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Tech Buzz 6/01

Affordable DVD recording, accessibility for users with disabilities and default start pages of choice
June 1, 2001
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/40586

A Bargain Burner

Affordable DVD recording is here in the guise of the latest Apple Macintosh G4 desktop, with its built-in DVD-R/CD-RW drive (dubbed "SuperDrive" by Apple). While $3,500 (street) may sound like a budget-bruiser, the price looks pretty good next to the going rate for other stand-alone DVD recorder drives-$5,000.

For business purposes, you'll probably want to pick up a copy of the $999 (street) DVD Studio Pro software. Added features over the preinstalled iDVD consumer software include multiple video tracks, Web links and subtitles. Blank DVD-R discs cost $10 to $15.

DVD-Rs signal a technological step up. With 4.7GB of space-compared to just 800MB for CD-Rs-there's room for high-powered presentations, digital video or large data backup jobs. Your creations won't be confined to computer screens because the DVD-Rs are compatible with most DVD players. This is especially ideal for companies working in advertising, marketing and multimedia. One DVD-R desktop can probably satisfy the data-burning desires for your entire business.

Access Denied?

You don't want to alienate nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population, but your Web site might be doing just that-if it's not accessible to users with disabilities.

Ideally, Paul Bohman, technology coordinator for the WebAIM (Web Accessibility in Mind) project, would like businesses to rework their sites simply for altruistic reasons. But there's a business incentive, too: "This is a sizable population with money to spend. If they can't get on your Web site, or if they find it difficult to understand the content, you won't get their business."

There are also legal concerns. Recently, the National Federation for the Blind sued AOL because its interface was not accessible to the screen-reader software used by the blind. And last year's Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal sites and software to be accessible. This law extends to businesses seeking government contracts-any products and services they provide to the government must meet the standards of Section 508.

"It is highly likely that the legislation that does apply to private companies-like the ADA-will look to Section 508 as the government's definition of what accessibility means," Bohman says. "So it will be important to become very familiar with the Section 508 requirements." Visit www.webaim.org to access a Section 508 compliance checklist and other related info.

What Is Your Default Start Page?

Name and Age:Phil Wohl, 28
Title:Co-founder
Company:NetClerk Inc., an e-solutions provider for the contracting industry
"Yahoo.com. Nobody aggregates the basic information I need on a daily basis better than Yahoo!. I visit the finance section quite often in order to keep up with the public companies in our space. The site's news services are thorough and easy to navigate."

Name and Age:Stephen Greenfield, 42
Title:President and co-founder
Company:Screenplay Systems, a software provider for the entertainment industry
"CNN.com is the ultimate destination for a news junkie like me. The site is a perfect match for our company, which is an unusual blend of technology and entertainment."


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