See Sun at CSUN

Next week, March 19-24, is the annual California State University at Northridge 2007 Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference (commonly known as the "CSUN Conference"). This year, as we have for the last decade, the Sun Accessibility team will be exhibiting and presenting at the conference. This will be my 16th consecutive year making the pilgrimage to the beautiful Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel. The 2004 conference 3 years ago also marks my blogging debut.

This year a lot is going on at CSUN. In addition to our usual booth in the Houston room of the Marriott hotel (booth spaces #419 & #420), we are giving the following presentations:

  • Collaboration and Web Access using the Orca Screen Reader
    Sun will demonstrate how to use the open source screen reader Orca to access e-mail, calendar info, contacts, instant messaging, and web content.
    This session takes place on Thursday at 4:25pm in the "Atlanta" room of the Marriott hotel

  • OpenOffice.org Document Access using the Orca Screen Reader
    Sun will shown access to the graphical desktop, file system, and OpenOffice.org word processing/spreadsheet documents via the open source Orca screen reader.
    This session takes place on Saturday at 10:40am in the "Boston" room of the Marriott hotel

  • Topics in Java, UNIX, and OpenDocument Format Accessibility
    A discussion and demonstration of the latest in Java accessibility, desktop accessibility in UNIX, access to the open document format (ODF), plus ODF application.
    This session takes place on Friday at 1:45pm in the "Los Angeles A" room of the Hilton hotel

In addition to the Sun-hosted sessions, there are number of other sessions on topics apropos of Orca, OpenDocument format, and UNIX accessibility. Sun is even making a guest appearance in a few of them. They are:

  • Opening Doors with Open Source: Screen Reader Access to Linux/UNIX
    In this presentation, users will be introduced to the Linux and OpenSolaris operating systems, the OpenOffice.org office suite, and Orca: free solutions with the potential to bridge the digital divide by minimizing the cost of ownership.
    This session takes place on Thursday ar 3:05pm in the "Boston" room of the Marriott hotel

  • Obtaining and Installing Ubuntu Linux Using the Orca Screen Reader
    Ubuntu Linux has an accessible Live CD that enables users who are blind to try, and optionally install, Orca and Linux. In this demonstration, participants will learn how to use this CD, as well as how to configure Orca in Ubuntu and OpenSolaris.
    This session takes place on Friday 1:45pm in the "Atlanta" room of the Los Angeles Airport Marriott hotel.

  • Remote Access Bridge: Cross-Platform Accessible Remote Access to the Linux Desktop
    This multiplatform application allows blind or visually impaired users to easily access a remote Linux desktop running AT such as Gnopernicus, Orca, and LSR.
    This session takes place on Thursday at 9:20am in the "Atlanta" room of the Marriott hotel.

  • Creating Accessible Documents in OpenOffice.org
    OpenOffice.org (OOo) is a free, open-source office suite. This lab explores how to create the most accessible Ooo, HTML and PDF documents possible using OOo.
    This session takes place on Thursday at 1:45pm in the "Chicago/Dallas" computer lab of the Marriott hotel.

  • Tools for Improving OpenDocument Format (ODF) Accessibility
    The presentation describes accessibility advances and checking and screen-reader access tools for ODF 1.1 office documents.
    This session takes place on Friday at 9:20am in the "Denver" room of the Marriott hotel.

  • Talking MythTV: An Accessible Digital Video Recorder
    Come hear an accessible digital video recorder: MythTV with speech input and output. A model for the electronics industry and a tool for blind users.
    This session takes place on Friday at 4:25pm in the "Boston" room of the Marriott hotel.

  • Using the Linux Console on the Icon PDA
    We will demonstrate how to access and use the Linux console on the new Icon PDA being developed by American Printing House and Levelstar.
    This session takes place on Saturday at 12:00pm in the "Chicago/Dallas" computer lab of the Marriott hotel.

And if that weren't enough, you can browse a list of all of the CSUN 2007 general sessions to see what else might interest you.

Comments:

You've long promoted free software as having "the potential to bridge the digital divide by minimizing the cost of ownership." As a blind Linux user, I couldn't agree more. So why then, year after year, are your best presentations at CSUN, an overpriced conference which to me seems to perpetuate this digital divide. Over the past twenty years I've attended CSUN when I could find an employer to pay for it. Two years ago, my current employer (DeAnza College in Cupertino, CA) rather reluctantly agreed to reimburse me about half my expenses. DeAnza has no interest in running free operating systems, so I was obliged to attend a lot of fancy sales presentations from vendors of Windows access technology. Years before that, when I was working as a mainstream developer, the only way I could afford the conference was to eat at MacDonald's and sleep in the back of a friend's station wagon. At least I could attend the sessions that interested me! Every time I do manage to attend CSUN, I love it, but I can't go to your sessions because whoever is funding me has other sessions they expect me to report back on. Don't get me wrong, I love CSUN. But you need to get your message out to people who may, like me have a solid middle-class income, but still aren't high enough in their institutions's social pecking order to be sent all over to conferences. I'd like to try to sell my employer on free software, but right now, I run only BRLTTY with speakup, using a hardware speech synthesizer, because I've never gotten software speech nor a talking GUI working. Probably, had I attended some of your sessions, I might be farther along. And the biggest crime in all of this is that I work right in Sun's backyard! It's getting really lonely playing with Linux in my garage. Am I really stuck shelling out $1,500to $2,000 just for the privilige of learning more about making a free operating system accessible?

Posted by Deborah Norling on March 16, 2007 at 03:28 AM PDT #

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