Thursday, June 19, 2008

Of feed aggregators, hypocrisy, and choices.

Mike of Kokonut Pundit made an interesting observation on the double-standards that are beig perpetuated by individuals against Deaf Village's rule #5 (which states that video blogs, 'vlogs,' are required to have captions/subtitles or a transcript.)

In addition to covering the hypocrisy of bloggers that are against this rule demanding that text only blogs also provide ASL translations (even though they themselves don't bother to do so,) he points out that;

"Deaf Village's target audience isn't only just Deaf people but people with heairng loss from all stripes and those who want to learn more about deafness and read about deaf/hh people experiences."

THIS is what I will address.

According to Wikipedia, a feed aggregator, also known as a feed reader, news reader or simply as an aggregator, is client software or a Web application which aggregates (gathers) syndicated web content such as news headlines, blogs, podcasts, and vlogs in a single location for easy viewing.

Aggregators typically target a specific audience. There are aggregators for democrats, and those for republicans. Aggregators for catholics, buddhists, muslims, and athiests. You'll find aggregators that target golfers, mortgage brokers, or those in the movie industry, and there are aggregators for different disabilities/cultural segments of society.

People gravitate to a specific feed aggregator because they have expectations on what the content they will be served will consist of.

You wouldn't expect to read a blog expounding creationism on an aggregator that targets scientists who study genetics or evolution.

You wouldn't expect to read a blog about why people should vote for John McCain on an aggregator for Barack Obama supporters.

You wouldn't expect an aggregator targeting hunting/shooting enthusiasts to include blogs written by people who want to outlaw firearms, or disband the NRA.

Nor would you expect to come across an ASL-based blog with no translation in an aggregator that promises to ensure that every blog/vlog is accessible via written English.

Deaf Village (DV) TARGETS a specific grouping of individuals (just like DVTV targets those who vlog in sign - indeed there's been a call to actually ban any blogs that include speaking & captions,) and that targeted audience is promised that they will be able to understand all blogs listed in the DV aggregator. Equal Access is what DV is founded on - the premise that everybody should have the ability to read and understand any blog/vlog that is listed.

I peruse DeafRead, (an aggregator for d/Deaf blogs and vlogs) and there have been many many occasions where I have had to simply close a vlog that was in ASL because I couldn't understand it. Often I'd wonder just what message I had missed, and wished that at the very least, they could have provided a transcript of their discussions. Now I can understand if those vloggers only WANT people who have a total understanding of ASL to view their vlogs. That's fine by me. What bothers me is when those who have that preference cry discrimination because they can't be included in a aggregator that targets a different audience than they do.

Since aggregators typically target specific individuals who are seeking news/information/banter about specific concepts or ideas, the very thought of ASL vlogs without translation in an aggregator promising English text accessibility is absurd.

Now when you consider the act that spurred the creation of Deaf Village - the removal of Rachel of Cochlear Implant Online from the DeafRead aggregator (which I covered in previous entries here and here,) was more because of her stance on the advantages of CI's and AVT than any (supposed) commercial gain/link, it stands to reason that a good majority of bloggers/vloggers who are members of DV also share, if not the same goals as Rachel, at least the concept that discrimination against an individual because the subject matter of their blog is wrong. Especially when this discrimination is hidden in the assertion that it is enforcement of a 'rule' that has been selectively applied.

As such, I hope that a good number of PARENTS of deaf children will stumble across Deaf Village, and its supportive environment, and discover that even though they don't know sign/ASL, they will be able to understand the information provided in the various blogs/vlogs that make up the site. THIS is the kind of equal-access that the DV owners/moderators espouse. After all, English is the common denominator when it comes to accessibility and understanding in our part of the world. Indeed, with the exception of DVTV, all comment systems on blogs are text-based, and as of yet I've not seen/heard anybody complain that its a hardship to make a comment in English. Nor should it be a hardship to in the very least provide a transcript for a vlog - and this goes for vlogs that are spoken only, or cued, etc - so that *everybody* can enjoy the content of every b/vlog offered.

So its simple - if you WANT your deaf/Deaf/AVT/cued speech/ASL/hh/CI/etc blog or vlog to reach the largest audience possible, then DV is for you. If that's not what your needs/wants are, then there are other aggregators available. Having the freedom to make that choice is wonderful, isn't it?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Carbon taxes - stimulate THIS!!!!

This is a've been warned.

Hot on the heels of the US economic stimulus rebates, the British Columbia government announced that it will be giving every British Columbian - man, woman, and child, a one-time $100 "Climate Action Dividend" just prior to implementing their new carbon taxation scheme.

Spearheaded by B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor, the dividend is being funded by last year's fiscal surplus, and Taylor hopes people will spend the money on reducing their greenhouse gases, and implementing "environmentally friendly" behavior (like buying a bus pass, weather stripping, or CFL's.)

The carbon tax will be charged at the rate of $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide emissions, for gasoline and home-heating fuel, and kicks off July 1.


We're already paying $1.45/liter for gasoline here in Nanaimo, ($5.49/gallon for you US readers,) and its just going to keep going up, THEN you add the new carbon tax on top of all the taxes we already pay(7% provincial, 5% GST) ....will it ever end?

So, they're giving us back $100 of our own money, then raising the taxes to get it back...(Taylor estimates the average British Columbian will end up spending $60/year.) As my Mother put it, "Its like winning $2 on a $10 lottery ticket."

When you consider that so many people still argue that "Climate Change/Global Warming" is nothing but hype (check out kokonut pundit's blog for EXCELLENT discourse on this subject here, here and also here )

Those that promote global warming and tell everyone who doesn't believe them to shut up, should read a little bit. Not 20 years ago, in 1974, TIME magazine warned of a coming ice age.

"In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." -- Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day (1970)

Heck even MARS is undergoing global humans there, but yet in the face of all this they are still using global warming and environmental "carbon taxes" to take more money out of our pockets.

If they REALLY wanted to do something about the environment, they'd do away with the stupid tax and use the money that is being spent on this "dividend cheque" (approx $440 million - and another $10 million to print and deliver them,) on incentives for developing greener energy, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, building more fuel efficient vehicles, etc.

Its just more of the same..they give us a little incentive, then reach in our back pocket and take out MORE than they gave us (again of our own money.) Its like how the Canadian government reduced the Goods and Services (GST) tax by one percent in July, 2006, then turned around and raised income taxes to offset the GST cut!!! So instead of paying SOME taxes on goods and services (which I can pick and chose) I end up paying a blanket tax on my income which gets the government MORE money in the long run.

Its enough to make your head spin.

So what are YOU going to do with your $100? At the rate things are going, by the time I get my cheque I might be able to buy a liter of gas.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Deaf Village - We Want You!!!

In the village,
Yes, friends across the seven seas
In the village,
Yes, you can put your mind at ease
In the village,
Come on now, people, make a stand
In the village, in the village!

In the village,
Can't you see we need a hand
In the village
Come on, blogging is so grand
In the village
Come on and join your fellow man
In the village,
Come on people, and make a stand
In the village, in the village!

We want you, we want you
We want you as a new recruit!!


I'm honored to announce that I've joined a group of amazing people who are coming together to form a new aggregator called Deaf Village.

A village is a place where people can be comfortable, usually sharing the same goals, and striving to develop a feeling of respect, trust, and camaraderie.The phrase "It takes a Village" was never more appropriate, as deafness is not ethnocentric. There are so many different academic approaches, communication styles, and individual contributions that make it a humungous melting pot.

I hope you will join me in thanking the developers, moderators, and contributing blogs of this wonderful new all-inclusive aggregator. I think it is just what the deaf community needs right now, and will allow everybody to share their blogging experiences without fear of censorship and silly-putty rules. The only rule is the GOLDEN RULE, which is simple, "Treat others as you would like to be treated."

I look forward to reading all the wonderful blogs encompasing all aspects of deaf life, Deaf Culture, ASL, CI's, AVT, cuing, deaf education, and everything in-between.

I happily proclaim myself one of the Village People! Hang on tight -its going to be a wild ride!!!

Obligatory YMCA photo here...couldn't resist - the song's been running through my head all day!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Adieu, adieu, to you, and you and you!

I think the song "So long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music is appropriate.....

And, well, it seems that the "slippery slope" that I predicted in my last post becoming a reality, and the latest victim is Rachel of CochlearImplantOnline. Rachel is one of the first children to be implanted with a CI, and has been thriving. She's a very outspoken, opinionated and extremely intelligent young lady who has been sharing her experiences and her blog is a gold mine of information for anyone interested in CI's, implanted children, AVT, deafness, and personal confidence. Unfortunately the fact that she's also a volunteer with the Cochlear Awareness Network (CAN) and even declared that she is back in April, has given cause for the DeafRead Gods to decide that she's a commercial enterprise who gets monetary gain from her blog (which is 100% incorrect!) and therefore was summarily removed from the DR blog aggregator without so much as a by-your-leave.

It seems that the DeafRead mods think that because CAN is affiliated with CochlearAmericas, she must be a paid lackey. Indeed, Taylor has even stated that because her blog promotes "awareness", such can be considered MARKETING (I kid you not - you can see his post in the replies on Anonymous Deaf Law Student's recent blog regarding this.)

Since I promote AWARENESS of many things regarding my CI experiences, the equipment I use, the knowledge I have gained from others and through my own adventures, I guess I too am "marketing" the Cochlear brand.

I don't feel I really need to post much else about the matter, as its stirred up a shitstorm (pardon my french, but there's no other way to describe the current conditions,) and it has been blogged to *perfection* on the following sites. I really couldn't say anything that hasn't already been said by these individuals, without echoing what they've posted, and making it sound like more of the same. To them I, I take my hat of and say, Well Done!!!

Kokonut Pundit

Living the Questions

Tales from a CI Gal

The ASL-Cochlear Implant Community

The Ambling Rambler

Patoie's Green Couch

Anonymous Deaf Law Student

Chronicles of a Bionic Woman


Sam Spritzer's blog

If you've written something about this subject and I've failed to include you, its not intentional. I'd love to know, and you're more than welcome to include blog links in the comments so everyone else can find you!

Koko - yes your devilish plan is working splendiferously!! *grin*

So to DeafRead I bid adieu. Please bookmark my blog, and you'll be able to find me easily enough.

Have a great summer's day!