I must agree with Bill that our ideas of prioritization may not make
sense, particularly when dealing with a company like Sony. From my
experience in working within a large corporation, product
development budgets are fairly isolated from one another. In other
words, saying that it is most important for us to get access to
microwave ovens, ranges, and thermostats will likely divert no funds
from a VCR manufacturing entity.
In addition, it seems that we also need to consider with whom we are
dealing. Although a company the size of Sony probably makes all of
these devices somewhere, their bread and butter here is entertainment
electronics and related products. In their case, there's a lot that
can be dealt with beyond the VCR or video camera.
For example, some of their compact disc players permit the user to enter
the title of a CD. The machine will later automatically display the
pre-programmed title when that CD is loaded by cross-referencing it with
an ID number stored on the CD. Their Mini-disc recorders and DAT
recorders permit program information to be stored by the user when one
records them. One can create a "table of Contents" showing what was
recorded on each tape or mini-disc. Many of their cassette decks have
digital displays that show real elapsed time instead of the old tape
counter numbers which were not that valuable.
Even though microwave ovens, electric ranges, and thermostats are clearly
more important to more blind people than the examples I have listed
above, we need to be careful not to let Sony off the hook by giving the
impression that their devices are not important.
Although I'm not ready to see us give up on the infrared link, having two
kids has really opened my eyes to digital voice technology. Some of
these "sound story" books are dirt cheap relatively speaking, and I'm no
longer so sure that Mike isn't right, that we should expect voice to be
incorporated directly into many devices. It would be of interest to see
how a company like Sony would react to both options given today's technology.
National Federation of the Blind
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