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+ - Open-plan Offices Were Devised by Satan Himself-> 1

Submitted by glowend
glowend (1214646) writes "Oliver Burkeman of the Guradian writes "In case you still needed persuading that open-plan offices were devised by Satan himself in one of the deepest caverns of hell, the Harvard Business Review delves into new research showing just how frustrating people find them – and just how paltry, on the other side of the scale, are the benefits they bring." I tend to agree, but maybe that's because I'm a geezer. Are for or against open floor plans?"
Link to Original Source

Comment: U.S. at a disadvantage here (Score 2) 1

The article suggest that "Canada is up to something" given their ties to other nations involved. While that may be true it should also come as no surprise. Looking at the connections we see that Canada is tied to New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei by means of the Commonwealth which means they share many legal traditions with each other and have long standing political ties to one another.

The United States is the largest English speaking nation not a member of the Commonwealth and that lack of connection would seem to be evident in the connections the graphs show.

+ - How Perl and R reveal the United States' isolation in the TPP negotiations-> 1

Submitted by langelgjm
langelgjm (860756) writes "As /. reported, last Thursday Wikileaks released a draft text of the intellectual property chapter in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Since then, many commentators have raised alarm about its contents. But what happens when you mix the leaked text together with Perl regular expressions and R's network analysis packages? You get some neat visualizations showing just how isolated the United States is in pushing for extreme copyright and patent laws."
Link to Original Source

+ - A Warrant canary metatag

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "With the advent of national security letters and all the NSA issues of late perhaps the web needs to implement a warrant "warrant canary" metatag. Something like this:

<meta name="canary" content="2013-11-17" />

With this is would be possible to build into browsers or browser extensions a means of alerting users when a company has intact received such a secret warrant. Similar to the actions taken by Apple recently.

The advantage the metatag approach would have its that it would not require the user to search out a report by the company in question but would show the information upon loading of the page. Once the canary metatag was not found or when the date of the canary grows older than a given date a warning could be raised.

Several others have proposed similar approaches including Connor Friedersdorf in the The Atlantic ( and Corry Doctorow's Dead Man's Switch ("

Comment: VoiceOver on MacOS X (Score 1) 364

by gkearney (#36591512) Attached to: One Week: No Mouse, Just Keyboard
The blind and some print disabled use computers all the time without a mouse. On MacOS X and the iOS there is a built in screen reader called VoiceOver (started with a command-F5 on a standard keyboard function-command-F5 on portables. With VoiceOver running you can work the OS with no mouse, or for that matter even a screen attached. It also support a wide range of braille displays.

There is similar products for Windows but they are not built into the OS and some, JAWS and WindowEyes for example, can cost more than the computer they run on.

On on the whole this is a rather silly question which if the authors had asked the question "How do the blind use a computer?" would have been answered.

Gregory Kearney
Manager - Accessible Media
Association for the Blind of Western Australia
61 Kitchener Avenue, PO Box 101
Victoria Park 6979, WA Australia

Telephone: +61 (08) 9311 8246
Telephone: +1 (307) 224 4022 (North America)
Fax: +61 (08) 9361 8696
Toll free: 1800 658 388 (Australia only)

Comment: We have a use for them (Score 4, Interesting) 381

by gkearney (#28155073) Attached to: What To Do With 78 USB Drives Next Christmas?
We would be happy to have USB drives as a donation. We use them to send out digital talking books to the blind and print disabled. Please feel free to contact me.

Gregory Kearney
Manager - Accessible Media
Association for the Blind of Western Australia
61 Kitchener Avenue, PO Box 101
Victoria Park 6979, WA Australia

Telephone: +61 (08) 9311 8202
Telephone: +1 (307) 224 4022 (North America)
Fax: +61 (08) 9361 8696
Toll free: 1800 658 388 (Australia only)

Comment: Re:Digital Talking Book player activation (Score 1) 370

by gkearney (#27025151) Attached to: Amazon Caves On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech
Still another issue to consider is that this deals with text-to-speech and not human read books such as the NLS provides.

The VicetorReader Stream will do text-to-speech on any text file without activation and without the buyer having to prove a disability. Given that the Streams intended market is book and document reading and given that HumanWare will sell it to anyone who wants one, and given that it will do text to speech with out activation how is the VictorReader Stream any different from the Kindle?

Comment: Re:17 USC 121 (Score 1) 370

by gkearney (#27023075) Attached to: Amazon Caves On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech
So is a Macintosh computer, which has a built in screen reader which anyone can activate a "specialized device" that are "available only by prescription to people with a qualifying disability"? No of course not. Yet it has text to speech able to read books or anything else for that matter.

The makers of talking book players are happy to sell the devices to anyone who wants one, disabled or not. See or want one of those 1/4 speed four track tape player? you can buy a new one here:

Comment: Re:Seriously... (Score 3, Informative) 370

by gkearney (#27022819) Attached to: Amazon Caves On Kindle 2 Text-To-Speech
The issue i much bigger than just the blind. Both the MacOS and many versions of Linux have screen readers for the blind as part of the OS and there are similar products for sale or download for Windows.

These screen readers can be activated and used by anyone, not just the blind. So is this technology illegal? Should the users of such be required to prove they are disabled before it can be activated on their computers?

While the voices on the Kindle 2 were not that great there are very high quality voices which are more useable the MacOS Alex voice for one. To see where this all might go you can visit an experimental talking book library in Western Australia which permits the public to download DAISY digital talking books ( recorded in higher quality voices.

+ - A state with no iPhones 3

Submitted by
gkearney writes "As a developer of Macintosh software I thought I would like to undertake development on the iPhone platform as well. To that end I looked into the purchase of an iPhone and the AT&T service. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I am not allowed to buy an iPhone or AT&T service, why is this you might ask? It is because I live in the state of Wyoming which has no AT&T service at all.

Wyoming has only "Partner" service and according to AT&T and according to them "Excessive use of Partner coverage may subject your service to early termination." So even if I went to another state and got an iPhone I would not be able to use it in Wyoming.

AT&T informs me that there is no service in Wyoming nor do they ever plan on offering any in the future. So in effect AT&T, and by extension Apple, are saying that if you live in Wyoming you can not permitted to have an iPhone.

Here is my question, given that there is no ATT service in Wyoming and according to AT&T there never will be, will Apple sell me one of the "unlocked" iPhone they sell in Hong Kong to use on one of the services wwe do have here? Would that even work?

Was Apple aware that a whole state was not served by AT&T Wireless? What are Apple customers in Wyoming supposed to do if they want an iPhone?

Greg Kearney"

Comment: Re:Awesome! (Score 2, Informative) 148

by gkearney (#25192973) Attached to: Software Update Makes iTunes Accessible To Blind Users

In all due respect Narrator is not a screen reader and Microsoft never claimed it was. To gain access to the OS in Windows you will need to buy a Windows screen reader which will add a thousand dollars to the cost of what ever computer you will buy. Or put another way you can buy a entry level Mac for less than the cost of a Windows screen reader itself.

While many here have said that VoiceOver is not as capable as it commercial Windows counterpart I would beg to differ. VoiceOver is fundimentaly different from Windows screen readers in several ways:

VoiceOver is a integrated part of the OS. Therefor it does not attempt to step in an do tasks that the OS does. So it does not need commands to close a window, for example, as the OS provides that already.

Second in Macintosh it is the applications that are changed to become accessible with the screen reader and not the other way around. So we gain accessibility each time a developer follows the rules and improves his applications (Microsoft did you hear that? Microsoft Office for Mac is not accessible but OpenOffice 3 is.)

I would also point out that VoiceOver support most USB braille displays without having to install drivers for them. Anyone who has ever tried to get a braille display running under Windows will see the improvement in that.

Now I'm not one of these Mac fanboys who will urge a Mac where it is not appropriate but for many blind users, and for most dyslexics who require a screen reader, who have usual computer need and who do not need a Windows computer for some specific task a Mac should be considered. It will perform the basic tasks, will cost less at the outset and will cost far less to upgrade over time as there will be not screen reader updates to buy. They support braille. They are less prone to spyware and such and the out of the box voice quality is hard to match on any platform at any price

Mommy, what happens to your files when you die?