An Introduction

, posted: 6-May-2012 19:16

I've been lurking about on Geekzone, making the odd forum post now and again, for a few years now. I finally decided it was time I wrote a few things in this section of Geekzone, on issues not often talked about on the site. I was motivated by a specific issue I want to cover later in the week, but before doing that, thought it would be polite to introduce myself, and preview the kinds of entries I'll be writing here. I work in the IT field in product management. I design concepts, work with developers to see those concepts turned into reality, market those concepts and give presentations at some fairly large international conferences. The company I work for is based in the US, so I travel a lot. Telecommunications and mobile technology are therefore an interest of mine because I'm such a veracious consumer of them. Although middle aged in chronological terms, I guess I am officially elderly in technology terms, dating back to the Apple 2E days, and the era of bulletin boards, Fidonet, Echomail, and terms most of you haven't heard of. When I think of the money I blew accessing the Compuserve Information Service, it's pretty damn scary, actually. There are a few names here on Geekzone I remember from those days though. Formerly, I worked in commercial radio, and now work with a team of over 40 broadcasters internationally on an Internet station I set up as a fun hobby, Mushroom FM. It's called such, because it's the home of the fun guys, you see. I also produce a monthly podcast for the company for which I work, from my home studio. I'm married, with four kids and a mortgage. So all in all, a pretty regular life. But I also happen to be totally blind, and have been from birth. Because this is my reality, I'm still surprised by how many people don't realise that blind people can even use a computer, let alone use one in a way that allows them to be productive, efficient students, employers, or employees. How that's possible is, no doubt, fodder for some other posts. On Geekzone, we have a community of many of New Zealand's best and brightest in information technology of all kinds. Many of you are movers and shakers. You make a difference. So it's my hope that these posts, in turn, will make a difference through you. It's my aim to share with you some of the ways in which IT has transformed my life as a blind person, to give you a better understanding of how a blind person interacts with technology of all kinds, and to share some of the challenges that poor design and lack of forethought can cause. But because there's nothing more of a turn-off than constant complaining, conversely, to celebrate good design and forward planning too. One thing I will get out of the way in this first post, because it's a common misconception. I typed this. I didn't dictate it. For most blind people, the issue is getting information out of the computer, not putting information in. Look at a good touch typist typing, and you'll notice they don't look at the keys. It'll be fun to share some thoughts, and exchange information. Hope you'll stay tuned.

Comment by grant_k, on 6-May-2012 21:03

Hello again Jonathan,

I remember talking to you in a tiny shop in Royal Oak, Auckland when you were with RNZFB.  We were talking about XT-compatible computers imported from Taiwan.  That gives you an idea of how long ago it was...

Right now I'm enjoying listening to Shon & Damo on Mushroom FM.  I like what I'm hearing so far, and good on you for getting it up and running.

Grant Keymer.

Author's note by jmosen, on 6-May-2012 21:47

That certainly brings back memories. In those days, with Windows on the horizon, we thought the sky was falling in because the world was going graphical. It's been a fun journey. So glad you've found Mushroom FM.

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Jonathan Mosen
New Zealand