Thursday, February 21, 2008

Deaf College Students Without Support Services

As a college student myself, it's hard enough going back to classes after some time. But when you find you have to rely on other students to help out in getting notes, you risk getting a student who does not take good notes. While it's good to have an interpreter, it's even better when you have one who reads the course text(s) and sometimes actually tries to do the course work at home.

But what about students at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, who have transcribing services? This is a difficult enough thing to do at times, especially when you have fast-talking instructors and those who sometimes turn their classroom into Comedy Central.

Check this article;

Dispute between transcribers and CWU leaves deaf, hard of hearing students without key support

Can a college's disabilities services office do without a transcription service? Can deaf students use the Powerpoint slides and the course book(s) including what the teacher writes on the board? There are times when you don't need to know every single word the instructor says, just the important things and make notes of that. with the exception of classes like math. There are carbonless notebooks that that are great for notes. When one writes on one sheet, the writing appears on the sheet underneath it.

What kind of support services do you look for in a college other than interpreters? One must remember that the Typewell program used at CWU is different than CART.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Repairing a Sidekick II

Anyone have two Sidekick IIs that work to an extent? I had an SK2 with a working unit but bad screen and another with a bad unit and good working screen. In this case, you need a T6 torx screwdriver and a place to keep the screws. Avoid the hex drivers, as they won't do the job. They will damage the screw heads and make it nearly impossible to remove. Finding the T6s may be difficult, though I found mine at a local computer store. Ebay will have them, but you may not find them at your local hardware store. If your SKII is still under warranty, this will most likely void it. So, do this at your own risk.

Most importantly, make sure the units are turned off.

Remove the four buttons on the four corners of the unit. Remove the screws underneath.

Open up the screen halfway to reveal two screws and remove those. These two hold down the screen turning unit.

Carefully remove the upper and lower bumpers, making note of how they went on. Remove the SIM card as well. Make note of which SIM card you normally use in a working SK and keep it separate from other SIM card(s).

You should now be able to carefully pop off the upper part from the lower part. Be careful of the screen assembly, as it can fall off. Put aside the lower part and carefully remove the screen from the upper part.

Now put it back together, screwing in the screen assembly first. You should be able to turn it on test it a bit. If all goes well and you can turn it on and use it, you've done a good job. Now turn it off and put the rest of the screws and buttons back on.

Repairing the bad unit yourself may be more a hassle due to all the tiny electronic parts in there. There's not much in the way of parts you can use except for the little vibrator motor on the upper left corner in the lower unit half under the circuit board. There's a lot of tiny surface mount parts including LEDs under the keyboard and other places.

I've not done this yet with an SK3 or SK ID. Remember to do this at your own risk. I can't take responsibility for mistakes if you do it wrong.