Ok, so one of my greatest loves is music, and next to that, reading books. I bought myself an ipod some months ago and it has been quite the adventure learning how to use it and make it accessible. I used to cringe when I'd think about the ipod, knowing that, as much fun as I'd have with one, it would be extremely frustrating as well. Apple did not do much in the way of accessibility, the ipod itself is menu driven, uses their proprietary software called itunes which is graphically based, and I just did not think there was any way I could get enjoyment out of something like that.
So I set to doing research, most of it before I bought my ipod. I found that there are many people who have worked very hard to open the ipod doors for the blind. A company called
T & T consultancy
wrote scripts for jaws and itunes, which for the most part, allow someone using jaws to get past many of the graphical barriers and use the program. On a side note, this company has developed several other products geared toward blind computer users, and you can find out more at
Now back to ipods, I also found that for some ipods, there is a program called rockbox that can be installed into its firm wear and then some of the features could talk. I found an e-mail list, where people exchange tips and ideas regarding ipods and other mp3 players. It was through that list that I discovered Anna Dresner and have just begun to benefit from her wealth of knowledge in the technology field. She has recently written a book entitled "A pocketful of sound," which is in essence a user based guide to mp3 players and ipods. In the book, she explains how she uses various players, describes any adaptations she had to make to use the product, and then gives her personal opinions and recommendations. This book is available from
You can also find a downloadable demonstration of Anna downloading music using itunes, amazon, and a few other sites, and for that go to
Anna also has a blog, and you can link to that by visiting
As with any technology, things change almost every day. It used to be that when a product would come out that was virtually inaccessible to the blind or to anyone with disabilities, it would take years for someone to adapt that product to make it usable. Now, thanks to the efforts of so many people, some named and some not, that gap has lessened drastically. Apple may not work as hard to make their products accessible, but there are people out there who care, and who are willing to work hard and that work benefits so many. It may sound like a small thing, but being able to use an ipod, just like everyone else is a wonderful blessing!