[blindza] Introducing myself

  • From: "Boshoff, Deon (GP Health)" <Deon.Boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindza@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 24 Apr 2009 12:12:09 +0200

Hi, There,
I'm 54 years old, had low vision from birth, and always attended "normal" 
schools and Universities, as I believed that that would be the best way for me 
to adapt to Society.  This meant, however, that I had to take up a lot of 
challenges, but believe that anybody else has challenges of his/her own, 
anyway.  And each challenge I overcame, gave me a lot of satisfaction, 
encouraging me to take up even more, new challenges.

I attended a Technical High School, as this is where my main interests always 
were. Here I discovered Electricity, Motor mechanics, Woodwork, and later 
Electronics.  After school, I became an Electro-technician at SAA, but had to 
leave this fascinating job, as my bad eyesight became dangerous, so I went to 
the University of Stellenbosch, studying Social Sciences.  After graduation, I 
went on to the University of Potchefstroom to obtain a post-graduate 
qualification in Communications. 

In those days there were no computers, but there were cars, motorcycles and all 
kinds of interesting machines, which were developing at an amazing rate, for me 
to be interested in.

As I had not much money, I had to buy old cars, built them up, put them through 
the Roadworthy test, and siedaar, I had a car for my wife to drive.  Of course, 
I never had the opportunity to drive my own cars, but you don't need much sight 
to take out an engine, overhaul it, put it back, and it starts, first time.

Sighted people around me could never understand this, they always asked me for 
help, which I gladly gave, as it enlarged my knowledge.   What they couldn't 
understand was that you need knowledge and a brain to be able to do these 
things: not only good eyesight.

While I was a student at Potch, I also did the first blind parachute jump in 
the Country, probably in the World, as others after me were strapped to another 
jumper, while I had the opportunity to do it alone. 

The other people around me always wanted to know why I am interested in 
Photography, as they couldn't understand that my cameras could see a lot better 
than myself.   I knew my cameras well, and did not have to see where and how to 
adjust them, I could feel the clicks when I adjusted the buttons, could work 
out the distance, and generally knew exactly where to aim to.

However, getting a job after University was difficult, so I got a job at a 
Switchboard [in those days everybody believed that's the only job you can do if 
you are blind] but this job became fascinating to me, so I stayed; developing 
with it, as switchboards developed.

The Switchboard became computerized before anyone   else, in those days MS DOS.

Windows opened a new world for me.  I first discovered Microsoft Sam, then 
Window-eyes, and then Jaws.  I was the first to have e-mail and Internet here 
at work, and the rest is history....

Today I am managing my own Switchboard; I am very proud of it, as it is one of 
the most advanced ones around; I can do most of the technical maintenance 
myself, understand everything here, have my own Network and Servers and 

And my interest and knowledge of computers has grown to such an extend that 
many other sighted colleagues of mine contact me for help with their computers. 
  Although I use a computer rather different to them [all the computers I use 
daily are highly customized] I can always help them, teach them, and if they 
come up with something I cannot help them with, I find out and learn more 

Of course, I have designed and built my own computers at home, and of course I 
am the one to call if any computer here packs up.

And, of course I spend a lot of money on computer equipment [school fees] I am 
also always looking out for a new program to try out, especially if it is 
screen reader-friendly.

There are many interesting programs to buy on the Internet, but I don't trust 
that way of buying at all, so I am always on the look-out for FREE  programmes, 
although that seems to be scarce.   And some of these programs that I really 
need to work with [example Jaws] are very expensive to me, so, although I have 
Jaws 4.5 and j8, I am happy to be able to use nvda, which is free, works very 
well, and even speaks Afrikaans.  But, unfortunately, it doesn't nearly sound 
as good as Eloguance, which is used by Jaws and Dolphin [a pen which is both a 
screen reader and magnifier, which I also use]  But then, I also have 
RealSpeak, which doesn't sound bad at all.

Whish I knew how to write my own computer programs.  Wish I knew how to create 
a Web page.

It is so nice to discover all these Web pages by Blind, for the Blind!  Wish I 
can help, and I will keep on watching you, be warned!

Kind regards,

[G. Boshoff, BA[Stell]UDC[Potch]
Tel:              0123199735
Mobile:           0829699571
Fax-to-Email:   0865101295
Fax:              0123277076
Bleeper: 0123199820, code 0002
Deon.boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:Deon.boshoff@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

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