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Peter Abrahams

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Vasco makes e-business accessible

I am not a security expert but I recognise that security is fundamental to the successful implementation of ICT solutions. Different security solutions are used in different environments; simple user-id and password solutions are still popular, because they are inexpensive to implement, but they are not very secure. More secure …
Peter Abrahams, 26 Jun 2007
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Accessibility: the benefits and challenges of Web 2.0

The emergence of Web 2.0 technologies has created opportunities for the visualisation of much information on the web. For example, a dashboard showing the current state of a business can summarise a great deal of information on a single page and highlight areas of interest or concern. Unfortunately, the way this information is …
Peter Abrahams, 04 Apr 2007
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Act on accessibility now, before it hurts

Comment There are two cases, that I am aware of, moving through the courts in the US relating to accessibility of IT solutions. The first is being brought by a customer of target.com. Target.com is the ecommerce arm of Target that has a US-wide chain of department stores. The design of the website makes it inaccessible to the blind, …
Peter Abrahams, 09 Mar 2007
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RSI Awareness Day: The good and the bad

Comment RSI Action is the UK charity working to facilitate the prevention of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) conditions and for the relief of sickness, hardship, and distress among those suffering with RSI conditions. Last weekend it ran the International RSI Awareness Day at University College London. The day was an excellent mix of …
Peter Abrahams, 27 Feb 2007
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GXS Microsoft alliance making B2B easy for SMEs

Comment Electronic Business to Business (B2B) communication is an essential component of the infrastructure of any large enterprise. It enables the fast and accurate transfer of data between partners, automating cross business processes and improving supply chain performance. However, because of the high set-up and running costs, it …
Peter Abrahams, 24 Jan 2007
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Vista's accessible attitude

Microsoft's new Windows Vista operating system has just been released for corporate consumption. I have had an initial look at it from an accessibility perspective. There are a variety of new functions that aid accessibility but the big change is really one of attitude toward accessibility for users. Microsoft commissioned a …
Peter Abrahams, 19 Dec 2006
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Does accessible product = assessible vendor?

Comment When evaluating how accessible a product is, I do not just look at the product itself but at the whole sales lifecycle. It is not much point having a wonderfully accessible product if the user cannot find out about it or effectively use it. Also looking at the whole cycle gives me a view as to how committed the company is to …
Peter Abrahams, 26 Oct 2006
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Students think mainframes are cool

A personal ad going up in campuses around the world says: FIND LOVE AND STABILITY Tired of being continuously available? Not me! I'm the world's leading self-healing, self-configuring, self-protecting and self-optimising enterprise server. If you're interested in having a low-maintenance relationship with your critical …
Peter Abrahams, 09 Jun 2006
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Warning! Computers can cripple you

My recent research has concentrated on how the design of computers and related devices can impact people with disabilities, for better or for worse. What I have noticed is that many of the technologies are also designed to reduce the possibility that able-bodied people will be crippled by the use of computers. I think that …
Peter Abrahams, 27 Apr 2006
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Text to speech is getting emotional

In the early days of text to speech (TTS), the requirement was just that the listener could understand. One of the best known examples is Professor Stephen Hawking, the author of A Brief History of Time, who has used a speech synthesiser for many years that sounds Dalek-like. The other well known example, although many fewer …
Peter Abrahams, 24 Apr 2006
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When mainframe meets SOA

Comment Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is becoming the preferred method of developing new business solutions. Everyone developing in a green field environment should be using SOA, but very few people have this luxury. The biggest stumbling block, delaying wholesale SOA implementation, is the plethora of existing systems that do …
Peter Abrahams, 07 Feb 2006
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In case of emergency, dial 'ICE'

In view of the recent events in London, East Anglian Ambulance Service have launched a national "In case of Emergency (ICE)" campaign, with the support of Falklands war hero Simon Weston and in association with Vodafone's annual life savers award. The idea is that you store the word "ICE" in your mobile phone address book, and …
Peter Abrahams, 14 Jul 2005
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SOA is not open - discuss

Of course SOA is open; its whole raison d'être is to enable services from different sources to work together with ease. The development of Web Services standards SOAP, WSDL etc. have made this possible and a practical reality. But the ability to connect to services is only the basic building block of SOA. The really interesting …
Peter Abrahams, 07 Jun 2005
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BEA to triple in size

Analysis According to Alfred Chuang, chairman and CEO, BEA plans to triple in size over the next three or so years, going from a $1bn company to $3bn. For a well-established company this is an aggressive target; so why does he think it can be done? The simple maths are that BEA has about 10 per cent of the total application …
Peter Abrahams, 04 May 2005
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XML - past, present and future

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jean Paoli of Microsoft. In November, Jean was presented with the XML Cup 2004 to recognise his lifelong work in XML and its precursor SGML. The meeting gave me an opportunity to hear about the fascinating history of XML and understand some of its importance to Microsoft and the …
Peter Abrahams, 07 Feb 2005
Cat 5 cable

IBM CICS legacy at the heart of SOA

As I mentioned in a recent article IBM is to make a series of software announcements that will bring z/series to the heart of SOA (service oriented architecture). The first announcement included CICS Transaction Server V3.1 and CICS Transaction Gateway V6.0. They include several significant enhancements that show that IBM …
Peter Abrahams, 07 Dec 2004
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JBoss moves up to business processes

After a series of announcements last month JBoss has announced JBoss jBPM, their first step into business process management. They have taken the Java Business Process Management project (jBPM), founded by Tom Baeyens, and made changes so that it meets the stringent requirements of its professional open source environment. …
Peter Abrahams, 20 Oct 2004
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Busy month for JBoss

September has been a busy month for JBoss with three significant announcements. JBoss describes itself as the professional open source company and its core product is JBoss Application Server. Open source is initially attractive because it is free to download and deploy. However the cost of the software is normally only a small …
Peter Abrahams, 24 Sep 2004

Data appliances smarten up their act

The phrase "the network is the computer" was originally coined to suggest that computers connected by a network make a much more powerful solution. But, nowadays it has another connotation as more and more intelligence is being put into network appliances. An appliance is a device that provides a limited, well-defined function …
Peter Abrahams, 26 Aug 2004
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Text is best for website accessibility

Text is best for a small, but important and growing, group of Internet users, most obviously the blind. Other users who may benefit are users of small form factor devices such as PDAs, users connected by slow lines, or users who need voice response because they are using their eyes for other activities. However for the majority …
Peter Abrahams, 04 Aug 2004
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WAT makes websites accessible

IBM has developed a service called Web Adaptation Technology (WAT), which allows disabled users to make standard web pages (including those that are not W3C compliant) more accessible without having to delve into their desktop operating systems. Users access standard websites via a host system and a small program downloaded to …
Peter Abrahams, 26 Jul 2004
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Beehive pollinates Eclipse

Java's success is based on the write-once, run-anywhere promise. But as the number of development environments increased the view for developers was not as rosy. The development user interface varied by vendor, as did the application development frameworks, which were used to develop Java more rapidly and consistently. This …
Peter Abrahams, 05 Jul 2004
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Jan Baan the software man

Jan Baan is a fascinating personality. When Baan ERP software was at its height he was on a paper a multi-billionaire and when he sold his share - someway off the top - he became very, very rich. He appears to be a very happy man: he has used the money to look after his family, give to charity, indulge in his passion for 17th …
Peter Abrahams, 25 Jun 2004
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XML Tower of Babel - bring on UBL

XML is taking over the world for all sorts of good reasons. But just as we thought that it would solve all our problems and let us build a tower up to the gods, babble intervenes. XML has allowed messages to be passed from one system to another in such a way that they can be parsed, dissected, queried and rebuilt, but it only …
Peter Abrahams, 11 Jun 2004
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IBM throws weight behind server-managed clients

To understand the logic behind IBM's latest strategy announcement - centering on the concept of server-managed clients - you've first got to look at the downside of both thick and thin clients. Thick clients are bad because of the challenges with distributing code, the high cost, both to IT and the end-user, of management and …
Peter Abrahams, 13 May 2004
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The Web as historical record

I spent some of last weekend researching for an article about Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA). The term is used very widely in the industry today and when it is used, the writer assumes that the reader understands the term, and understands it in the same way as the writer. As we all know all terms in our industry have a …
Peter Abrahams, 04 May 2004