Buzz Archive: May 2003

Agency Requires all Purchases, Accessible

The Department of Commerce United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO) posted a press release on May 14, 2003, titled USPTO First Agency To Require All Electronic Information Purchases Be Accessible to the Disabled.

Purchases of products and services will have to meet and be certified as meeting Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended. The agency maintains a checklist and draft on their website at Accessibility of Information Technology -- Technical Standards. Ahead of implementation schedules, the USPTO will be the model for other Federal Agencies.

Products and services include: software, operating systems, computers, Intranet and Internet based applications, telecommunications products, multimedia, video, and extends to include other self contained software systems(information kiosks, information transaction machines, fax, etc.).

All items must be compliant. Zero tolerance. No request will be processed unless it has all of the required Section 508 documentation. This Section 508 program is based on three principles: creating awareness, placing responsibility, and ensuring enforcement.

Browser Update

The Web Browser's Unfinished Basement is an article in the E-Commerce Times that should appeal to Buzzblog readers (that's this page, folks). The piece summarizes the recent developments in the browser world, pointing out that 'featuritis' (the nasty condition that has afflicted some browers in the past) is on its way out while adherence to standards and clear development road maps are becoming the norm. But one thing remains consistent: "Browsers are still rather flaky pieces of software". The author bemoans the fact that browsers everywhere are still heavily prone to crashing in ways that other software and operating systems are protected against.

On the same subject, Firebird (the Browser Formerly Known As Phoenix) has had a new release ( version 0.6 codename Glendale). There's a new theme, improved bookmarking and it never crashes. Actually, I made that last point up.

The World Wide List of Web Standards Blogs

Ed Nixon, along with denizens of the W3C's Web Standards Evangelism list, have put together an outstanding international web standardards & accessibility blog resource.