an issue after she stated that was hard of hearing. The manager apparently had ample amount of time while bickering with her to change his mind and boost profits for the business but he shut the window in her face! I could see if the manager felt that he was in a hostile environment if a car full of thugs rolled up to the drive through but a deaf woman with a 10 year old kid in the back seat? Give me a break.

This has everything to do with Karen rights and making sure that this does not happen to anyone else.

Remember, it just took one woman refusal to give up her bus seat to make a difference and but I suppose she was pms'ing back then too.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Captioned Cochlear Implant Activation Video

The original activation video:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Review of AIM® 6.8 Beta for the Deaf

I love AIM (AOL Instant Messaging), I always have, and it is an integral part of my daily life. If it was not for AIM expanding the application to work on mobile devices, I don't know what I would have done when I lost my hearing and could no longer pick up a phone. The ability to use the phone was replaced with an unlimited text-messaging plan and very sore thumbs. I discovered, which uses AIM yet again to make phone calls. When I read this article about Gallaudet in partnership with AOL to develop a new feature called "real-time text options," my ears perked up.

On January 15, 2008, AOL announced a new feature for its popular Instant Messaging: Real-Time IM. This feature, now being beta tested as AIM 6.8, allows AIM “buddies” to see each other’s text, letter by letter, as it is typed, rather than having to wait until the message is complete before it can be seen. This real-time text option, developed in collaboration with Gallaudet’s Technology Access Program (TAP) and the Trace Center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, adds a conversational flow to messaging that was not previously available.

This is supposed to stimulate an environment of free flowing conversation. Being the impatient geek that I am, I wanted to take it for a test drive. I dived right into this Beta release and found a willing participant with some coercing to go "real time" with me. The install went smooth. When AIM started up for the first time in Beta 6.8, it looked the same from the previous version. Everything was in its place and there was a place for everything.

Time to get down to business, we instant messaged one another and braced our keyboard as I activated the "Real-time IM" function, real-time indeed. You can see every keystroke, backspace, and typo made. Bearing that in mind, your buddy is now consciously aware that someone else is monitoring every keystroke which might cause them to either type slowly to maintain accuracy or show the trait of a long winded individual :) When your buddy is typing, the background turns an ugly shade of orange which disappears when you send the message. I don't think this would fare well for someone who is deaf/blind or blind. They would have a hard time seeing the words, which would render the real-time mode useless for them. AIM should consider the possibility of changing the font as an alternative. There does not appear to be a problem of when you and your buddy typing at the same time. It is a cool perk to the new AIM family of features.

If AOL clears up the background issue and relay providers that use AIM integrate this feature during relay calls, conversation would flow in a more traditional format rather then the standard that has been adapted by the TTY/TTD and Relay providers. I estimate that it would significantly cut down the time and aggravation to make a relay call as well.

Download and installation instructions are located here

I hear in real time, I chat in real time. Life is good.

Michael Chorost (dot) com has a new layout!

This morning the cochlear implant user and author of "Rebuilt," Michael Chorost unveiled his new website layout featuring blog style entries with the latest RSS technology to use with popular readers such as Google Reader.

Modern technology, its a beautiful thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Check Up, Cheerios, CapTel and Chalkboards.

The four “C’s”


Last Thursday I hightailed it over to the University of Pennsylvania to see my surgeon for my three-month check up to make sure I don’t have a runway implant floating around in my head. He said everything looks great and I have healed up quite nicely. I don’t know if I mentioned this at the time I had my surgery since I was under the influence of some pretty darn good prescription narcotics :) but my surgery took a little longer then normal because he had some issues threading all the electrode in. He said the possibility of an obstruction in the cochlea prevented him from going as deep as he normally does. Obviously, it is working for me so it is not an issue. I popped the question about getting my other ear done, going bilateral with implants. Cochlear implants that is. I would not have to go through all the tests that I went through with the first one but he warned me that dealing with the insurance company to pay for another one might be my battle this time. I just have to start the proceedings, which is another blog entirely.


For little such a little ring of whole grain goodness, it has a big crunch! I was talking to my friend who was snacking on dry Cheerios and the conversation went a little something like this.

“Abbie, (crunch) is Home Depot (crunch) or Lowes cheaper for (crunch) wallpaper?”

“I would say Lowes since Home Depot doesn’t carry wallpaper.” I said.

“(crunch) I thought they did. (crunch) Are you sure (crunch) they don’t?”

“Are you eating Cheerios?” I asked..

“What does that (crunch) have to do with Home Depot?” She crunched again!

“It doesn’t, but I can’t help but notice how loud the Cheerios are.”

“You can’t have any.” She pops a whole bunch in her mouth and proceeds to macerate them with her fangs.

“You know, Home Depot does carry wallpaper!” I smiled.

A few hours later, I get a nice text informing me that I’m a bleeping bleep for sending her on wild wallpaper chase.

My reply was: Cheerios! :)

Her reply: You bleep. Ahh, the love.

Captel Phones.

Deaf technology rocks my socks! My friend Joleen who lives right down the street from me showed me this nifty little gadget (by the way she is having her CI surgery on January 17, keeps you fingers crossed :) It is a phone for the deaf or hard of hearing with the biggest set of buttons that enables you to talk on the phone normally while reading almost real time captioning, word for word of what is being said on the other end of the phone. I was so amazed by the ease of how Joleen talked on the phone. She has the 2-Line Captel phone, one line is the regular house line and the second line is for the Captel operator. I requested to see if I could get one because I think this will really help me out at work. I hardly answer the phone because I have a hard time with understanding people on the phone. I remember when I first started working I had to learn how to use the phone, I answered phone call after call and I eventually got use to it. This is what I need to do now and this is the perfect thing to help me! The possibilities are endless!

Depending on what state you live in, you might be able to get it free. Here are the links to check it out

This site is to check out what your state has to offer as far as CapTel phones go (some states even free!)

Go check it out!! But after you read the rest of this post!


I had next to no clue what nails against the chalkboard sounds like but not anymore, I could never hear it. Most deaf people cannot hear it and I must say thank god for that because if what I heard today is anything close to that, I don't want to. I was always able to tell by the immediate cringe or the makeshift corking of the ear with the fingers while I sat happy as a clam twiddling my thumbs completely oblivious to the sound. My boss was pushing a baseboard heater across the floor and I am not sure what it came in contact with but it made one hell of a piercing sound that shuddered right throughout my entire body. I watched my boss stand there frozen in the famous “chalkboard” cringe. Ouchies. Word to the wise, metal on metal sounds are not the greatest sound in the world.

Heed my warning, keep a 100 yard distance from any welder!! It is just bound to sound no good!

PS: Good luck with your surgeries Sam, Amy, and Joleen! Ears are all sorts of crossed for you guys! :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The DeafRead Controversy

DeafRead collects deaf related content and videos from deaf or hard of hearing bloggers and places it on their site. Human editors approve each posts to ensure that it is in fact deaf related. It really is a great site for deaf diversity, read a blog or watch people sign through vLogs (video blogs.) I am deaf and a blogger, I've clearly met the minimum requirements and I submitted my blog to their site. Almost instantaneously, I watched the CHRONICLES OF THE BIONIC WOMAN appeared in the blog list and then I waited anxiously for my posts to appear.

As time went by, I forgot all about it until I got a comment on my Greatest Moment of the Year post from a loyal reader.

KW said: Hi!! I've always meant to tell you I love your style of writing. What you wrote in the first paragraph of not being part of the Hearing or Deaf worlds-- I LOVED that. Do you submit your blogs to DeafRead? I wish you would, they need to read you. :-)

As soon as I read that, I surfed right on over to DeafRead, eager in anticipation to see my posts. When I clicked on my blog, I was disappointed by the fact it said that I had no posts. I surfed back to the blog list and recognized several Cochlear Implant blogs such as my bionic belle Jennifer with no posts (unheard of!). I scratched my magnet, something didn’t add up. I started clicking like crazy on the FAQ and browsing all around for some answers on why nothing was coming up! Then I get another comment from my loyal reader.

KW said: Hiya-- I hope this is OK. I noticed you were listed as a blogger on DeafRead and it's been bugging me that your blogs were never picked up, so I complained because I felt that maybe they were unfair to people with CI's. It looks like there was some kind of technical problem, and you're going to be in there now-- all the time maybe. I complained that Jen's blog wasn't being picked up either. I'm such a whiner.

Great! I scooted over there, again eager in anticipation to see my posts and nothing. I said the hell with this but then this post caught my eye, Paotie's site which gave me another suspicious perspective on the DeafRead site.

Finally, some good news by my loyal reader.

KW said: JJ checked into it and saw that you were inactive for some reason, so he asked Taylor who runs the site. Here's his answer--

So, the short answer is that if a blogsite is inactive for a long period of time the blogger needs to “reactivate” it with I’d shoot an E-mail to the person who runs the “bionic Woman” blogsite and ask him/her to reactivate their site by sending an E-mail to

I hope that this is a satisfactory answer?

BTW, I also checked out “…a work in progress” (thanks for pointing out where it was), it also seems inactive.

Eh, why couldn't this simple piece of information be posted in FAQ or HELP section of the DeafRead site? I shot them an email them and sure enough, i received lightening fast confirmation that it was activated. I am now on the DeafRead site, posts and all. Coincidently shortly afterwards the blogs of fellow CIer''s appeared began to make their way on the site.

I don't know what to make of the fact that a majority of the CI blogs were not "approved" or "activated." I sincerely hope this was just a mere technicality because I would hate to think that these human editors deem cochlear implant bloggers as unsuitable deaf related content.

We sleep in total silence too.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Tick, tock.

Dipping and rising over the ridges of the great tympanum laid a catacomb of lilliputian whiskers. From deep within the chamber, a sound emanated so quiet that it took me forty-five minutes with my ear arrected against the wall since I was thoroughly convinced some furry little woodland creature was trapped between the cheap faux wood panels of my humble abode.

It was my watch on my wrist, friggen noisy little apparatus.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Hello World.

  • Gigantic Productions is going to begin producing a show called "True Life: I’m deaf" on MTV. They are looking for a variety of deaf individuals ages 14-28. This is the casting call notice from HearingExchange along with the contact information

Do you have severe or total deafness? Are you a deaf student, about to graduate and go out into the world on your own for the very first time? Or are you currently attending a school for the deaf but about to transition to a mainstream school? Perhaps you’re trying to find a job but experiencing difficulty because you are deaf? Are you hoping to get a cochlear implant or be fitted for a hearing aid to significantly improve your ability to hear? Are you a [deaf] member of an advocacy group, fighting to gain more rights or assistance for deaf people?

If you fit any of these descriptions, MTV and Gigantic! Productions want to hear your story at or call 212.343.2674.

  • Project readOn is a completely free online video captioning service. You can go there and search through video that have captioning or submit one that you want it! Sounds like a bargain to me!
  • This is a petition to the FCC to push the issue of making it mandatory to caption online or downloadable video. Popular broadcasting networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS AND FOX all have rich video content on their websites, but they do not provide captioning. However, CNET TV has announced that all their videos have the capability of captioning with a click of a CC button.
  • Paula Rosenthal over at HearingExchange has made an online site for kids! HearingExchange Kids is geared specifically towards elementary and middle school kids with a hearing loss. I feel that this site would be good for educating a hearing child about hearing loss as well.

  • HLAA (Hearing Loss Association of America) is holding their convention in Reno, Nevada this year on June 12 to the 15th. The only problem with this is that I have to fly *gulp* but I'm going! I was considering driving but I did the math, $640 in gas alone changed my mind quickly.
  • When I was listening to Josh Swiller, he mentioned a company called Godisa Technologies located in Botswana that provides low-cost digital BTE hearing aids and did I mention it is solar powered to people that otherwise would have been unable to afford them. The battery, the aid, the charger is all charged by a solar panel. From the clean technology to the vision of the company is genius!

  • I just ordered this book off of Amazon, its called Rally Caps and the author is a loyal reader, an amazing and HIGHLY entertaining blogger and a wonderful devoted mother to her son Jordan who has a cochlear implant, meet Jodi Cutler Del Dottore

Now for some Cochlear Implant Surgeries and Activations
  • A loyal reader and fellow blogger Deafcone had his first cochlear implant surgery this past Monday and I would appreciate if you would pop over there and give him some love! His recovery process sounds so similar to mine, poor guy.
  • Sam Spritzer is going bilateral on January 15th and getting turned on.. February 15th which so happens to be yours truly birthday! Sam used to suffer from the eye twitches like me UNTIL he printed out a copy of the post that rectified mine and took it with him to a mapping. Read about how it fixed him up! I am SOOO happy that it was able to help him!
  • Another blogger SkullChick is having her first cochlear implant surgery on January 15th and her activation is February 12th!!

I can't keep up with them all!!!