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hpr1712 :: What's in my Crate

What was in my crate when I went to a LUG to give a a11y presentation

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Hosted by Mike Ray on 2015-02-24 is flagged as Explicit and is released under a CC-BY-SA license.
Listen in ogg, spx, or mp3 format. | Comments (2)

Part of the series: What's in My Toolkit

This is an open series where Hacker Public Radio Listeners can share with the community the items that they can't live without, what they find useful in day to day life.

Back in the summer of 2014 I started going to the Surrey Linux User Group.

I was asked to give a short presentation about Linux accessibility and how, although I am totally blind, I still write code and muck about with Linux.

I was then asked to give the same presentation at the Portsmouth LUG.

This time I made it more comprehensive and took more kit.

So I take this opportunity to give my version of the "What's in my bag" shows that some folks have been doing. As I am unemployed, like a lot of blind folks, I have been unable to justify this before now because I don't lug an interesting collection of stuff to and from work.

Here's a simple bullet list about the crate and it's contents:

  • The crate is a 35 litre capacity 'Really Useful Box'
  • First in were 2 Dell Latitude D630 (64-bit) laptops
  • Next in was a Dell Inspiron (32-bit) laptop, clunky and slow
  • The three laptops were sandwhiched between 3-ply layers of bubble-wrap
  • Next in was a Seika 40-cell refreshable Braille display
  • Next was a clear polycarbonate, zip-up pencil case stuffed with audio leads
  • Then a 'Mesh' Bluetooth and line-in external speaker
  • And a Braun external speaker/FM radio/micro-SD boom-box
  • A four-way mains power splitter
  • The three AC adaptors for the laptops
  • On the top of the box, because it was too wide to go in, was a USB keyboard
  • Mobile phone charging battery 'brick', for the Raspberry Pi
  • A Raspberry Pi, a Banana Pi and some Arduino bits and pieces

Here's what I demonstrated with two of the laptops:

  • Trisquel Linux and accessibility in the Gnome desktop with Orca
  • Accessibility in the console with Debian and the Braille display on the Inspiron

The second Latitude was with me so I could get some sighted help with BIOS settings.

My thanks have to go to Tony Wood for the lift to and from both of these accessibility presentations. I could not have done either, especially the Portsmouth one without his help.

Thanks also to Lisi, the coordinator of the Portsmouth LUG and to the folks of that LUG for their enthusiasm.

Here's the link to the HPR show about my Raspberry Pi tts code fix:

http://hackerpublicradio.org/eps.php?id=1649


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Comment #1 posted on 2015-03-02T12:29:18Z by Beeza

Follow-up Episode Please

Hi Mike

This was a fascinating hint of some of the equipment which enables you to use computers.

I am sure it would be helpful for HPR listeners generally, and developers in particular, to hear an episode describing exactly how you manage to code and navigate round a desktop and web pages without the benefit of sight.

Knowing how complex some web pages and applications can be, I simply cannot begin to understand how you do it.

From a developer's perspective I'd be very interested to know how you can test applications, use debuggers and so on.

You mentioned having a box of SD cards. How do you work out which is which?

If you could describe what would make life easier for you, in terms of GUI and web page design, perhaps it might just make us a bit more thoughtful when we layout our designs.

Regards

Beeza

Comment #2 posted on 2015-03-02T13:08:37Z by Mike Ray

Follow up to "what's in my crate"

Hello. OK, I will do just that. And explain the mechanisms that exist in Linux to support access technology, the actual tools that exist and how I do stuff

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