Recognise the guy on the right? No, I didn’t either!
His name? Matti Makkonen. So, who is he and why am I writing about him? He is the guy (with Nokia’s help apparently) who came up with the idea of SMS (Short Message Service) or “texts” over mobile phones (or cell phones to you Americans). Without his idea, there would be literally tens of thousands of Deaf people still unable to contact their loved ones in the way they do today. Who would of thought SMS has
been around since 1992?! Not that long ago really!
Obviously technology has moved on leaps and bounds and here is one way Deaf people used to contact their loved ones, whilst on the move. This is an Ultratec Compact Minicom and was the first minicom I ever owned. It could be taken out of the house and it ran on 6 AA batteries (that didn’t seem to last very long!) or you could plug it into the mains. I guess the idea of it was very primitive and how Deaf people used to contact people like the AA or RAC whilst on the move. I bought mine off a friend about 15 years ago at Birmingham Deaf Club. Between the two of us, we now have 3! A great idea Ultratec, but a tad annoying and if your phone came off the cupplers at the top, it seemed to disconnect the call. Most annoying!
But who uses these now? Which companies actually accept calls from Text Direct – this is whole different blog.
But what do we use now? We still use faithful SMS (thanks Matti!) but now with the invention of smart phones, two apps. have been created that has literally changed the lives of Sign Language users overnight.
Firstly, on Apple iPhone, you have FaceTime. 10/10 Apple! With this, you can make voice or video calls free iPhone to iPhone perfect for Sign Language users to communicate with one another in their first (or preferred) language.
And the second? Even if you don’t have an iPhone, you can download this on any Android or iOS device – welcome Glide! This is a brilliant app. whereby you can leave video messages of up to 5 minutes in length using your phones camera using sign language. I can’t tell you how brilliant it is. I don’t use it every day but we use between each other and friends on a regular basis. The videos are not saved on your device and so don’t waste space on your phone. The founder(?) Sarah has taken the initiative and learnt ASL. If you haven’t already got it, download it today!
Thanks Sarah(!) and RIP Matti.
Who often rambles here and there 🙂