Some notes scribbled down during the talks.
Twitter and Geolocation
- Yaketee: very simple web app that automatically detects your location and allows you to create chat groups with people in the same location.
What makes a place?
- longitude, latitude. Sometimes this is a bit too precise.
- A polygon (area rather than exact location). According to Raffi defining locations with polygons is currently what Twitter does for named areas.
- Area name / town / country
- WOEID: Where on Earth Identifier, defined by Yahoo.
- TwID (?)
- IP-based location
- w3c location
- brokered location: redistributes location info to other apps. Example: Yahoo’s fire eagle.
- location databases
- Yahoo (WOE db)
Cloud Computing: Innovation vs Commodity
Simon based his talk on a graph showing the relationship between ubiquity and certainty (slides). It’s an asymptotic curve. On one end of the curve innovative technologies have low ubiquity and low certainty. At the other end of the graph, commoditized technologies have infinite certainty (no more change) and a capped ubiquity.
How can a technology move from the innovation stage to the commodity stage and become a service? Four requirements:
- attitude (willingness to see IT as a commodity)
Hierarchy and componentisation: stable components act as building blocks and accelerate innovation.
Any technical progress that makes something more efficient increases the demand for its use.
Risks associated with move from innovation to service:
- highly disruptive transition, how do you manage the new supplier?
- outsourcing risks: lock-in, second sourcing…
Myths around cloud computing:
- You have a choice (actually you don’t).
- It will reduce IT spending. It doesn’t because you’ll end-up spending the same amount of money, you’ll simply do more stuff with it.
- Cloud is an innovation. It’s not, it’s a commodity.
- Flash is really bad for accessibility: nothing can be done with the keyboard.
- Internet Explorer has a function to bring up all links of a page inside a dialog. Not all browsers support that.
- Chrome not accessible.
Robin did his talk and demos without being able to see the screen. He used keyboard shortcuts and text-to-speech. When he scrolls a list of items the system enunciates the links at very high speed (much too fast for me to understand, but I guess if it’s the only way you can use a PC you must end up getting pretty good at it).
- Automated caption and automated timing. Youtube makes it easier to produce videos with captions: you upload the video and the transcript. Youtube uses voice recognition to associate time markers with captions (so you don’t have to do it yourself). It sort of works, enough to be useful.
- Internet TV: projectcanvas.info: joint venture between the BBC, ITV, C4 and Five to build an internet TV platform with accessibility as a prime requirement.
- Avoid horizontal scrolling: Opera mini can force single column browsing.
- Siruna: can crunch down a website for any mobile platform.
- Textcaptcha.com. Accessible CAPTCHAs. The distorted pictures of random words are not usable by blind people! This site suggests an alternative using logic questions. They even provide a REST web service.
- Accessibility testing budget encompasses usability testing. i.e. if you test an app for accessibility for the blind you will spot usability issues affecting everyone else.