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CastBlaster Mike Asked to Make the Software Accessible to Blind Podcasters

January 31, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Dear Mike,

I am a blindcaster who has just downloaded a trial copy of CastBlaster. Unfortunately, I have encountered a number of critical factors that currently make this software impractical for use with our screen reading software. I and others in the blind community stand ready to assist you in making some minor modifications that would serve to allow blindcasters to use this important podcasting software. Most of podcasting is based on audio production, publishing and listening, all of which ought to remain inherently usable by the blind. Please respond to this note soon letting me know if you would be interested in working with blindcasters to insure the accessibility and usability of CastBlaster.

All the best,

Darrell Shandrow

Categories: Uncategorized

Google’s Scripted Responses to the Concerns of the Blind

January 30, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

During the time I was locked out of posting to Blind Access Journal, I wrote quite a number of messages to Google’s and e-mail addresses at different times. When the lock out was removed, I received five replies, all containing exactly the same scripted content shown below. Yes! I am relieved this particular matter has now been resolved and I am once again allowed to post to all of you, but, no, this level of service and lack of an accessible alternative cannot be accepted. We must all insist on positive change!


Your blog has been reviewed, verified, and whitelisted so that it will no longer appear as potential spam. If you sign out of Blogger and sign back in again, you should be able to post as normal. Thanks for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.


Blogger Support

Categories: Uncategorized

New Experimental Redirected RSS Feeds

January 30, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

In an effort to insure ultimate control over the RSS feeds for Blind Access Journal, I have set up a redirected URL that is based on the journal’s domain name. The journal’s RSS feed may now be reached through the URL as well as the already publicized FeedBurner address. The new feed currently redirects to the FeedBurner address, but this may be changed at any time to meet the journal’s needs. Please adjust the subscription in your RSS reader, web based aggregator or podcatching software to point to this new feed and let me know if any issues are encountered. Similarly, the RSS feed for our Wedding Journal is available at Please don’t forget to check out this feed, too. Enjoy.

Categories: Uncategorized

Spammer Flag Removed – Look Out World!

January 30, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

It appears that, after approximately 27 hours, the spam flag has finally been removed from Blind Access Journal. It appears this correction may have been made quietly as there have been no communications from Google as of approximately 11:45 AM MST. I am now able to post again. Look out world! Stay tuned for all the details very soon.

Update: It appears that Google staff resolved this matter at approximately 9:45 AM MST and sent numerous replies to my home e-mail address. One reply was later sent to work as well. All replies appeared to be scripted letters apologizing for the “inconvenience”, thanking me for my patience, and indicating that the spam flag had been removed.

Categories: Uncategorized

Chatter About Wedding Planning, Dial-A-Ride, Google Accessibility Petition and More

January 29, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker


Listen to this informal podcast as I chat about wedding plans, Dial-A-Ride, the Google Word Verification Petition and more.

Darrell and Karen’s Wedding Journal

Due to some technical issues, I was unable to resurrect The new wedding blog and podcast is available at

Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition

If you haven’t yet signed, please do it right now! Also continuing to solicit a good promo and any other help I can get.

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized

PRWeb Makes Their Visual Verification Accessible!

January 28, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Approximately one week ago today, a support ticket was submitted to PRWeb concerning the company’s recent implementation of visual verification without an accessible alternative for blind and visually impaired users on two pages of their web site. We are ecstatic to report that this matter has been resolved on the most important page and the accessibility will be pushed to the second page in the very near future. Accessible CAPTCHA is provided as a link that opens a second version of the form including an audio playback of the characters to be entered in order to successfully pass the visual verification test. As a demonstration of this positive development, blind and visually impaired visitors may now freely use PRWeb’s site to forward a copy of the press release on the Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition to their friends and colleagues without need of sighted assistance or a work around. We applaud and sincerely thank PRWeb for their prompt, effective implementation of an accessible solution to their visual verification scheme. The company’s response to this issue should serve as a shining example to other web site owners who continue to employ visual verification without accessibility. We urge all such companies to step up to the plate by investing a small amount of effort and time to devise an accessible alternative to their CAPTCHA implementations.

Categories: Uncategorized

Google Accessibility Petition: Feedback Sought for Accompanying Cover Letter

January 24, 2006 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Feedback is now being sought concerning the letter that will accompany the Google Word Verification Accessibility Petition. This letter will be sent to Dr. Eric Schmidt and all members of Google’s board of directors. You have an opportunity to shape the content of this important correspondence. Please feel free to send your constructive feedback to editor (at), leave a comment to this blog post or call the comment line at 206-350-6925.

I am writing to let you know that thousands of blind and sighted Internet users have signed the enclosed Google Word Verification Accessibility online petition. We are asking you to follow Google’s mission statement to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” by adding an accessible alternative to the visual word verification used in Blogger, GMail and all other Google provided services. Many of us in the blind community stand willing, ready and able to assist your talented developers in devising and testing a workable solution. We look forward to a prompt affirmative response from you in the very near future.

Download and Listen

Categories: Uncategorized