Apartment woes

What precisely am I doing wrong?

Looking for an apartment, I’ve been mostly relying on Craigslist, Kijiji, and ViewIt.ca. Out of the dozen or so emails and calls I send or get Katrina to make each day, I maybe get one or two appointments to see a place. Out of all those places, not one has even gone so far as to call my references or, as far as I know, contacted my office to see if I really work here. Further, not one person has actually had the decency to get in touch with me and say they’ve gone with someone else; I’ve had to find out myself while following up on my application status, and one guy was downright nasty to Katrina over it.

So what am I doing wrong?

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Long time no see

First off: If this show up in the CDOT planet, sorry. I’ve still got to log in and take my feed out of the list.

Anyway, my glasses disintegrated on my way to work today (oh yeah, by the way, new job!) and I’ve only got a month and a half to go until I’m eligible for benefits. And while I do have an old pair I could wear until then, it got me thinking.

I’ve worn glasses since I was about ten, and never really questioned that I needed them. But it seems like since I took more charge of my own health, a lot of the problems that were always hanging around when I was a kid have just dried up and blown away. For example, I had huge breathing problems when I was little, but other than coughing pretty much out of habit a few times a day, those seemed to disappear when I stopped taking the pills I was being given for them. Did I just grow out of it, or were the pills holding me back? Who knows.

My thinking is, maybe my eyes are the same way. Any of my friends who’ve “borrowed” my glasses could tell you, my prescription isn’t that strong. I definitely don’t need them to see close up, and tend to take them off if I’m using the computer or reading anyway. So I’m going to try just going without them for a week and see how that works out for me. Who knows, maybe it will turn into two weeks, maybe I’ll bump into stuff a lot more and thankfully put on my old pair next Tuesday. We’ll see, won’t we? Well, you will. I might.

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Watch your language!

New item of business in BigBlueButton! The dropdown box that lets the user select their language now uses a new parameter in locales.xml, so that each language looks the way a person who speaks that language would expect to see it. So English still appears as English, German appears as Deutsche, and Korean appears as 한국어.

Thanks, Wikipedia and Omniglot.com!

Anyway, the problem now is that screen readers no longer like the dropdown box. Using the arrow keys doesn’t let you traverse the list, and selecting anything manually causes a different set of problems; NVDA can’t figure out how to read the non-English strings correctly, and follows each of them with “Not available, Not selected.” Of course, it could be that this has been around since before I started playing with the localName property, so maybe it’s a deeper issue. We’ll see.

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Tabular

No real luck with yesterday’s problem. I’m experimenting with changing the accessibilityDescription of the TabNavigator itself, and while it nearly works, it also somehow switches off the normal arrow key navigation of the tab bar. Obviously, that isn’t acceptable. This is a very strange issue.

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Yarr, Tabs ahoy!

I’m working with the TabNavigator in the BigBlueButton Chat module, re-working the method by which visually-impaired users can quickly tell if there are new chat messages. The old way proved cumbersome (and sometimes just plain didn’t work) in user testing, so we’re back at the drawing board.

What I’m trying to do here is change the accessibilityDescription of a tab, when a message comes into a tab the user isn’t focused on. That way, when the user hears the “blip” we’re using for a notification sound, they can navigate to the TabNavigator and just move through the tabs until one of them has “New Message” appended to it. Selecting that tab removes the alert.

Now, the adding and subtracting part works, that much I do know. But for some reason, the accessibilityDescription property of TabNavigator’s children is not being used by the screen reader. It’s being set to the correct values, I’ve tried adding Accessibility.updateProperties(), but nothing doing. The only property it seems to respond to so far is label, and of course any changes to that become visible, and we don’t want that.

Very odd.

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So much to do, so much to do.

So, Polling module. Remember that? Way back when, I was working on bringing accessibility features into it so it could finally become a proper part of the BigBlueButton client. Two things put the brakes on that: first, there were more pressing accessibility concerns in the main client which really were more important. Second, I kind of made a mess of the branch that the polling accessibility work was in.

So recently, I’ve been putting together what I think of as a “clean” branch for accessible polling, where I checked out first from master, and then the polling-specific files from the old “unclean” branch. After a bit of tinkering, the “clean” branch is approximately where the old one was, but focused entirely on polling. The trouble is, this has resulted in one enormous commit at the beginning and several small ones which don’t do a lot to increase the legibility of the entire affair.

Now what I need to do is check out another clean branch, and basically have my Eclipse open on one screen and the commit list from the “giant commit” branch on the other; with the commit list to remind me what needs changing and where it is, I can do this the right way with one branch for one feature the way it’s supposed to be.

This may take a while.

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At long last

Finally, I am back in action with a working server, a functional dev environment, a clean branch that’s been synced up with the BigBlueButton master, and I can get to work on the accessibility concerns brought up before the Ottawa trip. It’s been a long time in coming, you guys.

EDIT: Great googaly moogaly, it is good to be accomplishing things again.

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To everything, turn turn turn…

Alas, I must bid farewell to my old desk at CDOT. There’s been some restructuring of the workspaces, and I’ve been taken away from my window onto the vestibule near the mannequin and moved to… Well, what seems like a slightly nicer area, really. The new keyboard tray is going to take some getting used to, I suppose.

Anyway, down to business. Word has come down the line that Fred would like someone to beta-test the new BBB 64-bit dev environment setup instructions, and considering my current dev environment is non-functional, I thought I’d step up to the plate. So I’ll start up a new Ubuntu VM tonight, and tomorrow morning go through the new setup steps and report on my findings.

Categories: BigBlueButton | 1 Comment

Breaking radio silence

Good afternoon, everybody! The last few weeks have been HECTIC. First, there was the pressure that always come with exam season: wrapping up projects, finishing documentation, and of course studying studying studying. Then the exams themselves, and a slight mixup about whether the labs for a particular course were mandatory for marks or strictly for our own understanding. THEN I was sent on a whirlwind trip to Ottawa for the BigBlueButton developer’s summit and hackfest. THEN I had to rush home early to attend to duties as best man for a friend’s wedding, and help him move.

But finally, at last, I get a chance to sit and rest and post a blog. So of course I’m using it to search for post-graduate jobs, see if my LinkedIn profile is up to snuff, get preliminary work done for PRJ666, and tinker with ideas for a personal game project!

So, if anyone was wondering as to the lack of recent posts, there you are. But with the new semester starting next week, expect to see posts again in more of a regular rhythm about school projects, BigBlueButton accessibility, and probably my job searching efforts. Speaking of which, have a look at my LinkedIn profile up there. I’d love some feedback about anything I might be missing or doing wrong.

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Hoo boy

Alright, apparently the solution to the URLLoader problem is to start a new VM using 64-bit Ubuntu instead of 32-bit, re-installing BigBlueButton from scratch, setting up Samba, copying over my entire dev directory (which, apparently, will prevent me having to set up Git again), reinstalling the OS (just kidding, Fred), and mapping the new 64-bit VM to the same letter on my Windows machine that my current 32-bit VM is on so that I don’t have to change my FlashBuilder settings.

FUN!

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