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Re: Progress with AsteR installation

Tim Cross <tcross@rapttech.com.au> wrote:
> In comparison, while the protocol used by emacspeak may lack a clear formal
> specification, it has evolved to meet actual requirements rather than
> theoretical ones. Sometimes, such an approach can result in inefficient or
> less than optimal design, but provided you are prepared to refactor and refine
> things as experience increases your knowledge and understanding, you will
> usually end up with a better result in the end. 

There is also the advantage that it has T.V. Raman in charge of it, who makes
sure it's well designed and that it continues to meet the needs of Emacspeak users.

Along similar lines, somebody at a W3C conference once suggested to me that if
you really want a superbly designed technical solution to a difficult problem,
bring together 4 or 5 if the best people in the field and give them absolute
freedom to design the protocol or language that is needed.

Returning to Emacspeak and other non-visual user interface software for Linux
and Unix environments, I also think the success of projects is facilitated by
the extent to which some of the developers are also users. At a minimum, it
provides a smaller feedback loop than is available under circumstances in
which the developers aren't intensive users of the software. 

I look forward to further developments with AsteR; there is nothing that even
attempts to equal its functionality. Apparently there's a proprietary tool
which will convert MathML to words that can be read by a screen reader. I'm
sure I don't need to explain to this audience how primitive that is by
comparison with the audio formatting, style language and structural browsing
that AsteR offers. The lack of user interface innovation in "assistive
technologies" is as apparent as ever - it's still mostly about "screen
readers" providing access to visual interfaces rather than the design of more
effective auditory (or for that matter, tactile) user interfaces.

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