I’m a synesthete and my given name, Randy, feels like a slap between the shoulder blades, sometimes even when people aren’t yelling, but only conveying acceptance, resignation or general readiness. Changeling, however, has a nice feel no matter what. I think it’s got something to do with all those hard consonants tongue tie people and make any truly strong voice truly achievable.

One Thing I’ve gotten from Eleven Labs: If you’re not a singer, it won’t make you one. Lol

I made this using Eleven Labs. In my defense, I was left completely unsupervised.

Welcome Aboard The Starship Changeling announcement. English and Spanish.

This post intentionally left blank. Please go on to the next post.

Only a few people will enjoy it, but I got to be filmed using my 🍏💻 using Elloquence and have a Freedom Scientific JAWS🦈 come up in my Gmail when I opened. Randy’s bag of random brand technology is officially open.

Greetings from The Starship changeling. I hope someone at this point is having better sleep than i am…

🧑🏼‍🦯🛫⬆️🛬䷄🛫↖︎🛬🏳️‍🌈🌉🚈🏨 When it’s my independent air travel experience and it also involves this many steps, the last thing I want to see on the delta site is, “We are unable to process your blindness and low vision accommodations. Please try again later.” Not once, not twice, but thrice.

I Just hacked Sighted People!!!

For all my kindred spirits in the blind community, I’ve just figured out how to hack sighted people. Next time they forget to provide an accommodation, try saying, “Thank you for paying me the complement of forgetting I am blind. Nevertheless, i am blind.” then tell them what you need. It wakes them up just enough.

😸 The changeling was listening to a song I didn’t like–all the screaming, okay? So I grab his hand and start washing it, and wouldn’t you know, I just happened to hit the thumbs-down on their watch with my paw and get a better song.

Mature Reflection Concerning Apple's Disrutptive ipad ad

After thinking about it, here’s what I’ve decided about the Apple #iPad ad that stirred the pot:

Aple is known as a disruptor. Because our society approaches certain topics with outright polarization, the only way to continue being a disruptor is to meet society where it is. In other words, the company wanted to wake us up and it worked. We’ll all remember even if we don’t actually watch said ad.

💻 If Apple Just makes VoiceOver more functional on any of the new OS’s this year, I’d be happy. screen readers' updates don’t need to be exciting. Stop regarding them as headline makers and think of them a bit more like antivirus software that way. 🧑🏼‍🦯

Randy’s Love Languages: An overview of how to be a good friend and/or leader

My Love Languages

To Be Included in my users’ manual should it serve me to take the time to right one

  1. Quality time: Essentally, if you don’t have it, can’t give it, won’t share it, please move along. I’m sure you’re a nice person, but we’re just not compatible.
  2. Acts of service: Quality time breeds trust. Once I trust you, I feel comfortable with and demonstrate my appreciation by returning the favor.
  3. Physical touch: I want it; a little goes way.
  4. Gift giving: It only works if the top 3 are firmly established and it’s given because you thought of me, rather than because it’s a certain time of year and you feel obligated toed.
  5. Words of Affirmation: Unless you’re a corporate type and you’re limited by years of conditioning, or HR needs such a statement on record, you can skip this step. By this point, you’re my friefriend. Generally speaking, I don’t need an explanation. CONGRATULATIONs! 🎰

😸 The changeling has a new set of wimming pants. They are hot pink, made of a light material that shows off the muscular tone of their legs and the damn fool looks cuter in them than i do on my best days. I just worry the humans won’t be friendly to an alien in pink swim shorts…

  • I just through out a bathing suit that was falling apart that I bought back in 2009 when I was attending Florida Gulf coast University because it was too big.
  • I had to change my weight on my medical ID, medical marijuana ID renewal application and health charts from 215lbs to 171lbs.
  • I’ve never been in shape quite like this.

😸 the alien has been spending a lot of time talking to the people in the shiny noise box with buttons. they also spend a lot of time swimming. I think the shiny box people are brainwashing my alien, so i lay on the computer to protect them. They’re mine. Back off.

📰 I have changed the format and frequency of my newsletter. It now only comes out monthly, is contains long-form posts and is titled Sit With me: Articles From Starship Changeling. You can subscribe at starshipchangeling.net/subscribe

😎 I’m frustrated with the universe in general; it’s my stasis. Sometimes, I just let loose a big sigh and we all nobody can do anything about it.

Digital identity Verification

A Problem Few Blind People Seem to Understand They Have

This post is intended to be an official public-facing record of a situation that is silently attacking the blind community. I’m posting to detail a specific experience I had with id.me, but which I have encountered a few times in the same 90-day period. I’ll explain then why this is a concerning trend not just for the blindness community, but all marginalized groups. Finally, I conclude by describing the steps I have taken to deal with my individual situation, as well as what you can do to get involved.

Background

Earlier this year, I decided to file my taxes online. I had never done this before, transportation to my usual accountant was difficult to come by and I was curious what the experience. Through my bank, I was able to complete and file the paperwork free of charge, but they needed a copy of my 2022 tax return to complete the process. To do this, I needed to create an IRS account by verifying my identity with id.me. At this point, I had already tried verifying my identity with hinge, Twitter and Meta. I was unsuccessful with all of these, so I had an idea of what I was getting into.

The first option involved scanning my ID card, both sides, then taking a video selfie where I had to follow the moving dots with my eyes. The second option promised a live agent, but still required good scans of the ID card, and I discovered the hard way the agent won’t even deal with you if your scans aren’t up to their standards.

Before I Got An Agent…

I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for a rescue. I contacted id.me’s customer support; they received a detailed email explaining the situation. The first response I got was a list of support articles that clarified which documents could be used for verification.

I let them know this response didn’t match my situation; they were politely told to try again. They told me they couldn’t help; I started exploring legal options. Why comes later.

I did eventually get through to an agent and was ultimately able to file my taxes and meet the deadline. By that point, however, I’d already dealt with three more agents and had gotten tired of essentially being told to go fuck myself. By that point, however, I’d already filed with the DOJ. I told them the best thing they can do is prepare for that.

Why is This a Problem

Digital identity verification is becoming more and more ubiquitous. Social media and dating sites use it; the IRS, Social Security Administration, pharmacies and some government dates at the state and federal levels use this method of verification and they use id.me; age verification laws set by different states are most likely going to adopt this kind of technology. In summary, the door is slowly being closed on blind and visually impaired users, those who are not tech savvy, those who can’t afford tech and those who don’t want their face run through a centralized database that matches their selfie against outstanding warrants and the like. Better to catch this now and set a collective boundary before the door is completely shut.

my Steps

Aside from filing a formal discrimination complaint, I have also been quite vocal on social media. That’s good, but there’s no central place to follow updates. I’ve also contributed opinions to some podcasts, but they have the same essential problem. It was someone’s response asking for my contact info that made me realize I needed a dedicated post people can follow.

Your Steps

If you have experienced or witnessed this kind of discrimination from any company offering digital identity verification and that is based in the United States, your best course of action is:

  1. Attempt: Make the attempt so you know where and what the failures of the site or app are in regard to this process.
  2. Contact support: Explain the situation and provide details for how to replicate the failure. Be ready to go through several escalations and to repeat yourself more than once. Be as patient as you can during this process so they can’t make the argument that you were a disagreeable customer and that’s why you weren’t helped.
  3. Go to the Civil Rights site and file a complaint. If you like paper better, the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA) website has a paper form you can download and print. Make sure you are as detailed as the form will allow, and have any supporting documentation ready in the event you are contacted and asked for it.
  4. Repeat as many times as needed.

Conclusion

The lack of access to digital identity verification can have long-range consequences. This started out as an experience by a blind user who realized it expands to other groups. Which groups? Anyone who isn’t tech savvy, in good standing with the authorities, or able-bodied enough to complete the automated processes. The more complaints that are filed, the more priority taking a legal stand on this gets. The thing is it’s not one company right now; it’s all of them. My preferred method of identity verification? A page with lots of rel-me links.

An open letter to Jason Cintron, Discord CEO

Dear Jason Cintron,

My name is Randy Reed, and I have had a Discord account since 2017. In 2019, I wrote the first comprehensive guide to using Discord with screen readers. I also spent a fair amount of time providing feedback in the Discord A11y server. I have been a Nitro subscriber since 2020.

I took advantage of the ability to designate my own user tag and became Changeling#0001. According to my understanding, this should have put me up the line to get the username Changeling. When it was my turn, I found the username had been taken.

I checked on the account that did get the username, and found it inactive. I sent an email to support back in April, 2022, and never received a response. I also messaged the account that has my username and asked, since they were inactive, if I could get them to switch with me. I did offer to entertain monetary compensation. I never heard back from the account.

The frustration of not receiving a response aside, there are two main reasons I want Changeling. First and totally self-centric, I am totally blind and neurodivergent; synesthesia is the specific condition. I like the way the name Changeling looks in Braille, which is how i picture words. It’s a little like that special profile pic people love and use everywhere.

Second and geared toward persons with blindness and visual impairments, my current name is changelingmx; written as Discord processes. when using TTS like a screen reader or similar application, it runs the name together into what is essentially gibberish that takes away from my online brand. If Discord supported camel case, I could do ChangelingMx, which would tell the software to process the username with Changeling Mx, the handle i use when Changeling is taken and the account is being used. If I could have the username Changeling, no changes would need to be made to the way in which Discord. If it is possible to fulfill my request, doing so would be the faster way to resolve my specific issue. However, it would behoove Discord to make this change to make it friendlier to users of text to speech software.

In closing, I believe letting me have Changeling would give discord a happy customer and not put anyone out. If you go to https;//starshipchangeling.net/about, you’ll see I do have verified web identity under this name. I also feel it is a reasonable ask since I spent a lot of time and effort assisting blind and visually impaired users with using Discord.

Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

Randy Reed

Update: May 19, 2024

No response after 24 hours. Disappointing, but not surprising. The real surprise would actually be getting the username. I’ve never one of these no matter how justified, but I don’t have a right to want it if I won’t try for it.

On a different note, I’ve decided that I will not be updating the guide until I get it. Call me what you like, but the fact that I can’t such a simple thing from such dedication without compensation is just a bit demoralizing. To be fair, I’ve been extra sensitive to that, even now when things are clearly better for me overall.

Update May23, 2024

Still no response. That is all.

😎 It’s Saturday afternoon. What are you doing in your home?