Accessible Computing

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Tue Dec 15 14:20:35 CST 2015

On Sun, Dec 13, 2015 at 01:18:01PM -0800, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> I've tried reading my email using text-to-speech software and felt
> like I wanted to throw the damned machine out the window.

I wonder how tts would manage with a website like ... Some
time ago they became javascript-only. At least this is what I see. I
do not need accessibility option but I always admire a website which
can be read in text-only mode. In many cases this means that I will
have to slide down past meaningless crap, like fifty or hundred links
to other "interesting" articles du jour, until finally I get to the
thing which I wanted to read (in a graphical mode, the crap is semi
hidden in marginal parts of the page and does not get in my way).

When I try nasa with a browser like Lynx, the website is not showing
anything at all. When I load an article in Firefox, then try to open
same URL in Lynx, once again, nothing. Source view in Lynx displays
lots of html without actual content, which needs to get loaded by JS.

Now, the funny stuff: I try "print preview" in Firefox and it shows me
sixty three pages, because, you know, apart from the original article
I was interested in there is a side frame with about twenty (forty?)
others and for whatever reason they all want to go into
printer. Actually those are not full articles, just enough of them to
constitute sixty pages of worthless addendum, full of color photos and
scraps of text.

> Technology, it seems, hasn't served us well in some respects.

I am afraid technology is no longer oriented towards helping with
technical problem as much as it used to be. I would say, it is
increasingly more about serving the purpose to "being liked" or
actually "being like us" (as opposed to those who do not use said
technology and are therefor "not like us"). In other words, if you
ever disliked the mob of goodwilling citizens [1], today this mob has
a deciding voice about what technology will be like. There used to be
a time of "revenge of geeks", now the "revenge of cheerleaders" is
approaching. Empire strikes back, heheheheh.

This and pitiful approach to design, which has to be new, shiny and
blinking. And this is just a beginning of a long sliding down. :-/

Of course I am wrong. There is a good chance fifty years from now some
people will point to today's as a wonderful example of
classic web design - now, what kind of horror will be modern at that
time so that will be opposed to it as classy ideal? But it
was nice to write all this. And if I am right I will point to this
piece and say "see, I was right, I only had to pretend I was joking".


[1] Like archetypical football players, cheerleaders and their minions
who boo at nerds and other weirdos [2], but it is not really so much about
players vs nerds, perhaps more like people who want purposeful tech
and those who want pretty tech? Pretty tech to show off how much
modern and up to date they are, when in fact this is just about being

[2] I do not take such tales too seriously as I never have been booed
at back in a days when cheerleaders were all jumping high - not for
being weird. But I keep hearing stories about booing which is why I am
using this rhetorical device here. Then again, back in a days we did
not have cheerleaders in Poland and weirdos who could do a computer
were actually kind of admired :-). Perhaps more because they had
access to the half mythical hard-to-get hardware and not because of
their abilities, but still.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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