Pocket Perspective: An Article by Red Szell

Reading A Newspaper On In Your Pocket

Back to full power after his Covid vaccine, Red has taken a moment to reflect on how his confidence has grown in using new technology thanks to the time he has spent using RealSam devices. We’ll start working on how to order your tea and digestives on Pocket @RedSzell!

Fortunately, my post-vaccination sojourn in bed was as short-lived as my research on my RealSam devices had said it would be.

Feeling as rotten as I did for a couple of days afterwards, I was really glad that all the information I needed was just a simple voice command away. And with both Pocket and my RealSam Google Home speaker by my bed, that I had a wealth of radio stations, newspapers, magazines, books and podcasts to keep me entertained while I recuperated. I couldn’t help thinking that if this was a mild dose of Covid-19, then I was glad to be protecting myself against its full force.

But as I began to feel better, it was also good to have some time to reflect. A year ago, had I been laid up in bed for a couple of days, I would have had the radio for company. However, because it sits on a chest of drawers on the other side of the room and doesn’t have a remote control, I would have been stuck with a single station, unless I felt up to getting out of bed to change channel, or switch it off.

Of course, my iPhone could have provided me with many of the same features that my Pocket and RealSam Google Home speaker give me, but last year I was still very much a digital novice, and to be perfectly honest, I felt intimidated by the sheer number and complexity of apps on offer. Also, with Apple there’s always the worry that I might inadvertently be signing up for a service I have to pay for or handing over large amounts of my personal or biometric data for the privilege of downloading an app that doesn’t turn out to be that accessible after all; and then there’s the constant headache of Apple updates which always seem to require me to sign in all over again!

So, I have found the simplicity and transparency of using my RealSam devices reassuring. More than that, through using my Pocket in particular, I have rediscovered my appetite for learning new skills. Because Pocket is at heart a stripped-down Smartphone with just the apps that blind and partially sighted people need in everyday life, it has allowed me to focus on getting to grips with the technology. And as I use them more, so my confidence to explore other accessible software has grown; so, I’m now happily getting to grips with new audio editing software at work and exploring more of the functions of the NVDA screen-reader program that I use on my laptop at home.

Getting back on the front foot feels good. After years of feeling like I was running to keep up with my sighted peers as I fought a losing battle against my failing sight, it is a relief to find that every day I use the assistive technology on offer I get a little faster, make a bit more progress, and feel more comfortable in my non-visual world.

If only Pocket could make me a cup of tea and bring me more chocolate digestives I could have stayed in bed forever!

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