The Hofstader.com website was scheduled to go online today. As this is a project run entirely by volunteers, many of whom have day jobs, we fell behind by a bit. So, the website has what amounts to an “under construction” page that describes the goals, values and what we expect to be the future of hofstader.com. So, if you want to take a peek at what were planning head on over to the page and I hope you find our ideas interesting.
One of the major aspects of the hofstader.com website is to encourage volunteerism among the community of people with disabilities. Another is to promote a community-based mentoring system in which people with disabilities who want to learn a new skill can match up with experts in the field and work on professional quality open source programs that people with disabilities can use without impediment.
The community of people with vision impairment, the group of people with disabilities that I know the best, has authors tremendous amount of energy. Some members of our community focus on applying this energy to constructive purposes; others, grow frustrated and spend a lot of energy yelling about problems but offering no solutions. I hope that our volunteerism project can help channel energy toward solutions rather than just criticism.
The hofstader.com site also hopes to serve as a one-stop shop for people with disabilities to find free, open source programs that they will enjoy using. In the beginning, we will be focusing on Windows and Windows Mobile software as that is what we know best. I expect that scripts for JAWS will dominate the early content on the site as all of the blind people working on this project use JAWS and that is the area with which we are most familiar. Some time in early 2007, when the site will have its Windows section in some reasonable order, we’ll start adding software for the GNU/Linux platform and after that software for Macintosh and other platforms.
If you are interested in volunteering on this project in its early stages, we mostly need people to help us research and find as many free and open source projects pertinent to people with disabilities that run in the Windows environment. We need help finding all of these projects, categorizing them in writing a sentence or two describing them for people who visit the website. If you think you’re interested in helping, visit the under construction page and click the link to send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blind Confidential will announce important changes to the website but it’s probably best to check their from time to time to watch it grow.
The other day I described how I had trouble being objective when talking about commercial screen readers. Since then, I’ve received a number of e-mails asking me to recommend a sites where people can find more quote fair and balanced quote reviews of technology products for people with vision impairment. I had intended, in that post, to suggest a few places but I managed to forget to do so.
At the top of the Blind Confidential page, you’ll find a heading labeled “Blog Related Links.” In that list you’ll find a link to Desert Skies, Ranger Station and a number of other blogs written by blind people about technology issues. Also, there is a link above to Access World a terrific publication that has all sorts of news and reviews of products involving our community.
Undoubtedly, there are others out there and if you do a blog or find some sites especially helpful that I don’t have on the list above, please send me an e-mail And We’ll Add It to the Blind Confidential page.