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Dear Jeff, Tim and Larry,

I am writing this letter on Father’s Day on behalf of all deaf and hard of hearing Americans.

Technology has made great strides in accessibility for deaf and hard of hearing Americans in the past 20 years in the form of closed-captioning and video relay services. As a deaf person and as a person who has spent over 50 years of his life in technology I am beginning to be concerned by the direction by your companies are taking with the latest in the technology you are creating such as Alexa, Siri and self-driving cars. All of these “new” technologies are voice-based, rather than being text-based, which is the primary means we communicate.

This is causing your companies to leave deaf and hard of hearing Americans behind and not be able to be first-class citizens like the rest of the population, if this trend continues.

The solutions are much simpler than you realize: for us to be able to type in commands, instead of requiring us to speak (which many of us do not do well or not able to do so); for us to understand spoken feedback, just convert it to text for us to be able to read; for podcasts, just create captioning for those, using technology that is readily available for captioning on television. For self-driving cars, just be sure we can type in commands and read text instead of spoken feedback from the cars.

This is a simple reminder to you all not to forget this segment of the population which contributes to the diversity and vitality of America as we know it today.

Thanks for “listening.”

Phil

Editorial #152: Dr. Z on How You Can Try ZVRS' Certified Interpreters?

Dr. Z has covered certified interpreters and how they differ from qualified interpreters. People have asked how they can try certified interpreters. There is a way! How? Just call ZVRS on your videophone (does not have to be a ZVRS phone, it can be a Sorenson, Purple or Convo videophone or software.) Just dial 888-888-1116, and then you will see a smiling interpreter on your screen. Go ahead and try us!

ZVRS prides itself as the ONLY video relay provider with 100% certified interpreters. No other VRS company can make this statement.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Editorial #151: Dr. Z on Certified and Qualified Interpreters

Dr. Z offers his view on certified and qualified interpreters. What is the difference between certified and qualified interpreters? This is explained in the video.

ZVRS prides itself as the ONLY video relay provider with 100% certified interpreters. No other VRS company can make this statement.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

(Dr. Z wants to apologize for the long absence since the last posting. He was sidelined due to medical reasons and is now back on his feet–100%!)

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

“Father of VRS” Ed Bosson and Family Home Lost in Texas Floods

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Dr. Z is saddened by the news of our “Father of VRS” Ed Bosson and his family…they lost their home in the recent floods in Texas. The entire VRS, telecommunications, deaf community and friends (including ZVRS) have done an Amish style barn-raising in the form of contributions to GoFundMe. (link). Any support they can receive will go a long way in restoring normalcy to their lives. Dr. Z and his wife, Judy have made a contribution.

Ed was the one who conceived the concept of VRS while he was an administrator at the Public Utility Commission of Texas in 1995 and he engineered 2 trials (in 1995 and 1999) which proved the concept of VRS. CSD in South Dakota took up his work and commercialized the service with the eventual support of the FCC; but it was Ed and the State of Texas who initially put up funds to prove the concept…for that, the entire deaf community thanks Ed big time!

For a video of their personal situation, click this link on iDeaf News.

Next week, the Austin-based staff of ZVRS will be rolling up their sleeves to help Ed and Lisa clean up their place.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Ed and Lisa.

Dr. Z

Editorial #150: Dr. Z on 100% Certified Interpreters

Dr. Z offers his view on certified interpreters. Why is certification important? This is explained in the video.

ZVRS prides itself as the ONLY video relay provider with 100% certified interpreters. No other VRS company can make this statement.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Dr. Z on Interpreter Appreciation Day (May 6, 2015)

Today is Interpreter Appreciation Day for our interpreters. Dr. Z wants to express his sincere appreciation for the great work they do via a video message.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Battery on Your iPhone--Making it Go Further? Dr. Z Has a Solution!

battery

Sometimes when you use your iPhone often, the battery runs down quickly. You want to charge and use it quickly again. It is easy if you can wait one hour! Here’s how…

1) Go into airplane mode
2) Use an iPad charger (not the iPhone charger)
3) Turn the iPhone off

In one hour, you will gain about 30-50%, in 2 hours, it will go over 75%!

Try this! Dr. Z is not responsible for those of you not using non-Apple chargers or non-Apple cables.

Here’s more info (link)

By the way, if you want something for your desktop, why not get Z5 MAX? Click this link.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Editorial #149--ALL 6 VRS Providers Ask FCC to Freeze Rates and Look Into Other Things

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A major accomplishment!

All 6 VRS providers got together and have submitted a filing to the FCC to freeze rates and look into other things. Dr. Z is pleased to see everyone working together–it is for the benefit of deaf and hard of hearing folks who use the service.

In addition to freezing rates, the providers are asking the FCC to look at the following:

-speed of answer (to come to a reasonable compromise on how they calculate and penalize speed of answer)
-skills based routing (to ask the FCC to allow specialized interpreters for things like legal and medical situations)
-use of deaf interpreters (to allow the use of deaf interpreters in situations where a native speaking ASL signer is in a call)

To read the filing, click this link.

By the way, if you want something for your desktop, why not get Z5 MAX? Click this link.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Editorial #148--Certified Interpreters? ZVRS Has 100% Certified Interpreters! What About the Others?

interpreting

When we are in court, we want our interpreters to be certified! When we have parent meetings at schools, we want our interpreters to be certified! When we see our doctor, we want to be sure our interpreter is certified! But some interpreters in the video relay industry are not certified. They are “qualified”, which is different from being certified. To be a certified interpreter, you have to take rigorous training and testing by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) or in some states where they require certified interpreters. All of ZVRS interpreters are certified–that is 100%! And ZVRS is proud of this!

The next time you make a relay call with any provider, ask the video interpreter if they are certified. If they say they are “qualified”, then it is different from being certified.

Why do we require certified interpreters in courts, hospitals and other places? We want to be sure we get the high quality service we deserve. Video relay is no different!

Thanks for listening to Dr. Z’s thoughts on this.

By the way, if you want something for your desktop, why not get Z5 MAX? Click this link.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development

Twitter--How to Learn and Use? --Great Info!

love twitter

Dr. Z continues to put his faith in Twitter. For some reason, deaf people relate more to Facebook, but not Twitter yet and Dr. Z is on a crusade to help the deaf community to look into and use Twitter more.

The last few posts have been nothing but Twitter. In this post, Dr.Z will let you look up a great website which has a lot of good info on Twitter. The problem with Twitter is that it is a bit longer to learn and get used to than Facebook, for example–but patience patience, you will be rewarded at the end for a wonderful tool and resource.

Here’s the link for a good resource on Twitter.

Enjoy!

By the way, if you want something for your desktop, why not get Z5 MAX? Click this link.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z (Philip W. Bravin) is associated with CSDVRS, currently its Vice-President of Business Development