Maze Day 2008
About once a year, K-12 kids with disabilities from all over North Carolina (and beyond) travel to UNC-Chapel Hill to take part in Maze Day. Throughout the day, the kids, their teachers, and their parents wander Sitterson Hall to try out the numerous games, applications, activities, and demos designed to help them learn and have fun at the same time. The kids always have a blast, and this year was...
My defense is over (passed), it’s a Friday, and I now have time to do things like, say, finally setup WordPress on my own domain. If you actually care to read everything I put on my blog (i.e., accessibility), update your reader. (Certainly the posts will be greater in quantity and higher quality now that my brain isn’t stuck in the thesis writing loop, right?) If you only care about...
Validate your accessibility
Eitan committed a new plug-in for Accerciser that makes it dirt simple to find basic accessibility problems. You know, the ones that cause grief for apps like Orca, GOK, On-Board, etc. To use it, run Accerciser, point it at part of a GUI, click validate, and wait for the report. The rules in the plug-in aren’t the greatest right now. But the plug-in is extensible with new rule sets called...
In his interview about Pulse Audio in Fedora 8, Lennart Pottering mentions support for spatial sound as one of his future goals: Spatial event sounds: click on a button on the left side of your screen, and the event sound comes out of your left speaker. Click on one on the right side of your screen, and the event sound comes of of the right speaker. It’s earcandy, but I think this could...
RTM + Gmail = task management goodness →
Android speech synth (where are you?)
I took a peek at the Google Android class hierarchy today. As far as UI goes, it looks like there’s great support for 2D/3D visuals. There’s some APIs for doing MIDI and sampled sound output. There’s even a class for doing speech reco. What I don’t see is anything supporting synthesized speech output. That’s a bit depressing. It would be a huge boon to have an open...
MS User Interface Automation coming to Linux →
“… Novell will develop and deliver an adapter that allows the UIA framework to work well with existing Linux accessibility projects and complement the investments made by IBM Corp. and others. Novell’s work will be open source and will make the UIA framework cross-platform while enabling UIA to interoperate with the Linux Accessibility Toolkit (ATK), which ships with SUSE Linux...
Accessible Minesweeper →
I posted this article a few weeks ago, but never got around to advertising it. I wanted to think about using ARIA live regions in situations other than the ones commonly cited: tickers, chat logs, scoreboards, etc. Minesweeper is an interesting case because multiple elements can change simultaneously on the game board when the user reveals or flags a tile: multiple tiles flip, the game is won or...
Mitt Romney — who recently faced questions about his common sense for strapping...– Republicans Terrified of YouTube Debate
Pleasantly surprised to see LSR installed, built as an RPM, and ran without a hitch on FC7. The new default Festival voice is interesting. Updated the LSR in retrospect document. I recently realized I never uploaded the final draft to the website.
Problem: I want to track water conservation notices in my county, but ncwater.org does not offer feeds or alerts of any kind. It only has static HTML pages generated via form input. Solution: My very own NC Water Management Dapp. I can now consume notices about water restrictions in an RSS feed, NetVibes module, XML doc, email alert, JSON, CSV, and about seven other formats. I’d toyed with...
Lazy, hazy days
Three days off ahead. Time to cook some dogs and ‘burgs tomorrow, relax with Jackie and Zora. Then time to work on my thesis over the last two days of the week. I’ve spent entirely too much time hacking on mindtrove lately, but I’m happy with where it’s heading. I’m sure it has all sort of issues rendering in non-Firefox browsers since I haven’t had the...
Google Desktop Download →
Now for Linux!
Up early to mow the lawn and paint bookshelves for Jackie. Do shelves that hold bound paper count as a proper gift for a first anniversary? Four cases hold about 50% of our books. Dang.
Oh! The places you'll go!
For those who read this, I’m not longer working on GNOME accessibility projects for IBM. I’ve been transfered to the QEDWiki project, and may or may not have accessibility duties in the long run, but possibly some in the short term. Nevertheless, I’m writing up some final documentation on LSR in hope that someone will find it useful: A patterns document stating ways to solve...
Home page →
Q: Why a static HTML site? A: I need a place to collect tutorials and such. I hate using a blog for that purpose.
gb: cool. Now maybe my rank will go up. It's all about driving traffic to my blog ;-)
me: Yes. I know you're dying to become blogopular. You heard it here first: blogopular, regarded with favor by other blogger geeks.
Fixing Firefox Flash Foolishness →
Gary has solutions for two accessibility problems with Flash applications: Having to click on or mouse over a Flash embed before it receives other mouse and key events. Having no access to right click events in embedded Flash.
Yes, this too shall pass
Yesterday, IBM decided to change strategies with respect to GNOME accessibility: http://www-03.ibm.com/developerworks/blogs/page/schwer Under this new plan, IBM is no longer supporting development of LSR, accerciser, pyatspi, AT-SPI::Collection, or Firefox/AT-SPI accessibility. These projects will not vanish, but the news does have an impact on each. Accerciser Eitan Isaacson is busy preparing...
Some prep work for the Monday release of LSR 0.5.3. Crunched some outstanding bugs with the event dispatch and method chaining optimizations I’ve been doing in the core. Everything seems to be running smoothly now… But this too shall pass. Spent the rest of the day in a haze of phone calls, emails, and IMs. More on this frenzy soon enough.
Performance, performance, performance. Optimizing the event dispatching in LSR today. Lots of room for improvement in qualitative responsiveness. Tried getting some hard numbers from the Python profile module, but it returns incomplete reports. After some studying, I realized it wasn’t profiling anything method calls made in gobject main loop callbacks (which is practically everything except...
Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails →
Trent comments on the state of the music industry. Read it if you like music, any music, not just NIN. From the Herald Sun (AU).
Heard from Zack today that he’s porting dogtail to pyatspi. Good news. It means all the known Python test tools (dogtail, LDTP, Accerciser) and ATs (Orca, LSR) will be using the same wrapper on GNOME in the future. Worked on resolving an incompatibility in the interpretation of the color saturation values between gnome-mag 0.13.x and 0.14.x. Tricky when 1.0 means normal saturation in one...
Active Tactile Control (ATC) →
Think of it as the Braille equivalent of eye-tracking.
GNOME release day today. Lots of last minute Firefox tweaks in LSR. This snapshot isn’t as clean as I would like. I need to create a mini-timeline for these point releases that guarantees we stop feature development a bit sooner and leave more time for testing and key bug fixes. But, hey, it’s a developer release. It’s supposed to be somewhat unstable, right? :) The Accerciser...
Microsoft takes on the free world →
A balanced read about the Cold War of patents.
Continued to clean up the draft LSR Web UI spec after receiving quality feedback from mag, Braille, and speech users, and other AT developers. Going to invite wider public review in our next LSR release announcement. On that topic, spent some time today getting ready to make our 0.5.2 release on Monday for GNOME 2.19.2. Same last minute Firefox support fixes from Scott. Man, he managed to hack...
Netvibes bug tabs
I’ve started using Netvibes to track bugs, commit logs, and bugmail related to the LSR and Accerciser. One tab gives me a good overview of what’s happening at a glance. You can preview my Bugs tab. It’s powered by: xFruits Post to RSS feed (GNOME and Mozilla bugmail) CIA RSS feed of project commits (Accerciser and LSR) GNOME Bugzilla search feeds (bugs assigned by devel, bugs to...
Hello World (Planet?)
Greeted with an email from Jeff this morning about being added to Planet GNOME. Feeling the pressure of the limelight, but too tired to wax intelligent. Spent a good portion of the day fixing pyatspi bugs for Eitan’s 0.1.2 release of accerciser. He’s got the first project successfully using the this “official” Python/AT-SPI binding now. Need to make it a success so LSR,...
Friend visited last night and got in a car wreck after leaving today. Thankfully he’s alright, but his car is totaled. Too close for comfort. Worked at home and at UNC today. Attended the COMP 523 software engineering class final presentations. We had a team working on LSR scripts for a few programs. They did a nice job considering they were busy learning about the software design process....
Power station harnesses Sun's rays →
33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity →
Digg banned me for typing a number!– May 1, 2007 Digg HD-DVD fiasco
Back to work. Reviewed a bunch of outstanding LSR patches in the morning. Nice to see some long standing bugs closed. Continued work on the LSR web spec. Good comments from Aaron Leventhal about minor oversights and muddy descriptions. Cleaned up the mistakes. Read more about ARIA live regions, particularly the report by Charles Chen about live regions in FireVox. A very deep topic indeed. Lots...
Up and to work early. Spent all morning fixing LSR gdm login regressions. Used the afternoon to think about a AT-SPI accessibility validator plug-in for Accerciser. Something that generates a report about what accessibility gaps exist in a GUI. Maybe different schemas for gtk accessibility, document accessibility, identifying areas of an application for scripting, etc. Contributed to a discussion...
Woke up thinking it was Friday. Damn. Last day for contractors. Thankfully they’ve found temporary continued employment with us. Hoping it extends for the rest of the year. Figured out that Mail Archive was already turning most GNOME mailing lists into RSS fees. Aggregated some using xFruits and added all of them to my Netvibes homepage. Did the same for Bugzilla mail about LSR and...
Firefox 3 promo →
Up early (very early) to a choking dog. Thankfully, no mess. Know it’s going to be a bad day. At work, bad news from friend. Interesting data from colleague. Collaborative kvetching session ensues. Revise Mozilla grants for continued colleague employment. Work on LSR web user interface spec. Finally finish Rich Document Browsing section. Help colleagues with bugs. Turn on the lights to find...
What happened?! Why is there baseball on?– Jackie, as she sits on the TV remote
Everyone: Hey. Why don't you have a blog?
Me: I don't have time to blog.
Everyone: You think we're not busy?
Me: I'd like one, but I haven't found a free, reliable, zero-conf, solution that makes it dirt simple to post.
Me: Fine. Done.