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some comments on software platform accessibility

the RFB&D catalog search works fine with LYNX. I mean you can still use
linux. Look, everyone, the real world uses MS Windows. That's just the way
it is. You and I know that Linux rules, that Linux is the best tool for
the blind, but, few people know what Unix and Linux is, today, and even
fewer people know what Emacs is. I know I sound like I am preaching to the
choir, but, if blind people didn't learn Windows and Windows access
technology, as cumbersome and inefficient and unfriendly the feedback to
us is from our windows screen readers, then sighted people won't even talk
to us let alone hire us. As it is they don't hire us when we demonstrate
that we will try to use their software tools. But, if we insist on using
software tools (which work for us) but which they think come from Mars,
then the bottom line is that even fewer blind people will ever work. As it
is right now, over 70 percent of us don't work at gainful employment, and
we are grossly underutilized when we do work.

If you are fortunate enough to work in a company that uses unix/linux or
in a university setting, then you are lucky indeed. But, most of us did
not and never will. The phone receptionist or the medical transcriptionist
or the customer service rep absolutely must use windows and JFW or
Window-eyes or she won't get the job. And that's all there is to that,
folks. And yes, she will have to pull her hair out if she wants to work,
because everytime they change the network in her office, then she has to
get someone to fix JFW or find someone to write a script for JFW or ask
for a product upgrade that JFW will support. Or she has to know enough
about this stuff to be able to fix it herself, which means that she
might as well have a computer science degree. This is why lists like
this one and the blinux list are so important, because we can share
successes and horror stories alike and help each other with
suggestions and solutions to common problems. Is there anyone out
there who has had their job saved because of a tip they got from
somebody on a list like this one? Stories like that should be posted
to the list. People need to hear and read how the list is actually
helping in real life situations. Because that is what this is all
about, folks. Been there, done that, folks,
for 20 years. If you are fortunate, sighted people at work will listen to
you. But, after four or five years of us blind folk around them, most
sighted people at work think we are just making excuses or that we don't
want to work when we say we need something different on our desks that
they don't support. I just don't see how this is a battle that we can win.
There are just too few of us. MS Windows is going to get more graphical,
because the younger generation is reading less and less. Television and
video are taking over, at home and in our schools and in the workplace.
Just try and take one of those self-paced tutorials at work that teaches
you how to use your company's e-mail program. In my case, before I finally
left work, it was Lotus Notes. Just awful stuff. and the video audio was
all point and click, point and click. Click on this, and click on that. I
learned absolutely nothing and could no longer us my e-mail system. Hay,
at least, before that disaster, I was using cc-mail in DOS, which was very
doable with a powerbraille 40 and SPB.

We need to learn and use all the technology we can and that includes
windows, unfortunately. for the truth is, if you don't learn the windows
environment, you won't work. and that comment is not an endorsement of
MicroSoft products. I still think that linux rules, but, in the workplace
it does not. Linux rules only on your home computer. Unless, of course,
you are given extraordinary independence, which most work settings do not
allow. Keep plugging away, and keep smiling. and remember, GUI's will
always be gooey. But peanutbutter fudge is gooey, too, and, oh, how sweet
it is! ummmm! <grin> <grin>

Bill Gaughan

On Wed, 5 Dec 2001, Jason White wrote:

> Meanwhile, just use the Library of Congress Union Catalogue
> (http://lcweb.loc.gov/nls/web-blnd/advancedsearch.html) which includes
> the entire RFB & D catalogue as well as records from various libraries
> in North America, the UK and elsewhere. In the case of RFB & D entries
> it also provides, where available, tables of contents, annotations and
> other book details that don't appear in RFB & D's online catalogue.
> Another option is http://sun1.aph.org/louis.htm which has similar
> holdings.
> As this is moving off-topic for the list, I suggest that any further
> follow-up be sent to me directly rather than to the Emacspeak list.
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