Friday, 17 August 2007

Blog: Techshare, Audio Porn and fighting our corner

Here’s a date for your diary and will be there on a stand so please come and spend a little time with us.

- The biggest ever European exhibition on access to the information society
by people with disabilities

- Free entry for all, pre-registration now open

- Runs 4-5 October 2007 at award-winning London venue: Novotel West

- Please promote to your public networks

Techshare Expo 2007 is a new showcase for products and services helping
people with disabilities participate fully in the information age. From the
internet to home computers, educational technologies, video games, digital
TV and mobile phones - Techshare Expo 2007 will be a showcase for products,
services, tips and techniques.

Entrance is absolutely free and open to all. If you are an organisation with
communication channels to the public and people with disabilities who are
your service users, please do promote the exhibition widely - everyone is

Pre-register today at:

PLEASE NOTE: this exhibition is running alongside the revamped,
comprehensive Techshare conference, hosted by the RNIB for professionals in
the field, which does have an admittance charge: for more information and a
full speaker programme for the conference see

If you are attending the Techshare 2007 conference, there is no need to
separately pre-register for the free 'Techshare Expo 2007' exhibition.

At the age of 67, I am ashamed to admit I have never been to a Strip Club and dirty pictures do nothing for me. Nothing to do with having little sight – I just prefer the real experience with love and care. But there is a website, xxx, stuffed with audio Porn experiences and its very accessible too. So off you go to if that’s your thing and, if it is not, just read on for something more interesting and wholesome. .

I am learning just how much we need to fight our corner with regard to the free screenreader. I was at first pleased to hear that RNIB was to publish a piece about us in the September NB magazine. But when I read three brief articles on SA2Go, Thunder and Mercury, I was very disappointed. The bit on Thunder was boring, no passion, no mention of the easy access to internet radio, the huge free library, RSS Feeds and podcasting. Just a list of programs such as Notepad, Outlook Express, Sound Recorder would you believe and MS Word which Thunder could cope with. The joy of the computer for us has moved on and for me its my entertainment and information centre, not just an old typewriter. But what is worse: I wrote and asked that the article about Thunder be not published and was told “Too late”.

So what’s the basic issue here? Is Big Brother or Aunty still around, speaking for me as a blind person when I am more than able to speak and write for myself?

Surely not!!! Perhaps the person who wrote the Thunder piece is just busy, knows about other screenreaders and failed to talk to us before putting pen to paper. I have corresponded with him since and he has been tremendously helpful in pointing out bits we need to put right. Well, when it comes out, do read NB because it contains some good stuff but, when you read the Thunder article, take it with a pinch of salt and explore for yourself the fabulous accessibility options it opens up to blind and visually impaired people round the world for free. Oh, and the good news is that I was promised 250 words as a right of reply. We have to work hard to explain to others that, just because Thunder is free, it is certainly not a baby or cut down version of something else.