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The value of knowledge (was: repetitive navigation)


From: John Foliot - bytown internet
Date: Feb 20, 2003 6:08AM

> Precisely. Further, in taking the time and trouble to do this, I
> am helping to enhance the usefulness of JAWS (admittedly only in
> a tiny corner of the web). I don't believe I should have to pay
> for the privilege. I am doing that bit of the work, not Freedom
> Scientific. Why should I have to pay them for the privilege of
> helping them make JAWS as useful as possible to their customers?
> If Freedom Scientific want to interact only with customers, they
> will have to pay the price. The inevitable result will be fewer
> JAWS-friendly web-sites. It's not about free lunches, it's about
> give-and-take. It's the users of JAWS that lose out most. (In the
> long run, believe it will also have an adverse effect on Freedom
> Scientific's profitability, but I could be wrong about that).

I'm not sure exactly what a JAWs Friendly web site is... I know what a user
friendly web site is, what a valid standards based web site is, and what a
Universally Accessible web site is, but I did not know that we should be
making JAWs specific web sites...

There a numerous talented software developers out there who have wonderful
ideas about how to make Windows a better product; not all of them work for
MicroSoft. I guess however that because they have these ideas and perhaps
even send them in to Mr. Gates they too should be entitled to free copies of
the Windows OS.

I'm sorry, I do not buy into your argument - frankly I do not think Freedom
Scientific knows or cares who you are, and will probably not listen to you
anyway. Whether or not that is a sound business model is between them and
their shareholders, but arguing that your unlimited free usage of their
product somehow contributes to the betterment of their product is fanciful
wimsy at best. (Sounds to me like a lot more taking than giving...)

Let's be very clear here. JAWs interacts with the user's computer system.
It is written to work with Windows as it takes advantage of numerous
Accessibilty features native to Windows. Using JAWS, you can run Internet
Explorer, Netscape/Mozilla, Opera, LYNX, and any other browser you choose,
although your milage may vary. (Window Eyes works in a similar way). IBM's
HomePageReader on the other hand is a web specific product. While not
exactly the same as JAWs it too is a popular tool used by the visually
disabled. A fully licensed copy of this tool is $150.00 USD
(http://www-3.ibm.com/able/hpr2.html#order_info), not that different than
purchasing Dreamweaver or HomeSite or FrontPage or any other software
application you might be using. For what it's worth, this is what I use in
my testing lab. I have also associated myself with someone who *does* use
JAWs daily, so that should I have any specific concerns I can ask him to do
a quick check on a specific item. (By experience, there are a number of list
members here who freely offer a similar feedback. They may not review 150
HTML documents, but generally are more than happy to look at one or two)

Being Canadian I will use hockey as an analogy, although there are numerous
others that could apply. To play hockey, all one really needs is a pair of
skates ($50 -$200), a stick ($25.00 +/-) a puck ($5.00) and ice (Free). We
call it shinny and it can be a wholesome, fun, and an envigorating
experience. If you want to take the sport further, you will need more
equipement however - helmet, padding, pants, sweater, equipement bag,
whatever. Even Amateur hockey enthusiasts who may play one evening a week
in an Industrial League or what have you can spend many hundreds of dollars
on their entertainment/sport. It's a choice they make.

So Philip, with all due respect, do not sit there and attempt to convince me
that because you are interested in this topic, no mater what level of
seriousness it may entail, that you should be entitled to free software. If
you want to play the game, step up to the plate...

> You mistake me, I have no intention of selling my (very amateur)
> web skills. I was saying that a lot of the more thoughtful
> content on the web (including mine) is freely offered by people
> expert in their own fields. It is offered for free and at a
> considerable personal expense. Maybe I did not make myself clear enough.

The advice you give freely is by choice. Opinions are everywhere and often
are of varying quality (as you might be thinking as you read *my* post). I
too offer free advise and "consulting", although I also charge for my
services whenever I can - this is how I feed my family. But by offering a
little bit (or even sometimes a lot) of "free" advice, I can also build up
my cache of expertise, thus making my consulting skills worth more in the
long run. That's my give and take. The owner of this list (Paul) I suspect
also believes in this business model; he did not charge you to join this
list, nor does he charge for the numerous usefull articles on his web site.
But along the way I'm sure that the altruistic goals of webAIM.org has also
turned into a viable way for him to make a living. (and that is not a Flame
against WebAIM, on the contrary I salute Paul for his contributions) But
for me to expect every member of this list to do exactly the same is as
unrealistic as expecting everybody to work for free. If you choose to do
so, that's great (I do volunteer work too), but do not expect everyone to
feel the same way; including Freedom Scientific and IBM.



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