Top articles of the week

Hello there and welcome to our weekly feature titled top articles of the
week.
Especially chosen for you, these articles will help you to keep up to date
with current trends plus a lot more.
Enjoy!

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Taken from the e access bulletin monthly online newsletter
Inaccessible websites dent business profits, as online shoppers
‘click away’.
UK businesses are losing out on huge sums of money – potentially
totalling billions of pounds – by failing to make their websites
accessible to users with access needs, new research claims.
Published by disability consultancy Freeney Williams, the Click-Away Pound
(CAP) Survey assessed the “online shopping experience of customers with
disabilities, and the costs to business of ignoring them.”
The report revealed that 71% of disabled customers with access needs will
‘click away’ from a website that they find difficult to use. A key
finding from the survey was that the spending power of these online
shoppers who click away is £11.75 billion – money which is then spent
elsewhere by those same shoppers, on sites that they can access.
Launching the survey results at an event in London to coincide with the
International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Rick Williams – co-author
of the survey and managing director of Freeney Williams – said: “As a
business, why would you design a website that people can’t use? That £12
billion is displaced spending. It’s astonishing – the sheer size of
that number surprised us. Businesses are losing opportunities for that
money.”
The CAP Survey also notes that, “Businesses need to bear in mind that if
a disabled shopper clicks away from their site to one of their competitors,
they show little inclination to return.”
The CAP Survey was initially launched in January (as reported in e-Access
Bulletin issue 176:
http://eab.li/48
) and closed in July, collecting
results from 362 participants. Some estimates from the report are based
around applying trends found in the results to national level, using data
from the Office of National Statistics, among other sources.
While the key messages behind the research will be familiar to many
e-Access Bulletin readers, the findings will likely come as a surprise to
many businesses. The CAP Survey claims that, “Most businesses will be
unaware that they are losing income, because more than 90% of customers who
have difficulty using a site will not contact them.”
In fact, the survey found that over 80% of online shoppers with access
needs will choose to spend their money on websites with the fewest barriers
in place for them, as opposed to the cheapest.
The five most common website problems identified by survey respondents
were: crowded pages; poor link information; filling in forms; moving images
or graphics; and poor legibility, including colour contrast and text
layout.
Screen-readers were found to be the most common type of assistive
technology (AT) used by respondents, with 53% of all respondents using some
form of AT. As the CAP Survey points out, “No matter how sophisticated or
efficient AT might be or how competent its user, unless a website is
designed and developed to take access needs into account, the capacity of
AT to overcome access barriers will always be limited.”
The report finishes by explaining that while the 2016 CAP Survey has
“established a point of departure,” a follow-up survey is also planned
for next year. The 2017 CAP Survey will examine the subject in relation to
specific business sectors, and beyond the UK.
Read the Click-Away Pound Report in full, as a PDF or Word document, at the
CAP website:
http://eab.li/49

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sony unveils sd cards so fast, they’ve bumped up against interface speed
limits
by joel hruska
february 23 20177

Sony unveils SD cards so fast, they’ve bumped up against interface speed limits


sony has announced a new line of sd cards that aren’t just fast — they’re
capable of hitting the fundamental performance limits of the ultra high
speed ii (abbreviated uhs-ii) specification. that standard offers up to
312mb/s of
performance, while sony is claiming 300mb read/write speeds for its new
line of sf-g sd cards.
the uhs-ii standard specifies a 156mb/s data rate when in half-duplex mode
(reading and writing simultaneously) and a 312mb/s rate when only reading
or writing. sony’s published claim of 300mb/s reads and 299mb/s writes
assumes half-duplex operation, though that’s probably a reasonable
assumption since most people aren’t writing 4k video while simultaneously
attempting to read it.
these new cards aren’t available in very high capacities, with 32gb, 64gb,
and 128gb options available. other manufacturers have ramped
sd cards
with 256gb and 512gb capabilities, but sony is clearly going for performance
over capacity with this product family. the 300mb read speed isn’t
particularly impressive, but 300mb/s writes is something altogether
different.
panasonic sdxc
sdxc cards that support uhs-ii, like the panasonic pictured above, have
additional pins that other cards lack.
sd card reviews suggest that a 299mb/s write speed would put the sony sf-g
in a class of its own. havecamerawilltravel
reviewed
a number of sd cards and found only one microsd card capable of maintaining
a >200mb/s
write speed — the lexar 1800x. that write performance appears to have come
at the expense of read performance, with the 1800x only turning 70.4mb/s of
sequential read performance.
according to sony, its increased performance is the result of firmware
tuning and an on-board buffer. here’s how the company describes it.
” sf-g series uhs-ii sd cards offer unprecedented write speeds of up to
299mb/s, optimal for hi-speed continuous shooting and 4k video shooting park
ridge, n.j., february 22, 2017 – sony is increasing the speed and efficiency
of their sd card lineup with
the new sf-g series. as performance demands and file sizes continue to
increase, the sf-g series of sd cards offer enhanced features optimized for
professional photographers, dslr and mirrorless camera users and
videographers.
with a write speed of up to 299 mb/s, enabled by sony’s unique firmware, the
sf-g series will be the world’s fastest sd cards. the quick write speed
supports maximum performance of digital imaging devices, contributing to
longer continuous shooting of
high-resolution images with uhs-ii supporting cameras. it also contributes
to a shorter buffer clearing time so users never miss a critical moment.
using sony’s algorithm, the cards prevent the decrease of data-writing
speeds and contribute to the camera’s ability of successive high speed
shooting.
the cards also feature a read speed of up to 300mb/s. paired with a memory
card reader, the cards can transfer large volumes and file sizes to a
computer very quickly, contributing to a more efficient workflow for
professionals.
“available in 32gb, 64gb and 128gb capacities, the sf-g series offers
options that ensure high-performance, high speed and reliable shooting,”
said viviano cantu, vice president, product marketing, sony americas media
and energy group. “as the
continuous shooting of higher-resolution images and adoption of 4k video
with dslr and mirrorless cameras increases, the inherent need for larger,
faster and more dependable cards becomes apparent. a longtime leader at the
forefront of professional
media, sony has met these growing demands with the debut of the sf-g series,
which offers industry leading performance.”
sony’s sd cards are extremely reliable and durable, with water proof and
anti-static capabilities to keep your precious content safe. additionally,
sony’s free downloadable file rescue software allows for the recovery of
photos and videos, including raw
images and 4k xavc-s video files, that may have been accidentally damaged or
deleted.”
with a write speed of up to 299 mb/s, enabled by sony’s unique firmware, the
sf-g series will be the world’s fastest sd cards… it also contributes to a
shorter buffer clearing time so users never miss a critical moment. using
sony’s algorithm, the cards prevent the decrease of data-writing speeds and
contribute to the camera’s ability of successive high speed shooting.
with that said, sony is glossing over one critically important issue. the
performance you’ll get from a camera, 4k or otherwise, isn’t just a function
of the speed of the sd card. it’s also a function of the camera’s sd card
controller.
imagine plugging a usb 3.0 stick into a usb 1.1 port and you’ll see the
problem. a usb 3.0 drive might reach marginally higher performance than its
usb 1.1 counterpart, but it won’t come anywhere close to what the interface
can
actually achieve. according to
tested.com
, this is a known problem even on some high-end cameras. while that article
dates back to 2013, it captures the issue well. canon’s 5d mark iii is a
$3500 camera with an extremely fast
compactflash slot and a very slow sd card slot. that camera supports the
udma7 protocol (167mb/s theoretical transfer rate) for its cf slot, yet
failed to support either uhs-i or uhs-ii. the sd card was therefore limited
to just
25mb/s of maximum performance — vastly slower than its compactflash slot.
the new sony cards should be available for purchase starting this spring.
check back at the link for updates.
https://blog.sony.com/press/sony-introduces-the-worlds-fastest-sd-card/

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Taken from the E access bulletin monthly online newsletter
Video games without the visuals for blind gamers.
A series of five new audio-based video games for blind and visually
impaired users are being designed, after a crowdfunding campaign to support
the project achieved over 150% of its target funding.
The games, including versions of classic arcade title ‘Frogger’ and a
cricket game, will be available on mobile devices, tablet computers and
desktop computers, through the iOS and Andriod operating systems, as well
as Windows PC.
In April 2016, the Audio Game Hub project released a free package of eight
“experimental arcade videogames” that relied on audio, rather than
visuals. Designed primarily for people with sight loss, the games were
fully playable without the need to look at a screen, featuring an option to
turn off the visuals completely. The games – including ‘Archery’,
‘Samurai Tournament’ and ‘Slot Machines’ – proved incredibly
popular with both non-sighted and sighted users, receiving over 33,000
downloads.
Audio Game Hub founder Jarek Beksa told e-Access Bulletin that the idea
came several years ago, when testing equipment at a telecoms company:
“During one of the tests we spoke with a blind user. He told us ‘Nobody
makes games for us.’ Since then, we started thinking about the idea of
creating accessible games, Beksa said.
The team behind Audio Game Hub – based in Auckland, New Zealand – were
soon inundated with requests for more games, so they launched a Kickstarter
crowdfunding campaign in November. People who backed the campaign also
voted on which games the team should develop, chosen from a list of 14.
In just ten days, the campaign had exceeded its goal of 6,000 New Zealand
Dollars (approximately £3,370) by 150%. Most of the money will be spent on
sound production and voice recording for the games, Beksa said.
The five games chosen by people who donated to the campaign were:
‘Frogger’, a version of a 1981 arcade game where the user has to guide
a frog safely across a busy road; ‘Cricket’; ‘Simon + Super Simon’,
a memory game where users remember commands and sequences; ‘Blackjack –
21’, a popular casino card game; and ‘Runner’, where users control a
character running through different terrains.
The new games will be available as in-app purchases through the existing
Audio Game Hub collection, which is free to download.
In addition to the five chosen titles, another game, ‘Whispering
Tunnels’, will be released as a standalone purchasable app. According to
the Kickstarter campaign page, ‘Whispering Tunnels’ is “an audio
role-playing game specially tailored for the visually impaired”. Players
must solve puzzles, avoid traps, battle monsters and engage in dialogues to
escape from a tunnel.
Audio Game Hub was created in collaboration with the Gamification Lab of
the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, Germany, and the School of Computer
and Mathematical Sciences of Auckland University of Technology, New
Zealand. The project is also sponsored by Auckland University and the
AbleGamers Charity.
Read more about the project and download the original eight games for free
at the Audio Game Hub website:
http://eab.li/45

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