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I am 71 years old. While I am fortunate to sill be in generally good health and fully able to do the things that I want to do, the process of ageing slowly requires me to do many of those things in a somewhat different way than I did them in the past. I spend a good part of my day on a computer and much of that time at Daily Kos. I have found it necessary to make a number of adaptations to the way that I use computers and have found various pieces of equipment that have been helpful. It is an ongoing process.

A couple of weeks ago this diary was posted. It raises concerns and issues about mobile app development in the next version of the Daily Kos software. In participating in the discussion there were several comments from users in my general age range who were raising issues about accessibility problems they were having in computer use, particularly with phones and tablets. Some of them were problems that I had experienced. I shared a couple of things that I had found useful and a couple of people thought they sounded worth investigating. I also remember when the conversion from DK3 to DK4 was underway there were issues about accessibility that came up. The average age of regular Daily Kos users appears to be older than the general population.

After that diary it occurred to me that it might be useful to have some sort of regular diary series where people could share problems and practical adaptions dealing with computer accessibility. It would probably be helpful to give an example of the kind of thing I am talking about. When I start the day I am quite comfortable sitting at my desktop computer with its 26 in monitor and full size keyboard. However, as the day wears on and I go for my bike ride, my ageing back becomes increasingly cranky. Some days sitting in a chair becomes very uncomfortable by late afternoon and I am much better off lying down. BUT the fate of the entire world depends on my being on top of the discussion at Daily Kos! My smart phone is ok for reading on the site, but I can't manage posting comments from it and I certainly couldn't write a diary on it.

So, I bought some new gadgets, a 14 in Chromebook and a special folding table to put it on when I am lying down. Here is what the arrangement looks like.

It can do a bunch of different contortions that make it adaptable to different situations. In the diary about mobile apps there were a couple of people who said that they were unable to use tablets and smart phones because of severe arthritis. Their hands couldn't hold them for any length of time and their shoulders and neck hurt from hunching over them. I suggested this table as something that they might be able to put a tablet on if they had a need to use one.

The types of things that people run into most fall under the headings of visual problems and muscular-skeletal difficulties. From late middle age onward almost everybody begins to experience change. Often the first pair of bifocals coincides with the first mailing from AARP. I well remember the shock of those twin events. However, I keep finding ways to keep at it and keep healthy.

I'd like to see if there is any interest in such a series. What I have in mind is keeping it simple and practical. The heavy duty techies who want to get into esoteric technical discussions would need to be politely pointed elsewhere. Obviously problems that people are having specifically on Daily Kos are of interest, but there are a lot of issues that apply to general online usage. Those are my general thoughts about it. I'd like to hear from people about whether there is an interest in something like this and ideas of what other people think might be useful and helpful.    


Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Tue Apr 15, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Cranky Users.

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