How Pokémon Go with the help of PokéVision was breaking down the barriers of disabled access to mobile gaming.

How Pokémon Go with the help of PokéVision was making mobile gaming accessible for people with disabilities.

Niantic the games developer have now killed this option, but it’s still important we explore this, so other developers (and maybe Niantic) can learn from this experience.

My son has issues meeting and interacting with other people. He pretty much goes through a full fear response when forced into social situations he is not expecting, likely due to the fact that he tested highly on some areas of the autistic spectrum. This in real terms means he doesn’t want to go out and socialise or meet/play with friends. Even those whom he considers to be his best friends from school, he struggles to interact with. He wants to talk/socialise with them, but he is often afraid to increase the boundaries of their relationship, even when it comes to simple things like asking them to hang out with him outside of school hours.

There was a dramatic shift though with the launch of Pokémon Go. Now he was actively looking to be out of the house, come rain or shine, he was Pokémon hunting. He is still finding it extremely difficult to socialise with other players we meet and he can’t instigate a conversation, but they are doing it for him and forcing/pulling him into conversation to talk about Pokémon. Previous history has taught me that this forced socialisation would likely have put him off. Not this time, despite continually meeting and having to interact with new people playing the game, he is still going out and doing it (or was until Niantic threw a hissy fit).

Thus the game mechanics along with PokéVision’s large scale map have encouraged my boy to overcome his disability and participate.

However, as any Pokémon Go player knows the game is broken. The tracking system doesn’t work. In fact, as of today’s update (Sun 31st July), Niantic have disabled it altogether, completely killing off one of the biggest sections of the game. Now this wouldn’t have mattered too much if the developer hadn’t also gone after 3rd party fan sites that had started up specifically to overcome the games tracking shortcomings.


The best site was clearly PokéVision which gave real time locations of Pokémon with a countdown clock showing how much longer they would be there. My wife is an electric wheelchair user, so she simply can’t run around with us chasing after Pokémon, she doesn’t have the energy (or battery life) to be out for long, nor can she physically get to many of the places that she would need to get to in time, before the Pokémon ran away.

grand army plaza pokevision.png

However instead she would sit and home and act as our “navigator”. If a rare Pokémon appeared on PokéVision she would phone us and tell us we had “X” time to get “Y” location and off we would run or sprint (or even jump into the car if it was very far off) as needs required.

Thus PokeVision brought her into the game and allowed her to feel part of the excitement.

Apps and sites like PokéVision made the game accessible to people with disabilities who cannot through their disabilities walk a great distance or access areas that abled bodied players can.

Pokémon Go has become a worldwide phenomenon. People with disabilities would also like to participate in whatever limited capacity they can. 

Since the game itself fails in allowing you to track Pokémon that are near you, PokéVision and other sites kept the game “somewhat” disability friendly. In fact it can be argued that the 3rd party sites opened up the game even further through the example of my wife sitting at home operating as our navigator.

So on two fronts, the combination of Pokémon Go and PokéVision together created a reasonably disability friendly game.


My best guess is that it will be highly unlikely that we will see PokéVision or similar sites/apps back up and running, now that they have been forced to “Cease and Desist” their services, but other developers could learn a lot in how to make a game as widely accessible as possible, by combining the experience of both services and make no mistake about it, other developers will be paying attention to the success of Pokémon Go & PokéVision and wondering how they can get a slice of the action.

The Cowardly Position of Unite on Trident Renewal


Since David Cameron has announced a vote on Trident renewal will take place on the 18th July. I want to address the hypocrisy of the position adopted by the Unite Trade Union. Since when did the needs of the few, outweigh the rights of the many. Unite have adopted a stance that puts the lives of not just their members at risk, but also the lives of all Scots and most Brits.

Now Unites Current Trident Policy in a statement in 2010 and reaffirmed in 2012 appears unambiguous and was not to to replace Trident. Yet by Nov of 2015, it seems jobs are more important than lives or peace. However, despite what seems like a volte-face on their original stance, it is entirely consistent with their earlier position, it’s just that their earlier statement was completely hypocritical, this is due to the weasily line at the bottom of the statement which null and voids the rest of the statement, “We need a policy that would see the jobs and skills of Unite members preserved, and until we receive firm commitments to this end we will continue to support our members and their employment.

So despite flowery words in their statement about Unite recognising that due to the non-proliferation treaty, the UK is obligated not to replace Trident, that’s not really their stance. Unite even claim in the original statement that “The moral and internationalist case for peace and disarmament is reinforced by economic necessities. It cannot be right to spend large sums on weapons of mass destruction when essential services are facing cuts.”.

Thus Unite are trying to sit on both sides of the fence at once. For the sake of the few, other members are expendable. For the sake of the few, Scotland’s population is expendable, for the sake of the few humanity is expendable.

For the sake of 520 jobs, everyone else can be eviscerated. OK lets be kind to Unite, as they do a good job, let us also include those who are employed indirectly, so for the sake of 1800 jobs the rest of Scotland’s 5.422 million population is expendable.

You are more likely to be knifed if you carry a knife, you are more likely to be shot if you own a gun, surely human nature being what is, you’re more likely to be nuked if your country swaggers about the world stage with nukes. Unite even acknowledge this in their statement “our possession of them encourages other countries to seek a similar arsenal”.

Unite need to come off the fence before the vote. Unite needs to say to its members that are employed directly or indirectly in the continuation of these WMD’s, that we will support and defend your employment rights, we will support you any way we can, but to borrow a sentiment from Mealoaf, when it comes to support for the renewal of Trident “We won’t do that”.

No 2 Yes – Yes 2 No

No 2 Yes – Yes 2 No


EU Yes.jpg

Since the EU Ref result there have been some staggering conversions from No voters to support for an IndyRef2. Others have covered this extensively, so I won’t waste your time.

However, within my Yes networks there are also conversions the other way, Yes to No. I want to address this as it makes no sense to me.

Let’s start with a simple premise. The IndyRef was fought on a basis by the majority of Yessers, on Scotland staying within the EU. It was a key plank of our argument and many thousands of lines of print were argued over it.

Better Together said it wouldn’t happen, they dragged in former EU presidents and other allies to poo poo it. The Yes movement had its own allies who said the opposite. However, the truth is no-one could say for sure what the status of EU membership would have been. Unsurprisingly, as a Yesser, I believed that we would continue as EU citizens. However that is irrelevant.

The point I am making is that the majority of Yessers, voted Yes in the full knowledge that the intention was to either try and maintain our EU member state status or at worst be fast tracked back in.

Now let us look at the point of Independence. It was/is to allow us to take a different political direction from WENI (Wales, England and Northern Ireland). It was not purely to create more of the same, otherwise what would be the point. Let me repeat that as this is key, the entire point was so that politically we can take different decisions from the rUK.

So with that established. Can we just look at a hypothetical scenario? Scotland votes Yes in Sept 2014. Negotiations went well and earlier this year as planned, Scotland re-entered the world stage as a fully fledged nation that had maintained its EU membership.

rUK/WENI then as has just happened, votes to Leave the EU. Would those Yes people be seeking a mandate to re-join the rUK? Because that is the only place I can take the logic of the argument I am seeing from former Yessers that say they would vote No to Indy if it involved us being in the EU, but WENI is not. It simply can’t be any other way. So if that is the case, why did they vote Yes in the first place, if the point is to allow us to take a different direction from WENI? I thought we wanted to build a better society for AllOfUS that is not tied to decisions taken by political forces that are going in a different direction to those in Scotland.

If these people really do want Scotland to retake its place on the world, this is something they need to confront. We will take major decisions that put us on a different ideological path from WENI. At other times we will be an agreement, but not always and sometimes the decisions will be on a global or continental scale as per the EU Ref. If they can’t live with that I don’t understand why they ever voted Yes.

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Death by Droning: the World isn’t changing, it is changed




Yesterday David Cameron admitted to murder. He did it loudly, in public, with self-justications primed and a self-important look plastered across his quivering jowls. The repurcussions? He faces applause from some sectors…and “scrutiny” from others. Is that all the outrage our atrophied imaginations can offer?

The metaphor of the boiling frogs has long been over used. It takes its place alongside the “smoking gun” and “ticking all the boxes” in the pantheon of phrases that declare a lack of imagination. And it is no longer apt. The unthinkable is no longer being “normalised”…it is normal. It happens every day, and we shrug it off. The frogs have been simmering for hours, they’re nearly done.

Just for a moment, let us compare the world of today to the world of fifteen years ago…

Doing terrible things in an organized and systematic way rests on “normalization.” This is the process…

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Nukes are too dangerous for England, but Scots are expendable!

Much is said about the fact that Trident is based 25 miles from Glasgow and most worst case scenarios use this distance to determine the blast zone and how many people would instantly die. What this analysis always fails to think about is geography. Let’s look at this map of the Gare Loch, Greenock and Glasgow. These WMD must sail down the Gare Loch towards Greenock and Glasgow. At its shortest point, this puts these WMD’s that the MOD say are too dangerous for England because 11’000 English people may die in the event of a worst case scenario, just under 20 miles from Glasgow city centre (population 598.8K) and right on top of Greenock (1.8 miles, population 45.5K).

distances nukesThen there is also the small fact that the MOD are quite happy to take live Nuclear Warheads through the centre of Glasgow, whilst being quite happy to ignore high wind warnings and travel across the Erskine bridge in such conditions.

Oh well, it’s not like they have ever had an accident that could well have led to a loss of life. Oh wait they’ve had several!

Well at least we can trust them too tell us about it and not cover it up. Oh they don’t tell us.

At least there has been no radioactive leaks/spills. Shit that too, and it’s been more than once!

Oh well it’s not like they have ever crashed a truck in dangerous conditions off the road,

Oh well at least we know they are prepared to deal with the aftermath should this happen. Oh they aren’t!

As a side note. American planes carrying warheads never have accidents on UK soil. Oh they’re just as bad.

Well at least the blast radius isn’t huge.

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The above image shows what would happen if just one warhead had a surface explosion at Greenock. Detonate Nukes

Each Trident missile is designed to carry up to 12 nuclear warheads, but the Royal Navy’s are armed with three per missile after the 1998 Strategic Defence Review imposed a limit of 48 per submarine.

Remember the above image represents 1 warhead going off. If we had an accident where one detonated, what do you think would happen to the other 47 on the boat?

Let’s go back to Glasgow. What if we had a truck crash on the M8 in Glasgow city centre which resulted in a detonation. 1 warhead only.

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The MOD don’t ever confirm if a Nuclear Weapon Truck is carrying a warhead, nor do they say how many each carries, but with 4 submarines, each carrying 48 warheads and the requirement for regular maintenance of those warheads, it would be safe to assume that more than one warhead is transported on our roads at a time.

So forgetting the moral argument for not having them, forgetting the cost argument of $100B in a time of austerity, forgetting the UK’s treaty obligations to be rid of them. It looks like purely for safety reasons, before our own MOD does some catastrophic, the sooner they are gone the better.

Remember the MOD thinks 11’000 dead is too high a price to pay in England. Why are Scots lives more expendable? It’s time to disarm. After all, didn’t Tony Bliar take the UK to war with Iraq to rid them of non-existent WMD’s. What right does the UK have to keep its WMD’s then or are the lives that war cost also valueless?

If the content of this article has made you think, then it’s probably worth your time following these links as well.

Scottish CND


Education Packs


The Chocolate Teapot


Democracy (only if it favours a Unionist)

I’m quite frankly sick of the line from Unionists that Scotland voted on Independence and that the issue is now dead. I’m fed up hearing that the settled will of the Scottish people is to stay within the Union, so we will never have a vote on it again.

Is that what we call democracy? Is that how it works? From now on, one vote, that is all you have. Once you’ve decided that’s it, the case is closed, game over, you’ve made your choice, live with it. Shit that is beginning to sound a lot like Catholic marriage vows.

That though, is not what we have or what we claim to have. We live in a democracy, (no matter how flawed), if I am not mistaken. That means we get to vote on matters, we then get to change our minds, alter our opinions and vote again. that means we have elections and a new government is formed.

Or should we follow the logic of the Unionists and as such we never need hold another election. Should we just keep the same govt forever? After all we voted on it. That is the settled will of the people, they made their choice, live with it.

Of course not. So why then do Unionists feel that they can make such pronouncements over the future of Scotland.

Well one line they like to trot out is that Alex Salmond said: “That’s my view. My view is this is a once in a generation, perhaps even a once in a lifetime, opportunity for Scotland.”.

Sounds like a closed case then, the Unionists have a point. Nope they don’t. Why? We are back to the opening paragraphs. This a democracy, the people decide our future, not the politicians, not the political parties. That was simply Alex’s view. In a functioning democracy, the electorate are the ones that decide our path.

Thus, if any party decides in the future that it will add an Independence Referendum to their manifesto, then if the electorate vote that party in. If the people through our system of democracy hand that party power, then the people have decided that they once again want to hold the power to determine our countries future in their hands.

That is the power of democracy, we get to change our minds. No one person or party has a right to deny us that, no matter what they say.

Otherwise we no longer live in a democracy and when that happens revolutions begin.


The 1924 Myth – (it happened again in 1951, when the Tories took power)

There is growing myth that 1924 was the last time in UK politics that the largest party after a General Election did not form the next government. In 1924 we had the first ever Labour Prime Minister in history, Ramsay Macdonald, who led a UK government despite having just 191 MP’s to the Conservatives’ 258. If I am correct then the statement that SLAB (Scottish Labour Accountancy Branch) have been peddling, that this was the last time the largest party did not form the UK Govt is factually wrong.

The same thing happened in 1951 when the Tories took power. It’s not apparently obvious though, if you look at Wikipedia to see who won.

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Clearly from the above graphic the Conservative party won. Wrong! This table attributes seats won in Scotland by the Unionist Party (Scotland) to the Conservative Party of England and Wales. The Scottish Tories were a separate entity up until 1965.

In the 1951 General Election the Scottish Tories won 35 out of the 72 seats in Scotland at that time.

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Some simple arithmetic then:

302 – 35 seats = 267 seats

This is compared to the 295 seats that Labour had.

Thus Labour were the biggest party, as they had 28 more seats the Conservative Party of England and Wales.

So the only reason the Tories formed Govt in 1951 is because they could form a working majority, even though they were not the largest single party. A repetition of what happened in 1924, but this time it was the Tories who capitalised on being able to form a working majority.

I am open to correction on this one, but it looks clear cut to me.

Something else that should be mentioned is that Ulster Unionist MP’s were added to the overall majority shown in the results for the Conservatives. I’ve been unable to see how many seats they took, but this reduces further the actual seats that the Conservative Party of England and Wales took, further reinforcing the point that in 1951 it was NOT the largest party that formed Govt.

PS: I can’t take all the credit for this, as I acted upon information I saw in the comments section of Wings to look into this.