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Heltsley Family Reunion 2017 March 22, 2017 keith

A reunion is planned for the weekend of May 12 though 14, 2017. If you’re a Heltsley, and can attend, consider yourself invited.

If you need a place to stay, visit Hazlet Cottages for a special rate, before cottages fill up. Use their site for making reservations, and contacting for driving instructions.

If you can’t make the whole weekend, at least try to be at the main reunion event on Saturday afternoon,

If you can’t make it, but want to stay in touch, email me with the Contact page. If you want to receive updates from this web site use the subscription box in the side bar. Your privacy is important, and will never be shared. You can always unsubscribe whenever you wish.

KDP Rocket Accessibility Tutorial for the Mac- February 25, 2017 keith

I have recently been exploring tools to help in writing, and self-publishing. Most times, effort is placed on the writing process, but that’s only about a third of the work in putting your written masterpiece out there for the public to enjoy. It also takes some good editing, formatting, and cover art. Then there’s the matter of marketing, and getting your book in the hands of your audience. A well written book won’t sell, if it can’t be found.

That’s what KDP Rocket helps to do..

To learn how to become a self- published book marketer, you can’t do without the information located at Kindlepreneur.com, and the hard work that Dave Chesson pours into helping the self-published author to succeed.

If you have no budget, and can’t spend money, he tells all the free secrets to fine tuning the process, and finding keywords to place your book in front of your target audience. Get ready for hours, and hours of work in searching keywords, using tools to analyze the results, and nail down the niche you plan to serve.

Want a faster, and easier way to match the knowledge you have, to a reader who wants to pay you for it? Harness the power of software to do that leg work in a matter of moments. Visit Dave’s site to get his personal secret weapon: KDP Rocket.

It works great, but as a blind person, my ongoing concern for new software is… Is it accessible? Will it work with my screen reader? If it doesn’t, then I just bought an expensive bit of software to do nothing more than clutter my hard drive. Not to mention, it means money down the drain for me.

Good news.

I was able to test drive Dave Chesson’s software, and use it on my MacBook, using Voiceover.. The ride is a little bumpy, but the bottom line is that it works. I hope to give a similar good report for Windows users, but at the time of this writing, all my Windows machines are down. I expect it to work just as well though.

I linked a recording of my initial experience with KDP Rocket to this post, so use the player and download links to hear how it sounds. I think you’ll see for yourself how simple it is to search for book ideas to write about, and check out how much competition you’re up against… or not. You may find a wide open field. Or just as important, you may find that your ideal book idea has no audience.

Remember, this is not a lesson on how to find your ideal book idea, or use KDP Rocket to market your idea. Check out Kindlepreneur.com, and Dave will tell you how to apply the information in the reports.

Here’s what I cover in my audio tutorial:

  1. Unpacking and installing. For the Mac universe, it’s a snap.
    • Click the DMG file to extract.
    • Copy the application into the Applications folder.
    • Initially running and installing the license code.

    It’s all super easy to do.

  2. Reviewing the home screen.
    • Unlabeled graphics. There’s a few, but not important for the searches. They’re mostly logos, or links to video tutorials on the web.
    • Searches. Buttons for Idea Searches, and Competition Searches are easy to find and use.
  3. Searching, and how the reports are displayed.
    • The search box appears the same for both searches, and other than having no key echo in typing your search, is excellent.
    • When the screen reloads, the report is ready.
    • Using the swipe, Control+Option+(left or right arrows), all the cells in the resulting table can be read.
    • Analyze button. Gives deeper report information, and is also excellent to use.
    • Export. For better navigation, and to have a record of the search reports, an Export button sends it to a CSV file.

    Just remember that the exported file won’t have the Analyze buttons. Still, it lets you know what’s there, and interesting to follow through on.

Is there any downside to navigating and using KDP Rocket?

  1. The report tables. Though swiping from cell to cell works, There is no way to:
    • Move to the next or previous row. Moving up or down.
    • Column headers aren’t read when navigating. I found that writing the headers in a separate text file to refer to when deeper in the grid helps to keep column information straight.
    • Exporting. Works great, but the button is at the bottom. For large tables, it isn’t easy to get to. Sometimes stopping interacting with the table, then tabbing past it works. I couldn’t get it to work all the time, but I’ll admit, it could just be me missing something. I’m not an expert on the Mac.

I give a 5 star rating for doing what KDP Rocket claims. It helps you match book ideas to a potential audience, and does the hard marketing footwork for you.

I give it 4 stars in accessibility. Sure, a few minor bumps, but everything you need to access works, and is readable.

My main purpose here was to put the interface through its paces, and see how screen readers handled it. For better information on what to do with the reports the searches deliver, visit Dave’s site.

My final word to potential self-published authors, even blind ones, this is very usable software. The price tag is worth all the saved hours in research, and finding your target market.

Match your skills and knowledge as an author to connect with the audience who is looking for you, and is willing to pay for what you have to say.

The blind Elephant February 16, 2017 keith

The elephant in the room. That’s what it has become. It’s here, obvious, but has been with me so long I usually never notice it any more. Inconvenient, sure. I seem to have gotten used to it. I forget that some people might be interested in it, and what its all about. How did the elephant get here? How do I get things done? Even things I manage to do seem to amaze people, although I can’t imagine why. OK, there are some adaptive things I do, but those measures seem pretty obvious to me.

I get around, but clearly driving is out of the question. I know my immediate surroundings at home well enough, I don’t walk with a white cane. However, stepping outside the house is different. There’s a measure of technique in using a cane to feel the ground and sweep for obstacles. It’s not hard. A few basic moves to engrain into muscle memory, and away we go.

Clearly a distinct path to walk on is key. No cutting across parking lots, or wide open spaces. It can be done, but it takes on another whole skill set. Lots of listening and concentration on form, posture, and that muscle memory as you walk. Let’s save that distraction for later.

It’s all about boundaries. The border of the sidewalk as it meets the grass, or gravel, or the seam in a driveway as it crosses over one. The border of a hallway, complete with all those moveable obstacles like potted plants, wet floor signs, mop buckets… and watch out! That lady in the hall who just bent over to pick up her dropped wallet… Oops… sorery, I didn’t mean to touch your bottom. But thanks for the high pitched squeal. I needed something to loosen the ear wax build up that was accumulating. And no, there’s nothing wrong with me. And yes, I am indeed blind. Sorry again. I’ll try to be more alert next time.

The trouble I have most often is the lack of traffic on the street, and the over helpful onlooker. First the helpful onlooker. They mean well. Bless their hearts. But they usually act first, and think later… if at all. What seems like a collision with disaster to them is merely the boundary I need to find to keep on track. Dodging around it, like most people would do, only removes a landmark for me, and a sure fire path for me to get lost at worst. Or disoriented at best. .

There’s more to say, and I know I left a couple side topic hanging, but my time is up for this stream of consciousness. Stay tuned for more on Traffic noise. For now, let’s just say it makes an invaluable invisible boundary to keep on course. How to handle wide open spaces? Avoid them, but when you can’t it’s not entirely impossible, but the lack of boundaries and environment noise can make it the worst kind of traveling.

Forgetting Where You Came From January 26, 2017 keith

Time marches forward, like troops in lock step.
A vanguard of locked shields, and weapon at the ready.

Forcing approval of policy,
though many in the nation disagree with those sanctions.

Awkward and unpolished egos need buffing,
and ratings of approval take first place over substance.

Potential lies dormant from the beginning.
The solution is so simple, and could be winning.

It’s not a ten step process to avert devastation.
Success could be to decrease aggrevation.

Step out of the tower, and listen.
Middle ground can be found without going to extreme.
It’s about serving the people, not self image, or a meme.ling 22 Successful

23 Oversight

Adventures in the Life of a Blind Computer Geek #anticipation November 23, 2016 keith

Or, the Joys, and Risks of Computer Upgrades

Decided to see if my desktop computer would upgrade to Windows 10. I reserved a copy shortly after it was released, but balked for months. Then I discovered my video card might not have compatible drivers. Not to mention, I knew my screen reader technology wasn’t going to work either. No voice for me, and no screen for an assistant to look at for help. Not going to happen.

Lately, I’ve been hearing how much improved Narrator is in the latest releases, and my fallback screen reader, NVDA has been up to speed with Win10 for some time. Should I? Or shouldn’t I?

I’ve been using Windows 10 with growing success, and ease on my old Dell laptop, but it bit the dust with hard drive failure. Windows 7 is still a good workhorse for what I use my desktop for, but since my laptop died, it has had to double more as a personal computer, instead of being strictly a home file server. I finally decided to check on updating. No system errors about video drivers. All I gotta do is ditch my age old, tried and true screen reader… gulp…

OK, let’s do this thing.

I sat, watching the progress bars tick slowly by, missing a chat session I like to hang out in. Tick, tick, tick. “You may continue using your computer while Windows updates,” my computer cheerfully told me. So I did. There I sat, comparing files from my back up drive, to motes I have on my web site. Yeah, I know, exciting stuff, but it kept me busy while I waited the process of files trickling from Microsoft to my humble little hard drive.

The process completed, software began doing it’s behind the scenes black magic, and starting yet another process of checking for updates, and upgrading the upgrade. After agonizing minutes that bled into hours, an empty stomach, and drooping eyelids, it was time to abandon the computer to take all the time it wants, while its human component shuts down for the night. With a fresh boot up in the morning, it was time to see where my computer left off, or if it needed human interaction to continue.

It needed to know which of my adaptive software to remove. Grudgingly, I said goodbye to my screen reader, fired up my back up, and clicked. I was soon greeted by an error that brought the update to a halt, and a reboot was demanded. How rude. Good news and bad news awaited.

The bad news. I was going to have to restart the update process from scratch. All those hours of waiting, lost. And the thrill of more endless hours was in my future… well, not exactly.

The good news. Using an alternate method of getting the update started, I saved an easy 3 hours, and probably more.

Within a short time the initial installing was done, but now comes the cycle of reboots, and waiting, as things still aren’t quite to the point of talking to me. About 2 hours in, I finally have some assistance to look at my screen… 37%. More waiting, but at least I know there’s progress. I can get back to it after breakfast, and a pot of coffee. I can also tend to a misbehaving sump pump, and a semi-flooded basement. Ah, real life encroaches on my fantasy, cyber reality.

Will Windows finally load? I’m sure it will, just gotta wait for it. Will the sump kick in and start pumping water again? I’m sure, its main problem seems to be a clog. Putting in a substitute pump we borrowed, while the other gets cleaned out. For now, we’ll just have to wait, tackle the small things that come our way, and anticipate the best.

PS: Thanks to #DailyPost, and the #dailyprompt: Anticipation

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