Archive for October, 2005

Assistive tech could aid aging fed workers

October 31, 2005

BY Florence Olsen – Published on Oct. 31, 2005 – Federal agencies will rely on assistive technologies to accommodate the needs of an aging federal workforce, according to policy experts who say that more government employees will soon be working beyond the age of 65.   (more…)

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Getting AJAX Ready for Prime Time

October 26, 2005

“Microsoft Office-level functionality is rapidly becoming available on the Web today” – By: Dion Hinchcliffe – Dec. 28, 2005 04:15 AM – A little-noticed AP article that headlined recently delves into the details of Ajax, Web-based software, and other Web 2.0 related subjects. Apparently not covered much by the technical community, the article is yet another emergence of our favorite topic in mainstream media. While primarily focusing on Ajax, and Microsoft’s entry into the space, Atlas, the article touches on some of the really important next Web generation pieces, such as participation capabilities like information sharing, albeit without citing Web 2.0 by name, saying “web-based applications are increasingly appealing at a time separate computers for home, work and travel are common and people get used to sharing calendars and other data with friends and relatives.”And of course, in the interest of balance, the article actually does a pretty credible job of citing the drawbacks of putting 100% of software function on the Web, “other limitations are intentional. For security reasons, a browser cannot seamlessly access files or other programs on a computer. And, of course, Web applications require a persistent Internet connection — making work difficult on airplanes.” For further veracity, the article also quotes key players at Google and Microsoft who are working on various Ajax solutions. Ajax Schema Chart  

It’s this last point about current drawbacks that I find so interesting since, for example, Microsoft Office-level functionality is rapidly becoming available on the Web today. Witness 37signal’s WriteBoard, Upstartle’s Writely, and TrimPath’s social spreadsheet, Num Sum, as just three of the more powerful and interesting examples. And folks, these applications are actually extremely good. So good that they almost (but not quite) give my trusty MS Office suite a run for its money. 

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IBM Software for Older Users

October 3, 2005

Big Blue introduces software that makes working on computers and surfing the Net easier for older employees – October 3, 2005 – IBM plans to roll out software Monday designed to make working on the computer and surfing the Net easier for aging workers, with tools that adjust keyboard settings and magnify web page content, among other features.
The new software tools, designed especially for older workers with disabilities, are the product of five years of work by IBM researchers. Big Blue is also looking to tap the world’s 11 million software developers by launching an online resource to enable them to build applications that include accessibility features.

With the software, IBM is targeting the seven in 10 Americans who say they plan on working past the age of 65, according to AARP. Also, two-thirds of the U.S. population will experience some sort of disability beyond the age of 65, according to the U.S. census.   (more…)