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Comment: Re:Disabled people (Score 2) 287

by fastfinge (#35514626) Attached to: Advocacy Group For the Blind Slams Google Apps

As a blind programmer, I, and I'm sure everyone on the blind programmers mailing list, would like to correct you about the impossibility of writing code. Writing code is the easy part; turn on punctuation in your screen reader, and/or use a braille display. Personally, the only language I have found myself utterly unable to use is Python; using whitespace to mean things is really, really, really bad for me. Without close braces or endifs, I find figuring out what level I'm at impossible. However, I know many, many successful blind programmers who laugh at my difficulty with, and hatred of, Python. I think the difference is that I'm self taught, and never indent or space my code correctly; if I need to work with a sighted person, I run my code through a code formatter to get it set up for them. Many blind programmers, who were formally taught usually by sighted teachers, indent code as a habit, so transitioning to a language where thinking about something the screen reader doesn't read explicitly is more natural for them.

The real challenge for a blind person is screen layout. Most tools today, especially from Apple and Microsoft, have these click and drag interface builders that just do *not* work. Several people have developed libraries, like Layout By Code, to help with this, but it's still a struggle. I find my best bet is to stick to the command line, or work inside other systems like Drupal, that will take care of layout for me.

Comment: Re:My biggest annoyance - hard to find my old comm (Score 2) 2254

by fastfinge (#35012806) Attached to: Slashdot Launches Re-Design

You can still use the classic comment system under comment prefs, thank God; the ajaxy comment system bothers the hell out of screenreaders. Doing that will probably speed up your pages and get wget pulling all of your comments again. Slashcode is the only system that manages to screw up something Wordpress, Drupal, and everyone else in the world got right. I've found sites where I couldn't post comments for accessibility reasons, but slashdot is the only one where I can't read comments without a settings change. *sigh* Anyway, my ranting aside, once you go back to the classic comments system, the new layout is really nice, fast, and uncluttered.

Comment: Re:Let see this in action now... (Score 1) 111

by fastfinge (#30064262) Attached to: Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired

Every OCR software I've ever heard of, including RTK, Finereader, Scansoft, and several open source projects, can cope with text that is upside down, sideways, or crooked. Just so long as it's all in the frame. I think perhaps the light versions of Omni Reader that come with consumer scanners won't do this, but it's because the software has been crippled to make a "light" version, not because it can't.

Comment: Re:Seems like a future iPhone, N900, etc. app (Score 1) 111

by fastfinge (#30063942) Attached to: Intel's New E-Reader For the Visually Impaired

The N82 is already doing this, with software called the KNFB reader. The big issue with porting the KNFB Reader over to other phones is that, while some of them have a 5MP camera, none of them have a good enough flash. I'm not totally clear on why that's an issue, but apparently it is. I keep the phone close enough to the source (book/paper/whatever) that I don't really know why it wants the flash all the time, but it decides to use it in nearly every shot. The only time I didn't hear the flash activate was once when I was sitting outside in direct sunlight. I have an N82 with this software and use it daily. I now can't upgrade to any other phone, because the software won't run on anything else, and I use it all the time.

Comment: Re:Screen Reader Issues are Overblown. (Score 2, Informative) 541

by fastfinge (#28071067) Attached to: HTML 5 As a Viable Alternative To Flash?

Yup. The screen reader I use has had an option called "ignore layout tables" since 1995. It also allows me to ignore iframes (do you realize how many ads I miss, that way? Hardly need adblock!), flash, and various other tags and atributes, at my whim. It can even skip repeated text, in order to take me right to the page content; when I click a link on a page, it compares the new page with the old one, and places the cursor after any text that is the same on both pages. Works well to skip menus and other crap.

Comment: Re:Accessibility, anyone? (Score 3, Informative) 683

by fastfinge (#26814831) Attached to: Author's Guild Says Kindle's Text-To-Speech Software Illegal

It's a battle we've already lost. Go to:
and check any of the books by major publishers. If you scroll down a little, you see: "printing disabled. read aloud disabled." DRM is already used to do this. And bypassing the DRM is against the law. I suspect the Authors want Amazon to put DRM that will allow publishers to turn off the TTS feature.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340