December 3rd, 2008

A Balance

Wednesday work and good news

It's 10:00 pm. Dinner time after a long day of work.

I followed up tonight's conference call with some facet analysis of programming languages. Just like operating systems, I am shocked at the amount and variety of programming languages out there. This was my second conference call of the day. I think I was on the phone for a total of 3 or 4 hours today. For some reason, phone conferences are really tiring things for me.

This past week I have had some interesting metro encounters. Monday morning I nearly bumped into a group of policemen escorting an apprehended fellow from the metro platform. Yikes! I stood by and let them go first... Monday evening I met woman walking with a white cane as we both tried to find the right way out of Vienna station. Today I just about ran into a Guide Dog on my way home from Silver Spring station as I rushed across the cross walk. Whoops! Luckily I got out of the way and made it to the other side in time.

(break for dinner)

I have some great news today related to braille transcription.

I spent the week trying to learn more about how one goes about volunteering as a braille transcriber. Who will I work with? What exactly will I do? How will the assignments work? Who can I contact to find out?

After many days of searching with no answers, I finally got in touch with someone who knows the different local and national groups and is willing to help me get started with one of them after I earn my certification. I am so thrilled!

She began by asking what kind of materials I am interested in transcribing. I didn't think I had a choice, so I was at a loss for words. I asked where the need is greatest and she replied that it is probably in math and science. Science transcription would be like a dream come true for me. I love biology and sometimes wish I had gone on for my degree in hematology or pathology. And then there are all the other great areas: chemistry, mineralogy, electronics, meteorology,... I can't think of anything more pleasant than sitting all afternoon in the summer shade with a tall glass of iced tea transcribing science textbooks for students. Well, I will need something to do during the off-season for radio sport after Field Day and IARU have gone by!

Brailling math requires an additional course because there is a special code used for mathematical notation. I plan to learn this after I get some experience with regular literary braille. I would also like to go on and study tactile graphics. That would be very cool. There's nothing like combining information science and art!

Added to this great news, it looks like I will also get the opportunity to use a braille writer for my course work in the braille transcription class. Braillers are kind of like typewriters. Rather than having a keyboard with keys for the letters of the alphabet, Braillers have six keys - one for each of the six dots of a braille cell. Someday I am going to buy the cute new Perkins Brailler:

I haven't seen anything this cute since I lived in Japan!