Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friends of Larry

Me and Charles (C.) occasionally help our friend Larry (L.) with his Linux problems. Larry is blind, and it has been an education in Web and PC accessibility and user interface issues to help him out.

Charles is one of the people who persuaded me to start this blog, and he has been urging Larry to start one also. C. points out, I think justifiably, that it would provide a good way for us to track L.'s problems, his successes, to share his lessons with other people in his situation, to let the IT community at large know the consequences of some of the things they are doing and what they can do to correct the situation.

L. on the other hand is concerned that he'll just come off as a Johnny-one-note complaining about the trend of things, that he's just a PC user who probably can't articulate his problems in a way that someone can figure out a solution to them, and that no one besides his acquaintances are concerned with his problems.

I gave some thought today to all this, and was thinking maybe if we set up his blog so he could just CC: the correspondence he sends to friends about problems, to say blogspot (posting by e-mail), so we could keep an online running tab of issues for him. Then it occurred to me maybe we could set up a mailing list to hit all L.'s friends and the e-mail/blog interface with one e-mail address. Based on my experiences setting up the Cepheid Historicals mailing list, I realized that the posts to Yahoo's groups can be public, accessible to anyone on the net, with out necessarily having to sign on to the site. So why not just skip the blog, and set up a dedicated mailing list, tentatively called "Friends of Larry"? Maybe the long winded editorials of a blog aren't the best medium for L., but instead simply recording the day to day problems he needs help with, will get his message through.
Any opinions out there?

I want to wrap this up with a quote from some of my correspondance with L. and C.:

We should view the Lynx External not just a literal solution to some problems, but also a metaphor for dealing with them - when one tool gets us far enough down the road that it finds and hits a road block, call up another special purpose one, in the UNIX tradition of tools that do one thing extrememly well, and carry on.


Anonymous said...

I think that a mailing list is an outstanding idea and is in line with the way that L works.

I am on a number of lists, and enjoy them all. :)

dallas said...

We actually got the list off the ground.
Due to conflicts I named it "Larry H's Friends",
and it is hosted at