Let's talk tech, what gadgets and gizmos do you like the most? — Scope | Disability forum
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Let's talk tech, what gadgets and gizmos do you like the most?

Ross_Scope
Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

Scope community team

edited September 2020 in Coffee lounge
Hello :) 

I hope you are having a lovely day whatever part of the country you are in. The weather is chilly and wet where I am so it's definitely not a day for going outside!

Technology can be quite a contentious subject. Some people willingly embrace it and use it in as many aspects of their lives as possible, some people prefer not to rely on it and stick to what they are used to, and others would gladly welcome it into their lives but aren't sure how to do so or how all the new fancy gadgets work.

I would put myself in that first category, I love the many ways in which technology has made certain parts of my day quicker and easier, and I appreciate the convenience it offers. 

Whatever your relationship with technology, everyone uses it to some degree, and it can be a massive help for disabled people and enable them to do tasks they would otherwise struggle with. So I'm curious what gadget or gizmo you get the most use out of and couldn't imagine going a day without? Whether it be your phone, laptop, smart watch or robot cleaner (yes, they're a thing :D). 

For me it's my smart speakers. For those who don't know, a smart speaker, like Alexa or Google Home, is essentially a voice controlled assistant that lives inside a speaker in your home. You can use them to be told the weather, news, play games and research random questions that pop into your head. I use the Google variant and currently have four speakers in the place where I live, I love the ease at which I can get certain information in an instant, whereas if I manually used my phone to look it up it would take me much longer due to my visual impairment.

What's your favourite piece of technology? And is there anything particular you don't have but would love to get? Also, how does technology help you, or loved ones, with your disability? Looking forward to talking tech with you all :) 
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Comments

  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,614 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    I think it is really good that you have a use for a piece of technology that is not just a gimmick but a really useful tool. For most people a smart speaker is just a gimmick but I can see how the technology is invaluable to you. :smiley:

    Personally I have a laptop and a smart phone and I like technology when it works but, as it often doesn’t work, I don’t like becoming dependant on it. I wish the technology companies would focus on fixing bugs and testing their existing products rather than producing more novel but unreliable features!

    I guess I use technology to aid with my “disability” because I find it hard communicating with people on the phone and in real life but I can write a good email so I use that to communicate with people when it is an option. I also do a little bit of online shopping and banking and all that stuff, which is useful to me.

    I have a lot of respect for the company Apple. They try to make their products accessible to disabled people even though it costs them more than the profits they get from selling to the few disabled people who buy the products. CEO Tim Cook seems committed to this. A few years ago at a shareholder meeting he was asked if he thought it was a good idea to forget about accessibility and focus solely on profit and he got very irate and swore at the person who asked the question! He also suggested that anyone who was in Apple stock solely for the money get out of the stock!! (A very unusual thing to say to shareholders.)
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

    Scope community team

    I agree with that @66Mustang, it does seem at times as though the larger companies are pushing so many new products and services that they forget to implement a good user experience. The amount of bugs that go unfixed is ridiculous. As much as I use their stuff, Google is awfully guilty of this. 

    I do think Apple are one of the better organisations for accessibility as you say, I suppose the only downside is that their hardware is generally more expensive than the competition. Although to some it's worth those extra pennies :)  What a rude question to ask, I bet whoever asked Tim Cook that wasn't invited to the next meeting. 

    I'm glad that emails are a good way for you to communicate, they can eliminate some of the barriers presented by the more traditional ways of sending and receiving mail. Is there any particular email provider you find most accessible? 
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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,614 Disability Gamechanger
    I agree that Apple aren’t the cheapest but I’ve found that if you can save up a bit more for the upfront cost they last longer and cost less in the long run. They also come with quite a lot as standard - as an example you get office software for free and you don’t need any antivirus on a Mac. That said, I may be a bit outdated now as I haven’t used Windows for a while. Maybe they have changed!

    I’m going to bang Apple’s drum again and say iCloud is my favourite email provider. Among other things the address is short (4 digits _ _ _ [email protected]) so it is quicker to give out to people, as social contact is really awkward for me! :D That said, I have a gmail account too and that is good! I don’t have any physical accessibility issues so can’t comment on those as I am fortunate to not have had to make use of them.

    Out of curiosity do you have an email provider you find is especially good for people with visual impairment?
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 5,291 Disability Gamechanger
    My son gave me an Apple product and though I’ve had some fun on it I must say that I’ve also spent thousands of hours on it too. What I would have done with those hours instead is anyone’s guess so I can’t say with hand on heart that I have wasted my time.

    its also a lifeline in many ways, after all without it I wouldn’t be talking to friends on scope. ?

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  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,219 Disability Gamechanger
    I had my first laptop from my then employer for work, in 1995 it cost over £3000, ever since I have had my own desktop or laptop and I do ok with them as long as I keep it simple ! What I don't like are all the Apps, so I don't have a single one.
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  • Topkitten
    Topkitten Member Posts: 1,285 Pioneering
    Currently I use a gaming laptop but have a more ordinary older one as a spare. Also I have a smartphone and 2 or 3 spares, 3 10 inch tablets and a 7 inch one for reading, 3 Alexa units (no long used though), Smart TV, all sorts of network stuff including a way to run it through electric cabling (also no longer used) and I am always the first call for my children, for mum (when she was alive) and even ex-wives when computer problems occur, lol!

    I worked in the Computer Industry for almost 25 years doing everything from programming to project management and I always built my own computers ever since my first CP/M machine I housed in a bodged wooden box :smile: My first PC was later and a super fast 286-12 with 32k ram, lol! One thing I never lost until recently was keeping up with tech until the last few years. Knowing now how many path structures and what types they are is fairly irrelevant and most people wouldn't understand me if I described them. In fact my son's college teacher told him off for using  some information I gave him regarding processor structure and then apologized to my son a week later after he realized that what I'd said was correct. It's a shame that people no longer want to be bothered with the underlying structure of these daily items (like knowing that all Google based phones and tablets are based on Linux). Why Linux not Unix? Linux is free.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,300 Disability Gamechanger
    I have all the usual like laptop, smart phone, alexa speaker, smart Tv and so on. I would really be lost without my phone and wonder what we ever did without a mobile

    But as for helping with my disability I find the one cup water boilers really useful, means I dont have to lift hot kettle and pour out as I am visually impaired and in wheelchair so worktop too high etc
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

    Scope community team

    edited September 2020
    @66Mustang
    I think the big benefit with Apple is that they update their devices for longer. Particularly with their phones and tablets, which as you say makes them last longer. With Samsung, Google and the other giants you don't tend to get as many software and security updates.

    I use Gmail mostly. I prefer to manage my email from my phone because it is the simplest way for me and the screen reader works well. I use Gmail because it's simple to use, visually straight forward and has a dark mode built in. I have Yahoo accounts set up through Gmail as well so it's good that I can manage everything from one app. Outlook is a close second.

    What is the Apple device you have @leeCal if you don't mind me asking? I'm glad it's enabled you to join in on Scope :) 

    That was a very expensive laptop you got back then @woodbine :D 

    Thanks for sharing @Topkitten :) how come you don't use your Alexa devices anymore? And yeah it is a shame that people don't know some of the things you mentioned there, even the teacher of your son. I use a Chromebook fairly often which is a Google device and is based off Linux. Linux is a very interesting, flexible platform.

    I also have a one cup kettle for the same reason @janer1967 , they are so useful aren't they? I'm still getting used to what setting to put it on for smaller mugs so I don't overflow it, but other than that it's a fantastic tool to have. Do you get a lot of use out of your Alexa device? 



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  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    We have 4 Alexa's in our home, granted 3 of them are mine!  :D

    I use it all the time, for reminders, alarms, music, audio books, just to name a few! I agree, that from a visually impaired perspective they are amazing!
    Scope

  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

    Scope community team

    I seem to be the only one who prefers google Home :D 

    Yes they are so very helpful for all those things @Chloe_Scope, I love just being able to shout a song at Google and have it played right away :D 

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  • Cher_Inactive
    Cher_Inactive Posts: 4,412

    Scope community team

    edited September 2020
    We have 2 Alexa's and I agree they are really useful! 

    My favourite gadget is my iPad for watching programmes around the house when my partner is hogging the TV watching sport  :D or my coffee machine.  I've saved so much money on takeaway coffee's since buying it.
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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,614 Disability Gamechanger
    Topkitten said:
    I worked in the Computer Industry for almost 25 years doing everything from programming to project management and I always built my own computers ever since my first CP/M machine I housed in a bodged wooden box :smile: My first PC was later and a super fast 286-12 with 32k ram, lol!
    I find it interesting how the specifications evolve and get better over time. My first computer had a massive 4GB hard drive. (I’m sure you had an earlier PC where even less than that was considered a lot!) Today most computers have more than 4GB as RAM. So does that mean a modern PC could run the entire contents of my first PC without ever having to close anything down? :D
  • janer1967
    janer1967 Member Posts: 15,300 Disability Gamechanger
    @Ross_Scope get bigger cups lol I keep mine on same setting 

    I mainly use Alexa for music and asking questions and my son is always asking her to fart which is quite funny lol sorry just my sense of humour 
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,736 Disability Gamechanger
    I don't really have any modern gadgets at home which seems a little odd for someone of my age now I think about it!  :#

    No smart speaker, smart TV or tablet etc.  I do have a smart phone and an old laptop but I'm not really sure they count as gadgets! 

    I do like tech in cars though...cruise control is one thing that massively helps me continue to drive with my conditions, can't imagine driving a car without it now!
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

    Scope community team

    That's certainly one hilarious use for Alexa @janer1967 :D They are so convenient for asking questions aren't they? I have a Google speaker in every room and I always have random questions that pop into my head as I make my way around the house. Google has provided me with several of my jokes in the jokes thread :D 

    Of course a smartphone and laptop count @OverlyAnxious, thanks for sharing :) I'm glad that cruise control has benefited you so much! 


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  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 6,614 Disability Gamechanger
    I do like tech in cars though...cruise control is one thing that massively helps me continue to drive with my conditions, can't imagine driving a car without it now!
    I was never really into tech in cars but after having certain technology I don’t know if I could do without it now!
     
    My car has a feature where if you come off the brake pedal it holds the brakes for 3 seconds or until you pull away - nice for a hill start. I’ve now almost forgotten how to use the handbrake as the car tells you off if you use it while moving/trying to move i.e. for a hill start so I don’t know what I’ll do if I get back into a car without the feature now :D
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 6,789

    Scope community team

    The AI is clearly taking over @66Mustang :D 
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  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,736 Disability Gamechanger
    66Mustang said:
    I do like tech in cars though...cruise control is one thing that massively helps me continue to drive with my conditions, can't imagine driving a car without it now!
    I was never really into tech in cars but after having certain technology I don’t know if I could do without it now!
     
    My car has a feature where if you come off the brake pedal it holds the brakes for 3 seconds or until you pull away - nice for a hill start. I’ve now almost forgotten how to use the handbrake as the car tells you off if you use it while moving/trying to move i.e. for a hill start so I don’t know what I’ll do if I get back into a car without the feature now :D
    Haha, yes Hill Start Assist!  Have you got an electronic handbrake or the conventional lever?  I haven't had a car with an electronic handbrake yet, but it's looking very likely for my next car...I'm sure that'll take some getting used to after 10 years of a mechanical lever!  :D


  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 741 Pioneering
    I didn't  know about the swearing Apple c,e.o. Good for him!
    Years back when computers were a new idea,  but out of reach in cost, I was interested to at least  find out something concerning them, so I went to an evening class on programming.  They were a little clique who excluded newcomers, refused access to the handful of screens, and went off to the pub, so luckily I could figure out most of the course from the textbook!

    Now, I use my ancient tablet but haven't the confidence to try my all singing laptop,  bought mainly to take dictation when my hands don't  like typing.  Precovid,  I tried and tried to hire a secretary or somehow get a hand-holder.  I can do barely anything techno related,  it all intimidates  me (even though any 2 year old isn't  scared).  It's  like putting someone in a plane cockpit and telling them it's  easy to drive.  With modern planes, I don't  doubt it. But Im not going to attempt take off!
  • Cress
    Cress Member Posts: 1,012 Pioneering
    I love my ipad...would never go back to using PC or laptop...and I dont need to try and fit a desk and chair anywhere to accommodate it.
    Completely useless with tech..when I got my first PC I remember getting endless pop ups asking is such a thing secure? Or such a thing is trying to gain access is that ok?
    How the hell would I know!?
    No more scanning for viruses and waiting an age for it to boot up and update each day...lol

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