Emergency & Deaf community

28 11 2004

Emergency 911In the past few months, I can see that many Deaf people are getting their own videophone. I believe that Texas is the 2nd leading with the most videophone users in America besides California. It’s very exciting but same time it’s learning experience for everyone at the same time.

I’ve been using videophone for almost two years now with both videophones. (VP-100 & DVC- 1000 brands) It is clearly that its continue expanding more features, offering 24 hours a day and more availability but one thing that is alarming me very much.

I knew from the beginning that Video Relay Service (VRS), Internet Relay Service Online (IRSO) and Instant Messaging based relay service online (IMRSO) are completely based on Internet Protocol (IP) which could be virtually anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s obviously a popular choice — its low cost and increase availability to community with Internet access. Again, it is simply great for normal & even important phone calls with those types of relay services over tradition relay service.

Emergency phone call is our biggest concern – I’ve continued see more and more Deaf people choosing to remove tradition phone line at their house or apartment. (Most of the time, it’s only $20 bucks a month – basic version) I realized it is practically a waste of money if you don’t use it at all but YOU CANNOT call 911 emergency call over VRS or IRSO calls. PERIOD.

Yes, we are hoping that we can use VRS or IRSO to call 911 for any emergency someday in the future. Right now, due to the complication of IP technologies – there is no way for anybody to track where the IP comes from – too much concerns from privacy to relay service location. I know there are some ideas how to tackle this problem but again it could take few years or maybe never.

What about VoIP technologies? Again, most of Deaf communities probably don’t need it but if they do, that’s great but unfortunately, VoIP vendors are very young and unstable market especially it is not under FCC guideline at all. (Will it ever happen?) I’ve heard that Vonage do support TTY now but I cannot confirm at this point.

Some people would say that they can use mobile phone like T-Mobile Sidekick. Yeah right – yes you can do it if you have TTY or PocketComm readily available with you or nearby. I am sorry to say that it is very dangerous to live a house without ability to call 911.

In case, you wonder if Sidekick supports TTY mode, yes it does ONLY if you have newer version of TTY model. Many older TTY model may not work good at all. Don’t ask me if I know which model that support mobile phone.

Bottom line, you can always run to the neighborhood and ask for help – have them to call 911 for you. Sigh – it is still bad idea because it’s not showing world that you can function by yourself. If you don’t care, that’s fine with me. That’s your life, not mine. Don’t cry about it to anybody if things didn’t work out when someone got hurt or killed because you don’t have traditional phone line at home or apartment.

Always dial 9-1-1 directly with your TTY.


Grant W. Laird, Jr.

Testing with LG DVD Recorder & VCR combo

27 11 2004

CD+RW pictureI?ve been playing with LG DVD Recorder & VCR combo during the day. (Model – LGXBR446) Overall, I am pleased with this unit ? trying out all different kind of features. It also supports memory slots which is a plus however it is one way street which means you cannot transfer pictures from memory card to DVD but you can transfer from DVD to memory slots.

I was able to dub from old wedding VHS tape to DVD in XL mode (Highest quality limited to one hour) and pleased with the results. I forgot to add title & chapter names in it after I ?finalized? it ? I have to do this way to prevent from rewrite since it is DVD+RW disc. I am very exciting ? it is perfect tool where you can transfer all old VHS tape into DVD in easy way. No computer required.

Next, I’ve been testing several shows by record it into DVD+RW in SP mode (2 hours mode) and it works great. Unfortunately, I noticed that closed captioning was garbled. I cannot tell if it is unit or from cable itself at this point. I checked all TV channels and noticed some of them are garbling badly. I told Brenden if he’s experienced same problem as I did and he said yes.

Another things, I was working more on old VHS tapes – I knew that my parent in law usually record many different events during my children’s childhood on same tape which means it could be as many as 30 of them on same tape. I decide to dub on each event and dub again every time this way it will create new chapter automatically. Later on, I added title and chapter names by using on-screen keyboard. It can be painful if you are doing it on many chapters but its worth. I did about 15 chapters then took a break.

I didn’t investigate on this unit with cable TV channels because I had to go work. Brenden does a lot of checking on every channel. He will post more about it on his blog shortly. I also send email to LG Company and request for help regarding closed captioning being garbled on some of the TV shows. Keep in mind; it was fine on TV directly without LG unit. Hopefully I will hear something from them this week.

Of course, Brenden and I aren’t 100% settle with this unit even we enjoy it very much. It is just that closed captioning issues are bothering us especially it is one of those top of the line unit for this kind. We were even thinking about exchange again and try out Sony DVD Recorder & VCR combo. We will decide next couple of days.

As far as I know, we don’t know if this Sony (Model – RDR-VX500) unit will work well with closed captioning yet but we realized that this unit also has one more thing that LG unit do not have – It’s called VCR Plus+ which can be useful when you want to look for TV show to record or change it.

End of the Day.

Grant W Laird, Jr.