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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

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

boson

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

Happy New Year, Simply Stated from Dr. Z!

hny2015

Editorial #93: Clarifications on 800/866 Numbers-Answering Your Questions

Dr. Z has been getting a lot of questions/inquiries about the FCC’s ruling on 800/866 numbers. He will try to clarify this here.

Q. Does that mean without 800/866 numbers, I will have to pay for VRS and VP calls from my local number?
A. The answer is NO. There will be no cost for outgoing VP or VRS calls. You will NOT be billed for any VP or VRS calls you make. You are already paying for the service today by paying for your monthly internet service (Comcast, RoadRunner, DSL, etc.) Your monthly internet service is your “phone bill.”

Q. Why did we have 800/866 service in the first place? Why was it “free”?
A. 800/866 numbers are free for hearing people to call you. That is the only reason for the “free” part. Now with a local number, the hearing people calling you will have to pay for a long distance call. BUT, since most hearing people have cell phones–cell phone plans do not have a long distance surcharge so that would not matter too much.

Q. Will I get a new bill for local numbers?
A. There will be no new bill. Everything will remain the same for you.

Q. What if I do not change from a 800/866 number to a local number?
A. In one year, people will not be able to reach you on your 800/866 number, unless you pay for the 800/866 number.

Q. If I want to keep my 800/866 number, what should I do?
A. Your videophone company will make arrangements to have you pay for the number. It will be a few dollars per month to have a 800/866 number.

Please take the time to change your 800/866 numbers to local numbers. ZVRS customer service can help you if you wish, by sending an email to help@zvrs.com (click the … to avoid mail spam) or calling ZVRS on VP# 866-932-7891.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclaimer: Dr. Z is currently the Vice-President of Marketing at CSDVRS, LLC.

Editorial #73-Connecting Everywhere with Choice --Which VRS Provider Does This?

Come to think of it…look at the VRS landscape…

Look at every VRS provider…

Look at ZVRS…

Make a comparision…

ZVRS has enabled video communication on…let’s count…10 devices (iPhone4, iPod Touch, T-Mobile MyTouch, Samsung Epic, Samsung Tab, Z-150, PC, Mac, Z-Ojo and the Z-340)…with much more on the way…

No other VRS provider comes close! This is all about choice…ZVRS gives the deaf and hard of hearing consumer a choice, with quality video communication and interpreters…

The rest is history…

Get a Z-life…this means you get connected everywhere, anyplace with any device you want!

Dr. Z cares about your communication access.

Disclosure: Dr. Z is a contractor working with CSDVRS on several projects.

What is an Eco-System--Apple and Google?

Many people wonder what the term “eco-system” refers to?

It means devices in a family of products work together in many more ways than one. To use the Apple eco-system as an example–you have the Mac (computer), iPhone 4 ( mobile device), iPod Touch (mobile system) and the Apple TV (TV interface). All of these units work to exchange information. You can have the Mac taking information from the iPod, and then show it on a TV using Apple TV. Or you can use Facetime on the Mac to communicate with an iPod or an iPhone.

Dr. Z on his tour has demonstrated the Apple eco-system and people walk away awed at the possibility of how technology can change our lives in so short a time. Apple has thought everything out and this is only the beginning.

This is not to ignore Google. Google has their Android system– the Android mobile phones, their Chrome browser, their Google TV. They are still putting the pieces together to communicate seamlessly. Dr. Z had the opportunity to sit down with a knowledgeable Google TV person at a Best Buy store recently and he walked away awed at the possibilities it will bring. The major difference is that you can do a videochat on a Google TV device. Dr. Z needs to do more research on how interoperable it is with the current crop of videophones.

We have begun to scratch the surface of how everything ties together. In a year, we will have a better idea and then enjoy what technology has to offer, The age of set-top videophones with a single purpose (video conferencing) will still have a place but with very defined settings, such as a workplace.

Dr. Z cares about your communication access (and is excited about what the future has to offer.)

Disclosure: Dr. Z is a contractor working with CSDVRS on several projects.

Where is Dr. Z?-Previous Weeks Winners

1 Seattle                              Trial
2 Minneapolis                       None
3 San Antonio                       Kathy-Houston, Texas
4 Glacier National Park           None
5 Miami                                David-Oakland, California
6 Boston                               Rick-Lincolnwood, IL
7 Copenhagen, Denmark        Jennifer-Palm Harbor, FL
8 Waikiki Beach, Hawaii         David-Oakland, California
9 Victoria Falls, Zambia          Samuel-Silver Spring, MD
10 Paris, France                    Nancy-Herndon, VA
11 Tokyo, Japan                    None
12 Moscow, Russia                John
13 Denver, CO                      None
14 Jerusalem                        Mary-Lakeland, FL
15 Machu Picchu                   David
16 Florence, Italy                  Jeanne-Silver Spring,  MD
17 Yosemite, California          None
18 Dallas, TX                        Phil
19 Ayers Rock, Australia         Karen-Suffern, NY
20 Mt. Everest, Nepal             Sonny-Sioux Falls, SD
21 St. Basil’s Cathedral           Mary-Lakeland, FL
22 London Bridge                  Kathy-Indianapolis, IN
23 Bryce Canyon                   Nancy-Herndon, VA

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If you have any VRS related question or have a story about using VRS, you are welcome to ask/tell Dr. Z–if it gets published on this website as a post (not a comment), you will receive a $5 Starbucks or Target gift card.
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Welcome to Dr. Z and You! (VLOG)

This is to welcome you to this website. It is designed to be the up to date website for any matter related to VRS. Anything you need to know about VRS should be here (we will try our best to make it happen!) We also will make it possible for you to express your thoughts so you can share it with others who use this website.

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Enjoy!!