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RE: [magnifiers] THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?

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  • Tony Heath
    good article
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 21 6:46 AM
      good article

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Peter Verhoeven [SMTP:pav@...]
      > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 6:11 AM
      > To: magnifiers@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: [magnifiers] THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?
      >
      > Hi all,
      >
      > Thin clients like Citrix ICA, are realy a danger for employment of
      > visually impaired people.
      >
      > Below is a good article explaining the problems for visually impaired,
      > published by e-access bulletin.
      >
      > Regards Peter Verhoeven
      >
      >
      > THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?
      > by Dan Jellinek dan@... .
      >
      > "In terms of computer accessibility it's like going back ten to 15
      > years.
      > Be afraid." Such was the stark message delivered by Andy White,
      > RNIB technology officer, to delegates at the institute's recent
      > 'Techshare' conference (http://www.rnib.org.uk/techshare).
      >
      > The reason for White's gloom is the rise of 'thin client' computing, the
      > system whereby large organisations with computer networks hold
      > almost all information and software applications on a central server or
      > servers. The 'thin client' machines on users' desktops are little more
      > than keyboards and screens, with almost no locally held data, software
      > or processing power. It represents a move away from the high-
      > specification desktop computer and back to the 'dumb terminal' days
      > of mainframe computing. Even office software applications such as
      > word processors are run on the server, with the output being sent to the
      > terminal. The result looks the same to the user, but all the actual
      > computing is taking place on the remote server.
      >
      > There are many advantages of this kind of computing: it is easier to
      > update software since you only need to do so once at the centre;
      > security against hackers and viruses is far tighter; general maintenance
      > is easier; and above all, it is cheaper.
      >
      > Those that have already adopted the technology in the UK include the
      > national health service hotline NHS Direct; Barclays Bank; and the
      > Admiral Insurance Group. Indeed its appeal is so strong that even the
      > RNIB has said it would implement thin client technology if it were not
      > for accessibility problems.
      >
      > These problems are not trivial. The great majority of access technology
      > software relies on a fully functioning PC with its own hard drive,
      > central processing unit, application software and operating system and
      > so will simply not function on a 'thin client' terminal.
      >
      > "Screen magnifiers have some functionality on thin clients. They can
      > grab enough information from what is coming from the server for
      > simple magnification," says White. "However, the more advanced
      > manipulation features of magnifiers will not function, and as for screen
      > readers, which convert data output from programmes rather than the
      > purely graphical information sent to thin clients, it is a no-go area."
      >
      > In moving to implement thin client technology, therefore, organisations
      > have completely overlooked the needs of their visually impaired
      > employees, White says. In the short term, there is only one solution: a
      > visually impaired employee needs to keep his or her PC working
      > alongside but outside the terminal system. "Typically organisations do
      > have two regimes running, and data can still be got at from outside the
      > thin client system.
      >
      > "It can be politically hard to insist on this, and employers may not
      > even
      > realise it is possible. But people encountering problems when asking
      > for a proper PC should ask if an organisation's technical people are
      > also using dumb terminals? Are they hell - they're going to be sitting
      > there with their fully functioning PCs."
      >
      > On the other hand, running two systems is not ideal, he says. "It is a
      > work-around, and work-arounds will only work around for so long,"
      > says White. "It is not good for visually impaired people to be working
      > under a separate regime. Eventually their PCs will become outdated,
      > for example."
      >
      > In the longer term, therefore, there is a need to build accessibility in
      > to
      > thin client systems, and to this end talks are underway between makers
      > of access technology and those of terminal technology.
      >
      > Thin client systems generally use Microsoft Terminal Server software
      > (http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/technologies/terminal/defaul
      > t.asp) at their core, often enhanced with software such as MetaFrame
      > from Citrix (http://www.citrix.com) which adds features such as
      > improved load-balancing across a network.
      >
      > Access technology specialists Dolphin Computer Access has been
      > involved in discussions with both Microsoft and Citrix to see if they
      > can work together to allow screenreaders to work. However as well as
      > the technical problems, there are legal ones of copyright and
      > commercial secrecy to overcome."
      >
      > "You can run into a legal brick wall," says Mike Hill, software director
      > at Dolphin. "We're waiting on Microsoft. The ball is in their court but
      > they do seem keen to start testing solutions." Hill says Microsoft hopes
      > to be able to announce further developments in time for this March's
      > major international access technology conference in the US, 'CSUN'
      > (http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf).
      >
      > If Microsoft does adjust its server technology to make it more
      > accessible, the Citrix add-ons should not present any further major
      > problems. However the commercial relationship between Microsoft
      > and Citrix is complex and ever-changing, with the two firms oscillating
      > between partnership and competition. With this in mind Citrix is not
      > simply waiting for Microsoft to adapt its software, but is committed to
      > finding its own accessibility solutions by the second half of 2003.
      >
      > Some progress should be made this year, with the US 'section 508' law
      > requiring accessibility of all technologies purchased by federal
      > government agencies likely to be a further incentive for change.
      >
      > On the other hand, even if server technology is adapted to run screen
      > readers centrally, technicians admit there could be problems with the
      > bandwidth needed to send the sound output over the network without
      > unacceptable time delays.
      >
      > Until lasting solutions to all these problems are found, however, Andy
      > White says organisations should think carefully about the implications
      > of their actions. "Any employer installing thin client technology is
      > currently effectively making visually impaired employees redundant."
      >
      >
      > Copyright 2003 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
      > The Bulletin may be reproduced as long as all parts including this
      > copyright notice are included, and as long as people are always
      > encouraged to subscribe with us individually by email. Please also
      > inform the editor when you are reproducing our content. Sections of
      > the report may be quoted as long as they are clearly sourced as 'taken
      > from e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter', and our web
      > site address http://www.e-accessibility.com is also cited.
      >
      > PERSONNEL:
      > Editor - Dan Jellinek dan@...
      > Deputy editor - Phil Cain phil@...
      > News editor - Derek Parkinson derek@...
      > Reporter - Mel Poluck mel@...
      > Editorial advisor - Kevin Carey humanity@... .
      >
      > ISSN 1476-6337
      >
      >
      > The Screen Magnifiers Homepage
      >
      > http://www.magnifiers.org
      >
      >
      >
      > To Post a message, send it to: magnifiers@...
      >
      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
      > magnifiers-unsubscribe@...
      >
      > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      >
    • nick danger
      Hi peter, Interesting stuff here. Keep us up to date on this. Tony God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 21 7:03 AM
        Hi peter,

        Interesting stuff here. Keep us up to date on this.

        Tony

        "God grant me the serenity to accept the
        things I cannot change,
        the courage to change the things I can,
        and the weaponry to make a difference."

        coda from Immortals Anonymous
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Tony Heath" <tony@...>
        To: <magnifiers@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 9:46 AM
        Subject: RE: [magnifiers] THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?


        > good article
        >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: Peter Verhoeven [SMTP:pav@...]
        > > Sent: Tuesday, January 21, 2003 6:11 AM
        > > To: magnifiers@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [magnifiers] THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?
        > >
        > > Hi all,
        > >
        > > Thin clients like Citrix ICA, are realy a danger for employment of
        > > visually impaired people.
        > >
        > > Below is a good article explaining the problems for visually impaired,
        > > published by e-access bulletin.
        > >
        > > Regards Peter Verhoeven
        > >
        > >
        > > THIN CLIENTS RETURN TO THE BAD OLD DAYS?
        > > by Dan Jellinek dan@... .
        > >
        > > "In terms of computer accessibility it's like going back ten to 15
        > > years.
        > > Be afraid." Such was the stark message delivered by Andy White,
        > > RNIB technology officer, to delegates at the institute's recent
        > > 'Techshare' conference (http://www.rnib.org.uk/techshare).
        > >
        > > The reason for White's gloom is the rise of 'thin client' computing, the
        > > system whereby large organisations with computer networks hold
        > > almost all information and software applications on a central server or
        > > servers. The 'thin client' machines on users' desktops are little more
        > > than keyboards and screens, with almost no locally held data, software
        > > or processing power. It represents a move away from the high-
        > > specification desktop computer and back to the 'dumb terminal' days
        > > of mainframe computing. Even office software applications such as
        > > word processors are run on the server, with the output being sent to the
        > > terminal. The result looks the same to the user, but all the actual
        > > computing is taking place on the remote server.
        > >
        > > There are many advantages of this kind of computing: it is easier to
        > > update software since you only need to do so once at the centre;
        > > security against hackers and viruses is far tighter; general maintenance
        > > is easier; and above all, it is cheaper.
        > >
        > > Those that have already adopted the technology in the UK include the
        > > national health service hotline NHS Direct; Barclays Bank; and the
        > > Admiral Insurance Group. Indeed its appeal is so strong that even the
        > > RNIB has said it would implement thin client technology if it were not
        > > for accessibility problems.
        > >
        > > These problems are not trivial. The great majority of access technology
        > > software relies on a fully functioning PC with its own hard drive,
        > > central processing unit, application software and operating system and
        > > so will simply not function on a 'thin client' terminal.
        > >
        > > "Screen magnifiers have some functionality on thin clients. They can
        > > grab enough information from what is coming from the server for
        > > simple magnification," says White. "However, the more advanced
        > > manipulation features of magnifiers will not function, and as for screen
        > > readers, which convert data output from programmes rather than the
        > > purely graphical information sent to thin clients, it is a no-go area."
        > >
        > > In moving to implement thin client technology, therefore, organisations
        > > have completely overlooked the needs of their visually impaired
        > > employees, White says. In the short term, there is only one solution: a
        > > visually impaired employee needs to keep his or her PC working
        > > alongside but outside the terminal system. "Typically organisations do
        > > have two regimes running, and data can still be got at from outside the
        > > thin client system.
        > >
        > > "It can be politically hard to insist on this, and employers may not
        > > even
        > > realise it is possible. But people encountering problems when asking
        > > for a proper PC should ask if an organisation's technical people are
        > > also using dumb terminals? Are they hell - they're going to be sitting
        > > there with their fully functioning PCs."
        > >
        > > On the other hand, running two systems is not ideal, he says. "It is a
        > > work-around, and work-arounds will only work around for so long,"
        > > says White. "It is not good for visually impaired people to be working
        > > under a separate regime. Eventually their PCs will become outdated,
        > > for example."
        > >
        > > In the longer term, therefore, there is a need to build accessibility in
        > > to
        > > thin client systems, and to this end talks are underway between makers
        > > of access technology and those of terminal technology.
        > >
        > > Thin client systems generally use Microsoft Terminal Server software
        > > (http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/technologies/terminal/defaul
        > > t.asp) at their core, often enhanced with software such as MetaFrame
        > > from Citrix (http://www.citrix.com) which adds features such as
        > > improved load-balancing across a network.
        > >
        > > Access technology specialists Dolphin Computer Access has been
        > > involved in discussions with both Microsoft and Citrix to see if they
        > > can work together to allow screenreaders to work. However as well as
        > > the technical problems, there are legal ones of copyright and
        > > commercial secrecy to overcome."
        > >
        > > "You can run into a legal brick wall," says Mike Hill, software director
        > > at Dolphin. "We're waiting on Microsoft. The ball is in their court but
        > > they do seem keen to start testing solutions." Hill says Microsoft hopes
        > > to be able to announce further developments in time for this March's
        > > major international access technology conference in the US, 'CSUN'
        > > (http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf).
        > >
        > > If Microsoft does adjust its server technology to make it more
        > > accessible, the Citrix add-ons should not present any further major
        > > problems. However the commercial relationship between Microsoft
        > > and Citrix is complex and ever-changing, with the two firms oscillating
        > > between partnership and competition. With this in mind Citrix is not
        > > simply waiting for Microsoft to adapt its software, but is committed to
        > > finding its own accessibility solutions by the second half of 2003.
        > >
        > > Some progress should be made this year, with the US 'section 508' law
        > > requiring accessibility of all technologies purchased by federal
        > > government agencies likely to be a further incentive for change.
        > >
        > > On the other hand, even if server technology is adapted to run screen
        > > readers centrally, technicians admit there could be problems with the
        > > bandwidth needed to send the sound output over the network without
        > > unacceptable time delays.
        > >
        > > Until lasting solutions to all these problems are found, however, Andy
        > > White says organisations should think carefully about the implications
        > > of their actions. "Any employer installing thin client technology is
        > > currently effectively making visually impaired employees redundant."
        > >
        > >
        > > Copyright 2003 Headstar Ltd http://www.headstar.com .
        > > The Bulletin may be reproduced as long as all parts including this
        > > copyright notice are included, and as long as people are always
        > > encouraged to subscribe with us individually by email. Please also
        > > inform the editor when you are reproducing our content. Sections of
        > > the report may be quoted as long as they are clearly sourced as 'taken
        > > from e-access bulletin, a free monthly email newsletter', and our web
        > > site address http://www.e-accessibility.com is also cited.
        > >
        > > PERSONNEL:
        > > Editor - Dan Jellinek dan@...
        > > Deputy editor - Phil Cain phil@...
        > > News editor - Derek Parkinson derek@...
        > > Reporter - Mel Poluck mel@...
        > > Editorial advisor - Kevin Carey humanity@... .
        > >
        > > ISSN 1476-6337
        > >
        > >
        > > The Screen Magnifiers Homepage
        > >
        > > http://www.magnifiers.org
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > To Post a message, send it to: magnifiers@...
        > >
        > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        > > magnifiers-unsubscribe@...
        > >
        > > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
        http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        > >
        >
        >
        > The Screen Magnifiers Homepage
        >
        > http://www.magnifiers.org
        >
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: magnifiers@...
        >
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        magnifiers-unsubscribe@...
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
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