David Goldfield: The assistive technology landscape keeps changing
David, can you tell us a little bit about your background?
I’ve been working in the assistive technology field for over 24 years. However, when I was in high school, the assistive technology landscape was much different from what we have today and what we did have was incredibly unaffordable. I initially wanted to get a job working in radio broadcasting. In college, I majored in communications with dreams of becoming the next great radio celebrity. However, that began to change in 1987 when I acquired a used Versabraille P2C. A year and a half later, I sold that machine and purchased a Braille ‘n Speak, along with a device to transfer files to and from the unit onto tapes and my dream of working in radio began to change.
Two years later, I got a job at Blazie Engineering as a technical support representative and my professional life changed forever. After that I began doing technology training, at first working with kids. I now primarily work with adults, teaching Windows, Mac, iOS and DAISY reading devices.
I am in the process of expanding my private training business, teaching more consumers how to use these various products. In addition to my work, I am the founder and moderator of the Philadelphia Computer Users' Group for the Blind and Visually Impaired. When I'm not working, I enjoy reading and listening to science fiction, TV and audio theater, spending time with my wife and cats and reading both science fiction as well as Catholic apologetics. Anybody who would like to learn more about me is free to visit my website.
Could you please describe assistive technologies you use?
Regarding the types of assistive technology that I use, I use a Windows computer with screen reading software. My primary screen reader of choice is NVDA. However, I've been using JAWS since the DOS version back in 1991 and have used JFW since version 1.0 rolled out in 1995. I also use Window-Eyes. I am never without my iPhone. I use it for reading books, keeping up with the news, tracking where I am and where I'm headed with GPS apps, watching TV programs, listening to police scanner activity, listening to radio stations ... oh, and making and receiving phone calls.
Have you used a DAISY Player?
I've used the NLS digital talking book player, the Victor Vibe CD player and the Victor Reader Stream. In Windows I've used FS Reader and AMIS. I also own a Plextalk Pocket and use BARD Mobile, Learning Ally app and Voice Dream Reader on my iPhone.
What has been the most life changing technology for you? Why?
The iPhone has definitely been the most life-changing technology for me because of all of the things that it allows me to do on one tiny device that I can take anywhere.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is the Bible, along with "the Catechism of the Catholic Church." I also enjoy science fiction and am particularly enjoying reading many of the Star Trek novels from Bookshare.
Thank you David, for sharing Your Story.