[Accessibleweb] War declared on adaptive technology
tft at u.washington.edu
Tue Mar 2 22:39:24 PST 2010
I had the same response that you did, Ryan. Although Serotek's business model does include some giveaways, it's still a for-profit business, and when the CEO of a for-profit business goes on the attack against his competitors, I can't help but judge that attack with some cynicism. I agree that he makes good and valid points here about the state of things, but I find it all a little scary frankly. He gets the masses all fired up and impassioned, then offers them a way out of the ghetto if they'll only follow him.
As a person who prefers peace to violence, I was also struck negatively by the declaration of war and various extensions of this metaphor, and even moreso by his subsequent attack in the comments of a "gutless anonymous poster" who challenged his militance.
Also (now I feel like I'm ranting myself), he refers to the competition as "underperforming" and "crap". But how does System Access compare? Last I checked, JAWS, Window-Eyes, and NVDA were all supporting ARIA, but System Access had little or no support. Marco's Accessibility Blog found the same thing back in July 2009 with some fairly objective testing:
Interestingly, the product that performed best in Marco's tests was NVDA, which is free. If Mike Calvo had concluded his rant by encouraging everyone to embrace NVDA, then it would have more credibility for me.
From: accessibleweb-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu [mailto:accessibleweb-bounces at mailman2.u.washington.edu] On Behalf Of R. Benson
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 3:08 PM
To: Wendy A. Chisholm
Cc: UW Web Accessibility Group
Subject: Re: [Accessibleweb] War declared on adaptive technology
I make the claim that he's saying 'buy my stuff' because of the last two
or three sentences. He says 'take out your wallet - buy.... your buying
has kept me in business for 8 years!'
Ryan E. Benson
Department of Political Science
Access Technology Lab Consultant
rbenson at u.washington.edu
On Tue, 2 Mar 2010, Wendy Chisholm wrote:
> I'm glad to hear someone taking a public stance on this point. People have
> been complaining about the cost, lack of usability, lack of innovation and
> "monopoly" that Freedom Scientific has held on the screen reader market for
> far too long. They are like the Microsoft (of old?) of screen readers--going
> after folks who try to take away any part of the market. It is a stranglehold
> and it has created a "ghetto."
> I don't see Mike saying, "buy our software" so much as he's trying to rally a
> grass roots movement for change. More than anything he is boosting support
> for built-in software (thus the Apple mentions) of which Serotek's products
> are not. And some of the Serotek products are free. If anything, he is saying
> "look at the environment and use what is built in or free rather than paying
> outrageously for products."
> He is trying to catch the attention of people who are buy technology and let
> them know that they don't need to be spending thousands of dollars on Jaws.
> Instead, focus on buying the built in technology.
> It's a formidable rant. I agree with most of it. I don't know the effect that
> it will have but it's something that I've been complaining about for years.
> It's good to see the tide changing enough that a rant like this is
> possible...because the situation is getting better. But there is a long way
> to go.
> Screen readers have yet to be as easy to use and as accessible to learn as
> the GUI was (compared to DOS). That's what I would really love to see: true
> innovations in screen reader technology that make the AUI as easy to use
> (especially on cognitive load) as the GUI. To use most of the screen readers
> today you still need to memorize a slew of keyboard commands or be very
> limited in what you can do. It's like everyone having to learn vi/emacs
> instead of a mouse. It's just not as accessible.
> On Mar 2, 2010, at 1:19 PM, R. Benson wrote:
>> I kind of got a chuckle out of this. He starts out saying old technology, I
>> assume JAWS and such, just keep building up on itself driving up the cost.
>> Then systems like Apple design decent built in functions. I agree with you
>> Kate that it leans towards an Apple commercial. Then he goes on to
>> basically say what on earth are these guys thinking putting in their own
>> stuff in. The killer is at the end, when he says boycott these old programs
>> and the built in stuff and buy my software!
>> I totally agree with the OCR question. I mean here at the UW there is/was
>> the tactile graphics project that to to my knowledge took an OCR engine
>> from somewhere, and changed it a bit. There is also a few free sites that
>> does the OCR autmatically, ZamZar. I contacted them years ago, but since
>> forgot what they run. But it is all automatic, if you give them a single
>> column file that was clear type the results are great. But if you give them
>> multiple column articles, their system doesn't seem to 'see' them.
>> Now this could have changed since I spoke to them. But even more realistic
>> is the quality of articles students get in the readers professors provide.
>> We are talking about a second to fourth generation copy. At times, just
>> typing the article out, is faster than OCR'ing it, then editing.
>> Ryan E. Benson
>> Department of Political Science
>> Access Technology Lab Consultant
>> rbenson at u.washington.edu
>> On Tue, 2 Mar 2010, Katherine Deibel wrote:
>>> Short meeting... whee.
>>> There are several interesting points in this declaration. First, there is
>>> the argument that adaptive technologies are in part disabling due to their
>>> cost, investment, and reactionary status. Accessibility out of the box is
>>> amazingly desirable and beneficial. No arguments there.
>>> However, the claims that products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad (is this
>>> about accessibility rights or an Apple commercial?) are fully accessible
>>> out of the box are not fully justified. What is fully accessible? To me,
>>> it depends on the perspective you take. If you focus on a narrow range of
>>> disability (i.e. blindness and low vision), then fully accessible really
>>> means fully accessible for this narrow range. We know that the iPod and
>>> iPhone have accessibility issues for people with motor impairments and to
>>> the best of my knowledge, the jury is still out in regards to cognitive
>>> and learning disabilities. Some of my recent studies with adults with
>>> reading disabilities suggests that visual stress issues are sensitive to
>>> the displays of devices like the Kindle and iPad. Even the much lauded
>>> DAISY accessible books are of questionable accessibility to people with
>>> reading disabilities, primarily due to the standard allowing for DAISY
>>> books to come with audio only (no text). Amazingly, there are some people
>>> who need help with reading but because they can see, they also want to see
>>> the text being read to them.
>>> Okay, maybe my own perspectices are a bit biased, but the debate by
>>> Serotek does hit some interesting points. Frankly, why has no one made an
>>> open-source, high-quality OCR system? With multiple hands, one would
>>> think that the work would be easily done.
>>> Other opinions? Anyone? Bueller?
>>> kate deibel
>>> -- "I just won three pachyderms," said Tom triumphantly.
>>> On Tue, 2 Mar 2010, Katherine Deibel wrote:
>>>> Interesting fodder for discussion:
>>>> "Serotek declares war on the traditional adaptive technology industry and
>>>> their blind ghetto products. With this announcement we are sending out a
>>>> call to arms to every blind person and every advocate for the blind to
>>>> rise up and throw off the tyranny that has shaped our lives for the past
>>>> two decades. It is a tyranny of good intentions or at least what began
>>>> as good intentions...."
>>>> I unfortunately have a meeting to head to but I'll add commentary later.
>>>> kate deibel
>>>> -- "I just won three pachyderms," said Tom triumphantly.
>>>> Accessibleweb mailing list
>>>> Accessibleweb at u.washington.edu
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> Wendy Chisholm
> Web Accessibility Specialist
> twitter: wendyabc
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