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The Cafe Returns to the Desert for a New Year’s Eve Special

December 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
Hello Everyone,
Get ready for a special New Year’s Eve edition of The Desert Cafe starting at 22:00 UTC (2:00 PM Pacific, 3:00 PM Mountain, 4:00 PM Central and 5:00 PM Eastern time) tomorrow, Monday, December 31! We’ll play some edited audio footage from our recently concluded trip to New England, where we visited Karen’s side of the family, along with music to inspire you for a brand new year. Karen will be working, but she’ll call in during the broadcast. Visit to hear the show exclusively on ACB Radio Interactive, where your listening is our business!
Happy New Year!
Darrell and Karen Shandrow
Categories: Uncategorized

Visual Verification: CAPTCHA Prevents Blind Users from Uninstalling Sponsored Version of Messenger Plus Live!

December 29, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

If you are blind or visually impaired and are contemplating the installation of Messenger Plus Live! to enhance your Windows Live Messenger experience, we recommend strongly that you avoid selecting the ad supported “sponsored mode” during the installation process. If the software is installed in this mode, it is currently impossible for a blind person to remove the software from their computer due to a visual only CAPTCHA that does not provide audio playback or any other reasonable accomodations for our accessibility needs. Installation and removal of the non-sponsored version of the software continues to work well without this CAPTCHA, and this has always been the preferred way for blind or visually impaired people to run this particular application.

The following letter has now been written and posted to the Messenger Plus Live! Help and Support forum.

December 29, 2007

Dear Patchou and all other MsgPlusLive Developers,

I am writing to tell you about a critical concern facing blind and visually impaired people who install Messenger Plus Live and to ask for your help to resolve the issue in an equitable manner.

As blind computer users, we rely on a piece of assistive technology known as a screen reader. An example of this software is Window-Eyes, developed and sold by GW Micro ( Most blind people install Messenger Plus Live in unsponsored mode; they have learned from the community that the ads in sponsored mode can interfere with the proper operation of this vital tool. Unfortunately, some blind users have installed the sponsored version of your software, finding that the functionality of their screen reader has been impaired, impacting the ability to use their computers in the process.

As the sponsored mode version of MSG Plus Live is currently written, a visual CAPTCHA is presented during the uninstallation process. Blind people are physically unable to see the picture of characters in a CAPTCHA, thus they are unable to solve such a challenge / response scheme. The result is that those of us who have installed the sponsored version of your software are completely unable to remove it from our computers.

Please consider resolving this critical issue as soon as possible by removing the visual CAPTCHA altogether, by implementing an audio playback CAPTCHA such as the one found at or by using an alternative e-mail confirmation or text based challenge / response system.

Your consideration and time is appreciated, and I anticipate hearing from someone on the Messenger Plus Live development team as soon as possible.

Best regards for a happy New Year,

Darrell Shandrow

Accessibility Evangelist

We ask all of you who read Blind Access Journal, blind and sighted alike, to visit this forum thread and lend your voice to our request to have the visual CAPTCHA made accessible for everyone, including those of us whom happen to be blind.

The Christmas Eve Winter Cafe in New England

December 24, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
Hello Everyone,
We hope all of you and your families are enjoying a festive, happy holiday season and wish all of you a merry Christmas. Coming up at 22:00 UTC (2:00 PM Pacific, 3:00 PM Mountain, 4:00 PM Central or 5:00 PM Eastern time) we are bringing all of you a special treat. In addition to your favorite modern and traditional Christmas music, you may hear from our nieces and other relatives here in New England. We may also bring to you some sound seeing from the Christmas Revels, sledding and possibly other fun surprises along the way. Of course, we’ll have all your favorite holiday deserts and other yummy treats in the virtual cafe. You definitely won’t want to miss this special Christmas Eve show.
We hope you and your family will join us and our family in the cafe coming up in approximately 3.5 hours from now right here on ACB Radio Interactive. Simply visit to listen to the show.
Merry Christmas,
Darrell and Karen Shandrow
The Desert Cafe
Categories: Uncategorized

In Memorial of My Sister, Michele Yvonne Sinnock

December 4, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

My sister, Michele, passed away after a short battle with lung cancer last Thursday. The obituary was published in the State Journal-Register, an Illinois newspaper. Believe it or not, I’m still at a complete loss for words at this difficult time. The following short poem was printed on cards handed out at her visitation.

In Loving Memory Of

Michele Yvonne Sinnock

He Only Takes The Best

god saw she was getting tired

and a cure was not to be.

So he put his arms around her

And whispered, “Come with me.”

With tear-filled eyes we watched her

suffer and fade away.

Although we loved her deeply,

we could not make her stay.

A golden heart stopped beating,

hard-working hands put to rest.

god broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best.

Author Unknown

Born: July 20, 1957 in Champagne, Illinois

Entered Into Rest: November 29, 2007 in Tonopah, Arizona


12:00-4:00 P.M.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Menke Funeral Home

Sun City, Arizona

Concluding services to be private.

Categories: Uncategorized