Monday, 25 June 2007

Summer timetable at Technosite

Any normal year we would be enjoying the warm weather but until a week ago there didn't seem to have been more than a couple of days without cloud cover. But at last the summer seems to have finally arrived here in Madrid, and the summer holiday season has begun.

We all look forward to the months of July and August, because we change to the summer timetable, known as jornada intensiva or intensive day. Traditionally in the warmer parts of Spain it was too hot to work in the afternoon, and the way to work comfortably was to get up early in the morning, while it was coolest and to work through until it became too hot in mid afternoon, then stop for lunch and a sleep until the sun went down and the temperature dropped again. Of course now in our modern air-conditioned offices in the Antalia Building we tend to suffer more from cold draughts than from heat, but we have to keep up our traditions...

During the months of July and August we work from 8am through until 3pm, then go home for lunch and siesta. So if you're working and call us at Technosite after 3pm and we're not there, it's because we're at home having lunch, asleep or at the pool.

Another less beneficial feature of it is that we're obliged to take a lot of our holiday allowance in these two months of high prices and overbooked resorts. These two issues also affect our attendance at meetings and W3C conference calls that tend to happen for us Europeans in the mid afternoon, so there may be more than usual (not too sincere) regrets.

Monday, 11 June 2007

ONCE goes to the polls

Every four years the Spanish National Organisation of the Blind (ONCE) holds elections. These are elections in the commonly-understood sense of the word with parties, manifestos, campaigns and meetings. This year the election took place on May 14th. The winner was again, as usual, UP (United Progressives). After the election the winning party formed its government in order to put into practice its manifesto. Forming the new government of the ONCE also means reorganising the governing bodies of among others, ONCE Foundation and its business unit Fundosa Group.

The changes that will be brought in by the new ONCE General Council affect the strategy and organisation of the Fundosa Group. One of these is a greater emphasis on accessibility. Previously the sole administrator of Technosite, Enrique Varela Couceiro had two roles, he was also in charge of accessibility technology and R&D at ONCE Foundation. Now he has given up his role at Technosite to dedicate all his efforts to R&D.

While thankfully Blanca Alcanda continues as our Managing Director, Technosite now reports directly to the General Manager of the Fundosa Group, Nacho Tremiño. Other moves further up the hierarchy are that Alberto Durán continues as CEO of Once Foundation, Luis Crespo as General Manager of ONCE Foundation and José Luis Martínez Donoso as CEO of Fundosa Group.

Moving offices again

Today we did the second part of our move. Still at calle Albasanz 16, but back up to the third floor, where we were before. All our stuff was upstairs on the third floor, and we spent a couple of hours unpacking books and connecting equipment. There's no room for Witty under the new desk so she has to lie on the the floor where we can all see her. I feel better about being closer to the window but fear that blinds will soon start being pulled down again. Work was only disrupted for a couple of hours, which is quite good, I think. It's good having management and all the admin people close at hand. The best thing about the new arrangement is that all of us in the accessibility department are in one block of desks. On the other hand several of us don't work in the office any more, with Rafa in Valencia, and Marisol and now Jesús working at home here in Madrid.

Friday, 8 June 2007

Launch of Euracert label at last

It looks like it's finally happened, everything is more or less ready for the launch of Euracert, the European Web accessibility quality mark. BrailleNet has sent out a press release. It's taken about four years, but I'm sure it will have been worth the wait. Although the Web site may seem quite modest, it's been a long road and a lot of work to get to where we are now. The other European organisations currently in Euracert are ONA of Belgium, us Technosite of Spain and the BrailleNet Association of France. Some organisations from other countries are waiting in the wings, but there's no timetable for them to officially join yet.

With Euracert, a Web site can be labelled by a partner organisation in one country and get recognition in the others. So a Web site labelled in Spain can get a label that's also recognised in France and Belgium. But first it has to get the local label. This should help businesses operating in multiple countries have a single label, and allow free movement of goods and services, and ultimately (we all hope) lead to more accessible Web content in Europe.

There's more information on the Euracert Label website. Technosite is the first of the partners to award a Euracert label, and the site is Spanish bank Bankinter, which will be the first of many.