Re: metalink still unuseable the 2nd day ...

From: Tim X <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 2009 17:16:15 +1100
Message-ID: <>

joel garry <> writes:

> On Nov 12, 1:04 am, Tim X <> wrote:
>> Noons <> writes:
>> > On Nov 12, 1:38 am, MBPP <> wrote:
>> >> IE also worked fine (version 8). I also noted they call the SWF
>> >> directly without a "wrapper" to check Flash version, etc. My Flash
>> >> version here is 10.0.32, try to upgrade if you have version 9, maybe
>> >> it can help? I read somewhere that they demand 9.0.115 or greater I
>> >> think.
>> > Oh great!  So now, besides having to figure out all the db versions
>> > and patches to make things work, we also are supposed to track the
>> > "consistency" of browser version and flash version?
>> > Welcome to the brave new world of dba2.0: spend all your time trying
>> > to get the "easy, time-saving UI" to work!
>> > I'm on 10.0.32 Flash and latest FF and still having minor nagging
>> > problems with it.  It'll go away, I'm sure.  But did it really need to
>> > be like this?
>> You think you have problems. I'm a blind developer and have now lost all
>> the handy tools I use to have to make metalink accessible. If javascript
>> wasn't a bad enough addition, flash makes it pretty much impossible for
>> me. Given a few months, I'll find a solution, but in the meantime....
> Too bad you have an AU address, which I assume means you are not in
> the US. Here we have what is called the Americans with Disabilities
> Act (ADA). The new interface violates it, as far as I can tell,
> though I'm not really up on software of flash for the blind, if there
> even is any such thing. I am wondering if that's why they came up
> with the html version, though. I find it curious I haven't seen
> anything about this yet, though it could be just lost in the rest of
> the uproar.

We have similar laws here too. In fact, there was a case about 10 years ago where a blind employee got fired because he was unable to do his job, which involved interacting with the corporate intranet. He successfully sued the company on the grounds they failed to make their material accessible.

Unfortunately, its not easy to legislate this sort of stuff. For one thing, we are not equally impacted. Some things I can access adequately, another cannot and some things they can access I cannot. The problem is we all differ in the specifics of the disability we have and we all differ in our abilities to deal with that disability. I knew a guy who was totally blind and did some amazing things. Unfortunately, he died a few years ago attempting a climb of Mt Everest. I personally wouldn't try that even with full 20/20 vision! Another guy I know has crewed in 3 Sydney to Hobart yaught races - a race that can be very rough and which has killed a number of people. Putting my sea sickness aside, no way would I try it. He has also travelled through Asia alone. While I've travelled in the US and a couple of other countries alone, they have all been fairly modern/developed countries. Travelling through a crowded less developed country where english is not the native tongue is, I think, pretty impressive.

The other issue is how to define accessible. The W3C has guidelines, but like protocol specs, they are open to interpretation and often that interpretation is wrong. For example, one of the W3C guidelines is that all images should have a corresponding 'alt' tag so that screen readers can say what the image is. Thats a good thing. However, it is often taken too far. For example, images are often used to force spacing in web page layout. If the image is just for formatting or eye candy, I'm not interested in hearing a tag, especially when that tag often just says 'spacer'. Very frustrating when your trying to listen to contents on a page and all the time, the spoken text is filled with random 'spacer'. Too often the tags are poorly specified as well. For example, an image which is a BNF description of some syntax, instead of having an alt tag which is the spoken form of the BNF it will say "BNF Diagrom" or "BNF Diagram of blah". Not terribly useful.

On the whole, Oracle documentation is pretty good. They often use images for things like syntax descriptions, but nearly always also have a link to a text form. However, for the last 24 months or so, their web sites have become more and more difficult to access and more and more valuable content is becoming pretty much inaccessible.

Of course, things will catch up over time - usually access stuff is a little behind the tech curve. Unfortunately, all this stuff will likely become accessible when Oracle and others realise that none of us really want flashy all bells and whistles web sites. We are less interested in how pretty it is compared to how easily we can get to the content. Like too much around us at present, the emphasis seems to be on looking good rather than having good content. All too often, this is not limited to technology - from where I'm sitting, it also seems to be the same amongst 'mamagers' - looking good in shiny shoes and crisp suits, but the content.....

> Local to me, there is a wheelchair bound lawyer who is abusing the
> law, basically just going through every business district and suing
> every business with the slightest technical violation of the law, of
> which there are many, especially in touristy places with old
> buildings. The ADA has no provision for government enforcement,
> leaving it up to private enterprise. So a few lawyers specialize in
> it, often leading to cash settlements by businesses, rather than
> actually fixing the problems. Some people call that extortion. I
> wonder how Larry would feel about that?

Yeh, I run into these types a bit and they really piss me off. It just makes employers and others nervous enough to not give anyone with a disability a chance. The unfortunate side of legislation aimed at decreasing discrimination is that it often just gets the problem buries. I'm not told I didn't get the job because I'm blind, I'm just told I didn't get it because I wasn't the best candidate. Employers know not to make reference to my disability and even avoid raising it in job interviews just in case it will leave them open to legal action. Personally, I've been pretty lucky. In fact, either I've been lucky or I've been shooting too low as I've got every job I've gone for over the last 20 years. I've yet to be fired or retrenched and I've enjoyed (mostly) the work I've done and have not been out of owrk for more than a couple of weeks in that time. The only thing I've not experienced is long service leave as I've never lasted 10 years in one job - I've come close a couple of times, but then some other opportunity has come up and I've moved on.

To take it back on topic again, working with Oracle has been pretty good from my perspective. I use to do a bit of DBA work a way back, but as more and more of the Oracle DBA activities moved away from being based on scripts and more leaning towards GUI tools, I decided to concentrate on development and troubleshooting at the developer level. The nice ting about this is that I'm still as productive with emacs, sql-mode and sqlplus as co-workers who use TOAD and other GUI tools. In fact, I'd argue that sometimes I can out perform them as it seems all these 'helpful' tools with there schema browsers and GUI profilers or report builders are often dumbing down developers. I often come across "Oracle Experts" that don't seem to know about basic tables/views and their eyes just glaze over when I start showing them v$* etc. It seems if their tool doesn't have a button for it, they are stuffed.

I won't even go into the disaster which appears to be your average Java developer. I'll keep that for my arguments at work regarding Java, Hybernate and other attrocities they want to throw at us and their insistance as web application programmers, they don't need to know anything about Oracle or even relational databases and theory.

Tim> --

tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au
Received on Fri Nov 13 2009 - 00:16:15 CST

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