Raising the White Cane toward a More Accessible Internet

August 2, 2011

Today, a historic forum on web accessibility was held by several agencies of the Philippine government. This event was held at the training room of the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City. The Web Accessibility Forum was held as part of the celebration of this year’s White Cane Safety Week—the white cane being a worldwide symbol used by persons who are blind to signify their disability.

The event was an inter-agency gathering of leaders and representatives who were truly interested and willing to provide accessible information to persons who are blind and people with disabilities in general. The participating agencies included the Department of Labor and Employment, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the House of Representatives, and the Philippine National Police. Non-government organizations such as Resources for the Blind Incorporated participated in the forum. The representatives of the government agencies consisted of web masters and web administrators. I was very fortunate to be invited as one of the resource persons during the forum.

Julius talking about web accessibility during the forum

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An Epiphany of the Beauty of Information Through Text

July 26, 2011

I’ve been transcribing audio recordings for ten years now. When I was in college, I used to accept project-based transcription work from government and non-government organizations. I recall how I’d get my beer money from those transcription projects. Yes, those were the days!

Even now that I’m working as an accessibility consultant and an international speaker on accessibility, I still take transcription projects from time to time. I really like the fact that I get to learn new information and transcribe that information for other people as well.

And thinking about transcription, I had this little epiphany about the rarely discovered beauty of this type of service.

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28 Things I’ve Learned from Life

July 19, 2011

Today I celebrate my 28th year in this strangely beautiful world of ours. And while doing so, I wanna share some of the lessons and ideas I’ve learned from living everyday.

Since I can say that the things I’ve realized and learned from life really cannot be contained in one single post, I have decided to share with you those that are most important to me. Some of these things I learned on my own while some of them I learned from observing other people.

Here we go…

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Helping an International Organization Make Its Online Documents More Accessible

July 14, 2011

We had an excellent meeting about accessibility this morning. I was invited by the dynamic people at ATRIEV Computer School for the Blind to meet with the program officers of Liliane Foundation to help them evaluate the accessibility of Liliane’s online documents.

The Liliane Foundation is an international organization that aims to give access to medical and social rehabilitation to children and youngsters with disabilities in developing countries. Since 2007, the Liliane Foundation has been providing ATRIEV with support in terms of tuition fees and assistive devices for a number of the school’s deserving students.

The program officers of Liliane Foundation and Julius discussing the accessibility of Liliane's online documents

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The Accessibility Ally in the First Ever Quezon City PWD Summit

July 13, 2011

Today, July 13, 2011, the Quezon City local government and the various sectors of persons with disability (PWD) made history by conducting the first ever Quezon City PWD Summit. The main goal of this event is to carry out a consultation with all disability sectors in order to formulate a law that would uphold the human rights of persons with disabilities in the city.

The main theme of the PWD Summit is “making rights real for Filipinos with disabilities”. This event was organized by the local government of Quezon City and was supported by the Department of Health, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), and the Social Services Development Department. The Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City was the venue of the summit.

Julius in the Quezon City PWD Summit

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The Accessibility Ally Talks in a Dialog with PWD Leaders

June 23, 2011

Today, the first ever national dialog with persons with disabilities (PWD) leaders was held at the auditorium of the Department of Social Welfare and Development at Batasan Pambansa Complex in Quezon City. This event was organized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).

Representatives from around 21 PWD organizations attended the dialog. I had the privilege of attending the event as one of the members of the board of trustees of ATRIEV Computer School for the Blind. With me was Mr. Tony Llanes Jr., ATRIEV’s founder and executive director.

Julius with some of the organizers and attendees of the dialog
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Unleashing the Wolfpack: A Review of Wolfgang at the Met

June 19, 2011

It took place in the beautiful city of Manila on the evening of June 18, 2011. A huge pack of wolves gathered in a historic building to howl, scream, sing, and move to a crushing wall of sound. And amidst this splendidly fierce group were four of the top wolves, leading the pack and providing the monstrous musical rampage.

This is Wolfgang, a Filipino band that, since the 90s, has been creating some of the most intense heavy music the Pearl of the Orient has ever experienced. The event was “Wolfgang at the Met”, and, as the title suggests, it was held at the Metropolitan Theater in the city of Manila. Wolfgang consists of Basti Artadi on vocals, Mon Legaspi on bass, Manuel Legarda on guitar, and Francis Aquino on drums.

Wolfgang on stage during their concert at the Met

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How We Can Improve the Accessibility of the Department of Science and Technology Website

June 13, 2011

When I was a kid, I used to watch this TV program called Sineskwela. It was a show focused on explaining the basic concepts of science to young viewers. I must admit I had a hell of a time watching that show. In between each segment of Sineskwela were ads that aim to raise the young viewers’ interest in science and technology.

I remember those ads were produced by our country’s Department of Science and Technology (DOST). Looking back, it was good to have seen how DOST makes an effort to promote science and technology to the future leaders of the Philippines.

Growing up, I learned much more about the department’s responsibilities and activities. And as such, I found it necessary to look at the accessibility of one of DOST’s main tools for promoting science and technology and advocating its vision—its official website.

Let us take a look at the accessibility of the website of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology, www.dost.gov.ph.

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Accessible Metal: How a Metal Website Supports an Accessibility Standard

June 1, 2011

Apart from being an advocate of accessibility, I’m also a long-time metal enthusiast. Although I listen to all types of metal, the ones I truly enjoy are doom, gothic, and death metal.

With this in mind, it’s really no surprise that I spend a good amount of time scouring the Net for metal websites. And oh, what joy was it for me when I saw a metal website which, in addition to being an excellent resource, demonstrates a good level of accessibility.

Before telling you about the site, I’d like to explain how the site supports one of the principles of web accessibility.

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To the Recipient of the Disabled-Friendly Website Award

May 15, 2011

“It’s not only user friendly; it’s certified accessible.”

This is a statement included in an announcement by the National Computer Center about the Philippine Community eCenter )PhilCeCNet) website, a recipient of the Disabled-Friendly Website Award in 2009.

According to the announcement, the Disabled-Friendly Website Award is given in recognition to websites that are “disabled-friendly” – sites that are accessible to all, including users with physical disabilities. This award is given by the Philippine Web Accessibility Group (P-WAG) in partnership with the National Council on Disability Affairs.

Upon reading the (relatively old) announcement, I became very interested to look at the PhilCeCNet website (http://www.philcecnet.ph/).

What did I see?

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