Patience

Someone once told me that there were only three skills that you really needed to master:

  • Learning to listen
  • Touch typing
  • Patience

Guess what, all of those are pretty useful when you can’t see worth a damn, and I just spent a few days confirming it.

Fortunately, I’ve always had more than a passing interest in assistive technologies due to my high myopia and am much more familiar with VoiceOver than most unimpaired folk.

Which came in very handy this week, for I’m currently nursing a viral conjunctivitis. Which, in a word, sucks, especially at peak.

Anyway, the first thing I did was switch on VoiceOver on my iPhone and iPad, and although browsing the news and reading e-mail is somewhat of a nuisance (largely due to having to constantly switch languages), overall things worked out great — except for Siri, which remains woefully behind Google’s voice search as far as I’m concerned.

Seriously, it was just fundamentally useless for me. Then again, Android accessibility is woefully behind par with iOS — I was effectively unable to use any Android devices for a few days — so I guess that mostly evens things out.

On the Mac, I’ve been using a combination of VoiceOver, (very) high-powered zoom (by devoting a whole monitor to the accessibility lens2 so I can take off my glasses for extended periods of time), and f.lux to make evening computer use easier on the eyes.

And, of course, Quicksilver to launch apps, invoke menus and move around effortlessly.

Nothing beats it, even when you can’t see straight.


  1. Incidentally, that partially explains how I figured out how to control the iPad solely via the keyboard. 

  2. Hint: by all means do activate the “Zoom follows the keyboard focus” option in Accessibility Preferences — it works wonderfully3 even if you’re using tmux in a terminal window. 

  3. Mind you, VoiceOver will not play nice with following the keyboard focus (or terminal windows), so I eventually switched it off on the Mac when things started to improve.