Freedom Scientific has released an updated technical support notice addressing a long standing vulnerability in the JAWS and Magic implementations by which speech would suddenly stop when encountering certain obscure strings of characters. We thank Freedom Scientific for resolving this issue, which has been recently impacting hundreds of blind users of e-mail discussion lists.
Listen to a portion of a presentation by Apple and educators of the blind and visually impaired covering the accessibility features found in Macintosh OS 10.4.
Having a great time at CSUN this year. Shortly after arriving, I spent a couple of hours with my good friend Allison who lives and works in the L.A. area. Check out her NosillaCast podcast. We met last November at the podcast expo.
This morning, I attended the Firefox presentation conducted by Aaron Leventhal from IBM and Glenn Gordon from Freedom Scientific. This was a good session. I managed to stir things up just a bit. You’ll just have to listen to ACB Radio’s excellent coverage for the details.
By all means, don’t miss the nightly CSUN conference online presentations and voice chat sponsored by the Association of Blind Citizens and Talking Communities. They are held at 6:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 PM Eastern time. I discussed the Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition on last night’s show.
We live in “interesting” times, indeed. Check out our latest podcast and, always, be very careful with your computers. Don’t accept software from complete strangers…
- Audio Magic is not a new accessible sound editing program. It is a trojan horse targeting blind computer users. Stay away from it!
- Wedding Dress Pictures
- Our Wedding Blog
- Jet Blue – Cheap Airline Tickets!
- CSUN 2006 Conference: Directory of Exhibitors
- DC Night Out Podcast
- JAWS 7.10 Public Beta
I would urge you all to be very careful when downloading and installing new software, especially if claims are being made that might sound too good to be true. It seems a direct threat to blind computer users may be “in the wild”. Please review the facts listed below and avoid this Audio Magic trojan horse program at all costs.
- Fantastic claims of a new accessible sound editor may be too good to be true.
- The e-mail address is “email@example.com”.
- The domain name is roachhost.com.
- The software has already been reported to have crashed several computers by removing critical Windows system files!
- We at Blind Access Journal received thousands of worthless blank e-mails from roachhost.com in December of last year.
In late November of last year, I accepted a person’s claim that he had found a way to defeat Google’s visual verification to make it accessible to blind users. I downloaded and ran an executable file that promptly trashed not only my computer, but also all the data on a backup drive connected to another computer on our network! Watch out my friends!
Google Enables Manual Account Creation for the Blind, Takes First Step in the Right Direction Toward Visual Verification Accessibility
It is now possible for blind and visually impaired Internet users who are unable to pass visual verification to create a Google Account by completing a special form and replying to an e-mail. Turn around time is reported to be 24 hours or less. Though incomplete, this move represents Google’s first step in the right direction to address the inaccessibility of their visual verification. As cited in an article entitled Google Struggles with Accessibility as Services Expand as recently published in Voice of the Nation’s Blind, the online magazine of the National Federation of the Blind, Google promises that an audio playback solution will be in place by the end of April. While we anticipate the implementation of a means to independently complete their visual verification, we must not reduce our pressure on Google to do the right thing until the ultimate goal has been realized. Anyone who hasn’t already done so is asked to sign the Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition today!
In the 3rd Century B.C., much of the world’s knowledge was lost when the ancient library at Alexandria was almost entirely burned to the ground. Some experts say that civilization lost as much as a thousand years worth of potential advances due to this unfortunate event. Could something similar happen in today’s digital world? We must all watch out for three potential threats to our continued ability to easily and freely exchange ideas on the Internet and devise ways to address them in a balanced, effective manner.
- Threat: Digital rights management.
- Alternative: Exchange commercial and freely available content in open formats like HTML and MP3, with payment going to rightful owners in an organized way. Additional protection may be provided through watermarking or other techniques that allow the content’s format to remain open to all. Good examples are Bookshare and Podsafe Music Network.
- Threat: Inaccessibility.
- Alternative: We must insure that all information and the technology to create and use it is available to all regardless of disability through inclusive design and development of products and services. Knowledge must never be restricted due to a censory impairment such as blindness or deafness.
- Threat: Control of the Internet by government and large corporations.
- Alternative: Government should take care to protect children and our homeland without needlessly abridging our freedoms in the process. Businesses such as the telcos should earn money through innovation and charging customers reasonable rates for Internet access. The open, cooperative peering arrangements and overall design of the Internet should be retained at all costs.
We must also take care that the rush to encode all knowledge in electronic formats does not serve to erase our very historical record in the process.
We thank Chris Pirillo for urging everyone to sign the petition.