Fred's Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

The Fred's Head blog contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Fred's Head is offered by the American Printing House for the Blind. It was voted best blindness-related blog three years in a row by BlindBargains.com.

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Welcome

Fred's Head is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni of APH's Customer Relations Department, who is now retired. Check out the bottom of this page for: browsing articles by subject; receiving posts by email; subscribing to RSS feeds; APH resources; the archive of this blog; APH on YouTube; contributing articles to Fred's Head; and disclaimers.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

APH News: July 2014



The July 2014 issue of the APH News is now online!

This Month’s Headlines:
  • “Full Steam Ahead!”--Annual Meeting 2014
  • National Prison Braille Forum: Save the Date!
  • BOP Authors Write and Revise in Louisville
  • Braille Plus 18 receives FCC Chairman’s Award
  • Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series
  • Treasures from the APH Libraries
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar
  • New Products from APH
  • The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Zagga Entertainment: Descriptive Video… On Demand



Zagga Entertainment


By Kevin Shaw, President and CEO, Zagga Entertainment, Ltd.


Remember the scene in Moulin Rouge where Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman sing to each other on top of the elephant? Or that amazing chase sequence through the subway in the Italian Job? Or how about the upside down kiss in the first Spiderman movie?

Everyone, regardless of visual ability, loves a good story. Movies and TV make up an important part of the cultural experience we all share. It’s these stories that unite us with our families, at work or with our friends. For a long time, I found myself in many awkward conversations where friends and colleagues would rave and laugh about a particular movie or show I had yet to see. There was no described video for the show in question, and I thought I’d catch up later or find some way to change the topic of conversation.

A few years ago, I stood in front of a shelf of shrink-wrapped DVDs. I wanted to catch up on a bunch of movies and TV shows I had purchased, but never got around to watching. I had to ask myself “How come I haven’t watched ANY of these movies?”

I didn’t want to have to go through the frustrating process of navigating on screen menus. So, I went online to see if I could find any described video from the usual providers like Netflix or iTunes. I was shocked to find no audio-described movies and that’s when it hit me…. I should build a “Netflix for the blind” with described video.

I founded Zagga Entertainment shortly after this experience. We’re a Canadian startup with a worldwide vision to create a “Netflix for the blind” featuring movies and TV shows with described video.

The concept is simple: You pay a monthly subscription fee and have all-you-can-eat access to described movies and TV through a fully accessible website and mobile app. Catch up on The Big Bang Theory, 24, finally watch Breaking Bad or, go retro and watch the Back to the Future trilogy as part of a Sunday afternoon movie marathon. Share these experiences with a friend, a date or your family.

We built a prototype of our website and are talking with the major studios about licensing described movies and TV shows. In fact, we’re closing our first deal right now.

Right now, we are crowd funding through Indiegogo to create the full version of our website and mobile app. You can visit our campaign page here and contribute early to receive a subscription to the service as well as nifty gifts for your contribution. The campaign ends on June 14, 2014.

We’re looking forward to launching the service later this year with great content and a fully accessible experience from start to finish. It’s time we let the world know we need Zagga Entertainment so everyone can share these stories. Check us out and help us spread the word!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

APH News: June 2014



The June APH News is now online!

This Month’s Headlines:
  • Get the "Spirit" at Annual Meeting 2014!
  • Announcing Josh Miele, Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker
  • Committees Double Up for Meeting at APH
  • 3D Printing: What Is Your Opinion?
  • Michael Collins and Newel Perry to be Inducted into the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field in 2014
  • New Instructional Products Catalog Now Available!
  • Treasures from the APH Libraries
  • Oldies but Goodies: The "Established" APH Product Series
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar
  • The Braille Book Corner and much, much more…

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Walgreens Now Offering Talking Prescription Devices

 
Prescription pills scattered around
Image by DraconianRain on Flickr

From The Wall Street Journal:

Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain today announced the launch of a nationwide program offering talking prescription devices to customers with visual impairments. The initiative introduces a new service that complements other accessible prescription information Walgreens currently provides. 

Walgreens is the first in the industry to offer this exclusive talking prescription device, called the Talking Pill Reminder, at its retail locations chainwide. The device attaches to prescription containers and will be provided free of charge with prescription medications that Walgreens dispenses to its pharmacy customers who are blind or who have visual impairments. The Talking Pill Reminder can be recorded to speak the information on the customer's prescription medication label, and also has an audible alarm to remind patients when to take a medication. 

The Talking Pill Reminder is available to customers of Walgreens retail pharmacies across the country and through Walgreens prescription mail service. The devices also are available in Walgreens drugstores for purchase for a retail price of $9.99. 

"Adherence to medication can be critical in treating illness today, and this is an innovation that will help our visually impaired customers correctly identify and take medications as prescribed," said Jeff Koziel, Walgreens group vice president of pharmacy operations. "As part of our mission to help customers get, stay and live well, we're proud to have worked closely with other leading organizations to make the Talking Pill Reminder available across all of our more than 8,100 stores nationwide." 

The initiative is the result of a collaboration between Walgreens, The American Council of the Blind (ACB) and the ACB affiliates in California and Illinois. All partnering organizations praised the Walgreens announcement. 

"Accessible prescription information is critical to people who are blind, and with today's announcement, Walgreens assumes a significant leadership role in serving its customers with visual impairments," said ACB President Kim Charlson. 

Illinois Council of the Blind representative Ray Campbell commended Walgreens initiative, saying, "So many of our members and ACB members across the country value Walgreens excellent customer service. The company's rollout of the Talking Pill Reminder gives them yet another reason to make Walgreens their pharmacy of choice." 

California Council of the Blind President Donna Pomerantz said, "Standard prescription labels put customers who are blind at risk for mixing up medications or taking them incorrectly. For this reason, Walgreens initiative is a matter of basic safety, and we congratulate the company on its efforts in this important area." 

In addition to providing the Talking Pill Reminder, Walgreens also offers large print patient information sheets to customers who have visual impairments.
Walgreens accessibility initiative will help people with visual impairments who have difficulty or are unable to read a standard prescription medication label.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014 Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field Inductees



Michael Collins and Newel Perry
to be Inducted into the
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends
of the Blindness Field in 2014

The Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the tradition of excellence manifested by specific individuals through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired in North America. It is housed at the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) in Louisville, Kentucky, but belongs to all.

The ceremony to induct Collins and Perry will take place on Friday evening, October 17, 2014, in conjunction with APH's 146th Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky.  Joining the fifty-two outstanding legends previously inducted, are these two remarkable figures who changed lives around the world. Their stories of accomplishment are powerful.


The Class of 2014:

·        Michael T. Collins  1948 - 2008

Mike Collins


Mike Collins dedicated 30 years of his career to Perkins; first as supervisor of the Perkins School for the Blind’s campus-based Deafblind Program and then as founder and director of the Hilton/Perkins International Program, with the mission of training teachers to teach children who are deafblind with multiple disabilities in developing countries. Under his leadership, the program grew from serving a few hundred students to helping more than 10,000 children annually in 63 countries. He traveled to dozens of countries as a "missionary" for children who are deafblind and blind with additional disabilities working with education and government officials. He was, however, most comfortable on a mat with students explaining to parents and teachers how to help students achieve more than their families and teachers thought possible. Before his extensive work in special education, Michael studied theological studies at St. John's Seminary in Boston. He brought that care, compassion and understanding with him to his work with students who are deafblind.

Mr. Collins served as vice president and president of Deafblind International and was a board member of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment. He also founded the National Coalition on Deafblindness. Collins received the distinguished Perkins' Annie Sullivan Award and Deafblind International’s Lifetime Achievement Award and their Distinguished Service Award.

"His love for children with multiple disabilities and his deep understanding of their needs was evident when he visited programs and dangled children on his knee." Nandini Rawal, project director of the Blind People's Association in Gujarat, India


·        Newel Perry  1873 - 1963

Newel Perry


Dr. Newel Perry was called the father of the modern civil rights movement of the blind. According to Matson (1990), Perry "presided as mentor and godfather to the [organized blind] movement," spawning the California Council of the Blind (1934), the National Federation of the Blind (1940) and the American Council of the Blind (1961). In 1912, Dr. Perry took the post which would define his career, Director of Advanced Studies at the California School for the Blind, and was in this position until retirement in 1947. He is best known for having mentored "Perry's Boys (and Girls)," a group of talented blind young men and women who would, with Perry's assistance, begin the organized blind movement of advocacy and civil rights.

Honors include: California Council of the Blind, Hall of Fame, 1996 (original member), California Council of the Blind’s Newel Perry Endowment Trust, the National Federation of the Blind’s highest award – named for Newel Perry, and, within NFB's Jacobus tenBroek Library, the Newel Perry Conference Room, appropriately named for tenBroek's beloved mentor.

"Newel Perry educated, indoctrinated and persuaded a distinguished group of cohorts to join him in carrying on the struggle and carrying out its goals. Those whom Doctor gathered around him were other blind men and women, mostly former students whose special talents and professional positions uniquely supplemented his." Jacobus tenBroek, 1961
When asked what was his most important work, Dr. Perry answered, "Oh, my most important work was my dragging the blind out of their sleep, stirring them up, putting some ambition into them, and then helping them."
__

Additional information regarding the 2014 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will soon appear on the APH website, www.aph.org. Visit the Hall of Fame website at http://www.aph.org/hall/ for information on the Hall and those inducted.

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