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Comment Re:Old dogs & new tricks (Score 1) 370

Seriously, this joke is not too far off. At the very least, I'm guessing he'll find something with a keyboard and fewer icons much easier to deal with than a touchscreen and the constant icons/notifications that tablets have.

A 3 year old laptop with the least flashy linux you can find (maybe an old version of Ubuntu?), turn off auto-updates, show him the firefox icon and set up a webmail account, and you're done.

Comment Re:Equal rights (Score 1) 832

The interesting thing, is that it turns out that not only is it discrimination against men as parents, but it is discrimination against women as professionals. The more time men are allowed to take off when they have kids, the less women fall behind them in the rat race.

The New York Times had a good article several years ago about this, explaining why Sweden switched to a system where the two parents get a combined total of 13 months of paid leave during the first 8 years of a child's life. By not allowing any one parent to take more than 9 of those months, they essentially encourage men to take a good portion of that leave and prevent women from taking too much.

Alas, I can only dream of that -- I'll take off a total of 8 weeks of unpaid leave this year for my child while he's under the age of one, since I won't be allowed to in later years.

Comment Thanks (Score 1) 1521

Wasn't going to post here, almost never do, I'm a lurker. I know that nobody'll ever read this, but I wanted to thank you. This is one of the few websites which has drawn me back day after day for more than 10 years. You did a great job, as have many of the other people who have worked on the site and who have been regular users. Good luck with future endeavors (and with doing nothing for a while).

Comment Re:This is why egalitarianism is the enemy of free (Score 1) 274

The Kindle is a bad example -- the Kindle program was shut down, but it is quite possible that a relatively small effort by Amazon could make the device totally acceptable -- the Kindle 2 already had a screen reader (it could read books out loud), all that was missing was something that read the menus out loud so that a blind person could actually use the device. In other words, it had all of the hardware capabilities and only needed a bit more software -- software that would be relatively simple compared to the screenreader software that they already had.

The Kindle 3 incorporates menus that you can listen to. It will be interesting to see whether they meet accessibility standards.

Comment Re:I know businesses that ended because of the ADA (Score 2, Interesting) 296

See the ADA FAQ at
Here are a few of the questions and answers:

Q. Are there any limitations on the ADA's barrier removal requirements for existing facilities?
A. Yes. Barrier removal need be accomplished only when it is "readily achievable" to do so.

Q. What does the term "readily achievable" mean?
A. It means "easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense."

Q. What are examples of the types of modifications that would be readily achievable in most cases?
A. Examples include the simple ramping of a few steps, the installation of grab bars where only routine reinforcement of the wall is required, the lowering of telephones, and similar modest adjustments.

Q. Must alternative steps be taken without regard to cost?
A. No, only readily achievable alternative steps must be undertaken.
Q. Will businesses need to install elevators?
A. Businesses are not required to retrofit their facilities to install elevators unless such installation is readily achievable, which is unlikely in most cases.

Q. When barrier removal is not readily achievable, what kinds of alternative steps are required by the ADA?
A. Alternatives may include such measures as in-store assistance for removing articles from inaccessible shelves, home delivery of groceries, or coming to the door to receive or return dry cleaning.

The ADA is very well written and did not become a fundamentally outrageous burden on our economy. All it has done is improve access for people with disabilities and really, all of us.

Comment Re:I know businesses that ended because of the ADA (Score 3, Interesting) 296

This just isn't the truth. The ADA requires reasonable accommodations - solutions that make sense and are affordable. In the case of a big business, this would definitely mean installing the ramp. In the case of a small business, this would mean finding a workable solution, that could be a ramp or could be a small staircase elevator, or could be having a call button that calls a couple of employees to lift the wheelchair user into the store. There are many different solutions that are possible, and as we know, there are still many businesses that don't have staircases. There are numerous resources available on the subject:

In the case of new buildings, they should be designed in the first place to be usable for everyone. It doesn't add much extra expense and the end result is generally positive for all (I certainly notice ramps a lot more now that I have a baby in a stroller). In the case of websites, design that is accessible for blind users and other people with disabilities is generally good for all -- think of well designed css, avoiding distracting design (that is bad for people with learning disabilities), good usage of appropriate image descriptions, etc. It costs essentially nothing extra to include those in a new website and everyone can appreciate it.

Frankly, if adding a little staircase elevator or having a ramp or finding another solution was so expensive that it put the store out of business, I think maybe this guy's business problems were a little bigger than he described them.

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