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Archive for January, 2010

29 January 2010 /// On 27 January 2009, the renewed Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament and the European Disability Forum toasted the New Year in Brussels at a very well-attended event. The new President of the Intergroup – for the first time a person with a disability himself, – and the disability movement presented the Disability Pact to a hundred of activists and 20 MEPs from various political groups and nationalities.

“The historic day for persons with disabilities”
The Disability Intergroup (DI) is an informal grouping of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all nationalities and most political groups who are interested in promoting the disability policy in their work in the European and national contexts. The DI is one of the oldest Intergroups: it was established in 1980. It is currently composed of about 100 MEPs. Last December 2009, the Intergroup elected Ádám Kósa MEP (HU, EPP) as President of the DI. At the cocktail, Pál Schmitt, Vice-President of the European Parliament welcomed his Hungarian colleague and expressed his support to the disability movement. Yannis Vardakastanis, President of EDF stated:”Today is an historic day for the 65 million persons with disabilities. Today, for the first time in the history of the Intergroup, the motto “Nothing about us without us” calling for a full participation of disabled people in all policies is becoming a reality.”
Ádám Kósa conceded: ”I have a dream that persons with disabilities will finally decide for themselves. The full ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as well as the adoption of the Disability Pact by the EU Member States are the necessary steps to achieve this dream that I share with 65 million persons with disabilities in Europe”. The active involvement of persons with disabilities in the ongoing elaboration of the disability policy for the next decade is essential. If the principle of full participation is put into practice, the Disability Pact proposed by EDF will contribute to the development of truly inclusive societies, in which all voices are heard and persons with disabilities can help shape a better world for all.

Why is the Disability Pact necessary?
The Disability Pact for 2011 to 2021 is a coordinated and sustainable disability policy at European and national level with clear and long-term direction and cooperation between Member States and the European Union. At the moment, there is no long-term EU agenda on disability that involves a clear joint commitment from the Institutions and its Member States. The 27 member states are developing 27 different national disability action plans. Coordination between the European and national actions and clear and measurable objectives linked to the EU strategy for growth and jobs is the road to a barrier-free Europe.
More information: www.disabilitypact.eu

The European Disability Forum (EDF) is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 65 million citizens with disabilities in Europe. EDF membership includes national umbrella organisations of disabled people from all EU/EEA countries, as well as European NGOs representing the different types of disabilities, organisations and individuals committed to disability issues. The mission of the European Disability Forum is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe.

iPad with keyboard

iPad with keyboard

Following article was posted on AccessTech news website.
The iPad, at first glance, looks like an enlarged version of an iPod Touch or iPhone. It’s 9.7 inches diagonally, compared to the iTouch’s 4.7 inch diagonal screen so it’s approximately 4 times the width and height but not thicker than the smaller devices.
Like the iTouch and iPhone, the iPad synchronizes with iTunes and is not really designed to be anybody’s primary computing device. Although it seems like you can do almost anything on this device, it’s not designed to be a primary or only computing device – Apple expects you’ll have a laptop or desktop computer as well.
The iPad runs the same operating system as the iPhone and iPod Touch, which means that all your existing applications should run on an iPad as soon as the devices are available – the existing apps will just look bigger on the iPad screen. And developers are already starting to develop iPad specific apps, which are designed for the larger screens and can take specific advantage of these.

Built in accessibility features
All existing iPhone accessibility features will be available on the iPad. This means VoiceOver, screen zoom, white-on-black display, mono audio, and closed-captioned content will all be supported on every iPad. It seems from the iPad specifications that fewer languages will be supported, at least initially, which will impact some VoiceOver users.
More info on the aforementioned AccessTech news website.

From February 22-26, 2010 the GNOME community will hold a Usability hackfest in London, England.
As GNOME 3.0 approaches, a usability focused hackfest is overdue. This hackfest will provide the GNOME Usability team an opportunity to focus, set goals, and accomplish work to prepare the GNOME community for the GNOME 3.0 transition and the future.
The event will be held at the Canonical offices in London, England. The address is as follows:
Canonical
27th floor, 21-24 Millbank Tower
London SW1P 4QP UK
This location is near Pimlico Station (which is on the Victoria line) and Westminster Station (which is on the Jubilee and District and Circle lines).
More info at the event website.

ACCESSIBLE project is organising its first Workshop on “accessibility simulation technologies and standards issues”, within the frame of the 12th ICCHP conference in Vienna. The Workshop will be held on Tuesday 13 of July 2010, in the context of the ICCHP pre-conference in Vienna.
The ICCHP, International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs, 2010 wants to highlight the progress of the issue of Interfacing the existing and emerging Human-Computer Interface as well as its achievements, and plot a R&D-roadmap towards such challenges, which will ensure even higher product and service usability.
The invitation and the program of the Workshop will be published soon.
For more information visit the event website.

The 12th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility takes place on October 25 – 27, 2010 in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The ASSETS conference explores the use of computing and information technologies to help persons with disabilities and older adults. ASSETS is the premier forum for presenting innovative research on the design and use of both mainstream and specialized assistive technologies. This includes the use of technology by and in support of:
- individuals with hearing, sight and other sensory impairments
- individuals with motor impairments
- individuals with memory, learning and cognitive impairments
- individuals with multiple impairments
- older adults
- professionals who work with these populations
All contributions are peer-reviewed by an international Program Committee. Accepted papers, posters and demonstrations will be archived in the ACM digital library. Select authors will be invited to submit extended versions to a special issue of the ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing (TACCESS).
More information on the event website.

On 13 and 14 September 2010, INCLUSO will organise in Leuven (Arenberg Castle, Heverlee-Belgium) an international conference on eInclusion of Youth at Risk gathering international specialists in the field of social software use and improvement of social inclusion for disadvantaged youngsters. We expect also delegates from decision making groups such as governments and the European Commission.
The main trust is a collection of practical results in this field and the prioritisation of future actions.
INCLUSO is a collaborative project between seven European partners, funded by the European Union in its 7th Framework programme of research.
More information at the INCLUSO project website.