Martin Murdoch's home pages - Welcome!

Happy new year to all!  Glad you have survived all the Christmas activities &
trust you have enough energy left to deal with a new years party.

2015 is hopefully going to see me doing more work with my mandolins & guitars,
lots more work on the garden & railway & adding more to these pages as I 
come across anything of interest.  Feedback is always nice to get even if it is
pointing out mistake so please do let me know what you think of my efforts.
Not the mythical sea monster this time but a 2 year old german shepherd who
after many months of training by Sabine Chapman & 2 weeks of very intense 
work under the watchful eye of GDBA's Nicola Schwarz he has now qualified to be 
my new guide dog.

With all the formal training under my belt we will spend the next several
months fine tuning the team work, Like with all guide dogs, if you see me in 
the area please do not touch Kraken until I say you can, he is young & still 
learning so both Kraken  & myself will be working very hard to keep our act
My garden railway was open to the public again last weekend the 6 & 7 
September, more people than ever before took a ride round & in the process
help us raise a grand total of 290.11 for Hearing dogs for the deaf.
Many thanks to all that contributed to this lovely total. 
NVDA have just announced the release of version 2014.3 of their screen reading
software, as always it's really worth down loading this new version - it  is
an amazing bit of software that does as well as many of the comercial products.
If you do find it useful please do spread the word & also make a donation to 
keep this project going.
Just received an email from Skype announcing that they will soon be dropping 
their support for Symbian devices, other smart phones continue  as normal.  No 
reason was given but I suspect it must reflect the drop in sales of this OS.
I've just had the experience of trying to place an online order with 
Sainsbury's.  A few years ago it was so simple but now it is hopeless.  They 
even have the nerve to mention screen readers on their page but no way did they 
test their site with one.  This is a clear example of where the DDA is being 
ignored - I first spoke to the Sainsbury's IT team in October 2013 & they have 
ignored everything I mentioned & tried to help them with.  I hope that all 
blind folk will avoid their site & shop until they make a real effort to make 
the site accessible again.
Great to be able to say something nice about a shop for once, I'd like to thank
the staff at Morrisons Seaford for their friendly help when I visit the store 
with my guide dog Trent.  Even at the busiest times they manage to assist.
Thanks to John Squire I was lucky enough to get a trip to the Lynton & 
Barnstaple railway in his 1931 Rolls Royce to attend the lines gala weekend at 
the end of September.  Pictured above is the car with Sid, one of the locos 
that was in steam for the weekend - a boys dream too, I had the chance to drive 
the loco for a couple of minutes!  Many thanks to Tony Nicholson for the copy
of the picture - my camera decided to play up at the vital moment!
Been doing lots of work on my garden railway over the last few weeks to have
produced a video showing what the line looks like now, there is a new wall in
the back garden with a rather attractive archway rather than the old standard
Just to show the world my mum is not the only person with green fingers in
this family, mind you it does help that it is the sort of plant you can
forget for up to a month without the bloody thing dying on you!
There are several reasons for why I started to build these pages, firstly it
gives me some practical purpose to play with HTML and Javascript, secondly it
will eventually, hopefully, provide examples of both attractive and accessible 
web page design which can be used as an outline reference for others involved 
in web page creation - who knows, the contents might even be useful!

This site is constantly being tested with a variety of screen readers & access
devices including:-

* NVDA version 2014.4 with Espeak, Vocalizer & BRLTTY 5.1-1,
* Jaws 16.0 (minimal testing due to lack of braille support for 64 bi) 
* Various Alva Braille terminals, mainly Alva satelite 584 pro,
* Mozilla firefox 35.0.1, Internet explorer 11.0  & Google chrome on Windows 7 64
* Nokia N86 & N8 running Nuance talks version 5.31.4 (no longer testing on symbian),
* Firefox on Samsung galaxy S4 running Android 4.4.2 (Talkback version 3.3.2)

The upshot of all this testing is that these pages should be fully accessible 
by the blind & many of those using speech recognition systems.

I will be adding more detailed notes on design considerations with examples
of small HTML changes that will make all the difference to disabled
users being able to access your web pages easily.

The contents of these pages are always changing so please do visit frequently
to find updates.

If you have noticed any bugs on these pages or have found a broken link please
do let me know via the feedback form which can be found along with my contact 

I'm always looking for bits to add so let me have links I should include
especially if they use fancy HTML that is still accessible.

Please do drop in again soon!

Site last amended - 27 January 2015 at 10:30