89 Not Out: Day 78, On Visual Impairments and Tech Updates

S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of the lockdown, as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 78 and Ian isn’t too pleased with Zoom’s update, as he loses the one piece of tech that put him on an even footing with his sighted colleagues.

Tuesday 2nd June, Day 78 of 89.

Swearing? I have won medals.

One of the biggest challenges in my optically suboptimal world is ‘the update’.

Facebook is the best; when you regularly find that the layout you learned and can now negotiate with your screen reader has been put in a cocktail shaker and you have no idea what goes where.

Then Zoom burst into our collective consciousness a couple of months ago and I wept with joy. This was the first ever piece of software that just ‘worked’ with a screen reader. Someone sent me a link, I clicked it and was in. A simple tap around offered me options on messaging, raising my hand, and when people did stuff like sharing screens or broadcasting live on Facebook, I knew before my sighted colleagues did.

This was my dream piece of software and I had the rare treat of explaining to others how it worked as it was that easy to play with.

Then on Sunday the wheels came off. A mandatory update meant I clicked the link and the system asked me for my name and told me to tick a box to say ‘I am not a robot’.

Eh? WTF?

I entered a name, but the system wouldn’t let me confirm my robotic non-status.

I was podcasting, so I called in sighted help. Oh, there are a range of traffic lights you have to tick. FFS, I have no way of knowing this, so please just tick them, lovely sighted wife.

Now we are in, except we no longer support this browser, please download Chrome. As a blind man, you won’t get why this makes my blood run cold. Please download a new browser, where I don’t have a fekking clue where anything is, or what the architecture is? It will be a swearathon for weeks to come ‘where the Effing eff has the back button gone?!’ It will be pretty for nobody in the office, and you turn up to meetings with a face like a bulldog licking wee off a nettle.

Back to Sunday’s podcast.

I attempted to go in via phone. All you have to do is listen to an 11 digit code in your right ear and then tap this into your phone whilst listening with your left ear. If you don’t do it fast enough it rebukes you with ‘goodbye’, and you advise your phone and its operating system that it lacks real empathy, and that the telephone service provider is prone to self-abuse, and that her or his parental lineage is of doubtful credibility.

Finally, we made it and I got in 15 minutes late.

Last night was a committee meeting for Portsmouth Rugby club. Four attempts before I made it in, and my usual calm and measured demeanour had a few kinks and wrinkles in it.

For once in my blindy world, I had just for a moment a solution for me that worked nearly as well as for you, and the utter bastards have managed to lash it up.

27 other swear words have been deleted by the author in the self-editing of this piece.


Don’t miss Ian’s diary each day, keep an eye out for new entries here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast. How are you managing the lockdown at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.

Image by wiredmartio from Pixabay.

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