After reading the past few messages on this subject, I have decided to respond with some answers we never like to hear.

1) The total population of legally blind people in the US is 0.6% of the US population. This includes everyone with up to 20/200 vision. The total population of blind people in the world is just over 35 million, or about 0.6% of the total world population. This means, we are an extremely small group of people. There are more people using the least common computer OS than there are visually impaired people.

Because we are such a tiny minority, it falls squarely upon us to adapt ourselves to the sighted world. The fact that companies do a little bit to help us is great, but there is virtually no profit in it for them. We can choose to stay behind at whatever point we are comfortable with, just like anybody else. That said, as has been pointed out, companies are in business to make money. In order to do this successfully, they must constantly give at least the appearance of innovating or the competition will take their place.

I, for one, choose to continuously learn, grow, and adapt to the new and ever-shifting paradigm of the modern technology world. This way, I can keep myself marketable and employable. Also, it allows me to continue enjoying the latest games which come out.

As to the classic start menu which, apparently, primarily only blind people prefer, I actually don't like it. I find it to be way too limiting. And, before you ask, I started as a DOS power user. I much prefer the simplicity of point and click (pressing the alt key, arrowing to the menu I need, and arrowing to my choice) over constantly needing to remember esoteric commands.

I will soon be switching to the iPhone 4 because it has a touch-screen, so there are even less esoteric commands which I need to remember. I just needed to learn the new interface, and I did that over the past year through regularly borrowing my former flatmate's iPhone 3GS. I will switch to the MacBook and its touch pad interface for the same reason. I made the decision a long time ago to, as much as possible, learn to use and become proficient with sighted technology interfaces whenever possible so that I can keep my costs lower while interfacing with my sighted peers and friends in ways which are most convenient for them. After all, I am the one who, by nature of being blind, is different, so must fit in if I want to associate with the chosen group that is the majority.

David Chittenden, MSc, CRC, MRCAA
Email: dchitten...@gmail.com

On 7/10/2010 6:24 AM, Damien Pendleton wrote:
Hi Thomas,
The problem here is, even some sighted people don't know how to use it. Heck, I have trouble getting somebody sighted to help me do a reinstall of XP simply because they don't know how radio buttons work, etc, etc. What I'm trying to say is, while there are maybe a load of people who will benefit from the upgrade, newbies and VI users do not, and it's time more people started fighting for their rights. Like I said before, if blind people just go with the flow then how on earth are other people in this world going to be able to cater for us?

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