Mon, 31 Aug, 2009
Just got Snow Leopard installed on my iMac and so far, it's been quite nice. The little visual touches (black background with white text for hovers) and heightened performance have been impressive so far.
One interesting roadblock I hit right away though was with my install of Cisco VPN. I have version 4.9 installed, which is set to run with anything greater than OSX 10.4. When trying to connect, it gave up and delivered the cryptic "Error 501" message. I tried a few configurations but eventually found the solution, which was both quick and easy, and I figured I would post this, as several of my Mac-user buddies have been asking about this over the last day or so.
Thu, 30 Jul, 2009
I was recently in Chicago for the eduWEB Conference 2009. I was able to see several very interesting presentations about content marketing and development in higher education, particularly through the use of social media tools and the ubiquitous term, "SEO."
Also while at the conference, I presented on web accessibility standards for higher education websites. There are new challenges facing higher ed web and content developers going into the future. The temptation and, ultimately, the need to use tools and technologies like social media tools, mobile apps (and of course devices), and development extensions like JQuery, AJAX, and (yup) Flash to make higher ed sites and courseware more relatable for students may make them accessible on an emotional level for some, but drastically reduces accessibility for all when programmed without accessibility in mind. My presentation focused on this, as did Svetlana Kouznetsova's round table talk on accessibility for video and audio content on the web. While Youtube does offer captioning support now, the vast majority of basic user-uploaded content does not contain captions, rendering it drastically altered for users with any form of hearing loss. Here's Youtube's awesome take (courtesy of Svetlana) on why captions are good. Hint: watch it once without captions, then once with them. :)
My own presentation's focus was on web accessibility for content, from the perspectives of content writers, designers, and developers. These roles all work together to make the web more accessible, however people in each role have very different tasks from one another that they should maintain for the web.
Tue, 28 Jul, 2009
Just got back from the eduWEB conference in Chicago where I presented about content accessibility standards for higher-ed websites. More on this (and a possible screencast) later, but a couple of issues consistently arose from this and some emails and communication from others on the Drupal 7 Accessibility Task Force that I'm just putting out there.
1. Headings - how many and when?
Basically, h1 - h6 tags can be used by many assistive technologies to help disabled users scan a page. Some screen readers can be commanded to "read only headings." From a semantic standpoint, they also help web content maintain context that would otherwise only be conveyed visually. Now generally, the rule of thumb is this: one h1 heading, which must be unique OR the name of the site (if this is the homepage or it's otherwise appropriate), with subheadings filled in by h2 headings. On rare occasions that there are sub-subheadings of content, h3 tags should be used but generally on one page, it's more common to see one big heading, a few smaller headings, and maybe one really small heading. Anyway, the question has come up recently, is this appropriate? In certain situations, a page will need the name of the site and a unique title for the page visible on the page. Do we smush everything into one line then? Or do we have two h1 headings? That's essentially like a book with two titles. Visually it can distract the user and from an accessibility standpoint, would certainly confuse screen readers etc.
Wed, 8 Jul, 2009
According to news released on the official Google Blog this morning, Google Apps is finally, truly out of beta. This includes Google Calendar, Docs, GTalk, and of course GMail. The "beta" is being removed from all logos today and the party hats are going on.
The Google folks aren't resting on their laurels for long though. According to an addition Google Enterprise Blog entry, Google's efforts to be adopted by small to middling business companies will be strengthened in the coming weeks, with additional enterprise features for Premier accounts, such as email delegation (send or filter emails on behalf of another person) and email retention (so that IT admins can determine when a corporate email should be purged) currently in serious beta, to be rolled out soon.
Tue, 9 Jun, 2009
In July 2006, I was fortunate enough to be asked to podcast several sessions at a conference I was attending. It was just three years ago, but podcasting was still something so new and exciting in many fields of technology that it was considerably on the bleeding edge. Today, the techniques and tools we used then would be considered rudimentary and unnecessarily old-school.
Now the sleeker tools are available to more and more people. And what do we have? More than 100,000 podcasts are hosted on iTunes, and countless numbers more than that are hosted all across the web. With quick and easy publishing tools, it's easy to create content and even easier to distribute it. Before you know it, you can have a ton of subscribers (almost as many as you have followers on Twitter).
Fri, 5 Jun, 2009
Today is my birthday so just for fun, figured I'd share some favorite BACON resources on the web!!
Wed, 27 May, 2009
According to W3.org, the Mobile Web Best Practices (MWBP) Working Group and the Web Access Initiative (WAI) Education and Outreach Working Group yesterday released a final draft of "Relationship Between MWBP and WCAG."
This document is one of several new writings to come out of W3 regarding the mobile web and content accessibility standards. As more and more mobile devices gain access to the interwebs, more standards arise.
Mon, 18 May, 2009
A gear is a component within a transmission device that transmits rotational force to another gear or device. A gear is different from a pulley in that a gear is a round wheel that has linkages ("teeth" or "cogs") that mesh with other gear teeth, allowing force to be fully transferred without slippage. Depending on their construction and arrangement, geared devices can transmit forces at different speeds, torques, or in a different direction, from the power source.
Been doing some research recently regarding components of web accessibility. For a site, a page, an app to be fully accessible, it takes cooperation in several relationships between components.
Tue, 28 Apr, 2009
Did you know that, if you add a hot cocoa packet to black coffee, it's basically MOCHA???
I just got on board with this.
Sat, 25 Apr, 2009
Recently, I was setting up an example of taxonomy in Drupal. Meaning to highlight large vocabularies with almost limitless possibilities for relationships. I tried a few different sets--food groups (too simple), animal kingdom (too complex), books (not there, but getting closer)--before I found what I thought would be the perfect example; music by genre.