Get your YouTube videos captioned

26 09 2009

Speakuplibrarian got there before I did 🙂

I spotted this cool site which captions YouTube videos at
Speakuplibrarian’s blog. She has written about this site and posted a funny captioned video.


Telecoms and Convergent Media Event

25 09 2009

The next in UCL Advances series of Technology Innovation Forum events will cover telecoms and convergent media and will take place on 12 November 2009 in central London.

How will new telecommunications technologies develop? Where will the social, economic and legal barriers between digital and real-world lives break-down? Where will the innovations in new media take us?

This half-day conference will cover:
• New telecoms and media technologies
• The need for collaboration between traditional telecom suppliers and media service providers
• The technical, legal and social problems faced and the disruptive forces to convergence

Although the technology is in place, deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK are being denied access to a modern telephone relay service. Christopher Jones is the director of AccEquE Ltd, a company that offers consultancy services in telecommunications for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. He will be speaking at this event about captioned telephony and video relay telephony for deaf and hard of hearing people. Come and show him some support, see him demonstrate captioned and video telephony for deaf people, try it out for yourself, and take this opportunity to ask him questions. The campaign to have a modern telephony service for deaf people in the UK is ongoing and Christopher is one of the leaders in this campaign.

Volunteers are needed to man the captioned telephony stand. Please contact Christopher on cfgjones at bt internet dot com if you can help.

Further details after the jump.

A palantypist (speech to text reporter) and Christopher’s sign language interpreter will be available at the event.

To spin or not to spin …

24 09 2009


Spinvox have developed a system which, among other products, offers a speech to text voicemail service which is ideal for deaf people who want to be able to use voicemail, such as business owners. I activated the service on my Blackberry and it works very well. When someone phones me, I don’t bother to answer it but let it ring. The phone picks up the message and Spinvox converts the voice message into an email or a text message, and sends it to you. It’s been really useful, especially as it also leaves a link to a voice recording of the message so you can ask a hearing person to listen to it if the email was unclear (lots of people mumble!). Spinvox also prints the caller’s number so you can call them back.

My Spinvox service is paid for by Access to Work. It costs £5 a month for the subscription service and 30 pence for each message converted. There is no software to download.

Spinvox won’t work with a Pay As You Go phone, it must be on a contract phone. It’s very simple to set up although their website is a bit of a nightmare. Spinvox are currently running a promotional offer, free voicemail until the end of 2009. They will convert your messages into emails for free (not text – shame!).

However. There are rumblings …. humans compromise service confidentiality (who cares? I’m deaf. I NEED a voice to text service) …. the company is up for sale with a pre-tax loss of £30 million in 2007 (what about the future?) … basically, they seem to be hiding certain issues.

Which is a great shame, as they scored a major deal with Telefonica who will roll out its Voice Message Conversion System (VMCS) across 13 Latin American countries this autumn. Spinvox say they are the only speech-to-text service in the world that is available in six languages – Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese and Italian. But at what cost?

I’m not going to go into all the ins and outs of this issue as I’ve had one of those rare weeks. Meh. I’m just bringing it to your attention. For an interesting commentary on all this spin, check out this post after the jump and this post on Spinvox’s demo day.

Emergency SMS 999

16 09 2009

I’ve always felt hard done by when thinking about my safety. Being unable to hear on the phone, I would hate to be put in a position where I needed to call the police quickly if I was being mugged or burgled, or the ambulance service if there was an accident, or the fire service if I had a fire at home. I would always need to rely upon a hearing person to make that call. Assuming I could find someone quickly wherever and whenever that may be. Assuming they would be willing to make the call – what if they didn’t understand me or it was 3am?

But there’s hope. A new service is being trialled in the UK. You can now send a text message to the emergency services using 999 rather than a long number you can’t remember, or trying to call via Typetalk / Text Direct / Text Relay / Whatever It’s Called. This is fabulous news for people who can’t use the phone. You need to register your mobile phone with the service, which is very simple and takes 2 minutes.

Further details here: Emergency SMS

The RNID are running a survey on access to emergency services with the aim of improving access. More information after the jump.

Top 100 blogs award

6 09 2009

I’ve been awarded this badge from The Daily Reviewer. Thank you! I’m honoured.

Check out the site, as there are some REALLY interesting blogs there such as Speak Up Librarian and they are well worth a look.

I’ve been on a long holiday, visiting San Francisco, Yosemite, Vancouver, Whistler, and Seattle. It’s been great and I’ll be back soon with more posts.