Posted on 2 Comments

Smart Daring Different | Featuring Ron Klein

Header image is described in the body of the post.

INTERVIEW

Editor’s Note:

When I met Ron Klein the first thing that stood out to me was how easy he was to talk with. The fact that he has an amazing sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. Picture this: You’re on a Zoom call frantically looking for another headset because yours died. Without missing a beat Ron says “here, I’ll let you borrow mine” as he holds out his headphones towards his camera. Since I’m not as quick on my feet, for a mere millisecond I almost reached out my hand towards my monitor. And just like that, I was quite taken with Ron. At 85 years of age, I could hear the excitement in his voice when he told me he failed three times at retiring. And today, like the Energizer Bunny he still keeps going.

We have exciting news on the technology front which Ron will talk about in his interview. The transcript follows, then below that is another interview Ron recently did. Enjoy! ~Steph

Introducing The Grandfather of Possibilities

Ron Klein and Nasreen Bhutta Talk Technology

Transcript

Nasreen Bhutta:

Welcome to Bold Blind Beauty and our Cane EnAbled segment, which is found in Beyond Sight Magazine, which is an online community. In addition to celebrating all things related to the white cane, including safety and usage, personalization, this monthly series focuses on sharing broad perspectives from those in the field. Also parents of blind and visually impaired children, advocates, and exciting news on the technology front. Cane EnAbled is published on the fourth Monday of each month.

This month, technology will be our focus, and we are going to be featuring this month the grandfather of possibilities, Ron Klein, who is an ordinary man, but accomplishes extraordinary things. He’s a problem solver. His innovative ideas have changed the world, and he’s very well known for a great invention, which you all out there have probably seen and used many, many times. And that is the magnetic strip that’s found on the back of your credit cards. And he’s also designed and invented a few other nifty inventions out there, including a handy dandy invention for the disabled community, which is the programmable QR codes known as the ELI Technology project. And you can find and read up more about this at www.envisioneli.com. That’s E-N-V-I-S-I-O-N-E-L-i.com. So let’s give a big welcome to our featured guest this morning, Ron, how are you?

Ron Klein:

I’m fine. And thank you for that intro. That was very, very nice. And I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Nasreen Bhutta:

Oh, you’re welcome. You’re welcome. So the grandfather of possibilities, where’d that come from, Ron?

Ron Klein:

Well, a lot of it came from when I was a young boy. My grandfather was a great inventor, my mother’s father, and my dad was just a postal worker, and my mom worked in a department store. But they were very supportive, but my grandfather very early in his lifespan, he invented the steam propulsion mechanism for steam ships. And then during the first world war, he invented the torpedo detector for submarines. And then he invented the pressing machine for the tailor shops that press your clothing. And then when the television first came out, he invented the rabbit ears that sat on top of the television that were the antennas.

Nasreen Bhutta:

Oh, wow. I think I had a pair of those, at some point.

Ron Klein:

Yeah, and he was a great inspiration to me, and he was my mentor. I stayed by him all the time, and I loved him. So I followed him, and I guess most of my talent came through him.

Nasreen Bhutta:

So you have these programmable QR code in the ELI technology. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about this?

Ron Klein:

Well, actually I did invent the magnetic strip on the credit card, and during my younger years, I developed the MLS, multiple listing for real estate, and voice response for the banking. And then I automated the New York Stock Exchange and created the bond trading system. And then as I got older in my years, I have a great interest, I always had a great interest to help the blind. And I happened to have an impediment myself where I’m partially blind. So I was having breakfast with one of my people one day and I asked what was on their wishlist. And they said, “It would be great if you could come up with something that would be simple, that could help us identify everything we come in contact within our daily lives.”

And I thought about that for a few weeks. And I was very familiar with the QR code, which really wasn’t used to the ultimate, and I figured if I can do a little modification there and write an app, a free app that could be used on a cell phone that everybody carries around, and it’s so prevalent with blind too because they use it for so many things. And the little programmable QR code would be programmable to the point where you don’t have to throw it away. You can change what it says. So let’s say if you take a little code, it’s the size of your thumbnail, and it’s an adhesive, little adhesive book that I make, and you pull one out and paste it on your medication, the things that you keep in your pantry, your peanut butter, your jelly, and you always put it in the same place and then put your finger on top of the code. Then put the camera portion of your cell phone on top of your finger, slide your finger away slightly, and then start raising the phone.

It actually beeps on the QR code and you can tell it what it is. For instance, once you bring your medication home from the drug store, you can say, “This is my heart medication,” and the date that I ordered it. And now every time you turn your cell phone on and sweep it through your medicine chest, you’re not going to take your aspirins instead of your heart medication or your other medications because it’ll tell you what it is. And then the nice thing is, as it gets close to expiration, you can go back and change the code for that. And say, “By the way, this has to be reordered in 30 days because it expires,” anything to that point. So it’s very, very helpful. It can help you identify your clothes, what’s on your hanger, your CDs, your peanut butter jar from your jelly jar.

And what’s so nice about it is that once you download the free app, you never need the internet again. So it’s not internet sensitive. It’s just the iPhone or the Android phone and the little labels. And we were providing the little labels in a little package that you can carry in your purse or your pocket. And you just peel one off, paste it in a familiar spot where you always know you’re going to look, and that’s how it works. For instance, if you’re going to identify your books, it’ll be on the front cover in the upper left hand corner, and you know that’s where it’s going to be. You feel the label, put your phone on top of your finger, pull your finger away, just raise it, and it tells you what it is. And it’s always in your language because it’s in your voice. So that was the latest ELI invention. And then it carries on further than that. I hope I wasn’t too wordy.

Nasreen Bhutta:

No, that’s fantastic. I think our listeners will really get a good, really deep dive into this technology and to kind of understand how to use it. And I love how you explained the day to day.

Ron Klein:

I have a suggestion, Nasreen. If they go on the website and click on where it says low vision or low vision tab, there’s actually a point that you can download the app, the free app on your phone. By the way, the logo for the free app is a green ‘eye’ with the braille characters inside of it that say ELI, E-L-I. So you know you’ve got the right one.

Nasreen Bhutta:

Oh, fantastic. Fantastic.

Ron Klein:

Then once they download the free app, on that same website is a sample label and they can just use that label to record and try it and play with it. And it’s great. So there’s a perfect example. What I feel is so important is how people should constantly be smart, daring, and different. And being smart means not a PhD from Harvard. It means pay attention, learn something new every day, listen to everyone and filter that out and use that as knowledge. And then to be daring, don’t be afraid to make mistakes because if you painted something the wrong color the first time, paint it a different color. And then the last thing, whatever you do must provide a benefit. And if it doesn’t provide a benefit, it’s no more than a hobby. So I’d like to leave them with that message. And also I’d like to inspire them that at 85, I’m a senior Olympian, senior Olympian in cycling, and I did take the gold medal in the Sarasota County Olympics.

Nasreen Bhutta:

Wow, Ron. Those are some amazing words of wisdom for our listeners. I mean, hats off to you and kudos, being so sharp and still going at it at 85. I wish for all of us to kind of be at that sort of longevity and strive when we’re at your age. So I love those words of wisdom. Thanks so much, Ron, for being here with us today and sharing of yourself and your technology with us today. If you want to learn more about Ron and his segments, you can find this feature and many other great articles and innovative information. You can visit the Cane EnAbled page in the Beyond Sight Community at boldblindbeauty.com. Thanks for listening, everyone.

Innovative Problem Solver

TEMA TALK: Let’s Get Inventive – Guest Ron Klein

Connecting With Ron:

Featured Image Description:

  • Featured image is the Beyond Sight Magazine cover. A headshot of Ron is on the cover, he is wearing a jacket over a light shirt. The masthead is teal with “Beyond Sight Magazine” in black text. The dot on the ‘i’ in ‘sight’ is the eye used for our 2020 Year of Vision Campaign (described HERE). There are 2 lines of black text that say “The Blind Guide.” In the bottom right corner is a teal circle with an illustration of Abby Bold Blind Beauty’s fashion icon who is walking with her white cane in one hand and handbag in the other. She is wearing heels and a stylish dress made of panels resembling overlapping banana leaves. The dress panels gently curve from her nipped-in waist to just above the knee. She’s also sporting her signature explosive hairstyle and “Cane EnAbled” is in yellow text under the circle.
  • A clear light bulb with two green leaves inside representing innovation.
CREDITS:
Posted on 3 Comments

Celebrate #ADA30 July 26, 2020

Header image is described in the body of the post

ABBY’S CORNER | ADVOCACY

Editor’s Note:

On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law. Every year at this time I recommend a moving PBS documentary about the Disability Rights Movement called “Lives Worth Living.” This year I’m adding Crip Camp, another film that highlights the disability revolution.

Americans With Disability Act Turns 30 Today

While I am not a sociologist I am an empathic person who respects humanity and believes in doing the right thing. Being born into a couple of marginalized groups allowed me to become uncomfortably familiar with discrimination and exclusion. Even so, because I value human life and deeply appreciate diversity, I refused to allow my circumstances to define who I am. Then later in life, I acquired a disability.

Living with a disability is a life-altering uniquely personalized situation that’s been physically and emotionally draining. Adding to this heaviness, confronting an additional layer of discrimination makes day to day life even more uncertain. Losing my independence has been frustrating and enlightening.

Because of my background, I’ve always known that the world we live in isn’t fair or equitable for everyone. As complex as we are as humans, no one can possibly understand what it’s like to live in the body of another person. Even so, our need to classify everything including people, makes it more difficult for us to see our commonalities. The further we drill down these classifications the lesser the value of those belonging to certain groups like, for instance, people with disabilities.

An Ugly History

Here in the United States, it was against the law to be in public spaces if you were “diseased, maimed, mutilated, or in any way deformed, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object.” As unbelievable as it might seem “The Ugly Laws” as they came to be known in 1975, were enacted in the late 1860s. These ‘laws‘ encompassed the “poor, the homeless, vagrants, and those with visible disabilities.”

Eugenics, also known as a movement to improve the human race, was a process where people who met certain criteria were sterilized to prevent them from reproducing. The laws were put in place by our government and/or the people who thought they were superior to everyone else.

The Fight For Disability Rights Continues

I think the difference between those who fight for social justice and those who are against it is our view on humanity. People who respect differences and are open to accepting others as they are with empathy understand that “life,” no matter who it belongs to, matters. Even the elitists have no more or less value than those whom they deem less than.

“Around 15 percent of the world’s population, or estimated 1 billion people, live with disabilities. They are the world’s largest minority.”* The thing that sets our community apart from other minority groups is we are wholly inclusive. Anyone at any age, social status, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc. can become a member at any point in their lives. What’s sad is some of us take the stance that disability rights are ‘not our problem,’ that is until we become disabled. However, being ‘temporarily-abled’ as the majority of us are, makes it our problem.

People with disabilities share many of the same characteristics of our temporarily-abled counterparts, we simply do things a little differently. We’ve come a long way since the ADA became law however the fight for Accessibility, Inclusion, and Representation continues.

*Resource: Fact Sheet on Persons with Disabilities

Disability Rights Are Human Rights

So what can you do to become part of the movement?

  • Empathize: I think the most important thing any of us can do, is to check our assumptions at the door. It’s wrong to assume people with disabilities have no value or worse yet, no skills or aspirations.
  • Educate: Increase your understanding of the wide range of disabilities and become more culturally aware and sensitive to the needs of the community. Not every disability is hidden and each person’s story is unique.
  • Embrace: Opening your world to include people with disabilities by volunteering for organizations that support the disability community is a win-win. The organization and the people it supports will benefit from the gift of your time. You will increase your knowledge and build relationships with people who will expand your heart.
  • Respect: No one, wants to be reduced. It’s hard enough being human, so let’s eliminate this idea that disability equals deficit. Learning to appreciate differences and accepting people where they are is at the heart of humanity. If you subscribe to the idea that humanity is imperfect, respecting differences can begin with embracing our own flaws. After all, we are all human.

Let’s continue to strive for inclusivity in all areas of life. Hopefully, there will come a time when we fully embrace our differences without condescension. Until then, celebrate Celebrate #ADA30 with me. What other ways can you think of to impact the disability movement?

Image Description:

Graffiti: the word “ACT” is vertical colored letters that spell out “Action Changes Things” on a black brick wall.

Posted on 2 Comments

Cultivating Resilience Practice 10: Giving Back

Image is described in the body of the post.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

Bold Blind Beauty is thrilled to share with you snippets from Becky Andrews’ new book “Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal.” Adversity strengthens and builds resilience; Becky will share weekly practices to help us become more resilient. ~Steph

Hello All

We are at our final practice in Cultivating Resilience. I hope you have enjoyed this series and found them to be helpful. 

As I mentioned in the introduction, these are the practices that I find helpful in my own life and with my clients as we cultivate resilience. Cultivate is an action word. It means we are continuing to create, to dig down, to pause, to ask for what we need TO CULTIVATE our resilience. Resilience is that time of being stretched, pulled, and transformed as we navigate challenging times in our lives.  

Let’s review the last nine practices:

  • Practice one: Give yourself permission to feel. Honor your feelings and what you need.
  • Practice two: Take care of yourself and offer yourself much self-compassion for the journey.
  • Practice three: Utilize your strengths in the journey. Be authentically you as you navigate the challenging time.
  • Practice four: Reach out for support. Practice healthy boundaries and relationships.
  • Practice five: Resilience takes much grit and determination. Recognize and acknowledge your efforts.
  • Practice six: Find moments to savor, practice gratitude, and be mindful.
  • Practice seven: Find laughter and joy in each day.
  • Practice eight: Open to flexibility.  Perhaps there is another way.
  • Practice nine: Find the meaningful moments and lessons learned along the way.

Today’s Practice 10 Is Giving Back 

Lemonade image is described in the body of the post.
Lemonade

Helping Others. I think of it after we have found that lemonade, how are we going to serve the lemonade to others?  

In Victor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning, he teaches that we can discover meaning in three ways: first by creating work or doing deeds to help others, second by experiencing something or encountering someone, and third, by the attitude, we take toward unavoidable suffering.  

Creating work or doing deeds to help others is indeed discovering meaning through our challenges. When we recognize that our difficult time may give us insight to help someone else, it can become empowering. It can become our why. It can become our way of sharing the lemonade that we have gained.  

Through this journey, we have been on what has resonated with you? How can you give back in a meaningful way to help others? Take a pause as much time as you need to ask yourself this question.  

Writing for Bold Blind Beauty gives me pause to think of the impact of Stephanae McCoy on the multiple ways she continues to give back and offer help to others from her challenging times. Such an example of resilience and doing just that.  

Becky and Georgie Image is described in the body of the post.
Hitting Their Stride

 I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.

~Carl Jung

These practices are for you to explore. I honor your unique journey and what is helpful to you as you cultivate resilience. Be yourself. Do what feels best for you. Take it a step at a time in the direction that you want to go. Be kind and gentle to yourself on the journey. Recognize your grit and determination. It truly is awe-inspiring to see the human spirit. Recognize that perhaps, there is another way will help us in our resilience plan. Watch for those meaningful moments and lessons learned along the way. And then, offer lemonade to others.  You can make a difference to someone else’s life.  

If you’d like to join me in our next Cultivate Resilience course – email: resilientsolutionsinc@gmail.com. It will begin the week of September 14th. This is my opportunity to give back and the course is just $35 for 6 sessions. I would love to hear from you and what you have found most helpful about these practices. Also, my cultivate workbook is almost complete. I would love to hear from you on the way you find a workbook to be most accessible. 

About The Author:

Image is described in the body of the post.
Becky Andrews

Becky Andrews is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, Small Business Owner – Resilient Solutions, Inc, and founder of the Daring to Own Your Story ™ Retreats. She is also the author of Look up, move forward – her memoir of Losing her eyesight and finding her vision.  

You can follow her at:

Workbook: 

Cultivating our Resilience Workbook/Journal will be out Fall 2020. Email Becky at becky.lpc@gmail.com to be on the waiting list or preorder.

Image Descriptions:

  • Header: Photo of Becky sitting on an indoor staircase next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab.
  • Lemonade: Photo of a pitcher of lemonade with two full mason glasses sitting on a wicker tray with several loose lemons strewn about. Text on the image says “Cultivating Resilience” and “Becky Andrews, LCMHC.”
  • Hitting Their Stride: Becky appears so joyful as she and Georgie walk a dirt path in the open countryside.
  • Becky is sitting on outdoor steps next to her guide dog, Georgie, a gorgeous yellow lab. 
Posted on Leave a comment

CoVid-19 TOTD #6: Being Conscious

Image is described in the body of the post.

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Editor’s Note:

At Bold Blind Beauty, our goal is for you to enjoy life, but be well while doing it. During #CoVid-19 we want to assist you with that, so here is our  COVID-19 #TOTD (Tip Of The Day).

CoVid-19 TOTD #6: Being Conscious

By Cheryl Minnette

How do you strategically plan your summertime to include
controlling your subconscious?

Summertime is a fun time, or is it? Usually, when Sommertyme comes, there are so many activities to do and places to go. When you’re in the great outdoors, one tends to let go of some of their conscious thinking. For instance, when you go to your favorite park, you slip into your subconscious, because you’re yearning for relaxation and a moment away from the coronavirus. I totally get it, but here’s what ends up happening. 

You get there, hear the ice cream vendors and think to yourself, oh yummm. As you walk further into the park with ice cream cone in hand, you lower your mask to begin enjoying your double scooped sugar cone. Moving along the path, you pass the beautifully arranged fragrant flowerbeds as you head toward the large oval shaped pond. You slowly begin to let your guard down as you feel the warmth of the sun, a breeze kissing your cheek, and still catching the floral fragrance in the air. 

Although our new normal has us more conscious about some things, unfortunately when we switch our mode from ‘fully focused’ to ‘easy-going’, that is usually when our subconscious takes over. This causes us to react before we realize it. 

Here are some reactive examples, now that you are in the park:

  • With your hand, you immediately wipe your mouth as the mess of your quickly melting ice cream cone catches you off guard when it drips from the corner of your mouth.
  • You begin rubbing your nose as the wind tickles it with the scents from the flower beds.
  • You start to touch your eyes as the heat from the sun begins to make them feel dry.
  • You touch your face to brush back hair as a breeze is gently blowing.

Make sure that you avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes, and face with hands that are unwashed. 

It is not easy living in a conscious state of mind all the time. COVID-19 has propelled you into a new lifestyle. This means you must be consciously mindful of what you are doing at all times when it comes to your safety. 

Your thoughts are welcome, so comment below as to whether this TOTD was helpful, what you would like to know as it relates to safety tips, and what you were able to relate to. Your insights and expressions are appreciated. 

Image Description:

Gloved hands are preparing an icecream cone at a vendor.