Month: August 2010

David Clark profiled in Boston Globe

For this disabled job seeker, it’s all about networking

It’s also all about the sound of his voice: he gets calls from people interested in his resume but his dysarthria scares them away. That’s his (and my) theory anyway. No way to prove it but it makes sense. It would have scared me before I knew David.

But, for doing back end web development work and problem solving, voice is less critical than it might be in a sales or support position. It’s interesting that few people can easily get over the voice issue to see his skills as separate from his voice.

How to get a stuck CD out of a Toyota Tacoma

Even though I’ve had an iPod since they came out and sometimes use mine in my truck, I generally make CD mixes to play in my 2004 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

This morning a CD that I’d left in the truck’s stereo wouldn’t play and wouldn’t eject. In other words it was stuck and the stereo was showing an error code (03) on its LCD.

After messing with it for a while I called the local Toyota dealer who told me that they’d have to remove the stereo from the truck and send it out and it could cost a minimum of $200. I also called two car stereo dealerships who gave me high quotes although not that much.

A bit of searching on the web and I found a few obscure notes in forums saying that in some cases, disconnecting the car/truck battery and then reconnecting it will eject the CD. The theory here is that if you disconnect the battery and then reconnect it everything electrical in the vehicle will revert to its default state on power up.

I wasn’t hopeful this would work but I figured I’d try it.

Opened the hood, un-bolted the red, positive terminal from the battery, left it off for a few seconds, bolted it back, got in the truck and put key in, turned it one click to get power to stereo and amazingly the CD popped out without me even hitting the eject button.

I wonder if the Toyota dealer would have done this and still charged me the $200? They certainly could have told me to try it if they had any sense of customer service.

I can’t guarantee that this will work in all cases but it sure doesn’t hurt to try it no matter what kind of car or truck you have.

Your brain off computers

Outdoors and Out of Reach, Studying the Brain

As they head down the tight curves the San Juan has carved from ancient sandstone, the travelers will, not surprisingly, unwind, sleep better and lose the nagging feeling to check for a phone in the pocket. But the significance of such changes is a matter of debate for them.

Some of the scientists say a vacation like this hardly warrants much scrutiny. But the trip’s organizer, David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, says that studying what happens when we step away from our devices and rest our brains – in particular, how attention, memory and learning are affected – is important science.

As one who hikes regularly and enjoys the quiet, I think there’s something to this and if the only way to make it happen for some is to force it by descending into Glen Canyon so be it.

I do carry an iPhone when I hike and try to remember to turn the ringer off as I pack it. I do like to use its camera and if I have service I like sending pictures to people but I never type a message and rarely call anyone on a trip.

More on this here: The Unplugged Challenge: Readers Respond.

The iPad and Autism

iHelp for Autism

Though there are other computers designed for children with autism, a growing number of experts say that the iPad is better. It’s cheaper, faster, more versatile, more user-friendly, more portable, more engaging, and infinitely cooler for young people. “I just couldn’t imagine not introducing this to a parent of a child who has autism,” says Tammy Mastropietro, a speech pathologist based outside Boston who uses the technology with numerous clients. She sees it as a game changer for those with autism, particularly those most severely affected.

Fantastic. Universal design wins.