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from swerve of shore to bend of bay

links for 2010-05-25

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  • Sarah Bourne, Director of Assistive Technology & Mass.gov Chief Technology Strategist, Information Technology Division writes background for accessibility: You can unplug your mouse to see what it's like when you have a mobility or dexterity problems. You can turn off the sound to see what it's like when you can't hear. But it's a little more difficult to replicate the experience of being blind.

    The human brain has a very strong visual bias. For instance, the thought of ordinary people using computers wasn't even imaginable until there was a graphical user interface (GUI.) Sighted people rarely realize how dependent they are on their vision because it's so central to how they do things. This makes it makes it hard to really understand how different web and other computer experiences are when you have a visual disability. …it's harder to learn and remember specific development techniques, which in turn makes it harder to integrate them with your other requirements."

  • Every IT person alive has fixed something in the "wrong" way, a way that wasn't scalable, secure, or otherwise proper, but a way that worked. It may have been intended to be temporary, but time passes and it becomes permanent. Over time, such fixes are often applied to problems caused by previous bad fixes. But they work, tenuously, for now.

    This sort of activity takes place constantly, and indeed, it might not become a huge problem for quite some time. But there will be a point when there's no more room for kludges and poor fixes.

    Simply put, when you've attached enough Band-Aids to the corpus that it's more bandage than not, isn't it time to start over?

    It's one thing to understand that such problems exist (and always will, to some degree) within a corporate IT infrastructure; it's quite another when the problem is extreme and affects products your company produces, sells, and supports.

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