[Athen] [EXT]Re: Your opinions on keeping old AT

Robert Beach rbeach at KCKCC.EDU
Wed Jul 17 09:26:02 PDT 2019

In regards to old braille books, I just gave several braille math books to our states Instructional Resource Center. This will allow any braille reader student in a Kansas high school to utilize these books to prepare for college level math. I hope they will be used there since they are no longer used on our campus.

Robert Lee Beach
Assistive Technology Specialist
Kansas City Kansas Community College
7250 State Avenue
Kansas City, KS 66112
Phone: 913-288-7671
Email: rbeach at kckcc.edu<mailto:rbeach at kckcc.edu>

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu> On Behalf Of Sorensen, Neal B
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 11:21 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [EXT]Re: [Athen] Your opinions on keeping old AT

CAUTION: This email originated outside KCKCC. Do not click links or open attachments unless you know the content is safe. Please forward all suspicious emails to support at kckcc.edu<mailto:support at kckcc.edu>.
I completely agree with Susan, get yourself a little elbow room and get rid of the old stuff. For the most part, you won't miss it.

Over winter break, I was tasked with cleaning out the equipment closet which was packed FULL with stuff that has not been used in a LONG time... I mean it, we had JAWS and Dragon for Windows 3.1, a bunch of 4-track tape recorders, Victor readers that haven't been touched in years, and a lot of other gems. I also found some things that were quite interesting, like a TSI Speech+ talking calculator from 1975! The original price is taped on it too ($445!!!). I saved that one... It became obvious that no one had touched these in a very long time, some of it predated the office.

But really, with the use of software-based AT we really don't need most of the older equipment. I gave a lot of stuff to surplus. A great deal of it could be recycled. Even the older edition Braille textbooks should be tossed, if someone needed the book it would have an updated edition anyway.

Neal Sorensen
(pronouns: he, him, his)
Accessibility Resources
Minnesota State University, Mankato
132 Memorial Library
Mankato, MN 56001

Phone: (507) 389-5242
Fax: (507) 389-1199

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From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Susan Kelmer
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 10:32 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: Re: [Athen] Your opinions on keeping old AT


Let it go!

Seriously. Let some of it go. If you aren't actively using it, and haven't actively used it in 2 or more years, you do need to let it go. How many Braille embossers does one office need? We have two - our current Trident, and our backup Juliet 60 Pro. Why would we need another?

I surplus things all the time. Then I don't let myself think about what may happen to it. If two years from now some student needs a piece of equipment we surplused, we'll just buy a new one. Technology changes so fast...the new one would likely have better/newer features.

As for that Braille...I know it hurts to let it go, but by the time a student needs it again, there will be a new version of the book. It costs very little to emboss a new copy, just takes some time and a couple boxes of paper. Like I never kept returned CD's from students back in the day - it was easier to record new ones as needed, because the returned ones were often scratched or a disk or two would be missing.

Just let it go. If it hasn't been used in two years, let it go. And if later the item has to be re-purchased, your leadership will have to know that it is their fault you don't have it. But if you're like me, your storage space is limited in the first place, so you have to make some tough choices, but you likely won't regret doing so.

That's my 2 cents worth!

Susan Kelmer
Alternate Format Production Program Manager
Disability Services
University of Colorado Boulder

From: athen-list <athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list-bounces at mailman12.u.washington.edu>> On Behalf Of Deborah Armstrong
Sent: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 9:22 AM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network <athen-list at u.washington.edu<mailto:athen-list at u.washington.edu>>
Subject: [Athen] Your opinions on keeping old AT

Curious about others' opinions here.

Over the years I've had a variety of deans, supervisors, bosses. Each time we switch to new management priorities change.

One boss will want us to spend money when we have it and buy as much equipment as possible. Another boss wants to clean out and throw away everything we haven't used in a few years. One boss worries about accommodating every student while another boss only worries if a student complains.

The current management is on a massive cleanup canpaign so everything I don't want to see thrown away has migrated to my office. I have piles of stuff we "might need" someday but haven't used in a while. Before I could stop it a thirteen-volume Braille textbook was thrown away that was only used one quarter. Last year they nearly threw away my PIAF machine because nobody had seen me using it - but I resurrected it in time.

So when the cleanup started I grabbed stuff. Now I can hardly move I'm so - 'er' stuffed with stuff in my office!

But maybe like some previous bosses, I myself am a hoarder. Maybe I need to just say goodbye and move on.

I email other departments asking if they want some wacky thing, like a Braille atlas of the world or an ancient but still working CCTV and get no response.

I surplused three perfectly working Braille embossers a few years ago simply because I no longer had convenient parallel or serial ports. I couldn't take it home because that would have been stealing but it was probably broken up for scrap metal. And just yesterday I threw away all our CD-based Daisy players because nobody has requested one in at least four years.

I do tend to hoard because it has served me well before. One of my friends still uses a large-print French-English dictionary, a massive thing I found at a flea market for a dollar. No doubt some school surplused it.

When I lost my job at TeleSensory, they were literally throwing Braille displays and Optacons in the dumpster. My husband and I snuck back after dark and loaded them in to our car. I gave away the Optacons to very grateful users and still use those displays today.
But I was young and poorer then; I'm not going to grab stuff that doesn't belong to me, yet I hate to see it thrown out.

Do you others tend to hang on to obsolete technology in case it might be needed? Or do you toss it out because after all you don't have space and don't want to hoard.

And how do you make decisions about what to keep?


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