What could happen though, is if your ability is not in line with other programmers. For accessibility work people will hire you anyway (since you have unique experience), but for other work you'll have a hard(er) time.
And since there is an implied assumption that a blind programmer will be less productive, you are probably right about being pushed toward accessibility work.
The solution is of course obvious (and typical for any kind of disability): Show that your productivity is in line with others. People aren't malicious usually, just unaware.
This is the problem. It's like going to a black person and saying "oh man, I assume you must like fried chicken!"
> Show that your productivity is in line with others.
This also doesn't compute -- I can't think of a link between "you must be interested in accessibility work" and "we'd like you to work on that because your productivity is probably low."
I've faced both of these problems as a mostly deaf developer -- people always assume I want to work on hearing-related things.
I explained that. It's not a link between low productivity and interest.
It's a link between low productivity, and willingness to hire only for specialized work. (i.e. if not for the specialization they would not hire at all, since productivity is low.)
The fix is to show there is no low productivity.
I don't think you actually read what I wrote.
Some of the points you make made me want to speak about the general perception and assumption that a disabled person:
1. Must have an interest/insight into accessibility work
2. Must have a lower productivity due to the disability
You even address the latter with:
> And since there is an implied assumption that a blind programmer will be less productive
and that "implied assumption" is what I want to talk about.
To me, that assumption is very close to racial stereotypes -- assumptions about someone based on their appearance. To keep it in the "disability" sphere, it would be like assuming Stephen Hawking (a clear outlier) is a complete vegetable and unproductive due to his disability. While his disability no doubt makes him less productive at specific tasks impacted by it, his overall productivity is made up for in other ways.
Many people want to put the onus on the disabled person to demonstrate that they're "normal" or "normally productive" in order to bust themselves out of a niche (accessibility work, a special team of "disabled people," a special reading level, etc.) rather than simply assuming that they are "normal" and waiting for a demonstration otherwise, as they would would with any other person.
To me, it's too close to saying "well, we'll see if this black guy is normally productive -- if he's not, we'll put him in the 'urban brainstorming division.'"
I'm speaking about this in an attempt to get a broader discussion on the idea as someone who's been pigeonholed exactly these ways in the past.
> The solution is of course obvious (and typical for any kind of disability): Show that your productivity is in line with others. People aren't malicious usually, just unaware.
Should be enough in theory, not in practice. There are many factors affecting productivity and that are not personal; disabled people (among others) are rather prone to poor non-personal factors. In the other words, productivity is a function of the person in question and everything else surrounding that. We typically approximate this by assuming personal factors and non-personal factors are independent---of course, not in reality.
It was truly terrifying to have my vision quickly go away. To the point that I was so happy to be seeing when the headache hit.
And yet, sadly, I have to add this to this beautiful story: is it just me or does this feel like Amazon marketing at its finest?
Perhaps someone who loved computers might be wondering around the world if he/she can ever work as a programmer. He/She might not have explored how to go about it or he/she might not be confident enough to try.
So if this story can change one person's mind, I think it's a sin worth committing.
Disclosure: I interned at Amazon
But hey, it's their best option, else they would have found another job, so all is well in the best of all possible worlds. /s
They really don't give a shit about employee happiness or anything because the 99.99% cases you hear from Amazon employees lack even the basic dignity or respect. This is just a nice marketing story to portray Amazon in a positive light.
I have four friends working on different levels of profession in Amazon and I can assure you not even junior programmers need to pee in the bottle without bathroom breaks.
I am in no way defending Amazon they deserve all criticism, but I think it is unfair to put everyone in the same basked within one organization. You really believe people that built then and manage AWS cloud now are treated so badly that they can't even go pee?
You can argue that they should be on different pay scales, but as far as taking breaks, working in a safe environment and going to the toilet, they're rights that should be extended to all employees and any level of the corporate ladder.
I use Amazon far less after hearing about these issues.
I know from data that they treat their warehouse people like garbage.
Yes, it's physical labour. Yes, the hiring pool is big. But it's demanding physical labour, dammit, and without these people, Amazon - or any other company that does this - would be nothing.
Shipping and fulfillment is literally the core of what Amazon is. So is making burgers at McDonald's. So is stacking shelves at Walmart. These companies literally could not function if it weren't for people doing these jobs, and I feel like "we can just hire someone else" is no excuse for not recognizing that.
Not just you. Also, there have been some other 'heartwarming' stories on Reddit today about dogs at Amazon and the 'amazing' perks employees have. The PR machine is trying to balance out the latest developments.
And a lot more on programming by voice:
The section on Silvius seems to be a more recent project.
Thanks for sharing.
It's very nice to see Amazon wrote the article about him!
edit: typo and clarify what I'm linking to.
I do wish more companies invested in being accessibility friendly - not doing so automatically shuts a portion of population away from the product(s) by default.
How Blind People Type and Dial Numbers on a Touchscreen: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16897415
How do they accommodate blind students for university math exams? Calculus in particular seems like it would be crazy hard to do without a pencil.
In one case, one of my profs actually wrote his own textbook. It was for
an intro to theorem proving / symbolic logic class. He also used LaTeX.
While everyone else got a printout of the course text, I got a copy of the
source code that I could read with a screenreader.
Although in practice the answer is that instructors have to lean heavily on the learner and the university's resource center.
Here's a video of another blind dev. What I find fascinating in both cases is the speed at which they use voice assistance. I can barely make anything out.
It made me realize, how rarely we think about accessibility when developing software.
Here is the link to the talk,
Well, programmers have been doing their job for half a century without BS Entity-Relationship-Diagrams, UML and the like.
The ability to see diagrams would be quite low in utility.
I've spent my entire programming career ignoring those kinds of charts and diagrams. I "see" the connections in my head without any visual representation at all. I simply know where things are, what they connect to, and how things work.
I'm not blind. I just don't get anything from those tools. It doesn't surprise me that this blind coder doesn't need them.
Any idea on the easiest way to get going? My environment is osx, iTerm, vim, and safari mainly.
2. To turn on screen curtain: Right Option+C
3. For VoiceOver help: Ctrl+Option+H
4. For keyboard help: Ctrl+Option+K
Ctrl+Option is your VoiceOver key combo as well. Good luck.
I just hope that he is being payed fairly. Here is an example of someone who is disabled and not being payed fairly in my opinion.
>Kandu Industries can pay Chris and roughly 150 other workers substantially below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour because of a 1938 provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act that permits employers, who apply to the Department of Labor for a waiver, to pay lower wages to people with disabilities.
>According to the department, about 20 percent of people with disabilities participate in the workforce, and of that group, about 3 percent, or approximately 195,000 workers, are being paid subminimum wages. These workers typically make well below the minimum wage, sometimes as low as “pennies per hour,” according to the Department of Justice.
(Many People With Disabilities Are Being Paid Way Below the Minimum Wage, and It’s Perfectly Legal)[https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/08/many-people-wit...
Johnson and Johnson certainly weren't making out on the deal, given the limitations of the work that could realistically get done versus what a non-disabled employee would be able to do. I suspect the whole program was more headache and expense than they saved. In other words, the point was not for these people to earn enough money to support themselves (their housing, meals, clothes, were taken care of), and only partially about earning some spending money (there was already a budget for that too, things like movie tickets, coffee at Tim Hortons, etc), but more trying to lead a normal life -- seeing peers at work, waving to the other workers in the plant, going to the company barbecue, etc.
Again, I'm basically 100% sure that abuses exist of this provision, but I would really like to see any reform done in such a way that it doesn't eliminate programs like this.
The flip side to this was that a whole bunch of workers basically stood to be made redundant, because the companies employing them could't afford to pay them minimum wage. The reason that a lot of companies were hiring these people was a as community service.
The coworking space I used to work at does this. They have a special needs guy who is the community assistant, he'd come in like 3 days a week and help with keeping the kitchen clean and other stuff. It was great, we loved him and he loved being there. It would've been cheaper and easier to hire a fully-abled person to do the job, but that's not why they hired him.
It's common for supermarkets in New Zealand to hire people with learning disabilities to do things like collecting trolleys. To be honest, they look like the most satisfied employees in the whole store.
The sad thing though is that people do abuse the system and use them as a cheap source of labour, which is disgusting.
There is certainly great potential for exploitation, but many such operations do provide opportunities that would not otherwise exist.
A good place to start would be in the other comments in this thread.
But I'll summarize for you: The companies are only hiring them as a community service. They cost more than a regular person and do less. Force companies to pay full wage, and they won't hire them at all. Even at the lower wage it's not really worth it to them.
Maybe they shouldn't bother, since people like you interpret helping people as exploiting them......
They didn't cost a penny more than their able bodied brothers and sisters to employ. And they got paid just the same amount that other people did in that job.
Besides that a friend of mine ran a whole courier company with nothing but disabled people. All of those got paid full wages as well.
I'm sure there are boundary cases where it can turn into community service but this sounds - with the details available - as exploitation to me.
For European employers if there would be compensation this would be done at the back-end between the companies and the government, no way would the 'minimum wage' be reduced simply because someone is disabled. As if an hour of work by a disabled person is somehow worth less than an hour of work by an able-bodied person doing the same job. You'd have to get into extremes of lack of productivity before you could justify the 'pennies per hour' posted here.
Then, finally: there are institutions here called social workshops. In those places there is a cross between real work and therapy, work that is extremely simple and that basically anybody could do. For those places the people that work there tend to get compensation but it is not at the level of an actual wage. The thing is that the state already pays them a full social security or disability allowance which takes the place of a salary. Anything above that (such as through this work) is a special arrangement, they are not expected to earn a living wage by themselves.
I hope that all this shows you that I've educated myself sufficiently.
> Most people making subminimum wages, like Chris Wilson, work in factorylike settings known as sheltered workshops, which are supervised workplaces for people with disabilities. Workers package and assemble products, for example, sometimes folding paper, making jewelry, or sorting mail.
The subminimum wage is only allowed for people who are unable to work at normal levels of productivity because of their disability - in other words, it doesn't apply to people with a disability who can produce an hour of work that's worth the same as an able-bodied person doing the same job. (Also worth noting that 'able-bodied' is an odd word to use in this context, most of the people in this program would have an intellectual disability, not a physical one.) For your further education, here's an article that contains some examples of how this is measured:
> For example, if an average worker loads 100 boxes in an hour, but the worker being tested loads 15, that worker could be assigned a wage that is 15 percent of the average worker’s, or $2.25 an hour, rather than Seattle’s $15 minimum wage.
> With a supervisor, the six workers complete the amount of work that would normally be done by two people.
Whether such a policy is actually fair depends on specific empirical facts, not some a priori judgment. You’d need to know the economics of labor by people with different disabilities, the ability of companies to accommodate those disability, and so forth.
- I want to use my computer with my eyes closed (or blindfolded). Because I'm really interested in exploring the limits of my sense of hearing combined with my speech, plus my ability to use keyboard and mouse. It's like learning to ride a bike. I have not used any accessibility features of any of my OSes (linux, and windows) mainly because of my bias that those features are more like "lip service" than making sure that they are a full fledged replacement of visual user interface (well I have many gripes with the state of visual user interfaces, and by extrapolation, non-visual UIs can only be equal or worse, not better). So a big part of my experiment would be to explore, from first principles, what an ideal non-visual UI would look like, and then develop that software. The funny thing is that my interest in this experiment is not fueled primarily by the desire to help others, sorry to say, but by the fun and the thrill of being able to efficiently use a computer with eyes closed, almost like getting a new mini-superpower. (Surprisingly, my interest in this experiment came about as a result of thinking about going from mouse/keyboard based GUI usage, to keyboard-only vim and tiling window managers and touch typing, while your four fingers of each hand are constantly in the home row and move away only to carry out a specific task. It's almost as if restricting yourself makes you more efficient in some sense).
- As an extension to this, I'm interested in being able to live in my apartment for a few days blindfolded (including leaving-the-apartment in the experiment would make it too open-ended/challenging). I'm allowed to plan as much as I can beforehand, to memorize what is where in my rooms, kitchen, restroom, etc, and also make a list of strict rules about where a certain thing should be placed after it has been used (e.g., a toothbrush, etc), and then I blindfold myself and see how far I can get. I would need to know where each thing is, but there are too many things in my apartment, so maybe I would want to reduce the number of things I have, and this way it connects to the idea of minimalism, another interest of mine. And again part of the reason for this experiment is the fun, but also to learn what changes can be made in typical apartment indoor so a person doesn't have to rely on his/her sense of sight to live fully (e.g., cook, clean, move around, etc). I guess this is the kind of experiment that vsauce gets to conduct. I think it would be interesting if he creates an episode based around this. (Though I'm ignoring the biggest effect of being in this experiment, the psychological effect of not being able to see).
(edit: It also appears to me that there is a connection between trying to carry out operations blindfolded, and trying to code up something by imagining what that code would do in run-time, because a piece of code running on a computer is almost like a blind/blindfolder agent carrying out operations based on values of variables, etc. So does such an experiment make you a better programmer in some way? or give you a new perspective about running code?).
I can't believe people have the audacity to write unsubstatiated claims of animal abuse about a blind person's guide dog on a post about their achievements as a developer.
They should be ashamed of themselves.
It might be true that impatient, testy handlers would get more out of their animal by behaving differently, but there's a big difference between that and treating an animal with outright cruelty.
That said I also believe your statements about "treatment standards for pets don't apply" is also completely wrong as the implication here would be that service animal should be treated less well than pets because they are "working", this is unbelievably ignorant and wrong on many levels.
Abusing a service animal simply because it is a service animal is wrong.
What does that mean?
The point of outside time for a pet is to get a ridiculous serotonin high and pee where-ever they want.
The point of outside time of a guide dog is to do work.
If you compare me while I am at work to a person who's out at a bar with friends, I probably look "miserable". That doesn't mean I'm being abused at work. It just means that animals who work for a living (me, the dog) sometimes need to tone down the hormone rush in order to do our jobs.
Does this dog look miserable when in public, or does the comparison set (all the other dogs in public) simply look like the peak of hormone high?