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Re: LYNX-DEV v2.6FM update

From: BLINUX Documentation Project
Subject: Re: LYNX-DEV v2.6FM update
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 18:40:58 +0000 (GMT)

aloha, thanh!

>Forgive me for being ignorant but what you mean by 'blind user'. I keep hearing
>it and keep wondering. Do you mean 'color blind' ?

no, i mean blind, as in without vision...  for those of us whose ears
substitute for our eyes, lynx is the greatest thing to come down the pike
since the collapsable cane...

why?  because speech synthesis works best in a text-based environment...
it took well over a decade for speech access (by which i mean, speech output,
in which what is normally routed to the monitor is intercepted by a piece
of software called a screen-reader and routed to a voice-synthesizer and
audiblized) for DOS to stablize and provide blind users with the ability
to compete on a level playing field with their sighted counterparts, so
you can just imagine the state of speech access for windows--by the time
quality screen access to win 3.x appeared, the standard had switched to
win95, and now, as the first bug-ridden screen-readers for win95 are being
tweaked into some semblance of reliability, we are on the cusp of another
standard switch...  and as for windows NT, there is only one full-fledged
screen reader which is NT compatible, but it has drawn very negative
reviews from those who have attempted to use it in a work-enviornment...

the bottom line is that speech access, by virtue of the miniscule
market-share which blind computer users represent, is a fringe
industry--almost exclusively the domain of third party developers, who
scramble to retro-fit speech onto what are often--by virtue of their
visually driven design--hostile environments...  the efficiency of
screen-access is also compromised by the fact that very few
developers have access to the source code for the operating system for
which they are attempting to provide access--and in order for a
screen-reader to function effectively and efficiently, the development of
screen access, by its very nature, demands an intimate knowledge of the
inner workings of an OS--which, of course, are proprietary secrets...
(just for an example, consider the vast outlay of memory required for a
screen reader to identify all of the icons and graphical elements used in
windows...  then, try to imagine what would take to keep you aurally
apprised of all of the screen changes that occur during a windows
session--all of the dialog boxes, text-entry boxes, tool-bars, status
lines, etc...)

which is why so many blind users are so fanatically devoted to lynx--in a
world in which access to cutting-edge technology is increasingly limited,
lynx provides blind users with the capacity to ride the cusp of browser
development, as there is no other browser which is as conscientiously
updated, debugged, well-maintained, and documented as lynx...

           Gregory J. Rosmaita, address@hidden or address@hidden
  electronic archivist and webmaster for The BLINUX Documentation Project

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