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New York Times covers Target accessibility lawsuit

This is the first mention that I’ve spotted in major media (my scans of said media are pretty spotty, though).

Again, the reporting seems to break down to, “What [censored] was Target thinking?”

Most online stores go to great lengths to make sure that their sites are accessible to people with disabilities, simply because it is good business to allow as many people as possible to shop. And online-shopping technology specialists say it is not so difficult or costly a task.

About halfway through the article, it suddenly switches over to discussing accessibility in online education programs:

The issue has become critical because many online-only schools became eligible this summer to receive federal student aid. But to get such funds, organizations must adhere to regulations in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which has been updated to say that all Web sites of groups receiving federal money must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Lots of interesting new information in the article. Read the whole thing.

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I’m not alone in my obsession…

This blog features occasional digressions in ancient manuscripts, printing, and the like. So I’m delighted to find a similar tangent on words / myth / ampers & virgule:

“The Museum Plantin-Moretus (Moretus was Plantin’s son-in-law) houses the oldest extant printing press (amid several other presses that are not much newer), punches cut by Claude Garamond himself, over six hundred manuscripts dating back to the ninth century, the company’s nearly complete business archives, and other treasures that earned the museum the designation of a world heritage site.”

Yes, Garamond was a person before he was a font name.

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Get heard by Adobe

[updated to strip nasty Word HTML “tags”]

I received a request from Adobe today to distribute a questionnaire:

The Product Management team at Adobe is working towards defining the future roadmap of its leading Technical Communication products.

For this purpose we are trying to collect ideas, feedback and inputs from the technical communication community. This is to request your help in tapping your network to collect some responses to the attached questionnaire. It would be very helpful for us, if you could make this questionnaire available to your clients, users and network.

It should take around 15 minutes to fill the questionnaire. The respondents can fill up either the PDF form (compatible with Adobe Reader 7) or type their responses in the MsWord document. The responses can be sent to me at [email protected] or [email protected]

Do you have feature requests for FrameMaker or RoboHelp? Here’s your chance to send your complaints to someone who can do something about it:

Word version of survey
PDF version of survey

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Closed captioning in online video

The Wall Street Journal, of all places, has a detailed article about online video and the lack of closed captioning.

Though television networks and movie studios are rapidly expanding into Internet distribution, few online videos offer the closed captioning that companies are required by law to offer to TV viewers. (link, will expire in about seven days)

Unlike TV broadcasts, closed captions are not mandatory for online video, and the major broadcasters are currently choosing not to provide them for the shows they are putting online.

As a result, online video represents a step backward for hearing-impaired viewers–it’s essentially unusable.

I expect that this loophole will be closed rather swiftly.

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Project Mars — not chocolate?

The announcements just keep coming from Adobe today:

Mars is the code name for technology being developed by Adobe that provides an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based representation of Portable Document Format (PDF) documents. (Mars page at Adobe Labs)

In the long term, I think this means the Death of Distiller. Other than that, I think my brain has gone into information overload.

Any thoughts on where this is going?

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Rethinking the periodic table of elements

[heavy blogging. I must be trying to avoid some unpleasant task.]

Most of you probably don’t know that I spent the first two years of my college career as a chemistry major. When push came to shove, I decided that I would rather serve as editor of the science magazine than take analytical chemistry (which was notorious for an all-consuming laboratory component). And really, who could find working in Gross Chemistry Laboratory appealing? (To add insult to injury, the approach to the chemistry building was a set of steps that were completely unusable by humans, as each stair required about one-and-a-half strides. The joke on campus was that the civil engineering department had designed the stairs. “But Duke doesn’t have a civil engineering program.” “Not any more.”)

In any event, here is a fascinating new look at the periodic table, as a spiral. (h/t New York Times via Feld Thoughts)

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Accessibility suddenly moves up the priority list

Most web designers are aware of Section 508 requirements, which in essence require web sites to be accessible to persons with disabilities. However, Section 508 applies only to companies that sell to the United States government. Provided you’re willing to give up the U.S. government as a potential customer, your web site could be completely inaccessible.

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