Monday, November 30, 2009

Mom Not Otherwise Specified, a blog worth your time

I've been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks, but a painful oral surgery whose effects lasted through the Thanksgiving weekend had me slowed down. Sorry about the delay in getting this here.

A couple of weeks ago, I was reading my tweets and was told about a very worthwhile blog post. I'd never heard of the blog, but relied on the credibility of the person I was following and went to check it out. Man, was I floored!

The blog was one called
Mom - Not Otherwise Specified
and is written by, well, a mom who writes
"On raising a son on the autism spectrum, progressive politics, pop culture, and coffee addiction."

But, it is so much more than that. The writer grasps the different emotional perspectives of her son, as filtered through his autism, and relates them so vividly in her writing. This blog is very well written and I would encourage the mom to keep on writing. After some period of time when you've gathered enough material, I believe it would make an awesome book. Yes, you write that well.

If you've not read her blog before, do go there on the link above. Just read the latest post (Nov. 7, 2009) about her son meeting country singer Dierks Bentley, and I think you'll understand why I'm such a fan of her writing.

Additionally, if you've never heard of Dierks or his music, I think you'll be a big fan of his after reading this. Dierks totally rocks for how well he took on his job.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Why I've not been blogging as much: hint-- "tweet, tweet"

I've not blogged as much lately as I'd like to and have noticed a downward trend in the number of posts among blogs I follow. I also follow many of the same bloggers on Twitter, where I notice many of these folks actively tweeting. Yesterday, there was a tweet asking where all the assistive technology bloggers have gone. I echoed that sentiment to myself, but then sheepishly answered myself, "Well Access Ability isn't really just about assistive tehcnology." Still, I know I've been blogging less since I started using Twitter.

Okay, a lot less.

I must tip my hat to one blogger, who covers assistive technology and so much more, and hasn't quit blogging, despite being very busy on Twitter as well. Michael McCarty at
Fred's Head Companion
still gets the job done. (Great work there, Mike, because I follow both Fred's Head and your personal tweets, and, as a result, I know how busy you are.

Okay, so what shifted me into high gear on Twitter. Let me share an insight that people who don't tweet don't know. Many tweeters use a client, which means a software program like we use a program for downloading our email or listening to music. The problem for blind computer users are that out of the many Twitter clients out there, most aren't accessible to screen readers. But, with necessity being the mother of invention, along come some blind computer programmers and now there are some.

The Twitter client I use is
which, I must say, is one awesome program.

I use this very similarly to how I use my email client. I often get into and follow other conversations, just like in email. The tweets post on my Twitter profile, but I download them in my Tweets" buffer. With a keystroke, I move to my Direct Message," "Sent," or "Replies" buffer." It is a very seamless transition to begin using this and I've found it easy to learn.

One really sharp feature is that it doesn't have a user interface, or UI. This means it runs in the background and has no window open while its operating. Every four minutes, Qwitter will check my page and see if there are any new tweets, automatically download them, and chime to notify me what just came in. It is customizable, with different soundpacks available to signal the different messages one can get. I'm showing my playful side when I tell you I've got the Super Mario Brothers soundpack running.

It is freeware, but the designer does take Paypal donations. After using Qwitter for less than two weeks, I felt this was definitely a product I'd pay for and sent him some money. After all, designing and tweaking this software is worth something, and there is an actual cost for the webspace to host this great program.

There are other accessible Twitter clients out there. Two others I'm aware of are
Accessible Twitter
While I don't use these two products, I know other keyboard users who do and seem to like them just as much as I do Qwitter.

So, the answer is yes, tweeting has taken me away from blogging as much as I used to. I'm still connected to many of the same, fine sources as before, only now we're communicating 140 characters at a time.

How about you, are you you on Twitter? Follow me at: