Blind Dev Works

Three days ago on October 28th, I tripped across this discussion on Hacker News: Ask HN: Any other blind devs interested in working on dev tools for the blind?

By the time I found it, a number of people had already said "Shoot me an email." It struck me that a collaboration space would add a lot of value here. I felt that would be better than blinddev trying to wrangle a bunch of individual email discussions with a bunch of different people.

I took the liberty of setting up a Google Group called Blind Dev Works and announced it in the thread. I am a woman and not a programmer. I often feel I do not get taken seriously on Hacker News. I figured I would be totally ignored.

The following morning, I had an email requesting an invitation to the group. So, I sent the invitation. Later in the day, I was futzing around, not getting much of anything done -- which is often the case, due to my medical situation -- and it occurred to me that all the people who had said "shoot me an email" were expecting blinddev to contact them and might not go back to read the thread.

I decided that since their expectation was that the next move was on someone else, I would just spend my otherwise wasted afternoon on gathering up the email addresses and sending out invitations. I ended up sending out nine invitations total.

One person's email address was rejected as invalid and one or two people had said "email in profile" but there was no email address in their profile. The rejected email address had been munged, which is standard practice, but it was munged in an unusual way. Perhaps I just failed to understand it. The second issue -- of people saying "email in profile" when it is not there -- is a semi-common problem on Hacker News. There is a field for your email address which does not show publicly, but some folks assume that it does.

The first invitation from this round of invitations was accepted basically immediately. By the end of the day, the group had seven members. Total membership currently stands at ten and there are still outstanding invitations.

By the time he posted a "Hello Everyone" to the group, blinddev had already set up a Github repository and a website for the project. I was also contacted last night by someone who works at a company behind one of the tools blinddev had voiced frustration with. With their permission, I forwarded their email to the list.

Because of my medical situation, I futz around online a great deal. I have tripped across a couple of other resources and posted them to the group, but blinddev asked earlier today to be made an admin of the group. He is now listed as co-owner.

I do have serious eyesight problems and other handicaps. I have raised and homeschooled two special needs sons. Thus, I know a lot about handicap issues. Perhaps I will hang around and be useful because of that background. But I am not really a developer (even though I still intend to learn to program -- it hasn't happened yet).

I will play it by ear, but it is possible this group will ultimately be handed off to the project lead, blinddev. This is his baby. I just wanted to give him a collaboration space to help make things happen more effectively and efficiently.

Hopefully the next update that Hacker News gets will show up as a Show HN.

I am going to post this as a link at the top of this blog so it can be readily found. My blog doesn't get much traffic, but it does get a little. I am pleased and impressed with how much has already happened.

Just an FYI for anyone considering joining the group: It is currently private, but it may not remain so. We are still hashing out the details of how to make this best serve the purposes of the project.

HN Discussion


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