Showing posts from October, 2013

AppWriter Cloud

I've recently been really enjoying a tool Martin came back from Thailand with: AppWriter Cloud.  One of his fellow vendors at the conference there was touting it and was kind enough to give me a free login for it.  It's an add-on to the Chrome browser that reads web pages aloud - and it can read any web pages, including the pages within my Google Drive, meaning I can use it to read pdfs and other documents to me as well so long as I upload them there first.

It's a bit temperamental, and using it requires me to have a Windows virtual machine running as it doesn't work in Chromium, but I'm still delighted with it.  After years of failing to get Orca* to work for me, something that works most of the time is fantastic :-)  I find reading pretty hard work, even on a screen where I don't have to deal with holding the weight of a book, but this has suddenly made it a lot easier!  Yay!!

* the Linux version of JAWS - the text to speech programme blind people generally use

Give a man a fish...

I was intrigued and excited by the story in 'Act one' of this recent This American Life episode.  In it, Planet Money reporters looked into the work of GiveDirectly: a charity that, rather than giving poor people cows or seeds or other goods or training, simply gives them money.

The reporters went to a village in Kenya where the poorest residents had each received the equivalent of US$1000.  From what I could gather, they were people living in a cash economy and this money was roughly what they would normally earn in a year.  The reporters were keen to find out what that money had been spent on.

The villagers lived in thatch-roofed huts and the majority of them had used part of their money to replace the thatch with corrugated iron.  Iron is not only more water-tight and much less hassle to maintain than thatch, over its 10 year life-span it also works out considerably cheaper (you have to buy special grass for thatch).  With the remainder they did all kinds of things: mostly …

Caring for onesself

In a recent issue of Meeting Place, (the magazine of ANZMES, the CFS support society for New Zealand) I was struck by three articles placed close together.

The first was by a Christian woman with whom I have corresponded over the years.  She made a complete recovery from CFS a few years back and was writing here about the therapy through which God healed her: Mickel Therapy.  It is a talking therapy and is based on three principles.  In my words, they are:
being honest/not being afraid of creating waveslooking after your body and your needsnot letting people abuse/manipulate you. Although the therapy is secular, she was keen to emphasise how these were principles that she has since been seeing again and again as she reads the Bible.  The principles all seem to me to deal with different kinds of looking after yourself.
Soon after this article came two more.  One was from a woman who had recently been on a holiday on a cruise ship.  While she was on the cruise she found her health gr…