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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Computer monitor arm for my low vision accessibility

HP computer workstation with M8 monitor arm

PHOTO: Thomas Kraemer's current computer setup, which he designed to provide him with better low vision accessibility, includes a HP Dreamcolor monitor display (the same one used by professional motion picture animation studios, such as DreamWorks) with 1920 by 1200 pixels spaced at 100 dots per inch so that the actual visible physical display height is 12 inches and the Microsoft Windows 7 operating system's global magnification can be set to 150 percent instead of its software imposed limit of only 125 percent on the more common 1920 by 1080 pixel 16:9 aspect ratio TV sets and computer monitor displays that sometimes have more dots per inch and thus an even smaller physical display height. With my current low vision blindness, the 150 percent magnification of the MS Windows 7 OS is sufficient for me to do simple things and get into the standard Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer Web Browser display, where I can use its text size and magnification settings to read Websites -- at least the Websites that haven't overridden the MS IE browser's accessibility features, perhaps due to ignorance of the Website designer or art director who wants total control over the display for artistic reasons or to make it easier to code by avoiding having to test the numerous permutations of text and display sizes (Of course, if this is done right, the Website will work even on mobile phone displays). The HP Dreamcolor monitor is shown mounted to an articulated arm that can be adjusted closer or farther away from my eyes to correct for presbyopia, the very common old-age inability for eyes to focus close-up and accommodate different distances, which most people can easily solve with inexpensive reading glasses. The standard HP Workstation table includes a pullout keyboard at the proper height for good ergonomics to avoid repetitive stress injury, due to typing at an awkward angle, and the standard USB keyboard has LED backlighted characters that make it easier to see with low vision blindness, although I usually depend on touch typing because my vision is bad enough now that I have to bend over to see the keyboard. The shelf above holds a DSL modem to connect to the internet and a network accessible hard drive that connect to the gigabit per second network switch on the wall that is wired via CAT-5E cables to all the rooms in the house so that I do not have to depend on noisy and slower Wi-Fi connections. Not shown is the ergonomically designed office chair with adjustable seat angles and heights, also to prevent ergonomic injury from working at the computer too long. On the adjacent wood file drawer and credenza can be seen a Brother printer that I use to print out text with enlarged text size when it is the only way I have to read something. Eventually, I may have to move to screen readers, but I can tell they are even less supported by most Websites than is text size. (See previous post Still alive after 'upgrade' to Windows 7 HP Workstation and Dream Color Monitor (1/26/14))

During the three decades worked at HP, I championed the software and hardware components necessary to provide better accessibility for all types of human limitations. When I was younger and more arrogant, I optimistically assumed I would never need to use these computer accessibility features. However, I am now forced to use some of these computer accessibility features in order to accommodate my low vision blindness, which has been progressively going worse each year despite my optimism it will stop getting worse! I never learn! Fortunately, I have been able to use standard computer components and software -- so far! Hopefully, advances in technology for computer accessibility software and hardware will keep pace with my increasing limitations. After all, I am planning on living another 28 years because the IRS is making me use this life expectancy for an actuarial tax calculation that determines the taxes I will owe on one of my retirement accounts.

Speaking of the IRS, so far the IRS has not yet sent me the large print version of the tax documents I ordered, except for one of them, and the IRS plain text HTML Web pages still override the user's accessibility settings in the MS IE browser in a manner that a user can't enlarge the text and have it wrap to his window display width so that he doesn't have to scroll left and right to read each line. See previous post IRS tax documents belatedly provide low vision accessibility to comply with ADA law (1/9/14).