Monthly Archives: May 2006

Something Chronic

After three years of “being useless”, I have been diagnosed as having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Whoohoo! Just what I needed – I can now say “SeeEffEss” (CFS) rather than saying “I suffer from constant, debilitating tiredness” – what a saving of words and effort!

On the negative side, the underlying cause is currently unknown.

The Invisible Eagle Eye Cam

I was sent a link to the Eagle Eye Cam, live footage of an Eagle’s nest. I only know that’s what it is, because I asked the sender of the message. What I see here on my browser – Firefox on Linux – is a large white patch on the page and lots of adverts.

I have gone out of my way to install RealPlayer and Flash media players on my system, but it appears that to see Eagles, one must be using a proprietary Microsoft product, only available for Microsoft platforms. Hey, what a great site it must be! Monopolistic and socially exclusive! Probably find that the Eagle signed a contract with MSN.

I’ll stick to looking out of the window at our resident kestrels (Ginger and Mrs Ginger), in their constant (but futile) attempts to control our local mouse population.

Another PHP Comment-despamming technique

Another method for de-spamming web log comments is illustrated in wordinbox.php. In this instance, a word is selected from a list; the user is asked to include the word in their post, the word being stripped automatically, when the form is submitted. It is assumed here that the word list used contains words with absolutely no relevance to the context in which they are used. The same could be done, incorporating relevant words into the text, obviating the need for stripping them later.

PHP Text Captcha

In the post A More Accessible Alternative to Graphical Capchas, I discussed a method of using a question/answer system for determining whether one is dealing with a human visitor or a naughty robot. The example was given in Perl, but I said that it would be easy to adapt for PHP. This wasn't entirely correct, as PHP has a different approach to arrays from Perl, but I have now done it.

I have posted an example implementation on this site, which also provides links to download the PHP source files.

Notes on the routine that does all the work are interspersed with the code in the file textcaptcha.php

So who’s got the problem?

It’s no longer BADD, but I’m only now getting to read some of the later posts, so comments will continue. The conclusion to Wampum: Jonah goes shopping has awoken a thought that has been drowsing in the back of my mind.

I’m still considering the possibility that they are even worse off, with what ever their children/casual-contact/instant-hostility disorder is, than Jonah, who is generally happy, except when he isn’t.

Hmm. These disabilist people (and all the other race/sex/etc ists) – they obviously have a problem. They are obviously poorly “soclialised”, to be displaying behaviour like this. Do they, themselves, not have a disability?

This is not a statement of my opinion – it really is a question (mostly to myself) which needs to be considered.

When will you get better?

I thought that I had finished my BADD writings until, going through the links from Diary of a Goldfish (from whence BADD emerged), I chanced on a post that struck a chord with me.

The writer of Croneway describes a situation where she is always asked: “when are you going to get better?”

I suffer – or at least would suffer – from severe sleep apnoea; when the condition was untreated, my life was sheer hell. Now I sleep hooked up to a CPAP machine, a little air compressor that keeps my airway open as I sleep. If I did not use this machine, I would be looking at all sorts of problems, not being able to drive, operate power tools, use ladders being the least of them, a somewhat reduced life expectancy being at the other end of the list. People know I use CPAP but don’t seem to understand the concept of “have to use it forever”, so I keep getting asked “do you still use that machine thing at night?”

I get the feeling that this may be a common experience for those with any form of disability or ongoing medical condition – people might ask you about it, but rarely to they listen.

BADD Happenings

Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) is underway, it would seem, all over the world.

It looks like Tony Ferguson’s post would qualify as the earliest (as found through Technorati tags: Against Disablism), with the post coming in just after midnight in Tony’s local timezone. I posted earlier, globally speaking, but it was seven in the morning for me. There is an earlier post from Japan but, as it just consists of a link back to Diary of a Goldfish (the foundation of BADD), I don’t qualify it as a posting, per se.

Let the good work continue, folks!

Is failure to recognise disability, in itself, disablism? (Discuss)

Back in 2003, I was involved in a project, where I was acting as convenor/facilitator as well as software developer (never again!). Since it is a passion of mine, and also matched the agenda of one of the (government) stakeholders, social inclusion was one of the core project values.

To further the element of social inclusion in the project, I proposed and co-facilitated a community consultation which we called the “Accessibility Focus Forum”. This objective of this forum was to examine issues faced by people with disabilities, living in a rural area, and promote networking between the interested parties.

One of the issues I wanted to see raised at the forum is one that I would like to address again here: the term “people with disabilities” often fails to be inclusive of non “classical” disabilites (sensory, mobility, etc.), such as CFS / Fibromyalgia, despite the fact that these fit the UN definition of a disability.

Disability: Any restriction or lack of ability to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.

Is, therefore, a non-inclusive definition of disability, a form of disablism?

Continue reading

Food for Thought: Disabled Semantics

The word ‘disabled’ can be thought of in two different ways. When talking about people, we tend to say “he is disabled” (disabled as adjective). In technology, however, we tend to talk about disabling things (disabled from the verb “to disable”).

Let’s look at this closer: “he is disabled” tends to imply that there is something wrong with the subject. “He has been disabled” implies that some external factor has caused inconvenience to the subject. But we could be looking at only one subject, from two different viewpoints.

Nothing profound here; differing viewpoints are why we have the medical model of disability (the “he is disabled” model) and the social model of disability (“he has been disabled”).

And here we come to the core of disablism: different viewpoints. Fighting disablism entails changing the perception; to do this, people have to be led to ask (and understand) the question “is it something that he is, or is it something that has been done to him?”