radio silence

April 3, 2017

i may not post much on this blog for the foreseeable future because one of my Ph.D. supervisors asked me to set-up another private one that’s sort of a diary holding various design considerations  for my app and such. Lately, I’ve been more “active” on the other one as it’s beginning to wind down and it takes a lot of effort for me to type at least two posts.

universal (soldier)

December 7, 2016

As an alternative, I wanted to study architecture at university but instead I took computer science at another institution: both interested me and I’m not sure why I chose one over the other. Afterwards, I was invited to teach at my alma matter.  I have since experienced a revolving door between academe and industry and at times having both feet on “contentious” worlds (perhaps, this is why I strongly feel “faith without works” is not enough).

I’ve always admired “good” design. Usability has always fascinated me and acquiring a brain injury has made me more so.  I am not a big disciple of fate but it’s only natural that I find Universal Design appealing. It seems to be a confluence of interests and experiences that is beginning to define my path.  Admittedly, I still have a lot to learn but at least it’s an option for me.

I can understand why heritage or old buildings have their accessible entrances at the back but there is no excuse for “newer” stuff – we shouldn’t be considered as second-class citizens (even when it’s not intentional).  It disturbs me when toilet doors are too heavy or they swing towards (or the space is too cramped for) our mobility devices – even if they don’t have personal experience with this, they should be made aware and conscious of these constraints.  Don’t get me started on physical environs that do not a disability toilet (or lavatories that are accessible) – rails allow us to use the facilities independently.  Some even use it because it’s more “spacious” when they don’t really need to – never mind some people with disabilities find it hard to hold it.  Toilets generally “smell” because people prefer to use it when they have to do a No. 2 instead of the standard allocated cubicle.  Moreover, some non-disabled users have the audacity to be upset when you enter (because they don’t know how to lock it) or are surprised when they encounter you patiently waiting for them to finish. Having a child of my own, I understand when parents accompany their kids when family rooms are not present.  It’s people that feel they are more important than the rest and who shouldn’t be made to wait their turn that gets my goat.

Where I’m originally from (I’m not aware of the law now but I doubt, it’s changed), an elevator was only required if there were at least five floors (I’m told that’s why our school building was only built with four).  I can manage stairs if my hands can “reasonably” hold onto the rails (it just takes me awhile and some effort) – what about most?  Are they excluded from these?

Some ramps have a “steep” incline (assuming one is in a wheelchair being pushed) – what about those who choose to propel themselves or ambulate independently?  It can not be simply for compliance sake but the spirit of is just as important as the letter of the law.  It should be because of compassion not coercion by government or regulatory bodies.

I’m not a fan of people who take disabled parking spots (when they clearly don’t need it) for the sake of convenience or because it’s nearer to the entrance (I’ve even seen one parked perpendicular occupying two slots).  They don’t want to walk “that far” – screw (pardon my language) the patrons that can’t walk.  It’s this type of insensitivity that can lead to resentment.

This is by no means an exhaustive list but one informed by my own negative experiences. Some people are just ignorant or not sufficiently exposed to the “everyday” plight of persons living with disabilities.  Our purpose should not to shame or guilt (tempting as it is given the number of a**holes) but to educate the public.

I am not an activist, by nature, (I like to think of myself as more of an advocate) but I can understand why so many rail against the traditional view of the medical or deficit model of disability.  Where I’m from, many with impairments are not educated and are kept home-bound (to spare stigma to the rest of the family in the guise of providing comfort).  Not surprisingly, I am a supporter of the social model: after all, disability is a construct or consequence of a society.  This is more pronounced as we shift from being a highly industrialised to an information-based economy. While physically we may not be the ideal, there are other ways we can contribute  – accommodations are typical but how things are designed in the first place can maximise our value-adding potential.  Trite as it may sound but the focus should be on ability and not disability.  I wonder how Darwin would have documented this evolution of species.

me, myself & I

April 13, 2016

movies like “The Big Short”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “2oolander”’ and television shows like “Billions” and “House of Cards” remind me how much narcissism is prevalent in our society.  Media often reflects back the world we live in. I most of the time (in my view at least) can overshadow community. We still look to “exceptional” individuals as “saviors” when we should also “empower” everyone to contribute to changes ourselves (no matter how miniscule in the grand scheme of things).  We should not solely have to rely on others to improve our lot but also allow for “grassroots” changes.   We should not only embrace a “top-down” approach but additionally combine them with “bottom-up” methods.

Like all technology, social media can be a double-edged sword:  at one end it is a tool for empowerment, at the other spectrum it feeds the “outrage machine”.  We do not need to know all the minutia of your daily lives:  we do not benefit from what you are doing 24×7.  The majority of expressed opinions are often unconsidered – relative ease has trumped reflection, emotions override thoughts.  Immediacy and convenience are at times not desirable nor appropriate. Do not get me wrong:  providing a voice to the voiceless is good but one needs to consider the source/context and weigh the different perspectives. It is sad that some people hide behind anonymity and screen names to hurl abuse:  a case in point is the withdrawal of such luminaries as Stephen Fry from Twitter – context can alter perceptions.  Unfortunately, akin to what Churchill said about the shortcoming of democracy, social media is in the same boat.  Like most prescription medication, the good hopefully outweighs the bad effects.

open arms

January 27, 2014

we went to this year’s Australian Open for my son’s birthday – unfortunately it was the week of the heat wave. All in all we enjoyed despite the heat and my son not getting an autograph from Nadal.

Aside from seeing a boat-load of player practice sessions,   we were able to see the second round match between Nadal and Kokanakis at the Rod Laver Arena with the roof closed. Thanis and Nick Kyrgios bode well for the future of Australian tennis.

I am not one to be fanatical but I admire Sam Stosur’s stroke – not since the backhand of Jusine Henin-Hardin have I viewed such beauty.  Some people even positioned themselves at 1 pm in the sweltering sun just to get a glimpse of Federer who was scheduled to practice at 5 that afternoon.  It was also nice seeing Rafter play doubles after 9 years – even if they lost during the initial match.  Nonetheless, it was amusing to see and hear the Fanatics barrack for each of the Aussies for their various matches.

While there, I was able to catch-up with an “old” and dear high school friend and her family – unfortunately, we were not able to meet-up again due to scheduling conflicts.  If we had known there was a kid’s day the day before, we would have booked a flight sooner.

Wawrinka had a good run towards the men’s final – strangely enough, he’s now ranked as Switzerland’s top player and at the same time is a close friend of Roger. He has a “killer” serve and backhand.  The “Stanimal” won his 1st championship in 4 sets.  Unfortunately, Rafa was plagued with back problems – so we’ll never really know.  He fought hard to get back his number 1 world ranking last year despite injuring his knee.  After missing 7 months and last year’s open, is it any wonder he showed such emotion for what seemed to me the first time in his storied career.  It’s a testament to him that he finished the match when the commentators thought he would surely retire.

Maybe my interest in the sport was rekindled because my son plays the sport, we were at the Open, my view is the racket is part of the player and just not equipment,it is as much mental as it is physical, or a combination of factors.

finally

April 15, 2012

we now have “broadband” Internet access. i didn’t realise i’d miss it so much.

back to the start

March 2, 2012

i find it harder to edit than start from scratch – it doesn’t matter what the work is: if it’s words or a program.  Having something to begin with and modify isn’t always as “easy” as it’s cracked up to be.

yellow

February 3, 2012

a friend of mine shared this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Additive_color to answer my question on colour.