Home Transformation Project

Finished the new office. – and put some new photos up in the living room just in time to move.

Router in Closet

Today I put my router in so that the Gigabit LAN network could fly...

Becky and I in the new office in November of 2011

Becky and I in the new office in November of 2011

We also set up a bunch of pictures on our wall...

We also set up a bunch of pictures on our wall… Just in time to move. Not exactly strait but close enough.

Handicapped: What does it mean?

This past Christmas Becky and I visited her cousin, who has, as of about a year ago been diagnosed with ALS. We were able to talk a bit about what it means for him (experientially) to be handicapped. We talked about laws, systems, and attitudes in our society with regard to services for handicapped people. – Much the User Experience kinds of stuff, just not with the web.

It was the first time I had heard someone discuss critically the pros and cons of the implications of the ADA. We talked a bit about how handicapped people are affected by the laws and their implementations.

One example our cousin gave was walking from the handicapped parking to a restaurant. At one establishment the handicap spot was on the same side of the driving road but the spot was further to walk than the closest parking spots. Not all handicapped cases are the same. For some it would be better to cross the street to walk the shorter distance than to walk the “safer” but longer distance.

Resturant Parking

Resturant Parking

We also talked about some experiences he had with Disney and with Southwest Airlines.

Without taking credit for our cousin’s stories or wanting to bash on either of these companies, let me relay the flowing experiences and some reflections on them. It was interesting that his interpretation was that socially in Disney being handicapped, when it came to waiting in lines, meant that you got preferential treatment. This was because there was a separate and often shorter line for Handicapped persons. He remarked that this is not exactly fair to non-handicapped persons. And that the purpose of the laws for persons with handicaps is to make things equal, not preferred.

However, his experience with Southwest was of a different nature. Being a faithful customer of Southwest since the early 2000’s I have often enjoyed my “plane crackers”. He remarked that it was really difficult for someone with muscular challenges to navigate between the rows of seats. (Someone else with several kids, was using a kid to reserve the front seat for other people who were boarding later.) It was also difficult to get seats which were together for his family. I found this a little hard to believe until I was flying Southwest this past January. Having heard my cousin’s story, I took note with new eyes on people boarded the aircraft and how the elderly, families and handicapped people were assisted.

On my way to Oregon, there was a man next to me who had lived in the U.S. for a number of years but was originally from Columbia. He was in his 80s and wore hearing aids. He never heard the cabin bell saying that it was alright to get up and go to the bathroom. This would normally be alright but the light for buckling the seats never went off. When the stewardess asked for his drink he could not hear her ask if he wanted cream and sugar with his coffee. Luckily, I was there to “yell” in his ear and he got cream and sugar.

On the way back from Oregon an elderly lady with an oxygen/nebulizer kind of machine with her was disembarking from the plane. She was slow moving and felt really bad for keeping others waiting who were going to disembark. After most of the passengers had disembarked I asked the steward on duty how he would have handled this kind of passenger in the case of emergency. He said that they hope to never have an emergency, but in the case of one, it would be challenging. They would probably have to do some kind of two person carry to get the passenger out of the plane.

I am not sure that I have a strong closing paragraph for readers. But it is eye opening for me to think of systems (lines at amusement parks or customer service and boarding systems) in terms of User Experience and Usability with disabilities in mind.

Family for Christmas

This Christmas Becky and I spent some time with family. All of my brothers and sisters were there and so were my mother's two daughter-in-laws.

We had lots of fun together. We went and saw Sherlock Holmes 2 together.

After watching Sherlock 2

All the Patersons After watching Sherlock 2

The Five Boys

The Five Boys

After which we went out to eat.

Jed stroking his Chin

Jon Stroking his Chin

It was good to see my brothers and sisters talking, laughing and smiling.

Jeremiah Smiling

Moriah and her Scarf

Moriah and her Scarf

We did a lot of game playing...

Playing Mario Cart.

One of the interesting stories about this Christmas was that my bother Joe, sold his Xbox to buy our sister Monica a Wii. Monica really wanted a Wii. Jed, didn't know that Joe sold his Xbox and bought Joe some Games for the Xbox. It reminded me of the story of "The Gift of the Magi". [1] William Sydney Porter (O. Henry). The Gift Of The Magi http://www.online-literature.com/donne/1014/ [Link]

Playing Mario Cart

Hugh and Jed Playing Axis and Allies

Hugh and Jed Playing Axis and Allies

Playing Munchkins

Playing Munchkins

Playing Carcassonne

Playing Carcassonne

There were a lot of interesting interactions over our time together.
We learned that all of us like to play the game but we each play it differently. Some:

  • Play the game to win.
  • Play the game for fun.
  • Play the game to keep certain others from winning.
  • Play the game for the game's sake.

There was lots of silliness.

Over Lip

Over Lip

Jed Modeling his new hat and gloves.

Jed Modeling his new hat and gloves.

Hugh and Becky

Hugh and Becky

And we saw Jeremiah smile.

Jeremiah actually did smile

Jeremiah actually did smile


Sleeping... There seem to be a lot of pictures of Jeremiah doing this...


1 William Sydney Porter (O. Henry). The Gift Of The Magi http://www.online-literature.com/donne/1014/ [Link]

Prime Suspect v.s. Aunt Carol

Whoever is doing the background research for the Lead character in Prime Suspect is doing a great job.... at least when one compares her to my aunt Carol... It is like my aunt wrote the book. I just started a few episodes with my wife, Becky, and not only are there phrases, intonations, but also discourse features which I have heard my aunt use. I was particularly impressed with episode 108, Underwater. (Especially the dialogue where Detective Timmoney is saying good-by to the little girl.) (Perhaps this is just the time of year that I start to watch NY/NJ police shows to hear the familiar pronunciation of the words.)


This October, when Becky and I went to Malaysia she insisted that I try durian. Having never been to Asia before one might think that I would have a hard time describing this “Asian fruit”.

Picture of Durian from Wikipedia

Durio Kutej

Well I did try it. Some of the guys I was with were even very fond of it.

Here is my summary:

  • Is kinda structured like a pomegranate on the inside but has pointy things on the outside
  • Smells like Liquid Augmentin
  • Feels on the tongue like over steamed cauliflower
  • Throws like a hand grenade
  • And it stays on your breath for two days.

Teaching FLEx in Malaysia

In October, Becky and I were invited to present FLEx at the Universiti of Malaysia, Sabah as part of a workshop for compiling native dictionaries and managing cultural data. I learned a lot about dictionaries, about using FLEx to organize dictionary data, about Webonary and about Malaysia.

One of the things this workshop helped me to clearly articulate was that there are four knowledge content areas which dictionary creators need:

  1. Knowledge about Theoretical Linguistics to understand the language being described and the categories possible in the dictionary.
  2. Knowledge about the language being analyzed and described so that they can apply the appropriate options available to this situation.
  3. Knowledge about how to manage the editorial process for the dictionary (including entry submission).
  4. Knowledge about how to use the software to implement the editorial process.

This workshop’s focus was only on the software used to implement the editorial process (mostly the data collection part of the editorial process). So in some ways it felt like we weren’t giving the participants all the tools they will need (or even showing them all the tools they will need). But we had to realize that it is not our responsibility to give them all the tools they need or to expose them to these issues. They need local contacts for that. Regardless of these issue we were still ecstatic that there were about 80 people in attendance.

About 80 people

Opening Cerimonies at UMS

Becky took most of the sessions on FLEx. She presented on using FLEx as a tool for collecting words and various things about words. We covered several input methods and features in the application.

Becky talking about FLEx as a tool

Becky helping people doing exercises

I presented a session on explaining how to get data out of FLEx. We talked about putting dictionary data on the web and turning it into .epub files.

Hugh presenting on getting things out of FLEx

I think one of the more interesting things that I learned was about expectations, culture and photographs.
Many people wanted photographs with us (or of us). This is not totally unexpected. What was unexpected was that rather than taking one photo and sharing it (passing it around), everyone wanted their own picture. Not their own picture with us but a picture with us made with their own camera! It was in that moment that I had an epiphany. Having training in Language Documentation I am aware and concerned with rules and laws concerning privacy. In the U.S. when dealing with issues of informed consent and intellectual property, it can not be assumed that if I want to take a picture of you that I, the owner of the camera, own the picture. Furthermore it can not be assumed that I have the right to do with that picture as I please. i.e. Post it to the internet. This may be in part that our laws are based on our semantics. It may be in part our culture. But there I realized that if the photo is taken with your camera you own the photo. You can do with it as you please. The asking for permission is that you have asked for permission to take the photo.

Taking our picture

Taking their picture, while they were taking a picture of us. Since he who owns the camera, owns the picture...

I took this last picture at about the same time I had the epiphany.