What’s new


Micropatronage: THE REVENGE was a qualified success, with about 25 donors contributing over $1,000. It came in handy and was actually even more appreciated than the first round. However, I can now attest that there are diminishing returns, literally and figuratively, associated with too many micropatronage drives.

I am behind on doing the work you all paid for because of another job and an inconvenient combination of wrecking my back and having some kind of low-level cold that gives me enough concentration to read RSS but that’s about it. I do have notes on several topics, and hope to get back on the horse.


Micropatronage: THE REVENGE.

It’s coming. Believe it.


A write-in campaign for funding from a broadcasting-industry merger. More news →


The CRTC, the Canadian broadcasting regulator, has approved the sale of the CHUM television stations to CTV Globe Media, with significant restrictions. CTV was given 30 days to supply the list of recipients of social-benefits spending, for which the Open & Closed Project applied.

This week, I will be launching a campaign for all micropatronage donors and other supporters to write respectful letters and/or E-mails to CTV to recommend that the Open & Closed Project make it to the final list of recipients. This isn’t the last chance we have for funding, but it is the last chance for funding from this source.

Your micropatronage dollars at work: I’ve applied to CTV Globe Media for funding of the Open & Closed Project through social benefits arising from their proposed takeover of CHUM Ltd., or from other sources. This is the big thing I’ve been working on.
Also: Letters of support from micropatronage donors.

Next thing I’m looking for: Support letters

I’m putting together a set of letters to Canadian broadcasters pitching them to fund the Open & Closed Project. (Yes, it is really happening. It’s got to.) It is already impressive that I can say I have grassroots support, with 214 micropatrons offering cash donations.

Now, supporters of all kinds are asked to write some kind of support statement – anything from a couple of sentences to a paragraph or a page – that could be included in the letters I’m writing. Your name would be listed, and the date of your statement, but not your E-mail address or anything else that would lead to spam. (If you have a preferred format for your name – J. Clark instead of Joe Clark, or whatever – let me know.)

This is an optional step, but if you feel like doing it, just answering in an ordinary E-mail would suffice (joeclark commercial-at joeclark.org).


Why is this taking so long?

  • I had to give three presentations in eight days in February, including a major one in Vancouver at Web Directions North.
  • I was sick for nearly two weeks after Vancouver (as were many others).
  • I was working on a Woman’s Intuition that it was not quite time to file an application for funding under one of the broadcasting takeovers. Now it is, as the CRTC has announced a hearing on the matter. We’re up against 90 organizations for $103 million in funding (but an unknown number vying for the rather limited $1.5 million allocated for “research”).
  • I am never very productive, except when I have an absolute deadline, a possibly kottkësque admission.

A note on next steps

Micropatronage donors may receive E-mails shortly asking for letters or E-mails of support that can be directed at funding sources. In other words, you may be asked to say, in effect, “Not only do I think Joe Clark’s research project is a good enough idea to fund myself, it’s a good enough idea to warrant major funding.” Such support letters will of course be optional.

  1. I met with an influential friend in the media, who offered some advice and to whom I offered a scoop.
  2. Suddenly a further broadcast conglomerate in Canada is trying to buy a competitor, which means yet another application for so-called social-benefits spending.
  3. I met with a subsidiary of yet other acquisitive conglomerate, and that subsidiary agreed not to say no if any funding proposal were circulated to them for comment. I also secured permission to submit a proposal for screenfont testing. While that sounds win-win (it is; I got everything I asked for), the problem was the remainder of the meeting, which culminated in my being told “fuck you” and frogmarched out of the building. That is a first. So we won’t be submitting a proposal after all, as there is no requirement for me to work with people who do that sort of thing.

Things slowed down considerably before and during Christmas and New Year’s, leaving me with a giant to-do list staring me in the face in the form of a pile of 3×5 index cards. As with pretty much everything I’ve done in recent memory, this is not happening as fast as I expected.

I did file a huge reply comment to the Canadian broadcast regulator, replying, in fact, to about 60 pages of written material and excerpts from 450,000 words of transcripts. The Open & Closed Project solves a lot of the problems people were complaining about there. Interestingly, two educational broadcasters came out in favour of standards; they, and others, will be getting letters. An important fact I was able to assert is that the Open & Closed Project has industry and grassroots support, with some 170 people giving direct contributions and dozens more lending moral support.

I also double-checked with many of the authors of previous support letters. Do they still stand by what they wrote? And how, they said. Other support letters are being solicited.

Donations continue to come in nearly every weekday, an amazing fact given that this program is no longer top-of-mind on many blogs. Perhaps I am the beneficiary of a long-tail effect. Nonetheless, I’m at nearly three-quarters of my goal thus far. I emphasize that equally important, if not slightly more so, is moral support, which remains abundant.

I am still picking away, however, at converting my giant bibliography from Excel (yes) to standards-compliant HTML. I’m not going to use tables. If anyone can do this faster, please nominate yourselves. Done!


Yesterday was the one-month anniversary of the launch of Joe Clark Micropatronage. Time for an update.

  • I’m about three-quarters of the way to my nominal goal of $7,777. Approximately 160 people have donated, and several dozen have posted blog entries and/or run banner ads. Shortly, all donors will have received custom thank-you notes, and everyone with any involvement whatsoever has my thanks here.
  • There’s an interview up at AOL Ability concerning me, the Open & Closed Project, and other issues.
  • Since I am being paid to work, work is what I’ve been doing. I just don’t have a lot that’s published yet.
    • I have completed typing my giant bibliography of accessibility citations (over 300); these remain to be converted to real HTML.
    • I have met with a methodologist to discuss how to actually carry out experiments.
    • Support letters are going up this week.
    • I bought the HDTV captioning spec and wrote a critique of its typography chapter for Screenfont. (It ain’t pretty.)
    • I have a reasonable to-do list for updates to the Project Web site.
    • I have more meetings in the offing – e.g., sushi with a tomorrow, hopefully polonium-free.
  • And in a turnabout that I may one day find amusing, I did something I never have done in 16 years online and sent a draft E-mail well before it was ready. As the message was addressed to all the leading deaf blogs and attempted to sell them on the Project, this worked rather less well than planned. I do outreach to blind blogs this week.

The biggest change is that, on several occasions, I have found myself unusually energetic and able to simply go from one task to another without worry or trouble. I was eventually able to identify these as the previously-little-known feelings of “happiness” and “fulfillment.”


If it seems like nothing has been happening, well, things have been happening.

  1. Donations continue to trickle in.
  2. I sent out the first batch of thank-you notes (some 150).
  3. I have actually been doing work on the research project, including a meeting with a methodologist (my first methodologist); buying and reading a captioning standard; planning additions to the OC-Pro site; and trying to finish a massive accessibility bibliography.
  4. More importantly, I have a V2.0 launch upcoming for deaf- and blind-related sites. I have, in essence, been working, not resting on my laurels.

Oh, and I’ve also been rebutting a few hate sites. I thought there wouldn’t be any of those.

Heck, now we do Polski. I asked Twardoch for more-apt translations of the terms in question, with captioning and subtitling perennially difficult to separate (even for our dear British friends):
napisy dla niesłyszących
Audio description
narracja dla niewidomych
dubbing (they just borrow the English)
And by the way, I can report with thanks that we’re already almost at the halfway point in this nominal $7,777 micropatronage drive.
106 Diggs puts us on the front page.

OK, we’ve had quite a torrent of blog entries, all of them in favour of the micropatronage drive and the Open & Closed Project. Here are some favourites:

  1. A. Ouimet of the Tea Makers is giving away a door prize – Tea Makers desktop wallpaper for any micropatronage contributor who asks
  2. Tracy Godding of Interesource (as usual, a symphony of red)
  3. Daniel Burka doesn’t want to sully his layout with our banners. So we double-dared him: We made one that matches his colour scheme and typography!
  4. Dave Shea
  5. Jeremy Keith: “Put your money where Joe Clark’s mouth is.” Touché
  6. Bruce Lawson
  7. Dude sets out to make multimedia better for all.” Dude!
  8. Duff Johnson, the affable and erudite chair of PDF/UA

Plus we’re on Digg, MetaFilter Projects, Delicious, and Magnolia.

I take none of this support lightly. It is solidly appreciated and acknowledged with thanks.

Launched! ¶ There are enough links to the micropatronage drive to follow them on Technorati and Bloglines.
If you donate to my fund, the Tea Makers will send you a desktop wallpaper image on request.