This Is An Archive

I'm moving WolfDream to a new CMS and refocusing its goals and direction. As such, this old site, now formally called The Old WolfDream has been moved to the subdomain old.wolfdream.ca and will no longer be updated. It is being kept in order to preserve important content people might still be linking to (I created suitable 302 redirections to avoid broken links). Some of the content might eventually be migrated to the new site or somewhere else altogether but the rest will remain here as an archive. Please check out the new site to keep up with me. WolfDream is dead, long live WolfDream!

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Latest Posts

Ideas Wanted: How can I make accessibility work pay the bills?

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-11-05 11:58  (2617 Reads)

In the ten months since acquiring my Samsung Galaxy S III and beginning my Android journey, I've become quite excited and involved with mobile technology. Interest which was at first mainly caused by the need to find a device which worked for me and assimilate the knowledge necessary to operate it with maximum efficiency has turned into curiosity spanning the whole field and a growing concern for its accessibility. Indeed, as the focus for computing seems to be shifting rapidly to mobile platforms and that technology becomes more and more deeply woven into the fabric of our society, the great promises for empowerment it offers to people with disabilities are doubled with equally great threats of alienation, should there be any lapse in its accessibility or affordability.

App review: Circa makes mobile-friendly newsreading a reality

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-10-23 20:27  (6090 Reads)

There is no shortage of ways to stay on top of the news on Android devices. There are magazine-like services like Flipboard and Google Currents, powerful cloud-based RSS readers like Feedly, and even semi-curated and semi-user-driven approaches, like that taken by Digg with its recently release Android app. If that doesn't suit, most major papers and news networks now have their own app, and, of course, Twitter and its custom lists can be used to build a tailor-made syndication service. All these options have one main flaw in common, however: they facilitate staying on top of headlines but not necessarily of issues. Enters Circa News.

Mastering the on-screen keyboard

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-08-23 14:49  (10396 Reads)

When I first faced transitioning from an all-buttons phone to an all-touch one, I was naturally as nervous as I was excited, anticipating that the adaptation curve might be a steep one. Yet, barely a month later, all anxiety had melted away and I was a happy convert, finding that touch interaction was in many ways faster and smoother than the legacy, key-driven one I had so prised. Only one painful exception remained to mar the experience, but a crucial one it was: character input.

Try as I might, I could not get myself to enjoy that touch-typing business in the least, and many a crude expletive I just managed to bite off so as not to pollute my children's innocent ears. Yet here I am, six months later, happily texting away using the on-screen keyboard, and the curses are getting few and far between. Here are some simple ways I found to make my typing experience more effective and pleasant.

On Accessibility and the Dangers of a Hack

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-07-19 15:30  (4084 Reads)

One fundamental rule of programming which is taught in most elementary courses and which all those writing code get to learn the hard way sooner or later is that choosing a shortcut solution to a specific problem rather than rethinking the global approach almost always means grief in the long run. Such solutions are commonly referred to as hacks in the programming world and are derided and used on a daily basis in nearly equal proportions, sometimes even by the same people.

The Drowning Man Syndrome: My thoughts regarding the turban fracas in Quebec.

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-06-06 14:18  (2510 Reads)

It seems fairly natural to assume that anyone finding himself in a certain position would become sympathetic to others undergoing similar situations as a result. After all, wisdom comes from experience, doesn't it? Sadly, that assumption all too often proves to be unfounded.

App review: Google Keep

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-06-04 14:38  (3184 Reads)

Shortly after I published my round-up of note-taking applications, Google decided to go ahead and release its very own app targeted to that purpose called Keep. I was naturally anxious to try it out to see how it compared to all the other applications out there but decided to wait a while before reviewing it to give it time to mature. Now, a few months later, I think it's time to give it a formal appraisal.

Why I uninstalled Field Trip

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-06-03 14:40  (10865 Reads)

When it was announced during Google I/O that the Field Trip application was going global, I was naturally very excited to try it out. Field Trip, developed by Google subsidiary Niantic Labs, is an application which has for aim to further Google's current "provide information before they know they need it" policy by alerting its users to the proximity of likely Shops and landmarks as they go about their business. While the app seems primarily targeted to the tourist, urban explorer and history nut crowds, it has some obvious potential for blind users as well, hence my interest.

App review: Draft text-editor

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-05-30 12:35  (3812 Reads)

A few months ago, I published a round-up of note-taking applications documenting my search for the perfect solution. Of these, many turned out to be quite accessible and impressive in their features, but one named Epistle appeared to be closest to what I sought for the special purpose of working on blog entries. Unfortunately, as I was polishing the piece and inserting the links to each app on Google Play, I found out that Epistle had vanished and was forced to direct readers to a somewhat less featureful and accessible alternative. Several weeks later, Epistle made a brief reappearance in the play store in the form of a courtesy upgrade advising users of the apps demise and rebirth as a paid app called Draft. I have now purchased this app and will proceed to review it.

Fried Rice: Turn encumbrance into deliverance

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-05-08 13:21  (2446 Reads)

Did you know that left over rice is a godsend for those lazy cooking evenings or hurried hectic days when time is scarce and bellies need filling? It can be already flavoured or plain, steamed or fried, made this morning or three days ago: it's there for you, regardless!

With a bit of oil, seasoning and imagination, you can turn your cold rice into something brand new, exciting and, best of all, hunger-blunting. Here is an example:

Doing away with some audio and screen frustrations

Author: S. Massy  Published At: 2013-03-14 10:52  (1968 Reads)

Today, I have had the great satisfaction of finally finding solutions to two small but maddeningly itchy spots in my Android experience thusfar: screen timeout and audio volume management.