Happy New Year: Top 10 Stories From 2012

Congratulations, another year has come and gone. As we prepare ourselves for 2013, lets take a look at the top 10 most important stories from the year prior.

#10: 2012 Faux-Pocalypse

Worst Apocalypse Ever

I remember many years ago when I heard that the world would be ending sometime in December of 2012. Now that we have passed the threshold of our generational hysteria, I am happy to announce, if you didn’t know, that we are all very much still here.

As we have learned, the Mayan calendar was not some sort of celestial doomsday clock. It turns out that the Mayans were very much reliant on astrology and the movements of celestial bodies to manage the cycle of their planting, growing, and harvesting activities. Most importantly, they knew that there was a center point to this galaxy we call The Milky Way, and that our little section of space is rotating around what scientists have only recently discovered to be a “super-massive” black hole.

So after all of the terrifying movies, exploitative Discovery channel specials, and paranoid internet dilutions, here we are for better or worse, in 2013.

Nostradamus is rolling in his grave…

#9: Whitney Houston Passes On

Whitney Houston's Coffin Carried To Her Grave

Tragically, the world lost one of our most talented and influential musicians this year. Whitney Houston was found dead in February in her hotel room in Beverly Hills. After overcoming a very public battle with drug addiction, Whitney was preparing to make her big comeback with the release of the movie “Sparkle.” Despite a world of personal problems, drug addiction, and chronic health issues, Houston will go down in history as one of the most accomplished and talented musicians of our age.

“As I lay me down, Heaven hear me now, I’m lost without a cause, After giving it my all…”

#8: Gas Prices On The Move

Gas lines starting to form as prices hit the roof.

Gasoline in The USA reached record highs this year. Energy and the economy were center stage in this year’s elections in part because of oppressively high Gas prices. We are flirting with price levels that may cause some of our major institutions and companies to go out of business. Every corner of our economy is directly impacted by the price of gas, and Americans want solutions, now. In 2012 we hit a record national average of $3.60 per gallon.

As the first affordable electric cars begin to make their way on to the road, demand for alternative fuel vehicles has never been higher. I hope that we put our full effort as a nation into finding a sustainable, long term fuel, to ultimately replace gasoline. Otherwise these lines are going to get longer and our wallets will continue to get thinner, no matter who is in The White House.

#7: The London Olympics

London Bridge decked out for the Onlympics in 2012

As always, the Olympics offer a chance for all world nations to peacefully gather and compete with one another in the world of sports. With a world dominated by turmoil and negative news, it was a much needed breath of fresh air to see all of these countries put their differences aside for a short while. The spectacular opening ceremony in London demonstrated England’s rich cultural history and their ability to throw one heck of a party.

Check out the YouTube videos below for some of the highlights.

#6: Violent Crimes On The Rise

We all know that this year saw a disturbing rise in violent crimes against the public. However, I must say that I am disgusted with the media frenzy that was created during each of these tragedies. Thus, I refuse to mention any of the perpetrators by name, nor will I show any pictures of them or their atrocities. I partially blame the media for obsessing over these horrific stories, glorifying the people who did these despicable acts, and in the process possibly inspiring others to do so.

#5: Space Jump 2012

Felix the fearless Sub-astronaught, looks out from his capsul as Stratos prepares for launch.
Felix inside Red Bull Stratos Capsule

O.k. RedBull, you win the competition for “most extreme” in the world of extreme sports… At the end of the Summer of 2012, daredevil Felix Baumgartner willingly jumped from the edge of our upper atmosphere in the highest recorded free-fall in human history. The “Stratos” mission was more than just a stunt to please adrenaline junkies, it put us one step closer to understanding the limitations of traveling in space for human beings.

Want to see him break the record, follow the link below!

http://www.redbullstratos.com/gallery/?mediaId=media1900707044001

#4: Finding The Higgs Boson

An Expriment detector at The Large Hadron Collider.

For years the scientific community has been hunting for evidence of an elusive sub-atomic particle, The Higgs Boson. After decades of searching and trillions of dollars, The Large Hadron Collider at CERN finally found its mark in July of 2012. This marks a new era in particle physics where we can now use The Higgs to explain why particles obtain and retain mass. In simple terms, this answers a question in physics that allows us to revise our way of explaining this reality with much more confidence.

Only the future will tell what these results will yield, but we are one step closer to a true understanding of the nature of The Universe!

#3: Hurricane Sandy Strikes Home:

Hurricane Sandy Seen from space

This summer, Hurricane Sandy struck a huge blow to the The East Coast of The United States. Over 125 people were killed in The US as a result of the devastation of Sandy. More than $62 billion in damage occurred due to the massive storm. At its apex of intensity, tropical force winds were recorded extending over 820 miles.

Climate and environmental scientists are warning that Sandy was just the beginning, predicting worse to come in the future. We hope for the sake of our coastline and our urban populations in those regions that the scientific community comes to some real conclusions about “climate change” and how we can mitigate our impact on global weather patterns.

#2: The Arab Spring

Protests in Cairo Egypt

It seems that many populations of oppressed countries in The Middle East are tired of their autocratic, theologically dogmatic leadership. The Arab Spring sparked the overthrow of multiple theocratic regimes, including Egypt and Libya. It also fueled the flames for several attempted uprisings in other countries that were brutally crushed by the powers that be.

In my opinion, this marks the threshold of a new paradigm in The Middle East. Much of this progress is owed to the influence of information technology in the developing world. For centuries, the Arabic theocracies have used the control of information to hard wire their populations to support extremist activities and anti-western sentiment. With the advent of the internet and social media, those systems of control are breaking down, and as we have seen, people are giving their lives for the hope of liberty.

God bless, and good luck to all of those who are fighting for freedom. This is not just an important event in 2012, its a critical turning point in history. Visit this Wikipedia Article for an extensive timeline of the uprisings.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_Arab_Spring#2012

#1: The USA Presidential Election:

A political cartoon of the 2012 Presidential Elections in The USA.

First of all I must say that this blog maintains a neutral political opinion, so save your hate mail for someone else. That being said the USA’s presidential election in 2012 was a significant and historical event. It is possible that his campaign will go down as the most negative and bitter election in our nation’s history.

I speak to a nation divided, please put the pettiness aside. Our leader’s divisive tactics only reflect our attitudes as citizens, so take that into consideration when you are debating your friends and family. Remember, were all in this together! Stop pointing fingers and start finding solutions otherwise we might not have anything for our grandchildren to argue over.




Trade Show – GV Expo 2012 / GovComm12 Exhibition Recap

As expected, The 2012 Government Video Expo was an all out success. The exhibition floor was teeming with top of the line tech and the biggest names pulled out all the stops to showcase the latest and greatest. I took a little time to document some of the stuff that caught my eye, so lets take a look!

This way to The Government Video Expo!

Video Technology Recap – All Systems Go

The main focus of any GV Expo is the video gear. This year it seemed that the big boys were in a battle for showroom floor supremacy.

Digital Video Group at The 2012 GV Expo
Digital Video Group, Inc.

Digital Video Group had one of the most extensive and impressive displays at the expo. Top of the line camera systems, screens, and control surfaces were shown off in style. Conference attendees really got a good show at DVG’s booth this year, with hands on displays and a team of friendly trade show experts to demonstrate the goods.

Next lets check out the battle of the touchscreens!

Aurora vs. AMX, battle for touch sreen dominance!
Aurora (Left Front) – AMX (Back Right)

Makers of high end touchscreen systems Aurora and AMX went head to head this year at GV Expo 2012. Squaring off with opposing booths right at the entrance to the expo, the two tech titans seemed to be competing for the biggest display at The 2012 GV Expo. I think both exhibits were equal in size, but each company took a unique approach. Aurora went with an in-your-face but clean and clear 4 sided display, while AMX decided to create a spacy enclosure to show off their tech. These booths defiantly saw a lot of action this year, and you can see why!

Now lets look at another cool display, this time from Crestron.

Crestron display showed off their top of the line switchers, converters and netowrking solutions.
Crestron

Crestron decided to show off their high end collaboration systems this year at GV Expo 2012. After reviewing their company online, I am amazed at how many high tech solution this company has a hand in. From HDMI switchers, to video converters, Crestron is delivering some surreal tech these days. This particular display caught my eye for its clean combination of friendly service and easy to read documentation. Maybe I am a nerd but networking systems for real time video collaboration is just plain cool!

Now that we have covered the big show, I want to highlight a very cool vendor, BWC Visual Technology, that grabbed my attention this year.

BWC Visual Technology demonstratic their new spherical displays!
Spherical display screens!

Nerd alert, I find this vendor very cool just because they are doing something different. BWC Visual Technology was showcasing their impressive spherical display system. Basically you can integrate a 3D esque spherical display into any regular display system. Their demo in the background showed a flat image of the expo, with a super-imposed 3D sphere showing a data driven display of water temperatures of planet Earth’s Oceans in real time. Sweet…

*Note* I would have privided a link to BWC’s website but I could not find it! All I can offer is this link to their GovComm12 Registration page.

Audio Tech: New Gear From Info Comm

The partnership with InfoComm and GovComm brought much more sound gear to this year’s GV Expo. That means sound tech’s like myself were thrilled to go explore some of the premium gear that we all dream of playing with but can’t afford. Of course there was lots of focus on microphone systems for field use, as well as wireless systems, streaming devices and much more.

I was glad to see a both with plenty of reps from Audio Technica, a new addition to The GV Expo this year.

Audio technica Shows off their gear at the 2012 GV Expo.
Mic Check!

TIVA-DC: Another Great Membership Drive

One of the ways Word Wizards contributes to TIVA-DC as a sponsor is by helping out every year at The GV Expo. This year TIVA-DC signed up 220 new and returning members at the booth! The GV Expo is one of TIVA-DC’s best opportunities to showcase ourselves to the DC video and media services community. Each year at the expo, TIVA-DC offers a half price membership drive for people who come and sign up in person.

TIVA-DC in full swing at this year's GV expo.
TIVA-DC gets the boogey on! (Can you spot Word Wizards CEO Scott Gordon in this photo?)

TIVA also hold a raffle every day at the Expo and gives away a bunch of cool prizes. One of our contributions was two $50 gift cards to Olazzo, a delicious Italian Restaurant located in Bethesda and Silver Spring Maryland. Other prizes included hats, TIVA swag, and USB thumb drives.

Entrance to the 2012 GV Expo

I think that’s about enough for this article, stay tuned for a recap of the best speakers and presentations of the GV Expo. Make sure to leave us a comment if you enjoyed this post. Also, sign up for our newsletter to receive our best blog posts every month. Have a great weekend everyone!




Government Video Expo 2012 – Behind The Scenes First Look

GV Expo 2012 Banner with this year's sponsors

The time has come to take a first look at this year’s Government Video Expo (G.V. Expo) hosted at The Washington Convention Center from November 27th – 29th. It looks like this year is going to be bigger and better than ever before, thanks to a co-location deal between The GV Expo and GovComm 12. The G.V. Expo 2012 will be the largest professional video and AV/IT event of the year on the East Cost, lets take a look at what to expect.

The Big Show – Working Together

What happens when the two largest government video trade shows decide to host their events in the same place at the same time? Well, you get something that looks like The G.V. Expo 2012. This year G.V. Expo and GovComm are teaming up to deliver one spectacular showcase of technology. Exhibitors from all over the globe will soon be descending on The Washington D.C. convention center to demonstrate the latest technology and techniques of their industry.For years there was a slight rivalry between the two conferences. Now, the former competitors have teamed up for the sake of delivering a better experience for everyone.

Dog helps cat raid the refrigerator, now thats teamwork!. Speaking of teamwork, did you know that GV Expo and GovComm have team up this year! Check out the article for more details.

G.V. Expo 2012 – Events and Breakdown

Logo for the 2012 GV Expo

The “traditional” G.V. expo has a lot going on this year as usual. There will be many workshops, break out sessions, panels, and presentations to educate people about all aspects of the video production industry. There is so much good stuff to see, I can’t possibly cover it all in this post. If you want a full schedule of special events check out this webpage. TIVA-DC will be sponsoring the event and is hosting another Meet The Government Producers panel where people can learn what goes into the buying process for government video producers. TIVA-DC will also be hosting our annual membership drive where conference attendees can sign up for TIVA-DC at 50% off.

In addition to the usual suspects, the “traditional” G.V. Expo is hosting 2 special sub-conferences this year, in addition to its normal exhibitions and special presenters. The first I want to highlight is the Pro Media Conference. Here is the description from The G.V. Expo website:

The Pro Media Conference takes place within Government Video Expo and is designed to educate, motivate and engage professionals working in media and entertainment, video and audio production, internet and mobile video, AV, government, corporate video environments, and IT. Through a series of papers, presentations and case studies, PMC gives media professionals access to the information and technology that will allow them to create, manage, monetize, and deliver compelling content… for all video applications, across all platforms and for all customers.

If you want to check out all of the events of The PMC visit this webpage.

The next sub-conference to take a look at is The Digital Media DC Conference. Here is how the G.V. Expo website describes it:

“The Digital Media DC conference is DC’s leading training event for professionals in the TV, video, film, motion graphics and New Media industries. Now in its eighth year, DMDC offers 3 days of sessions in 4 parallel tracks focusing on the latest techniques and practices for editors, motion graphics designers, new media professionals and video producers. DMDC is produced by Future Media Concepts, the nation’s leading training organization and features the world’s best Certified Instructors, award-winning editors, authors and power users. With a full pass, attendees may move freely between all the tracks and attend sessions of their choice.”

Take a look at the events scheduled for The DMDC by clicking here.

GovComm 12

The Entrance to GovComm 11

GovComm is owned and produced by InfoComm the leading non-profit association serving the professional AV communications industry worldwide. GovComm has teamed up with G.V. Expo this year and will be hosting their own schedule of events throughout the week. GovComm will be hosting additional exhibitors from all over the AV industry spectrum. Take a look at this short YouTube Video about GovComm 12.

For more about GovComm 12 visit their website by clicking here.

Following The Multi-Media Frenzy

As always, our team will be helping out at the TIVA-DC booth getting people signed up and giving out prizes at the raffle. Come by and say hello if you are going to be there. There is still time to register if you have not yet got your tickets so don’t feel like your time is up. If you want to get the full scoop on the G.V. Expo 2012, but can’t attend, check back here next week for a full recap of the event with technology spotlights, speaker summaries, and an overall showcase of this audio / video industry extravaganza.

If you want to check out our coverage of The G.V Expo 2011 click here!

See you on the Exhibition floor!




2012 Peer Awards – Award Show Recap and Winners

Last Saturday night at The National Press Club, TIVA members from all around the area descended upon the red carpet for a night full of food, fun, and award show dreams come true. TIVA-DC (Television Internet and Video Association of Washington D.C.) pulled out all the stops this year and put on another event to remember.

2012 Peer Awards Program
The 2012 Peer Awards Program

Arch Campbell: A Host With Chutzpah

Local television personality and entertainment guru Arch Campbell delivered a signature performance as he hosted the night with style. Arch’s timeless wit and dry humor left no dull moments. Mr. Campbell mused on the “privilege” of once again hosting the peers, and apologized for himself with the signature line, “Wendy Reiger is out of town…”

For more on Arch Campbell at the Peer awards 2012, check out our article from last week.

TIVA-DC Peer Awards – Hosted by Arch Campbell

Arch Campbell in his signature hat.

And the Award Goes To…

The night was divided by the talents of four main presenters, each of which is a local celebrity in their own right.

The bubbly and charismatic Monika Samtani opened up the night with the first round of awards.

Local Celebrity Monika Samtani

Monika was followed by the multi-talented Rick Kain.

Rick Kain - Headshot

Rick yielded the presenter’s podium to the upbeat personality of Tara Garwood.

The lovely Tara Garwood, who I now have a crush on...

Finally, local legend Ken Arnold closed out the final awards.

Ken Arnold Headshot

Honoring Excellence

Scott Gordon (Left - Word Wizards) Linda Maslow (Right - Maslow Media Group)
Scott Gordon, C.E.O. of Word Wizards, Inc., hams it up with Linda Maslow at the 2012 Peer Awards

Linda Maslow founder of The Maslow Media Group received this year’s Distinguished Achievement Award. Linda has spent her professional life working hard in the media production industry. A personal friend of Word Wizards, Linda has single handedly created an industry of professional staffing services for video productin in the D.C. Area. We tip our hats to this long time supporter of TIVA-DC and thank her for all the hard work she has humbly put in to help all of the people in our industry.

Get The Full Scoop

If you want more juicy details, photos, videos and other Peer Award related media, hop on over to the TIVA-DC’s official website, we have provided a few quick links below.

TIVA-DC Presents: The 2012 Peer Awards

TIVA-DC Home Page: 2012 Peer Awards Slideshow

2012 Peer Award Full List of Winners

See you all next year! Make sure to leave us a comment if you are inclined. Don’t be shy, sign up for our newsletter and get the scoop on all the Washington D.C. video production news.




2012 Presidential Election – Top 10 Funny Viral Memes

Another presidential election has come and gone. At this point, your either pissed, happy, or generally indifferent… Whatever your thoughts on the outcome, I bet your glad its over. As we prepare for whatever the future will hold for this great nation, lets take a look at the top 10 viral images that were floating around.

*Note* This blog maintains a NEUTRAL political stance. The images below are supposed to be fun, not serious. If you have an opinion, share it on our comments section.

Biden Burn:

Obama meets Igor

 The New Vice President: Excellent…

Mitt Romeny and his running mate Mr. Burns from the Simpsons

Lack of Forethought: Or Any Thought…

A little dig at the infamous "back in chains" comment.

Child’s Play:

Hilarious and way out of context. Obama tell a little girl she didn't build her toy block castle.

Dirty Chairy…

Do you feel lucky, Chair?

Come at me, BRO!

Put it on my tab, bro!

A seemingly indestructible monster…

Zeus releases the Biden after Obama bombs the first debate.

Imagination-land….

Obama rides a unicorn and shoots rainbows out of his hands...

Enough is Enough:

The Donkey and The Elephant Get time out for misbehaving this election cycle.

Bill’s Brain:

Bill Clinton Fantasizes about binder's full of women

There you have it! Leave us a comment if you have some funny viral images of your own from this election. Please, keep them PG-13!!




Apple’s WWDC 2012 – Industry Impact

Que the trumpets and raise the banners, Apple has some important new announcements and once again the world will shudder under their unrelenting innovative dominance…

Apple's World Wide Developers Conference Logo

Well maybe it was not quite that dramatic, but they did have some good news to share! Today I am going to quickly review the new tech highlights released by Apple and comment on how we think it may impact businesses in the video, graphics, and web design industries.

Let’s Get “Siri-us”

Samuel Jackson Makes Gazpacho with Siri

We have all seen the ads, Samuel L. Jackson is in his kitchen making gazpacho, and it seems like Siri is his faithful companion. She seems to understand and indulge his every whim, with the level of service and care you would expect from a personal butler. As you may know, Siri is not yet so intuitive, in fact Apple has a few pending lawsuits for misrepresenting this product in such a manner. However, at this year’s WWDC Apple announced she will be getting a bit of a cerebral upgrade. In addition, for the first time, Siri will be available on the iPad, extending the range of possibilities with this innovative but raw new technology.

Impact:

Siri could change our industry by leaps and bounds if she ever gets herself working right. In my recent blog post Software – The John Henry Paradox I discussed how dictation and automated transcription software is a long ways off from putting us out of business. However, it does make an impact, and if Siri’s dictation functionality ever gets into shape, it will most defiantly have an impact on the bottom line of business that provide automated or human powered speech to text services. I look forward to trying out her new “revised” functionality once iOS 6 is released in the near future.

MacBook Pro, Whoa!

I once proudly considered myself a PC guy. A long long time ago in a galaxy called the Milky Way, Macs were a joke in my mind. Bad games, poor graphics, and a noticeable lack of any standard PC quirks, it just put me off. That was, until I got my first MacBook Pro in 2006 and became a born again Jobsian. The new upgrade to the MacBook Pro line is sweet, slim, and sexy. It will probably keep getting sweeter as producers of components and accessories start to catch up with the technology in these impressive new machines.

The New MacBook Pro

However this power is a double edge sword. I keep asking myself, where is the FireWire port? What do you mean you don’t sell a Thunderbolt adapter for FireWire until next December? Apple seemingly enjoys releasing new technology before anyone makes anything that uses it. I must admit that the power to interface with two Thunderbolt Ports and Two USB 3.0 ports pushes the boundaries of my imagination. Hopefully I will be able to use these to their full potential before they come out with the next MacBook Pro.

The inclusion of a retina display is clutch, with such high resolution, MacBook Pros will continue to lead the way in laptop based media workflow both for professionals and amateurs. Don’t forget the screamin’ new Intel chip that pushes the performance of this incredible tool to unfathomed heights. While were on the subject of new heights, have you seen the price tag? By the time they come out with a FireWire to Thunderbolt solution, maybe I will be able to afford the new MacBook Pro (as long as Greece and the economy dont have anything different to say.)

Impact:

As an audio and video guy, the advent of Thunderbolt is paramount. FASTER, FASTER, FASTER! With this new technology video can render faster and look better, audio can be recorded with less lag time and higher resolution than ever before. There remains only one problem, nobody makes a Thunderbolt Audio Interface! I would love to take advantage of the speed of light capabilities for my audio production and recording needs if there were equipment that was designed to handle such raw unhindered power, but there’s not, yet (hint to all you manufactures out there…)

So us A/V guys have a new standard to dream about, what about the designers? Well for those who work in the field or in onsite applications. Having this type of power behind the acclaimed retina display will obviously be a plus. However, when I was speaking with our chief designer, who is admittedly a long standing Apple guru of sorts, he simply stated that lap tops are never ideal for precision graphics work, “there’s just not enough there.” Of course using Thunderbolt you can connect an external screen that is big enough to satisfy his lust for pixels, but then you have just undermined the retina display that you just bought, and that make MacBook Pro sad :(

Mountain Lions, Tigers, and Bears, oh my!

Mountain Lion hopes to put your head back in the iClouds. The new OS is swimming with new features and integration capabilities with the struggling cloud based file sharing system released by Apple early last year. Somehow Apple seems to make each OS release faster and better, and I do not expect to be disappointed this time. Mountain Lion I think will provide a full circle of integration, performance, and usability. There is something about Mac OS that still makes me say, PCs are never going to match this in a million years, even with the impeding release of Windows 8.

A Mountain Lion

Impact:

This remains to be seen. My expectation is to be blown away once again by the simplicity and speed of a new Mac OS version. But who knows, once in a while somebody makes a big mistake when trying to improve on perfection. This will be the first release of a new Mac OS without the direct insight and guidance of the dearly departed Steve Jobs, and hopefully it will not let his memory down, but you never know.

The Verdict

Apple is still innovating their way out of the proverbial paper bag, and we expect more to come at next year’s WWDC. Now, you may be saying, hey man why didn’t you talk about how disappointing it was to not get a hold of the iPhone 5 release date? To that I respond with a reminder that iPhone 4s only came out 9 months ago. If they released iPhone 5 now with only small unimpressive upgrades, you would all complain, and their stock price would plummet, and everyone would claim Tim Cook is incompetent, and ol’ Billy Gates would cackle into the night as he took over the world!

Bill gate young
Bill Gates as you have never seen him...

So be patient and have some faith that that Mr. Cook can hold it together…

Thanks for reading, and check back soon as we hope get our hands on some of this new technology and put it to the test!

 




Section 508 Compliance – Gearing up for IDEAS

Word Wizards is gearing up for next week’s Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase (IDEAS). Our organization has developed a broad expertise helping entities achieve section 508 compliance for their documents, videos and interactive forms. After being awarded a GSA contract on the A.I.M.S. schedule earlier this summer, Word Wizards hopes to access wide new markets for section 508 compliance remediation. As mentioned in our previous article, we are honored to host an exhibit during this year’s IDEAS accessibility conference.

Logo for the 2012 IDEAS conference

Word Wizards presents…

For this year’s section 508 accessibility remediation exhibit, we are pulling out all the stops! We are putting together a serious of materials to identify some of the key issues that contractors must manage when conducting a remediation to achieve 508 compliance. Furthermore, we are highlighting the issues that have come about as this industry attempts to standardize its processes. In addition, we will have working examples of our closed captioning services, audio description capabilities, and screen reading technology for people to explore.

Accessibility for clients and conference attendees alike!

Word Wizards has been working closely with our new partners at Braille Works to provide fully accessible conference materials in the form of braille hand outs for attendees. It is the first time we will be providing conference materials in braille, which will allow us to inform the large amount of conference goers that are visually impaired. We are committed to making the internet a more accessible place, and thus we find ourselves in a position to raise awareness about section 508 compliance and digital accessibility technology. It is the perfect platform to host a discussion about the constant evolution of standards and expectations surrounding the hot ticket issue.

Graphic for section 508 compliance

Evolving Standards:

We will be conducting a survey to identify the most important issues people come across when using screen reading technology. Visit our table and you can participate in this survey and sign up to receive an extensive analysis of what people are saying about the difference between section 508 compliance and practical accessibility from a user standpoint. We think this will allow us to further refine the industry standard method of remediation, and provide a forum to let people share their opinions about what makes a document truly accessible to those with disabilities.

We look forward to seeing you there, and if you cant make it, use our Contact Us page to request a copy of our newsletter which will contain the results of our analysis of this survey.




2012 Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase

The 2012 IDEAS conference (Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase) is right around the corner, and this year, Word Wizards is preparing an exhibit that demonstrates our 508 accessibility capabilities. The U.S. Government is dedicated, and legally bound, to provide accessible resources for individuals with visual and auditory disabilities on their various internet outlets. Word Wizards has developed an acute expertise at remediating documents, interactive forms, and online videos to achieve compliance with section 508 of the National Rehabilitation Act.

Accessibility vs. Compliance: Whats The Difference?

The demand for section 508 accessibility compliance services has never been greater. With a huge volume of companies, organizations, and independent consultants now claiming to offer 508 compliance solutions, it is increasingly difficult to know who is who in the industry. From our experience there are two different types of player in the world of 508 compliance services.

The first is are firms looking to marginally increase their revenues by accessing the emerging market for 508 compliance services. These companies claim that they are 508 compliance experts, who then turn around and outsource to firms that are very good at meeting the legal requirements of compliance without a concern for the accessibility of the final product. In this case, the client meets its legal requirement, yet fails to provide true accessibility. Unfortunately, the end result is a low cost solution to a potentially expensive problem and people are willing to ignore the obvious short comings for minimal cost savings.

The second type of player are the firms that are honestly dedicated to providing accessible content solutions for their clients. Companies of this nature (like us here at Word Wizards) actually know how this process is done because they do it in house. These companies make it a priority to go beyond the legal requirements of the section 508 accessibility law, ensuring that the services they provide for their customers result in media content that is accessible and of significant value to those with visual or auditory disabilities.

The difference is all about context, its about creating something that takes the limitations of those individuals with disabilities into account. Something could be considered “compliant” with no real advantage to the end user, aka someone with sensory disabilities; and, in our minds, that is worse than doing nothing in the first place. It is our continuing mission here at Word Wizards to work towards a more accessible internet experience for the U.S. Government and beyond.

Some Good IDEAS

So, we invite you to join us this year at the IDEAS conference and decide for yourself, just remember, when your age finally catches up and your senses no longer work like they used to, are you going to expect the bare minimum when it comes time to interacting effectively with the government, or would you rather someone had gotten the job done right before it was to late for you.




Happy New Year: Get Ready for 2012

Another year for Word Wizards come and gone! It truly has been an incredible trip around the sun for our company. New employees, new office, new opportunities, NEW NEW NEW… Oh and don’t forget a new website too!

They say progress doesn’t come easy, and here we know this to be true. As the wide world continues to shrink, and the global economy dominates all aspects of business, the competitive environment has never been so intense. 2011 will be remembered as the dawn of a new age for this organization. We persevered the worst of the last three years of international economic hardship together, and with a little elbow grease, the Wizards are upgraded and ready for the future like never before.

So watch out 2012, Nostradamus couldn’t hope to predict what we are going to do next…

Ahh its 2012 and the world is exploding!!
Ahhhh its 2012 and the world is exploding!!

Happy New Year everyone, be safe and we will be here for you in 2012!