Global Accessibility Awareness Day

Today is Global Accessibility Awarenress Day. With the tech market booming for individuals with impairments or disabilities, there is no shortage of tools to make their life and living better.

Share this with a friend or family member who could use some additional resources on mobile or web developments for those with accessibility needs. Events will be held nationwide, including one tonight at Yahoo in Santa Monica!

Twitter: @gbla11yday
Hashtag: #GAAD
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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2015 at Yahoo Santa Monica

Details for this event can be found at the Los Angeles Accessibility and Inclusive Design Meetup.

  • Thursday, May 21, 2015 at 6:00 PM

  • Yahoo! 2400 Broadway Ave, Bldg D, 1st floor., Santa Monica, CA (map)

On May 21, we invite you to participate in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). The purpose of the day is to get people talking, thinking and learning about digital (web, software, mobile, etc.) accessibility and users with different disabilities.


Ismael Herrera will provide an introduction to ‘what is assistive technology’, providing a brief history of a variety of devices used by persons with various disabilities. He will also speak on the assessment process used to determine the type of assistive technology needed by individuals with disabilities.

EmpowerTech Executive Director Joan Anderson and current EmpowerTech Board Chair and former student of the Blind Program Keith Breaux will attempt to navigate a series of trips and tasks throughout Los Angeles over the course of an entire weekend, without using any technology whatsoever. The weekend challenge, which will raise money for EmpowerTech’s program offerings, will be streamed live online, making it the ultimate reality show.

Matt Reamer will discuss affordable product accessibility.


Ismael Herrera is a veteran developer of access technologies who has worked in the field since 1986. In 1995 he was invited by Xerox to participate in the creation of “Reading Edge,” a stand-alone reading scanner for the visually impaired, and in early 2000, he developed speech access for the Magic magnification software mouse which enabled blind assistive technology trainers to train persons who are partially sighted.  In addition to his work with EmpowerTech, Mr. Herrera will continue to develop mobile APPS for IOS devices to enhance the lives of persons with disabilities.

Steve Andrews, founder and executive director of Platinum Bay Technologies, a software technology company designed from the ground up to create successful and empowering full-stack software engineering careers for individuals on the Autism Spectrum. They specialize in making your business more efficient through line-of-business application development, job flow and data flow automation, and concierge CTO services for mid-sized businesses with an intense focus on user experience, maintainability, and reducing long-term code cost.

Matt Reamer is an Experience Designer at Team One USA in LA and co-founder of Dustin’s Words. Dustin’s Words is an open source communication device I built my brother that a small team and I are iterating and testing to make a a free alternative, consumer ready product for families in need.

Laura Bengford will give a brief talk on accessibility and ICANN.


EmpowerTech, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that provides computer training to persons with physical and developmental disabilities, announced the appointment of Ismael Herrera as Director of Blind and Low Vision Services. EmpowerTech is the only Assistive Technology center serving the 1.8 million people living with disabilities in Los Angeles County.

More details will be posted as they become available!


Stack Overflow Careers

Co-founded by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood, Stack Overflow is the trusted destination for developers to find, ask, and answer programming questions. With more than 25 million monthly visitors, it’s the world’s largest programming community. Through their hiring platform, Stack Overflow Careers lets employers reach, attract, and engage talent while helping developers find jobs they love.



Twitter: @gbla11yday
Hashtag: #GAAD

The Obamacare deadline is today, except when it isn’t

Last chance to sign up for Obamacare ends tonight before open enrollment opens again in October. While the administration is promoting fees and penalties, actual fines may not apply until the month the plan is applied. With the natural tendency for most people to procrastinate, there’s still hope for potential insureds who need more time. Read more here from the Verge here.

Orange County faces biggest measles outbreak in California


ABC News reports of the largest Measles outbreak in Southern California this month, and many parents are concerned. The occurrence of a rarely-seen disease prompts many to question the effectiveness of vaccines, preventative care, and the communication plans for notifying the public of an outbreak. Most rely on their doctor visits to stay informed, although these infrequent visits just aren’t enough when an outbreak can spread within days.

How do you stay informed about public health? Are there specific venues you use for reliable health information, or knowledgeable figures in healthcare?
Source: ABC News

Lumpy Cards: creative messaging for a unique audience

What many claim as a dying business, one woman determines to make her customers laugh in spite of it all. When Hallmark couldn’t say it right, Lexi Timmons decided to create her own expressions that would create laughter instead of frustration with your average store-bought note. Granted, in healthcare many professionals are faced with difficult, if not life-changing positions to educate and console clients. Patients who are in pain or recovery need energy with deeper, more heartfelt impact than a template greeting card – they need laughter.

After conducting extensive research in the greeting card industry, Timmons found companies simply weren’t offering products with language that was suitable for patients. Given her experience in oncology and getting feedback from relatives, she was able to apply her ideas and continually test among her small groups. This, along with the perseverance to succeed, created a one-of-a-kind company developed out of true heart and creativity.



Read more about LumpyCards, greeting cards for cancer patients here.

Refining the common experience: YogaNation On Tour

Yoga has become apart of the growing movement for stepping away from technology, exploring the mind and westernizing an ancient health practice sourced in India. Without much effort one can find a yoga studio nearby offering everything from meditation, beginner, advanced as well as workshops depending on a client’s busy schedule. At a broader level there are also yoga festivals (Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle – sound familiar?) and conferences, which are highly popular among seasoned yogis or those adventurous with extreme balancing postures. Those who attend these large events are bound to be rushed from one workshop to the next, juggling bags of free coco water, flyers, oil samples, clothes and their yoga mat in time to find a tiny seat for the teacher. For those events, you find yourself squeezed alongside hundreds of other yoginis, all of whom have slotted their times around their teachers.

Now comes a different kind of yoga summit that takes away all the hurry and stress out of experiencing yoga in the most easing and non-abrasive form. YogaNation on Tour is a new model to the yoga world that will suit students of all levels who wish to receive teaching come straight to them. See what this innovative tour has to offer below , as Convo Labs partners with PTC Productions to spread the new model to yoginis across America.

YOGA NATION debuts inaugural national tour of weekend yoga intensive in Austin, Texas

3-day experience led by noted instructors, aid local non-profit Community Yoga Austin

New York, NY- YogaNation On Tour will kick off its first season in Austin, Texas metro area on January 31-February 2, 2014 at the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort & Spa near Cedar Creek. The conference begins its domestic tour across America and offers 9 classes, guided meditation, workshops/demos, faculty Q&A, Friday Night Kirtan and Saturday night dance party hosted by Derek Beres of EarthRise SoundSystem. Saturday night’s party will hosts guests from the local community involved in art and wellness including tarot card readers and massage therapists. Unlike other large yoga events or festivals, participants receive the various styles of instruction in one room without the need to rush to other areas to experience all instructors. Lodging is also available for a discount for those who wish to enjoy the other amenities of the location.


The featured Austin Instructors include Dana Flynn, Faith Hunter, Sadie Nardini, Derek Beres and local guests Chrispy Bhagat Singh, Mateo J. Daniel, Tyler McCoy and Joshua Param Sevak & The Austin Bhakti Tribe.  The traveling experience also gives attendees a sample of the region’s well-respected yoga studios including Bfree Yoga Austin, Hyde Park Yoga Co., Four Elements Yoga & Fitness and and the Leading up to the event, celebrated yoga studios will be contributing a portion of donation classes towards the selected charity, Community Yoga. Also, all attendees will have an opportunity to give back with onsite raffles during the weekend event. For more information about the instructors and to see the full weekend schedule, visit the YogaNation website.


Registration is now open at Attendees can email for questions or call 212.582.3474 with questions



Friday, January 31, 4pm Check-In, 6pm Session followed by Kirtan

Saturday, February 1, 8:00am – 5:30pm & 7:30 p.m. Dance Party!

Sunday, February 2, 8:00am – 5:30 pm Closing



Hyatt Lost Pines, 575 Hyatt Lost Pines Road, Lost Pines, TX 78612

Tel: (512) 308-1234. Participants receive a hotel discount when mentioning YogaNation.

More about YogaNation On Tour:

YogaNation was born of our constant desire to find more time for yoga in our own busy lives…to stop and just breathe and reawaken our inspiration, both on and off the mat. YogaNation creates a unique setting with rotating instructors while you stay grounded in one room. Not only will you expand your practice, the weekend will also give you time to relax, renew, and connect with YogaNation Family! When you practice in one city, you’re already connected to hundreds of other yogis and yoginis in many other tour cities – become a part of the YogaNation at large!

Community Yoga’s mission is to expand the practice of yoga to lower socioeconomic and at-risk populations who may not otherwise have access to classes, and to facilitate training and volunteer opportunities to serve these populations for yoga instructors and members of the yoga community. We believe the benefits of yoga will change the current paradigm of society regarding poverty and rehabilitation, exponentially benefiting our community. Since its founding, in 2010 Community Yoga has introduced the practice of yoga to kids of all ages, seniors, prisoners, vets, folks in recovery, folks in shelters, and folks just wanting to find a bit more inner peace in their lives. During 2012, Community Yoga provided more than 450 classes to folks in our community. Learn more at

Google and Compete Study: Hospital Selection Infographic

Over time you get sick. Find a remedy. Watch your symptoms, or endure through them. Go see a doctor if it worsens. Get medication. Watch again. And maybe get better. If the process were that concise, shouldn’t the steps to better health be as succinct for intervention?

Google and monitored their online audience for behaviors related to choosing a treatment center or care provider. In the course of monitoring keywords, search terms, clicks, page views, and other standard S.E.O. data of online users their teams found several trends in their Journey to Wellness. What they found revealed that their decisions  were not made in short, intermittent searches and more along the timeline of a strategic process towards better health. How users behave online is profoundly similar to the real world, where people make decisions and choices that are functional for their situation. Follow the steps in this infographic below, and see if your own journey to wellness follows what many others are doing online. Have you ever searched for medical information and care providers online? If so, how did you begin?

hospital-selection-infographicThere are many who have aging parents, urgent hospitalizations, helped a family member find a doctor, or asked a friend how their experience was. Often, one encounters this experience upon a dire, critical need such as death or major illness. In a frenzy and race against time, the scramble for information in a pinch can be overwhelming. Reading medical journals, webMD articles and reviews can add more stress and emotion during a difficult time. In this day, there is certainly an abundance of information about medicine to overwhelm – all which can be made easy and simple with clear direction and focus. Empowering yourself and your family with knowledge about healthcare, far in advance of when it is needed, allows one to make the right choice, at the right time. When was the last time you have gone through a crucial search for a provider that turned out well (or not)? Share your thoughts for an open discussion about the search process and what your outcomes were.

November is Veg Awareness Month, Vegan Wineries Make a Splash

The outset of San Diego Beer Week means even popular wine hubs like Wine Steals, which serves both beer on tap as well as a large selection of wines, will have deals to cater to both brewed and fermented aficionados. The craft beer movement has expanded not just within the county, but also it’s creative reach in food and audiences with standard bar menu. Take Modern Times Brewery, for instance, whose owner has been vegan for 17+ years and manages San Diego’s only vegan brewery (honey which is made from bees, are not used in their products). In a city that is increasingly green and conscious about its food sources, San Diego is now seeing vegan wineries enter the scene.

The growth of wineries with a responsible, social philosophy has piggy-backed off the voluminous start-up scene which includes the global Startup Weekend and Entrepreneur Day. One example is California Fruit Wines in Vista, California with a company philosophy to “Rethink Wine, Rethink Business, Rethink Society.” The company also produces its own unique blends including their fall specialties, pumpkin spice and cranberry wine. In support of Veg Awareness Month, the company has donated bottles to the San Diego Veg Festival as part of it’s “Fine Wine Wednesday” giveaways to the best veg-lifestyle #sdvf social media posts.

Another conscious wine company in San Diego: Vinavanti Urban Winery & Tasting Room produces natural wines with 100% local grapes and no sulfites added. This year the winery celebrates a landmark achievement of gaining the official USDA Organic certification, being the first certified organic winery in San Diego. The makers take pride in making wines without any additives or yeast, showcasing their “Black Label” line where wine lovers can purely taste the grapes through native fermentation and without filtering when bottled. Vinavanti also takes part in this month’s Veg movement with a Vegan Happy Hour and Wine Mixer on Saturday, November 2nd at their location in Sorrento Valley near Qualcomm and Karl Strauss.

On Saturday, November 9 in North Park from 10 AM- 5 PM, thousands of health-minded foodies and wellness enthusiasts can enjoy all things veg in an all ages, outdoor street celebration. In it’s 2nd year, the San Diego Veg Festival‘s goal is to build a healthy and sustainable movement of conscious San Diegans with a live Cooking Challenge all attendees can enter, hourly yoga, giveaways from EASY 98.1, Sunday Vegan Brunch and more. The event aims to support a compassionate, plant-based, animal-friendly lifestyle. Whether you are a first time or long time vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, locavorian, or curious foodie, the festival is for everyone! It features 2 stages of speakers, live food demonstrations, tons of food samples, documentary screenings, a book store, recipe contest, children’s corner, a holistic exercise activities, an official post-festival brunch, and Greensteading component.

For more details, follow #sdvf for updates on Facebook or visit the website to buy tickets: Contact to inquire about the cook-off or to get involved as a sponsor, exhibitor, or supporter.

Health & Sustainability: The San Diego Veg Festival sprouts seeds of consciousness

It is my pleasure to begin a new relationship with one incredible individual, and I’m sure many more to come: Linda Le is the Executive Director of the volunteer-run collective for the San Diego Veg Festival. As a media sponsor, I am proud to be a voice for this wonderful movement in San Diego and share the excitement in public relations and local media. Convo Labs provides quality information to the community that is healthy, grounded in social etiquette, and pays forward the benefit of living a better life with positive-based marketing. We are thrilled to be one of many incredible companies who share similar goals of well-rounded wellness and sustainability in this journey. More news and updates will soon follow. Press release is below.


2nd Annual San Diego Veg Festival expands, celebrates the city’s growing movement of healthy food and conscious living

San Diego, Ca, — The 2nd Annual San Diego Veg Festival (SDVF) expands to a more accessible location, with the main event on Saturday November 9, 2013 from 10 AM to 5 PM held in North Park. There is a Veg Stage located at the hydroponics garden called Art Produce Garden (3139 University Avenue) and a Greensteading Stage at Casa de Luz (2920 University Avenue). There is a street festival component alongside Herman Avenue between University Avenue and North Park Way. The SDVF celebrates Veg awareness month in November with free recipes, Meatless Mondays, 30 day Veg Challenge, Fine Wine Wednesday giveaways and special events from supporters all over the county. In addition to the two stages of speakers a holistic exercises station, a sustainable succulents station, and more. The San Diego Veg Festival aims to build a healthy community of conscious San Diegans in America’s Finest City through food education, active living, environmental sustainability, animal rights and holistic health practices. Each of the 2 stages will feature over a dozen speakers who provide the latest insights and practical tips for living a well-rounded lifestyle.

NEW ADDITION: Tasty Bite specializing in Indian cuisine sponsors Live Cooking Competition to encourage consumer creativity on Saturday, November 9th 1:15-2:30 PM at Casa De Luz


Tasty Bite, a large scale domestic producer of fresh and readily edible pan-Asian foods distributed in large grocery chains like Henry’s, Whole Foods and Bristol Farms, sponsors an a fun new component of this year’s San Diego Veg Festival. Tasty Bite has many items all Veg-friends can make themselves, which require no cooking, have no preservatives, and require no refrigeration make it the nationally-distributed company the perfect partner for a live cooking competition. In a collective endeavor of celebrating all things Veg, the event will be one of many ways to educate San Diegans about various creative ways to conjure recipes that are fast and fun to make. The company also maintains high standards of manufacturing quality and sustainability as a well-rounded, conscious food company supporting the 2nd annual San Diego Veg Festival.

All attendees and ticket holders may compete in teams, and all ages can participate in the epicurean challenge. Prizes include gift certificates to on Saturday, November 9th at Casa De Luz from 1:15 to 2:30 PM, festival go-ers will get some new ideas on quick meals that are healthy and easy to create.

All the food samples and products passed out at the San Diego Veg Festival are veg-friendly. Tickets are $5 and children under the age of 10 are free. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. For more information, and to purchase tickets, please visit and to like the Facebook page go to



About San Diego Veg Festival 

San Diego Veg Festival’s goal is to build a healthy and sustainable movement of conscious San Diegans. We support a compassionate, plant-based, animal-friendly lifestyle. Whether you are a first time or long time vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, flexitarian, locavorian, or curious foodie, the festival is for everyone! It features 2 stages of speakers, live food demonstrations, tons of food samples, documentary screenings, a book store, recipe contest, children’s corner, a holistic exercise activities, an official post-festival brunch, and Greensteading component.

We’re proud to announce we’ll be hiring interns!

Upcoming fall and spring community events requires a positive, open-minded go-getter to support various online and print campaigns. This person must be highly organized, feel urgency with deadlines and event dates, and be open to contributing to growing real-world skill sets outside the text books. The candidate may have little or no experience, and will be fully mentored into an area of focus that serves his or her future career goals.

Here is some experience the candidate may have a focus on, or would like to work towards:

  • Market Research Coordinator- collect market data, estimate market size, consult local associations, read survey studies, provide user demographics for reporting
  • Communications Specialist – the wordsmith, creative writer, or those in training for Email Marketing or Blogging
  • Media Relations Coordinator – this person must love broadcast media, have a pulse on current news, and be very relationship oriented in order to succeed with Big Media.
  • Social Media Coordinator – Helps manage all social media accounts, brainstorm creative posts, and find viral content; provide location-based marketing and engage with live audiences at popular community events
  • Web/Interactive Designer – need for someone needing to expand their corporate portfolio and showcase more of their branding and user-based experiences.

Basic Requirements, Duties

  •  Spend 10-20 hours weekly to fulfill needs of the assigned marketing campaigns
  •  Take initiative to communicate and deliver your portion or support of the sales strategy which includes a mix of sponsorship, services and ticket sales goals
  •  Be fluent in Google-based products and managing projects online
  •  Have a valid driver’s license and own car (for tax/mileage purposes)
  •  Cell phone must be working, available for making local phone calls, and equipped for social media applications as needed
  •  International students OK to apply
  •  Support functions lìmited to the needs of our reputable partners including the Little Saigon Foundation ( and Three Treasures Cultural Arts Society (

Internship Benefits

  •  Personal Development Plan facilitates life AND career goals
  •  Mentorship, Professional Connects — 1 hour per month with an working industry professional
  •  Job Training and Interview Preparation — match your ideal job description with solid skills
  •  Flexible work schedule (choose between 10 and 15 hours a week)
  •  Mobile meetings throughout San Diego (no stuffy offices unless required; cafepreneurs unite!)
  •  Association Referrals — begin networking in designated associations to build your social worth
  •  1 LinkedIn Recommendation
  •  1 Handwritten Recommendation Letter, Online Copy Provided
  •  Potential promotion to contractor or Assistant-level position

Send an email reply with the following:
1. In one sentence, your 1 year career goal. i.e. “At the end of 2013, I will be ________.”
2. Favorite motto or phrase
3. Completed LinkedIn profile, or attach Resume in PDF w/Contact information

Email Queena at or call 619-630-7086.

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