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Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary

From: Gene Collins
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Licensing Lynx: Summary
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 01:06:37 -0400

And if I gave you my white cane for an hour or two and forced you to
ware sleep shades, you'd think that was difficult too.  Now if you had
told me that you had someone familiar with the access software in
question and familiar with teaching blind people working with you for a
week or so and then you couldn't figure out what was going on, I'd say
you had a good grasp of what might be necessary.  When you tell me
you've turned off your monitor and tried a speech package for a couple
of hours and found it difficult, I say you haven't even begun to become
familiar with the techniques you need to get things done in a screen
reading environment.  Things like assigning hot keys to launch a
specific application, instead of fumbling around using simulated mouse
keys to try to find an icon.  Things like learning to type the first
letter of the name of an item on the desktop or in a folder in order to
move to it.  Things like allowing the blind person to open a DOS box and
use familiar DOS commands to do simple house keeping chores.  Things
like running Lynx in a dos box with the proper file setup so it can
launch Real Audio when necessary.  And the list goes on.  I'd bet that
you as a sighted person don't even know half the keyboard options
available in Windows which are available to use instead of a mouse.  And
the list goes on.

In a response to some one else, you mentioned the need to write special
console drivers for shell accounts.  You might have to do that for other
flavors of Unix, but not for Linux.  There is already a package called
Speakup being developed which is a patch to the Linux kernel, and gives
complete access to text consoles, and works just greate with Lynx.  This
is what I ment about doing your market research.  If you don't know
what's already available, you'll waste a lot of time reinventing the
wheel.  Don't expect whatever you develop as a special application to be
a one size fits all solution.  That is why there are a number of screen
reading packages out there, and blind folks pick and choose among them
to find what best fits their skills and needs.

You've had some pritty heavy criticisum thrown at you by some folks who
don't share your point of view.  That aught to be enough to cause you to at
least stop and reexplore  some of your ideas.  If there's one thing I've
learned as a proffessional tech support consultant, the best way to help
people is to listen, listen, and when you think you've listened enough,
listen again.  I don't know how many blind folks you've come in contact
with, but there are just as big differences among blind people in skills and
abilities as there are among sighted folks.  If you've done a survey
among a large number of blind folks, not just the ones you know, and
the results support what you think will be helpful, then by all means
have at it.  If not, don't be offended.  It's like I put it to some one
last week.  When is help not help?  When it's forced on someone who
didn't want it.  If you think you see a problem you can do something
about, at least do some formal research to see if the mejority of the
folks you are trying to help perceive the situation the same way you do.

Gene Collins

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