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Bill seeks to make electronics accessible to blind, deaf
WP ^ | 08/17/10 | Cecilia Kang

Posted on 08/17/2010 6:52:14 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster

Bill seeks to make electronics accessible to blind, deaf

By Cecilia Kang

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, August 17, 2010; A10

Blind and deaf consumers, who have fought to make home phones and television more accessible, say they are being left behind on the Web and many mobile devices. Touch-based smartphone screens confound blind people who rely on buttons and raised type. Web video means little to the deaf without captioning.

But legislation is in the works to put pressure on consumer electronics companies that revolutionized an earlier generation of technology for the vision- and hearing-impaired.

"Whether it's a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue -- it's a participation issue," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), the author of a House bill aimed at making the Internet more accessible to people with disabilities. "We've moved from Braille to broadcast, from broadband to the BlackBerry. We've moved from spelling letters in someone's palm to the PalmPilot. And we must make all of these devices accessible."

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: disabled; regulation; smartphone; web

1 posted on 08/17/2010 6:52:17 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
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To: TigerLikesRooster; PAR35; AndyJackson; Thane_Banquo; nicksaunt; MadLibDisease; happygrl; ...

P!


2 posted on 08/17/2010 6:52:46 AM PDT by TigerLikesRooster (The way to crush the bourgeois is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

If the government mandates accessibility on the web, most websites will have to be rebuilt.

As a web developer, I stand to reap the windfall.


3 posted on 08/17/2010 6:56:08 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Judas Iscariot - the first social justice advocate. John 12:3-6)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Didn’t the DOJ take action against Amazon’s kindle because, while it was capable of reading the book for the blind, it still requires a sighted person to start it up?

Look for electronics to become more expensive and more complicated.

Heaven forbid somebody provide a market solution for the blind.


4 posted on 08/17/2010 6:56:08 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Larry Lucido; Cagey; MotleyGirl70; Gamecock

George: I tell ya, I am hooked on these books on tape.

Blind Man: Oh, tell me about it. These things have ruined me for Braille.


5 posted on 08/17/2010 6:57:18 AM PDT by earlJam
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To: TigerLikesRooster
"Whether it's a Braille reader or a broadband connection, access to technology is not a political issue -- it's a participation issue," said Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)

Oh. Okay. Well, if it's not a political issue, let's have the politicians step aside and agree not to pass any laws or use any taxpayer funds to enforce equal outcomes and win political favors.

6 posted on 08/17/2010 6:57:34 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: Jeff Chandler

No doubt.
I once created a website for my Army Reserve unit, for publication on the DOD unit listings. It was repeatedly rejected because it was not optimized for the deaf or the blind.

I gave up and told them to shove it up their ass.


7 posted on 08/17/2010 6:58:16 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: SJSAMPLE
Didn’t the DOJ take action against Amazon’s kindle because, while it was capable of reading the book for the blind, it still requires a sighted person to start it up?

Root cause was that Kindle like devices would render textbooks very inexpensive. Dr. College Professor would no longer be able to pen his own textbook and make it required reading - at $95 a pop - for his captive audience.

8 posted on 08/17/2010 6:59:32 AM PDT by tx_eggman (Liberalism is only possible in that moment when a man chooses Barabas over Christ.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster; earlJam

Isn’t there, by now, an after-market, crude, speech-to-text converter and text-to-speech converter that will suffice to give someone at least a rudimentary idea of what is going on on any particular page? Hell, even Bablefish gives you some idea of what is going on on a foreign language page, enough to decide if it’s worth staying for more.


9 posted on 08/17/2010 7:01:50 AM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Is Bob Dole still alive??

I’d like to thank the OR (Original Rino) for the ADA, which gives the cover of precedent to nonsense such as this....


10 posted on 08/17/2010 7:02:42 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

I’m still mystified by braille on the drive-up ATM machines.


11 posted on 08/17/2010 7:04:29 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (YouTube My Space and I'll Google your Yahoo.)
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To: tx_eggman

Many colleges have prohibited such practices. I had several professors that did this back in the mid 1980’s, but they were finally slapped down by the university.


12 posted on 08/17/2010 7:05:09 AM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: Uncle Ike

The ADA was nothing more than a gift to trial lawyers who have used it to make money with nonsense lawsuits based on it.
When California installed roadside emergency phones they were sued based on the fact that they were not equipped with a number pad that could be used by the blind. All of them (one every two miles of roadway) had to be retrofitted.
So if car you are driving or riding in, breaks down and you are blind, feel secure that once you manage to find the roadside phone you will be able to use it.


13 posted on 08/17/2010 7:12:42 AM PDT by Wooly
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To: Larry Lucido

I was on the State of Michigan website last week.

They still have a number for TTY.

Go figure.


14 posted on 08/17/2010 7:13:50 AM PDT by earlJam
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To: Uncle Ike

This certainly isn’t nonsense. As a late-deafened adult, I rely on captioning and many hard of hearing people couldn’t watch TV without captioning. There are over 36 million people with hearing loss/deafness in this country and providing captions on the internet is not costly. The original videos are already captioned and it’s usually just a small step to include those captions on the internet versions. Google is way ahead in this and now offers captioning on all you tube videos. They have developed a program that can already do this and in a few years it will be much better. Google also has a voice to text feature in the android. This is because one of googles V.P.’s, Vinton Cerf, is deaf and he realizes that the internet puts everyone on equal footing and it should remain that way. Shame on you commentors who oppose the ADA.


15 posted on 08/17/2010 7:20:32 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Maybe it will help to create jobs?


16 posted on 08/17/2010 7:21:40 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different)
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To: reagan_fanatic

Isn’t it for blind people that have someone that takes care of them and drives them around?


17 posted on 08/17/2010 7:23:51 AM PDT by stuartcr (Everything happens as God wants it to...otherwise, things would be different)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
Web video means little to the deaf without captioning.

YouTube had a Beta of a voice to CC converter in their players. Given the generally awful quality of audio in YouTube clips, and given the immense processing power required for untrained speech to text converters, it was unsurprisingly bad.

If every YouTube clip has to be closed captioned, it will be the end of the service. It is nigh on impossible to CC that many clips to the standards the ADA requires.

18 posted on 08/17/2010 7:24:27 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: crymeariver

” [snip rant]. Shame on you commentors who oppose the ADA. “

Rarely have I seen a more fitting FR screenname.....


19 posted on 08/17/2010 7:27:20 AM PDT by Uncle Ike (Rope is cheap, and there are lots of trees...)
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To: Yo-Yo
Given the generally awful quality of audio in YouTube clips, and given the immense processing power required for untrained speech to text converters, it was unsurprisingly bad.

You say unsurprisingly bad.... I say unexpectedly funny in much the same vein as the Monty Python Hungarian phrasebook sketch. My hovercraft is full of eels.

20 posted on 08/17/2010 7:28:56 AM PDT by KarlInOhio (Gun control was originally to protect Klansmen from their victims. The basic reason hasn't changed.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

“inclusion”... the new civil rights argument.

I have seen public school classrooms turned upside down (and not in a good way) by the mandated inclusion of students who have no business in public school classrooms - in the name of “inclusion”.

Why is it that everyone else has to pay for “inclusion”?

Back in the older days of civil rights, it was about giving people of all races some kind of “equality”, which then developed into quotas and affirmative action which was simply a way to penalize the majority for the benefit of the minority.

So other groups have jumped on that cash-wagon.

The Americans With Disabilities Act is another example of taking common sense steps and creating a monster.

What’s next? A demand for automobiles that can be driven by blind people? And mandate that all vehicles include such technology, no matter the cost or inconvenience to everyone else? I can see it now - braille stop signs and speed limit signs!!!

Many cell phones still have buttons that one can feel and memorize the pattern of quite quickly (I got pretty good at not only dialing my old smartphone, but even sending text messages (though I can imagine it hard to read them without looking!).

I can pick up, dial, and use my home phone without ever looking at it.


21 posted on 08/17/2010 7:31:07 AM PDT by TheBattman (They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature...)
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To: crymeariver

Yes, and Google managed to do this WITHOUT government forcing them to do so. Recognize the real problem, not the made up ones.


22 posted on 08/17/2010 7:31:20 AM PDT by Clock King (Ellisworth Toohey was right: My head's gonna explode.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

What this bill intends to do is eliminate any technology that cannot be used by the lowest common denominator among us.


23 posted on 08/17/2010 7:34:20 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (The man who speaks to you of sacrifice, speaks of slaves and masters, and intends to be the master.)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
What next?

Legislation to make complex electronics more simple because it discriminates against stupid people?

Legislation to reduce the use of ‘big words’ in books because it discriminates against the barely literate?

Legislation against music because it discriminates against the deaf?

24 posted on 08/17/2010 7:38:37 AM PDT by allmendream (Income is EARNED not distributed. So how could it be re-distributed?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster
What about those with no arms?
25 posted on 08/17/2010 7:42:44 AM PDT by Niteranger68 (I believe in man-made political climate change.)
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To: crymeariver

Your premise is faulty. The ADA has nothing to do with some of the situations you listed - Google’s Android has voice-to-text because a VP is deaf - and because they saw it as a good thing to do.

You obviously have not been on the receiving end of an ADA-based lawsuit over inconsequential things as so many have.

Free market is a funny thing - if there is a demand for a feature (including those than benefit blind/deaf/other disabled), then someone will take advantage of that market.

If a business is not quite so disabled-friendly, then they miss out on the business from those who choose therefore to not go there.

My father has significant hearing loss. Yet he doesn’t demand captioning (though does use it sometimes). He doesn’t demand special services or devices. He makes do and is content.

We all should be concerned any time the government starts talking about REQUIRING anything...


26 posted on 08/17/2010 7:52:41 AM PDT by TheBattman (They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature...)
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To: Clock King

Google did this only because they knew the numbers were large and they wanted to be first out of the box and have an edge. People with normal hearing are actually bigger users of voice to text features. Dont think for a minute that captions would be part of tv and video if it wasn’t for the ADA. Sometimes government does things right and the ADA is one of them. Turning off disabled conservatives is bad business. We dont want handouts but want equal access to the airwaves.


27 posted on 08/17/2010 8:02:30 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: TheBattman

Your father doesn’t have to demand because it’s already out there...thanks in part to the ADA. The current regs didn’t anticipate the internet and all that is being done is to include the internet in existing laws. Chances are pretty good that you will have a hearing loss also and you’ll be thanking the ADA for the captions that allows you to still watch TV and movies and also understand emergency broadcasts. Perhaps you’ll be in a wheelchair someday and would like to go shopping or live on your own. Thanks to the ADA all of the public facilities and stores are accessible to you. Imagine!


28 posted on 08/17/2010 8:07:34 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: crymeariver

So are you not a statist when it doesn’t stand to benefit you personally?

I am a nearly deaf adult. In my view, the federal government has no legitimate authority to make a private business person accommodate my disability.


29 posted on 08/17/2010 8:08:51 AM PDT by oblomov
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To: crymeariver

I resent the handicapped for the expenses and physical hardships that have been imposed on me to benefit them. It makes no sense to severely cripple the many, to slightly benefit the few.

Whereas I used to feel it was my responsibility to care for the less able, I now protect myself, by all means, from expending effort or expense complying with these imposed mandates.


30 posted on 08/17/2010 8:11:12 AM PDT by Born to Conserve
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To: Yo-Yo

The captions on you tube do seem to be bad....but, you dont need the captions to be perfect or even close to it. We also use other cues such as body language or lip reading to fill in the blanks. Googles service is a great start. I dont expect you tube videos to have captioning but I appreciate googles attempt to help us 36 million with hearing loss to enjoy at least some of the home made videos.


31 posted on 08/17/2010 8:11:26 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: Yo-Yo

The captions on you tube do seem to be bad....but, you dont need the captions to be perfect or even close to it. We also use other cues such as body language or lip reading to fill in the blanks. Googles service is a great start. I dont expect you tube videos to have captioning but I appreciate googles attempt to help us 36 million with hearing loss to enjoy at least some of the home made videos.


32 posted on 08/17/2010 8:11:29 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: crymeariver
A couple of years ago I suggested that one day the FCC will require talk radio to be captioned. Current FM radios have a service called RDS which can be used to display title and artist of a song, basic traffic info, and identify the genre of music the station plays.

With HD radio coming onboard, there is enough digital payload to send captions along with the digital audio, allowing real time "listening" of talk radio such as Rush Limbaugh.

My bet is it will happen, and be mandated, within a decade.

33 posted on 08/17/2010 8:17:09 AM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: TigerLikesRooster

It’s going to be fun to watch the requirement for wheelchair accessible and braille labeled airplane cockpits and controls. Can’t discriminate against blind pilots, doncha know.

And it’s going to be a real riot watching those NASCAR cars required to be wheelchair and blind accessible.

Maybe NASA should be completely reworked so that the space station and all space craft/shuttles be required to be wheelchair, blind and deaf accessible. And get rid of those pesky physical requirements for astronauts while you’re at it. Can’t have discrimination against the alternate-abled.

I know I just can’t wait to see the first blind airline or space shuttle pilot.

And what’s with this thing with NO deaf audio engineers/sound mixers? Grossly discriminatory!!


34 posted on 08/17/2010 8:35:03 AM PDT by hadit2here ("Most men would rather die than think. Many do." - Bertrand Russell)
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To: SJSAMPLE

They took the door off men’s room in the local YMCA here in Grants Pass and put up a big sign “The door has been removed for the benefit of the wheelchair-bound members.”

It’s absurd...I have to use a restroom where anyone walking by can look inside? And why just the men’s room door, why not the door on the women’s restroom?

It ticks me off, I’m going to complain about it to the national YMCA.

Why should I lose my privacy rights because they’re too cheap to put in a door that opens with a button, like they have on the front door?

Ed


35 posted on 08/17/2010 11:58:38 AM PDT by Sir_Ed
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To: Sir_Ed

You realize that they removed the door for another reason?

YMCA.
Bathroom.
Closed door.

Hint, hint.


36 posted on 08/17/2010 12:00:48 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: oblomov

I’ve got a friend who is color-blind. I believe the government should mandate that no one can use bright colors anymore, everything must be repainted in different shades of grey, with cross-hatch patterns to differentiate between the different shades.

And all the street lights should be redone so that instead of red we see “Stop You Vehicle” and yellow becomes “Wait a minute, slow down,” while green becomes “You can go through this inersection.

Oh, but then the non-English speaking people couldn’t read it.

Well, the street lightss will have to be multilingual then...

Ed


37 posted on 08/17/2010 12:05:15 PM PDT by Sir_Ed
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To: SJSAMPLE

Hah hah, that’s funny!

Nah, this is rural Grants Pass, Oregon...that sort of thing doesn’t happen here.

Ed


38 posted on 08/17/2010 12:06:54 PM PDT by Sir_Ed
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To: Sir_Ed

Riiiiiiiight.

Denial isn’t a river in Egypt.


39 posted on 08/17/2010 12:08:11 PM PDT by SJSAMPLE
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To: TigerLikesRooster

Why does it always have to be high technology that is stifled with unreasonable demands by bureaucrats?

Quite a few people are deathly allergic to peanuts. Why not shut down the entire peanut industry until they can develop a peanut that never makes anybody allergic?

Get the d@mn govt out of R&D and the emerging products in all markets. We’ll pick the winners, thank you very much, and the googles of the world will invent the tech needed to help the disabled. Not the bureaucrats demands.


40 posted on 08/17/2010 12:14:11 PM PDT by paulycy (Demand Constitutionality Now: Islamo-Marxism is Evil.)
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To: SJSAMPLE; OregonRancher

I’ve been a member there for ten years, I work out three times a week and I’ve never seen or heard ANY hint of that. The bathroom is centrally located, upstairs, right by the treadmills, there’s no way that happens there...

Unless I’m completely crazy, naive, ignorant or all three!!!

Ed

Oregon Rancher, you work out at that Y, is what they’re saying possibly true???


41 posted on 08/17/2010 12:33:18 PM PDT by Sir_Ed
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To: Sir_Ed

We just got back from a trip to the east coast and haven’t
popped into the “Y” yet so I haven’t the faintest idea.

I do know, as a matter of principle, that I won’t bend over
in any public restroom or shower, even our “Y”.

Laughing.....Ed, I’ll be at the guy next Monday morning!

Screw the city.


42 posted on 08/17/2010 1:33:17 PM PDT by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: OregonRancher

Hmmm...what’s happening Monday?

See ya’,

Ed


43 posted on 08/17/2010 2:15:38 PM PDT by Sir_Ed
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To: Sir_Ed

Nutten....Just Monday I’ll start back to the gym...laughing.


44 posted on 08/17/2010 2:57:56 PM PDT by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: oblomov

No, I’m not a statist, and other than enjoying captions on the TV, I haven’t personally benefitted from the ADA. The ADA requirements certainly aren’t that imposing. Is it too much to ask for you to purchase a $100 captioned telephone to help your employee do a better job on the phone? That’s the only thing you’d be required to do. You dont have to hire the HOH or deaf perhaps they remind you too much of your own disability and your lack of understanding or compassion. You’d probably be against installing toilets for your employees if it weren’t required by law. I could go on but the ADA is a great idea. Yes, it’s been abused by some, but like OSHA, it is good for business.


45 posted on 08/18/2010 10:21:25 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: oblomov

No, I’m not a statist, and other than enjoying captions on the TV, I haven’t personally benefitted from the ADA. The ADA requirements certainly aren’t that imposing. Is it too much to ask for you to purchase a $100 captioned telephone to help your employee do a better job on the phone? That’s the only thing you’d be required to do. You dont have to hire the HOH or deaf perhaps they remind you too much of your own disability and your lack of understanding or compassion. You’d probably be against installing toilets for your employees if it weren’t required by law. I could go on but the ADA is a great idea. Yes, it’s been abused by some, but like OSHA, it is good for business.


46 posted on 08/18/2010 10:21:32 AM PDT by crymeariver (Good news...in a way)
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To: crymeariver

The question of whether the ADA has benefited me or others is beside the point. Whether or not it is a good idea, the federal government simply does not have the legitimate authority to enforce such a law against private businesses that receive no federal money.

Compliance with this law is hardly confined to the purchase of a $100 telephone, despite your assertion that “that’s the only thing you’d be required to do”. The ADA applies not only to accommodating employees, but potential customers as well. Although a good corporate manager would gladly accommodate both disabled employees and customers, I do not think it is the federal government’s role to demand goodness.


47 posted on 08/18/2010 6:46:06 PM PDT by oblomov
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