Flickr Infinite

31 07 2005

Infinite #90

I think this is most cool photography game I ever seen. I did one for myself at number 90 and it’s still going on as of today. Also, they have cool “movie” out of it now but it only reach till number 75, I think but they plan to released another “movie” up to 100 – this way, it will included my picture.


A picture of someone using flickr to see a picture of someone else using flickr to see a picture of someone else using flickr to see a picture of someone else using flick to see a …… ad infinitum.

At my picture, (Infinite #90) I tried to say “COOL” in fingerspell along “OO” in my eyes. I didn’t think that picture will flip itself. Also, I wouldn’t want to “mirror” it because it will cause little out of sync. Enjoy!


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Grant W. Laird, Jr.

Consumer/Industry Forum on Video Relay Services

29 07 2005

This is good to know how all VRS vendors are doing and how they answered to few questions about their business practice. They had this panel during TDI Conference 2005 last month at New Orleans, LA. Read on. 

Consumer/Industry Forum on Video Relay Services

By Cheryl Heppner

Moderators: Sheri Farinha, Norcal Center on Deafness
Sherri Collins, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Ben Soukup, CEO of CSD
Mike Ligas, Region VP, Sprint Relay
Ron Obray, CEO of Hands On Video Relay
Dixie Ziegler, VP of Hamilton Relay
Jim Sorenson, CEO of Sorenson VRS
Bill Schwall, Director of Operations, CAC

Q: How do you handle emergency calls by VRS?

Mike Ligas, Sprint Relay: You need to keep your TTY for that.

Ben Soukup, CSD: VRS is unable to provide emergency calling, not just because of challenges with technology but also because of the challenges to public safety answering points. CSD does get emergency calls from time to time. When this occurs, they try to get a supervisor involved to handle it as best they can – getting the name and address of the person and trying to contact the appropriate public safety answering point.

Jim Sorenson, Sorenson VRS: It’s best to use TTY. Sorenson has special procedures and trained interpreters who have a set of questions to ask in assisting someone. They hope to be able to introduce a solution making VRS calls possible in an emergency. The big problem is that they will need partnerships to get location information.

Dixie Ziegler, Hamilton Relay: One ray of hope is that an FCC action is forcing companies that offer Voice Over Internet Protocol calling to be able to handle emergency calls.

Ron Obray, Hands On: The FCC gave a very quick requirement for action – 120 days – which may not happen. Certified Deaf Interpreters are needed at all call centers to help with these emergency calls.

Bill Schwall, CAC: Don’t just keep your TTY, keep your phone line. Interpreters may need training to facilitate emergency calls, and sometimes may have to step out of their role to calm a person who is nervous.

Q: What are the qualifications for interpreters and quality assurance with your company?

Jim Sorenson, Sorenson VRS: Interpreters are required to be, at minimum, RID or NAD certified. Sorenson also has its own evaluation. Interpreters may not always be ready to handle calls; if so, they will get training and attend workshops. A study was done on the different elements required for the interpreter to be effective. A consumer request for a different interpreter is honored if it is due to gender. Sorenson does regular monitoring and managers observe. The Sorenson website has a feature that allows consumers to email them if they are dissatisfied with the service. Complaints can trigger a training requirement or other corrective action.

Ron Obray, Hands On: HOVRS honors requests for a specific gender but does not believe that consumers should be able to request a specific interpreter. Calls go to the next available interpreter.

Q: Does your company monitor calls for quality assurance?

Ben Soukup, CSD: Calls in process are not monitored, or tracked. Staff are evaluated and make mock calls. The only data kept is that required for NECA purposes.

Dixie Ziegler, Hamilton Relay: A supervisor is kept on the floor to monitor and provide support if needed. Interpreters have RID or NAD certification but also must have the ability to pick up regional signs and adapt quickly.

Bill Schwall, CAC: A very in-depth training is conducted. If the customer doesn’t want the next available interpreter, he or she is replaced before the call is placed.

Q: What is the number of deaf people working for your Video Relay Service?

Dixie Ziegler, Hamilton Relay: Hamilton partners with Birnbaum Interpreter Services, which is headed by a man who is deaf. There are also several deaf people in leadership roles and others in various capacities including outreach, contract management and head of a division. Hamilton trains and promotes.

Ben Soukup, CSD: CSD is proud that 70% of its Executive Management Team is composed of deaf and hard of hearing persons.

Jim Sorenson, Sorenson VRS: Currently there are 14 deaf managers and Sorenson is now focusing on having them at the executive level. The company believes in setting goals and mentoring. Sorenson wants people to come to work for the company because they believe they have a future with them.

Mike Ligas, Sprint Relay: Sprint Relay has partnered with CSD for years and 80% of people at the management level are deaf.

Bill Schwall, CAC: Deaf and hard of hearing persons make up 33% of the employees and 38% of the managers. CAC does peer mentoring.

© 2005 by Northern Virginia Resource Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Persons (NVRC),

Grant W. Laird, Jr.