[Accessibility] Accessibility Conference 1/28/05 - Future Issues

john goldthwaite jgoldthwaite at yahoo.com
Wed Feb 16 14:57:49 PST 2005

Future Issues
Neil Scott

1. Future Issues
What is missing?
Presented by Neil Scott

2. Outline of Presentation
	Future Issues
	What’s Missing from the big picture
	Why Archimedes is in Hawaii
	Embedded Linux
	Fitting the pieces together

3. Future Issues
	Decline in number of students studying Science,
Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
	Low numbers of minorities in STEM  <active in this
	Off shoring	< undermining confidence of people going
into   technology
	Battles of the giants  < oligopoly
Obsolescence and coercion  < no MS security patches
except for registered users
	Rebellion against a certain large U.S. Company < Open
Software in developing countries creating their own
versions of Word for Linux.  Still waiting for a
compeling set of apps that are easy to use, efficient
– Openly critical of Microsoft.  

4. What is Missing?
	Clear business models for Open Source
	Compelling applications for Linux PCs and thin
	A full repertoire of access tools
	Funding for R&D  
	Meaningful/enforceable standards

Funding – hard to get funding if its not new research,
can’t fund porting to x or upgrading to XP.  Many
groups doing standards, how to overcome tendency to
create proprietary products that can’t interoperate.  
5. Why We Left Silicon Valley
	Most of Silicon Valley really doesn’t care about
disability and aging issues
	Many Silicon Valley products have a short shelf life
	Solutions designed for smaller markets can’t compete
for funding

6. Why We Chose Hawaii
	Hawaii has many problems that could benefit from
innovative uses of technology
	U.H. is researching long-term solutions to problems
faced by ordinary people
	Hawaii needs to grow small high tech businesses
	Hawaii is at the center of the Pacific Rim
	Solutions can be exported

7. The People we work with
	People with disabilities
	Aging People
	Illiterate People

8. Common Problems 
	Inaccessible User Interfaces 
	High costs 
	Lack of resources 

Computer interfaces are just incomprehensible to most
people. Deep menus, lots of choises needed for simple
task.  People should not have to learn lots of
interfaces.  V2 grew out of presentation grew out of
presentation Neil did to INCITS.  Pulled out because
the computer companies and electronics companies do
want anything that adds costs or reduces their ability
to differentiate products.

Computers are now a razor blade business.  Toner costs
as much as the printer.   Disabled people don’t have
the money to upgrade computers all the time.  How to
override obsolescence?   No such thing as a standard
driver, loose features on upgating drivers.  There are
tons of AT equipment that can’t be used because they
don’t have drivers.

9. Linux in the Emerging World
	Countries want to be Independent of Microsoft
	Trying to build an economy based on Linux
	Searching for the economic model
	Each country is writing their own version of word to
run on Linux
10 Embedded Linux
	China Mobilesoft
	Sherline CNC Milling Machine

Friend of Neil’s set up China Mobilesoft.  Focuses on
end to end small business systems.  Has systems that
run on all mobile phones in China. Bought by Palm One.
 They do it end to end because third party drivers
will cause things to break.

Sherline built a complete CNC interface for $500.  Use
real time Linux, tried Windows but latency was too
great.  They use Linux as a means to an end, cheap
controller.  They don’t care that its Linux.  Most
uses of Embedded Linux will be like this- just need an
OS that works and is free.

Neil is working on iTask.  URC but external to the
products.  Credit card sized Linux systems.  Want to
use in a wide range of application including
disability.  Can’t build the business on just the
disability markets.   Use aging market to drive
products for people with disability.
11. Disability Issues
	Multiple input modalities
	Multiple output modalities
	Every user has different requirements
	Some disabilities have received much attention while
others have been ignored
	Lack of funding

Every disabled person has different functional
limitation.  Putting access features into products is
difficult because of the range of problems.   

Blindness has received a lot of attention, have lead
the thrust to get things done.  There are other groups
that have wherewithal to do this, e.g. cognitive
12. Aging Issues
	Many of the same issues that face people with
	Many are frightened or confused by technology
	Lack of young people to look after aging people
	While many elderly people can afford assistive
technology, there  are few suitable products available

13. Literacy Issues
	Most of the emerging countries have very low literacy
for both language and IT
	When complex products are imported into emerging
countries, there is no one to maintain them
	Illiteracy is not linked to intelligence
	There is no one to read stories to many kids in
places like Hawaii

Illiterate are not stupid, just missed out on getting
education for some reason.  Problem in using modern
equipment if you have to read a manual.  Need ways to
increase Language and IT literacy.  Many remain
illiterate because parents are and can’t read to them.

How to use technologies to engage children?  

14. Educational Issues
	Computers have not delivered promised gains in
general learning
	Students are not taking science and mathematics in
high school
	Many students are floundering when they get to

Educational software not very good. Many take up too
much of the teacher’s time. Need system that support
teachers. In Japan, changed computers too often,
teachers gave up on learning to use them.

15. What can we do about these problems?
	Create and promote standards that enable many
companies to create and market building blocks 
		that fit together to form solutions
	Create an environment in which small companies can
collaborate on connectivity but compete 
		like hell on performance
	Establish realistic cost structures that reward
people fairly for their efforts
Companies need to create products that are compatible
but compete on performance and features.  We need to
keep it simple so small companies can do it.  

If you are going to have Open Source, you have to
figure out how small companies can make money on it.
Need to help companies figure out the model to make

16. Responsibilities of 
Large Companies?
	Don’t monopolize the market
	Actively support and adhere to standards that provide
a stable interface for accessibility 
		products that may be provided in house or by other
specialized companies.
17. The Archimedes Philosophy
	Stay out of other people’s business
	Adhere to applicable standards
	Differentiate between what should be provided as part
of the infrastructure (e.g. Phone system) 
		and what belongs to the individual (e.g. cell phone)
	Let the user choose, and be responsible for, the
interface they prefer
	Eliminate the distinctions between different types of
18. Summary
	Linux is important for making computers ubiquitous
	Accessibility is not just for people with
	Remember that there are several billion people who
don’t want Windows products
	Your work for the FSG is vital and important – Keep
it up!

19. Aloha and Mahalo
	Have a safe trip home.

	Neil, Sandy and Kevin

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