Libraries and Blind People: Looking Toward the Future

As a blind person growing up in the 1950s and ’60s, I did not have real access to libraries. Instead I, like most blind persons, received borrowed books through a program known as the Talking Book program funded by the Library of Congress. Under this program professional actors and readers were hired to record books which were then transcribed onto records. If I wanted a book I could call my local talking book library, 65 miles away, and, if the book happened to be recorded, it would be sent to me. Also, often, library staff would send me what they thought I should get, especially if my requested manuscript was not available. Usually books I wanted were not recorded. Only a few hundred and then a few thousand books were transcribed nationally. Sometimes books were even made available in Braille, the only true reading and writing language available to blind persons. Continue reading

Michael Hingson Joins Aira as Director of Strategic Sales

Hello My dear friends….I am pleased to announce that I have joined Aira and the Director of Strategic Sales!

aira technology helps guide the blind and the visually impairedHere’s a note from our CEO, Suman Kanuganti, on his relationship with Me:

“I’ve known Michael Hingson for about three years, now. In that time, he’s taught me a lot about subjects too numerous to list, but not least of which was blindness. He was instrumental in making Aira happen thanks to his love and excitement for the technology that we were building. He took me to a lot of meetings and introduced a number of advocates who would, over time become friends of Aira, board members and the like. Michael is always helping us seek responses to Aira from the community and find ways we can improve it. He is talented, funny, and more importantly a good friend. All the work we did together while he was an advisor led us to continue engaging him on more and more projects. I am super excited that he’s agreed to join Aira in a full-time capacity. Having someone like Michael believe in Aira means a lot to me and everyone on the team. Together, we’re going to get Aira in the hands of millions.” Continue reading

The Saga of Flight 1241

Last week I wrote an article discussing the decline of customer oriented services by airlines in the United States. I promise to tell my own personal story of a recent trip I took involving an airline. Now it’s time for me to tell the tale. You won’t believe what happened.

On April 23, 2017 I flew on American Airlines to Gulfport Mississippi to attend a meeting the following day. While I had planned to fly back in the evening of April 24 I was unable to do so as, at least from my computer searches, American Airlines, my airline of choice, had no flights available for me. I decided to take the first flight out from Gulfport on Tuesday morning of April 25. At 6 AM I left Gulfport Mississippi on AA flight 5788. We arrived in Dallas-Fort Worth right on time. I went to my gate for my second flight, AA 1241, which was to leave at 8:44 AM Central daylight Time. Continue reading

How Do You “Unkill” a Lion?

Cecil the lion - laying downThe recent execution of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe by dentist Walter Palmer has created a media firestorm and a general outcry of anguish and anger throughout the world. If you were to ask most people they would like to raise Cecil from the dead and put him back in his protected reserve to live out his happy life. Unfortunately such is not to be the case. Continue reading

Thanks for the Birthday Wishes

Yesterday, February 24, was my birthday.  For those who want to know and haven’t done the research on my age the answer is that I am 65 years old this year.  I was born in Chicago, Illinois, (South side).  I have been blessed to have lived in various parts of this great country from New Jersey and Massachusetts on one coast to California on the Right Coast, (no strong feelings here).  Continue reading

Wired Magazine Article – “Meet the Team That Makes It Possible for the Blind to Use Facebook”

Recently Wired magazine published an article entitled, “Meet the Team That Makes It Possible for the Blind to Use Facebook”.  In the article the author, Cade Metz, introduces Wired readers to the team of software engineers within Facebook that help bring the world’s most popular social media system to persons with disabilities.  We also meet Users who extol the virtues of the access available to blind and other individuals with disabilities.  Facebook has done much to bring about access to its product.  Continue reading

Observation About Living In Our Changing World

Earlier this week I wrote an article in which I discussed the changing world in which we live from the standpoint of terror and uncertainty.  I suggested that one of the things that each of us can do is to relax and go within ourselves to overcome fear and terror.  I realize that this is easy to say and many will feel that it is hard to accomplish.  Continue reading

Our Changing World

My wife and I spend a lot of time talking to each other.  We enjoy lively discussions and we do really communicate.  What I admire most about Karen is that from time to time during our discussions she says something that is not only profound, but it changes our whole discussion for the evening.  I look forward to these tidbits because they make me think and because they remind me of why I love her more each day.  Continue reading

Thoughts On Difference

Like many I sat glued to my television last week as the Grand Jury decision was read in the case of the shooting of the unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson Missouri earlier this year.  As the decision unfolded I realized that no matter how the jury voted there would be great dissatisfaction.  Finally we learned that Officer Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting.  Immediately the protests began.  We have seen much violence and some destruction.  Even the St. Louis Rams got into the action when the Rams receivers all gave the now famous hands up gesture as they marched on the field prior to the Rams game yesterday.  The gesture has become the sign of solidarity for those opposed to the Grand Jury decision.  Continue reading