January 12th, 2011


I think I'm close to losing my mind! This never-ending snow-ice storm has kept me largely grounded in here since Friday. We have snow in all but one state, and the poor folks of Queensland in Australia are being flooded out. This on the already tragic anniversary of the Haiti earthquake which took the lives of over 250000 people. It seems we have a lot of natural disasters, along with the man-made types created by the mad people of the world, to deal with these days.
How do I cope? No better way than music, in my opinion. But then the quality of the stuff they put out lately has degraded to a level that makes it all but intolerable to me. Never fear, Pandora is here!
I had heard of this amazing music service, which allows you to input artists and find others related to them, but it had been largely inaccessible. Until now, that is.
The developers of the now famous Qwitter Client for Twitter have done it again. They have created a client, called Hope, which greatly simplifies interaction with Pandora for screen-reader users like myself. You can create an account, search for, add and customize stations with ease. Also most importantly, it allows for controlling the volume.
I had it on today while doing the online job, and it really did a number on the time! I first plugged in Boyz II Men, and I sang along to every single song it played for the next hour and a half. I'd actually experimented with it first late last night, and thus I found myself going to sleep and dreaming about some of that great music. I am currently listening to the Rascal Flatts station, another of my favorite groups. It's playing a song by Lady Antebellum called When You Got a Good Thing.
You do have to pay for access to this client, $10, but the proceeds are used to enhance future development of Qwitter and other accessibility tools. And given the hours of enjoyment and definitely increased school and work productivity that will result, I'd say it had paid itself back before I even completed the purchase.
Even if you don't have a specific reason to obtain the Hope client, might I ask that you consider donating to the Qwitter project? This can be done at the Qwitter site listed above. This has made a tremendous difference in how much I am able to get done. All of the functions for which I use it; Twitter access, online search, language translation, and Captcha solving; can be completed in other formats. However no other system presents all of these things within one easy-to-use interface such as this. This has caused Qwitter to become an invaluable tool to me in a relatively short period of time. My thanks to those who are working to come up with solutions that make the Internet more fun, flexible, and usable for all.