Random Musings

I didn’t have much time to work on a cohesive topic for today’s Blind Confidential post so I’m going to toss out questions, comments and, of course, a bit of opinion in hopes of generating comments and discussion.

My Conversation with Mike Calvo Yesterday

My good friend Mike Calvo suggested that I add an RSS feed to this blog. Now, when you come to the page, you can activate the link “Subscribe to the Blind Confidential RSS Feed” if you prefer receiving information that way.

Mike also told me that Freedom Box System Access was being featured on Main Menu last night. The Serotek guys have gone a long way with System Access in the 2.0 release and I think they will be noticed as a real force in the screen access market fairly soon. I’ve very much enjoyed the work they have done in MS Word and their Internet Explorer support rivals that in some of the more famous screen readers. Mike is a good guy and he, more than most AT CEOs today, represents the “designed by blind people for blind users.”

Descriptive Video Movies

Amazon has started stocking DVDs with audio descriptions of the video. Apparently they have been doing this for a while but I only noticed recently. The problem with having DVS on a DVD is that, if you hope to play it on a standard DVD player in your living room, you will need a sighted person to help you navigate the menus. If, however, you watch it on your PC, Microsoft Windows Media Player does a good job of exposing the menus.

Looking Forward to ATIA

I arrive in Orlando tomorrow to attend some meetings at the ATIA conference. I haven’t heard too much from the conference other than Freedom Scientific announced a new portable CCTV device called Opal.

On Friday, in honor of Hunter S. Thompson, I will post a Fear and Loathing at ATIA 2006. I will try to blend real news with my feelings of warped reality that always occur when I enter a Disney resort.

More on Turing Tests

Yesterday, Will Pearson, a friend of mine from abroad, posted a comment on Blind Confidential about security, screen readers and Turing tests. It is definitely worth a read. I plan on doing an article on AT devices and possibly compromised security at some time in the future.

Audio Representation of Visual Items

Recently I have been playing around with a web camera and the VOIC software. You can find the software and download it from its author’s web site. This is a pretty interesting way of hearing the visual aspects of the world. I will be writing about this next week after I’ve had more time to practice with it.

I have also been spending a lot of time studying how audio games, particularly those from GMA Games (http://www.gmagames.com), represent very complex scenarios using three dimensional sound. I think that these techniques can be brought to other areas of access technology. What do you think?

That’s all for today, with my attendance at ATIA tomorrow and Friday, I need to focus today on some more professional tasks (which are also very cool). Sorry for being a bit lame today.

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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

One thought on “Random Musings”

  1. The only DVD with description I have ever encountered in which you cannot simply play and then stab the Audio key to switch to the description track is Moulin Rouge. For that one you do need sighted help to work the menus. For the rest, just play and keep pressing Audio until the right track comes up.

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