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Internet access for blind and partially sighted people

Bringing the Web to Life – Internet access for blind and partially sighted people

Presented by Andy White
RNIB Technology Officer

Date: Thursday 17th June 2004
Time: 9.30 am to 4.00 pm
Venue: RNIB Bristol
Cost: £90.00
Code: AT3

An intermediate level course aimed at visually impaired people or those who are working with visually impaired people. It is open to professionals and private individuals of all ages. It will be of particular interest to people working in employment, education, and community settings.

The course aims to increase awareness of Internet accessibility issues, and to provide hands-on experience using access technology software with the Internet.

Course content:

  • What is access technology?
  • Making information and the web accessible
  • Screen readers (JAWS, Hal, Supernova) and web access
  • Screen magnifiers (ZoomText, Lunar, Supernova) and web access
  • Hands-on experience – using specialist software and computers
  • Question and Answer session – bring along specific queries
  • Examples of Accessible and inaccessible websites

This information can be provided in alternative formats.
Please contact the Centre for details.

RNIB Education & Employment Centre (South West)
10 Stillhouse Lane, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 4EB
Tel: 0117 934 1712 Fax: 0117 953 7751
Email: E&

Media focus group meeting

Meeting at the Chelsea Inn Easton on

Tuesday 2nd March – 6.30pm (the day after the AGM)

Planning for the DEMO DAY in the spring…

objectives – content – formats – selection – acquisition
formatting/streaming – site logistics – assets organisation
network capability – access limits – event co-ordination

Anyone interested in taking part welcome

Driver News

Linux Centrino driver released

A Canadian software company has produced a driver that will let Linux users make the most of Intel Corp.’s Centrino wireless chip set.

Linuxant released DriverLoader 1.6 last week and is hoping to capitalize on a market that Intel itself has identified, promising in January that it will soon make a Linux driver available for Centrino.

"People were deploying Linux on their Centrino notebooks and then they would notice their wireless LAN would not work. DriverLoader 1.6 allows them to activate the WLAN interface on their notebook," said Marc Boucher, president and founder of Linuxant.

Getting support from Business 3 March – 10.00 am to 4.00 p


Any volunteers to go on behalf of Bristol Wireless?

Getting support from Business – The CREATE Centre – – lunch provided

This course is for organisations with limited experience of gaining support from business. You will learn about the benefits of partnership, how to write a basic proposal to attract business support, and understand which businesses to approach. Last year Business Community Connections helped 34 local voluntary and community sector organisations gain support from business. Come and find out how it’s done. To book contact or to find out more telephone 0117 9099949 by 12 noon on Friday 27 February.

Clare Worrall
Administrative Assistant

The CREATE Centre
Smeaton Road
Tel: 0117 909 9949
Fax: 0117 904 3346

More IoPP donations + Giveaway News

The Institute of Physics Publishing have come up with another 20 computers which will be distributed over the next 2 Thursdays to the course participants currently in their third week of training.

Paul and Ben have been leading the training, and developing more course materials –
Thanks to all those preparing the machines for the giveaway, they’ve been installing Mepis onto Dell 233 Optiplex GXA – 64MB RAM/ 3gig HDD.

Volunteers required to do some more next week if possible. Volunteers also required for tutor support during training sessions.

Contact the lab for more details

Local internet radio show opens

Forwarded from Bristol LUG mailing list – how is that radio course development going Paul? :).

Hey all

I’m currently involved in an internet radio station project. We have a 3 hour show each week, and for the other 24×6+21 hours the original show is looped.So I was thinking of maybe having a techie show in there somewhere. Perhaps on a different stream. Perhaps from a different server (our DSL line already pushes the current stream up to the nice people at as well as hosting; it’s getting a little crowded :-). We could record the show in our studio with pre-recorded items and inserts and transfer the whole recorded show (or possibly separate mp3s/oggs) to somewhere else for hosting / streaming.

If streaming is a problem we could arrange to insert it into the current stream at a prearranged time or times.Also if anyone has anything interesting to say that isn’t particularly techie, or is relevant to or understandable by normal humans we’d welcome you on the regular show on Thursday nights. See

And on a slightly different note, there is a distinct lack of radio automation software for Linux out there. After looking at some of the windoze demo software out there (having no experience in radio that was somewhat of a learning curve) I’ve figured out what I need to get a good semi-automated show going (or fully automated) but it doesn’t really translate to a web browser app, which is my main area of experience. I’d like to get it into PerlQt but I’ve never used it before. If anyone has, I’d be grateful for some help with the first few ‘Aha!s’. Contact me off-list?

Laptop for Linux

<forward from>


I heard about the Bristol Wireless project from a friend who met one of you chaps in a pub. Mmm, liquid networking. Great project, I’ll be watching the website.

I’m on the lookout for a used laptop to run Linux. Something reasonably recent, as I will be running OpenOffice. Do you have any good sources for used hardware?

Thanks a lot and all the best,


Feb 16th – Funding & Finance for Co-operatives

Bristol and Bath
Co-operative Business Forum:

Funding & Finance for Co-operatives

There is funding and financing available for co-operatives in the former Avon area to meet start up, expansion and specific project costs. This event aims to inform co-operatives of these sources of finance and to give an opportunity to ask questions to representatives of the financing organisations:

Social Economy Development Fund: Co-ops and other social enterprises can apply for up to £10,000 grant. Ronnie Brown from Greater Bristol Foundation which administers the Fund Panel will be presenting background to the fund and introducing the funding criteria used. Currently this fund is under-subscribed by co-operatives.

Co-op Groups’ Community Dividend Fund: Co-ops and community groups can apply for between £100 and £5,000 grants. Elin Hogan came to the Co-operative Business Forum a year ago to introduce the fund. Now she returns with news of successful applications and to answer further questions about the fund.

Avon & Bristol Co-operative Finance: ABCF offers loans to co-operatives and other social enterprise of up to £100,000. There will be a presentation on the types of loans offered by ABCF and the process of applying for loans.

Triodos Bank: Triodos is one of Europe’s leading ethical banks, with UK operations based in Bristol. Susan Cooper will be introducing the services offered by Triodos to co-operatives.

Phone Co-op: The Phone Co-op is a member owned phone company. Members pay less for their calls using their existing phone line. Profits are either reinvested in the co-op for future development or paid back to members as dividend.

Venue – Conference
Room, Upstairs @ CDA, Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8 QN
Date – Monday 16th February 04
Time – 5.30pm onwards (see over)

There is no need to book a place but for catering purposes please let us know how many people from each co-op will be attending.

Funding & Finance for Co-operatives

Come hear from local grant and loan finance providers relevant to co-operatives

Date – Monday 16 February 04

@ The Conference Room, The Coach House, 2 Upper York Street, Bristol BS2 8QN

5.30pm Arrival & welcome
Food and drinks provided
6.00pm Presentation by Ronnie Brown from the Greater Bristol Foundation on the Social Economy Development Fund
6.25 pm Presentation by Elin Horgan from the Co-op Group on their Community Dividend fund
6.50 pm Presentation by ABCF on the local Co-operative & other Social enterprise Loan fund
7.15 pm Presentation by Triodos Bank on their services available to co-operatives
7.40 pm Presentation on the Phone Co-op services

8.00pm ENDS


Repost – digitalpartnership online

Probably not our cup of tea…

The Digital Partnership is an international partnership facilitating innovation and affordable access to technology, training and the Internet for learning, enterprise and development in developing and emerging market economies through a sustainable private/public partnership model.

It is an initiative of the International Business Leaders Forum, established in May 2001 with support from leading global IT companies and their major corporate IT users, the World Bank and foundations.

BT Community Connections

Anyone know of any groups that be encouraged to apply for this besides ourselves. The possibility exists of our pooling the bandwidth locally, in return for our support in applying perhaps.

Please note that BT is currently reviewing the award scheme with a proposed launch date for Year Three of January 2004.

BT Community Connections is a nationwide award scheme that aims to connect local community and voluntary groups to the internet. The scheme has already allocated 1,100 PCs throughout the UK during the past 12 months and there are a further 600 to be awarded. Every award winner will receive a package of an NEC multimedia personal computer including speakers, 15” monitor and a contribution towards 12 months Internet access. Each award will give community and voluntary groups the ability to access up to date information via the world wide web, contact similar groups around the world by email and even create their own community interest websites.

All you have to do is log on to the website –

Or request an application pack from:

BT Community Connections
PO Box 30775,
London WC1B 4QE

If you, as an individual or part of a group, feel that the internet would make a positive contribution to your community then you can apply for an award.

Awards For All

Awards for All can fund projects that enable people to take part in and access community activities, as well as projects that promote education, the environment and health in the local community. You can apply at any time

* The application form is short and simple
* There are links to guidance notes and sources of help
* You will be told if you are successful or not within 3 months

Your group can only receive a maximum of £5,000 in any 12 month period from Awards for All. This will be from the date you are notified of any award made.

You can apply if

* You need a grant of between £500 and £5,000 to fund a specific project or activity;
* You are a not-for-profit group; or
* You are a Parish or Town Council, School or Health body; *
* You can use the grant within one year.

Here are some of the things that a grant could be spent on:

* providing training courses
* professional fees
* equipment and materials

Application forms are available from the website in three formats:

1. EAF (Electronic Application Form) – for PC users only
2. Adobe PDF form – for Apple Mac and PC users
3. Request a paper copy of the application pack from or contact an the office below.

(None of which work under Linux though!)

If you are not sure whether your project is something they can fund, please contact your regional Awards for All office Awards Officer on 020 7587 6643 or 020 7587 6642.

Bannerman Road go-ahead

Richard and I had a good meeting with Adam Cattle the Education IT support officer with responsibility for Bannerman Road School on Friday (16/1) facilitated by Dick Turpin, the school’s community development worker, and one of the governors (or he might have left the governors to take up this post, I didn’t get clear that up)

In principle it has been agreed that Bristol Wireless will supply about 45 refurbished wirelessly enabled computers to the homes of the incoming reception year for the 2004/2005 academic year. The IT team at the school have expressed great interest in getting this off the ground, and are being very supportive. We will have their full involvement and input throughout.

There is a lot to think about and plan – we’ve estimated that just in kit and network rollout and installation we’re looking at around £4,000 even if all the labour and administration is done voluntarily. We’ve got to source the machines and find somewhere to work on them, and we have to co-ordinate between the school, education IT and the reception households to develop realistic targets and get all parties to agree on what they want and what is expected of them.

We need to develop a robust platform for all of this to sit on, Ben is leading the charge on the software side, and Matt and others have done a lot of work around the wireless hardware issues.

In addition we have to work out something useful for the network to do, if initially there is only limited internet access, we will have to continue to negotiate what we can offer either through proxying or caching our own signal, the schools, or other sources. A server at the school hosting content looks likely (anyone want to develop a CMS for reception class teachers?) We will have to set up maintenance systems, training and a host of other associated tasks that we can start to document on the wiki and maybe some sort of online project management tool (anyone know
of a good one for something like this?)

Rich and I are going to see BACEN tomorrow regarding the development planning and fundraising and will report back on the BBS with the results.

Bristol Wireless Distro

I am hoping to start a discussion of what software we want on our Bristol Wireless Distro.

I am currently thinking of re-mastering morphix and adding a few more packages to it. It is the only distro which comes (in its light GUI form) with XFCE as the default desktop, and a fairly well configured one at that. It is just as easy as Knoppix to remaster, and has the capacity for last minutes alterations and updates, via inclusion of ‘.deb’s.

Please also enhance to wiki pages on this subject:

If anyone has more experience of making new distros and want to lead the compilation, or just give us some pointers then go for it.

Radio course

Course Introduction:

Open Access Radio: Do you have have something to say? Over eight weeks this course will provide a practical introduction to speech based radio as an accessible means of communication. The course will be taught using the Dyne:bolic toolkit – a free GNU/Linux distribution on a CD-Rom that turns any PC with a sound card into a multimedia studio with all the software you need to make and broadcast audio just by putting it in and re-booting the computer. The course is based on the idea that radio is a medium accessible to anyone – not just professionals. If you are a member of a community group, a ‘zine writer, media activist or just someone that wants to be heard then this course will give you the skills and access to the tools you need to produce your own radio program. The course will be participatory student led and everyone attending will have made their own program by the end of the course which will be recorded and then streamed over the internet.

Course Description: The course consists of five units taught over eight weeks and includes time for students to create their own program.

Unit 1: Preparation. Starting with a look at the different kinds of speech based radio – both conventional formats, such as documentary and drama, and some creative alternatives its will aim to help participants decide what they want to make. This unit will also cover planning and research techniques, the purpose and shape of potential programs and what makes for good radio

Unit 2: Gathering Material. This unit looks at how you go about gathering material for a radio program. This will include a look at content such as scripted material, and common techniques like interviews, vox pops and discussions. Practical skills taught in this unit will include microphone techniques and an introduction to sound recording.

Unit 3: Editing. This unit will look at one of the most important practical techniques – sound editing on a PC using both found, and the participant’s own materials with a particular emphasis on speech. For this unit we will be using Rezound – a powerful and intuitive single track audio editor.

Unit 4: Putting it all Together. We will look at how you assemble a radio program from the different elements you have gathered together. It will cover topics such as the use of background music, blending sounds and shaping material. In this unit we will be covering multi-track editing using Audacity to assemble the different parts of a radio program.

Unit 5: Distribution and Broadcasting. This unit looks at the different ways students can use and distribute their material and will look at using Icecast and as a way of setting up your own net radio station – for free. We will also be looking at the difference between live and pre-recorded radio and studio techniques.