Recently, I received an e-mail From a Blind Confidential reader promoting a new information over the telephone service for people with vision impairment. I found the letter she sent interesting enough to check out the website for the product. The product, If By Phone provides a whole lot of features at very reasonable prices.
If By Phone offers everything from voice-based e-mail and blogging to a news reading service. The price is all seem to range from about seven dollars to around $13 for user features and about $30 for advertisers and such.
If By Phone provides a panoply of features and can be used from any phone. I don’t know how it’s news reading service compares to that provided by NFB for free but providing Internet, e-mail, blogging and even games like Texas Hold ‘Em seems pretty cool for a low cost telephony solution. I haven’t had the opportunity to try this service yet but I hope to in the coming few weeks.
I do, however, have a bone to pick with the If By Phone website. If tested for accessibility, it would not pass. It Uses Flash which contains buttons that JAWS reads as 1, 2, etc. I strongly urge the If By Phone people To Remove Flash from their website as no matter what the Macromedia people say, Flash accessibility, excepting some really interesting content produced by WGBH, never provides better than mediocre accessibility and, most often, accessibility of Flash content is poor.
So, if you’re interested in voice-based telephony solutions, I recommend you check out If By Phone and send me any comments you have about it. As the voice telephony technologies fall outside my area of expertise, I don’t really know much about them and would appreciate Blind Confidential readers sending me information about your experience with this one and any others that are out there.
Some current employees of Freedom Scientific have alerted me to the fact that a number of them find the Gonz Blinko stories that satirize the fictional company Freeman Scientology pretty offensive. Gonz always intended to entertain, amuse and provide a thought provoking, hallucinatory romp through an alternative universe that crossed the literary styles of the great Hunter S. Thompson with some of William Gibson’s dark future where corporations replace governments, have their own paramilitaries and use force to solve business and personnel disputes.
I apologize to those who found these stories offensive. Neither Gonz nor I wanted to demean the hard work done by the very real people at Freedom Scientific or Human where for that matter. I still have a lot of friends at Freedom Scientific and hope I didn’t do anything to insult or discourage them with the satirical fiction.
Gonz will, in the future, continue to satirize the assistive technology industry but will try to do so in a manner using less specific similarities to real-world entities and people.