Saturday, May 29, 2010

Life is short. Even shorter when you are disabled. Accessibility Considerations.

I had already planned on writing this blog entry today about the new GNU Accessibility Statement, when I found out last night that a friend and fellow hardware designer, firmware developer had passed on.

My friend was wheel chair bound, having no use of his legs, and almost no use of his arms, yet if you only knew him by email or the telephone you would have no knowledge of this.

The estate asked me to pass on this message, to anyone that might put his circuit board making equipment to good use:

LPKF ProtoMat S62 for sale

"I am looking to sell our circuit board plotter. I'm selling the plotter, press, computer, vacuum pump, UV lamp and miscellaneous consumables for $20,000.00."

Plotter and peripheral equipment produce multilayer PCBs, eight layers seems to be the max, up to 9 in x 12" in size, with plated through-hole support. It took me about four hours to make a four layer board the first time I used this system, myself.

I know the equipment was well take care of, and cost about $60k+ when it was bought new in 2006. Sold only as the complete set and you must pick it up in the Pittsburgh/Cleveland region, due to the weight, which is several hundred pounds for the press alone. May be able to get it delivered via one of the principles pickup truck if necessary.

Send email if you are interested.

For full disclosure I was offered a commission to sell this, which I declined, just want to see the family move on with their lives, and funerals are far more expensive than most people realize.

While you can have a $800 funeral prices that run into the thousands of dollars are more typical. These prices come as a surprise to the grieving, when they are not thinking clearly, and often do not have money set aside for this inevitable part of life.

Life is short, we never know when our number is going to be up...

The AxTk accessibility toolkit based on wxWidgets is also something I want to mention.

"AxTk is built on top of wxWidgets and will help you create a menu-based, highly accessible user interface with speech output, mainly for use by visually impaired people. The menu provides a very uniform method of navigation. By menu, I don't mean a menubar or context menu that you find in most applications; instead AxTk uses a list control, refreshed as required to reflect the underlying menu structure. The menus is dynamically extended as the user navigates through the application, and modal (blocking) menu selection is supported when necessary. An example of this is the AxFileMenuItem component, which shows a file hierarchy when clicked and sets a string value to the selected path."
"The GNU Project has published an initiative to create features that can be used by people with low vision, deafness, learning and reading disabilities, and for people with mobility and other physical issues who can use an on-screen keyboard."
"According to the United Nations in 2005, there were 600 million people with disabilities in the world. To use computers, many of them need special software known as “access technology”. Like other programs, these can be free software or proprietary. Those which are free software respect the freedom of their users; the rest, proprietary programs, subject those users to the power of the program's owner."