I know I'm getting old...

Image of Alex Winston, cross-legged on a shag-pile carpet, with 1970's technology and guff behind her.



...because all the new music I like is discovered either from adverts or my daughter (normally first heard blared through a wall or ceiling). Long loved Kate Bush, Bjork and Kate Nash's music. Latest in the line of quirky singers I've a soft spot for is Alex Winston, with "Medicine" and her Cambodia Rock sounding "Choice Notes". Thanks Hyundai!

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For amusement only





Tim Hunkin is a national treasure. I first became aware of some of his work at the Southend Kursaal in 2000 when the Cabaret Mechanical Theatre exhibited the most left-field amusement arcade I'd ever seen. I remember coin-op machines that allowed you to get a phone message to Elvis Presley, a test-your-nerve against a slavering rabid looking dog machine and a bizarre frisking machine(!)

The machines were only there for a matter of months before they were gone. Turns out, many went to Southwold Pier to the Under the Pier Show, as I've found out today. Can't wait to go. Love this stuff.

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Electronic Soup Podcast: EuroGamer 2010

Image of Electronic Soup Podcast record cover, an in-car shot from Forza 3, overlaid with the text, Special Effect Electronic Soup Podcast.

The latest SpecialEffect Electronic Soup Pocast has just been unleashed as part of the November 2010 Access Collective. Amongst other fascinating things, you can find an interview with SpecialEffect founder, Mick Donegan, held at the mainstream gaming event EuroGamer 2010.

Should you pop over to the Accessible GameBase EuroGamer 2010 ESP post, you can read up on the accessible gaming gear we used at this fantastic show.

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The Future of Christmas Lights


"Across Britain fairy lights are beginning to make an appearance as the nights draw in.

But in Derby they have been experimenting with new technology that leaves plastic Santas and flashing reindeer far behind.

Using banks of computerised lighting controls, streets and buildings can now seemingly be made to move, dance and even disappear."

Via: BBC News

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Tuke Sprint Interactive Activities

Screenshot from Fluids by Tuke Sprint. A range of white and grey sparks on a black background.

Earlier this year, I was invited to share some thoughts as part of SpecialEffect, with the Tuke Sprint team. To cut a short story shorter, they created six interactive experiences for PC and Mac, which you can grab and learn all about over at the Accessible GameBase.

"Fluids" (pictured above) is a great place to start, which can respond to the most gentle of finger-tip movements within the range of a web-cam. It's other worldly and very impressive when set-up well.

I really hope the team get to develop these further, because even as they stand (unfinished), they can be wonderfully accessible and highly effective activities for people of almost all abilities.

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Orthros Joystick


"This video demonstrates a one handed controller that provides all of the functionality of the standard PS3 handset, but accessible by persons with only one hand. The one in this video is the first functional prototype.

The design is such that it can be used by left or right handed people, as in the final version, a switch on the back will swap the "shape" buttons from left to right, and the system buttons from right to left.
The bottom joystick is currently the [traditional left thumb-stick].... as I move the handset around, the ["thumb-stick"] moves under it.

At the moment there are 17 3.5mm jack outputs and two 9way "D" type outputs for the analogue joysticks. These will all plug into the LEPMIS PS3-SAP (Switch Access Pod). The advantage of this is that you can re-configure all of the switches, and swap the joystick around, as you see fit, to suit your particular needs of game requirements.

If you can't manage all of the functions, leave some of the functions un-plugged and use different switches or joystick for those functions. You could use the tilt sensor joystick SAP-TAS with your head for one of the joystick for example

If you need advice or assistance with aspects of your game access, get in touch, I am sure we can help you."

Taken from Geoff Harbach's YouTube post, where you can find full contact details.

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Sony Reduce Accessibility of PS3 Console

Image of a PS3 with the text, USE Prohibited, and in Japanese, 使用禁止, above the machine, linked to firmware update 3.50.
Ouch! Sony's recent firmware update (3.50) of their PS3 console has killed off functionality of some alternative controllers and adapters. These include all the one-handed and C-SID controllers I have sold that were supplied with a Logic 3 PS2 to PS3 adapter. Sony posted a consumer alert stating that some third-party rip-off DualShocks might explode, seemingly being the reason why they've cut out access with all manner of alternative controllers.

You can check through (a far from conclusive) list of controllers that now no longer work at the Playstation.com Forums. It's my understanding that HORI Separate controllers and eDimensional Access Controllers no longer work, and some Logic 3 PS2 to PS3 adapters too. Not good news.

Frankly, this is an awful move on Sony's behalf. I wonder if they realise that this update has left some players with no affordable way to keep playing on their PS3 consoles. I'm really hopeful that Sony will reconsider, and realise the importance of allowing access via alternative means, whilst they do so little to offer different ways to play. Also see the AbleGamers forum for more, and the Shoryuken Forum post on how to contact Sony to complain.

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