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  • elk_1l elk_1l Dec 4, 2012 11:29 PM Flag

    Looks Like No Improvement for Maurie Hill

    No Re-Gifting Required

    by MAURIE HILL on DECEMBER 4, 2012

    I know, I know, it is far better to give than to receive, but sometimes you first have to give yourself the tools so that you have more time for yourself or to spend with others.  Read the entire article, because I saved the biggest surprise for last . . .

    I have been on a quest lately for streamlining and increasing my productivity in the hopes that it will leave more time for mindless fun with family and friends.  So when I have a few uninterrupted hours alone at home, I go into my office to knock off some fun-stealing, simply thrilling tasks, including sorting mail, paying bills, filing paperwork, and of course, printing and filling out those seemingly endless school activity forms.  These are tasks that normally sighted folks can do in a jiffy – anywhere and anytime (yes, that is jealousy you hear).

    In this quest for adding time to my life, I treated myself to a wireless printer which I can now print to from my desktop, laptop, or iPhone.  While this is convenient, the printer’s LCD screen is small, with low contrast text, and is not backlit.  So setting up the printer/fax/scanner for the first time even with my 10X magnifying glass seemed hopeless.  This printer was clearly not designed for me, but returning it to the store and having to set up another printer (that will undoubtedly also not be designed to my specifications) was equally overwhelming.

    My i-loview electronic magnifier was the only tool that allowed me to read that LCD screen.  I was able to get through the printer/fax setup by myself.  Just like when I use it to select an entrée from a restaurant menu at a poorly lit table, the low light in the room did not affect my ability to read the now visible text on the i-loview’s backlit screen.

    Speaking of light – last year, I finally replaced all the light bulbs in my home with energy efficient ones.  I’m glad to save electricity but when I enter my office and turn on the light, it’s because I want to see better, right?  While that bulb warms up, I appreciate the fact that I can still sit down at my computer and see well enough to type on my ZoomText Keyboard, because of its very large high-contrast black and yellow keys.  And I use its frustration-minimizing one-button feature keys to control my most commonly used actions – like turning off the color enhancement when I want to look at a photo on the screen; or if I need to change the magnification level quickly; or of course if I need to actually start or re-enable ZoomText after my daughter has used my computer.  I know, another shameless plug, but I really do love my ZoomText Keyboard.

    On the mobile platform, an iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, or iPod Touch should be accompanied by our ZoomReader app.  Take a photo of any printed text and ZoomReader will convert it to visible, electronic text on the screen that is spoken aloud.  I used ZoomReader in a museum recently to have the signs read aloud to me while I strolled to the next exhibit.  It immensely changed my museum experience; gone are the days (years really) of passing by those unreadable signs in frustration; now I can actually experience the exhibits like one should and how the museum curators intend.
    We’ve got something exclusively for the iPad as well.  ZoomContacts is a large text electronic address book.  In the past when I would prepare for upcoming travel, I would painstakingly write down hotel and contact information with a big black sharpie (and hope that I didn’t lose that piece of paper!).  Now, I not only already have the contact data I’ve collected over the years from my Microsoft Outlook database automatically in ZoomContacts, but I add the hotel information into the app before my trip.  When needed, I can quickly find the address in ZoomContacts and simply place my finger on the address to open the Maps app, complete with directions to the hotel from my current location.  Ah, the wonders of satellites and technology!

    But if I haven’t given you enough holiday ideas yet, you might want to treat yourself by waiting until after the holidays for what’s in the wings.  Our upcoming ZoomText ImageReader (Windows based) product will make it easier to deal with that pile of snail mail.  The included document camera captures a photo of the printed material and ImageReader presents the text visibly on your computer monitor and reads it aloud.  It doesn’t matter if the picture is tilted or even upside down, ImageReader will correct all that for you and automatically read it aloud.

    And as you must know by now, the Windows 8 operating system is out and about in full force.  My Windows Vista-era PC, now running Windows 7, has been getting slower by the second so I’m at the point where I’m going to wait and see whether to replace it with a Windows 8 PC using the upcoming ZoomText upgrade or an Apple Mac.  Mac you say?  ZoomText has never had any software for the Mac OS, so what’s going on?  I’ve become familiar with VoiceOver on the iPad and iPhone and I’m curious how that knowledge will transfer to using a Mac with VoiceOver and Ai Squared’s forthcoming Mac application.  I am accustomed to ZoomText’s quality magnification and other visual enhancements, and I’m really looking forward to having a choice between two different platforms.  Like you, I’m hoping these choices will allow me to choose which makes me more productive so I can store up more energy for the long, cold winter.

    I can’t think of a better gift than time – for either yourself or a loved one.  Giving or getting a productive gift, that’s actually been designed for low vision use, is the ultimate.  And ultimately, having more fun should be a part of everyone’s New Year’s resolution.  If you can’t decide from the above great ideas I’ve given you, purchase an Ai Squared gift card by calling us at 800-859-0270 .  Or better yet, pass on this blog post to someone who has no idea what to get you!

    Sentiment: Strong Buy

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    • Respectfully guys, she doesn't mention it. So, I'd rather say, that this is not proof she had "no improvement." First of all, if you follow the news, there is a guy being prosecuted for having "inside" information on patients in trials righ tnow. If she reads the news, she may not be talking. But more importantly, if her retina improved, but the rods and cones were too far gone, and her change in perception were not restored to a noticeable degree, that actually would not be proof of "no improvement" given the parameters of the trial, which were to get patients whose eyes were so far gone that the treatment posed no real risk, and to test for safety. If her retina is in better condition, or not, we simply don't know from a blog post. I agree, for patients looking to get back their sight, it suggests that they may need to be able to get an injection sooner than later. However, the body also heals slowly potentially in many cases. It's hard to say how long it would take or if it's enough of an injection, if she has enough remaining rods and cones and who knows what else we don't know, that may yet need to repair themselves, and if they can (that's a big one), how long it would take for them to repopulate enough to improve her vision. Let's remember, the co is working on those cells as well, but these treatments are very specific, and ultimately should go to earlier stage patients.

      Though honestly, we all, absolutely wish Maurie the best and I pray that her sight does recover completely as soon as possible.

      Thank you guys, for the update, and especially to Maurie! But let's not be overbroad in our conclusions. I'd say, no news in her blog about her sight. Hard to say what that means. I'm just wishing her happy holidays and good luck!

    • She bought a printer and hooked it up-that speaks volumes

    • Elk, you need to look on the bright side of things, especially during the holiday season. And the bright side is that she is in high spirits and has reported no down side, or loss of vision, since her 100K RPE injection. And I'm still sticking with my prediction that Maurie Hill will report improved vision in her treated eye,sometime before Christmas.

      • 3 Replies to keep_investing
      • keep, my subject title on Maurie Hill's report was intended to summarize only what she seemed to be indicating about her own sense of her subjective vision experience at this point. I do think it is possible that good physiological indications could still be found. I also think that, unfortunately, some of the subjects in these current trials, chosen precisely because of their severe conditions, may be beyond help even from RPEs. That should be understandable to everyone. And I do also think she still could have some kind of beneficial response at some point in the future but I am not sure that RPE cells will show any special motivation with respect to being productive before Christmas. :)

        Sentiment: Strong Buy

      • What kind of total LOSER would give a thumbs down to Elks or Keep comment here? I also deal with a serious vision loss and there are days when I'm up for the challenges and there are days when it's all just too much of a pain in the assylum. I admire Maurie's willingness to share her experiences about daily life-if you think of it in terms of a visually impaired person and not the life of well sighted individual. Vision loss is a personal struggle that those of us living with it understand intimately. I thak GOD everyday that I was fairly talented and skilled BEFORE my vision loss so I'm able to refer to prior experience and knowledge in order to tackle familiar tasks that used to take good vision to accomplish. I'm thankful to my dearly departed mother for telling me to learn to type. I took several years of it in high school and now I don't really need to hunt and peck on the keyboard like many people I know. Once I get my fingertips on the right keys, I'm good to go. Although, I learned on one of those big old clunky manual typewriters from the old days and I STILL tend to hit the keys too hard. lol. I never use spellcheck, I can spell but often after I've posted my comments I'll go back and see that I made quite a few errors. It doesn't bother me though, I don't mind being wrong or not perfect. Anyway, the thing about the vision loss is I sometimes shy away from new things as there is an anxiety about not being able to see well and the challenge it brings in new settings. So when I decide to go ahead and do something new or different, and then get through it OK, I feel really good about myself and wonder why I hesitated in the first place. That's when I'm greatful for my prior knowledge. You'd be amazed how you don't actually have to see certain things well, that you can feel around and in some cases get a better idea of a objects placement. For instance, tightening a screw. Even with good vision you may not be able to see what direction the slot is in, so you use your fingernail and move it around until it fits in the slot, then get the tip of the screwdriver to match and boom, you're screwing away !!!!! lol. NOW, back to this blog comment. Thanks Elk for posting it. Visions loss didn't happen in just a few months for Maurie Hill, nor for me. In her case is was years in the making. In mine it was about a year and a half in each eye. I'm thinking it may take time for her transplanted cells, since there are so many of them for her, to take on the tasks required to transmit vision to her brain. They are like nerve cells and they can take a long time to reconnect. Maurie is inspiring to me and we need to just give her more time, I'm confident things may get better for her vision and if anyone deserves it, it's her. I can see her hitting the talk show circuit in the future when her vision starts returning and she gets more than her 15 minutes of fame. That's MY "vision" anyway........

      • algernon9 Dec 5, 2012 9:00 AM Flag

        Sounds like she's more concerned with selling out the space in her blog to the highest bidders.

        Sentiment: Hold