RE: Xpress-It

Re: Xpress-It

Well, Brian’s computer runs Windows, correct? If so, Xpress-It will run without problem. I can make that sweeping statement because I know how it’s written. It doesn’t play any of those naughty little games I was telling you about. In the worse case, Xpress-It just won’t talk. However, the fact that the other augmentation software doesn’t kill Windows means that Xpress-It isn’t at risk. And, it doesn’t know how to cause them problems. You should do whatever makes you comfortable, but I can safely say the laptop faces more risks from Brian’s 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 Dell’s 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. That’s 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 wouldn’t 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 can’t imagine flying this chair much anywhere. Yes, it’s 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. I’ve actually flown with a laptop, but that was years ago. No, the real reason why my power chair basically isn’t flight-worthy is the type of batteries I use. I’m sure you use gel variants (which includes the AGMs), and they’re fine for light use. Yet, as you start adding things like serious laptops to the chair’s power load, gel types become cost-prohibitive because they don’t 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.


I’ll try to get my caregivers to take a full set of pictures of this wheelchair. I think you’d 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 didn’t fly.  I had intentionally bought a Dodge van based on the fact that the drive train was renown for its reliability, and that’s one purchase I’ve never regretted. I don’t 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 []
Sent: Friday, March 30, 2007 12:30 AM
To: Scott Royall
Subject: Re: Xpress-It


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.


From: Scott Royall <>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 22:28:25 -0500
To: ‘joyce abrahamson’ <>
Subject: Xpress-It



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?


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