[BCAB] Fwd: E-Access Bulletin, April 2013: Accessible copyright treaty hits new roadblock; E-book access; Erik Weihenmayer profile.
muzz.lakhani at googlemail.com
Fri May 3 17:42:34 BST 2013
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Begin forwarded message:
> From: "Dan Jellinek" <dan at headstar.com>
> Date: 30 April 2013 17:11:50 BST
> To: <eaccess at headstar.com>
> Subject: E-Access Bulletin, April 2013: Accessible copyright treaty hits new roadblock; E-book access; Erik Weihenmayer profile.
> Reply-To: "Dan Jellinek" <dan at headstar.com>
> ++E-ACCESS BULLETIN
> Access To Technology For All, Regardless Of Ability
> - ISSUE 157, April 2013.
> A Headstar Publication.
> http://www.headstar.com/eab/ .
> In association with Go ON Gold:
> http://www.go-on-gold.co.uk .
> Please forward this free bulletin to others (subscription details
> at the end). We conform to the accessible Text Email
> Newsletter (TEN) Standard:
> http://www.headstar.com/ten/ .
> ++Issue 157 Contents.
> 01: Accessible Copyright Treaty Hits New Roadblock
> - Warning that five-year talks may produce little of value.
> 02: Great Expectations Of e-Book Access Demonstrations
> - London Book Fair event charts publishing industry progress.
> 03: Location Networking Aims To Help Disabled People
> - New app could help build local communities of support.
> News in Brief: 04: Cynthia Waddell – the sad passing of a
> world pioneer; 05 Money Talks – UK cash machine access; 06:
> Travel Prize – app awards.
> Section Two: Inbox.
> 07: Visible Speech – “Google glasses” concept for seeing
> spoken words; 08: QUAIL Concerns – automated web checker
> Section Three: Profile - Erik Weihenmayer, Adventurer.
> 09: Scaling The Heights Of Possibility: Erik Weihenmayer has
> climbed the highest mountains on all continents and is
> currently planning to kayak the Colorado Rapids – yet he is
> blind. Courage, determination and technology are all part of his
> formula for success, described in this article from Italian
> newspaper La Repubblica.
> [Contents ends].
> ++Section One: News.
> +01: Accessible Copyright Treaty Hits New Roadblock.
> The World Blind Union (WBU) has reacted angrily to a new
> setback to long-running work on an international copyright
> treaty which could improve access to accessible books for
> blind and visually impaired people.
> The union has been a key negotiator in talks at the World
> Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) which have been
> going on for almost five years. Following the latest round of
> talks from 18-20 April in Geneva, the WBU released a
> statement saying the discussions “devoted almost no time to
> insuring that the treaty will encourage the cross border sharing
> of desperately needed books for the blind”, concentrating
> instead on protecting the rights of existing copyright holders.
> One of the main areas the WBU has been trying to negotiate is
> for exceptions in copyright laws which govern the sharing
> between countries, which would allow easier access to
> accessible versions of books and other materials.
> When a “roadmap” for formalising a treaty was approved in
> October last year, WBU Vice Chair Dan Pescod had told E-
> Access Bulletin it signalled the “finish line” in sight. However,
> Pescod also warned against the creation of a “trophy treaty”
> which would have little or no use in allowing books to be
> shared more easily (see E-Access Bulletin 152:
> http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=776 )
> This threat now seems to be growing. In a statement about the
> meeting, Fred Schroeder, First Vice President of the World
> Blind Union, said: “WBU is alarmed that some of the
> negotiators have focused their efforts almost exclusively on
> crafting language around copyright protections that have
> nothing to do with the ability of authorised entities to produce
> books for the blind and visually impaired.”
> A two-week diplomatic conference will now take in place in
> Morocco in June to finalise the wording of the treaty and
> discuss how it will be implemented. The latest draft can be
> viewed in PDF from the links below.
> Treaty draft – short link in PDF: http://bit.ly/17evViL
> Treaty draft – full link in PDF: http://www.ip-
> And you can comment on this story now, on EAB Live:
> +02: Great Expectations Of e-Book Access Demonstrations.
> Accessibility is “rising up the agenda” of the publishing
> industry as awareness grows of the value of helping people
> access electronic books in multiple formats, a publishing
> standards body said this month.
> The statement came following a live demonstration of
> accessible readings from “Great Expectations” by Charles
> Dickens at the London Book Fair in an event organised by the
> Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Publishers
> Licensing Society and EDitEUR – the trade standards body for
> the global book industry.
> Technologies demonstrated live included font size adjustment
> on the Kindle e-reader; a text-to-speech reader; and use of an
> iPod to produce both text-to-speech and a Braille output linked
> to a Bluetooth Braille display.
> Helen Gunesekera, Media Development Officer (Publishing
> and Reading) at RNIB, told E-Access Bulletin said the live
> Braille display demonstration in particular struck a chord with
> the audience. “Being able to see the Braille display in action
> really caught the imagination of people in the audience, few of
> whom were aware that this was technically possible,”
> Gunesekera said.
> Speaking to E-Access Bulletin after the event Mark Bide,
> Executive Director of EDItEUR, said accessibility is “rising up
> the agenda” in the publishing industry. He said there are now
> good levels of compliance with a 2010 recommendation by the
> Publishers Association that text-to-speech be routinely enabled
> on all e-books across all platforms, except where there is an
> audiobook edition commercially available.
> “It’s not at the top of the agenda but things have improved
> enormously over the last four or five years. There is a
> recognition that there are a number of very good reasons for
> making e-books accessible, one of which is market-driven: by
> bringing what has previously been a very specialist activity to
> the mainstream, you actually increase the overall market.”
> Bide said progress was founded on the Joint Statement on
> Accessibility ( http://bit.ly/12IZBUl ), a pledge issued by the
> Publishers Association in April 2012, asking for sector-wide
> support across the publishing industry to improve e-book
> accessibility (see E-Access Bulletin, issue 147:
> http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=714 ).
> And you can comment on this story now, on EAB Live:
> +03: Location Networking Aims To Help Disabled People
> A free smartphone app that can help disabled people find and
> connect with others in their community and request social
> support has been launched in the UK.
> MiFinder combines elements of social networking platforms
> with GPS satellite location, allowing users to engage and
> potentially meet with people nearby them who share similar
> interests. The app has a range of potential uses – including
> dating – but is unusual in promoting its use for social support,
> its owner says.
> Users create a profile on the app and can choose to input
> personal information, including whether they consider
> themselves disabled. Users then write a short description of
> why they are using the app – for dating, to make new friends,
> or to find social support if they feel isolated – and the kind of
> people they hope to connect with. The app then shows where
> other MiFinder users with similar profiles are located, including
> those who may be in the same area at the same time. Users can
> switch off their precise location if they do not feel comfortable
> disclosing it to others.
> MiFinder founder and CEO Gabriel Saclain told E-Access
> Bulletin that he hopes that eventually, if enough users join, the
> app will provide a unique means of engagement for people
> who may be isolated and lack the opportunity to meet others
> near where they live.
> “I did know of other location-based apps which were much
> more focused on dating and things like that, but I felt there was
> a need for something which was much more community-
> focused, that allows people to get to know other people in real-
> time, using GPS”, Saclain said.
> As well as allowing users to build up social connections and
> engage with similar communities nearby, MiFinder will be
> developed to give support groups – such as organisations that
> offer support to disabled people, for example – a real-time
> presence, he said.
> Short link to MiFinder:
> Full link to MiFinder:
> And you can comment on this story now, on EAB Live:
> ++News in Brief:
> +04: Cynthia Waddell: A wave of tributes has followed the sad
> death in April of accessible web design pioneer Cynthia
> Waddell, who will be deeply missed by the world technology
> community. Waddell contributed hugely to advancing the
> cause of IT equality for disabled people in the US, writing the
> country’s first accessible web design standard in 1995. These
> paved the way for Electronic and Information Technology
> Accessibility Standards legislation, known as Section 508,
> which used the public procurement process to have a huge
> impact on how technology companies design their products
> and services. Cynthia also founded and was executive director
> of the International Center for Disability Resources on the
> Internet, which under her leadership has tirelessly championed
> universal design and equal opportunities:
> Short link: http://bit.ly/ZBg47H
> Full link: http://itu4u.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/accessibility-
> +05 Money Talks: Two of the UK’s major banks, RBS and
> sister company NatWest, are the latest to commit to introducing
> “talking ATMs” to help blind and visually impaired customers
> operate their network of cash machines around the UK.
> Around 80% of RBS and NatWest’s 4,800 ATMs will be
> speech-enabled, with work beginning in early 2014 and
> concluding by the end of 2015, following a long-running
> campaign from the Royal National Institute of Blind People
> (RNIB). Six other financial services and cash machine
> companies – Barclays, Lloyds, Nationwide, LINK, Co-
> operative and Visa – have also signed up to the campaign:
> Short link: http://bit.ly/17r3jkD
> Full link:
> +06: Travel Prize: Transport for London (TfL) have launched a
> competition to find an app that relays real-time travel
> information in formats accessible for disabled or elderly users.
> Anyone is free to enter and develop an app, and the winner
> will receive up to £5,000. The competition is being run in
> association with the One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition,
> and the deadline for entries is 30 August:
> Short link: http://bit.ly/12pRR9B
> Full link:
> [Section One ends].
> ++Sponsored Notice: Bee Communications
> - Specialist Providers of Remote Captioning.
> Remote Captioning enables deaf people to participate with
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> [Sponsored Notice ends].
> ++Section Two: 'The Inbox'
> - Readers' Forum.
> Please email all contributions or responses to:
> inbox at headstar.com .
> +07: Visible Speech: Keith Paterson, a volunteer web trainer
> for older people, posted onto our website following last issue’s
> piece on training courses for blind and visually impaired
> people on the “Georgie” package of smartphone apps that can
> help with communication.
> His comment relates to his own imaginative idea about possible
> new digital technologies to help people with impaired hearing,
> building beyond the world of mobile apps to Google glasses.
> “I have good vision but my hearing is almost gone”, Paterson
> writes. “Fortunately I have a cochlear implant which is a
> tremendous help. However it is very surprising to me that I
> have yet to see a proposal for Google glasses to be used in
> connection with speech recognition so I can SEE what people
> are saying.
> “With a billion hard-of-hearing people worldwide there is a
> great need for this and it is something I have been pushing for
> over ten years. Speech recognition on things like this iPad I use
> has come on tremendously, so it is just a question of time
> before Google or someone catches on. But the glasses are more
> likely to sell to gadget freaks who want to show off or watch
> the sport while walking around!”
> Further comments please to inbox at headstar.com or add your
> response online at:
> http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=836 .
> +08: QUAIL Concerns: Following the piece in our last issue
> “Web Content Accessibility Checker Pitched At Wider
> Audience”, which described an updated version of free web
> content accessibility checker QUAIL ( http://quailjs.org/ ),
> reader Steve Faulkner posted onto our website with some
> “While the concept of QUAIL is interesting, the default
> guideline set contains a significant amount of tests that are out
> of date or incorrect, which may lead developers into
> unnecessary code additions or additions that do not have the
> desired benefit”, Faulkner said.
> “Until the default set of tests match reality QUAIL should be
> treated with extreme caution.”
> However, Steve’s comment prompted a further reassuring
> response from Mike Gifford, President of Canadian open
> source web development group OpenConcept.
> “This [QUAIL] is a great project, because it is open source”,
> Gifford said. “It does take a while to build and maintain any
> test. Folks should consider adding to the issue queue if they
> find tests that are insufficient:
> “It’s a great start to get content editors more aware of the
> accessibility challenges of their work. No automated tool will
> catch everything though.”
> Further responses please to inbox at headstar.com or add your
> response online at:
> http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=834 .
> [Section Two ends].
> ++Sponsored Notice: Adept Transcription
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> Tel: 0208 133 5418 (precede with 18001 for typetalk)
> Email transcription at adept-uk.org
> [Sponsored Notice ends]
> Section Three: Profile
> - Erik Weihenmayer, Adventurer.
> +09: Scaling The Heights Of Possibility.
> Erik Weihenmayer has climbed Mount Everest, the world’s
> highest mountain, and descended Mount Elbrus, the highest
> peak in Europe, skiing to base camp. Now he is preparing to
> ride the rapids of the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River in a
> kayak. Extreme sports always offer extreme challenges, but for
> Weihenmayer, the level of difficulty is different: he is blind,
> after contracting retinoschisis at the age of three.
> Weihenmayer, 44, an American of German origin, lost his sight
> gradually until his eyes were removed as a teenager and as a
> young man, to be replaced with prosthetics. “I was not afraid
> of going blind, but of ending up marginalised,” he told Lukas
> Eberle, a writer at the German newspaper “Der Spiegel”.
> “Sometimes it’s frustrating, it’s a daily struggle with yourself
> and with your limitations that you would almost pull out your
> hair,” said Weihenmayer.
> After graduating with honours he took a teaching job, but soon
> decided the quiet life was not for him.
> “At the end of the 90s I decided to take the plunge and to
> devote myself to sports”, Weihenmayer says. He began by
> climbing Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North
> America, then Kilimanjaro. But that wasn’t enough; nothing
> seemed to satisfy his desire to prove to himself and to others
> his ability to achieve what seemed to be impossible.
> Accompanied by a helper, he went to Vietnam with a mountain
> bike tandem, and rode across the country for 1,740 km.
> Today Weihenmayer relates his exploits at meetings and
> conferences where tens of thousands of people come to listen.
> He is in demand everywhere, from his native US to Hong
> Kong, Thailand, Chile and Germany.
> “There are some days in your life when everything is as
> difficult as if you were blind and had to climb a mountain”, he
> says. “But you must not be defeated by those days. They can
> transform you into pioneers, they can make you turn lead into
> gold”. Weihenmayer earns a good living as a lay preacher of
> the courage to live: only Bill Clinton and a few other speakers
> are paid more than him.
> His most extreme adventure was climbing Mount Everest, the
> roof of the world. Erik’s Nepalese Sherpas, seeing him move
> easily and nimbly, could not believe that he was blind. They
> tried to gently take away the snow and the ice from his face to
> check if he could see, and in the end he had to take out one of
> his artificial eyes and show them his empty orbit to persuade
> Being a sightless champion of extreme sports is tough.
> Weihenmayer has developed some personal techniques and
> systems: when climbing a mountain, he wears special
> sunglasses with an integrated minicam, transmitting signals to a
> sensor. This sensor is connected to his tongue by a cable, and
> he has learned to use it to recognise the shape of rocks. When
> skiing or racing, he always has a helper, but he has learned to
> distinguish between each type of soil, from sand to asphalt, by
> the sound of his footsteps and the surrounding noises.
> “I partially put my life in the hands of others, of those who
> accompany me; only sport can give me this special feeling of
> confidence”, he says. “When I am on a mountain, or in the
> most remote places, I take a great delight in this feeling, as I
> cannot see the splendid views around me.”
> Weihenmayer has founded a charity, “Soldiers to Summits”,
> which organises climbing groups with veterans from Iran or
> Afghanistan, some of whom are blind, have lost their limbs or
> experienced severe trauma. He gives them back the extreme
> but normal sensations of life by climbing mountains from
> Nepal to Ecuador.
> Now, for his latest feat in the Grand Canyon, Weihenmayer is
> being trained by US Olympic canoeist Casey Eichfeld. “I help
> him to control his feelings and nerves while going down with
> the kayak,” Eichfeld says, but when asked if he would ever
> come down the rapids of the Colorado blindfolded, the
> Olympian is clear. “Absolutely not. Never!”
> NOTE: Article reproduced with permission from the Italian
> newspaper “La Repubblica”, where it first appeared on 25
> February, 2013. Written by Andrea Tarquini and translated for
> E-Access Bulletin by Margherita Giordano. Our thanks to
> And you can comment on this story now, on EAB Live:
> [Section Three ends]
> ++Sponsored Notice: Accessify Forum
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> [Special notice ends].
> ++End Notes.
> +How to Receive the Bulletin.
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> Copyright 2013 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
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> Editor: Dan Jellinek.
> Reporter: Tristan Parker.
> Editorial advisor: Kevin Carey.
> ISSN 1476-6337.
> [Issue 157 ends.]
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