[bct] Re: Talking AGMs

  • From: "jeff" <j1armstrong@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Nov 2005 12:13:52 -0600

Graham,

The talking ATMs seem to have come about because of legislation which was pushed through by disabled people to try to get as much access as possible in the country. ADA, (Americans with Disabilities, Act), for better or worse, has helped in some areas to give us some way to press companies to make their public accommodations accessible. I bitched about the one in my workplace and sited the ADA, this got the building moving to have Wells Fargo install a talking ATM. Now days, Wells Fargo is replacing all their ATMs with talking ones little by little. Luckily, they are a huge bank. Does Australia have a similar law that would give you some backup when pushing for change? It doesn't cost much to make an ATM accessible. They just add the hardware to give access which includes some extra PC-boards and a chunk of software and a headphone jack on the machine. It's just a PC in a huge box with the accessories for handling cash and most of the size of the machine is for security and recognition. When I was just out of college, I was lucky enough to work for a bank. We wrote software to audit transactions on the ATMs. In those days, the ATMs kept a paper roll inside to log transactions, I don't think the network connections were as reliable then. I don't know what they do today. Once, I walked up to the ATM in our building. I heard someone using it, I thought. Turns out the people were refilling the cash. They just about had a cow, man. They yelled at me to "Step away from the machine!". You can imagine, I just about freaked. I must say, in my surprise, I yelled back, "what the hell!". Well, to make a long story short, I complained to the bank and they apologized for the getting yelled at. I still wonder why they didn't realize that the cane meant that I didn't see them and they could have just told me that it was being serviced. Stupid, and par for the course. I think the best one is the fact that my building had an inaccessible machine but they told me, "it has Braille on the keys, what else do you want?". It is amazing how little people seem to understand about how things work. It took a long time to convince them that this meant nothing to any blind person. Later, I found out that my bank had those Brailed keys on their ATM drive through as well. I think that means that my car is now accessible.

Jeff


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