Monday, June 27, 2011

Hearing Aids STILL Cost Too Much

The Why Hearing Aids Cost So Much blog post on the SayWhatClub blog pretty much has nailed the question and issue right there. Then they follow up with The Cost of Hearing Aids–Why It May NOT Be About Supply and Demand.

I've always wondered why the prices of analog hearing aids have stayed sky-high over the years, despite many being made and sold? By now, we should have, for example, an Oticon 380P for less than $150. Have you looked inside? Many of the parts can be easily found off the shelf, thus making the total cost cheap, from most good electronics houses. There may be a few parts that may be hard to get. It helps if you have the skills to deal with the very fine wires, tiny parts, and even smaller solder points.

With the right skills and equipment, the hearing aids can be repaired. One website says you can build them for about $300, but it's possible to do for far less than this. You can make a hearing aid that costs less, has AGC, and has the abilities of other hearing aids.

Why do hearing aids cost so much? (Michigan news station)
Hearing Aid Cost
Bluetooth Headsets & Hearing Aids - also has a discussion list/forum
Hearing Aids - Too Expensive?

The slight drawback is you'll look a bit like a Borg if you don't make the circuits small enough and use too many flashing lights. Then again, we're starting to look like them anyway.

As for the marketing angle, marketers tend to make us want to spend more when we really don't need to do so.

Greed at its best.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Funny Moment 8: Make Me Laugh

Before we had to have passports to get back into the States from Canada, we used our drivers licenses. Today, you can't get back into the States without the passport.

I was at a Canada/US border crossing gate being interviewed by the guard, ID out.

Guard: "Got anything to declare?"
Me: (I'm in a Geo Metro hatchback) "Nothing to declare, but I got a bag of M&Ms if you want some (I hold it up), and a broken water gun in back if you want it (clearly seen in the back)."
Guard: (laughs) "You may go."

That's probably the only time I've gotten a guard like that to laugh. These days, it could easily get you in trouble.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Post-surgery Knees - Part 6

Been having some improvements here and there. I've been able to go on short walks here and there. That'll improve in time. I also had a couple milestones.

First was my being able to walk into the local grocery store without the wheelchair, just using the cart to help move around. I can do short quick stops there, but not longer shopping times, yet.

Second was my walking to the store from home before dinner at a friend's place. I was never able to walk that far til now. Then while Jamie went into the store, I sat on a bench outside, then we both walked to the friend's place.

Heading to an ASL dinner via the local metro/subway, I managed to walk around a bit more, going to a bookstore to look around some before dinner.

I still can't quite effectively use the elliptical/stepper machine, though I can use a leg press.

I've doing some gardening here and there. I can't quite do it all day, but it'll happen sometime.

How many rows can I mow this summer?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Got A Wireless Router? Password It!

Over the years, I've seen how people have gone from wired to wireless. I can understand the appeal, but the issues of security remain. Even though encryption is used, it takes time for the password to be cracked and the victim's service to be used and abused.

NY case underscores Wi-Fi privacy dangers

Not passwording a wireless router is asking for trouble, and quite a bit of it. If you can't seem to set the password, then TURN OFF the wireless part or ask for help from someone who has done it. That plus change the password of the router. The major reason an open access point is found is due to those who wardrive. Meaning, they look for access points, whether encrypted or not, by way of walking around, driving, or using a bike using something like Netstumbler. When I last wardrove about 2007 for a report for class, there were around 1700 access points. A little over HALF were encrypted!

The second reason is that there are websites that list default passwords for every router made. So if the router password isn't changed despite the wireless being turned on and encrypted, trouble can still happen.

In short, when a wireless router is used, either turn off wireless or set a password, and a good strong one, including the login password. Wired is still quite secure.

Friday, June 3, 2011

NYC Taxis Inaccessible! Shame on you, Bloomberg!

A big Bronx cheer, raspberries, razzing, and to quote Monty Python, a fart in Bloomberg's general direction.

City’s Next Taxi: A Nissan Van Short on Looks, Perhaps, but Full of Comforts
The Nissan Taxi Is Rolling In, to a Bronx Cheer (letters to the Editor)
United Spinal Denounces New York City Taxi Pick

NYC's Mayor Bloomberg and administration chose a non-wheelchair accessible taxi Nissan van that was not wheelchair accessible over an accessible Turkish van. Come on, sirs. You're blowing off and ignoring the disabled community in your city! There may be paratransit services, but this doesn't excuse the fact that even those with disabilities need a taxi! I oughta know, using a wheelchair from time to time due to my knee surgeries. I used a taxi van equipped with a wheelchair ramp or lift coming home from the metro/subway one time.

In DC, they just rolled out a program called rollDC.

Wheelchair-accessible cabs increase DC mobility

While most of NYC's subway stops aren't quite wheelchair accessible, some are. Compare that to DC's stations and subway cars, which are all accessible. I'm sure other cities are just as accessible. I've seen Memphis, TN's trolleys and and I think San Jose/San Francisco's subway trains use some sort of elevated platform for wheelchair users.

Again, Mayor Bloomberg, shame on you. You just passed up an opportunity to help improve your city's economy.