My husband’s grandmother hates technology. She complains all the time, “They got all these fancy gadgets and half the time they don’t work!” She will bemoan, complaining about her cell phone battery because it has only lasted her about ten years. (Which, if you asked anyone else, is quite a long time for one battery to last.) While I do agree that technology can be a pain, and that it is changing the very fabric of our society in some not so great ways, I am glad to be able to take advantage of the technology available today. I can only imagine how difficult my life would have been without power wheelchairs, speech to text software and laptops. In fact, I am a bit disappointed that the technology available today was not available when I was in college. The tablet I am typing on now would have been a life saver.
I bought my tablet just before I started my new job. I had been considering buying one for quite some time, but I was having a hard time justifying the purchase; after all, they are expensive and I already have a laptop and a smart phone. However, my laptop is heavy and the battery doesn’t last more than a few hours before needing to be plugged in again, which makes it less convenient for using outside of the house. I can’t even try to imagine typing for long periods on my smart phone. I finally took the plunge when my friend sent me a link to Groupon for an Asus tablet with keyboard dock for just under $300.
The tablet had everything I needed except for Microsoft Office, but it did have a word processing program as well as a spreadsheet program. So far, my tablet has been a life saver. Especially on Tuesdays when, because of transportation, I am at work six hours before my shift starts.
Thanks to my tablet, I am able to spend that time working on my writing and blog posts, checking email, relaxing on the internet, playing a game or reading a book without lugging around multiple devices or worrying about finding a place to plug in. It has also been helpful at work since I am able to record meetings while taking minutes, so I don’t miss anything important.
I use the detachable keyboard for most of my word processing, but I find the ‘swipe text’ feature really helpful when not using the keyboard; it makes typing on a touchscreen so much easier. Other great accessibility features would be the touch and hold delay for those of us with fine motor issues, optional enlarged text, easy zoom in and out, text to speech for those of us with difficulty speaking and TalkBack for those of us who are visually impaired.
I have to admit, I don’t always love technology, especially when it doesn’t work the way it should. But I will not deny that these tablets, and their smartphone cousins, have been a great help for me and many people I know with disabilities.