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Accessible Bittorrent Client

September 25, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The Bittorrent protocol is an excellent way to distribute large audio and video files in a manner that shares the load across many users. Many client applications exist to support this protocol, most of which are not very accessible to those of us who rely on screen reading software. One notable exception is Yet Another Bittorrent Client, an accessible, simple to use piece of software. Using this program is typically as easy as finding a file with the .torrent extension and pressing enter to begin the download process. ABC takes it from there, asking for the folder to which the extracted files are to be saved, downloading the content and safely providing it to other users of the network according to preferences you may establish through an accessible dialogue box. Enjoy.

Categories: Uncategorized

JobCast: Requirements for Getting and Keeping a Job When You’re Blind

September 25, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


Geek News Central

Excellent, must listen podcast for techies.

Access and Advocacy Issues – Seeing Eye

Seeing Eye’s excellent resources on access and advocacy issues for guide dog owners. Here in the USA, they’re allowed everywhere by law, folks!

Caroline’s Kitty Corner

Caroline’s personal journal from a blindness perspective. Network

Check out the Network for lots of great technically oriented content and live virtual meetings on podcasting topics. Jeff Bishop’s The Desert Skies is a proud member of the Network; if it’s tech, it’s here…


Thousands of audio books, including Velocity by Dean Koontz, and other spoken word content in digital format for playing on your computer or portable device. This service is reasonably accessible.

Comprehensive job search site.

America’s Jobline

Telephone based automated job search service created by the National Federation of the Blind and funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and state agencies.

Preparing for the Job Interview

Excellent must-follow advice from Mike Smith of the Mike Tech Show podcast on how to prepare for the job interview.

Shane’s Blind World Podcast

Another wonderful podcast from the real life perspective of a blind person. I want to know more about those microphones!

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized

Inaccessible Visual verification at TypeKey: Instant Gratification Versus a Day and a Half!

September 24, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

TypeKey is an authentication service for blogs and other similar web based services. As is the case with most Internet resources these days, the service requires the passing of an inaccessible visual verification test in order to be able to participate. After doing some research on their web site, I was able to request assistance with the registration process to get signed up with an account. Check out the correspondence below and feel free to provide feedback.

Sent: Wednesday, September 21, 2005 7:53 PM

To: TypeKey Authentication Service

Subject: TypeKey Registration Problem

name: Darrell Shandrow

comments: Your inaccessible visual verification scheme
prohibits me from signing up as a blind person.
Please help me create an account and do something about the
inaccessibility of the visual verification as it currently
does harm to blind people in its current, visual only, form.
I look forward to a prompt response; while sighted people are
allowed instant registration, I must wait days simply because
I am physically unable to see.

The following positive response offering assistance was received approximately 16 hours after my initial request.

Sent: Thursday, September 22, 2005 12:11 PM

Subject: RE: TypeKey Registration Problem

Hi Darrell,

I will be happy to set up an account for you, if you will provide me
with the following information for the account setup:

  • Login Name
  • Password
  • Email Address
  • Public Name

Please note that my manual registration will complete only step one of
the process. You will still need to confirm the registration yourself
using the link which will be sent out via email to the address you

By providing the information to me and confirming the registration you
are agreeing to the TypeKey Terms of Service ( ).

Thank you,


Six Apart Technical Services

At 9:30 PM on September 22, I responded with the desired account information.

I received the following confirmation of account creation 14 and a half hours later.

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 1:50 PM

Subject: RE: TypeKey Registration Problem

Hi, Darrell! I’ve created your account for you, so once you confirm
your e-mail address you should be all set. Please let us know if you need anything else.

Have a nice weekend!

Kindest Regards,


Technical Services

Six Apart, Ltd.

After completing the rest of the process, which was accessible, I confirmed that I was, in fact, able to activate and access my new account. This unnecessarily manual and time consuming process prompted me to write the following message in response to Kimberly.

Sent: Friday, September 23, 2005 8:06 PM

To: TypeKey Authentication Service

Subject: Re: TypeKey Registration Problem

Hi Kimberlie,

Though I most certainly appreciate your assistance, please forward to
your management that the blind community does not consider the current
arrangement to be ultimately acceptable from an accessibility point of
At a minimum, there should be a link during the account creation process
giving information on what to do if you’re blind. Better, there ought
to be an audio version of this code available.

I received this response from Laura in appreciation for my feedback and sincerely hope it will lead to positive changes and correct action on this company’s part with respect to people whom happen to be blind or visually impaired.

Hi Darrell,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. We appreciate knowing how we
can make our services more accessible and work better for our customers
and we value your feedback for future enhancements to the TypeKey

Please let us know if you need any further assistance.



Six Apart Technical Services

Though the account was ultimately created and the assistance from the technical support staff was appreciated, the point remains that a process that requires five minutes or less for a sighted person to complete was artificially turned into a 31 hour process for me simply due to the presence of a verification test that allows passage only for human beings whom happen to possess the physical ability to use their eyes. I will be writing one more note to the TypeKey folks pointing to this article and asking that they keep me updated as to their progress on making their visual verification scheme accessible.

Categories: Uncategorized

Hurricane Rita Is Coming: Get Out!

September 22, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


If you are a blind person living in the target zone for Hurricane Rita, it is absolutely critical that you be proactive about evacuation! If you are having trouble leaving, here are some ideas:

  1. Get a ride out of the area from a colleague, friend, neighbor or relative.
  2. Take a cab, city bus or possibly paratransit service to the Greyhound station or another form of longer distance transportation out of the area.
  3. Call the nonemergency telephone number of your local fire or police department for assistance.
  4. If all else fails, call 911!

The preparedness and safety of ourselves and our families is all up to us. Leaving this to others is a terrible idea as we will most likely be forgotten in the shuffle as the evacuation process continues for those who are fully able to fend for themselves using their own automobiles to drive away from the area. Don’t put yourselves at unnecessary risk by staying behind. Be proactive! Get out if that has been deemed necessary by the authorities in your area.

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized

Addicted to Podio Books – Join Me and Discover the World of Freely Available Audio Novels!

September 21, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker



Action packed podcast novel by Scott Sigler. The CIA is racing against time to stop mad scientists from placing the world at risk through genetic engineering experimentation. Not child or work safe.


Action packed science fiction thriller by Scott Sigler. Amazing and deadly discoveries await as EarthCore begins to mine for platinum in the mountains of Southern Utah. Not child or work safe.

The Pocket And The Pendant

High adventure family friendly novel for everyone by Mark Jeffrey. What happens when time stops for all but a select few?

Podio Books

Introduction and links to podcast books.


Kurzweil K1000 scanning, reading and OCR software for use by the blind to gain access to electronic and printed information.

Tom Clancy FAQ

All about the world of books written and inspired by Tom Clancy.

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized

Listener Feedback as of 9/18/2005

September 18, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


Help Blind Katrina Victims

The National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana is accepting donations for use in assisting blind victims of the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster. Thanks to Don for this excellent information.

Don’s Excellent Feedback

Darrell. As a sighted individual with a special interest in accessibility, I’ve become a regular reader of Blind Access Journal and a fan of your podcasts in particular. You’ve asked twice, now, for feedback regarding your “pod chats,” first from Tucson and now your 9/11 tribute. So, here’s mine. I think they’re great – Karen brings a whole new dimension to the blog; and by including topics that may at first seem to be outside the scope of your mission statement, you’re actually enhancing your message. Sometimes I feel like a voyeur, listening in on a private conversation; but more often I feel like an invited guest, privileged to have a better sense of you as a couple, not merely trying to cope with inflexible bus schedules and inaccessible software, but enjoying friends, sharing music, talking politics. You know. life! Darrell, you’re an inspirational advocate for accessibility. Karen, I think you complement that advocacy in a very genuine way. Your “chats” bring a deeper meaning to accessibility because you’re making yourselves more accessible – as human beings – to readers like me. And that’s the point. isn’t it? I’d like to discuss this with you further in the future, but please keep up the good work. We’re listening .we’re reading .we’re getting the message.

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized