You might remember a post I wrote called Enter the Letters You See in this Box — If You Can See Them. I used that post to vent my frustration after attempting to vote on-line for the 2008 All Star team. I managed to fill out the ballot using my talking computer but couldn’t get past the CAPTCHA – that’s the box of distorted letters that shows up before you can hit the “submit” button. From that 2008 post:
Many sites using CAPTCHA have added an audio option. This probably makes them feel good about helping the blind. It might make sighted people who see that link feel good, too, to know those of us who can’t see have an option. Trouble is, those audio CAPTCHAs are impossible!
In that post I encouraged readers to link to the Gmail sign up page and click on “Listen and type the numbers you hear” to hear what I was talking about. A woman’s voice speaks numbers out loud, but creepy noises and voices talking backward in the background make it nearly impossible to figure out what she’s saying. Again, from that post:
In fact, the next time you get nostalgic for those mysterious backward-talking “Paul is Dead” clues on Beatles albums, you don’t have to get out your turntable and old LPs. Just link to an audio CAPTCHA.
Well gee, how things can change in two short years. Without my precious vote, Jermaine Dye, the White Sox outfielder I was pulling for in 2008 didn’t make the All Star team that year. This year, he didn’t even make the White Sox team, and now he isn’t playing baseball at all (although the rumor mill says a team may pick him up after the All-Star break). As for Major League Baseball, it has spent the past two years making major league efforts to ensure MLB.com is accessible to people with visual impairments! From an MLB.com press release:
This year’s All Star ballot is part of Major League Baseballs on-going commitment to the accessibility and usability of its website for fans with visual impairments. In February of this year, MLB announced its accessibility initiative in a joint press release issued with the American Council of the Blind.
This year’s All Star ballot still has an audio CAPTCHA, but no creepy background noises. The numbers are spoken out loud in a clear, succinct voice and you can hit the “repeat audio” link to repeat the same spoken numbers up to ten different times.
You don’t have to go through any CAPTCHA hoops to leave a comment here on the Safe & Sound blog. Spam filters do a pretty good job. Major League Baseball’s site is a teeny tiny bit more complex than my Safe & Sound blog, though. Their on-line All Star ballot allows fans to vote up to 25 times for their favorite players, so I understand why they need CAPTCHA — they have to have some way to make sure that humans, and not automated computer programs, are the ones doing the voting. I’m just glad that when they decided to add an audio CAPTCHA, they used one that you can understand! This morning I was able to access the mlb.com web site with my talking computer and vote for White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko to make the All Star team. If I can do it, so can you!PS: Ever since I found out that White Sox pitcher Matt Thornton went to Grand Valley State University in Michigan, he’s been my favorite White Sox player. My sister Bev, my nephew Brian and niece Stacey all graduated from GVSU, a very fine school that developed a very fine (and humble) relief pitcher for our team. Thornton has struck out 47 and allowed one home run in 33 2/3 innings this year. He has also limited left- handed hitters to a .167 batting average with 29 strikeouts in 60 at- bats. A story in today’s Chicago Tribune says that when Matt Thornton’s hotel telephone rang Sunday morning he was worried his wife and 11-month daughter could be in danger. Instead, it was the White Sox director of team travel telling him that Yankees manager Joe Girardi had selected him for the All Star team.
“I’m kind of in shock that it happened,” said Thornton, who was planning to take his family to the zoo and perhaps visit relatives in Michigan during the All-Star break.
Thornton said he would lobby hard for teammate Paul Konerko, whose only chance of being selected to the July 13 All-Star game would be if he won the Final Vote ballot.
Fans can vote for Konerko at mlb.com through Thursday. And yes, he has the best numbers of any of the five candidates. Including Youk and Swisher.