peteg's blog

Skype and PayPal.

/hacking | Link

I don't know why people hate PayPal; perhaps they were evil in the past. (Actually, reading that website makes me wish Visa et al. got properly into this game.) Anyway, as Vietnam doesn't seem to use phone cards, I wanted to put some cash into Skype so I could call my parents. The payment options are specific to the country where they guess your IP is, and in Vietnam one cannot use PayPal to pay Skype, though PayPal is happy for you to manipulate it from within Vietnam. The only option usable to me — Moneybookers — asks for a mobile phone number in Australia, which may or may not actually need to be valid.

What to do? Well, fortunately the Skype website is accessible, and the server hosting is in Australia, so I just used links to punt some cash over. This setup is so stupid — how many ex-pats want to do the same thing? — though I can understand that Skype figures it's better to be safe than useful.

(Thanks André, thanks Adelaide.)

Sao Mai Computer Centre for the Blind

/AYAD/Disability-Projects | Link

Huy kindly took me out to Quận Tân Bình (Tân Bình District, a long way from Quận Một) to visit Mr Phúc, who is the vice-director of Sao Mai Computer Centre for the Blind. We chatted at length about their education projects and web accessibility for people who are (almost) completely blind. In brief, modern screen readers are quite good; the one Mr Phúc uses (JAWS) apparently uses the Internet Explorer engine to figure out what's going on, implying that anything Internet Explorer can render, JAWS can make sense of, including Flash. So apart from the usual web hygiene of standards compliance and good design, I got the impression that there is not much a website need do to be accessible to people who use such assistive technology.

He also had a braille reader, which he told me is lower-bandwidth but higher fidelity, and so is mostly useful for syntactically fiddly things like coding.