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l’azile » 2006 » October

October 31, 2006

EARL bilinguis

catherine @ 3:25 pm

My EARL for dummies article is now available in French. I had to adapt it somewhat, mainly lose the references to the television show as I suspect many francophones would have no clue what I was talking about. And I have decided to post it via my personal Web page because it is a real pain adding French content to this blog.

Happy Hallowe’en !

Mon article sur EARL pour les nuls est maintenant disponible en français. J’ai dû l’adapter un peu et plus particulièrement, retirer toutes les références concernant l’émission de télé car j’imagine que ça ne dirait pas grand-chose aux francophones. Aussi, j’ai décidé de le mettre en ligne via ma page Web personnelle car c’est vraiment chiant ajouter du contenu français à ce blogue.

Boo !

October 26, 2006

do not google unless you really mean it

catherine @ 11:31 am

Google posted a blog entry yesterday, visibly geared towards Joe-boîte-à-lunch, on how to use and especially how not to use their name. And judging from the related posts elsewhere linked to at the bottom of the article, a lot of people are not very happy.

I think we need to see this for what it is. Simply that Google is once again doing what is expected to protect their trademark, which will be useful in the future when they decide to sue the pants off whoever they please (or more likely whoever had one of their lawyers break out into a tepid sweat). After all, it would be harder to cry trademark infringement (or whatever the legal term is) if they can not prove they have done a minimum to protect it. So now, not only can they say commercial entities have been warned but regular folks as well.

Continue reading do not google unless you really mean it

October 24, 2006

phoning it in

catherine @ 2:41 pm

This expression has always amused me in its conceptual representation and I find it unfortunate that it can not be directly translated into French. I have never been amused however by what it stands for.

It has now been almost a month since I had my hip surgery and while convalescence has been challenging at times, in the last week or so, I think that things have indeed gotten better. The pain is much more manageable and the long incision left from the surgery is for the most part healed. In principle, in a couple of weeks, I should be able to start rehab.

Continue reading phoning it in

October 17, 2006

voisinage

catherine @ 2:51 pm

Derrière chez nous, de l’autre côté de la ruelle, vit une jeune famille. Un couple dans la trentaine et leurs deux jeunes garçons. Lorsque le gars est à la maison, il joue souvent avec ses deux fils dans leur cour, des jeux leur permettant de s’exciter un peu, de se débarrasser de leur surplus d’énergie, de lâcher leur fou. Il prépare les bbq aussi et j’imagine que cet hiver, il déneigera l’allée au besoin. La femme s’occupe de la maison et je ne crois pas qu’elle travaille à l’extérieur. Presque tous les jours, elle fait une grosse lessive qu’elle étend sur sa corde à linge. J’imagine que trois mâles dans une maison, ça doit salir beaucoup de vêtements, de serviettes, de torchons, etc. J’avoue tout de même que je suis particulièrement impressionnée par la quantité de lessive que je vois sortir de cette maison. Alors que le type et les deux garçons ont l’air relativement heureux, la femme, elle, semble plutôt s’emmerder. Je ne l’ai vu sourire qu’une fois ou deux, un sourire pâle et bref.

Dans la petite maison à notre gauche vit un couple retraité et leur vieux chien. La femme est la commère du quartier alors que son époux ne parle à personne, sinon en grognant. Ils ont une grande cour arrière et visiblement, ils ont investi beaucoup de temps et d’argent à l’aménager. Leur chien jappe sans arrêt lorsqu’il est dehors. Il jappe lorsqu’un oiseau ou un insecte passe pas loin. Il jappe lorsqu’une brindille d’herbe vacille au vent. Il jappe lorsqu’il fait ses crottes. Bref, il jappe tout le temps pour rien. Et peu importe comment on s’y prend pour essayer de faire comprendre à ces gens qui c’est plutôt agaçant d’entendre leur chien beugler à partir de 7h00 le matin, ils s’en foutent. Tout ce qu’ils trouvent à dire c’est « she’s a japper that one but you know, she probably won’t make it to the spring ».

À notre droite se trouve un édifice comme le nôtre. Parmi les locataires, il y a un couple dans la cinquantaine peut-être. L’homme a passé beaucoup de temps cet été à se faire bronzer dans sa cour, étendu sur une chaise longue et s’aspergeant à l’aide d’une vieille bouteille de windex remplie d’eau. À l’occasion, il emprunte la ruelle à l’arrière pour aller au dép. Une fois, alors que mon coloc était absent, il est venu chasser une guêpe de notre cuisine. Un soir cet été, sans doute à la suite d’une dispute, j’ai entendu sa femme se plaindre en larmes à une voisine qu’elle n’en pouvait plus, qu’elle le détestait.

Dans notre édifice, il y a plusieurs personnes âgées. Des femmes surtout qui vivent seules. Notre voisine de pallier doit bien avoir dans les 80. Elle se plaint tout le temps qu’elle a mal aux jambes. Elle parle souvent à la photo de son mari décédé et lorsque le bulletin de nouvelles passe à la télé, elle place la photo devant pour qu’il puisse écouter les infos avec elle. Elle ne sort jamais, sinon pour étendre des vieux vêtements tachés et abîmés sur sa corde à linge à l’arrière ou pour s’asseoir en robe de nuit sur son balcon à l’avant, guettant l’arrivée ou le départ de voisins. Inlassablement, elle raconte à qui veut bien rester quelques minutes qu’elle est seule, qu’elle a vécu trop longtemps, qu’elle aurait préféré être la première à partir.

Au sous-sol, il y a deux logements. Dans le plus petit vit un homme dans la fin cinquantaine. Les rideaux sont fermés en permanence. De temps en temps, je le croise sur le trottoir, il est gentil. Une fois, je lui ai demandé s’il ne trouvait pas ça un peu déprimant de ne jamais laisser filtrer le soleil à travers les fenêtres. Il m’a répondu qu’il préfère ça à se faire voler ses trucs.

L’autre logement, celui qui se trouve directement sous le nôtre, est occupé par un type dans la quarantaine. Récemment, j’ai dû utiliser son téléphone, le nôtre était en panne. Il a une petite amie, elle vient habituellement passer les week-ends avec lui. Cet été, ils s’assoyaient souvent dehors sous le bouleau dans la cour arrière, lui buvant sa bière, elle son vin rouge, et jasaient tranquillement ou jouaient à Quelques arpents de piège. À l’occasion, je les entends baiser le matin, sa chambre étant sous la mienne, et je m’en passerais bien mais je me console en me disant qu’au moins il y a quelqu’un dans le coin qui semble s’amuser un peu.

October 13, 2006

twinkle, twinkle little scar

catherine @ 8:44 am

Last year, a couple of days after I broke my hip, I was lying in my hospital bed on the orthopedics ward from hell, utterly stunned at my predicament. I could not believe I had broken my hip (and so totally at that) only a mere 7 or 8 months after I had started walking again. I was really freaked out about how this could happen but mostly about not knowing what was in store for me.

So being the closet optimist that I am, I tried to think of positive things to come away with from this whole experience. And damn it, I actually succeeded in coming up with 3 or 4 positive outcomes. Not that I am especially better than anyone else at looking on the bright side but there are things that happen out of nowhere that just have such an impact, they are life-changing really. Sometimes they are small things, tiny moments of joy or understanding or despair. Sometimes, they are big things, like breaking a hip. But whatever they turn out to be, they really do have the power to put a lot of things into perspective. For a brief moment, you can see clearly and the important things are revealed.

Continue reading twinkle, twinkle little scar

Filed under: from the hip, silliness
October 10, 2006

Content delivered via HTML formatted e-mail

catherine @ 3:23 pm

A question came up this morning on the French accessibility mailing list hosted by AccessiWeb about e-mails using HTML format. This question stemmed from the person having received a newsletter in HTML format and reflecting on how inaccessible it could be given that it was basically a bunch of clickable images “sausaged” together with no textual equivalents for the text contained in these images.

In my experience, questions relating to accessibility of e-mail communication are rather rare but they do pop up every once in a while. And I have thought about this a bit over the years and poked around to find any resources or discussions on the subject of specific guidelines or techniques or well-identified policies. There is not a lot of easy-to-find material out there that addresses the topic of e-mail content accessibility though I have not done a full-on search in a good while (if you know of any, please send them along).

Continue reading Content delivered via HTML formatted e-mail

October 9, 2006

what the frak ?!

catherine @ 2:26 pm

Ok, so it is incredibly nerdy of me to be blogging about BattleStar Galactica but as I often say, I was a nerd before it was cool.

Anyway, I spent too much time this afternoon checking out what the word on the Net is and so far, everything I have read is very positive. So of course, I have to step a little to the side on this one and say, euh, yeah, ok, I guess but…

I watched it Saturday on Space channel and to be fair, I may have been anticipating it a little too much. So, in an effort to be objective, I watched it again yesterday (Space was re-airing it just in case someone out there did not get enough the first time) and I still felt the same way, which was basically like the show was trying to hit me over the head with a 50-ton baseball bat.

The two-hour season premier was dark, ultra-violent, depressing, disturbing and at times thoroughly disgusting. And of course it had to be, this is BSG after all, but wowee !, they crammed as much violence, insanity, treason, hopelessness and bodily harm as they possibly could into two hours (including commercials).

And I felt that they were really pushing the controversy element. Suicide bombings ? Sex-crazed priests ? Unlawful detention ? Torture ? Supposed beefcakes turned just plain beefy ? Gee, could you be any less subtle ?

October 6, 2006

my name is EARL 1.0

catherine @ 6:43 pm

In the last year, I have been doing a lot of reading and thinking about the Semantic Web and the potential benefits in the area of Web accessibility. I like the idea of the Semantic Web; I like the idea that it seems so abstract but that when you look closer, it is the complete opposite. I also like the idea of the big picture it provides. And how it can actually make you believe that things make sense in the largely undiscovered country that is the World Wide Web.

I have to admit however that up until recently, I did not see much practicality in all this stuff. I remember when I first started exploring this field a couple of years ago. I felt like “wow, this is really cool but how useful can it be to me, to the stuff that matters to me.” At the time, it was not very clear. It just seemed like a bunch of W3C rock stars geeking off. And that “Semantic Web cake” they kept adding layers to did not help matters.

I think that more than anything, more than social networking and [geo]tagging or folksomies and promises of tools that can organise your schedule so you can go to the dentist and make your daughter’s soccer game, EARL is what really brought it home for me.

Continue reading my name is EARL 1.0

October 5, 2006

accessibility - prise deux

catherine @ 5:01 pm

Once again, people are getting into what some are now calling the “accessibility wars”. This is quite unfortunate of course because after all, we are supposed to be on the same side ; we should be fighting for something, not over something. So once again, because I care about this issue and feel that all of this is doing more harm than good, I will reiterate in the clearest manner possible the difference between the basic concepts involved. I apologise in advance for the quality of my English in this post ; I usually spend days and days revising my texts but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible and move on.

The semantics surrounding accessibility is something I have studied for quite a while now. And I do not mean I have just read a couple of articles or blog posts and subsequently made up my mind. I mean I have scoured the Web and any other related material I could get my hands on with my albeit limited means and poured over these resources for months at a time to form my opinions. I have considered concepts of accessibility and/or universality not only in the field of Web development but also barrier-free architecture, spatial and information sciences. I have thought about it from different perspectives, political, social and technical. I have taken into account the context in which advancements concerning disability issues have taken place, traditional concepts and related initiatives and outcomes.

Continue reading accessibility - prise deux

Filed under: accessibility, words
October 3, 2006

not dead yet

catherine @ 9:04 am

As the title says, I am still alive but I must admit, there were times during the last few days where I wished… well, that I might at least be put into a coma until I was completely healed. Unfortunately, hospitals, especially in Québec, are not so accommodating. So not only was I conscious for most of it, except the surgery per se, I was home for most of it too.

Now, I do not wish to be misusunderstood. I am so glad I am home and firmly believe that I will heal better here than in hospital if only because I will actually be able to sleep. But I do think it is rather foolhardy to send me home a scant few hours after hip surgery. This was not a tonsillectomy after all, it was HIP surgery. I think it would have been quite reasonable to keep me overnight, which might have prevented me from having to spend over nine hours in the emergency room a couple of days later due to minor complications. But this is what our health care system here has come to. And it will only get worse.

Continue reading not dead yet

Filed under: from the hip
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