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The personal site of Jamie Knight, a slightly autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

Notes on the CVAA

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a workshop run by Jon Moltz on the CVAA (21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act). This is relevant to my team at BBC as we are taking on more projects for launch in the USA.

This is a quick summery of my notes. Mostly written for myself but published here in case they are useful to other.

What is the CVAA

The CVAA is a law passed in 2010 which aims to ensure that online video had the same or better accessibility than broadcast video.

It’s managed by the FCC and gets lots of updates and notes. Some of it is ‘normative’ (a rule) and some is ‘non normative’ (not a rule).

The updates come out often and are issued as PDFs.

How is it structured.

The law is split into two parts.

Title 1 deal with phone and phone like real time communication applications.

Title 2 deals with online video.

The main points.

Title 1 effects things like help systems if they include two way communication (like text chat inside an app, or on a web page). For those sort of apps there are requirements around reporting but we didn’t discuss it much because our apps don’t do that.

Title 2 effects video and video players. All video plays must be ‘accessible’ and the act mentions blindness and hearing impairments.

Additionally, if content is tied to a broadcast (e.g. Is a TV show on catch up, or pre-roll) then it must have Captions and probably should have audio description (I’m not 100% sure)

The CVAA requires that users are able to customise the way captions are displayed.

That sounds okay.

My take away is that the CVAA at a high level is not that difficult. We do almost all of it already for other reasons and have work in progress on the rest.

However CVAA is not the only law relevant to us. There is the Americans With Disabilities Act which is broader and also applies. However we didn’t dig into that so much.

Final notes.

I think that covers the bulk of it. These are just my notes etc so they may be way wrong! Hopefully it’s helpful to share them.

Published: 11 October 2016 Permalink

Apple Display & displayOS

When the rumours of a new 5K external display started a few months ago no one blinked an eye when the rumours included a GPU. Little did we know so much more than a GPU was involved. Today, Apple announced the new Apple Display line and in one fell swoop changed what we expect from our desktop computers.

There are two takes to be had on the Apple Display. One take is that it is iOS scaled up to be the most capable firmware ever conceived for a monitor, the other take is that it is macOS scaled down to work with ARM.

Lets start with what Apple Display does the same as any other external monitor. You can plug Macs into it via USB-C and use it to expand the size of your screen. Much like the cinema display before it, when used this way all the ports become available to the Mac and the Apple Display becomes an amazing docking solution.

The place where the Apple Display gets really interesting is when it is being used stand alone. Apple have breathed some of their experience with the Apple TV and iPad into the displays firmware and have created a whole new place to get stuff done.

The underlying system – displayOS – is iOS reimagined for the big screen keyboard and mouse environment. It is following in the footsteps of the iPad and comes preloaded with Safari, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, Garageband, iMovie and Photos. Thats a whole lot of utility in a small package. Embedded inside the Apple Display are the guts of an iPad Pro to keep everything running smoothly.

For a long time people have speculated that the Mac will move to ARM, but i don’t think anyone predicted that iOS would get its own desktop vision.

With Apple Display and displayOS Apple is planting another flag in its vision for the future. Only time will tell if it pays off.

This is a spoof, Apple have not announced such a thing…. though i wish they did!

Published: 7 October 2016 | Categories: Permalink

Going from Apple Watch to Apple Watch Series 1.


I don’t feel like i wasted my money, but at the same time the upgrade from the original Apple Watch to an Apple Watch Series 1 is not a must have because watchOS 3 is so good.

The whole story

I’ve only been using the Apple Watch since June. In that time it has had a very positive effect on my life. As an autistic person it has enhanced my autonomy and extended my ability to be independent. That’s very powerful, long term, that also saves me a small fortune in support costs.

With that in mind, it seemed worthwhile to try one of the newer watch on launch. After all, my current watch was only going to fall in value and buy buying early in the cycle i’d get the longest service life from my next watch. To make it all a little easier, my boyfriend wanted my current watch so i had a good buyer lined up.

I’m not a swimmer or runner, so i went with the Series 1 to get the speedier internals without paying for thing’s i didn’t need. The upgrade cost me £90, or about ~£4 a month assuming an 24 month cycle.

Overall i am very happy with my decision. The series 1 is smoother in operation than the original watch. For example, there are less dropped frames during animations and the interface is more responsive. The delay between tapping a complication and seeing something happen on my original watch was noticeable, on the Series 1 it feels immediate.

For the apps on my watch today, the original Apple Watch would have done just fine. So based on my usage today i wouldn’t recommend everyone with an original apple watch go rushing out for the upgrade. However, if its a cheapish upgrade for you, i do think its worth doing for the future proofing.

Published: 25 September 2016 | Categories: Permalink

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