Wednesday 11 February 2015

Deaf Girly and modern technology

Today I was able to do the most fabulous thing – chat to one of my best friends Miss K who lives in South Africa over FaceTime and, with the help of my pink POP phone handset, I was able to follow everything.

Amazing huh?

What I am a bit horrified about however, is that Miss K has lived in South Africa for three years now and that was the first time I had FaceTimed her. You see, after spending most of my adult life unable to use the phone, I still forget that I can call people over FaceTime and actually 'hear' (OK, lipread) them, thanks to the perfectly matched picture and sound.

I am still amazed that I can follow what is going on, after years of simply pretending.

For example, when I was a teenager, one of my good friends used to call me on the phone on my birthday every year for a chat. He was from Kent and had a very strong accent that I found hard enough to understand in person, let alone on the telephone. He'd call up and we'd chat for an hour, with me guessing the whole time what he might be saying. By the end of the hour I was absolutely exhausted and also slightly nervous that I'd said something random, answered something wrong, or he thought I was completely mad. I have no idea why I didn't just not have that phone call with him. But that was back in the 90s when email wasn't the norm and I was still years away from getting my first mobile phone.

Looking back, I cannot imagine how I would have got by as an adult in the 90s. With crap internet and the main form of communication for everyone being the phone. I think there would have been a massive chance that I would have lost contact with a lot of people. Or just had totally misunderstood phone conversations with them a lot of the time.

I feel so lucky that I live in a time where technology makes things easier. Where restaurants and hair appointments can be booked online, where texts can be sent in the place of phone calls and emails are a perfectly acceptable. Where I can call my friend, over the internet and lipread what she is saying for free. Where there are apps for song lyrics, subtitles on most things and a world where I know longer have to fight with plugging in the caption reader.

Anyone else end up in a rage about the amazing puzzle of wires needed to get those words up on the screen?

I can still remember the look of horror on my friends' parents' faces when I showed up for sleepovers armed with my Caption Reader and proceeded to trash their carefully set up TVs just so I could watch a video. And even then you had to make sure that the video in question had the CC symbol on the side, which back in the 90s was also a rarity.

I think that also explains why I don't really watch movies. I forget that I can. They never really became an integral part of my life. I'm missing a huge chunk of movie education. And the last new release I saw at the cinema was Sex & The City 2.

So I've made a pact with myself. I'm going to remind myself that modern technology makes lots of things possible that I forget about. I'm going to FaceTime more, watch movies with subtitles more and generally see if  I can embrace all the things I learnt to live without but no longer need to.

I'm on a mission.

Starting with another FaceTime conversation with Miss K very soon.



Craig Grummitt said...

Hi @deafgirly, speaking of technology for the deaf you might be interested in a subtitles app I've put together - Would love your feedback. Enjoy!

Me said...

Hi Craig,
Thanks for your comment – I have this app and really like it. I wrote about it last week for my reviews site, which is linked to my blog here:
I've only watched two things so far using the app but it's a great idea. Looking forward to trialling it at the cinema. Best wishes DG

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