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Voice-operated Microsoft programs empower disabled man

Right now, it is summer in New York. The temperature keeps creeping up and the humidity is causing crankiness. There is no better place to witness the crankiness than the parking lot of a big store like Best Buy or Walmart. People will camp out for a close parking spot with their car's blinker on and fight with each other. Why? They do not want to walk far in the heat. Me? I gladly park far away from the store, because I am thankful that I can walk. No, I am not being judgmental - only observing perfectly healthy people taking their blessings for granted.

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For someone who cannot walk or move their arms, life must be a frustrating, maddening struggle. Luckily, in 2014, we have technologies that can assist people in overcoming their disabilities. Prosthetic technologies are getting better every day and medicines keep improving. A Seattle man named Tyler Schrenk is leveraging technology to live a full life despite being paralyzed, but you may be surprised by what he is using - a Surface Pro and Xbox 360.

"Using his voice, Schrenk operates a variety of Microsoft products and services - Internet Explorer, Bing, Outlook, Word and Excel. Now, he uses his tablet for a growing number of tasks: an Excel spreadsheet to track his caloric intake; Outlook to send email; and Internet Explorer to keep track of his fantasy football league, and follow his favourite teams: the Seattle Seahawks and University of Washington Huskies", says Microsoft.

Tyler Schrenk also uses the Kinect feature of Xbox One to watch movies and TV by using his voice. Critics have decried Kinect for adding extra cost to the Xbox One's launch price and for being a privacy risk. However, when you see the technology improving someone's life, it makes the complaints feel inconsequential.

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Microsoft should be applauded for this. Not only has it created technology that improves the lives of others, but it is making the world aware by highlighting Tyler Schrenk's story. Hopefully this will give people a reason to pause and reflect on what is truly important in life, instead of nonsense like the Kardashians and Justin Bieber.

What do you think about Tyler Schrenk's story? Tell me in the comments.