Protocol Switch

From: Mike Freeman (
Date: Fri Jan 05 1996 - 21:54:05 PST

Hello, Jeff.

I am a blind computer user; I'm a Vax/VMS systems programmer by
profession. I am a member of the Research and Development Committee of
the National Federation of the Blind and am Secretary of the NFB in
Computer Science, NFB's computer science division. Recently, Mr. Tom Way
has made me privy to his communications with CIS and your response. Let
me comment from a perspective perhaps slightly different from that of
some blind computer users.

Certainly I realize that the advent of the HMY protocol does not
necessarily mean the demise of computer access to CIS by the blind. It
does, however, mean that the blind will have to use one of the access
products such as TapCis designed to mediate between the user's computer
and CIS. This may or may not be easily done depending upon how well these
products work with screen-access software and how well blind users deal
with those programs. However, CompuServe's decision to eliminate access
by standard terminal emulation software or communications packages
definitely eliminates one group of computer users, among whom would be I
were I a CompuServe subscriber: this group consists of those who must
access CompuServe via the Internet and Telnet because CIS does not see
fit to have a local (not long-distance) telephone access number in their
area. I live in Vancouver, Washjington. The nearest CIS node is in
Portland, Oregon, a long-distance call for me. I have been considering
signing up for CIS but your decision to eliminate
terminal-emulator-accessible service (which presumably includes access
via Telnet) will definitely convince me not to become a CIS subscriber.
This is too bad because CIS has a lot of useful and interesting services
to offer.

You should know that GEnie has a leased line from its POrtland node into
Vancouver and although there is a surcharge, it is not a toll call. In
addition, one can access both GEnie and Delphi via Sprintnet which has a
Vancouver number and there is no charge for this access.

If CompuServe is going to insist upon eliminating straight ASCII access
(a mistake, I might add), it should at least consider expanding its level
of service such that those of us without CIS access have some way of
getting it without paying LD charges.


Mike Freeman | Internet:
GEnie: M.FREEMAN11 | Amateur Radio Callsign: K7UIJ
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... Tact, n: The unsaid part of what you're thinking.

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