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Email, JAWS, being blind – technology marches on

Sometimes technology changes, even when we don’t want it to.

One of my clients is blind, and runs a computer-based recording studio (that is verrrry nice, let me tell you….). There’s a constant dance we have to do to keep his machines running, because not only do you have the inherent complexities of dealing with Windows (XP pro in his case), PLUS the weirdnesses of audio on Windows, you have JAWS, a screenreader fropm Freedom Scientific to boot.

It can get hairy keeping things running.

My client has depended on Outlook Express for years for his email – primarily because Jaws didn’t play well with the full Outlook, and webmail isn’t an option (for the same reason). Summer 2009 Microsoft stopped supporting Outlook Express on Hotmail because they moved to “Windows Live”, which uses a fundamentally different technology for email fetching.

Now, I understand the technical and business reason for Microsoft’s decision – after all, this is a FREE product they’re offering. I also understand my client SHOULD have moved off of using MSN for his primary email a long time ago, and moved it onto his own domain – but generally you don’t fix what’s broken, especially when you have a memorize what is onscreen because you can’t see it!

But this means my client can do NO business online, because email is how he conducts a good part of his studio work.

A tough situation – one he didn’t ask for. In the next installment I’ll describe what we decided on after much discussion – and let you know how it all came out.

As I type this I’m waiting to find out myself!

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