Thursday May 12, 2011

HyperBraille ready for production

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, HyperBraille is a project engaged in developing a touch-sensitive tablet display for blind and partially sighted users. On SightCity in Frankfurt, it was just announced that the device is ready for production now!

Some videos of HyperBraille can be found here.

Wednesday Feb 02, 2011

FOSDEM 2011, minor update

Just a minor update to my previous blog post: One presenter had to cancel his trip on short notice, so a slot in the accessibility devroom needed to be filled.

I initially didn't want to give a presentation, but to fill the gap, I will now step in and give a presentation related to OpenOffice.org, Accessibility and IA2 on Sunday, 10am.

The schedule on the web site should be updated soon.


Monday Jan 31, 2011

Going to FOSDEM 2011

This year I will be at the FOSDEM in Brussels, February 5-6.

Working on one of the largest open source projects, OpenOffice.org, for more than 10 years now (and of course many more years before the source code of StarDivision's/Sun's StarOffice went public), this is actually my first FOSDEM! Unbelievable, isn't it?

I wont give a presentation there, but I will participate in the Accessibility Dev Room on Sunday.

I guess this will be a great opportunity to meet people working on accessibility related stuff :)


Friday Aug 13, 2010

Speech recognition for OpenOffice.org Writer

Eventually, Nuance decided to add support for OpenOffice.org Writer to Dragon Naturally Speaking!

The current version 11 has support for dictation, correction, selection, and playback in OpenOffice.org Writer.

This is great news. People asked for a OOo speech recognition solution for a long time now.


Thursday Aug 05, 2010

odt2braille - An OpenOffice.org Writer Extension for producing Braille

An other great extension for OpenOffice.org has just been released: odt2braille.

See the press release for details.

So now you not only can export to DAISY with OpenOffice.org, but also create braille - this is really cool.

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

Odt2DAISY - create DAISY Digital Talking Books with OpenOffice.org!

Vincent Spiewak has finished his OpenOffice.org extension for converting ODF text documents to DAISY Digital Talking Books - you can find the press release here.

The extension not only creates XML content, but also can make use of different text to speech engines, so you will have fully featured talking books.

I recommend this extension for everybody who wants to create DAISY books. Binaries and source files are available on sourceforge, the license is LGPL 3.

If you never heard of DAISY before, you might want to look at the screen casts which will show you how it works.

Thank you very much for this great OpenOffice.org extension!

Friday Dec 12, 2008

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 finalized

WCAG 2.0 was published today as a final Web Standard "W3C Recommendation"!

This is great, since many people were waiting for that for a long time now. The first version of WCAG was published in 1999 - it mainly concentrated on HTML and absolutly didn't meet current requirements anymore. The old standard didn't allow scripting, so all Web 2.0 applications would violate that. Now scripting is not only accepted, but even included as techniques to enhance accessibility!

If you are interested in this topic (and as a web designer, author or developer you should care!), I think the best starting page is The WCAG 2.0 Documents.


Thursday Nov 13, 2008

odt2dtbook 1.0.1

There is a new and improved version of the odt2dtbook extension for OpenOffice.org available!

For details about the changes, I suggest reading Dominique's blog, since he is one of the authors of that extension...



Tuesday Nov 11, 2008

IAccessible2, or - IBM to contribute to the OpenOffice.org 3 code line!

This was one of my personal highlights in the keynotes from the 6th OpenOffice.org conference last week:

In his talk, Michael Karasick, Director of Lotus Development IBM China, has promised that IBM would eventually contribute to the OOo 3 code line. And he especially mentioned IAccessible2.

So I hope to see this happening soon, volunteering to work together with the Team from IBM on this.

Friday Oct 17, 2008

Open Source Accessibility Funding

Working on open source accessibility for more than 7 years now, I am happy to see that the AEGIS project will invest €12.6m into accessibility, with the vast majority of it focused on open source solutions.

Leading our OpenOffice.org accessibility efforts since 2001, I can tell you how difficult it can be to convince people to spend time and resource to work on accessibility related stuff "under the hood", since probably more than 99% of the users won't recognize anything from it.

Now with the AEGIS funding, I am sure a lot of wonderful things in the area of accessibility can be achieved in different projects.

More details about the AEGIS project can be found in Peter Korn's blog, where you can also find some details about Sun's accessibility efforts...

Thursday Oct 02, 2008

odt2dtbook - a DAISY export extension for OpenOffice.org

If you are interested in DAISY export, this extension for OpenOffice.org might be your friend. 

Vincent Spiewak and Dominique Archambault won Gold for their work on this extension, as part of the Innovation in Open Source Community Award Program.

Congratulations! :)

Friday May 30, 2008

OpenOffice.org 3.0 on Mac OSX Accessibility

Our engineers here in Hamburg are spending a lot of efforts into the native port of OpenOffice.org for the Mac platform.

One part of these efforts is to implement the Mac Accessibility APIs, to make OOo as accessible as possible with AT tools.

My colleague Peter Korn just wrote a very good blog about this, so instead of duplication all the information, I recommend reading that one if you are interested in the details.


Thursday Mar 20, 2008

Back from CSUN

Last week I was attending the CSUN conference - probably the biggest and most exciting Accessibility conference in the world.

The different presentations made it clear: Web Accessibility, ARIA and AJAX are still very hot topics.

For Windows Accessibility, IAccessible2 is still making a lot of progress. Some Screen Readers already have support for it, and I hope we will have it in OpenOffice.org soon.

I gave a small talk in an IAccessible2 session, my presentation can be found here.

Of course I have used the cool PDF export in OpenOffice.org, which allows you to create well accessible, tagged PDF. Unfortunately, creating tagged PDF is not the default, because of the increased file size. I hope we will change the default eventually. For now, use the "Export as PDF..." menu item in the file menu, which will give you a dialog where you can check the option to create tagged PDF. The tool bar item skips this dialog.

In parallel to IAccessible2 on Windows, we are also working on support for the Mac OS X Accessibility Framework!

We have shown the latest builds to some AT vendors, and it seems they are very exited about this. From what I heard, not many applications on Mac OS X have good support for this right now.

So with all our Accessibility work going on, I am very confident that OpenOffice.org 3.x will be very accessible on many different platforms, with native support for the platform specific Accessibility frameworks!

 

 

 

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Malte Timmermann

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