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Chatting with Adam Curry at the Expo

November 20, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


I took the opportunity to chat with Adam Curry at the expo about accessibility and he made some extremely positive comments on the Daily Source Code. Thanks, Adam. We’re looking forward to a brighter future of participation in all that Podshow has to offer the podcasting community.

Apologies for the windy weather audio artifacts in the introduction and conclusion of this episode of the podcast. I did try some new post-production techniques involving fading the segments at appropriate moments. Please provide feedback on my results.


Daily Source Code #278

Adam Curry pledges to insure that accessibility is a core value in the development of Podshow products and services.

Allison and Ron of the NosillaCast

Thanks for all you did to make the meeting with Adam Curry a reality!

BayCHI with Steve Williams

It was very enjoyable hanging out with Steve at the expo. He got to meet Allison and Ron right after my chat with Adam. Cool!

Digital Mediacast Experiment

Mentioned Michael Carrino when discussing how to podcast, etc.

The Blind Scholar

I’m working with Reagan D. Lynch on a new accessibility related project to be officially announced in approximately two weeks. NDA!

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Categories: Uncategorized

A Tribute to Chanel

November 19, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Karen shares with us the news of her retired guide dog’s passing away yesterday along with a comforting story about animals who pass out of this world into the next. Condolences to Karen for her loss!

This morning I received some sad news from a close friend of ours. My
previous dog guide Chanel passed away yesterday. She was a black Lab age 10. Today, I am in mourning, grieving her loss. This tribute is for Chaneli whom will always have a special place in my heart. At a later date, Darrell and I will do a podcast about Channelli. For now, I am passing along this link which has a beautiful poem called The Rainbow Bridge about pets, guide dogs and other animals that we all have loved and whom passed on. I first saw this when Topper, my first Dog Guide, passed away 3 years ago. A friend whom I met on the internet (from my journaling mailing lists) shared it with me. Hope it helps those of you whom lost an animal close to you.

Categories: Uncategorized

Visual Verification: Digging for Accessible Registration at

November 19, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Digg is an interactive technology news site where the users get to decide which stories do and don’t make the cut. The staff at Digg describe their service as follows:

Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories
for review, but rather than allow an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.

Unfortunately, if you’re blind this is not the case. Though the site appears to be generally accessible, the blind are turned away at the registration desk due to another inaccessible implementation of visual verification. I contacted the company approximately four hours ago via their web site to request registration assistance. No response has yet been forthcoming. Anyone want to start a pool to see how long it takes for me to get registered with this site?

Categories: Uncategorized

Visual Verification Lockout: Please Don’t GoDaddy!

November 18, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker



Web hosting for the blind community and beyond!


Does not allow blind people to order their services online. Please avoid doing business with the company until they fix this.


Also does not allow blind people to order online. Even worse here as we are forced to miss out on all discounts and other special offers only provided via the Internet.


Yahoo’s “accessible” visual verification is a blackhole since company representatives never actually call!


Does not allow the blind to comment on most blogs, create new blogs, sign up for accounts or do anything else that requires passing the company’s completely inaccessible word verification!

Natalie Brown

Listen to my favorite POP/R&B musician sing Locked in the Shadows as you think about the implications of the first word of that song’s title with respect to inaccessible visual verification!

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Categories: Uncategorized

Increasing Accessibility: The ADMIT Approach

November 16, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


If you are a decision maker in a company that is being asked to become accessible to potential customers with disabilities, following the ADMIT approach will allow you to rise up from the cold, dark abyss of exclusion, inaccessibility and isolation into the bright, sunny promised land of inclusion, accessibility and participation. As always, all feedback is welcome.

  1. Admit the existence of the problem and the need to become accessible.
  2. Decide to take sincere actions to reasonably solve the problem.
  3. Make contact with the community of technology users with disabilities to help you implement, test and troubleshoot.
  4. Implement accessibility as a core value throughout your company, doing your best now and building it into all new products and services.
  5. Test accessible solutions on real people with disabilities.

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Categories: Uncategorized

AOL AIMs Higher by Providing Audio Challenge / Response During Signup

November 16, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

We have just discovered that AOL has recently made its signup process for the AIM service accessible by allowing the blind to use an audio based CAPTCHA (visual verification) system to hear the characters to be entered into the edit box in order to create an account. Congratulations AOL! Thanks for doing the right thing in this area. How are you doing on your visual verification accessibility, Google?

Categories: Uncategorized

Welcome TWiT Listeners!

November 15, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Huge welcome to everyone visiting Blind Access Journal after listening to me chat for a few minutes about accessibility on This Week in Tech with Leo Laporte live from the Portable Media Expo and Podcasting Conference. It was an incredible honor to be in the TWiT hotseat and the entire expo was fantastic!

Picture of Darrell live on the TWiT Hotseat! Huge thanks go to Allison of the NosillaCast for this picture and a few others you will see in the near future.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Update on Google’s Censorship of Blind Bloggers

November 15, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Approximately three days after being locked out of the ability to post new articles to his blog, Steve Bauer, the blind Blogger user featured in the original story, received a response indicating that his blog was manually reviewed and will no longer be classified as spam. He confirms he is now able to post. While solving the word verification scheme takes a sighted person a minute or two, it takes three days for Google to allow a blind person to accomplish the same thing! This is not accessibility and we in the blind community cannot accept this ongoing treatment by Google and other companies doing business on the Internet. The current state of the art in accessibility for visual verification is to provide audio playback of the characters to be entered. Let’s all, blind and sighted alike, absolutely insist on this accomodation.

Categories: Uncategorized

Flight to the Podcasting Expo – A Long Sound Seeing Tour

November 14, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Listen as I chat with a visually impaired business man, meet an attorney, hang out with one of the Podcast Outlaws and chat with Joe from Yahoo about the need for a real solution to their inaccessible visual verification, all while traveling from Phoenix to Ontario, California to attend the Portable Media Expo and Podcasting Conference. Enjoy. Feedback is welcome as always.

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Categories: Uncategorized

Journalist Advocates Better Online Access For Blind

November 13, 2005 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Thanks go to Kelly Pierce for the introduction of this article below. It was very nice to meet with Jason Lee at the expo.

I was surfing and found this article describing Darrell’s efforts at the portable media conference in California. I thought everyone would be interested in it.


All Headline News, Canada

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Journalist Advocates Better Online Access For Blind

By Jasen K Lee, Staff Reporter

Ontario, CA (AHN) – The editor of Weblog, Blind Access Journal is calling for online broadcasters and e-zines to make their content
accessible to the visually impaired. Speaking at the Portable Media Expo, Darrell Shandrow, who himself is blind, says too many online journals and podcasts are unavailable to the visually disabled because their content is inaccessible.

Shandrow says the technology exists for podcasters and online sites to make content available, but many are slow to recognize the audience they’re alienating.

He suggests all content providers take the time to employ the technology that will allow the blind to “read” written articles or blogs through audio links. Also, Shandrow says some podcasts are inaccessible because their content is not formatted for the visually impaired to hear it.

Shandrow explains the changes necessary to increase online
availability are not difficult and require little extra effort. However, too often, the disabled are not included in the thought processes of the content creators, thereby leaving them “on the outside.” He says a little consideration would go a long way toward bringing the blind into the inner realm of the burgeoning “blogasphere” and all it has to offer.

Check out the direct link to this story and feel free to provide feedback telling me your thoughts. It seems overly gloomy to me, and, of course, that was not at all my intent. I can only apologize for the part I may have possibly played in this slightly inaccurate impression of our capabilities and the technology we already possess to gain access to the world around us. I can only hope you all appreciate the extreme challenge involved in trying to explain the need for accessibility to those who have never heard of the concept of including those who rely on assistive technology into the development of their products and services. I feel I have done my best at the expo, but please feel free to provide any feedback concerning how to make the results of this evangelism even better.

Categories: Uncategorized