SSW Blog

Tech Stories of the Decade (2000-09)

Posted on | January 1, 2010 | 2 Comments

Unbelievable, there are some tech stories in the decade of 2000 to 2009 that we are grateful for technologies to greatly improve our lives. Before we enter the next new decade of 2010, we look ahead to an exciting new or much enhanced technology.

Although I had reviewed emerging and existing technologies in my writings, some top stories that I had believed strongly are very important to keep an eye on some of these as time goes by and for others that made the difference in our daily lives.

711 Access

Implementation of 711 access to TRS began in 2001, not long ago had reduced the number of 10 digit relay service numbers as a great advantage for travelers from state to state.

Wireless Pager

Wynd Communications Corporation (GoAmerica) had offered a free WyndTell M wireless handheld device with some features; Internet, Email, chat, TTY and fax with a year of service commitment. The monthly rate was $39.95.  GoAmerica had stopped its WyndTell service in 2006.

Most Favored Use of Video Log

Since YouTube began in 2005, there is fast growing of video blogs, streaming videos, and webcasts posting online. This best feature is most important for D/deaf community because of ASL (sign language).

Deaf Way II Conference

There were about 26 technology workshops, the first film and video festival, and some exhibit booths about various technologies such as relay service, notephone, and Allan eC system. Also it was amazing to see an enhanced tech for audience by using more than 40 large screen projector systems in the auditorium.

Signing Avatar Technology

Instead of real live interpreters, some companies had created computer software called Signing Avatar. There are several competitors like VCom3d, the Sign Smith Series, and Signing Gloves.

Booming of VRS Call Centers, Shortage of Interpreters

Sorenson had added over 30 call centers and did other VRS providers, as well. A significant large number of interpreters had joined the call centers as they had resigned from service providers, nonprofit organizations and freelance contractors due to attractive salary benefits.

No Such 100% Closed Captioning Mandate

With high hope and excitement, we had looked forward to an important event because by January 1, 2006, 100% of all programming with more than 13-inch TV screen must be captioned. Disappointment, it did not happen, thanks to the corporations such as CBS, NBC, or National Broadcasters that had filed complaints to state that the ruling was irrational. So, this ruling had been rewritten with some exemptions and new date as stated at the FCC web site like new channels (for example, Universal HD) being not required for closed captioning at least four years, and some of the programming with less than $3 million revenues being waived.

Voice Recognition Technology Software

To reduce costs, several TV stations had purchased voice recognition software.  Some deaf programs at the colleges and universities had hired several instructors to train students with this software.

AOL’s Captioning

AOL in collaboration with WGBH’s media group was the first Internet Service to offer online captioned streaming videos and synchronized text transcripts for CNN news.

Medical Interpreters

Since CT Association of the Deaf (CAD) had settled the agreement at the court with the CT Hospital Association, there was a big ripple effect across the country as well as it had led to several innovations like Video Remote Interpreting Service, (VRI).

Impressively Enormous Increased Use of VRS Minutes

In 2002, the first VRS minutes of use were 7,215. By November 2009, the total minutes are approximately 97 million.

Pioneered VP Equipments

Sorenson VP 100 and Dlink i2Eye VP were first used in the early VP stage.  Deaf and hard of hearing people had to fill out an application to receive a free videophone device such as VP100 and Dlink i2Eye VP.  An average waiting period to hear from Sorenson, Sprint Relay, and other providers for an approval to receive a VP  was in the range from several months to two years.

As some people like I were fortunate to have the privilege, we had enjoyed to use some technologies as above.  As I wish you all Happy New Year, I pray that some new or emerging techs would be much better than what we have right now and continue these into the next decade.

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