Avoiding Amazon

Five people each with a speech bubble above their heads. Amazon - Finding Life's Purpose.... We worked 80-hour weeks for three years... We had no vacations and little sleep.... Co-workers with kids or poor health were culled from the herd..... But it was all worth it!   Because we delivered a roll of duct tape to a customer in 26.8 minutes!

I'm not a fan of Amazon at all. Not least for all the tax dodging and sweat shop allegations that swirl around it. Here's some alternative on-line shops for books, DVDs and more....

The Book People, Blackwell'sFoylesWaterstones, WHSmiths, The Works (Books), Classic Movie Store: (DVDs) and ArgosHive.co.uk and Sainsbury's (all sorts of shopping from the high-street on-line). More here.


Gakken WorldEye - Sensory Edition

Just added to the OneSwitch shop is a Gakken WorldEye with a simplified remote control with switch access. This mesmerising device allows you to display photos, videos or anything via an HDMI cable.

It's a brilliant sensory room / cool room device, and I don't really want to let it go. Ideal for experiential and cause and effect use with the switch / easy remote. Hopefully it will go to a good home.

Spherical monitor display for sensory effects. Big screen features a dolphin. Inset pictures show other underwater scenes.

Image of the planet Earth is displayed with a father figure controlling the remote.

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Voyager Golden Record: decoded images

It's an eerie and wonderful experience viewing the video above. Read more at Boing Boing. Maybe get a closer experience one day with A Light in Chorus.

Beautiful golden shallow cylinder about 12" across. Various etched diagrams.


Subtitles / Closed-Captions: 1985, 1997, 1998 and any excuses for 2018?

Screen show of corridor scene with a large skull painting with floating pointer. At the bottom of the screen reads "an annoying tone" subtitle in brackets, captioning the sound playing at that moment.

A couple of years back, Ian Hamilton collated an excellent guide, How to do Subtitles Well at Gamasutra. Although I don't agree with his definition of the difference between captions and subtitles (doesn't tally with my UK "888" Teletext experience where subtitles would commonly describe music, sounds, colour code speakers and denote if someone was off screen), that's not important...

...what is important is for people to have the option to have speech, sounds and music described in easy to digest text.

There are some interesting examples in gaming dating back to Atari's Gauntlet in 1985. Perhaps before. Activision added a patch to their game Zork Nemesis in 1997 for players unable to play through for lack of subtitles (see this news piece and grab the subtitles patch here).

In 1998 Zork: The Grand Inquisitor (pictured above) came supplied with closed captions / subtitles, although frustratingly, this wasn't announced on the box.

There doesn't seem to be too many excuses for not doing this well in gaming in 2018 where needed.

Overhead view of a pixelated dungeon, with a Warrior above the text "Treasure: 100 Points".

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Accessible fart machines and hand-less video game controllers | Holly Cohen

'Holly Cohen hacks toys and game systems so all kids can play them... She’s a co-founder of DIYAbility, a maker group that encourages children and their families to tweak toys, video games and tech for accessibility, using everyday materials and a sense of fun. (Yes, one design is a fart machine that works by remote control.)

“We build for what someone can do, not for what they can’t do,” she says. “We need to be the makers of our own solutions.”'

Link via: Richard Amm with thanks. Added to the OneSwitch DIY section.

DIY drill. Green with yellow trigger.


LDK (Switch) Adapted Toys

Lots of nice switch adapted toys and gadgets can be found at LDK Adapted Toys. They offer a good range of bits and bobs. Well worth a look.

Added to the OneSwitch shop.

Blue and yellow toy one-button adapted remote control car.

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Accessible Driving News

Recently had a chance to set-up a Simability accessible steering kit for SpecialEffect. Hugely impressive, putting analogue steering and braking all on one steering set-up. This allows for a high quality experience for those unable to use the pedals. It also can be played one-handed.

The Thrustmaster force feedback for the kit we used was brilliant, if perhaps a little strong in some games that don't allow you to turn it down. The bases we purchased were the T300 servo base for PS3/PS4/PC and a TX Servo base for PC/Xbox One, with Simability supplying the rest.

There's an alternative worth looking at linked to 2ArmDrive and SimRacingMachines.com adapting a Fanatec Universal Hub. Do check out the SpecialEffect post which has details on the brilliant accessibility options in Forza 7 for the Xbox One.

Lots more driving posts here including a link to the adapted Namco arcade machine below. Also a cheaper if no where near as good mod to add Xbox 360 thumb-sticks to a steering wheel.

Added to the Accessible Gaming Shop Various section.

Wheelchair accessible Namco racing arcade game.


2017: All Blogged One Switch Games

How Things Are Made (Bernholz)

Plaster cast of Bernholz's face surrounded by a cube, sphere, pile of plaster dust and a tube of paste. White on green.

Recently discovered the music of Bernholz. This is my cup of tea I am happy to share with you.  Listen (buy) here or via YouTube.


Low Vision and Blind Accessible Gaming

Andrew Campana, recently posted an excellent article on blind accessible gaming. Above are a couple of glimpses at some early Audio game console titles. Makes me wish someone would make an English version of Kenji Eno's / Warp's pioneering Kaze No Regret (Regret of the Wind).

Zoomax recently published an article on the perhaps co-incidental accessibility features in the Nintendo Switch game 1-2 Switch. Of note Zoomax are one of a number of companies selling digital magnifiers. You can also do some similar things using tablets and smart-phones. Ideal for slower-paced games for making small text and details a little easier to make out.

The Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch all feature some basic improvements for sight. More thought is needed though in the general gaming world for people cut out unnecessarily. 

Image of two cow-boys drawing a game controller at one another.




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