Posts Tagged ‘DAISY’


Japan’s 3-11-11 Earthquake 8000x stronger than in Christchurch?

March 13, 2011

A woman amidst debris / AP Photo

News on last Friday’s [March 11, 2011] tsunami in Japan and the earthquake which is said to be nearly 8000 times stronger than the recent earthquake that shook Christchurch in New Zealand, and the images that I saw from the news and amateur footages uploaded on the net created an unsettling feeling and fear in my heart as we live not too far from the sea. Added to it is the fact that Manila is predicted to submerge in the future due to global warming. Though Manila faces the South China Sea and not the Pacific Ocean, the feeling of fear is deep-seated — as such will always be there. As a victim of fire destruction [our house burned in 1998], nature’s wrath and its catastrophic consequences have always frightened me. In situations such as these, I can only but pray and look at man’s material possessions as surely and undoubtedly temporal, even that of man’s existence. The descriptions made by AP writer Malcolm Foster last March 11 about the tsunami in Japan are so vivid, it is akin to a film treatment. [Click to read Powerful quake, tsunami kills hundreds in Japan]

[For some photos of the devastation, click  Japan hit by huge earthquake, tsunami, japan-earthquake-photos_n_834391.html#252198japan-earthquake-photos_n_834391.html#252198]

For the live blog of AlJazeera on the quake, pls. click live-blog-japan-earthquake

I remember the DAISY [Digital Accessible Information System] project we made titled “Tsunami.” Now, I think of how in actual tsunami event such as like last Friday’s, Persons with Disabilities [PWD] will be like. If they are warned in time, then, the preparedness of the Japanese as shown to us by our Japanese trainors will be enforced with calm. But how about here in the Philippines where so many are wanting — in terms of equipment, manpower, resources and preparedness? What would it be like for PWDs here when the tsunami waves roll like hell? I hope this serves as a call for our government authorities to give priority to prepare in meeting natural disasters that are bound to come due to men’s negligence of our environment, and due to corruption and personal interests that allowed developers to build buildings on earthquake faults. Activities around the Pacific Ring of Fire is becoming more and more active…


ROBOBRAILLE and IT for Persons with Special Needs

March 6, 2011

I was thinking of my project: Rizal’s poems in sign language, when I suddenly thought of DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System). My last talk with Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura, DAISY President and our trainor, was about the development that they are doing and to launch, if I am not mistaken this year, to include sign language in the new DAISY softwares. Since I have added options that will serve the blind, I couldn’t but think: why not do it later in DAISY format? Afterall, I am also after information accessibility for the blind. So I visited the DAISY website… where I came to learn about Lars Ballieu Christensen….

a young man in mid 20’s who wanted to help two blind students by ensuring that their textbooks were accessible. Lars was born in 1963. Today he works with information technology and design for people with special needs. He founded Sensus, a research-based consultancy organisation, in the mid 1980’s. Since then he has advised numerous governments, national and international organisations, NGOs and private companies on accessibility, inclusive design and access to digital information. Lars is the inventor or co-inventor of numerous innovative enabling technologies, including the award winning RoboBraille, an e-mail service which can convert digital text documents into either Braille or audio files. It is quick and easy to use. You simply send an e-mail with an attached text document to RoboBraille. Shortly after, you will receive the document back from RoboBraille in the specified format – an audio file, for example. It is free for non-commercial users to use RoboBraille. (Click to read: frontpage)

Lars travels around the world to share his knowledge and opinion, and to propose solutions to important problems such as the following:

  • How do we support integration and inclusion in mainstream society as a viable alternative to segregation in special schools?
  • How do we ensure that educational materials are accessible to people who are blind or have a reading disability?
  • How can we take advantage of emerging technologies to provide equal opportunities in education and employment for those with special needs?

(To read more on Lars, click: lars-ballieu-christensen)


ASP_Undisputed Champion of the Rights of PWDs

November 13, 2009

As member—a proud member— of the Autism Society Philippines family, I want the world to know how people look at and look up to ASP, acknowledged by an equally inspiring and a model woman of strength, Ms. Geraldine Ruiz, Executive Director of National Council for Disability Affairs. Here’s her message:


Once again, Autism Society Philippines spreads its wings as the undisputed champions of the rights of persons with disabilities, most specifically, children with autism. ASP has proven, time and again, that indeed, there are no borders to the love and support parents can give to their children with disabilities.

ASP has succeeded, time and again, in training the eyes of the world to look with more openness and positivity – at the person and not at the spectrum that envelopes him.

IMGA0617This conference, Autism Beyond Boarders (Where Hope Prevails), the 11th National Conference and the 1st Southeast Asian Conference on Autism, digs even deeper into the recognition of the disability sector. Persons with autism have inherent human rights; that we, from government and from civil society, are obligated to respect, protect and fulfill.

IMGA0584A candid shot of our DAISY [Digital Accessible Information SYstem] trainors, Mr. Hiroshi Kawamura (center), one of the speakers and Mayu Hamada (right)

For the past two decades, ASP has covered so much ground in its mission to reach out, touch and change lives for the better. There are truly no borders to growth and achievement if one wills it.

Have faith and keep the fire of vigilance burning. Take courage and continue the legacy of teamwork and creativity going. NCDA, as a partner in the disability agenda, is behind you every step of the way.

Congratulations to the whole ASP family, most especially to our children with autism. More power and may God bless us all!
For the source of this message, click below:
To know about the up-coming activity of persons with autism sharing limelight with Lea Salonga, click below:


February 22, 2009

Matyag (pagmamatyag) Tagalog. n. close observation. Syn. pagmamasid; obserbasyon; manman; cf (compare the following) tingin, tanaw, bantay, tanod; malas. (Source: “Diksyunaryo Tesauro PILIPINO-INGLES” by Jose Villa Panganiban, c. 1972)

Appropriately so, the Digital Stories (DS) and Participative Videos (PV) participated in and made by our Deaf friends from the Filipino Deaf Women’s Health and Crisis Center (FDWHCC), Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) and SDEAS in the UP College of Social Work and Community Development’s (CSWCD) “Matyag 4: CSWCD Advo-Docu Deaf Participatory Festival! Towards Deaf Participation, Information Sharing and Advocacy” closely looked at the neglect, abuses and violence experienced by the Deaf, mostly women. More than just giving information, the personal recounting of their pains and hurts (in first person) made their videos effective as they touch the hearts of receptive viewers.


I have always believed in the power of film and video as tools for advocacy and awareness. But involving the subjects in the process of making their own stories is far better I think than what I am actually doing. I do make advocacy films about and for special children and PWDs. I even made Silent O with them (two of the film’s cameramen, choreographer and most of the artists are Deaf) but doing their own thing is best I believe.  I just hope that they will pursue with what they have started with Ms. Giselle Cruz (UP CSWCD Extension Specialist, Research and Extension for Development Office) and that what they have done would encourage other Deaf to join them in “speaking up.” With Deaf students from SDEAS (and other schools hopefully) who have been exploring and tackling Deaf problems, examining their psyche and expressing them out using the video technology for years, under training again from yet another Ms. Giselle (Montero of SDEAS), their voices shall be heard better by the society, and by their families, first and foremost.


I just hope that they will explore and manipulate the use of music more in their later production of Digital Stories, and I am addressing this of course to those who are helping the Deaf in post production. Music need not be used throughout as there are moments when they are better without. Sometimes, especially when there is no music variation, any presentation for that matter tends to nag and fails to enhance what could have been dramatic moments. Dead silence helps sometimes. In the PV presentation, if the film is also for the hearing as I was told by Ms. Giselle, maybe they can also consider keeping the ambient sound for the hearing audience to hear. It may just be a personal opinion but doing so can help make the hearing have familiarity not only with sign language but in hearing “Deaf sounds” as well. Afterall, some of them can speak, like Rack Corpus, PFD Pres., etc. Deaf make peculiar and unique sounds which I believe the audience should hear and be familiar with. Sync sound in digital production is not a problem anyway. Someone will just have to take care during shoot to minimize extraneous sound. Production constraints are there. They will always be a part of it. And for production involving Deaf persons, the main problem is laying in of sound of course but a HOH (hard-of-hearing) can probably be of help. And if budget will allow it, a hearing person can be assigned to do the proper sound editing. If you believe that that aspect is vitally important in making something intended also for hearing it is a must to consider it in the budget planning. Anyway, they are wishful thinking on my part. Because I know and I am sure that that will make their future productions even better.

Digital Stories vs. Digital Talking Books

DS appears to me like a “cousin” to DTB (Digital Talking Books). They both use photos, texts and sound. The only difference is that DS materials are edited using non-linear editing softwares like Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, or Pinnacle Studio (I use the Pinnacle Liquid Edition, earlier version). DS therefore is edited like a film. DTD is edited using Dolphin Publisher (this is the last version taught to us under the DAISY [Digital Accessible Information System] program). It has no video track but only sound track and we record right where you see the timeline equivalent in the above enumerated softwares. In DTB, we cannot use subtitles (unless done in Photoshop, be embedded and saved as jpeg image before importing to the final book); texts and pictures are separated, and the form is much like in a book. Chapters can also be built and opened at will. It can be programmed, may be projected and played on screen too but the highlighted texts move or “talk to tell the story” which is similar to the features of the karaoke. The very reason why it is called a talking book.

Both are tools to tell stories and both are useful to reach out and make themselves be heard. The Digital Stories are appropriate for the Deaf; the Digital Talking Books, initially designed for the Blind is now under exploration to benefit Persons with Autism too. (I have made mention in my earlier postings about Jed, an adult with autism who is creating his own DTBs).

Happily, for most independent filmmakers like us who can’t afford to use the celluloid and who cannot find producers to support the making of our advocacy films, digital filmmaking is the best option to express and say what we want. Used as an educational tool and to advocate for our cause, it is the cheapest and best way to reach out. Done properly, it can surpass, be more valuable, effective and useful than so many trash celluloid films that abound. Oh well, videos too!


DAISY Symposium on Community based Inclusive Information

February 3, 2009

Lailani “Bing” David leaves today for Kyoto, Japan to attend the International Symposium on Community based Inclusive Information Support for Persons With Disabilities to be held on February 6-7. Bing was invited by Hiroshi Kawamura, President of DAISY (Digital Accessible Information System) Consortium. Bing who represents the Autism Society Philippines will give a talk on “Social Story in DAISY Format for Children with Autism” on the second day of the symposium.

There were five of us who earlier trained from the Autism Society Philippines last year with the aim of learning how to produce Digital Talking Books (DTB) for persons with autism. The five other trainees were from the blind sector. The training was sponsored by DAISY for All Project organized by the Philippine DAISY Network (PDN) and supported by Nippon Foundation and DAISY Consortium. That was my first encounter with DTB. Trying to understand the workings of HTML with all those spans, and tags made me idiotic than ever. Kawamura san, assisted by Mayu Hamada and our Philippine DAISY trainors handled the workshop last year from February 18-22, 2008.

However, that five-day workshop seemed useless (that’s  my personal opinion because of my difficulty to learn the technical stuff) when we were later introduced some months later to Dolphin Publisher which gives the same result but faster. Mayu came here to teach us on its use. As a film editor, it is comparatively very, very simple from what I do. But just like in learning any skill we must put into practice what we have learned. So Bing, Jimbo Albano and I (the other trainees from ASP were Dang Koe, ASP President and Alfred Contreras, ASP BOT member) finally agreed to work on the “tsunami” project as part of the disaster-preparedness materials required of us. The way we see it however is that the general public, not just the low vision and persons with autism will benefit from what we are doing.


Anyway, we started working on the tsunami project after our second training from Mayu. Our last meet was last week with the purpose of completing the project for Bing to bring to Japan. Since the three of us,  could only meet but once during the week and when only all of us are free, “quorum” was a bit of a problem. In the early stage of our work, we had Jed with us, an adult with autism who is very good with computer (he did trouble shoot for us a couple of times before). Later, he worked on his own on a less complicated DTB. The tsunami work we decided to work on was long and the presence of five characters made it a little more complicated than what we used to do. As there are some technicalities which we could not execute, Bing texted me to say that she will just bring our working file. Anyway, having met the technical problems hands-on and since we have lots of questions re DAISY possibilities, I am sure Bing will be very occupied and will come back with lots of notes for us. Work and enjoy, labor with love are the key to our smooth team work.