I hate to be a bother. I hate to annoy people. I get worked up about possibly saying the wrong thing to someone at a party and worry about it the next day, and beyond. I don’t know how normal this is. I don’t normally talk about it, but I know it is the root of a few of my character flaws, like why I usually wait for people to call me, rarely initiate things with friends and why I dislike asking for help of any kind. I don’t want to bother them if they are in the middle of something. I don’t want to annoy them with my request. I don’t run my air conditioner if I don’t absolutely have to because a neighbor complained that it was loud — I wouldn’t want to bother her in her quietly air conditioned house. I just want to live my life and not be a bother to anyone.
Until the past couple of years this issue only manifested itself in real life, but lately I’ve been more conscious of feeling this way about my online interactions. For instance, when I first became active in Facebook I had all sorts of things streaming on my “wall”. I had my twitter feed and my friendfeed sent to my Facebook wall. I also allowed whatever app I was using on Facebook to be sent to my wall. These notices were then sent to my Facebook friends’ newsfeeds and I annoyed at least one person enough that he deleted me from his friends. When I asked him about it he suggested I join twitter if I wanted to update my status as often as I seemed to be updating it. I explained that it was twitter that was doing it.
Anyway, after that I tried to limit what was posted to my wall. I made a few mistakes, but seemed to be doing fine. Lately, however, a number of people are posting status reports that they are annoyed by other people’s wall posts. Of course (another of my issues is thinking that I’m to blame for everything) I assumed they were talking about my wall posts. Was my app/external site usage being seen by my followers and I didn’t know it? I searched the settings and double checked that what I was doing on Facebook was not annoying anyone. Not bothering them.
And then there is this blog. The theme or the plugins or the widgets is causing problems with commenting and viewing. I’ve spent entire days troubleshooting and have not found an answer.
This is one issue that is not going to be fixed by writing a post about it. I expect that I’ll have this issue until the day I die. I imagine it is part of a larger issue.
So if I annoy you in real life or on Facebook or on Twitter or on my blog, please accept my apologies. I really don’t do it on purpose.
I like trying out new browsers and when Flock came along a while back, I tested it out. It was similar enough to Firefox for me to feel comfortable using it immediately, but it had some cool bells and whistles.
One cool factor was that you could post to your blog right from the browser, without being on your blog editing interface. Since I have several blogs I thought I’d give it a try. Perhaps it would save me time.
Continue reading The New Flock
When I first met Maria, more than 17 years ago, I remember being nervous. Her husband had just been hired to the same branch office as Dean and they became immediate friends. Dean explained to me that Maria was totally blind, and had been since she was an adolescent. I’d not spent much time around anyone who was blind and even though, in my job as a special educator, I’d become accustomed to being around people with special needs, I was nervous about meeting Maria. I was not afraid of her or her condition, but I was worried that my verbal communication skills were not adequate to fully and comfortably communicate with someone who could not see my hand motions or body language. Now it seems silly, but at the time I was worried.
Maria put me at ease immediately. She may have sensed my discomfort and from the day we met we became good friends. We had kids around the same time and spent a fair amount of time in each others company. I’d take my two young children to visit with her and her children fairly often and we saw each other socially through our husbands.
When Maria asked me to help her learn her screen reading software about the time I was looking for work in the field of IT, I ended up learning more than I think I taught. I ended up putting that volunteer work on my resume and I think it was what ultimately got me hired for the accessibility specialist position at Caliber.
When Maria approached me to help her with a web page for her job seeker’s group I was happy to do so for a couple of reasons. First of all, I wanted to repay Maria for being a catalyst in getting me the job back in 2000. I also wanted to brush up on my accessibility skills, and what better way to do that than to work with the users of screen readers and other assistive devices? I was also interested in knowing how accessible WordPress.com could be – at least to readers. (I’ve already discovered it has some glitches when creating sites).
So yesterday I visited with a few members of the Unlimited Success group. Because of Maria I was not worried about the meeting in any way. I knew my stuff and I had no concerns about talking to a group of visually impaired adults. The folks I met were gracious, welcoming and opinionated – which is a good thing. They knew what they wanted and had opinions of what worked and what didn’t. I’m more excited about this volunteer opportunity than I have been about most others I’ve done.
I got no work done today. I should have sent some files to our new coder so she could get started, but I slacked off and did some volunteer stuff instead.
My friend Maria called me the other day to see if I was interested in helping her with a project she and a few others were working on. She is trying to get back into the work force after being a stay at home mom for 15 or so years. The job she left had something to do with helping folks get back into the workforce after a disabling injury. I think she wants to go into a field similar to that.
In the decade and a half since she left the workforce, times have changed. Computers are more prevalent now, for one thing and because she’s blind, that presents a bit of a problem. She’s done her best obtain training on using screen readers to navigate computers, and is not adverse to asking for help when she needs it.
Today she wanted my help in setting up a web page for her job seekers group, Unlimited Success. I’d done a little research and found out that WordPress (thank goodness) was the most accessible weblog so suggested she use WordPress.com. After three hours of trial and error she decided to switch gears and let me do the actual content uploads.
Sitting next to Maria today made me realize how very hard it is to navigate the Internet without sight. Pages are set up for the sighted. Looking at my “write post” page, I have no problem figuring out what to do. When you use this page with a screen reader, however, it is not so simple. We could not work out how to move from the Title field to the post field. Tab was the logical keystroke, but it went directly to Save and continue editing. The keystroke(s) that need to be used are the down arrow. This will highlight all of the wysiwyg entities before settling into the post field. That is too much work. There needs to be a way to move easily from Title to Post. I cannot even imagine what the widgets area is like for a screen reader user.
So Matt, if you are listening – there is work to be done to make this an accessible place for all.
Anyway, keep an eye on http://unltdsuccess.wordpress.com It should have some great information for blind and visually impared job seekers, especially in the DC Metro area.
After a late night out I was tired most of the day on Thursday. Got some work done.
Went to Whitman for their Festival of the Arts. Clare had a few pieces of art in the show. It was very crowded, we left Clare there with her friends and went home. I worked on the HTCA site for a while, not sure WP is going to work for that. Installed 2.2 by myself. Kinda proud of that – but they make it darned easy with their directions and all. Hope I don’t have to delete it.
I’d love to download and update my WP installation, but I’m a wimp and am waiting until my web host offers the easy way out via fantastico.