Blindness and note-taking

As if I didn’t need another thing to worry about regarding where to keep notes (Markdown, org-mode, paper, etc.), I’m adding a new layer: What if I go blind someday?

I’m not even kidding here. I’m already legally blind in my right eye because of having a congenital cataract removed shortly after I was born. Back then, we were years away from lens implants being commonplace, so my eye just never learned to do much of anything and now it’s only useful for peripheral vision. I was taught from before I could speak to protect the left eye at all costs. That eye seems to be doing overall fine, and I’m going through all the life milestones that come to a 52-year-old person. First came distance eyeglasses, reading glasses, and now progressives.

But someday that eye may get a lot worse, or I may get injured somehow in a way that leaves me truly without usable sight. What happens to all my carefully curated Markdown and org-mode files then? How will I use a computer with any kind of speed? I hope to not find out anytime soon, but I’m curious, and so I find things like this:

EmacsConf 2019 - 08 - How a Completely Blind Manager/Dev Uses Emacs Every Day - Parham Doustdar

(Text version, in org-mode!)

Of course tons of people in this situation adapt and figure out ways to use their hardware and software for work and play. But it makes me wonder, for now:

  • Is Markdown more blind-friendly because it’s less powerful and there are so many apps that understand it?
  • Is org-mode the better bet because it’s so transmutable?
  • Which corner am I painting myself info if something happens?
  • All this stuff is text anyway, so does it even matter?
  • What file-naming convention is the easiest to hear instead of see?
  • How granular should my text files be? Small, single-purpose files, or sprawling with tons of headlines?

June 23, 2023