Joint Statement from NFB and MPAA in Support of the Marrakesh VIP Treaty for Blind
National Federation of the Blind President Mark Riccobono and Motion Picture Association of America Chairman and CEO Senator Chris Dodd today released the following joint statement calling for the quick ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (MVT): This treaty strikes a meaningful balance that came about through collective action by a wide range of parties and the WIPO countries themselves. We hope that the Senate will act swiftly and faithfully to implement this treaty.
From https://nfb.org/joint-statement-national-federation-blind-and-mpaa-support-marrakesh-treaty-facilitate-access, May 19, 2016
Microsoft: Inclusive Hiring for People with Disabilities
We are on a journey to leverage the strength of our diverse workforce through greater inclusion. Being inclusive is not something we simply do, but rather, it stands for who we are. In other words, where we are along our journey determines who we are as a company and gives meaning to the culture we are building at Microsoft. The diversity of our workforce and inclusion of talented people from different backgrounds is the fuel that keeps the engines of innovation and growth running.
From https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/diversity/inside-microsoft/cross-disability/hiring.aspx?platform=hootsuite, May 19, 2016
USA: DOJ Clicks “Refresh” on Proposed Title II Website Accessibility Regulations
Website owners and operators have been eagerly awaiting the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) expected pronouncement of disability access rules for websites under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). DOJ’s unexpected announcement further delays the much-anticipated rules regarding accessibility of government/public (and later private) websites, but indicates an open-mindedness to consider further public comment on the government’s direction and accessibility issues, and provides a new public comment period.
From http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/doj-clicks-refresh-on-proposed-title-ii-74539/, May 16, 2016
What’s Next for Smartphones?
It’s fair to say that smartphones have changed the way people live and work, but perhaps the most burning question the industry is pondering is what comes next? In many western markets smartphone sales have almost reached saturation point, forcing companies like Samsung and Apple to come up with new ways to tempt customers with their hardware, software and ecosystems. Some pundits claim sales of smartphones are following the same trajectory as tablets and PCs, in other words plateauing before a fall. Bob O’ Donnell, founder and chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research certainly seems to think so: “We are clearly entering a new era where growth of traditional devices has ended and you have to think differently”.
From http://www.mobileindustryreview.com/2016/05/whats-next-smartphones.html, May 16, 2016
Australia: ACCAN Calls on Networks to Use Windfall to Improve Accessibility
The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has called on the free-to-air networks to use some of the windfall from a 25% cut in licence fees announced in this year’s budget to increase captioning levels and introduce audio description. “This funding could be used to improve captioning on free-to-air TV for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and to put in place technology that would allow the networks to introduce audio description for people who are blind or vision impaired,” said ACCAN Disability Policy Advisor, Wayne Hawkins.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/news/accan-calls-on-networks-to-use-windfall-to-improve-accessibility, May 10, 2016
USA: Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad
The following contains the shared document for the development of the Social Media Policy Toolkit, a shared service of the Federal Social Media Community of Practice lead by The Department of Labor Office of Disability Employment Policy. The toolkit is intended to help agencies evaluate the accessibility of their social media programs for persons with disabilities, identify areas that need improving, and share their own ideas and recommendations for helping ensuring our modernization programs are easily accessed by all who need them. In this shared document, collaborators are encouraged to identify best practices in improving the accessibility of social media for public services, or create a new and better way (though copy and pasting the content in, or linking directly to pre-existing content).
From http://www.digitalgov.gov/resources/federal-social-media-accessibility-toolkit-hackpad/, May 10, 2016
Uber's New Accessibility Features Creates Job Opportunities for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Impaired Drivers
Uber has recently improved its app’s accessibility for drivers who are Deaf or hearing impaired, removing communication barriers so that they can have an equal opportunity to become an Uber driver.
From http://www.mediaaccess.org.au/latest_news/digital-technology/ubers-new-accessibility-features-create-job-opportunities-for-deaf-and-hearing-impaired-drivers, May 10, 2016
How Intelligent Image Recognition Will Change Life for Visually Impaired People
More than 500 hours of YouTube footage is uploaded every minute, but almost every second is impossible for me and millions of other visually impaired people (and Google) to understand. The good news is that we're entering a new era for intelligent image recognition. We're seeing new innovations coming on-stream from some of the biggest names in tech and I predict that by the end of the decade we'll see the kinds of advances that make a real difference to the experience of millions of users worldwide.
From https://www.abilitynet.org.uk/news-blogs/how-intelligent-image-recognition-will-change-lives-visually-impaired-people, May 10, 2016
50,000+ eBooks by Project Gutenberg are Now Available as Free Audiobooks
Capti Narrator makes 50,000 free eBooks by Project Gutenberg available to people with reading disabilities and anyone who prefers audiobooks. Capti is both a web service and an iOS app enabling people to create a personal audio book library with eBooks, documents, and web pages and listen to them on the go and at leisure.
From http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/05/prweb13391110.htm, May 10, 2016
Microsoft Confirms Windows 10 Will Remain Free for People with Accessibility Needs
As you may have heard, the free Windows 10 upgrade offer for customers running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 is set to end on July 29, but we want to clarify that that deadline will *not* apply to customers who use assistive technologies. We are continuing to deliver on our previously-shared vision for accessibility for Windows 10 and we are committed to ensuring that users of assistive technologies have the opportunity to upgrade to Windows 10 for free as we do so.
From http://betanews.com/2016/05/08/windows-10-free-accessibility/, May 09, 2016