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

College freshmen: You Could Go Back To School With Aira

Dear Students:

The National Federation of the Blind is committed to exploring how technology helps blind students live the lives they want. Exciting new technologies are fundamentally altering the ways in which students succeed in and out of the classroom. If you’re an incoming college freshman, you could have the chance to try out a new technology from Aira that may help you as you start this important chapter of your life.

The National Federation of the Blind is partnering with Aira, a company that uses smart glass technology, live agents, and artificial intelligence to assist blind people in understanding and navigating their environment. You might use it to help you explore your college campus and new community, for example. 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

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

I Get To Practice What I Preach

It has been almost 13 years since the terrorists attacked us in the World Trade Center on 9/11, 2001.  On that day my life changed as did the lives of so many of us in the United States.  For me, it meant a return to California and a new career in public speaking.  One of the things I am most often asked to discuss is “Change.”  We’ve seen a lot of changes in our world and in our personal lives over the past 13 years.  Major hurricanes, natural disasters, the economic crises in our country and in our world and major political divisions and upheavals have affected us all, some more than others.  Continue reading

What Is Normal Anyway? | Michael Hingson

I have always regarded myself as a pretty normal kind of guy. I am 64 years old and have been married for half my life. I have a Masters degree in Physics from the University of California at Irvine which I received in the usual timeframe. Following in the footsteps of most normal people after college I obtained a full-time job which for me happen to be in sales. I sold high tech computer related products for over 25 years. Sounds pretty normal so far? Continue reading