JANUARY NEWS FROM EDWARD COHEN FOUNDER OF EZ2SEEPRODUCTS

JANUARY NEWS FROM EDWARD COHEN FOUNDER OF EZ2SEEPRODUCTS

*Reader’s Note,

Should you wish to contact Edward directly for any reason please feel free to reach out to him at: info@ez2seeproducts.com

 

Now, here’s Edward with all the news!

 

 

 

Hello,

I do hope that the New Year has started off well for you.  Here in Minnesota, we’ve been dealing with stretches of sub-zero air temperatures.  But hey, at least it is sunny.  Grin

 

Lots of small issues going on in my life this month.  Who among us can’t say the same thing?  I’ll just talk about the juicy stuff.

 

A dear friend who gets these emails suggested I explain why I write them in a certain way.  She asked why links aren’t found within the topic I’m discussing.  Instead, you find all such links at the end of that month’s news.

 

This was recommended by my very knowledgeable social media manager, Patty Fletcher.  The reasoning is that when links are included as you read a piece, many readers pause to follow that link.  This both breaks up the flow of the piece and some might not find their way back to finish what they were reading.

Just know if any need to be shared, you’ll find them near the end of that month’s news.

 

Learning Braille

Back in 1995 when I began interacting with other blind people, I was so impressed by those proficient with braille.  I recognized how valuable that skill was in their lives.  By 2000, I began teaching myself the braille alphabet by sight.  At one point, I could even slowly write using a slate and stylus.  But except for occasionally reviewing the letters in my mind, I did nothing more for the next 20 years.

 

Last month, accepting the growing difficulty of reading my notes, I decided it was time to get serious about braille.  While I knew each letter’s pattern by sight, I had no ability to identify the letters by touch having never devoted the time.  My goal is not very lofty.  I only want to be able to write and read notes I make for myself.  Santa, being a mind-reader, brought me a set of braille flashcards.  And now the challenge was on.

 

While not a true new year’s resolution, most days I go through both the capital and lowercase version of all 26 letters.  I find I can also do this while sitting in my many Zoom meetings without someone asking, “What are you doing with your hands?”

 

Recognizing patterns of up to 6 tiny dots at my age takes much practice.  As with any new skill, you must put in the time.  I did put in the time to memorize the braille alphabet visually.  What I actually did was to train the part of my brain dealing with vision.  The part of the brain that deals with movement and tactile sensations is currently clueless.

 

Finger to brain, “Is this the letter A or a K?”

Brain to fingers, “you’re kidding, right?”

 

Here is how I think of it. You may think that by repeating that swing, throw or jump you are training your muscles, we call it “muscle memory”.  In a way you are, but what you’re really doing is training your brain that is in turn controlling those muscles.

 

Repeatedly and correctly teaching your brain what your finger is touching is doing the same thing.  While the proper term for this is, neural-muscular memory, I think I’ll just call it finger memory.  Anyway, nearly daily the pad of my right forefinger is teaching these tactile sensations to the physical-sensory part of my brain.

After practicing with that one finger for most of the month, I’m at 90+% accuracy.  Two things I’ve been told to try.  One is to be able to read braille with additional fingers.  I can see the logic and will start working that in.  the second is to mentally use braille to spell out words.  As I do this, I seem to get quicker at it.  While  I keep aiming for 100%, I will begin to work in numbers, which should be a breeze compared to learning the alphabet.

 

When I have numbers down, a pile of flashcards with words awaits.  Maybe by next month I will face perhaps the more challenging part of this journey which will be writing braille.  Expect to read much grousing in February.  Grin.

 

Rochester Low-vision Support Group

While several of us have said, “We should start a low-vision support group”, it took someone else to actually get us the meeting space and to call the first meeting In October.  Then out of the blue, that guy notified us last month that for family reasons, he would be moving to Nebraska before the next meeting.

 

We all sat there for a moment recovering from the news.  The topic quickly turned to, now what?  Gradually, several turned to me and asked if I’d take over the facilitator role.  Once I confirmed that those who had been routinely making the calls would continue in their roles, I agreed.  Facilitating this type of group will be a new learning experience for me and be another way to be of help to this community.

 

My YMCA Closes

If you read the blog post I mentioned last month about my winter walk to the Y, then why I’m writing this will make sense.  Early this month, the only Y in town announced they are closing at the end of January.  They cited a drop in memberships and staffing problems.  The announcement saddened a great many people.  Because it was within walking distance, I regularly worked out there every weekend.

 

My only serious workout option will be for my wife to each week drive us to the senior center some miles away.  There, we’ll each do our separate thing.   Fortunately, neighborhood sidewalks and park paths are not being closed so my daily fast walks aren’t endangered.

 

Okay, now for the business stuff

The Address Book and More

I have had a breakthrough.  No, I haven’t finally found a US company to punch the specialized holes needed for the discs.  The ladies at Prevent Products Inc reminded me that they have an overseas source capable of meeting my manufacturing requirements.

 

I was already aware of this overseas option.   But frankly, it bothered me that the tiny print on the product’s rear cover would say, “Made in ____”.   Fill in the blank with some southeast Asia country.  Would it bother you as well?

 

For me there are 3 rules for what makes a good product or service:

  1. The design clearly addresses its purpose and the wants of the customer.
  2. the price is both affordable to most of its target audience and provides a reasonable return to the company, and
  3. the company and those they work with treat their employees, their community and the environment with respect.

 

Up till now, not only have I abided by those rules but I’ve used US companies; a practice that’s important to me.  Yet, having found no domestic company willing or able to make this product, I now see that focusing on my wants is preventing producing a product I think people will like.   The following saying comes to mind, “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.”

 

Having accepted that I must move on, I’ve already dusted off the largely completed proof files and sent some small improvements to my busy graphics guy.  At least I hope they are improvements.  What then follows are discussions with my licensee, the ladies at Prevent Products Inc.

 

A Possible Exciting Development

Thanks to a very well-connected person in my network, I might be able to come out with a product I’ve wanted to offer for a long time.  I simply had no lead on who I could have make it.

His key referral got me in touch with the Business Development Manager of a US company who could make a product to my specifications and would carry the EZ2See® name.  It is something I’ve thought about for some years and would be a most logical item to add to my offerings.  Care to offer a guess at what it is?

 

Since it is too early to start raising hopes, please excuse me for being so mysterious for now.  By next month, things should have progressed to a point where I can stop dancing around and fill you in.

 

That’s it for now.  Thank you for your interest and support,

Edward

 

Besides Patty Fletcher being my social media marketing assistant, she is also an author, blogger and pod cast maker.  Learn more at:   http://www.pattysworlds.com

 

Santa gets his braille learning aids at the Braille Superstore.

 

Check out the elderly fall, slip and skin protection products

made by my licensee, Prevent Products Inc.

 

Edward is a low vision senior living in southeast Minnesota.  He is the founding owner of EZ2See® Products LLC.  Visit his website if you or someone you care about is looking for innovative products for those living with

vision loss or other challenges.  To receive this monthly news or to connect, email info@EZ2SeeProducts.com

 

To find the 2022 EZ2See® weekly planner/calendar and high-contrast sticky note pads go to:

*  The EZ2See website

Amazon.com

*  Select US retailers

*  Canadians will find the weekly planner on Amazon.Ca

 

For those with questions, who prefer talking to a human or don’t like buying online, call, 800-234-8291.

 

 

 

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