Liberty and Accessibility

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Many people create web pages everyday. These web pages are created with HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language.) These web pages can include anything from forms to CGI scripts. There is one thing a lot of people don't think about when they create web pages. This is accessibility. One thing that people do wrong is they have links to pictures and they don't use alt tags to describe the pictures. As the result, when blind people come across these pages and try to brows them with screen readers, they just hear the word "link." An example of this is On this page, there is a link to go to the main page. However, the link points to a logo and there is no alt tag. For that link, a blind person just hears the word "link." If you view the source for that page, you'll notice that something like alt="HMCsoft main page" can be inserted before the ">" in the link to the main page.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Some people think that the best way to deal with voting machine problems in US elections is to have paper ballots in all elections. I disagree. The way to deal with voting machine problems is to use voting machines that use open source software. With open source software, any programmer can look at the software to see how it works. For example, if a voting machine had a bug in it's software that caused democratic votes to turn into republican votes, programmers could find that bug and it would be exposed. As a blind person, I strongly believe in the use of electronic voting machines. Voting machines have software that speaks election choices and selections so we can vote independantly. More information about open source software can be found here or here
Have a good thanks giving and don't eat too much turkey!

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Well, I found a little more information about the military draft legislation that democratic senator Charles Rangel will propose. According to this site, the senator says that if there is a draft, America won't be able to go to war without suns and daughters of congressmen having to participate. Therefore, the military service will be devided equally regardless of social class. Don't be fooled by that logic. These congressmen that Mr. Rangle is talking about will have to vote on his legislation. Those congressmen will find a way to put loop holes into the legislation. Then we will be right back in the situation we had in Vietnam.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Florida county is requiring eye sight for a computer job. From reading the job description, it seems that the main things the job requires are walking, some lifting, working with databases, computer programming, and technical support. Lets go through these.
1. walking; Are there some sighted people that actually think we can't walk to places independantly? That's what guide dogs or white caines are for.
2. computer programming:
randomize Timer
dim number as double, r_int as integer
dim theend as string
print "Random Selecter by Ryan Mann"
print "This program will generate random numbers between 1 and 213."
while theend <> "exit"
print "The number is ",r_int,"."
input "Press enter for another number or type exit to end the program.",theend
The above is a program to print random numbers from 1 to 213. It was written in a programming language called BASIC which stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. In order to run the program, you need to save it into a text file on your computer, then compile it. To do this, you can download FreeBASIC from FreeBASIC is a compiler for the BASIC programming language. Basically, it turns programs written in the BASIC language into executable programs that personal computers can run. I admit, that program wasn't that complicated, but don't worry. Blind people have written a lot more complicated programs. One example of this is the NVDA screen reader. It can be downloaded at
3. lifting; I don't think I even need to comment because it's so obvious.
4. technical support; I personally know of a blind person that has done technical support for an internet service provider called US Internet Technologies.
5. computer databases- That's what a screen reader is for. Basically, a screen raeder speaks what a sighted person would see on a computer monitor. Click for the entire job description.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Are American democrats against freedom? In my opinion, one key democrat is showing signs that he doesn't care about freedom. According to ABC news, senator Charles Rangel will introduce a bill to bring back the draft. His excuse is that since there is so much violence in Iraq, we need more troops. What about the Americans that disagree with the war? Why should they be forced to fight a war they don't agree with? I hear people say that we are in Iraq to fight for our freedom. To them I say; Don't you get it? Iraq has nothing to do with our Freedom! Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11, Afganastan did. Since Afganastan is the country that attacked us, why aren't we more focused on that country?

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Friday, November 17, 2006

A lot of times, when people go to graduate school, they get their tuition payed for by assistantships. Well, that's nice that people are payed for farther studies right? Most things are not free in life. The money for these graduate students have to come from somewhere. Guess where. Since most of these graduates go to public schools, Americans' taxes are paying for them. In effect, Americans are being forced by the government to pay for people to go to graduate school. The question is, if somebody is not going to graduate school, why should they have to pay for it? It's not like graduate school is accessible to everybody. From what I've heard and read, most of these public graduate schools require somebody to take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam.) The math part of the exam has algebra with algebraic graphs. Even if you don't need algebra for your field, you may be out of luck if the competition gets higher scores than you. Since graduate tuition is payed for by the government, a lot of people apply. Therefore, the schools use the GRE as a tool to weed people out. That's understandable, but if you can't see graphs and Algebra isn't needed for your field, you shouldn't be penalized because of it.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Move over Freedom Scientific or should I say Freedom Science Fiction?
For years, blind people have been paying over $800 for screen readers. This was in edition to the purchase of a computer. Do sighted people have to pay an editional $800 for a monitor? no. Finally, there is a free and open source screen reader for Windows. It is called NVDA which stands for Non-visual Desktop Access. The web site for NVDA is Note: leave out the "."


Monday, November 06, 2006

And now for something completely different:
Are you a hobbyist or professional computer programmer? Do you think BASIC is dead? I got news for you. It is alive and well in the form of FreeBASIC. FreeBASIC has the simplicity of older languages such as Quick BASIC, but it can do a lot of the same things that are done in C or C++. In fact, C libraries can even be used in FreeBASIC. Work is being done to make FreeBASIC a GCC back end. When this is done, programs that are compiled by FreeBASIC will have the same optimizations as programs written in C and compiled by GCC. Then the question will be; If a program can be written more easily in BASIC, why bother using C? To see some programs I've written, you can go to (my FreeBASIC page.) To download FreeBASIC and read the message forums, you can go to (the main FreeBASIC page.)

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