Updated: 8/16/15; 18:58:38

pedantic nuthatch
Life in a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. B.M.A.T.C., and Etruscan typewriter erasers. Blogged by David Gorsline.

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

David S. Joachim reports on assistive computing technology placed in the service of disabled persons who can work at home.

Customer service is not the only job that can be moved into the home. Janet Eckles, 53, of Orlando, Fla., who is blind, works full time for Language Line Services of Monterey, Calif., taking calls from hospitals and courts that need a Spanish translator. Clients call a central number and are routed to either Ms. Eckles or hundreds of other translators.

Ms. Eckles uses a computer to train other Language Line interpreters over the phone. For that, she uses a Windows program called JAWS, for Job Access With Speech. It is customized to let her navigate her computer using a keyboard rather than a mouse, and it reads the output into one ear while she talks to a trainee, like a television anchorwoman taking cues from a producer.

posted: 5:12:38 PM  

Dang, one more thing to kvetch about: a real-time earthquake map of my mom's metro area.

(Thanks to Brad DeLong.)

posted: 4:46:36 PM  

Early predecessor of the muppaphone?

(Thanks to Boing Boing.)

posted: 11:48:31 AM  

Michael E. Ruane tours the ruins of Fort Stevens with O. James Lighthizer of the Civil War Preservation Trust. Fort Stevens is one of 68 forts that protected the capital during the Civil War, of which earthworks from 22 remain. A Confederate raid by Jubal Early on the capital in July, 1864 was repulsed; President Abraham Lincoln was present to observe the proceedings, and hence, it is said, became the only sitting U.S. president to come under enemy fire.

The Post story includes a sidebar map of the 68 emplacements. Many of them have been absorbed into the neighborhoods. Today, most of us think of Fort Totten as the place where you change to the Green Line, Fort Dupont as a place where you can go ice skating, and Fort Reno as an indie concert venue.

The Trust's press release highlights other battlefields in need of preservation—in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Mexico (!), and elsewhere.

(Thanks to DCist.)

posted: 11:17:37 AM  

Ann Hornaday on the difference between acting and impersonation in the recent crop of life-based films:

On the other hand, both Capote and Good Night, and Good Luck eschewed the life-span arc. Instead they focused on the pivotal moments of both men's lives, in Capote's case the period he spent writing In Cold Blood and in Murrow's, his on-air campaign against Sen. Joseph McCarthy. No back story, no intimate domestic scenes, no warm-and-fuzzies, just the lean retelling of the emotionally charged, high-stakes episodes that would change both men's lives forever.

Capote, especially, succeeds as a film that, in its exploration of one man's ambition, anxiety and moral compromise, allows for a performance rather than a mere imitation. Hoffman doesn't just nail Capote's signature baby-talk lisp and hand-flopping gestures; he actually makes the audience ignore those things and focus instead upon the man behind them, a writer on the verge of both success and self-destruction.

(Thanks to Casey.)

posted: 8:51:48 AM  

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