Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Americans with Digital Disabilities Act.

I don't have a superfast internet connection. I don't even have a "kinda fast" connection. Unless this is still 1997.

So I hate visiting web sites with splashy Flash-y front pages. Often, as they load, I move my mouse around to find the link I need to click on, or else I go into the bathroom and get ready for work and come back once everything loads. Or I just do it later at work.

I should probably start putting an "m-" in the address bar to try to access the mobile pages.

But Online is now becoming a requirement for being a world citizen.

We have people come into the library every day after being told on the phone to do what they need online. And often by a live person. So this patron manages to circumvent all the usual telephony hurdles, the pressing of 1 or 0, until he actually gets to a live human being, and then he is told to go and do it online.

"But you're a person; can't you help me?" the man pleads.

And the person agrees, "Yes, I am only a person. But you need the help of a computer."

So he makes his way to the library. And not just him, but hordes of others make the monthly pilgrimage to queue up for a library computer so they can pay their bills or make appointments or request some financial assistance from the State.

But luckily we have, I think, a T3 and a couple T1 connections. But I'm not sure. I just know that I can download a 100 MB file in about 6 minutes. But that's just our side.

But many of these people are attempting to apply for benefits and all at the same time, so the host serving the application forms suffers greatly and some of them go away blaming the library for their inability to get some free shit. Some of them probably don't deserve free shit, but that's another story.

But the point is that many Americans suffer from a Digital Disability. For whatever reason, we are unable to move about freely online. We don't like to use the word, but we have a handicap.

So what is the government going to do for us? Sure, we're otherwise healthy and we can move around fairly effortlessly in the real world, but online, we need special accommodations.

Sure, you think this is an absurd subject when there are real people just trying to get from the bed to the wheelchair, or trying to get in and out of the grocery store without having to go hundreds of feet out of their way to find an access ramp or a decent parking place.

But I look towards the future. Twenty years ago, we would have called the cops on someone who had a handicapped parking decal and wasn't in a wheelchair. But now we get parking perks because we tire easily when we walk. Everything has become a disablity, why not my insane proposition?

You come back here in twenty years and see if I was right.