Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CSUN's Greatest Hits

"Curran and Teh" could be a firm of solicitors or perhaps a comedy team. Instead they are the brilliance that illuminates the Open Source - Free Software culture.

They've created a software program that makes it possible for blind guys like them to have their own screen reader without needing it obtained for a bunch of bucks or through the bureaucracy of Rehab Agents.

The dominant screen reader is JAWS and it costs several hundred dollars - more than the computers it runs on! Its vendor has made a decent product but it's out of reach for lots of blind folks.

Although MicroSoft might be able to simply include such a thing in their operating system's application suite, they would be seen as the "evil empire" stamping out the little company that serves the blind community. And EMac Speak is operable almost exclusively by Geeks who use Linux.

The young programmers are way thin, almost anorexic looking, but extremely articulate and poised. They were the center of attention throughout the conference and their product (NVDA) was extremely well received.

It was a pleasure to talk with them. I am the better for having done so.


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