Tuesday, 04 May 2021 07:56

BoM says issues with textmode browser lynx fixed; no mention of others Featured

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BoM says issues with textmode browser lynx fixed; no mention of others Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says it has fixed the issues that prevented users of the textmode browser lynx from accessing its website.

Many sight-impaired readers use lynx and other text-based browsers and a speech-to-text engine like festival to read these pages.

In a statement sent in response to a query from iTWire, the BoM said: "The Bureau has now resolved an issue that inadvertently caused problems with the Lynx web-browser. The issue was caused with use of a tool that detects and stops screen scraping activity on the Bureau's website.

lynx fixed

The BoM site viewed with lynx on Tuesday morning.

"The tool was not intended to disrupt users to the website, only traffic that is identified as automated screen scraping. The Bureau has strengthened its stance on screen scraping activities, which can invite malicious activity and weaken security protection, in addition to consuming bandwidth."

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There was no mention made of other textmode browsers like w3m and links; when the original story was written, w3m could also not access the site while links could. However, now w3m also can access the site.

"The accessibility of Bureau services to all members of the community is of great importance," the spokesperson added.

w3m fixed

The front page of the BoM site viewed using w3m. Screenshots by Sam Varghese on a PC running Debian GNU/Linux

"The Bureau makes data and materials available to third parties through our Registered Users channels, and we are endeavouring to transition those who are screen scraping to becoming Registered Users."

However, there are some parts of the BoM site that require JavaScript to be visible. On such pages, there is advice to upgrade to a browser that supports this scripting language, something which a sight-impaired person cannot do.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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