technology


My new year’s resolution, upgrade my VMWare to the latest version, and add a Windows 7 virtual machine…so I can test on Mac, Windows XP and Windows 7…all on my magical mac.

So, I was happily running VMWare 3.x with no issues and still on Windows XP. JAWS was working like a charm with video intercept. I assumed that the latest version of VMware 4.1.1 would also support video intercept.

The upgrade from VMWare 3.x to 4.1.1 was easy. I just inserted the disk and followed my nose. But when I went to test how JAWS was working, I got the dialogue box on Freedom Scientific Video Intercept. The default selection when this dialogue comes up is: “Intall Video Intercept and Restart System”. But do NOT do it. I tried it and consistently get a blue screen and the option to start in safe mode. I selected “Last Known Good Configuration” and breathed a sign of relief when my Windows XP VM actually started up.

So, be forewarned, if you are running VMware 4.1.1 do NOT intall Video Intercept when prompted by JAWS. JAWS is going to ask you about video intercept every time you start the software. But don’t be lured into this danger zone. Just say no!

JAWS will still work on web browsers, but I’m under the impression that without video intercept, the JAWS cursor functionality and desktop software may not work correctly with the screenreader. See more about this over on the excellent article and conversation on the WebAim blog at JAWS, Window Eyes, Parallels and Boot Camp.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.

I am surrounded by women in technology that inspire me. When I paused to consider who to recognize as my Ada for 2010, I knew without a doubt, it was Leslie Jensen-Inman. Leslie’s developing a model web education program at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga. Her students, steeped in web standards and best practices, are already producing professional level work before they graduate. I’ve met and worked side-by-side with a number of her students and can testify that Leslie’s passion for creating beautiful and usable web sites has been ignited in each of them.

Leslie’s desire to teach the web doesn’t stop with her students. She actively reaches out to educators, community leaders, business people and web developers. Leslie orchestrated the first in a series of fabulous events called Web Education Rocks (aka WE Rock Tour). This event brought together teachers, students, artists, web developers, politicians, entrepreneurs and business leaders who all benefit from an open web. The event helped everyone understand that the future of the web is built on today’s web education. It was a magical evening of inspiration, connecting and sharing of valuable web education curriculum resources (WaSP InterACT Curriculum Framework). And the WE Rock Tour didn’t end there…it continued in Australia and is booking dates in Europe and the US for 2010.

I cannot possibly express how inspired I have been by Leslie’s vision, energy and boundless optimism. Working with her is deeply satisfying and re-energizing. But don’t just take my word for it. Join us in the great adventure to further Web Education!

As an accessibility expert and advocate, I have often wondered,

How hard is it for a person to get access to the latest version of JAWs?

The answer to this question is important, especially when I’m testing the accessibility of UT web offerings. If I happen to have JAWS 10 beta installed, but my student population doesn’t have access to that version yet, I could end up reporting that content is accessible, when in reality, my students might be unable to get to the information.

Recently, I was asked to test and report on the accessibility of iTunes, especially the iTunes U area. In my previous post, I was delighted to report that the iTunes 8 application is delightfully accessible to screenreaders. But, if you look closely, you will notice that I was using JAWS 10 beta. Which brings me back to the question, “How hard is it for my students, who need it, to get access to the latest version of JAWS when they need it?”

My first call was to the UT Services for Students with Disabilities, where I discovered that our assistive technology labs currently have JAWS 9 installed. After talking to the lab manager, I learned that he would easily be able to upgrade to whatever version of JAWS was required. Excellent! Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

But, let’s be honest, while assistive technology labs are nice, they are not open 24/7. So, a bigger question was, “How hard would it be for my students to get an upgrade to their own version of JAWS?” This question led me to the Texas Department of Rehabilitative Services (DARS) which provides transition services for people with disabilities, including adaptive tools like JAWS. I was relieved to learn that students who had already received a full copy of JAWS from DARS would easily be able to get the upgraded version if it was clear that it was needed for them to be successful at UT.

Woot! I can now say, without reservation, the iTunes 8 application including iTunes U, is accessible!

Upon hearing this statement, my accessibility buddies would likely pepper me with the following questions:

  • What about the content of iTunes? Is the content fully accessible? – Notice that I was not testing the content, I was testing the application. Each piece of content (like audio, video) would need to have an appropriate transcript and/or captioining.
  • What about people who use a screenreader other than JAWS, is iTunes accessible to them too? – The answer to that question is up to each screenreader manufacturer. I have confirmed that iTunes 8 is accessible to both JAWS and Window Eyes. In fact, any screenreader based on MSAA (Microsoft Active Accessibility) is capable of working with iTunes 8. Do note, that the screenreader manufacturer may need to update their application.
  • What about other disabilities? Is the iTunes 8 application accessible for people who are deaf, mobility impaired or have cognitive disabilities? – When testing for accessibility, I follow the US Federal 508 Standard, with an eye for WCAG 2.0’s principles of Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR). And indeed, the iTunes 8 application meets these requirements. Remember, I’m talking about the application, not the content. For the content to be accessible, each entity that contributes content will have to ensure that they have included the necessary captions and transcripts.

My hat is off to Apple. They have done an outstanding job of proactively working with assistive technology vendors and building an application that is accessible to everyone. Thank you Apple.

I’ll admit, when it comes to accessibility technology advances, I believe it when I experience it on my very own computer. So, while the news about iTunes 8 being fully accessible to screenreaders made me grin from ear-to-ear, I had to confirm it for myself.

I’m thrilled to say that iTunes 8 and JAWS 10 are working like a charm. I couldn’t find any specific documentation on JAWS 10 keyboard commands for iTunes 8, so I’ve put together this list. I hope you find it helpful too!

Open iTunes

  1. Windows Key (Start Menu)
  2. P (Programs)
  3. Right Arrow (to open programs)
  4. Up Arrow (until you hear iTunes)
  5. Right Arrow (until you hear iTunes)
  6. Enter (to open iTunes)

iTunes Menu Bar

  1. Alt (go to menu bar)
  2. Left and Right Arrows (move across menu bar)
  3. Up and Down Arrows (move up and down in menus)
  4. Enter (select the item you are on)
  5. Esc (leave menu bar)

Listening to Music in iTunes

  1. iTunes (drops you into Sources view iTunes)
  2. Mu (to go to Music)
  3. Up and Down Arrows (go to other things like Podcasts, Audiobooks, Store, Playlists)
  4. Tab (go to search box)
  5. Tab (List box – the list of your music)
  6. Tab (Play button)
  7. Tab (Volume)
  8. Tab (Text List Button)
  9. Tab (Grid Button)
  10. Tab (Coverflow Button)
  11. Tab (New Playlist Button)
  12. Tab (Do Not Shuffle Button)
  13. Tab (No Repeat Button)
  14. Tab (Show Artwork Button)
  15. Tab (Show Genius Sidebar Button)

Using Search Box to Find and Listen to Music

  1. Type your search term in the Search/Edit box
  2. Tab (to music list)
  3. Down Arrow (to first song)
  4. Enter (to play from beginning)
  5. Space Bar (to pause)
  6. Space Bar (to resume)
  7. Ctrl + Down Arrow (volume down)
  8. Ctrl + Up Arrow (volume up)

Podcasts

  1. Tab (to get to List View)
  2. Left Arrow (to close tree view)
  3. Right Arrow (to open tree view)

Get Latest Podcast Episode

  1. Be on level 1 of a podcast
  2. Applications Key (Context Menu – between Ctrl and Windows key on Right)
  3. Down Arrow (until you find Update)
  4. Enter (to update podcasts)

Subscribe to Podcasts when you know the URL

  1. ALT (go to menu bar)
  2. Right Arrow (to Advanced menu)
  3. Down Arrow (to Subscribe to Podcast)
  4. Enter (dialogue box appears)
  5. Type in the URL (like http://feeds.feedburner.com/boagworldpodcast/)
  6. Enter (to subscribe to podcast)

iTunes Options

  • ctrl + J

iTunes Settings

  • ctrl + ,

iTunes Radio (just like music but no search box)

  1. Tab (to get to List box)
  2. Down Arrow (to get to different stations)
  3. Right Arrow (to open station genre)
  4. Enter (to start radio station playing)

iTunes Store – Getting a Podcast from iTunesU

  1. ctrl + shift + H (home of itunes store)
  2. Tab (Edit – search box)
  3. Tab (Previous Button)
  4. Tab (Home Button)
  5. Tab (Sign in to my ITunes Store account)
  6. Tab – (you are on the content area of itunes)
  7. NumPad + (Turn on Virtual PC)
  8. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  9. Down Arrow (until you get to iTunes U, then press Enter to Select)
  10. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  11. Down Arrow (until you get to Universities, then press Enter to Select
  12. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  13. Down Arrow (until you get to UC Berkeley, then press Enter to Select
  14. Insert + F7 (JAWS Link List)
  15. Down Arrow until you find Paul Krugman – Professor of Economics
  16. Enter (to go to that class, PolySci 179)
  17. You will hear the title of the podcast read by JAWS
  18. Enter (to start listening to the podcast)

or

  1. Applications Key (to enter context menu)
  2. Down Arrow (to “Buy or Get Currently Selected Songs Table Item)
  3. Enter (download will begin)
  4. Go to Playlists
  5. Down Arrow (to UC Berkeley)
  6. Tab (edit)
  7. Tab (List Box)
  8. Down Arrow
  9. Enter (to start playlist)

Want to hear a demo of a person with a visual disability really using JAWS 10 and iTunes 8. Check out the JAWS iTunes demo by Chris Gilland from Blind Cool Tech.

Yes, if it weren’t almost 1 in the morning, I’d be doing the happy dance. Instead…I think I’ll go to sleep and dream about doing the happy dance :)

What is the best way to learn about social media?

Face-to-face!

Can’t I just read a book and hang out on Twitter and Facebook and figure out how to use social media to promote my business?

Sure, but if you really want to dive deep, step back from your keyboard and come out and play/learn at BizJam08 Seattle July 9-10.

BizJam08 has a delicious speaker list and topics including:

Did I mention that over half of the speakers are women and that ratio occurred naturally? What else what you expect from the folks at Biznik and Textura Design? Without a doubt, this is business networking that doesn’t suck!

Do you remember 1998?

  • The Bronco’s won the Super Bowl.
  • The first XML spec was released.
  • Titantic won 11 Oscars.
  • Viagra was approved by the FDA.
  • Google, Inc. was founded.
  • Apple unveiled the iMac and reminded us to Think Different.

Today, as I was rearranging some books on a shelf, I ran across the limited edition publication to commemorate the first year of the Apple Think Different Series, “1998: The Year of Thinking Different”.

10 years later, this ad campaign still strikes a chord in my soul. I can’t resist sharing this quote from Apple with you.

Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.

You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,
disbelieve them, glorify them or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

Because they change things.
They invent. They imagine. They heal.
They explore. They create. They inspire.
They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Think Different.

So, my friends, I implore you to question, lead, create, sing, speak, tinker, dance, play, love, fly, believe, transform, improvise, evolve, laugh and dream with all of your passion. Make every day different.

your media, pachyderm templates, visual stories

Have you ever stood in front of a work of art and thought, “What is that? I don’t get it.” Then you wander about looking for the label only to discover that it says “Untitled”. Looking at art I sometimes feel as though I’m standing outside an invitation only party and I can’t find my invite. To be fair, my chance to personally connect with the art can often be quite obvious, if only (sigh) if only, I would remember to drop my “don’t make me think” attitude in the trash can.

In my dreams, all the vast amounts of valuable information about each work of art would be easily accessible and (gasp) open to tagging and comments from you. Many museums and artists are already exploring how to make this fantasy a reality. One of my favorite players in this arena is the New Media Consortium (NMC). The folks at NMC really know how to spark innovative learning, curiosity and creativity. An amazing application they have developed is Pachyderm, a multimedia authoring tool that allows curators and educators to publish rich media learning objects as easily as 1, 2, 3.

The Pachyderm project originated in the mind of Peter Samis, Associate Curator, Interpretation, SFMoMA. Peter and his team developed the Pachyderm web tools and methods to inspire curators to share their wealth of knowledge about understanding art. And rather than just do this for SFMoMA, Peter, NMC and IMLS have helped make Pachyderm freely available to any museum or educator who has an interest in sharing a story.

What is so wonderful about Pachyderm? It was designed by people who understand the needs, strengths and challenges of curators, artists, art educators and museum visitors. I think of Pachyderm as a digital muse who inspires curators and educators to ask thought provoking questions and tell stories while simultaneously stimulating the visitor to look deeper, explore the context and discover personal meaning and connections to art. In fact, I see Pachyderm as a tool to help turn visitors into part of the creative process, giving them the keys to unlock a new interpretation that has the potential to transform the work as well as themselves.

Want to see what I mean? Let me show you the door to four art adventures, I challenge you to explore one and let me know what you discover about art, the world and yourself.

Still hungry for more? Check out the Pachyderm Showcase. Who knew elephants could be so delicious?

An awesome group of technology professionals gathered today at the Texas School for the Blind to kick off the 10th year of the Accessibility Internet Rally in Austin… people like Sharron Rush (executive director of Knowbility), Hugh Forrest (SXSW-interactive event directory and 2006 AIR Austin Chair) , Teenya Franklin (AIR program manager) Jim Thatcher and Jim Allen (judge brothers). The room was pulsating with a passion for making the web available to everyone. And surprises awaited discovery. You’d think after 10 years that it would just be “the same ole thing”, but let me assure you, it was anything but that. Here are just three things that everyone was buzzing about:

  • Tri-city Texas Shoot Out – Accessiblity Internet Rally with a new Twist:
    For the first time not only will teams be competing to build accessible, standards compliant web sites for local non-profits, but the web sites developed by local winners will also go on to compete in a statewide “shootout” to see who has built the most accessible web sites in Texas! Teams from Austin, Houston and San Antonio will vie for the Champions of Accessibility crown. Bring it on!
  • Amazing Assistive Technology:
    Imagine a camera (Zoom-Ex) that can instantly take the pages of a book and convert it to speech. The OCR on this device is so fast that every time I turned the page of the physical book, the device would begin reading the top of the new page to me, immediately! And I thought I had seen it all. Thanks to my friends, Marci Tamez and Jack Hickman from Crystal Vision, who help open my eyes to the latest and greatest in assistive technology. Now I need to get one of these babies on campus for our community to use!
  • Accessible Art Performance:
    I can’t wait for the upcoming event, “Arts: No Boundaries – Sight. Sound. Soul.” On Wednesday, September 12, 2007 at La Zona Rosa. The evening promises to be a multimedia and sensory experience with live music, visual artist capturing the sense of the music in real time on canvas, audio descriptions, open captioning and sign interpretations. This event will benefit VSA Arts of Texas and Knowbility.
  • I wish you could have been there to explore and discover all this with me. In fact, what are you waiting for? Head to Knowbility-AIR Austin and get involved. Remember

    “For most people, technology makes things easier. For people with disabilities, technology makes things possible.”
    —President’s Council on Disability

Next Page »