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The Wonderful World of Technology by Vicki Carter

Updated: May 20, 2020

Everyone probably knows by now that John Faber's technical skills are what's keeping this church going. He has taught me a lot, but I know there is much more I need to master.

I have been wrestling with technology since 1982, when my husband helped me learn my first word processing program, Braille-Edit, on the Apple IIe. At some point PCs became the technology of choice for blind people, and I was eventually quite comfortable with our IBM clones. I remember learning about MS-DOS and then Windows. Robert taught me just enough to get by, and that was all I wanted to learn.

Then Apple began making devices that are accessible for blind people right out of the box. In fact, if you turn your new Apple device on and you don't do anything, it will assume you're blind and Voiceover will come on. For my birthday that year I got a huge manual called Switching to the Mac. Yikes. It's been many years, and I am finally over the trauma. I believe enough time has passed to make it possible for me try new things once again.

Doing church digitally never fails to bring new experiences. It even brings new experiences into my marriage. Some people thought the office I share with my husband is distracting as a Zoom background because you can see the whole room. John Faber taught me how to use a virtual background, but it turns out I move around too much and destroy the illusion. (You may be shocked to learn that I am hopeless on a laptop, so that's not an option.)

So I told my husband I would like to clear some surfaces in the office, just to make things more serene. He said his ham radio equipment and podcasting equipment were off limits. Easter Sunday I told him that I had moved his guitar pickup cord off the floor, because it looked messy. He was puzzled.

Starting in 1977, Robert taught me what it is like to be blind. It’s only been the last couple of years that I remember him asking me to explain what it’s like to be sighted.

And he has some great questions! Just why does a cord lying on the floor look messy he wants to know. I have just accepted the mess, because blind techies need a lot of electrical cords all over the place. (I knew what I was getting into when I started dating him. I had seen his apartment, and there were wires everywhere.)

Robert's hobbies (podcasting, ham radio) don't require vision, but in the new world of physical distancing and Zoom get-togethers, vision comes into play. How's the lighting? How's the background? Is his laptop angled correctly? He has to make concessions to the sighted world.

And, just like John Faber, Robert Carter has a chance to shine and to drag the previously reluctant people into the wonderful world of technology. He worked very hard to set up a Zoom meeting where he could record my April 19th RE lesson. (There was an issue of it being recorded in the cloud instead of locally. Apparently there are many steps to changing that. Also, I was on my own in getting the view I wanted, but I finally figured it out.)

Next he is going to teach me to record myself teaching RE. It's very strange for me to say, but I am excited to learn. I think a whole lot of us who were reluctant before are going to learn plenty about technology before this is all over.

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