USA: California Governor Signs Smartphone Kill Switch into Law
It's official: every cellphone sold in California will now have to include a remote disabling option that lets you render a stolen device unusable. More importantly, this antitheft security measure will have to come enabled by default. The "kill switch" bill, which was introduced in February by State Senator Mark Leno and sponsored by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon, was signed into law by California governor Jerry Brown on Monday. Phones sold after July 1, 2015 in the state that do not comply with the new law will be penalized anywhere between $500 to $2,500 per device.
From http://gizmodo.com/california-governor-signs-smartphone-kill-switch-into-l-1626799067, August 26, 2014
Microsoft Researcher Looks to Accessibility Group for Help Making Devices Responsive to Senses
Microsoft researcher Hong Tan wants to make device screens more responsive to your touch, or tactile senses, and she is drawing inspiration and support from the Accessibility group. Based in Microsoft Research Asia, Tan works on computer haptics, software and hardware that add tactile feedback, such as a clicking sensation when hitting a button on a screen or a sense of weight when dragging a folder, according to the story.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2014/08/22/microsoft-researcher-looks-to-accessibility-group-for-help-making-devices-responsive-to-senses.aspx, August 26, 2014
Four Ways EPUB Increases Mobile Accessibility
This year IBM announced it has standardized on EPUB, an open standard format for digital publications developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF), as its primary packaged portable document format. Moving to EPUB is beneficial for any organization as it increases customer satisfaction and allows mobile users to access and consume documents easily and without degradation of performance. EPUB, which is based on HTML5, is a better fit for mobile devices than the other packaged document format PDF.
From https://www.ibm.com/developerworks/community/blogs/mobileblog/entry/4_ways_epub_increases_mobile_accessibility?lang=en, August 26, 2014
Assistive Technology Specialist Sees Benefits and Progress of Windows Magnifier and Zoom
John Rempel uses Zoom and Magnifier features in Microsoft Windows 20 to 40 times a day. Born with a visual impairment, Rempel turns on these accessibility tools to read emails in Outlook, work on spreadsheets in Excel and write technology reviews for the American Foundation for the Blind’s magazine AccessWorld.
From http://blogs.msdn.com/b/accessibility/archive/2014/08/05/assistive-technology-specialist-sees-benefits-and-progress-of-windows-magnifier-and-zoom.aspx, August 26, 2014
Google Glass Flips the Classroom
Students with disabilities at times require specialist technology in the classroom that is often relevant just for their use. With the yet to be released Google Glass wearable head mounted technology, that scenario appears to be ‘flipped on its head’, with the technology being marketed as mainstream.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/education-terms/google-glass-flips-the-classroom, August 25, 2014
Accessibility: The Missing Essential in Cloud Services
Independent access expert Media Access Australia has released a research paper on the need for commercial services and governments to incorporate accessibility for people with disabilities into their cloud services. The research finds that improving the useability of cloud services is an essential criterion in organizations efforts to maximize their customer engagement opportunities and ensure that they are not left behind by their competitors, some of whom have already discovered the commercial potential of access.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/online-media/accessibility-the-missing-essential-in-cloud-services, August 25, 2014
Talkitt Voice Software Helps the Speech-Impaired Communicate in any Language
Over the years we've seen companies big and small introduce products to aid users with speech impediments, but many of these solutions ignore the fact that disabled users still have a voice. Talkitt, a new application currently up for crowdfunding on Indiegogo, translates users' pronunciation into understandable speech and plays back their words on a smartphone or tablet. Danny Weissberg, co-founder and CEO of VoiceItt, the company behind the product, said he began developing Talkitt after his grandmother had a stroke and experienced difficulties in communicating. For people with other conditions such as Lou Gehrig's, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Damage, Autism and Parkinson's Disease, this tech could make everyday tasks, such as ordering lunch and communicating with friends, more manageable.
From http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/04/talkitt-software-for-speech-impaired/, August 22, 2014
ACMA Releases Free-to-Air TV Captioning Compliance Reports
Most Australian broadcasters exceeded their captioning targets in 2012-2013, according to compliance reports released today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), although there were some breaches related to individual programs.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/news/acma-releases-free-to-air-tv-captioning-compliance-reports, August 21, 2014
Survey: Defining Current Practices in Teaching Universal Design
Georgia Tech is interested in learning more about the presentation of Universal Design in university-level design courses. We are currently surveying instructors who teach design-related courses. If you are an instructor in a design-related discipline such as human-computer interaction, biomedical engineering, industrial design, human factors, or rehabilitation engineering please complete the survey.
From http://www.wirelessrerc.gatech.edu/content/newsroom/survey-defining-current-practices-teaching-universal-design#sthash.zva8rvaA.dpuf, August 20, 2014
India: Ensuring Economic Independence for the Visually Challenged: Financial Access
Whilst access to education and employment are slowly but surely opening doors to equal employment opportunities for the visually challenged, pre held myths and erroneous rules and regulations have kept financial and economic independence of gainfully employed persons with blindness and low vision out of reach. As part of its financial access initiative, the XRCVC has actively worked towards equitable rules and regulations for availing banking and other financial services as also for practical ground-level technology solutions to create access.
From http://www.xrcvc.org/advocacy/financial-access.htm, August 18, 2014