About Civility and Accessibility

Here’s the real challenge – getting everyone to understand that accessibility is for everybody. Too often people with disabilities are considered to be the ‘others’. This is the biggest problem with getting people to embrace the idea of accessibility and  for product designers to embrace the philosophy of Universal Design. In Silicon Valley we’ve always spoken of good design but, to convey this idea more effectively I have needed to  dumb down the language to say, “get the specs right on human beings.” 

Given the global aging population it seems completely unbelievable that building in Accessibility is too challenging for the world’s leading tech companies. Given the fact that after 25 years since the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, The US still has a 75% unemployment rate for people with disabilities. I have little patience for scofflaw companies with customers numbering in the millions and reaping billions in profits who have proven unwilling to spend anything on improving accessibility. The unprecedented human rights achievement represented by the Americans With Disabilities Act has been thwarted by the  negative cultural bias and neglect tech companies reveal by the fact that at the time of this justice department action less than 9% of all websites are accessible. 
 
This appalling situation reminds me of when no one in the US would broadcast Spanish-language television. Ultimately such exclusionary practices proved to be thoroughly stupid and the lost profits will never be recovered. Same deal here. Why alienate customers and make products and services difficult to use? America’s inventors have given us the telephone, automobiles, electric starters, elevators, transistors, text to speech synthesizers, the internet and many other wonders of the everyday world that began as ways to improve accessibility and overcome limitations imposed by impairments. How many other innovations will come from the US as inventors begin providing accessibility to people who need a better way to solve a problem faced by millions around the world? Too many design decisions result in poorly considered interfaces that necessitates people have good  manual dexterity and 20/20 vision. Not a day goes by when I don’t wish I had a large rock to smash my smart phone to pieces. I am often driven completely mad by it’s idiosyncratic behaviors. For the record, no one wants to read manuals in order to use some arcane piece of technology. And yet, that’s what we’ve got!
As a closing note, I would like to share the positive news that America is back! We’ve led the world as social innovators by embracing inclusion for every member of our society. This investment has paid off for us handsomely with the marketplace reaping the rewards of diversity by better serving their global customers. I believe that our best days are yet ahead because of the US’ socially inclusive policies and  progressive idealism that America has introduced to the world.
 
On my part and on behalf of my company and my country I hope we will continue to do so.

About Accessibility and the Law

The Justice Department announced today that it has entered a landmark consent decree with H&R Block in National Federation of the Blind, et al. and United States v. HRB Digital LLC, et al. The decree resolves the Department’s first ADA lawsuit centered on the accessibility of corporate websites and mobile applications.  Under the decree, H&R Block will make its website, tax filing utility, and mobile applications conform to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to the Level AA Success Criteria, will pay damages to the two named plaintiffs, and pay a civil penalty.  H&R Block will also take a number of steps to maintain the accessibility of www.hrblock.com and its mobile apps with WCAG 2.0 AA, including adopting a policy, training employees and ensuring accountability, conducting regular automated and user testing, and regular reporting.

To find out more about the ADA or this consent decree, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA.gov website.

About Visionaries and Intelligence

Surrounded by friends and visionary entrepreneurs searching for intelligent ways to affect social justice, it comes as no surprise to me that my longtime friend Ray Kurzweil was honored with the American Visionary Art Museum’s Grand Visionary Award at a recent gala celebration.

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The American Visionary Art Museum selects its award honorees for their courage as intuitive innovators and in recognition of their life’s creative work to expand the realm of human dignity, beauty, and social justice. Senator Barbara Mikulski attended and Ray enjoyed getting to know the other honoree Jack Andraka, who was presented with the Young Genius Award — he developed an early detection test for pancreatic cancer when he was 14 and won the Intel International Science Fair. Other guests included the National Federation of the Blind leadership including President Marc Maurer, PhD and his wife Mrs. Maurer, Jim Gashel and his wife Mrs. Gashel, and Mrs. Mary Ellen Jernigan. Ray was accompanied by his friends Brent and Jenn Dearth, who married after having met at a screening of Transcendent Man, where he gave a presentation.

About Accelerating Intelligence

Launched in 2001, KurzweilAI explores the forecasts and insights on accelerating change articulated in Ray Kurzweil’s landmark books — notably The Singularity Is Near and  How to Create a Mind — and updates these books daily with key breakthroughs in science and technology. The “AI” in KurzweilAI refers to “accelerating intelligence,” a core concept that underlies the exponential growth of the pervasive information-based technologies — both biological and machine — that are radically changing our world. These include biotechnology, nanotechnology & materials science, molecular electronics, computation, artificial intelligence, robotics, neuroscience, physics, Internet, energy, electronics, pattern recognition, virtual reality, human brain reverse engineering, and brain and body augmentation. The leading visionaries represented on this site cover these and other topics, and examine the trends that are profoundly impacting science, economics, the arts, politics, government, warfare, medicine, health, education, disabilities, behavior, and society.

If you like to learn more about Ray Kurzweil you can visit him here: http://www.kurzweilai.net/

About Beacons and Shareabouts

A global aging survey undertaken by Dr. George Mason of the East-West Center of University of Hawaii has identified that 27 nations have advanced aging populations and that these silver tsunamis are not being addressed by any current government programs or business enterprises.

I would like the state, county and city governments to undertake a census/audit of accessibility accommodations in all facilities and community assets relating to government. I would like them to put this in an open source database from Code for America which is called Shareabouts. 

Shareabouts has a simple interface that makes it easy to add your voice to the map: suggest a location, add a comment, support other suggestions and share locations with your friends and neighbors. Shareabouts gets out of the way, letting you focus on getting points on the map. Behind the scenes, it’s a simple single-page Django app powered by Backbone and Leaflet. Data storage is provided by the Shareabouts REST API.

– See more at: http://commons.codeforamerica.org/apps/shareabouts#sthash.fuQxuWo2.dpuf

Once the database has been populated we can import this information into our community GPS referenced guide system which would provide travel and tourism information to any travelers who may have impairments and require knowledge about the accessibility and accommodations available in their surroundings. This will be a vital tool for addressing the problem identified in the OSS (Open Source Software) – ATT stakeholder survey which found over 50% of people with impairments avoid travel because they cannot be assured of reliable information relating to the accessibility of local accommodations.

When this system is in place it will be the first example of any community ever undertaking a survey of their accessibility and the only time anyone ever advertises the fact that they are in fact accessible. I envision the legislature appropriating funds necessary to install beacons at all airports and to promote Hawaii as an accessible destination which welcomes people challenged by impairments along with the rest of their family and friends.

Mahalo!

PASSAGE HAWAII

https://vimeo.com/82512932

The PASSAGE SMARTPHONE APP which reads and interprets information received from iBEACONS associated with people, places and/or objects relating to nearby ACCESSIBLE accommodations is available as a BRANDED PRIVATE LABEL APP for your HOTEL and TOURISM BUSINESS.

Since GPS does not reach interiors, the PASSAGE SMARTPHONE APP allows you to ACCURATELY PINPOINT the LOCATION INSIDE the sprawling complexes of our major HOTELS here in HAWAII to REACH and ADVISE GUESTS on the ACCESSIBILITY of the many TOUR PROVIDERS, STORES, RESTAURANTS and TENANTS within their complexes, BROADCAST simple or rich PUSH NOTIFICATIONS to installed apps in real time, from triggering ADVERTISING, PRODUCTIVITY and USERS EXPERIENCE to SECURITY relevant events like disabling or enabling the camera feature or entire apps on your device, making use of ENDPOINT PROTECTOR MOBILE DEVICE MANAGEMENT.

Because 50% of the traveling public carry smartphones and one in six travelers’ impairments require some type of ACCESSIBILITY ACCOMMODATION it is of critical importance that they receive reliable and definitive information about the ACCESSIBILITY OF THEIR ROUTES as well as WAYPOINTS to guide them when visual information is not available. ACCESSIBILITY INFORMATION might include textual or graphical information provided by signage, information and guidance to accessible restroom facilities, elevators, ramps and emergency exits.

ACCESSIBILITY IS GOOD BUSINESS
American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility spend an average of $13.6 billion a year on travel. Creating accessible cruise ships, accessible ship terminals, accessible transportation, and accessible tourist destinations is not charity, it is just good business, according to Dr Scott Rains, US expert on disability. There are 51.2 million people with disabilities in the United States. More than one in six people in this country are potential customers for businesses that are accessible to people with disabilities. Four million people turn 50 each year and they are spending 400 billion per year, are they spending it with you? One in five people in Hawaii lives with accessibility issues, are you reaching them? Are you social enough? Help promote your accessible customer services, accessible tours, events, facilities and businesses to those who need them most.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie, leading a national initiative to spur employment and economic opportunity for people with disabilities.

In this article, you will find information from Respectability, a national organization behind an important initiative aimed at promoting employment and economic opportunity for people with disabilities. Here in Hawaii,  Gov. Neil Abercrombie has pledged to put his weight and that of his office behind a statewide campaign to encourage greater employment and economic opportunity for people with disabilities. 
 
Nearly 25 years after the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act, unemployment for The US’ 57 million people with disabilities remains at 75%. With the increasing age of the ‘Baby Boomer’ population, economists are predicting a ‘Silver Tsunami’ that will overwhelm the US’ capacity to provide for specialized goods and services needed by these aging people as they are challenged by the sensory, physical, cognitive and emotional challenges that will occur with their increasing age. 
 
in Hawaii, 28% of the population is over the age of 65, with as many as 50% experiencing age related impairments. The fact is that impairments do not have to become disabilities if society accommodates individuals by providing accessibility solutions that will minimize the impact of those  impairments. Disability only occurs when society fails to accommodate individuals by bad design, by failing to incorporate universal design principles that then create access problems.

The  United States Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement has led the world in promoting full inclusion of all people within all sectors of our society. We are social innovators, and it is imperative that we find new ways to accommodate the workforce to be inclusive of people with accessibility opportunities. We must think of new kinds of businesses that can and will cater to the special requirements of people as they age. The National Governors Association and it’s 55 member governors, territories possessions and protectorates have pledged to use the bully pulpit of their office to get behind an initiative aimed at encouraging greater employment and  economic opportunities for people with disabilities. Gov. Neil Abercrombie was one of 27 governors at the table when this initiative was adopted unanimously by the National Association. Just last month I was told by the governor’s Chief of Staff that the governor’s office is beginning to coordinate with various departments of state government to review and assess current programs and projects that may participate and benefit from  taking part in this initiative.
 
The side of the desk which I feel I best represent is that of entrepreneurial social enterprise, leveraging market-driven business solutions to start up sustainable businesses that can contribute by serving unmet social needs.
 
In my time with the Hawaii Venture Capital Association, the Hawaii People’s Fund, Start Up Hawaii, Honolulu Answers, Hawaii Democratic Party, Hawaii Centers for Independent Living, State Independent Living Council and the Hawaii Aging Disability Research Council, there has been no initiatives promoting opportunities for new businesses serving Hawaii’s aging, disabled and seriously ill people, despite 28% of the population being over the age of 65 with disability prevalence rates for all people past this age running at 70%.  Hawaii is not preparing or investing in the kinds of businesses we need now and will increasingly rely upon in the future. 
 
From government and business leaders we are being asked what can be done to change the unacceptable 70% unemployment rate and encourage greater hiring of people with disabilities. As social entrepreneurs, we are always looking at opportunities presenting themselves and have real workable deals ready to go – some that are entirely new and many that are well-established and proven in other localities. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with all of you as we prepare to launch a new statewide campaign promoting innovation and accessibility for all Hawaiians, Aloha for All!

Radioactive Gavin Interview with Gordon Fuller

Gordon Fuller Legally Blind Visionary

I recently found an interview from 2009 when I lived in Idaho and was advocating on behalf of the accessibility community there. The issues are the same, as are the villains, however the Obama administration hasn’t turned out to be as advertised. Sorry I had anything to do with it.

Here is a direct link to Gavins summary of the interview on his wordpress page,

http://radioactivegavin.wordpress.com/tag/gordon-fuller/

though the link seems to be broken or not work for me and he hasn’t posted anything new in a few years. Gavin is still active on his twitter page https://twitter.com/mythillogic
You need to visit Kauai brother!

Looking back now, I can see that my passion has not diminished, though I tend to use less expletives.
The contents of this link has been rated PG-13 for cussing out corporados. $@*#

Aloha!

   I am Gordon Fuller, the host of FUTURESENSE TV                                                              This is what I know about and this is what we talk about:
– promotion, innovation and development of sustainable industries for Hawaii
– stimulating entrepreneurship for job creation and social change
– advocacy and job creation for vulnerable citizens and accessible tourism
– start-up, IPO, turn-around, growth, merger and acquisition management
– new product design, engineering processes, research and development
– application prototyping, testing, redesign and manufacturing
– public companies, non-profits, government councils and commissions
– business, technology, strategic alliances, business development and sales
– media strategies for social enterprises and state government initiatives
– cloud computing, industry trends, social networking and Internet 2.0
– tele-health, medical IT, technologies and regulatory environment environment                   – corporate television, in-house advertising and business communications
– journalism, press, blogging, lobbying, conferencing and investor seminars
– feature films, broadcast television, video podcasting and streaming content
– Hawaii State Independent Living Council, DiverseAbility and Aging Disability
– accessible social networks and integration of peer communities in Hawaii
– media content systems, advanced telework, telehealth and independence
– civic engagement, peer mentoring, training/employment and aging-in-place
– commercial ISP, cable TV, 3D networks, video-on-demand and digital 3D
– disabilities, assistive technologies, policies, rights and indigenous peoples
– telecommunications, media technology, analysis, analytics and architecture

For submissions, program information and consultations call 808 636 7900