A few technical problems over the last few weeks which lead to various updates
of both software and hardware - SSD drives installed and fresh installation of
Like most updates basically quite easy but there's always a snag somewhere!
My main problem was getting my braille display to swork properly, got it going
now but not as I'd like it so in contact with the software designer for more
Anyway we look like we are back on track now so will hopefully catch up with
the backlog of site updates etc. as soon as possible.
The end of another year and in so many ways such a sad one, so many people ill,
the loss of a good friend to cancer, not being able to open the railway and not
being able to visit friends near and far.
On the bright side at least I've had a good excuse to increase the size of the
Not that I'm much good at it but over the last few months I've been playing a
lot more with my guitars and added a couple of new ones too. None of them are
high value instruments but all play nicely and are fun! The latest to enter
the collection are a Revelation RTE54 which is a very close run thing to a
Fender Telecaster, a Vintage V100 which is similar to a Gibson Les Paul, a
Vintage v6 Stratocaster style and finally (for this year) a Vintage VSA500
which heads towards the design of a Gibson 335.
At the beginning of the new year I hope to be able to add a couple of new pages
to the site featuring a couple of access technology developments and an update
to the work on my soundscape project for model railways.
This week I lost a very good friend to cancer, Tom Cunliffe who I first met
when working in Hastings 30 years ago lost his battle with cancer last
week. Tom was always very supportive to me in many ways especially when it
came to music, a excellent guitarist and mandolin player he gave me the push
I needed to keep playing and to try new things.
In the YouTube link above you can see him performing one of his own songs which
is, in my mind, brilliant and is part of a lovely legacy - please do give it a
listen and also please do search for his many other musical clips on YouTube.
There are now several text to speech services that you can plug into your web
site to get them 'talking' to you but so far few sites take advantage of this
I've recently been playing with such systems to get the Tannoy working on my
soundscape project and as a result of this work have added some new features to
the feedback form on the contact details page listed in the contents section above.
Now if you miss a field in the feedback form and try and submit it you will be
told which field is missing or if there is a problem with the email address,
please try it and let me know if it is useful or annoying! I certainly think
that the technique would be very useful on large forms where it can be quite
tricky to spot where you've gone wrong.
NVDA 2020.4 has been released recently offering the usual range of updates, bug
fixes and performance improvements, link this with BRLTTY 6.2 and Firefox
86.0.1 and users will have a very fast and effective web access suite which is
all free of charge! (please make donations to the products if you can to keep
the development of future releases possible).
Please be warned that I've had problems with BRLTTY 6.3 which I'm still looking
into so unless you are technically minded hold on for a while before updating.
Many visitors to my garden railway will have come across my good friend Marc
Tiltman who helps me run & maintain the engines & track, few will know that he
suffers from Meniere's disease which effects his hearing & balance. To help
spread the knowledge about this disease we have drafted a new page on this site
with details of the problem & possible sources of help.
The new Meniere's page
Following a visit from David & Alexander Henshaw from Miniature railway
magazine earlier this year I'm very pleased to say that the Blatchington branch,
my garden railway, is featured in issue 39 of the publication which is released
today. For more details click on the link below:-
Miniature Railway issue 39 is out now as a 99p digital download!
For those of you currently on DLA you might find the following link of interest,
it's a very strange & scarey process for many, people being told that you cant
be blind as you are looking at them etc. & that is from the expert assessing
you for the benefit! Don't panic though, many are successful with their claim.
Went to my good friend Mike gold's 50th a few days ago & Jan managed to catch
this picture of St. Paul's church Chigwell - hope you like it.
Great to be able to say something nice about a shop for once, I'd like to thank
the staff at Morrisons Seaford for their friendly help when I visit the store
with my guide dog Kraken. Even at the busiest times they manage to assist.
Thanks to John Squire I was lucky enough to get a trip to the Lynton &
Barnstaple railway in his 1931 Rolls Royce to attend the lines gala weekend at
the end of September. Pictured above is the car with Sid, one of the locos
that was in steam for the weekend - a boys dream too, I had the chance to drive
the loco for a couple of minutes! Many thanks to Tony Nicholson for the copy
of the picture - my camera decided to play up at the vital moment!
Just to show the world my mum was not the only person with green fingers in
this family, mind you it does help that it is the sort of plant you can
forget for up to a month without the bloody thing dying on you!
There are several reasons for why I started to build these pages, firstly it
will eventually, hopefully, provide examples of both attractive and accessible
web page design which can be used as an outline reference for others involved
in web page creation - who knows, the contents might even be useful!
This site is constantly being tested with a variety of screen readers & access
* NVDA version 2020.4, with Espeak, Vocalizer and BRLTTY 6.2,
* Various Alva Braille terminals, mainly Alva satelite 584 pro,
* Brave browser version 1.1.23 on Windows 10 (Android testing soon)
* Mozilla Firefox 86.0.1 (64 bit), Brave 1.10, Google chrome, Opera, Microsoft
Edge and Vivaldi on Windows 10 Creators edition 64 bit.
* Firefox on Samsung galaxy S9 running Android 10.0 (Accessibility suite version
9.2?) and BRLTTY 6.2.
I'm no longer testing with:-
* Jaws screen reader due to lack of Braille support on 64 bit systems and
* Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8.1. 7 & 8.1 should not be a problem.
The upshot of all this testing is that these pages should be fully accessible
by the blind & many of those using speech recognition systems.
I will be adding more detailed notes on design considerations with examples
of small HTML changes that will make all the difference to disabled
users being able to access your web pages easily.
The contents of these pages are always changing so please do visit frequently
to find updates.
If you have noticed any bugs on these pages or have found a broken link please
do let me know via the feedback form which can be found along with my contact
I'm always looking for bits to add so let me have links I should include
especially if they use fancy HTML that is still accessible.
Just a small bit of legal stuff here, although most of the material contained
in these pages is largely in the public domain please do contact me before
using any text, photos or videos to double check that they are free to use.
Thankyou to Responsivevoice.org provide the spoken prompts on these pages