Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Quick And Friendly Note To My Fellow Blind Tech Enthusiasts On Windows 7 Posts

This isn’t a rant. And it isn’t a complaint. I’m writing this so others don’t follow in my messy footsteps from years ago on something I did offline. And I am not addressing anyone in particular today in case someone thinks I’m throwing a big spotlight on this person or that person. I’m just trying to be a friendly Citizen of the Web!

I’m reading a lot of what others have to say about Windows 7 and I’m loving that we have so many out there on the web who are willing to jump in the pool. However, I can tell that some out there haven’t written on this kind of thing before and I just wanted to make a friendly suggestion on your approach to conversations on Windows 7 with your AT program of choice. And that suggestion is... don’t make declarative statements on what is and is not accessible by Screen Magnifiers or Screen Readers yet.

Build 7127 just went live recently. That puts it nearly one month older than the RC build, 7100, that was released to the public on May 5th. Changes can still come, especially to the User Interface, to 7 before it moves to a Release To Manufacturing [or RTM] status. Vista and Office 2007 took some turns right before release that scratched a few heads back then. And while I don’t think that is going to be the case too much on this go around, it is better to be safe than sorry when saying something is or isn’t working.

Plus you have to remember that official support isn’t here yet from the AT companies them because they are waiting on a final build of Windows 7 to tidy up their product support as well. It is great that some have gotten this Screen Reader to work or have this Screen Magnifier loaded in 7. And I again admire the tenacity of those who took the effort to go that extra mile to do this crazy pre release software thing. Just remember when writing and talking about 7, or the upcoming Office 2010, that things are in a state of constant flux. And the thing you said three months ago won’t always be the thing you can point back to later.

Now I’m not saying don’t write, test or talk about it at all. Far from it... you are helping out your fellow users by doing what you are doing. And you brave souls are contributing tons to the conversations about Windows Access. Just remember to remind your listeners, readers and followers that the final releases aren’t out yet and you will have plenty more to say when those final editions and versions come to store shelves. Then you can create a boat load of new content about the differences in prerelease to full blown out on the market products.

Trust me... I’ve made this mistake myself years ago and I try to not repeat it when I write here or at my day job. Writing about pre release software is always like throwing a dart at a moving target. You take your best shot and hope for the best every time you hit the “Submit” button. Need further proof? See how I got things right and wrong for yourself in my look back to Vista and Office to see my mistakes in action.

I’m using that post as a guide for when I make some content about 7 here on the blog, and elsewhere, for 7 and Office 2010. This is the third time I’m writing professionally about a Windows Operating System with AT products and my batting average has been about 600. Okay 550 if you count all the times I said Vista was coming out on this date then Microsoft went and moved the darn thing. Now that I’m in the “On Deck Circle” with 7 I’m hoping to maintain, not lower, my average! Or bunt to get on base. Statistically speaking I’ll settle for either once I finish my first draft of this year’s presentations.

Again... no offense intended at all to those who are out there spreading the word. Keep’em flying high!

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