What to Do, Messaging, and Ability

I completely forgot to send a newsletter last week, and for that I’m sorry. It was sunny, so I was actually outdoors. It has rained this entire week, so I have tabs for you now. Now, this evening, because I watched Return of the Jedi instead of writing this yesterday. So there’s that.

On to important things…

[Don’t do what you love](broken link removed). Instead, [do what you do](broken link removed). Better yet, [do what you hate not doing](broken link removed). If all else fails, do something, at least.

Need something to do? Send emoji to people. There are [new emoji](broken link removed). They hardly show up in my browser so I haven’t even looked at them much. Everyone keeps talking about this emoji.

The New York Times wrote about messaging apps like Line and KakaoTalk a few weeks ago. They use stickers instead of typical emoji. They also let you message and make phone calls for free over wi-fi. So there’s that extra bonus. Emoji just don’t cut it after you’ve used these stickers. Of course, the NYT doesn’t seem to realize that Americans DO want to use stickers and emoji, they just maybe haven’t been exposed to these delightfully excellent apps. For proof, just take a look at the proliferation of reaction gifs on tumblr. Conversations using images (that aren’t your face, Snapchat) are pretty excellent. This leads me to believe that the Americans interviewed by the NYT are stodgy businessmen or the like who are out of touch with how “the youngs” communicate.

If you’re colorblind, you could get some glasses that restore that colored vision to you, but it doesn’t really matter too much because [everyone sees things differently anyway](broken link removed). (Unless of course, you like knowing the difference between red and green lights).

It can be difficult to determine whether or not to use assistive technologies, to get rid of or correct something that “ordinary” society deems a fault (colorblindness, nearsightedness, deafness, etc.). No matter the ability, there is a certain commonality, a shared culture among people with similar inabilities. As someone who is nearsighted, I feel kindred to other people who wake up and see only blurs until they put on glasses.

Somewhat similarly, deaf people have a very real culture of deafness, one that may be difficult to participate in if you use a cochlear implant to regain some semblance of hearing. As that essay details, it can be a very tough decision, especially if you have hearing parents, to determine whether or not to use a cochlear implant or to learn sign language and embrace deaf culture–or attempt to do both.

Stanford’s alumni magazine had a feature last year by an alum who is deaf but can lipread well. She details the hazards of lipreading—accents, people who mumble, people who talk from different parts of their mouths—but also about the capabilities that it gives her.

“When I lipread, I leave the clarity of sign language behind. I attempt to communicate with hearing people on their terms, with no expectation that they will return the favor. The standards I am striving for seem ridiculous: I am trying singlehandedly to cross the chasm of disability. Might not my stubbornness be of more harm than good?”

A blind man wrote for the New York Times about not using a cane, and then deciding to use one and accepting that it “marked” him as a blind man.

And for a final note about why accessibility really is for everyone, if you are hosting or sponsoring a conference, it should have real-time captioning(link updated). Really, live-tweeting would be so much easier if I could be sure I got the quote right.

I’ve been spending the past few years discovering what I call groove/soul but is probably actually R&B (I’m really not good with genres). Ella Eyre with her song If I Go.

Listen if you like: Laura MvulaSeinabo SeyNaomi PilgrimPhoriaErik HassleRhyeMiguelFrank OceanJohn Legend

Further recommendations welcome!

This week’s newsletter was a little short, even though maybe it should have been extra long given the delay. It’s summer though. So if you’re curious what I read during the week and don’t want any quips alongside it, follow me on Twitter or on [Reading.am](broken link removed), where I’ve been somewhat obsessively collecting what I read. Bookmarklets are the best thing to happen to my tabs. That and the OneTab browser extension.