Thursday, March 09, 2006


I am getting to hate those funny graphical alphanumeric patterns we use to validate posts in blogger and in other contexts. It seems that the patterns get more and more difficult to handle. Consider the one displayed with this post. I had to really think about the second letter from the right or third letter: is the sequence hm or is it really fim?

Now I have a bit more sympathy with my students who sometimes can't interpret my writing.

That said, pondering these graphics got me wondering, what do the visually impaired do on the web? And that got me fondly remembering Lynx. Lynx for those who don't know is a text based web browser and it was the first web browser I used. At that time, I was a visiting professor at Wasburn U in Topeka and all we had were text terminals. Oh, we could go to the library and use Mosaic's graphics browser but it was so buggy it was not worth it.

Lynx is really compact and fast and even when I finally got a machine with a graphical interface, it was fun to boot the Mac version of Lynx on my Quadra 650 just to see what it would do with my site. My site does not work all that well with Lynx but trying it out with Lynx convinced me that maybe all the frames I was using in my frame happy days probably are not such a good idea. In Lynx you can see the original vision of hypertext that gave rise to what we think of as the web today.

I am pleased to see Lynx still around. Hmmmm supposedly it has been ported to PDA's. Maybe I will see if I can get Lynx for mine.

Other Links:

Blynx: the use of Lynx with speech synthesizers.

Pages enhanced for Lynx: Some of these links don't work, but I see that Kermit lives as well! YES!!!

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