[vicsireland] Re: Chairperson's Update

Hi Tony and all,   I copy, in case for some reason it reads differently if
you go to reply to my posting, the address which appears on this email.
Suzanne seemed to be getting the same.


From: vicsireland-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:vicsireland-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Tony Murray
Sent: 13 April 2006 15:49


This isn't really a problem, apart from the fact that I would now have to
look up Tony's address if I wanted to write to him off list, and I'm lazy!

Since I am lazy, Tony could you let me have a copy of the press release
about the launch, so I can put it up in the Disability News section of
"emara News" on www.emara.org.

Well done to the committee!   If I can I'll come up to Dublin for the launch
and the AGM, and coincidentally you seem to be having the launch in the same
hotel and night, as the launch of the People Before Profit Alliance, so I
will have to take a course in bilocation!


All The Best


Ed
-----Original Message-----
From: vicsireland-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:vicsireland-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Tony Murray
Sent: 13 April 2006 15:49
To: VICS
Subject: [vicsireland] Chairperson's Update


Hi VICS Members,

Here is an update on what is going on with VICS at the moment.

As you will know, Paul Traynor has moved our lists to the new provider
freelists.org.  Co-operation from all members with him throughout this
change over would be most appreciated.  I want to thank Paul for finding us
this new home, and for carrying out the change over process.

Our lobbying group, headed up by Tim Culhane, are working hard on the
accessible ATM project.  One of our major successes this term was to work
with National Irish Bank to get an accessible ATM in their branch at Baggot
Street.  The accessible machine was installed as a pilot, but through our
links with the bank we have managed to get an assurance that it will stay in
the branch for the foreseeable future.

This is wonderful news in itself, but it doesn't stop there.  National Irish
Bank, who are owned by another overseas bank, are now beginning to roll out
a new ATM infrastructure.  Each existing NIB ATM is going to be replaced.
The new machines being installed will contain the hardware necessary to
become accessible.  All that is required is to install the accessible
software.  In the roll out of the new machines, the software will not be
available, but we will continue to lobby to have this software installed.
To date, our contacts with NIB have always been positive, so we are
confident the installation of this software will happen in time.

The lobbying group drafted a paper outlining the benefits of accessible
ATM's both to banks and banking customers (disabled or not).  Through our
links with some of the major banks here in Ireland, we have fed this paper
directly to departments specifically concerned with ATM's.  So it is now in
the hands of relevant bank managers who are in a position to make decisions
on this subject.  It also has been given to the Irish Bank Officials
Association, who are in effect the union concerned with Bank Employees.

Each bank will be lobbied in the future to make their ATM's accessible,
using National Irish Bank as a bench mark.

I would like to thank Tim Culhane for his excellent work on this.  The
project is ongoing, but to date, it has been unbelievably successful.

Our Research group, headed up by Brian Dalton has been working hard this
term in the area of technology evaluation.  This project was devised last
year, but really only got off the ground in this term.  The group was tasked
with evaluating software and where possible hardware for accessibility and
usability.  Through these evaluations, it was hoped the members of the group
would become proficient enough in the use of the technology to offer
technical support through our email list to members who themselves have
started to work with the systems.

There are a number of recommendations which will soon be released to the
members, with an excellent knowledge bank available to those of us who wish
to experiment based on the research group's findings.  Thanks to Brian and
his team for his work on this.

Our website, which is being handled by Natasha Miskella is ever evolving.
As you all know, the official launch of this website will be taking place on
May 12th (more about this later).  At the moment we are implementing a
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.  Brian Dalton, as part of his roll in
the Research group is liaising with Natasha on this.  If you navigate to our
website you will see phase one of this evolving FAQ page, so do refer to it
for technical information (
http://www.vicsireland.org/faqs/faqs.htmll).

Our links with the BCAB are still being forged, and this is one of the most
exciting things VICS has ever entered in to.  The current initiative is to
share technical FAQ on both our websites.  We have worked out a plan to have
a single FAQ page, which can be updated with information from members of the
BCAB and members of VICS alike.  This page will be branded with both BCAB
and VICS logos, and will have a common interface which will comfortably link
in with both our site's look and feel.  We will of course inform you of
progress on this, and announce the live date for the newly formed common FAQ
page.  As mentioned, Natasha is our web designer and we are very lucky to
have her.  Thanks Natasha for all you've done, feedback from the VICS
members on the website has been excellent.

As you will soon find out, our Audio magazine Infovics is now on CD.  This
new departure for Infovics could only have happened through the good work of
Stuart Lawler and Liam Duke in the Drumcondra Project.  VICS are very
grateful to both Liam and Stuart, and our new look high spec magazine is
going down very well among the membership.  The quarterly magazine is also
available of course on our website
(
http://www.vicsireland.org/infovics/infovics.htmll).

VICS, with the help of Ronan MCGuirk have drafted a white paper entitled "An
Information Society for All - the nonvisual way".  This paper has been
submitted to the Irish Computer Society, and will be officially launched on
May 12th.  This paper is available for all to read on our website
(
http://www.vicsireland.org/information/white_paper.html).
We would like to
sincerely thank Ronan for his excellent work on this project.

We have planned a day of training for our less advanced computer users.  It
was hoped that the training day would take place before the AGM, but
unfortunately the date for this had to be pushed out by a couple of months.
As you can appreciate the committee have been very busy in the past year,
but still this slippage of dates was regrettable.  Be assured though, that
everyone who has contacted me regarding this day of training will be
notified when the new date is set.  This project simply must happen, and I
am totally committed to seeing it through to fruition.  When the new
committee is elected, I will work with whoever will become responsible for
this project.

The two major things occupying the current VICS Committee at the moment are
our upcoming twentieth anniversary celebration and the VICS Annual General
Meeting.

As you probably know, VICS has been in existence twenty years (I was six
when they got together!).  On May 12th we will celebrate this.  At this
event, we will officially launch our new website and the white paper
described above.  As VICS members, you are all invited to mark this great
event with us all.

The twentieth anniversary celebration will take place in the Tara suite, The
Royal Dublin Hotel O'Connell Street, starting at 7:30 PM on Friday May 12th.
When the line up of speakers has been nailed down we will circulate the
program for the night.  We hope to have the founding members of the society
along, and all people who have served as chair person of VICS down the
years.

As the date draws nearer, the committee are working extremely hard to set
this event up, and I think those present will really enjoy what we have
planned.  The list of key speakers is extremely impressive, more on this in
the next couple of weeks.

An excellent night is guaranteed, and we encourage you all to attend and
enjoy this great occasion as VICS members.  Not only will you witness
presentations from our key speakers, but you can relax and have a drink with
your fellow members and the other people who will attend the event.

The VICS AGM will take place the next day.  The venue is the Irish Computer
Society headquarters Crescent Hall, Mount Street Crescent, Dublin 2.  The
meeting will commence at 2:00 PM sharp.  Members can renew their
subscriptions on the day; our treasurer Joan Kearns will be on hand to help
you.

Any motions for the AGM should be sent to our secretary Gerry Ellis
(
gerry.ellis@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx).
Motions will be accepted up until two
weeks before the AGM.

I would like to thank Gerry Ellis, Brian Dalton, Tim Culhane, Ronan MCGuirk
and our colleagues in the Irish Computer Society for their help on setting
these two events up.

We are publicising the twentieth anniversary as much as possible.  Articles
have been written for various technology publications, not to mention a
press release advertising the celebration.  Let's hope this time and effort
will be worthwhile; all of our work is being done for you the VICS
membership, so your support will be welcome on the night.

The committee are meeting next Tuesday to put the final touches to
everything, and at that point we will be on the final straight.  I will post
another update to you all in early May to let you know how things stand
before the end of this Committee's term.

We of course value your feedback, so feel free to post to the email list on
any of the above.

Regards,

Tony Murray
Chairperson



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