Learn to code in a day?

Learning to code in a day, the premise seems a little far fetched, so I was certainly intrigued by the event at Decoded in London.

With the breadth of possibilities of coding so large the focus of the day was on the specifics of creating an app that incorporated location data. Even this reduction in focus seems like a mammoth task, especially considering the course is not aimed at people with previous coding experience. In fact it is billed as aiding new comers in obtaining these skills in a day.

So with zero prior experience, is it possible to enable someone to create a location based app within a day? The quick answer is yes. Everyone on the course successfully created a location based app.

The day is broken into a few distinct learning methods, lectures, hands on and team tasks. These three different methods enable participants to gain a rounded knowledge read more

The questions…….

My favorite part of public speaking is the Q&A section at the end. Its interesting to be challenged by people all the time, I especially like questions that start with “I know its personal but…..”. These questions are usually challenging to answer and I do enjoy that. While that may sound scary to be stood on stage while possibly thousands of people stare and wait for an answer, it always leads to interesting trains of thought.

Recently at an event for PWC I was asked the question “What is your biggest dream”. Now looking back and with time to think about it, while I answered the question honestly I didn’t feel I gave the justification as to why. It is after all the why that makes it interesting.

The question was – “What is your dream”. I responded with “to be VP of accessibility at a major tech company”, then read more

An accessible oven?

Continuing my foray into the kitchen, I am amassing an even larger collection of specific kitchen gadgets. With the new diet commencing, I had a need for omelettes. In an attempt to be a little healthier I use more whites than yolks. To aid in splitting the whites from the yolks I purchased an egg separator. It works surprisingly well and acts as a reminder. There is often a solution to a problem, you just have to look for it.
It is often these gadgets created for very specific use cases that enable me to function in the kitchen. While never envisaged to be used for the blind their highly specialised function often makes them suitable for myself.
I have found there are numerous gadgets that aid in the prperation of food but not in the actual cooking. I feel this is because the oven. Hob and microwave don’t receive much focus in terms of read more

Now anyone can bake?

Over the past few weeks I have become interested in advancing my baking and cookery skills. This introduces a number of obstacles as a blind individual, mainly there are a lot of tasks that have the potential to hurt you!
I have begun to break down these tasks and will be covering them in a series of posts. For today though I would like to focus on weighing.
This is a surprisingly difficult task, from measuring out liquids to weighing items for baking and cooking. There are a few speak kitchen scales out there, but as ever with products for the visually impaired they are grossly over priced for their limited and often lacklustre feature set.
So I was incredibly excited when I found the Drop scales, especially with their slogan “Now anyone can bake”. I certainly fit into the anyone category, so I popped down to the local Apple Store read more

Reading a book to my children

A wonderful article about Nas Campanella, blind newsreader over at Broadsheet.com

Her studio is equipped with strategically placed Velcro patches – she operates her own panel – so she can recognise which buttons to push to air news grabs and mute or activate her mic. While she’s reading on air, that same electronic voice reads her copy down her headphones which she repeats a nanosecond later. In another ear the talking clock lets her know how much time she has left. The sound of her own voice is audible over the top of it all.

Reminded me of a problem I have in my life. Reading books to my children. I have often thought about using a tiny in ear wireless headphone, such as the Earin to solve this problem. It’s interesting to hear someone is using this on a daily basis in their work life. The article is also well worth a read as Nas’s attitude is read more

Dream to Reality

A few years ago I began to think of a few adventures I would love to embark on. I came up with three: The Pilgrimage, The Return and The Dream. Late last month I was fortunate enough for The Pilgramage to become a reality.

The basic premise of The Pilgrimage was to pay homage to RunKeeper and visit a city close to my heart – NYC. The dream was to run from the HQ of RunKeeper in Boston, to NYC then compete in the NYC marathon. The idea to visit the RunKeeper HQ was to thank them for where I am today. Their app enabled me to believe running solo was possible, the reason NYC? I spent a bit of time there, while I could still see. Therefore, the city remains close to my heart.

The adventure was made possible by a few select companies, namely Twitter, PayPal and AirBnB, Little did I know that partnering with AirBnB would elevate the read more

The Bradley Timepiece, a watch for the blind (& sighted!)

Back when I had useful vision, I adored collecting watches. In particular I had a penchant for unique faces and unique ways of displaying the time. My collection varied from flashing LED watches from Tokyo Flash to a Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute. So, when I lost my useful vision and had to begin to buy talking watches I was gutted. I had gone from fine crafted Breitling to a cheap £40 piece of plastic (arguably the Tokyo Flash watches were cheap, but at least they were interesting).

The talking watches would break continuously, I would often forget to remove it when bathing my son and it would break. After this had happened 3 times, I just decided to give up on having a wrist watch. I resorted to using my phone as my new timepiece, this had a number of drawbacks however. I would have to remove it from my pocket to tell the time. It was far read more

Help a blind runner get from Boston to NYC!

This year I will finally run my first marathon, in NYC. Before I even ran I had dreamed of running NYC, it is also one of the cities I visited while I still had sight, so it always feels special whenever I return. It is also tantalisingly close to Boston, the birthplace of RunKeeper – the running app that made running solo outdoors as a blind runner possible.

So I had an idea, why not run from Boston to NYC, then compete in the NYC marathon? And to make it even more special, why not connect with people on social media to help me along the way. That is the plan and I am reaching out to the internet to help make it happen!

The Adventure

The plan is to arrive in Boston around mid to late october and begin running an average of 30 miles a day, for 10-13 days (distance varies depending on final route chosen). I plan to break the run read more

Google Glass – A blind perspective

Over the past few weeks, I have been playing around with Google Glass. It has been a wonderful experience, and I incredibly hopeful for the future opportunitIes that Glass can offer. As soon as I placed Glass on my face, I was reminded of the sensation of wearing glasses. The weight is similar to wearing a pair of prescription glasses. I quickly snapped a photo and was amazed with the simplicity of the hands free use.

Outdoors with Glass I had my first experience of navigation. I was able to issue a voice command and have the directions read aloud through the bone conduction ear piece. It was a nice hands off experience of navigating, while it is visually obvious I am wearing Glass, I felt this usage made me blend into the crowd. I didn’t have to remove a phone from my pocket and clumsily type a location or issue a voice command, I read more

Airport navigation systems

Last year I was invited into the technology innovation centre of a major airline. I was presented with a key issue for the airline and asked for input. I came up with a number of ideas which focussed around iterative technology changes or what I believed to be breakthrough technologies that could deliver innovative solutions.

My suggestions for iterative changes revolved around the customer experience of media while on the plane. I had suggested that this experience could be extended to the lounge area, through simple changes, be that loaning devices to passengers or delivered through a mobile app. This was an easy solution to implement and something that would grow the customer experience.

The major idea I delivered focussed on the terminal. Airport terminals are vastly large spaces which can often be difficult to navigate. I read more