Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Flattening World for Deaf / Hard of Hearing Consumers and Professionals

I created a white-paper and a PowerPoint presentation about the "Flattening World for Deaf / HOH Consumers and Professionals", which discusses the how the latest technologies and services have helped level the playing field for deaf/hoh consumers and professionals in recent years.

Also discussed, is why corporations should pay attention to this often overlooked population segment, along with a few general tips on how they can improve their products and services to meet these consumers and working professionals.

Read the white paper and/or view the PowerPoint presentation - provide feedback, comments, share with friends, co-workers and recruiters. Hopefully this article and presentation will be a small step in the right direction to help improve consumer and employment relations for the deaf/hoh population segment.

I welcome feed back and comments to help further improve and update this white paper and/or presentation. Feel free to share

these links with others as long as you cite the source.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Recommended Web Site: Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at Work

If you have a young deaf/hoh child, student, friend or relative that needs a role model for working deaf/hoh adults, I recommend visiting the "Deaf and Hard of Hearing People at Work" website, which is maintained by Karen Putz. Link:

This web site contains a number of success stories of deaf/hoh professionals in the work place.

Recently, I was asked to write a story about my own career - which now appears on the site at:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Microsoft Office 2007: Online and PowerPoint Training with Transcripts

Microsoft provides a handful of on-line training resource to help you get started to learn about some of the advanced features of the MS-Office 2007 product line for programs such as Word, Excel, Publisher, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote.

Many of these tutorials include text transcripts found in the bottom portion of the screens, which are useful for those not able to hear or understand the audio portions. Link:

In addition, many of the online demos can be downloaded in PowerPoint format, and can be used for off-line viewing and/or for your organization.

With these tutorials, you can take your skills and career to the next level by learning how to use many of the program features offered within MS-Office.

Note: While I have used some of the online demos and presentations, I have not verified that every one of them have text transcripts available. You can use this blog article as a starting point for your training and reference needs.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tenacity and Snap!VRS Announce Exclusive Partnership to Help Organizations Better Serve Deaf and Hard of Hearing Employees

Snap!VRS announced a partnership with Tenacity Operating, LLC, ("Tenacity"), a leader in the field of accessible telephony, that will help companies and organizations offer visual communication and relay services with the only comprehensive and accessible video technology of its kind.

Tenacity's accessaphone(tm) Total Conversation (aTC(tm)), a video softphone, extends telephony by including real-time text, video, and voice with the same endpoint compatible with the business' current infrastructure. This easy to use video softphone is now further enhanced as a VRS-ready solution through the Snap!VRS partnership, making it easy for enterprises to find a one-stop solution for Section 508 compliance. Section 508 is the important part of the American Disabilities Act that works to eliminate barriers in information technology.

"This partnership will enable large enterprises - government agencies, corporations, and educational institutions - to better meet the needs of existing and prospective employees who are deaf and hard of hearing," said Snap!VRS Executive Chairman, Richard Schatzberg. "With Tenacity's excellent and well-earned reputation in communication infrastructure and Snap!VRS'strong service, the match will provide a single solution for Section 508 compliance and benefit those looking to give all of their employees the best communications solutions they can."

For the complete press release on this news, visit

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Estimated 278 Million Deaf/HoH Consumers WorldWide


Updated: Last Spring while conducting research for a paper for my MBA program, I came across the World Health Organization’s (WHO) web site, where a web page listed that there is an estimated 278 million deaf / hoh people around the world - thus I have updated the tag line of my blog to reflect the latest estimates. This is a 178 million increase from the previous estimate of 100 million worldwide that was mentioned else where.

Yet, for a large number of them, they reside in low-to middle income population zones, where access to technology goods such as computers and the Internet may be extremely limited.

WHO estimates that the number of deaf/hoh consumers is expected to increase due to increasingly aging population segments - everyone naturally loses their hearing as they age, regardless of ethnicity. The bottom line is that companies should pay attention, and produce products and services for this growing population segment.

The WHO page outlining the latest count of deaf / hoh people in the world can be viewed at:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Test drive wireless phones before buying

cell phone As many of you know, the market for wireless devices and phones has become saturated (there are many models and options now available), it has become increasingly important to be able to test and get a real feel of the phones you are interested in before purchasing. The large number of devices and services available can be overwhelming at times.  Thus its important to take your time and research before selecting a device.

While a device may look great online, it may not be as appealing when you set your own eyes and hands on it in person.
The opposite can be said - some devices are not so well displayed online but are actually great in person.

I recently went to Best Buy to run a small shopping errand, and out of curiosity, I checked on the latest models of wireless phones – Wow! there is a large number of devices available compared to 5 years ago! I took a good 15 minutes to take a look at some of the latest models.

While I won't name any specific models - some of my findings were:

- Some of the new phones look like they were designed for tweens and teenagers - not worthy of consideration for working adults. They should list the recommended ages on each device.

- Secondly I was surprised how bad some of the physical keyboards were. People still need to type messages and emails.
Note to manufacturers: don't make the keyboards any smaller. A combination of keyboard and touch screen is probably what most consumers want.

- Thirdly, you need to consider the operating system of each phone, and need to determine what kind of system you prefer and want (see below).

- Lastly, make it worthwhile to find store(s) in  your area that have the actual devices on display that you can examine before buying online.

Popular Phone Operating Systems
Some of the popular operating systems are (in no particular order)

- iPhone (Apple)
- Rim / Blackberry
- Windows Mobile (Microsoft)
- Nokia
- Android
- Other: Carrier specific

I suggest reading two previous previous blog postings highlighting some recommendations on how to select your next wireless phone / device.

1. “Wireless Devices: Phone Research and Shopping

2. “A Quick and Dirty Guide to Selecting Your Next Smart Phone / Wireless Device

As a reader, share with others what have you done or considered when making a decision in selecting a replacement or new wireless device?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Contact Numbers and Email Addresses to the 4th Power


In these days, it seems many of us are getting multiple assigned device numbers and email addresses - how can one possibly memorize them all?

Yet this all seems ironic given that many deaf and hard of hearing consumers may not utilize voice services, and actually end up having more phone numbers than hearing consumers.  This article will illustrate some examples of what has become common and tips on how to manage to share your contact information with others.

While the various relay services, communication devices, and various touch points (VP, VRS, email and wireless devices), are a blessing in disguise, we seem to have more numbers and email addresses for each person than ever before.

For arguments sake – below is an illustration of an example of what a family of four usually has to keep track of:

- Local 10 digit number
- VP Device number(s)
- Toll free number
- Blackberry SMS number
- Fax (While its not relay related, its another number to track)
* Multiply the count of numbers by two if you have a working spouse

- Landline or Other VOIP (broadband phone service) number
- VP assigned number some may have more than one VP device (I.e. VP-200, Z-340, PC based, etc).
- My own toll free number
- Spouses toll free number
- My wireless device SMS number
- Spouses device SMS number
- Teens wireless device SMS number(s) 
* Multiply by the number of wireless phones in the household

As the above illustrates, for work and in a family of four, there are about 12 different numbers to use and to keep track of.
Why I say "about" - because new technologies are forthcoming and changing all the time -thus new numbers will come and go.

Multiple Email Addresses
Now about multiple email addresses - no doubt many of us have more than one email address as well. We have them for various reasons – such as for work, home and wireless devices.

- Work email
- Home primary email
- Push email provider (for wireless device) (I.e. MobileMe, Mail2web, Fusemail, Gmail, Hotmail, etc).
- Spouses primary email
- Spouses push email provider (for wireless device)
- Kids primary email addresses
- Kids wireless phone email addresses

Add them up, that's a minimum of 7 email accounts for a family of four. Image the same with your friends – dealing with multiple email addresses and numbers.

What to do?
Only give out contact numbers and email addresses on an as need to know basis. There is no need to share all numbers and email addresses with everyone, you should selectively give your email/number to your contacts to prevent confusion.

For example, for your immediate family, share the primary contact points with them. 
For your friends and distant others, you may have a different set of preferences and ways for them to contact you.


  • Create Different Versions of Personal Contact Cards
    Use FedexKinkos and, they can print up hundreds of cards in a flash for a low cost.
    If you need a few just cards print them yourselves.  Microsoft Word and Publisher offer document templates that allow you to create and print your own contact cards.  You can buy business card paper in most office supply stores (Avery paper).
  • Document Email Addresses and Numbers into a MS-Word, MS-Excel or other readable format
    This will provide you a way to keep track of your numbers and email accounts.
  • Utilize Address Books on Your Computer (i.e. Ms-Outlook, email/ISP provider) and Your Wireless Handheld
    By doing this, it will help you better manage your contact information, and reduce the need to memorize so many numbers and email addresses.

Lastly, make an effort to memorize at least some you important numbers and email addresses for emergencies or when you computer and/or handheld wireless device is not available.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Leader in Deaf Community to Head Outreach Efforts for Snap!VRS

Snap!VRS announces the recent hire of Sean Gerlis, the President of the New Jersey Association of the Deaf.

Purple Announces Community Campaign: Dream Bigger

Purple announced a new community campaign called Dream Bigger ( The campaign honors 10 Trailblazers in the Deaf Community from across the country that have had tremendous impact in the areas of sports, civil rights, politics, business, language, community, medicine, art, and education.

Over the next three months, there will be local events (across the US) in the communities of the Trailblazers honoring their commitment to the Deaf Community. In addition to honoring the Trailblazer, Purple will have their new P3 netbooks on site to show attendees their latest products, specifically designed for the deaf and hard-of-hearing market.

In October, all the Trailblazers will convene in Washington D.C. for the 'Trailblazers of the Year' Gala dinner where one of the ten Trailblazers will be awarded $10,000 in their name given to the deaf charity of their choice.

By visiting the Dream Bigger website, visitors can view videos from all the Trailblazers, find information on the local events and vote for who they think the Trailblazer of the Year should be.

Monday, May 18, 2009

DeafCode Launches, a Captioned Film Search Engine

With summer quickly approaching – a lot of new movies are being released. Yet, would you like to look for open captioned or rear window view movies showing at theaters near you? 

Then, check out, a new web service being offered by DeafCode.Com


caption_fish provides captioned movie results for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.'s Instant CC Film Finder™ provides effortless location search; New theaters added daily

SEATTLE, WA – May 18, 2009 – DeafCode, LLC. announces the launch of its first beta of It is the first website to integrate an Instant CC Film Finder™, which provides immediate and effortless custom results within 30 miles of a chosen location, refreshed on each visit to Results for up to 7 days in the future and 60 miles away are available at the click of a button. "The DeafCode Team was inspired to create Captionfish because of the need to find a comprehensive list of captioned movies in one place," said Chris Sano, DeafCode, LLC. Co-Founder. "We've received a tremendously positive response and feel Captionfish has the potential to become one of the most popular online destinations for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. We are adding more theaters every day and will continue to enhance the website's functionality with new features - many driven by our visitors' feedback."

Additional highlights of's features include:

  • Effortless Searching- Using its Instant CC Film Finder™ Captionfish offers the easiest way for visitors to find captioned movie results within 30 miles of their location.
  • Comprehensive results- Captionfish's Instant CC Film Finder™ results can be customized for up to 7 days in the future or up to 60 miles away from a specified location.
  • Open Captions and Rear Window identification- provides easy to identify icons that distinguish between an "open captioned" or "rear window captioned" showing.
  • Mobile edition- Captionfish provides a mobile website optimized for mobile phones so deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors can find captioned movie results while they are on the go. Mobile applications for Smart phones are under development.
  • Closed Captioned Trailers- Captionfish links to a growing list of closed captioned movie trailers so the deaf and hard-of-hearing visitors can enjoy previews of current and upcoming movie releases.
  • RSS Feed for custom results- Captionfish enables an RSS feed so each visitor can check for the latest captioned film results using their preferred RSS reader wherever they like.

About DeafCode LLC.

Founded in 2009 by three deaf internet professionals with 30 years of combined experience, DeafCode LLC's mission is to utilize their skills and technological expertise to enhance the overall internet experience for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. DeafCode is based in Seattle, WA. For more information, visit

### and DeafCode are trademarks of DeafCode, LLC. All other company and product names may be trademarks
of the respective companies with which they are associated.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

New LinkedIn Group: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Professionals Group


There is a new Deaf and Hard of Hearing Professionals LinkedIn group, which may be beneficial for working or retired professionals looking to network with others.  If you haven't checked out LinkedIn - a professional networking site, consider joining so you can join the group. You can read my blog entry about Networking with LinkedIn and Facebook in 2008.

Once you've joined LinkedIn, and created a professional profile: Consider joining the "Deaf and Hard Of Hearing Professionals" LinkedIn group to network professionally, make new friends and create new networking opportunities.

To join the group, after you create a LinkedIn profile, log in and select “Search for Groups” and enter “deaf” and click on the search button.  Several groups will appear within the search results.  Select “Join this group” under the “Deaf and Hard of Hearing Professionals” group.  The group moderator will then make the determination if you can join the group.  Address all questions and concerns regarding this group to the group moderator.

Happy Networking!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Communication Technologies: Past, Present and Future


If you are reading this article on-line, you win a "point" for being up to date in using some of the latest technologies.

This article focuses on past, present and future accessibility and technologies that have greatly benefited the deaf / hard of hearing community over the past 30 years or so.  The list is not all inclusive, but contains a list of topics (technologies) that continue to be mainstream today. 


  • For the younger crowd, this chart can help provide an insight to the limited technologies and services of the past. 
  • For those of you who are younger than baby boomers a.k.a. Generation X, Y, Millennials and Z (I.e. 1964+ or younger), many of you can relate to the topics discussed. 
  • For seniors, the chart can provide you with an update on what technologies are available for your use, and give you a chance to learn something new.

The linked chart was developed from comments from others, my own experiences and perspectives.  The chart contents may be updated overtime as I receive comments and continue to expand on it.   You do not necessarily have to agree to what is listed.

Since the chart is too wide and long for display on this blog, it has been converted into an Acrobat PDF file and posted on Comcast - click on the link below.

[Click to see: Chart of Communication Technologies: Past, Present and Future]

This blog is open to receiving feedback and discussions based on this topic.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Email Signatures

This blog entry covers email signatures:

What is a email signature?
It is an electronic signature with your contact info at the bottom of your email messages.

Email mail signatures usually provides the key information for the receiver to know how to contact you in return.

Why: You may be wondering what's wrong with the standard email header name and address that's included in the email header. While there is nothing wrong with using the standard email signature format options. However, given that deaf/ hard of hearing consumers / professionals tend to utilize several modes of communication while at work - Thus your friend or colleague may want to learn more about the alternative ways they can contact you. You can also proactively (voluntarily) indicate to them on the various ways they can contact you.

I have found that the use of email signatures at work proves to be more beneficial than at home because I work with co-workers country-wide. Personal contacts usually already know the best way to reach me.

What's in a signature?
Basically it can be whatever your like, but I recommend limiting it to the various ways/preferences on how you can be contacted.

Below is a fictional mock up of my email signature to illustrate an example of an email signature.

John Doe
Blog Writer (job title)
Company XYZ
Chicago, Illinois
Sms: 123-321-4321
Message Service: 123-123-2356
Fax: 333-555-2222
Notes SameTime: John Doe


- Adjust the description names to your preference.

- If you have a 10 digit relay number include it. I usually indicate it by calling it "Message Service" so the words "Relay Service" doesn't alienate some people.

- If you have an internal instant messages program at work: include its name.

- If you have access at work to one of the public instant messages providers like: Aim, Gtalk, MSN, Yahoo, etc. Include the info as well. Such as: Aim: Johndoe

- If applicable, add your VP number or ip address.

- Some people may include links to other relevant information such as their LinkedIn or Facebook profiles or personal web sites. However I would be cautious about including such in your work email signature.

On the PC side, both Notes and Ms-Outlook provides ways of settling up your signature to be automatically inserted in your email messages. Refer to your software help function on how to set one up.

Ms-Outlook allows you to utilize more than one email signature. This is helpful if you have more than one email account and/or have different contact preferences depending on who you are corresponding with.

Most wireless devices allow you to include a signature automatically. Some even allow multiple signatures but that can be tricky to set up and is not discussed here.

Bottom line is that by setting up your email program to automatically include a preformatted email signature, you can increase the chances of your messages being returned or be contacted in the future.

Format your signature depending on your needs. I don't recommend including any personal information such as your SSN or home address to protect your identity.
Lastly, be sure to test your email signature by emailing yourself until you are satisfied on how it looks to ensure that its error free and neatly organized.

Email away!