Date   

Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

John Holcomb II
 

I don’t think I’ve ever seen this.

John

 

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of E.M. Kirtley
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:16 PM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

If you have used a website that asks you to use the key-strokes alt+1, then you have come in contact with this company.  They have now hired Mike Hingsten(probably spelled in correctly) to fight their battles against the blind and visually impaired public.

 

Ms. Kirtley

 

 

 

From: Victor
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:09 AM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi Janet:

 

Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve never heard of this particular company, but the article was interesting and this issue is always of interest to me. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

 

Thanks,

 

Victor

> On May 16, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Janet <janet.harvard@...> wrote:

>

> Hi All!

> I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share.

>

> Janet

>

> Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant

> "If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.

> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe

> executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC

> May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT

> By

> April Glaser

> Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies

> that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious

> relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.

> In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say

> AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented

> them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.

> AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the

> University of California, Berkeley.

> The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers

> signed an open letter

> calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.

> "We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.

> AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities

> Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into

> compliance.

> The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,

> as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

>

> AccessiBe announced

> it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.

> While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say

> they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers

> - which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites

> they used to use unnavigable.

> "If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have

> no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.

> After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that

> he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower

> published a guide

> to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."

> "We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings

> of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.

> But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"

> and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.

> In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"

> against the company with few specific critiques.

> "Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really

> test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."

> Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry

> who directly compete with AccessiBe."

> AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.

> Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.

> But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for

> them.

> "I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"

> Greco said.

> Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the

> Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog

> by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said

> its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.

> "Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's

> why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.

> settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,

> and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."

> Avoiding lawsuits

> AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses

> company named Eyebobs.

> In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He

> analyzed 50 websites

> that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That

> lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.

> The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.

> Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe

> denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.

> The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.

> "It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and

> disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view

> of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."

> Community tensions

> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting

> with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.

> In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible

> and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.

> Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure

> "'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."

> In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also

> said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."

> For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't

> escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.

> Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She

> noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.

> "They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."

> The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts

> of the internet.

> Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe

> at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they

> got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.

> "And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site

> because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a

> website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.

> Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she

> declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.

> "As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just

> can't access that website or that service."

> April Glaser

> April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.

> article end

>

>

> https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720

>

>

>

>

> Peace Be With You.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

 

 

 

 

 


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

E.M. Kirtley
 

If you have used a website that asks you to use the key-strokes alt+1, then you have come in contact with this company.  They have now hired Mike Hingsten(probably spelled in correctly) to fight their battles against the blind and visually impaired public.

 

Ms. Kirtley

 

 

 

From: Victor
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:09 AM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

Hi Janet:

 

Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve never heard of this particular company, but the article was interesting and this issue is always of interest to me. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

 

Thanks,

 

Victor

> On May 16, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Janet <janet.harvard@...> wrote:

>

> Hi All!

> I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share.

>

> Janet

>

> Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant

> "If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.

> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe

> executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC

> May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT

> By

> April Glaser

> Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies

> that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious

> relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.

> In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say

> AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented

> them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.

> AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the

> University of California, Berkeley.

> The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers

> signed an open letter

> calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.

> "We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.

> AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities

> Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into

> compliance.

> The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,

> as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

>

> AccessiBe announced

> it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.

> While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say

> they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers

> - which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites

> they used to use unnavigable.

> "If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have

> no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.

> After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that

> he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower

> published a guide

> to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."

> "We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings

> of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.

> But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"

> and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.

> In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"

> against the company with few specific critiques.

> "Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really

> test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."

> Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry

> who directly compete with AccessiBe."

> AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.

> Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.

> But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for

> them.

> "I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"

> Greco said.

> Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the

> Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog

> by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said

> its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.

> "Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's

> why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.

> settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,

> and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."

> Avoiding lawsuits

> AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses

> company named Eyebobs.

> In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He

> analyzed 50 websites

> that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That

> lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.

> The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.

> Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe

> denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.

> The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.

> "It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and

> disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view

> of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."

> Community tensions

> Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting

> with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.

> In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible

> and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.

> Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure

> "'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."

> In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also

> said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."

> For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't

> escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.

> Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She

> noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.

> "They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."

> The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts

> of the internet.

> Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe

> at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they

> got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.

> "And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site

> because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a

> website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.

> Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she

> declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.

> "As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just

> can't access that website or that service."

> April Glaser

> April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.

> article end

>

>

> https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720

>

>

>

>

> Peace Be With You.

>

>

>

>

>

>

>

 

 

 

 

 


Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

goshawk on horseback
 

being a fanatical open water swimmer, for me a guide sealion would be a super thing to have.

Simon

----- Original Message -----
From: "Victor" <victorelawrence@gmail.com>
To: <main@techtalk.groups.io>
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 11:53 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !


Hi Pam:

I am a cat person as well. They are much more independent than dogs.

Grumpy Dave, I like your idea of having a seeing eye woman. A seeing eye woman would be much more fun than seeing eye dog. LOL

Victor
On May 17, 2021, at 12:32 AM, chris judge <chrisjudge1967@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me around
I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail isn't cutting
it.

Chris Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Pamela
Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real live
animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real Furry
companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of
James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be that
it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular basis. I
wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture an AI
guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY 10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype robot dog
for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an obstacle
is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes that will give
its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming cyclists by
playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the wheeled
device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions
The e-Guide Dog records and replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of
one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths users
take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's wheel. These
encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and steering angles to
provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This detection is
a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are colour blind and unable
to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students across
several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead specialist of the
biomedical engineering and materials group at the polytechnic's School of
Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable,
an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote Board. The
grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki Osman,
Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP stands
for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the main
charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually impaired - to
test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that the
e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with visual
impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a cane,
which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide wayfinding
instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the National Museum
of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to improve its robot guide
dog by working with industry partners and hopefully commercialize the
project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-traffic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com












Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

chris judge
 

Jonathan Mosen talked about this on a recent episode of Mosen at large. I can’t recall the episode number but it was only a few weeks ago.

 

From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Gene
Sent: May 17, 2021 9:44 AM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

 

It’s a good article. I sent it to a discussion group that gets together weekly.  It may stir interesting conversation.

 

Gene


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Victor
 

I agree.  I've shared it on social media.

Victor


On May 17, 2021, at 5:43 AM, Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:


It’s a good article. I sent it to a discussion group that gets together weekly.  It may stir interesting conversation.
 
Gene


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

It’s a good article. I sent it to a discussion group that gets together weekly.  It may stir interesting conversation.
 
Gene


Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

Victor
 

That’s the best seeing eye companion.

Victor

On May 17, 2021, at 5:15 AM, Jaffar Sidek <jaffar.sidek10@gmail.com> wrote:

I am blessed with a seeing eye wife, and she is lovely beyond words. Cheers!

On 17/5/2021 6:53 pm, Victor wrote:
Hi Pam:

I am a cat person as well. They are much more independent than dogs.

Grumpy Dave, I like your idea of having a seeing eye woman. A seeing eye woman would be much more fun than seeing eye dog. LOL

Victor
On May 17, 2021, at 12:32 AM, chris judge <chrisjudge1967@gmail.com> wrote:
Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me around
I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail isn't cutting
it.

Chris Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Pamela
Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real live
animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real Furry
companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of
James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be that
it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular basis. I
wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture an AI
guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY 10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype robot dog
for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an obstacle
is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes that will give
its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming cyclists by
playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the wheeled
device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions
The e-Guide Dog records and replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of
one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths users
take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's wheel. These
encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and steering angles to
provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This detection is
a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are colour blind and unable
to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students across
several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead specialist of the
biomedical engineering and materials group at the polytechnic's School of
Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable,
an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote Board. The
grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki Osman,
Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP stands
for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the main
charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually impaired - to
test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that the
e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with visual
impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a cane,
which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide wayfinding
instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the National Museum
of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to improve its robot guide
dog by working with industry partners and hopefully commercialize the
project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-traffic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com
















Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

Jaffar Sidek
 

I am blessed with a  seeing eye wife, and she is lovely beyond words.  Cheers!

On 17/5/2021 6:53 pm, Victor wrote:
Hi Pam:

I am a cat person as well. They are much more independent than dogs.

Grumpy Dave, I like your idea of having a seeing eye woman. A seeing eye woman would be much more fun than seeing eye dog. LOL

Victor
On May 17, 2021, at 12:32 AM, chris judge <chrisjudge1967@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me around
I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail isn't cutting
it.

Chris Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Pamela
Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real live
animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real Furry
companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of
James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be that
it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular basis. I
wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture an AI
guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY 10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype robot dog
for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an obstacle
is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes that will give
its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming cyclists by
playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the wheeled
device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions
The e-Guide Dog records and replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of
one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths users
take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's wheel. These
encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and steering angles to
provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This detection is
a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are colour blind and unable
to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students across
several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead specialist of the
biomedical engineering and materials group at the polytechnic's School of
Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable,
an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote Board. The
grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki Osman,
Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP stands
for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the main
charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually impaired - to
test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that the
e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with visual
impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a cane,
which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide wayfinding
instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the National Museum
of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to improve its robot guide
dog by working with industry partners and hopefully commercialize the
project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-traffic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com













Re: A jaws speaking issue

Gene
 

It may, but I have no idea.  I hope you don’t have to pay for an upgrade.  If this problem is the bug I think it is, you shouldn’t have to pay anything to solve a bug. 
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 5:58 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Gene,
I think this has been a problem since we started using this machine.  I'm thinking about upgrading JFW and seeing if that fixes the problem.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:22 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
We don’t know what the problem is.  I have no reason to assume or give prevalence to it being a keyboard or operating system problem.  I’m not saying iit is or isn’t, but I think it makes sense to ask JAWS technical support for help.  Without any idea of how to solve the problem or what it is, you can spend a lot of time trying all sorts of things with no results.  Technical support may help solve the problem reasonably quickly.
 
How long ago did the problem start?  You may want to run a system restore point from before the problem began.  If you don’t know what the effects may be of running a restore point, we can discuss that.
Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
On the other list you said that the computer was rebooted, it took awhile but now it's back up and running.  Is this still the case?  If you like and if you still have my phone number you can give me a call.  This isn't a Jaws issue, but it sounds like either a bad keyboard or a OS problem.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
It now says something like, unknown jaws key and then I can't get it to do anything.  When I press keys it is like it is in some kind of key describer mode.  YOU can't route jaws
to PC and it won't do anything.  If I try pressing insert with anything it just says the letter of what I pressed
Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Try running Jaws with its default settings to see if it's some sort of setting that could be causing this.  Try the following.
1. Press, Insert / Jaws ke + spacebar, then press the letter, Z.  This will run Jaws 17 latest & all Jaws later versions in default mode, & this keystroke
is a toggle, so just invoke the keystroke again to run them with your settings back.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Mike,
I'll give this a shot.  Thanks.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Another thing to check is your typing interrupt setting, as suggested on another list.  Press, Insert + 6, to open the Settings Center.
 
Now press, Control, shift + D, to open Settings Center default all applications.
 
Down arrow to, Users, and right arrow to open.
 
Down arrow to the, Typing Interrupt, checkbox and if this isn't checked press the spacebar to check it then apply and okay your way out to save and close.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:01 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi all,
I have finally gotten irritated enough to want to fix this.  What this is, is that when I press control to shut Jaws up, it does not shut up.  In fact, it takes several presses of control before silence reigns.  This is a Windows 7 machine with Jaws 19.  Sorry about it not being updated but that is all I could doo.  It happens both with my DecTalk USB express and Eloquence.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should look in to?  Thanks much.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Victor
 

She provided the URL. It was at the bottom of the text of the article.

Victor


On May 17, 2021, at 4:18 AM, Gene <gsasner@...> wrote:


I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.
 
Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Janet
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.







Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

I’ll say that you evidently gave an address at the end of the article which is good.  But my recollection is that you often don’t.  I'f I’m wrong, I apologize.  As I recall, attributions are usually given before an article.
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.







Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Gene
 

Please state where articles come from and it would be a good idea to provide the address of the page, copied from the address bar so people both know the source of the material and can easily direct others to it.
 
Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Janet
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:53 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!
 
Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share. 

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.







Re: A jaws speaking issue

Kay Malmquist
 


Gene,
I think this has been a problem since we started using this machine.  I'm thinking about upgrading JFW and seeing if that fixes the problem.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 

----- Original Message -----
From: Gene
Sent: Monday, May 17, 2021 12:22 AM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

We don’t know what the problem is.  I have no reason to assume or give prevalence to it being a keyboard or operating system problem.  I’m not saying iit is or isn’t, but I think it makes sense to ask JAWS technical support for help.  Without any idea of how to solve the problem or what it is, you can spend a lot of time trying all sorts of things with no results.  Technical support may help solve the problem reasonably quickly.
 
How long ago did the problem start?  You may want to run a system restore point from before the problem began.  If you don’t know what the effects may be of running a restore point, we can discuss that.
Gene
-----Original Message-----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
On the other list you said that the computer was rebooted, it took awhile but now it's back up and running.  Is this still the case?  If you like and if you still have my phone number you can give me a call.  This isn't a Jaws issue, but it sounds like either a bad keyboard or a OS problem.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
It now says something like, unknown jaws key and then I can't get it to do anything.  When I press keys it is like it is in some kind of key describer mode.  YOU can't route jaws
to PC and it won't do anything.  If I try pressing insert with anything it just says the letter of what I pressed
Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Try running Jaws with its default settings to see if it's some sort of setting that could be causing this.  Try the following.
1. Press, Insert / Jaws ke + spacebar, then press the letter, Z.  This will run Jaws 17 latest & all Jaws later versions in default mode, & this keystroke
is a toggle, so just invoke the keystroke again to run them with your settings back.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Mike,
I'll give this a shot.  Thanks.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Another thing to check is your typing interrupt setting, as suggested on another list.  Press, Insert + 6, to open the Settings Center.
 
Now press, Control, shift + D, to open Settings Center default all applications.
 
Down arrow to, Users, and right arrow to open.
 
Down arrow to the, Typing Interrupt, checkbox and if this isn't checked press the spacebar to check it then apply and okay your way out to save and close.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:01 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi all,
I have finally gotten irritated enough to want to fix this.  What this is, is that when I press control to shut Jaws up, it does not shut up.  In fact, it takes several presses of control before silence reigns.  This is a Windows 7 machine with Jaws 19.  Sorry about it not being updated but that is all I could doo.  It happens both with my DecTalk USB express and Eloquence.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should look in to?  Thanks much.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 


Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

chris judge
 

I have one of those, but she's dam near as blind as I am lol.


Chris Judge

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Victor
Sent: May 17, 2021 7:54 AM
To: main@techtalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Pam:

I am a cat person as well. They are much more independent than dogs.

Grumpy Dave, I like your idea of having a seeing eye woman. A seeing eye woman would be much more fun than seeing eye dog. LOL

Victor
On May 17, 2021, at 12:32 AM, chris judge <chrisjudge1967@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me
around I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail
isn't cutting it.

Chris Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of
Pamela Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real
live animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real
Furry companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On
Behalf Of James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be
that it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular
basis. I wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture
an AI guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of
Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY
10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype
robot dog for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an
obstacle is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes
that will give its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming
cyclists by playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the
wheeled device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions The e-Guide Dog records and
replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths
users take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's
wheel. These encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and
steering angles to provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This
detection is a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are
colour blind and unable to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students
across several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead
specialist of the biomedical engineering and materials group at the
polytechnic's School of Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG
Enable, an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote
Board. The grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki
Osman, Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP
stands for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the
main charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually
impaired - to test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that
the e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with
visual impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a
cane, which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide
wayfinding instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the
National Museum of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to
improve its robot guide dog by working with industry partners and
hopefully commercialize the project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-tr
affic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com












Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

Victor
 

Hi Pam:

I am a cat person as well. They are much more independent than dogs.

Grumpy Dave, I like your idea of having a seeing eye woman. A seeing eye woman would be much more fun than seeing eye dog. LOL

Victor

On May 17, 2021, at 12:32 AM, chris judge <chrisjudge1967@gmail.com> wrote:

Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me around
I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail isn't cutting
it.

Chris Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Pamela
Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real live
animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real Furry
companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of
James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be that
it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular basis. I
wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture an AI
guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY 10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype robot dog
for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an obstacle
is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes that will give
its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming cyclists by
playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the wheeled
device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions
The e-Guide Dog records and replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of
one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths users
take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's wheel. These
encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and steering angles to
provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This detection is
a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are colour blind and unable
to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students across
several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead specialist of the
biomedical engineering and materials group at the polytechnic's School of
Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable,
an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote Board. The
grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki Osman,
Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP stands
for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the main
charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually impaired - to
test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that the
e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with visual
impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a cane,
which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide wayfinding
instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the National Museum
of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to improve its robot guide
dog by working with industry partners and hopefully commercialize the
project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-traffic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















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This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
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Re: Guide dogs on wheels !

chris judge
 

Well, as soon as I've successfully trained one of mine to lead me around
I'll let you know my secret. So far a string tied to the tail isn't cutting
it.

Chris Judge

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Pamela
Dominguez
Sent: May 16, 2021 9:56 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I would go for the wheeley dog, or however they do it, because my real live
animal of choice is a cat. Pam.

-----Original Message-----
From: William Vandervest
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 8:48 PM
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Sorry, I prefer O/E (Organic Intellegence) dogs, nothing beats a real Furry
companion, still, I hope this works out.



William Vandervest
timelord09@comcast.net
Win10 latest revision

There are none so blind, as those who will not see.

William Vandervest

u

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io [mailto:main@TechTalk.groups.io] On Behalf Of
James Bentley
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 19:36
To: main@TechTalk.groups.io
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

I find this very interesting. Perhaps its greatest advantage will be that
it can memorize several routes that the user takes on a regular basis. I
wonder how it might deal with unexpected deviations from a regular route.
For example, a bicycle laying across a side walk.

Several companies, universities, and groups have tried to manufacture an AI
guide dog. I hope this one works in our life times.

Thanks for the article,

James B

-----Original Message-----
From: main@TechTalk.groups.io <main@TechTalk.groups.io> On Behalf Of Janet
Sent: Saturday, May 15, 2021 5:04 PM
To: 'main@TechTalk.groups.io' <main@TechTalk.groups.io>
Subject: [TechTalk] Guide dogs on wheels !

Hi Everyone,
Well, I couldn't pass up this article I copied and pasted below.

Janet

Guide dog on wheels detects obstacles and traffic light signals MAY 10, 2021
6:01 AM Singapore Nanyang Polytechnic students develop a prototype robot dog
for the visually impaired that reads out directions and even "barks.
What is the prototype called and how does it work?
The e-Guide Dog is equipped with laser scanners that detect when an obstacle
is in the way. It can also be programmed with preset routes that will give
its user directions.
The e-Guide Dog can detect and will even alert users to oncoming cyclists by
playing the sound of a dog barking.
Instead of a leash, the user holds onto a handle attached to the wheeled
device as it is pushed by the user.
What are the main functions of the e-Guide Dog?
The e-Guide Dog has three key functions
The e-Guide Dog records and replays travelling paths up to an accuracy of
one metre.
It is equipped with a built-in digital compass that records paths users
take. The data is provided by encoders at the e-Guide Dog's wheel. These
encoders monitor the robot's wheel revolutions and steering angles to
provide a more accurate guide for users.
Obstacle Detection:
The robot is equipped with laser scanners that detect obstacles in the way.
It then navigates its user around them, preventing accidents from occurring.
Traffic Light Signal Detection:
The e-Guide Dog is also equipped with artificial intelligence that can
identify when traffic light signals turn from red to green.
The robot will then alert the user when to cross the road. This detection is
a plus for the e-Guide Dog as regular guide dogs are colour blind and unable
to detect colour changes.
The e-Guide Dog was developed by a team of more than six NYP students across
several semesters who were led by Dr Kong Wai Ming, lead specialist of the
biomedical engineering and materials group at the polytechnic's School of
Engineering.
The project is backed by the Enabling Lives Initiative Grant by SG Enable,
an agency that supports people with disabilities, and the Tote Board. The
grant funds innovations that support persons with disabilities.
On Wednesday May 5, the project earned recognition from Dr Maliki Osman,
Second Minister for Education, during the polytechnic's graduation ceremony.
In his speech, Dr Maliki said the project was an example of what NYP stands
for - "innovation and enterprise, anchored in service to those around us."
Was there any collaboration with the blindness community during development?
During development, the team worked with Guide Dogs Singapore - the main
charity in Singapore that pairs guide dogs with the visually impaired - to
test the device.
Vanessa Loh, the General Manager of Guide Dogs Singapore Ltd said that the
e-Guide Dog would serve as a useful mobility aid for persons with visual
impairment.
Are there any other uses for this technology?
The NYP team adapted the technology behind the e-Guide Dog onto a cane,
which was fitted with sensors and encoders on wheels to provide wayfinding
instructions, which they showcased at an exhibition at the National Museum
of Singapore last December. the team is seeking to improve its robot guide
dog by working with industry partners and hopefully commercialize the
project.


https://coolblindtech.com/guide-dog-on-wheels-detects-obstacles-and-traffic-
light-signals/


Peace Be With You.


















--
This email has been checked for viruses by AVG.
https://www.avg.com


Re: advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Victor
 

Hi Janet:

Thank you for sharing this article. I’ve never heard of this particular company, but the article was interesting and this issue is always of interest to me. I’ve just shared it on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Thanks,

Victor

On May 16, 2021, at 10:53 PM, Janet <janet.harvard@outlook.com> wrote:

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share.

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.

The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.







advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant!

Janet
 

Hi All!
I was just catching up on some reading before going to bed, and I came across this interesting article, and I would like to share.

Janet

Blind people, advocates slam company claiming to make websites ADA compliant
"If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's why it's a civil right," one expert said.
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator who is vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York, was invited to a private meeting with AccessiBe
executives in February after she tweeted concerns about the product.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC
May 9, 2021, 5:00 AM CDT
By
April Glaser
Throughout the pandemic, as blind people, like everyone else, became increasingly dependent on websites to purchase goods, one of the fastest-growing companies
that works with clients like Oreo cookies and Energizer batteries to make their websites more accessible has been engulfed in an increasingly contentious
relationship with blind people. Many blind people say its product is making it harder for them to navigate the web.
In recent months, blind people and disability advocates have been speaking out on social media and suing companies that use AccessiBe. Blind people say
AccessiBe, which is supposed to automatically make websites more compatible with the screen readers blind people rely on to access the internet, has prevented
them from all sorts of normal activities online, like paying rent, teaching a class or buying Christmas gifts.
AccessiBe is the largest automated accessibility company on the market, according to Lucy Greco, who is blind and the head of web accessibility at the
University of California, Berkeley.
 
The situation has gotten so bad that in the past two months more than 400 blind people, accessibility advocates and software developers
signed an open letter
calling on companies that use automated services, like AccessiBe and other companies with similar products, to stop.
"We will refuse to stay silent when overlay vendors use deception to market their products," the letter said.
AccessiBe markets itself on its website as a $49-a-month tool that helps companies protect themselves from not complying with the Americans With Disabilities
Act by adding a single line of code to the backends of websites. AccessiBe also offers support for websites that are sued and claims to bring them into
compliance.
The company boasts that over 132,000 websites use its product, including name brands such as Pillsbury, Benadryl, Playmobil and the Los Angeles Lakers,
as well as some government agencies, such as the Louisiana Department of Health and the state's Department of Public Safety and Corrections. In February,

AccessiBe announced
it received $28 million in funding from a private equity firm called K1 Investment Management.
While the company has celebrated its growth and funding in press releases and blog posts, many blind people and disability advocates on social media say
they have experienced problems when trying to use sites that have installed AccessiBe. They say when they visit those sites, it can prevent screen readers
- which read out loud what's on websites, including image descriptions, menus and buttons - from reading the pages correctly and has rendered some websites
they used to use unnavigable.
"If a consumer comes into difficulty or problems with these sites, the site owner can say, 'Hey, we comply with the accessibility guidelines. So you have
no case'" to sue, said Steve Clower, a blind software developer who specializes in accessibility.
After Clower's apartment's rent payment website adopted AccessiBe last summer, he said the compatibility with his screen reader was so thrown off that
he had to ask a friend to help him write his rent check that month. The experience was so frustrating that Clower
published a guide
to block AccessiBe that he named "AccessiBe Gone."
"We understand there can be a learning curve for users," Roy Gefen, chief marketing officer at AccessiBe, said in a statement, adding that misunderstandings
of how AccessiBe works has confused some users. The company has also created a dedicated team to receive customer feedback, he said.
But when blind users pointed out these issues in detailed blog posts, YouTube videos and on social media, some say the company called their critiques "hostile"
and often invited those who raised concerns publicly into closed meetings with the company's CEO, Shir Ekerling.
In an email, Ekerling said people who criticize the company online are largely stirred by "thought leaders" who are rallying blind people in a "huge campaign"
against the company with few specific critiques.
"Almost no one gives any specifics to actual websites that really don't work for them," Ekerling wrote in an email. "This is because they don't really
test us, nor have really used us. At most, they went on a website out of anger and didn't even try to understand."
Gefen said he believes some pushback is expected for new technologies with new ways of doing things, "especially from professionals within the industry
who directly compete with AccessiBe."
AccessiBe isn't the only product that claims to provide an automated, quick solution to make websites compliant with accessibility standards.
Greco, at the University of California, Berkeley, said other companies have similar products that have many of the same technical issues AccessiBe does.
But AccessiBe stands out because of its rapid growth, heavy marketing and defensive style of engagement with blind people who claim it hasn't worked for
them.
"I think the thing that's gotten people mostly on edge is that the marketing makes us into the bad guys instead of users who want to use a website's services,"
Greco said.
Federal lawsuits claiming websites are not compliant with the ADA rose by 12 percent last year, according to an analysis on the
Seyfarth ADA Title III News and Insights Blog
by attorneys who specialize in disability compliance. Thousands of lawsuits are filed each year claiming websites are not accessible, and AccessiBe said
its product is a way to help protect companies from litigation.
"Accessibility is really about inclusion or exclusion. If you have a website, do you want to include disabled people or do you want to exclude them? That's
why it's a civil right," said Lainey Feingold, a civil rights lawyer who has worked on digital accessibility since the mid-1990s, including the first U.S.
settlements that made ATMs talk and pedestrian signals audible. "The whole idea of disability rights is about disabled people participating in society,
and in 2021, without digital accessibility that participation is impossible."
Avoiding lawsuits
AccessiBe has been cited in at least two recent lawsuits by people who claim the websites don't comply with the ADA, including one case against an eyeglasses
company named Eyebobs.
In that case, the plaintiff used testimony provided by Karl Groves, an accessibility auditor, software developer and expert witness in the case. He
analyzed 50 websites
that use AccessiBe and testified that he found thousands of problems on the sites that could interfere with their compatibility with screen readers. That
lawsuit was referred to mediation last month. Court records show that the company denied any transgressions.
The other case, which involved Masterbuilt Manufacturing, a grill company, was settled, followed by a voluntary dismissal in March, court records show.
Ekerling, the CEO, said in an email that he works with companies every week dealing with accessibility legal issues to help them become compliant. AccessiBe
denies that Eyebobs and Masterbuilt Manufacturing were using its product at the times identified in the lawsuits.
The company's framing that it provides web accessibility to help avoid lawsuits hasn't helped its relationship with blind people.
"It capitalizes on this fear that disabled people are out there to sue you and make your life difficult," said Holly Scott-Gardner, a blind person and
disability rights advocate who raised concerns on Twitter and on her blog about how AccessiBe didn't work for her. "It furthers this really horrible view
of disabled people that we're literally out there to get money and that we just use our disabilities for that."
Community tensions
Chancey Fleet, a technology educator and vice president of National Federation of the Blind in New York who is blind, was invited to a private meeting
with AccessiBe executives in February after tweeting concerns about the product.
In leaked audio of the meeting obtained by NBC News, Ekerling said disability advocates and his company share the same goal of making the web more accessible
and that their voicing their concerns about AccessiBe's functionality was a "demonization" of the company.
Chancey Fleet.Sara Naomi Lewkowicz / for NBC News figure
"'Demonization' is not a term that I feel comfortable with," Fleet said. "I'm talking about collective harms that occur."
In an email, Ekerling said AccessiBe listens to its critics and has hired people who provided feedback to join its accessibility testing groups. He also
said, "We employ many people with disabilities (most of them are blind)."
For now the problems between AccessiBe and users of its tools only seem to be growing more contentious - especially because blind users say they can't
escape its omnipresence in the visually impaired community.
Haben Girma, a civil rights lawyer and author who is deaf and blind, said she had problems using AccessiBe's own site when she visited it in March. She
noted that AccessiBe sticks out over other companies that offer automated solutions for ADA compliance because the company's ads are everywhere.
"They have spent an alarming amount of money on advertising," Girma said. "Encountering these ads online feels like a personal attack on my humanity."
The big fear that many in the visually impaired community shared is that this will keep blind people who are new to screen readers from accessing parts
of the internet.
Amy Mason, a technology instructor at the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco who is blind, said she first encountered AccessiBe
at the end of last year when teaching a student how to use screen readers, visiting a website where they could shop for gifts around Christmas. When they
got to the website with AccessiBe, every few seconds it kept prompting them to enable AccessiBe's screen reader mode.
"And every 30 seconds, my student, who was new to screen readers, was getting completely thrown back to the top of the page. We couldn't access the site
because this was screaming at us the whole time," Mason said. When they did enable the screen reader mode, Mason said all the headings that organize a
website to be read back to blind people had fallen out of order.
Mason complained about her experience on Twitter, and in response AccessiBe invited her to watch a demonstration of the product by Ekerling, which she
declined. The company said it has since fixed the issue with the repeated prompts to enable AccessiBe.
"As an expert, for me, most of these sites are going to be kind of annoying," Mason said. "For my students, it might just be an end game, where they just
can't access that website or that service."
April Glaser
April Glaser is a reporter on the tech investigations team for NBC News in San Francisco.
article end


https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/innovation/blind-people-advocates-slam-company-claiming-make-websites-ada-compliant-n1266720




Peace Be With You.


Re: A jaws speaking issue

Gene
 

We don’t know what the problem is.  I have no reason to assume or give prevalence to it being a keyboard or operating system problem.  I’m not saying iit is or isn’t, but I think it makes sense to ask JAWS technical support for help.  Without any idea of how to solve the problem or what it is, you can spend a lot of time trying all sorts of things with no results.  Technical support may help solve the problem reasonably quickly.
 
How long ago did the problem start?  You may want to run a system restore point from before the problem began.  If you don’t know what the effects may be of running a restore point, we can discuss that.
Gene

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 10:33 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
On the other list you said that the computer was rebooted, it took awhile but now it's back up and running.  Is this still the case?  If you like and if you still have my phone number you can give me a call.  This isn't a Jaws issue, but it sounds like either a bad keyboard or a OS problem.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
It now says something like, unknown jaws key and then I can't get it to do anything.  When I press keys it is like it is in some kind of key describer mode.  YOU can't route jaws
to PC and it won't do anything.  If I try pressing insert with anything it just says the letter of what I pressed
Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Try running Jaws with its default settings to see if it's some sort of setting that could be causing this.  Try the following.
1. Press, Insert / Jaws ke + spacebar, then press the letter, Z.  This will run Jaws 17 latest & all Jaws later versions in default mode, & this keystroke
is a toggle, so just invoke the keystroke again to run them with your settings back.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Mike,
I'll give this a shot.  Thanks.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi Kay,
 
Another thing to check is your typing interrupt setting, as suggested on another list.  Press, Insert + 6, to open the Settings Center.
 
Now press, Control, shift + D, to open Settings Center default all applications.
 
Down arrow to, Users, and right arrow to open.
 
Down arrow to the, Typing Interrupt, checkbox and if this isn't checked press the spacebar to check it then apply and okay your way out to save and close.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:01 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue
 
Hi all,
I have finally gotten irritated enough to want to fix this.  What this is, is that when I press control to shut Jaws up, it does not shut up.  In fact, it takes several presses of control before silence reigns.  This is a Windows 7 machine with Jaws 19.  Sorry about it not being updated but that is all I could doo.  It happens both with my DecTalk USB express and Eloquence.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should look in to?  Thanks much.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 


Re: A jaws speaking issue

Mike B.
 

Hi Kay,
 
On the other list you said that the computer was rebooted, it took awhile but now it's back up and running.  Is this still the case?  If you like and if you still have my phone number you can give me a call.  This isn't a Jaws issue, but it sounds like either a bad keyboard or a OS problem.
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:11 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

It now says something like, unknown jaws key and then I can't get it to do anything.  When I press keys it is like it is in some kind of key describer mode.  YOU can't route jaws
to PC and it won't do anything.  If I try pressing insert with anything it just says the letter of what I pressed
Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 7:16 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

Hi Kay,
 
Try running Jaws with its default settings to see if it's some sort of setting that could be causing this.  Try the following.
1. Press, Insert / Jaws ke + spacebar, then press the letter, Z.  This will run Jaws 17 latest & all Jaws later versions in default mode, & this keystroke
is a toggle, so just invoke the keystroke again to run them with your settings back.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 4:07 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

Mike,
 I'll give this a shot.  Thanks.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mike B
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 12:47 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

Hi Kay,
 
Another thing to check is your typing interrupt setting, as suggested on another list.  Press, Insert + 6, to open the Settings Center.
 
Now press, Control, shift + D, to open Settings Center default all applications.
 
Down arrow to, Users, and right arrow to open.
 
Down arrow to the, Typing Interrupt, checkbox and if this isn't checked press the spacebar to check it then apply and okay your way out to save and close.
 
 
 
Stay safe and take care.  Mike.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, May 16, 2021 5:01 AM
Subject: [TechTalk] A jaws speaking issue

Hi all,
I have finally gotten irritated enough to want to fix this.  What this is, is that when I press control to shut Jaws up, it does not shut up.  In fact, it takes several presses of control before silence reigns.  This is a Windows 7 machine with Jaws 19.  Sorry about it not being updated but that is all I could doo.  It happens both with my DecTalk USB express and Eloquence.  Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should look in to?  Thanks much.

Kay Malmquist
kay.malmquist@...
 
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Light houses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - just shine.
Dwight L. Moody – 1837-1899, Evangelist and Publisher
 

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