NFB Light Sensor

From: John Miller (
Date: Tue Jul 25 1995 - 10:00:35 PDT

Here's yet another little way that the NFB has helped me be more efficient
on the job. I work at QUALCOMM, a wireless communications company in
San Diego, California. There are always more jobs than people to do them
so that multi-tasking is a sought for ability. Not surprisingly,
communication of all sorts is prized in the workplace. We are a highly
e-mail oriented company. A common response when handing a task off to someone
is: "follow your request up with e-mail and I'll take care of it." This
is standard practice even when you are discussing a problem with an
engineer at a preplanned meeting in his office.

The flip side of all this is that as a member of the QUALCOMM team, I
need to be reachable at all times. I have voice-mail, I wear an
elctronic leash (a pager), there is overhead paging, and I check e-mail
frequently as a matter of course.

My sighted coworkers find checking voice-mail a snap. QUALCOMM uses the
audix voice-mail system. The standard phone has an LED that blinks when
there are voice-mail messages in your mailbox. I used to use alternative
techniques of both soliciting from coworkers if my message light was
blinking and periodically checking with audix the voice-mail system.
To log into audix, I dial my 4 digit voice mail extension followed by my
seven digit security code. Audix announces if I have new messages. Because
this process was cumbersome, brewing fires deserving high priority that
were described to me in voice-mail often raged on unattended for several
hours while I focused on other tasks.

Here's where the NFB Light Sensor comes in. This little device reads the
phone message LED. the NFB r and d committee made it and it is available
from the NFB Materials Center at 410 659 9314. It takes just a moment
with the NFB Light Sensor to check if I have voice-mail. A wildfire means
spending a late night at the office away from my wife and baby. When there
are wildfires I get paged; when there are little fires I get voice-mail.
I check my voice-mail more frequently now with the ease of the Light
Sensor and am doing a better job keeping the little fires go growing
big. I pump solutions on the little fires before they get really toasty.
John A. Miller
                   (619) 658-2689
member, National Federation of the Blind

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