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Rivals at 37000 feet – Independent

31st July 2006 • Dave

As only 5 percent of published matter makes it into an accessible format, inflight magazines are hardly a priority. So this piece in the Indie was fascinating to someone who does not carry an OCR system in his hand luggage every time he flies.

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End of the TOTP era!

30th July 2006 • Dave

For anyone in the UK under the age of 40, TOTP has been a constant in our lives. After the final show due to be screened this evening on BBC Two, TOTP will be no longer.

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Bloglines plumber

29th July 2006 • Dave

No one wants to see an error message, especially when going to read your RSS subscriptions. I have not encountered a Bloglines error message in over a year of using the service. Although today I hit the following. And whoever came up with this got it spot on as far as I was concerned. Usually I feel frustration at error messages, but this one … hmmm … well I thought I will just come back later, no probs. I am going soft!

I’m the Bloglines Plumber. Bloglines is down for a little fixer upper. We will be back shortly. Bloglines will be all better when I’m done with it.
The Bloglines Plumber!”

And at least my live RSS subscriptions BlogRole which you usually see below the archives over to the right of the page simply isn’t there, and the JavaScript hasn’t spewed error messages all over my web site. If you have to be down for any period, then do it gracefully. Good on ya Bloglines.

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More apologies and excuses from PlusNet and Orange

24th July 2006 • Dave

The following recent messages from PlusNet and Orange tell me two things:

1. They have been cutting costs and not investing in people.

2. It is probably time I voted with my wallet.

PlusNet – “Service disruption has always been there, but not in the same frequency as the last two or three months. As regards the experience that some customers have had in that period, we are truly sorry. We are determined that we will not allow this collection of circumstances to be recreated in the future.”

Orange – “We have received your mail and will respond as soon as we can however, we have received a high volume of emails recently which may delay our response.”

Both companies collect money through premium rate tech support lines, and Orange make further savings by outsourcing to India, charging for previously free services and discontinuing others. These are not small companies by any stretch of the imagination and recent performance is pathetic. One friend of mine has recently voted with her purse and cancelled her PlusNet subscription after PlusNet lost all her mail and did not offer anything by way of good will.

So how can they put this right. As well as fixing the technical issues, Invest in people and get some positive PR by showing they are socially responsible by doing something for the community.

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Blind charities praise Google for finding accessible sites

23rd July 2006 • Dave

Blogged about this new service from Google just the other day. El Reg has prob the most comprehensive piece I have found yet.

Interestingly though, meets the vast majority of accessibility guidelines and is XHTML 1.0 compliant. However, only makes it to position six in the results on the Accessible search page, for the phrase Dave Williams without quotes or plus signs. And performing the same search on the main Google service finds us in second place.

Welcome to a world according to Google. What more should I be doing to improve the usability of this site? I have made sure it is compliant with web standards and tested it in a number of browsers. IE, Pocket IE, Firefox, and in the default browser on Simbian S60 phones. A couple of Linux users occasionally drop by and I have not heard any complaints from them either. Dear reader I respectfully submit that this level of testing is a hell of a lot more than the majority of web sites undergo.

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Vote to rase awareness of Audio Description

21st July 2006 • Dave

The Cinema Audio Description listings service from has been short-listed for a National Lottery Award! Making it to the finals will really help spread awareness of audio described cinema in the UK.

Please vote for Audio Description listings.

Just click the link above, type your name, select your local cinema, and click Vote Now!

The overall winners will be announced during a special BBC National Lottery television show in the autumn. Voting could help the service to secure further funding, which will help to keep it going. (Their funding runs out at Christmas!

Voting tells the Lottery board, and the UK film industry, that audio description and audio description listings really matter and should be continued.

It is a great opportunity to use the exposure to remind the film industry that
this access issue needs to be kept high on the agenda.

Thank you.

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