Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Journey Well Begun

Hello everyone. I don't usually write two blog entries this close together. I fully expected that after my busy but excellent day yesterday, that life would continue somewhat placidly through tomorrow morning when my groceries arrive. Sandy, however, had other ideas. He was itching to find out exactly what kind of a system he had been sitting on for what thankfully has turned out to be less time than I had feared. Setting it up on his kitchen table was mostly very simple. The only snag happened with his speakers. I believe he's got a 2.1 set of Creative I-trigues on his hands judging by the feel. Dad came over and pretty quickly determined that we had simply misjudged the use of a cable. He also straitenned the pins in a cable end which had become bent. This time, it wasn't me who did the cable wrecking via bending pins. Everything's pretty ship-shape now. The sound from those speakers is quite excellent. Sandy will really enjoy hearing music through those once they're in their proper places rather than on the kitchen table. Even as it is, they sounded pretty good to my likely less critical ear.

Sandy's computer is a pretty good one with a Pentium4 running at 3.something ghz. A gig of ram will handle XP Home edition nicely enough. To top it off, he's got over 200 gb of hard drive space. I have yet to determine the full capabilities of his soundcard but it ought to suit his needs well. Neither of us heard any rattles, grones or wheezes from the thing's innerds so things seem in good shape as far as I can judge. Software is where Sandy's system will ultimately run him into a brick wall when he goes online. I'm starting to run into more trouble online with my version 9 of Jaws. I wouldn't even want to think about what Sandy will run into using version 7. He'd never be able to afford to keep Jaws updated. Those SMAs are a killer. For both of us, as things stand now, it looks like System Access is the economical way forward. Pay once and never have to again. Once our good Mr. Morgan returns from his trip, the three of us can pool our collected resources and wisdom in figuring that kind of thing out. John has helped a great many blind people over the years and thanks to his sight, was able to better observe them than I. Each of us brings a different set of strengths to this quest and between the two of us, we can help Sandy find his best path into the digital world.

We took some small steps today but those were very important ones. It'll take some time before Sandy is truly competent and comfortable with the keyboard. However, he's begun that process better than I expected. I copied three audio files of movies onto his hard drive in a folder on his desktop. I gave him a quick crash tour of the keyboard and showed him where tab, enter, and the arrow keys were. With those, he was indeed able to find the folder on his desktop, open it, and select a file. When the sound of the movie Jourasic Park began to emmonate from those splendid speakers, you didn't have to be able to see to know that there was a big smile happening. Actually, there were two. Sandy had completed the first task I had set for him on the keyboard marvelously well. At that moment, I knew without the shadow of a doubt, that I would indeed be able to help this guy into the digital world. Theory is one thing, Results like that are quite another. I haven't felt this good since I finished Personal Power. It's a long road ahead but we're well and truly on our way now.

Sandy is loving the Olympics just now. However, he's starting to think beyond them to what he wants from his computer and eventually, the Internet. One thing he's asked me to look into is some sort of Guyanese Indian festival which will apparently happen fairly soon again this year. It's something called pagwah. Apparently, the event has to do with gods, ashes, and given his love of music, I would presume there would be a bumper crop of that involved also. I guess it's a part of his heritage. He gave me a link which leads to an Indocaribbean radio station broadcasting on the Internet. I just tried it out for a few minutes. It sounds pleasant and cheerful enough. However, it's not my cup of tea as I rather like to understand what exactly is being sung at me. Doubtless, Sandy will approve of it when I get him to have a go. Meanwhile, I'll see about this festival and whether there's a past recording of it in mp3 form that I could bring down to him on my flashdrive. I don't mind letting him listen to net broadcasts up here but seven or eight hours of stuff I can't comprehend for the life of me might prove a little taxing. Apparently, the radio station whose link is below will broadcast the event live and describe things in English. Should any of my readers wish to try out this station for themselves, go to:
If I have perchance attracted any readers with a similar background to Sandy, perhaps the station will offer some cultural comfort. It's certainly a different vibe for me.

Well here's to my first success in this new building. Other than lacking a special ladyfriend to share my triumph with, I feel on top of the world. The hot chocolate I just had went down wonderfully and made a nice change from my more habitual celebratory beer. Sandy thought I was "not very Canadian" when I told him I was going to have that as opposed to suds. No interest in the olympics, don't drink beer after such a splendidly successful day... What can I say? I'm just a different sort of geek to contend with. A geek who finally has the clear sense that despite everything, he's in the right place at the right time to do the good lord's work. I've just got to keep on plugging away at stuff like always and I'll have a good impact here. Never fear though. The day when Sandy starts to surf the Internet on his own, I'll definitely be firmly in double-beer territory.

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