RE: Xpress-It

Re: Xpress-It

College is pretty much a sink-or-swim proposition. Yes, a
freshman counselor might look at Brian’s SAT scores (remember, it’s
broken out by subject) and say something like, “hmm, he needs more
math.” However, that’s about all the individual
“evaluation” a college has time for. Again, the main function of
the SAT is to influence admission priorities, and that mostly applies to
out-of-state applicants. If Brian goes to UNJ, as I suspect you’d want
him to anyway, he should have automatic priority as a state resident. That
makes his SAT scores just bragging material, although no college is going to
admit that.

 

In case you don’t know, the first two years in college are
largely devoted to taking what are called “core courses.”
That’s basically things your state thinks all college grads should know.
Think of it as ripping out all the crap learned in high school (Billy Joel was
right),  and replacing it with a more solid foundation. The process is
tough enough to weed people who shouldn’t be in college. The  one
cautionary note I’ll pass along is that college instructors are virtually
gods in their classes. They just about have final authority over what’s
acceptable. I don’t see a math prof objecting to Brian’s math
software as long as he shows that he is doing the actual work. There may be
some sort of ombudsman to help in difficult cases, but it’s really up to
the instructor. Brian may have to drop a class or two in search of more cooperative
profs

 

Another reason for recommending Brian attend an in-state college
is that whatever care system is in place will fail from time to time. That’s
just the nature of the beast. You will have to pinch hit occasionally so it’s
wise to have Brian close enough to help him without disrupting the rest of your
family too badly.

 

From: joyce abrahamson
[mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:48 PM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

 

Scott,
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.  Sure you may post this.  
I was under the assumption that he needed to take the SATs to get into a
college.  Don’t the colleges need this to evaluate him?  Let me know
when the site is up.  I’ll download Xpress-it.

We live in Hillsdale, NJ….which is on the NY State border.

Joyce Abrahamson

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 13:23:42 -0500
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

 

May I post this? You are asking questions that I think have needed
to be asked for a very long time.

If I may ask, why are you forcing Brian to take the SAT? It loses all value
three seconds after a university accepts him. That¹s right, the SAT is purely
an academic admittance tool used to prioritize applicants. I didn¹t take it,
and no employer has ever asked what I scored. Employers do ask about your GPA,
but not your SAT score. I suspect they consider your GPA to be a much better
metric of your abilities. In my case, they would be right if not for a particularly
disastrous computer graphics class that massacred more than one senior¹s GPA!
:O

I think you need to turn your question about Brian¹s future around 180 degrees.
Ask yourself what Brian is going to do with his life if he doesn¹t learn to be
an expert at something. Whether we like it or not, what we¹re taught does
partly define who we become. It¹s true, college really just teaches you how to
learn about a particular subject, but don¹t underestimate the importance of
that. The unhappy truth is that, if Brian is to have at least a halfway
satisfying life, care will cost somebody $40,000-50,000  annually. I don¹t
think you¹re wealthy so he had better prepare himself to earn a good living.
After that, it literally does become a matter of social networking. I make no
secret of the fact that I got hired because the HR director owed someone a
favor. And, if I¹m going to dig my way out of my current dead-end, it will be
because I found someone game to take a chance. Yet, I¹d have no chance without
education.

It figures. You try to download Xpress-It on the day that I¹m moving my website
back on to Network Solutions big iron. Argh! In fact, my computer is shuffling
files as I type this. My laptop is estimating another three hours, assuming
that neither end barfs. Then I have to check it out to see if everything moved
ok. All in all, the site should be available tomorrow. Probably tonight.

Where do you live?


From: joyce abrahamson [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:01 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Scott,
I tried to download your software on Brian’s computer last night but couldn’t
get to your web site.  Has it changed?  Are you having problems with
it?  Please let me know.

Sorry to hear you didn’t like vacationing in Florida.  Brian actually
loves it.  He would move there in a heartbeat.   Tried
travelling without his powerchair….to protect it from the airlines and to
save the $80 per day Wheelchair Getaway’s charges for a rental.  Won’t do
that again.  Will take our chances with the airlines.  The manual
chair didn’t bother Brian much….his sister was willing to take him anywhere
he wanted.  Problem was all the lifting in and out of the car.  Oh
well, live and learn.

Just heard from the SAT people that they will not allow Brian to take the math
portion of the SAT with his computer/math program.  I’m waiting for the
"official" letter before I decide what to do.  
This is discrimination with a capital "D".    Reading
some of what you’ve written, sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth fighting.
 You graduated from University of Houston and are obviously a very bright
and articulate man….had a great job at a major oil company…and can’t get
another job because of your disability.   I want Brian to be independent
to the extent he can.
Am I going to spend $30,000 – $40,000 per year to educate him to find out no
company wants to take him on?  Would that money be better spent for
caregivers later on in life.   I want to be optimistic…..but, I
need to be realistic, too.  

Joyce

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 13:23:13 -0500
To: ‘Casa de Servicio’ <admin@casadeservicio.org>, ‘joyce
abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

I don¹t know where she is really so I can only forward this message to her.

A curious coincidence is that, when I was about Brian¹s age, my parents had
access to a Destin timeshare for several summers. They loved it, but I hated
it. This was long before my first power chair so all I could do was sit in my
manual chair in the condo.  

From: Casa de Servicio [mailto:admin@casadeservicio.org]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 6:37 AM
To: Scott Royall
Cc: jabrahamson@optonline.net
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Hi Scott,

  I will ALSO be in Florida this week (Jacksonville area on Monday
and in Ocala on Tuesday and Wednesday).  If I can be of any
"contact" help with Joyce, just let me know.  I have a busy
schedule but if anyone needs a "face-to-face" recommendation or
anything like that I will make contact.

Richard

—– Original Message —–
From: Scott Royall <mailto:royall@conchbbs.com>  
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net>  
Cc: Blog <mailto:adayinthelifeofaperson.Corby@spaces.live.com>
 ; marie@Dell.com ; Alecea Standlee <mailto:stan0504@yahoo.com> ;
‘Blaise’ <mailto:Blaise.Mladenka@aliefisd.net>  ;
bradgsmith@mdanderson.org ; ‘Brandon Milligan’
<mailto:bsmtechb@yahoo.com>  ; ‘Carol McKinney’
<mailto:Carolm2345@aol.com>  ; ‘Dianne’
<mailto:fwilliams@houston.rr.com>  ; ‘DSloan’
<mailto:djsloan25a26@yahoo.com> ; ‘DVM Marsha Anderson’
<mailto:hipchick1@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Jack Davidson’
<mailto:jack_davidson681@yahoo.com>  ; janis.nicol@nau.edu ; ‘John
Royall’ <mailto:4r@startel.net>  ; ‘Jon’ <mailto:Jonathongardner@gmail.com>
; ‘Michelle Luster’ <mailto:madsigkap@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Ming Zu’
<mailto:mzu@cs.uh.edu> ; ‘Mom’
<mailto:lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Richard Becton’
<mailto:flight@flash.net>  ; Royall, Donald R
<mailto:Royall@uthscsa.edu> ; ‘Sakina Lanig’
<mailto:sakinalanig@hotmail.com>  ; ‘Tao Ju’
<mailto:taoju@cs.wustl.edu>  
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 1:02 AM
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

Well, Brian¹s computer runs Windows, correct? If so, Xpress-It will run without
problem. I can make that sweeping statement because I know how it¹s written. It
doesn¹t play any of those naughty little games I was telling you about. In the
worse case, Xpress-It just won¹t talk. However, the fact that the other
augmentation software doesn¹t kill Windows means that Xpress-It isn¹t at risk.
And, it doesn¹t know how to cause them problems. You should do whatever makes
you comfortable, but I can safely say the laptop faces more risks from Brian¹s
other software than Xpress-It.

An interesting thing happened with Dell. They recently assigned a portion of
their customer service staff to seek out bloggers who had blogged about
problems with Dell. This could have been a very cynical move, but it turned out
not to be. My contact expressed a clear willingness to do what she could to
resolve my current issue, and then serve as my long-term contact on future
problems. There was a time when Dell¹s service was so good that I could report
a laptop problem on one day, and have a technician with the necessary parts at
my door the next. That¹s exactly the level of service disabled people are going
to need if we are going to depend on our laptop in order to function. No doubt,
Dell wouldn¹t mind becoming the vendor of choice for a few million disabled,
but that means that people like Marie, my contact, will have to become quite
adept at marshalling out the service resources quickly. At least in me she has
the advantage of someone who does his own diagnosis. I always know which parts
I need before I contact Dell.

I can¹t imagine flying this chair much anywhere. Yes, it¹s feasible, but very
few commercial aircraft have cargo hold doors large enough to accept the chair.
Naturally, much of the extra stuff that makes the chair so useful would be
detached and loaded separately. The laptop would stay with me, of course. I¹ve
actually flown with a laptop, but that was years ago. No, the real reason why
my power chair basically isn¹t flight-worthy is the type of batteries I use.
I¹m sure you use gel variants (which includes the AGMs), and they¹re fine for
light use. Yet, as you start adding things like serious laptops to the chair¹s
power load, gel types become cost-prohibitive because they don¹t last over
about four months. Good old-fashioned lead-acid batteries are a third the cost,
and last six months under heavy use if maintained. You are sometimes allowed to
fly lead-acid batteries in special containers provided by the airlines.

I¹ll try to get my caregivers to take a full set of pictures of this
wheelchair. I think you¹d find them real eye-openers.

Back when I was gainfully employed, I used to travel to Microsoft training
conferences each summer. Shell actually paid my way to travel nearly
coast-to-coast,  and obviously I didn¹t fly.  I had intentionally
bought a Dodge van based on the fact that the drive train was renown for its
reliability, and that¹s one purchase I¹ve never regretted. I don¹t drive, but
one of my caregivers was a trucker for years. Secondary skills such as that can
be really helpful when Brian starts having his own caregivers.
From: joyce abrahamson [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 12:30 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Scott,
You didn’t scare me off.   I believe that Brian will face many of the
challenges you have faced.  Therefore, I’m very interested in what
 you have to say.  I think I can learn a lot from you.  More
importantly, you can help me prepare Brian for the life he will face. You made
a very good point about not having someone following him around to switch out
various pieces of equipment.  Tonight is the first time I’ve had a chance
to write.   

Had a problem with the hinge on Brian’s dell and they sent someone out to fix
it right away.  
Must say I was impressed by the service.  Still looking at buying another
dell…but it’s expensive.  The school won’t buy it since they provide him
with the same Sony Viao they issue every other student at the high school.
 We haven’t used that computer in months….I just keep sending him in
with his old Dell.  I want to try your software but to be honest I’m
afraid to download it on the computer he uses for school every day.  He
can’t afford to have any conflicts.   I asked the school for a
"loaner" and they told me they didn’t have any extras.  Please
be patient.   I will try it as soon as I get a new Dell or when
school is out….whichever comes first.

I found your comments about the mom who referred to her child as
"differently-abled" right on.  She is not doing her child any
favors.   Brian’s doing well in 9th grade…but the friends he has
are the ones from elementary school.  It’s been very difficult for him to
make new friends in high school.  

Went to the orthopaedic surgeon yesterday for annual x-ray’s of his spine and
hips.  Hips continue to be great…which is good news.  Several
surgeons wanted to do derotational ostiotomies on him when he was 5 or 6 and we
wouldn’t let them.  Turns out we were right….he didn’t need the surgery.
  He does have some rotation in his spine…so we’ve got to keep an
eye on that.  

Kids are off from school next week so we’re going to Florida.  My mom has
a condo down there.  A week at the beach sounds great.  It’s going to
be interesting.  It’s the first time we haven’t flown with his power
chair.  The power chair is new and was very expensive.  I saw his old
power chair on the belt two years ago.  Nearly had a heart attack.
 It fell off the belt onto the ground.   They picked it up and
threw it back on the belt.   I was shocked the chair even worked when
we arrived.  His PT modified a manual chair and made a tray so he can use
the computer, play station and gameboy.  

Got to go.   Will write soon.

Joyce

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:28:25 -0500
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: Xpress-It

Joyce,

Well, I¹m sorry if my tough words about disability in America scared you off. I
am aware that no caring mother wants to be told her child is likely to have a
difficult life. Yet, there are things that I wish my mother could¹ve known,
because they would¹ve saved us from a lot of non-productive efforts recommended
by well-intentioned professionals who didn¹t really understand my needs. I
could simply have sold you a license for Xpress-It, and let you find out what
else Brian might need for yourself. I rather doubt that would  lead to
satisfied customers though. Don¹t you think so?

Scott


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RE: Xpress-It

Roger that, sweetheart.

—–Original Message—–
From: Alecea Standlee [mailto:stan0504@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 5:10 PM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

Scott,
No intention to put my nose in where it isn’t wanted.
But I would suggest your friend also contact the
disability services department at the university(s)
that Brian is interested in. If they won’t help to
work out something with the SAT folks (good comments
on that btw) or school admissions then they are
probably not going to provide the support that the kid
deserves when he is in school. My undergrad school had
a terrible disability support depeartment, but my PhD
program school is much better. Just a tip from inside
the academy…

Alecea

— Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com> wrote:

> College is pretty much a sink-or-swim proposition.
> Yes, a freshman counselor
> might look at Brian’s SAT scores (remember, it’s
> broken out by subject) and
> say something like, “hmm, he needs more math.”
> However, that’s about all the
> individual “evaluation” a college has time for.
> Again, the main function of
> the SAT is to influence admission priorities, and
> that mostly applies to
> out-of-state applicants. If Brian goes to UNJ, as I
> suspect you’d want him
> to anyway, he should have automatic priority as a
> state resident. That makes
> his SAT scores just bragging material, although no
> college is going to admit
> that.
>
>
>
> In case you don’t know, the first two years in
> college are largely devoted
> to taking what are called “core courses.” That’s
> basically things your state
> thinks all college grads should know. Think of it as
> ripping out all the
> crap learned in high school (Billy Joel was right),
> and replacing it with a
> more solid foundation. The process is tough enough
> to weed people who
> shouldn’t be in college. The one cautionary note
> I’ll pass along is that
> college instructors are virtually gods in their
> classes. They just about
> have final authority over what’s acceptable. I don’t
> see a math prof
> objecting to Brian’s math software as long as he
> shows that he is doing the
> actual work. There may be some
>
> From: joyce abrahamson
> [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:48 PM
> To: Scott Royall
> Subject: Re: Xpress-It
>
>
>
> Scott,
> Thanks for getting back to me so quickly. Sure you
> may post this.
> I was under the assumption that he needed to take
> the SATs to get into a
> college. Don’t the colleges need this to evaluate
> him? Let me know when
> the site is up. I’ll download Xpress-it.
>
> We live in Hillsdale, NJ….which is on the NY State
> border.
>
> Joyce Abrahamson
>
>
> From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
> Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 13:23:42 -0500
> To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
> Subject: RE: Xpress-It
>
>
>
> May I post this? You are asking questions that I
> think have needed to be
> asked for a very long time.
>
>
>
> If I may ask, why are you forcing Brian to take the
> SAT? It loses all value
> three seconds after a university accepts him. That¹s
> right, the SAT is
> purely an academic admittance tool used to
> prioritize applicants. I didn¹t
> take it, and no employer has ever asked what I
> scored. Employers do ask
> about your GPA, but not your SAT score. I suspect
> they consider your GPA to
> be a much better metric of your abilities. In my
> case, they would be right
> if not for a particularly disastrous computer
> graphics class that massacred
> more than one senior¹s GPA! :O
>
>
>
> I think you need to turn your question about Brian¹s
> future around 180
> degrees. Ask yourself what Brian is going to do with
> his life if he doesn¹t
> learn to be an expert at something. Whether we like
> it or not, what we¹re
> taught does partly define who we become. It¹s true,
> college really just
> teaches you how to learn about a particular subject,
> but don¹t underestimate
> the importance of that. The unhappy truth is that,
> if Brian is to have at
> least a halfway satisfying life, care will cost
> somebody $40,000-50,000
> annually. I don¹t think you¹re wealthy so he had
> better prepare himself to
> earn a good living. After that, it literally does
> become a matter of social
> networking. I make no secret of the fact that I got
> hired because the HR
> director owed someone a favor. And, if I¹m going to
> dig my way out of my
> current dead-end, it will be because I found someone
> game to take a chance.
> Yet, I¹d have no chance without education.
>
>
>
> It figures. You try to download Xpress-It on the day
> that I¹m moving my
> website back on to Network Solutions big iron. Argh!
> In fact, my computer is
> shuffling files as I type this. My laptop is
> estimating another three hours,
> assuming that neither end barfs. Then I have to
> check it out to see if
> everything moved ok. All in all, the site should be
> available tomorrow.
> Probably tonight.
>
>
>
> Where do you live?
>
>
> From: joyce abrahamson
> [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
> Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:01 AM
> To: Scott Royall
> Subject: Re: Xpress-It
>
>
> Scott,
> I tried to download your software on Brian’s
> computer last night but
> couldn’t get to your web site. Has it changed? Are
> you having problems
> with it? Please let me know.
>
> Sorry to hear you didn’t like vacationing in
> Florida. Brian actually loves
> it. He would move there in a heartbeat. Tried
> travelling without his
> powerchair….to protect it from the airlines and to
> save the $80 per day
> Wheelchair Getaway’s charges for a rental. Won’t do
> that again. Will take
> our chances with the airlines. The manual chair
> didn’t bother Brian
> much….his sister was willing to take him anywhere
> he wanted. Problem was
> all the lifting in and out of the car. Oh well,
> live and learn.
>
> Just heard from the SAT people that they will not
> allow Brian to take the
> math portion of the SAT with his computer/math
> program. I’m waiting for the
> "official" letter before I decide what to do.
> This is discrimination with a capital "D".
> Reading some of what you’ve
> written, sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth
> fighting. You graduated from
> University of Houston and are obviously a very
> bright and articulate
> man….had a great job at a major oil company…and
> can’t get another job
> because of your disability. I want Brian to be
> independent to the extent
> he can.
> Am I going to spend $30,000 – $40,000 per year to
> educate him to find out no
> company wants to take him on? Would that money be
> better spent for
> caregivers later on in life. I want to be
> optimistic…..but, I need to be
> realistic, too.
>
> Joyce
>
>
> From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
> Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 13:23:13 -0500
> To: ‘Casa de Servicio’ <admin@casadeservicio.org>,
> ‘joyce abrahamson’
> <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
> Subject: RE: Xpress-It
>
=== message truncated ===

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RE: Xpress-It

Re: Xpress-It

College is pretty much a sink-or-swim proposition. Yes, a
freshman counselor might look at Brian’s SAT scores (remember, it’s
broken out by subject) and say something like, “hmm, he needs more math.”
However, that’s about all the individual “evaluation” a college
has time for. Again, the main function of the SAT is to influence admission
priorities, and that mostly applies to out-of-state applicants. If Brian goes to
UNJ, as I suspect you’d want him to anyway, he should have automatic priority
as a state resident. That makes his SAT scores just bragging material, although
no college is going to admit that.

 

In case you don’t know, the first two years in college are
largely devoted to taking what are called “core courses.” That’s
basically things your state thinks all college grads should know. Think of it
as ripping out all the crap learned in high school (Billy Joel was right),  and
replacing it with a more solid foundation. The process is tough enough to weed
people who shouldn’t be in college. The  one cautionary note I’ll
pass along is that college instructors are virtually gods in their classes. They
just about have final authority over what’s acceptable. I don’t see
a math prof objecting to Brian’s math software as long as he shows that
he is doing the actual work. There may be some

From: joyce abrahamson
[mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 2:48 PM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

 

Scott,
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly.  Sure you may post this.  
I was under the assumption that he needed to take the SATs to get into a
college.  Don’t the colleges need this to evaluate him?  Let me know
when the site is up.  I’ll download Xpress-it.

We live in Hillsdale, NJ….which is on the NY State border.

Joyce Abrahamson

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2007 13:23:42 -0500
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

 

May I post this? You are asking questions that I think have
needed to be asked for a very long time.

If I may ask, why are you forcing Brian to take the SAT? It loses all value
three seconds after a university accepts him. That¹s right, the SAT is purely
an academic admittance tool used to prioritize applicants. I didn¹t take it,
and no employer has ever asked what I scored. Employers do ask about your GPA,
but not your SAT score. I suspect they consider your GPA to be a much better
metric of your abilities. In my case, they would be right if not for a
particularly disastrous computer graphics class that massacred more than one
senior¹s GPA! :O

I think you need to turn your question about Brian¹s future around 180 degrees.
Ask yourself what Brian is going to do with his life if he doesn¹t learn to be
an expert at something. Whether we like it or not, what we¹re taught does
partly define who we become. It¹s true, college really just teaches you how to
learn about a particular subject, but don¹t underestimate the importance of
that. The unhappy truth is that, if Brian is to have at least a halfway
satisfying life, care will cost somebody $40,000-50,000  annually. I don¹t
think you¹re wealthy so he had better prepare himself to earn a good living.
After that, it literally does become a matter of social networking. I make no
secret of the fact that I got hired because the HR director owed someone a
favor. And, if I¹m going to dig my way out of my current dead-end, it will be
because I found someone game to take a chance. Yet, I¹d have no chance without
education.

It figures. You try to download Xpress-It on the day that I¹m moving my website
back on to Network Solutions big iron. Argh! In fact, my computer is shuffling
files as I type this. My laptop is estimating another three hours, assuming
that neither end barfs. Then I have to check it out to see if everything moved
ok. All in all, the site should be available tomorrow. Probably tonight.

Where do you live?


From: joyce abrahamson [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:01 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Scott,
I tried to download your software on Brian’s computer last night but couldn’t
get to your web site.  Has it changed?  Are you having problems with
it?  Please let me know.

Sorry to hear you didn’t like vacationing in Florida.  Brian actually
loves it.  He would move there in a heartbeat.   Tried
travelling without his powerchair….to protect it from the airlines and to
save the $80 per day Wheelchair Getaway’s charges for a rental.  Won’t do
that again.  Will take our chances with the airlines.  The manual
chair didn’t bother Brian much….his sister was willing to take him anywhere
he wanted.  Problem was all the lifting in and out of the car.  Oh
well, live and learn.

Just heard from the SAT people that they will not allow Brian to take the math
portion of the SAT with his computer/math program.  I’m waiting for the
"official" letter before I decide what to do.  
This is discrimination with a capital "D".    Reading
some of what you’ve written, sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth fighting.
 You graduated from University of Houston and are obviously a very bright
and articulate man….had a great job at a major oil company…and can’t get
another job because of your disability.   I want Brian to be
independent to the extent he can.
Am I going to spend $30,000 – $40,000 per year to educate him to find out no
company wants to take him on?  Would that money be better spent for
caregivers later on in life.   I want to be optimistic…..but, I
need to be realistic, too.  

Joyce

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Apr 2007 13:23:13 -0500
To: ‘Casa de Servicio’ <admin@casadeservicio.org>, ‘joyce
abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

I don¹t know where she is really so I can only forward this message to her.

A curious coincidence is that, when I was about Brian¹s age, my parents had
access to a Destin timeshare for several summers. They loved it, but I hated
it. This was long before my first power chair so all I could do was sit in my
manual chair in the condo.  

From: Casa de Servicio [mailto:admin@casadeservicio.org]
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 6:37 AM
To: Scott Royall
Cc: jabrahamson@optonline.net
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Hi Scott,

  I will ALSO be in Florida this week (Jacksonville area on Monday
and in Ocala on Tuesday and Wednesday).  If I can be of any
"contact" help with Joyce, just let me know.  I have a busy
schedule but if anyone needs a "face-to-face" recommendation or
anything like that I will make contact.

Richard

—– Original Message —–
From: Scott Royall <mailto:royall@conchbbs.com>  
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net>  
Cc: Blog <mailto:adayinthelifeofaperson.Corby@spaces.live.com>
 ; marie@Dell.com ; Alecea Standlee <mailto:stan0504@yahoo.com> ;
‘Blaise’ <mailto:Blaise.Mladenka@aliefisd.net>  ;
bradgsmith@mdanderson.org ; ‘Brandon Milligan’ <mailto:bsmtechb@yahoo.com>
 ; ‘Carol McKinney’ <mailto:Carolm2345@aol.com>  ; ‘Dianne’
<mailto:fwilliams@houston.rr.com>  ; ‘DSloan’
<mailto:djsloan25a26@yahoo.com> ; ‘DVM Marsha Anderson’
<mailto:hipchick1@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Jack Davidson’
<mailto:jack_davidson681@yahoo.com>  ; janis.nicol@nau.edu ; ‘John
Royall’ <mailto:4r@startel.net>  ; ‘Jon’
<mailto:Jonathongardner@gmail.com> ; ‘Michelle Luster’
<mailto:madsigkap@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Ming Zu’
<mailto:mzu@cs.uh.edu> ; ‘Mom’
<mailto:lourez_bullock@sbcglobal.net>  ; ‘Richard Becton’
<mailto:flight@flash.net>  ; Royall, Donald R
<mailto:Royall@uthscsa.edu> ; ‘Sakina Lanig’
<mailto:sakinalanig@hotmail.com>  ; ‘Tao Ju’
<mailto:taoju@cs.wustl.edu>  
Sent: Monday, April 02, 2007 1:02 AM
Subject: RE: Xpress-It

Well, Brian¹s computer runs Windows, correct? If so, Xpress-It will run without
problem. I can make that sweeping statement because I know how it¹s written. It
doesn¹t play any of those naughty little games I was telling you about. In the
worse case, Xpress-It just won¹t talk. However, the fact that the other
augmentation software doesn¹t kill Windows means that Xpress-It isn¹t at risk.
And, it doesn¹t know how to cause them problems. You should do whatever makes
you comfortable, but I can safely say the laptop faces more risks from Brian¹s
other software than Xpress-It.

An interesting thing happened with Dell. They recently assigned a portion of
their customer service staff to seek out bloggers who had blogged about
problems with Dell. This could have been a very cynical move, but it turned out
not to be. My contact expressed a clear willingness to do what she could to
resolve my current issue, and then serve as my long-term contact on future
problems. There was a time when Dell¹s service was so good that I could report
a laptop problem on one day, and have a technician with the necessary parts at
my door the next. That¹s exactly the level of service disabled people are going
to need if we are going to depend on our laptop in order to function. No doubt,
Dell wouldn¹t mind becoming the vendor of choice for a few million disabled,
but that means that people like Marie, my contact, will have to become quite
adept at marshalling out the service resources quickly. At least in me she has
the advantage of someone who does his own diagnosis. I always know which parts
I need before I contact Dell.

I can¹t imagine flying this chair much anywhere. Yes, it¹s feasible, but very
few commercial aircraft have cargo hold doors large enough to accept the chair.
Naturally, much of the extra stuff that makes the chair so useful would be
detached and loaded separately. The laptop would stay with me, of course. I¹ve
actually flown with a laptop, but that was years ago. No, the real reason why
my power chair basically isn¹t flight-worthy is the type of batteries I use.
I¹m sure you use gel variants (which includes the AGMs), and they¹re fine for
light use. Yet, as you start adding things like serious laptops to the chair¹s
power load, gel types become cost-prohibitive because they don¹t last over
about four months. Good old-fashioned lead-acid batteries are a third the cost,
and last six months under heavy use if maintained. You are sometimes allowed to
fly lead-acid batteries in special containers provided by the airlines.

I¹ll try to get my caregivers to take a full set of pictures of this
wheelchair. I think you¹d find them real eye-openers.

Back when I was gainfully employed, I used to travel to Microsoft training
conferences each summer. Shell actually paid my way to travel nearly
coast-to-coast,  and obviously I didn¹t fly.  I had intentionally
bought a Dodge van based on the fact that the drive train was renown for its
reliability, and that¹s one purchase I¹ve never regretted. I don¹t drive, but
one of my caregivers was a trucker for years. Secondary skills such as that can
be really helpful when Brian starts having his own caregivers.
From: joyce abrahamson [mailto:jabrahamson@optonline.net]
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 12:30 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It

Scott,
You didn’t scare me off.   I believe that Brian will face many of the
challenges you have faced.  Therefore, I’m very interested in what
 you have to say.  I think I can learn a lot from you.  More
importantly, you can help me prepare Brian for the life he will face. You made
a very good point about not having someone following him around to switch out
various pieces of equipment.  Tonight is the first time I’ve had a chance
to write.   

Had a problem with the hinge on Brian’s dell and they sent someone out to fix
it right away.  
Must say I was impressed by the service.  Still looking at buying another
dell…but it’s expensive.  The school won’t buy it since they provide him
with the same Sony Viao they issue every other student at the high school.
 We haven’t used that computer in months….I just keep sending him in
with his old Dell.  I want to try your software but to be honest I’m
afraid to download it on the computer he uses for school every day.  He
can’t afford to have any conflicts.   I asked the school for a
"loaner" and they told me they didn’t have any extras.  Please
be patient.   I will try it as soon as I get a new Dell or when
school is out….whichever comes first.

I found your comments about the mom who referred to her child as "differently-abled"
right on.  She is not doing her child any favors.   Brian’s
doing well in 9th grade…but the friends he has are the ones from elementary
school.  It’s been very difficult for him to make new friends in high
school.  

Went to the orthopaedic surgeon yesterday for annual x-ray’s of his spine and
hips.  Hips continue to be great…which is good news.  Several
surgeons wanted to do derotational ostiotomies on him when he was 5 or 6 and we
wouldn’t let them.  Turns out we were right….he didn’t need the surgery.
  He does have some rotation in his spine…so we’ve got to keep an
eye on that.  

Kids are off from school next week so we’re going to Florida.  My mom has
a condo down there.  A week at the beach sounds great.  It’s going to
be interesting.  It’s the first time we haven’t flown with his power
chair.  The power chair is new and was very expensive.  I saw his old
power chair on the belt two years ago.  Nearly had a heart attack.
 It fell off the belt onto the ground.   They picked it up and
threw it back on the belt.   I was shocked the chair even worked when
we arrived.  His PT modified a manual chair and made a tray so he can use
the computer, play station and gameboy.  

Got to go.   Will write soon.

Joyce

From: Scott Royall <royall@conchbbs.com>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:28:25 -0500
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <jabrahamson@optonline.net>
Subject: Xpress-It

Joyce,

Well, I¹m sorry if my tough words about disability in America scared you off. I
am aware that no caring mother wants to be told her child is likely to have a
difficult life. Yet, there are things that I wish my mother could¹ve known,
because they would¹ve saved us from a lot of non-productive efforts recommended
by well-intentioned professionals who didn¹t really understand my needs. I
could simply have sold you a license for Xpress-It, and let you find out what
else Brian might need for yourself. I rather doubt that would  lead to
satisfied customers though. Don¹t you think so?

Scott


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Web 2.0?

Is Web 2.0 a bust?

 

Web 2.0, for those who don’t know, is a bunch of web-based
technologies—and websites—meant to make the web surfing public become
more involved in creating the actual content. There are many,  many
popular names such as MySpace, Flickr, Twitr, etc. Yet, according to stats
presented on today’s
Buzz Out Loud
, less than 5% of users post all the content. Of course
you  can listen to the podcast, and get the details for yourself. For me, it
raises an obvious question.

 

A few people have advocated that I somehow revamp my website
to ride the “Web 2.0” wave. Well, what does that mean? How do I make
what I want on my website interactive? I did consider putting a little interactive
demo of Xpress-It online, but that poses technical and legal issues. I’m
not sure the German company that now owns the intellectual rights for Eloquence
would appreciate it being usable by the entire Web without profit. Speechworks doesn’t
answer my emails so I have no idea what they might accept. What little I do
know is that Speechworks considers Eloquence to strictly be a low-cost lead-in
to their kilo-dollar RealVoice so I have real concerns about the future of
Eloquence.

 

In any case, I really don’t see how to make my site
more in line with the nebulous Web 2.0. I wouldn’t mind making my site
more visually similar to my blog pages,  but there are issues even there. Web
2.0, in a nutshell, depends on the ability to pull data from a variety of
sources and construct a webpage just before sending it to a user. That requires
something like support for Active Server Pages, a feature Microsoft has
advocated for a decade but the rest of the Net poo-poo’d until Web 2.0
became the rage.

 

Although I feel Microsoft is entitled to a gigantic “told
ya so,” the most common web server software, Apache, doesn’t natively
support ASP.  Yep, you guessed it, I’m running Apache. No doubt
there is a plug-in around to add ASP support, but I have to wonder how much
more my  little server machine can put up with. It already is pretty heavily
loaded. I still have the option of moving my site back to Network Solutions, but
I don’t have enough traffic to really warrant it. What do you think about
the future of my website?


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RE: Air Force Villages

Air Force Villages

Ok, I am disabled and use a computer to speak, do you still want
to call me?

 

Scott Royall

15906 Manfield

Houston, TX 77082

 

281-923-3594

From: Todd Spann
[mailto:ToddSpann@airforcevillages.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2007 9:36 AM
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: Air Force Villages

 

Good
Morning!

I was
contacted by Mr. Ron Jennette,C.E.O./President regarding an interest letter you
recently
(cc)
mailed. Please
provide me with your contact information so that I may call you and discuss
further.
I
also wish to mail you an information brochure, so please provide your address
as well.
 
I hope your day is going well and I look forward to visiting with you.

Todd Spann

Director
of Marketing

Air
Force Villages, Inc.

5100
John D. Ryan Blvd.

San
Antonio, Texas 78245

PH
(210) 568-3205; 1-800-762-1122

Fax
(210) 677-8011; cell (210) 380-0231

Confidentiality Notice: This email
message, including any attachments, contains information that is confidential
and/or legally privileged. The information is intended only for the individuals
named above. If you are not the intended recipient or the person responsible
for delivering the email to the intended recipient, be advised that you have
received this email in error and that any use, dissemination, distribution,
forwarding, printing, or copying of this email is strictly prohibited. If you
have received this email in error, please purge it immediately and notify the
sender.

 


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RE: Jobs

Donny (do family members still call you that?),

Your email is quite interesting. I forgot that you’re in SA. Yes, it’s great
to know that family members besides my mom are working on this issue. It’s
true that my long-term care insurance expires shortly after the first of the
year so I’ll have to change the game somehow. Managed care is on the table
with everything else. I’m sending a copy of this email to Ron so he will
know I’m interested.

I’ll have to exchange email with Ron so I can assess his IT needs. It’s a
safe bet that I can cover his software requirements, but sometimes that is
the type of work that can be done remotely. The details of the job will
determine how much of that is possible.

I typically don’t qualify for assisted living facilities because I have to
be fed. That one little requirement makes all the difference to those places
because they feel it ties up a caregiver too much. Then again, I’ve found
that hiring my own caregivers, while a huge hassle and insanely expensive,
is really the only way to retain any semblance of personal freedom and
control over my care. In group homes, the turnover among caregivers is
pretty constant, and you’re definitely not their boss.

I currently own my home and van. I’ll have to liquidate those things when/if
I have go into a group home. Many of the caregivers I’ve hired come from
such group-oriented settings, and their consensus has been that my own hunch
is correct, that I wouldn’t receive adequate care. Given that my ability to
earn a living is predicated on having adequate care, you can easily see how
things could spiral downward for me rapidly. Obviously, my home is my last
sizable chunk of capital. Selling it would be necessary to afford group care
even for a short time. As for my van, keeping it would be pointless, because
I wouldn’t have anyone to drive me anywhere.

A group care situation might not be best for me as long as I am to have any
hope of contributing to society. However, employment would be about the best
help possible. I’m very interested in what Ron has to say, and any other
possibilities we might dig up.

By the way, New Orleans has always been in a state of denial. However,
Houston will be here after we are plant food. Americans just like their
fossil fuels too much to not apply technology like The Netherlands has.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find out how much more I owe the IRS
this year.

—–Original Message—–
From: Royall, Donald R [mailto:Royall@uthscsa.edu]
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 10:31 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: RE: Jobs

Scott,

I have spoken about you to Ron Jennette, C.M.A./C.A.S.P. He is CEO of
the Air Force Villages (AFV) [AFVPresident@airforcevillages.com]. The
AFV is a 1500 bed for profit comprehensive care retirement community
near San Antonio, on US 90 (which goes towards Robin & David Hicks’
ranch in the hill country). I do a lot of research among the AFV
residents, and have a 10yr. relationship with them.

The AFV needs a new IT guy. I think you might be interested in applying
for that position. Because the AFV is a retirement community, they are
used to physical disability, and that wouldn’t really put them off.

More than that, they have a charitable arm that pays for the room and
board of disabled "dependents of retired active and reserve Air Force
Officers." I think Uncle John’s service might qualify you for that.

If you talk to Mr. Jennette, you might be able to get both a job, and
request to be admitted to their assisted living facility. If you don’t
qualify for charitable assistance, then maybe you can work out the
living arrangements from an insurance reimbursement perspective.

If living in San Antonio w/ a bunch of 80 year olds isn’t your cup of
tea, then he might be able to connect you with similar facilities in
Houston or Louisiana (however I wouldn’t recommend either in the setting
of global warming).

Let me know what you decide, and good luck!

Donnie


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