A Little Deaf Education

Thursday, June 7th, 2012 at 11:35 AM | Category: Tech 4 comments

I’ve been busy over at Bionic Ear Blog as two great blog posts inspired the two recent posts. I’m sharing them here as that blog and this one have different audiences. You may be interested in learning a little more about what it’s like for a deaf person to hear and the different types of captioned videos available.

Closed captioning symbolFurthermore, I want to open the door to your questions about deafness. Ask anything. I know how hard it is to ask someone such questions — unless you know the person very well — because you don’t know whether that person is sensitive or open. Ask away.

Closed-Captioned Video Examples has actual videos of different types of captioned videos so you can see how they’re different. If your business produces videos, it will give you things to consider in creating accessible videos. (This is only a small part of accessibility. There are also accessible videos for people who are blind.)

What Do Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants Sound Like? does exactly that and includes videos.

What questions do you have about deafness?

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Links: Marching Way into 2011

Friday, March 4th, 2011 at 4:44 PM | Category: Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing No comments

“Mom, I had fun,” said my youngest. That alone made last week’s family night out to the Texas Tornado hockey game worth it. Oh, they lost to Topeka Roadrunners, but being there provided a memorable experience for my husband and our two sons. Our teen daughter had no interest in going.Park Place Porsche

And all that in spite of my older son refusing to eat the BBQ buffet meal and my husband standing in line for an entire period. One of my clients invited us to the hockey game as part of its partner appreciation. We didn’t sit in the normal seats in the crowd. We went to a reserved area on the ground level behind one of the goals. It had tables and chairs and a buffet along the back wall. Popcorn, baseball hats, signed hockey sticks, pennants and programs decorated the black and gold tables.

I had an it’s a small world encounter when I entered the area. It was one of the tennis coaches who taught several of my classes a few years ago. Her husband also works with the client.

NHL vs. NAHL Experience

I’ve attended a Dallas Stars hockey game. The NHL Stars have nothing on the NAHL Tornadoes. If you’ve been to a major league and minor league baseball game, you can tell the difference. It’s the same way with the NAHL hockey game. Smaller arena, more entertainment, closer to the action. Although I grew up a big sports gal, hockey didn’t make my top list of sports. The Dallas Stars didn’t come to Texas until I was a teen and hockey wasn’t popular in Texas.

Watching the game on the ground level is a whole different experience than watching it way high up in the stands like I did with at the Stars game. At one point, I jerked in response to the loud crashing of players into the window near me.

Intermission

Ike with son

During the intermission, the boys got into a Porsche and rode in it around the ice. That may not sound exciting to you, but my boys — especially the older one — LOVES sports cars. It was the first time he rode in a Porsche. The girl on the other side of the cheerleader in the photo is the client’s daughter.

After that, the fans threw hockey pucks to try to get them in a small bucket in the middle of the ice. It was wild watching hundreds of flying pucks and only two landing in the bucket.

And another small world thing happened during intermission when kids from an elementary school choir sang. That elementary school was my kids’! What are the chances of that? First, the arena is in Frisco. The school is in Plano. Second, the Tornadoes played 34 games at that point. About half of that would be home games. So out of roughly 17 games, they sang at the one we attended.

I also met Ike, the team’s mascot. I’ve got a thing (no, not a fetish) for Mascots since seeing the San Diego Chicken when I was a kid. The chicken came to a Texas Rangers game and I had a blast watching his antics.

Freelancer Feels Like a Part of the Team

As a freelancer, I don’t have opportunities to attend corporate events like I did when I worked in the corporate world. One event took place at the old Texas Stadium in Irving (pre-Super Bowl 45 stadium) and one at Las Colinas Studios where TV shows film. Imagine how it makes a freelancer feel when she’s invited to a client’s event. One thing’s for sure — it makes you want to work harder (I already do, but it gives you renewed energy) for the client knowing they appreciate you.

It’s a Teeny, Tiny World

Though a local company (my only local client — Hint: Look on the window of the Porsche), I met Frank online. He created Fib or Not and hired me to do the copy for the game. Later, we discovered we lived within a mile of each other. When we first met, the little guy and girl in the Porsche were babies. Fast forward a few years, they are one year apart in grade at the same elementary school and we run into each other at school events.

Brain food…

And for fun because we’re allowed…

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What I Learned from Limits

Thursday, October 8th, 2009 at 9:31 AM | Category: Links, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 7 comments
Relax Speed Limit

Image credit: Josh Klute

Limits. That stayed out of my vocabulary even though I first appeared in Harris Hospital in Fort Worth without hearing. My life became about proving  I could do as well as anyone, if not better. This nurtured my competitive spirit, which worked for and against me in my life.

The phone had the honor of being the first limit. I didn’t have a teletypewriter (TTY) until the first job after college. I never considered the inability to follow TV programs a limit because I enjoyed cartoons and Sesame Street. Besides, I stayed out of the house always going to practice here and a game there as I played all kinds of sports.

Then I received my first closed-caption decoder at age 13. No more than 10 shows, if that, contained closed-captions. I think the first captioned program I ever caught was a James Bond movie. The first TV series I loved watching was Dynasty. I adored Joan Collins’ British accent (I still love seeing accents especially the British) — yes, I could lipread and recognize accents although I couldn’t place them all.

Today, the majority of national TV shows come with captions. Now I can choose what I want to watch. Back then, I’d watch anything that was captioned. I, of course, hope this will happen with videos and shows on the Internet. However, I’m a realist. I understand the problem of some folks being hobbyists and it would take a lot of time to caption longer videos. Videos under 10 minutes are easy to caption even I caption my videos.

Whenever someone sends me a link to a video or posts a video on a web site, I ignore it most of the time knowing it most likely won’t have subtitles or captions. I do catch the ones without words, but they don’t come along very often. A bill, HR 3101, is working to change this.

Often, I wonder how much more I could accomplish if I could hear. I’d be a better listener — rarely needing to ask people to repeat themselves or tell me what topic we’re discussing. I’d speak without a deaf accent avoiding the stares from young eyes thinking I’m strange or adult eyes thinking I’m not bright. I’d be able to go to networking events and conferences without a worry whether I’ll make the most out of my investment. I’d be able to make and receive phone calls. I’d be able to conduct phone interviews. I’d be able to attend online conferences.

But then I remember my being deaf compelled me to work harder. If I didn’t have that difference, would I have worked as hard? Maybe I would’ve resigned to living an average life as I would’ve felt I had no limit or anything to prove. Maybe I’d still be in a corporate job.

It took me years to learn that I may lead a better life as a deaf person than as a hearing person. After all, motivation can make a huge difference.

This is a contribution to the Group Writing Project What I Learned from Limits. You have until Sunday, October 12, to join in! I’d love to hear your thoughts (pun intended — but really I’d like to read your thoughts) on the topic. Thank you, Robert, for giving an idea for a post.

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Watch Your English Style for Web Content

Thursday, January 15th, 2009 at 11:56 AM | Category: Business, Language, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech, Writing 1 comment

as_time_goes_byI’m hooked on As Time Goes By, a British TV show starring the Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. I’m also getting into British-based Prime Suspect with Helen Mirrin.

Not only do I enjoy the repartee between Dench and Palmer, but also hearing the British accents. While I may not have good hearing, I can see and recognize the differences between British and American English.

I watch these shows with closed-captions or English subtitles. An interesting thing to note is that the captions use the American English spelling rather than British. For example, if a character says “color,” the captions also says “color” rather than “colour.”

Now why would a British TV show use American spelling? Because the DVD, a BBC America production, targets the American audience. This confirms Jakob Nielsen’s belief that web content need to use the correct variant of English and stick with it throughout the web site.

I love learning the differences in our languages including sounds, terms (football instead of soccer; Earth instead of dirt; loo instead of bathroom), and slang.

What amazes me is the shows make many American references. As an American, I might notice this more. However, I don’t think I’ve seen references to other countries and their cultures except in reference to an event such as Palmer’s character’s time spent in Korea.

Back to English and content. As much as I love the British culture and language (UK is one of the first places I want to travel whenever I get to the other side of the world), I use American English on this web site.

After all, most readers and clients hail from the US plus it’s where I live. Now, if I had an audience of 75% from the UK, then it could be a different story. However, it wouldn’t be a straight-out easy answer of using British English.

As much as I have picked up British slang, concepts, and terms, I will probably make mistakes. So is it better to stick with what I know best and stay consistent, or take a risk to devote thhe site  to British English and make a bad impression when I make honest mistakes?

Experts says to “speak in the audience’s language.” But does US and UK variation English count? In either case, we’re speaking English. For credibility’s sake, I’d probably need to stick with American English.

One of the more important rules regarding web content is “consistency.” That means deciding whether you use American English or Queen’s English, web site or website, Internet or internet.

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Business Benefit from IT Accessibility

Monday, February 4th, 2008 at 10:15 AM | Category: Business, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 1 comment

Over at Bionic Ear, we often discuss the lack of captions in online videos, which has recently surged due to the writer’s strike. John Erskine of Project readOn pointed to a press release: Study finds companies benefit from removing IT barriers for people with disabilities and boomers.

Since everyone is talking about yesterday’s Super Bowl — one thing disappointed me. Many of the $$$ commercials didn’t have captions. These companies spend ginormous bucks to show their ads during the prime time of commercials and can’t spare a few dollars to add captioning?

(more…)

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Captioned Media Program

Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 at 7:50 AM | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

Resources available in captioned media talks about the Caption Media Program (CMP), a great program that ofers free loans of open captioned programs. The program now offers Internet streaming videos and currently has over 1000 videos. I love this part because finding online captioned media is like the needle in haystack thing.

I just finished reading Winning Results with Google AdWords (reading it to do an abstract, not to advertise) and learned something interesting. Google Video relies on caption transcripts to make its videos searchable. Well, why can’t the captions be in the streaming videos, too? [ Read more… ]

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Discovering Closed-Captioning

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2001 at 6:04 PM | Category: Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech No comments

Not trying to be a namedropper here, but Zeldman pointed out a must-read article: The King of Closed Captions. I’ve been familiar with Joe Clark for a long time because I am an avid supporter of CC especially with my profound hearing loss. In 1983 or so, I got my first CC decoder – a butt-ugly clunky brown box with old-fashioned TV handles for changing selections. The first CC thing I saw was a Bond, James Bond movie. Which one? I don’t recall. I DO remember being in awe because for once in my life I didn’t have to ask, “What did she say?” “What happened?” “What’s so funny?”

Most of the answers were, “Nothing.” “Just that blah blah. OK? Shhhh!”

Then I discovered a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html%3FASIN=B0007IO6V4%26tag=manalangcom-20%26lcode=xm2%26cID=2025%26ccmID=165953%26location=/o/ASIN/B0007IO6V4%253FSubscriptionId=0EMV44A9A5YT1RVDGZ82″ title=”View product details at Amazon”>Dynasty and Alexis vs. Krystle cat fights. I hated waiting a whole week to see the next episode. The next day, I would talk about the show with my best buddy. It was amazing to be able to talk to a friend about a TV show and what happened.

I watched EVERY show that was CC in the early to mid-’80s. By the late ’80s, there was enough CC TV programs for me to make choices.

CC expanded to cable and I finally got the opportunity to watch old movies like “Double Indemnity” and most Hitchcock films thanks to Turner Classic Movies. TCM captioned many of its classics. I still have not seen original “The Odd Couple” movie in CC because no one has provided CC! Plus, the arrival of DVD provided more opportunities to view older movies.

Then in the late-’90s (or so), MTV and VH-1 captioned its music videos. By then, I was over rock ‘n roll TV. Nonetheless, it was an exciting moment to see the words of a song instead of just listen to music and watch da moves.

Now, if online videos would get captioned, I’d be a happy camper.

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