Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Why Won't the "F" Keys On My Keyboard Work?

I try to use F1 for help or F11 to make my browser full screen and nothing happens. My adaptive software is going crazy! What can I do?

My guess is that you have a newer Microsoft or Logitech keyboard. These have something called an "F Lock" key located just above the number keypad on the right side of the keyboard. It allows your Function keys to do more than one operation. If you could see the small print you'd notice, the top side of the keys probably say "Print", "Undo", "Save", "Reply", etc. while F11 and such are on the front. You may have an indicator light that comes on when you are in normal "F" mode.

When you boot up your computer the F Lock key is off so the keys use their "enhanced" function. What that means is that every time you boot up you need to hit the F Lock key for your Function keys to act normally. Microsoft offers no way to change this setting.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Miracle of Braille Music

In 1987 the Music Braille Committee of the World Blind Union decided to update the existing Manual of Braille Music Notation and to try to bring the major library music services together. A conference held in 1990 lead to the formation of a small consortium; FNB (Amsterdam), SBS (Zurich), ONCE (Spain), and the RNIB (UK). Together these four music braille libraries decided to build a central catalogue representing their holdings.

Over a period of six years the consortium defined its cataloguing rules based on AACR and ISBD, using Smeraglia Rules and the Groves New International Dictionary of Music and Musicians as the authority file. The resulting catalogue "the International Braille Music Catalogue" was based on non-standard software.

In 1996 the New International Manual of Braille Music Notation was published. In the following year the CANTATE project produced a system which linked music catalogues and databases of digital scores. It was natural to bring these two standard based systems together. The resulting MIRACLE project, supported by the European Commission Telematics Applications Programme (Phase 4), incorporated the four original partners, together with the Danish Library for the Blind and Regione Toscana Stamperia Braille as associate partners.

The EU-funded project began in January 1999 and formally ended in January 2001. With the encouragement of the European Commission, though without further subsidy, corresponding members have joined the project from Canada, USA, Italy, South Africa, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Finland and Sweden.

The basic idea behind the MIRACLE project is simple. Blind musicians around the world need Braille music. Music is sufficiently international to cross borders. Braille music is very expensive to produce, therefore anything that will reduce the amount of duplication is to be desired. It makes sense then to set up a system in which all music braille libraries can know what the other libraries have in stock and are producing. They should then be able to get the braille from each other at rates that are substantially less than producing the piece all over again. Where pieces are held as digital files it should be possible to send these to each other over the internet.

Now it is possible to browse and search the catalogues of four libraries for the blind (FNB-The Netherlands, RNIB-UK, ONCE-Spain, SBS-Switzerland), and it is also possible to download those files that are digitally available. In this way libraries do not only know what is available in other countries but they can also request files that they then do not have to produce themselves. Braille music is labour intensive and complex to produce and by sharing resources a lot of time and money can be saved.

The creation of a worldwide virtual library of music braille files should make a dramatic difference to the services offered to visually impaired clients needing access to music in alternative formats. The partners are committed to maintaining and developing this practical service.

Further details about the activities of the MIRACLE Group can be obtained from:

Molenpad 2
1016 GM Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Phone: +31 0486 486 486
Fax: +31 6208459

Monday, December 12, 2005

Tips On How to Conduct Yourself at an Office Party

Office parties are a strange mix of holiday cheer and office politics. If you're careful, you may be able to avoid most office party faux pas.

  1. Plan to go to the party. Even if office parties are not your cup of tea, you're part of the group and need to make an appearance.

  2. Find out before the party what most people are wearing. You don't want to show up in a casual outfit if everyone else is dressed to the nines. Make sure your spouse or date has this information.

  3. Be conservative in your dress if you are a woman. Shockingly short dresses or plunging necklines are not appropriate for this type of business occasion.

  4. Get to the party on time, or shortly after it starts. Even if you only stay a short time, this is better than "popping in" at the end of the evening.

  5. Be sure to acknowledge all of your co-workers, bosses and associates. Introduce your spouse or date, and include the spouses or dates of others in your conversations.

  6. Avoid drinking too much. Over-indulging may be the number one cause of inappropriate remarks and behavior at office parties. Remember, you have to face all these people when you go back to work, so leave a good impression.

  7. Avoid pigging out. Loading up your plate, grabbing handfuls of hors d'oeuvres or shoving down chips and clam dip does not present a flattering image.

  8. Go along with games or other arranged activities.

  9. Save gift-giving for another time unless everyone is exchanging gifts at the party. If you begin handing out gifts to your boss or associate when no one else is exchanging gifts, people will be uncomfortable.

  10. Be sure to thank the host or hostess before you leave the party. If the company paid for the party, thank your boss or the person in the office who arranged the party.

If you know you will be partaking of alcoholic beverages, eat a little something before you go to the party, or have some food when you get there (before you start drinking).

Before you bring your spouse or a date, make sure he or she is invited.

Try to avoid office gossip at the company party. You never know who may be standing within earshot.

If "gag gifts" are to be exchanged, keep the humor tasteful. Remember that spouses and possibly even children may be present, and what you may view as a lighthearted sexual or scatalogical joke could be an embarrassment to others.

Dare to have fun. Don't go crazy, but do wear an outfit that you look stunning in. Who cares if you are the last one on the dance floor, as long as you are the first one at the office on Monday? They already know that you can work hard, now show them that you can play hard, too. Live a little! Put the "party" back into "office party!"

Remember when you attend an office party, Less is More! Don't marinate yourself in cologne! You may not be able to smell it, but rest assured, everyone else can. A little spritz in the air above you (not hosing yourself down) is more then enough.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The ButterWizard keeps your stick of butter at the optimum temperature for soft, easy spreading.

Previously, folks kept a stick of butter in a butter dish on the kitchen counter. Depending on fluctuations in room temperature, or if it took some heat from the oven, it might get too soft, or too firm.

Powered by its nickel-metal hydride batteries, the ButterWizard never lets your butter get too soft or too firm. When finished at the dinner table, return the ButterWizard to its charging base.

Click this link to learn more about the ButterWizard:


Have you ever been trapped in a conversation with an annoying person and prayed that your phone would ring to give you "an out"?

Well, Ring4Freedom has answered your prayers!

Ring4Freedom is software that will ring your cell or desk phone at your command. Simply press the hotkey and your phone will ring instantly. Download Ring4Freedom now and say "hello" to the person calling you and "gotta roll" to annoying colleagues, boring meetings, and uncomfortable conversations. Click this link to Ring4Freedom:!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

CardAvenue: Buy, Sale, and Trade Gift Cards and Gift Certificates

Do you still have that gift card that your grandma gave you last year? You know you'll never use it. Why not trade it for something you will use?

CardAvenue is the industry leader for gift card exchange and gift card auctions.

At CardAvenue gift card swap and auction transactions are protected by Cardcowboy balance verification on most cards valued at over $100. For gift cards valued less than $100 all transactions are secured with a $10 deductible.

Registration is free and you can setup your gift cards wish list in minutes. After setting up your wish list you can make all of your unwanted gift certificates available for trade on

Why trade your gift cards instead of just auctioning them?

You can trade gift cards at equal face value on If you know you are going to spend the value of your card at one of your favorite retailers, you can probably get more store credit on a gift card than you can cash in an auction. Gift card auctions are also available, because after all, cash is the most universal tender without an expiration date.

Gift cards and gift certificates are expected to appear on half of all holiday wish lists this year according to a survey on gift cards by the National Retail Federation. The term gift certificate is now commonly used interchangeably with gift card. The distinction between the two was originally in the added ability to refill for re-use, and even reissue modern gift cards - features previously absent from traditional gift certificates. Be sure to read the specifics of each card listing before bidding or trading so you understand the redemption requirements and rules. The term gift card and gift certificate are used interchangeably throughout CardAvenue service descriptions.

Click this link to visit

A Website of Word Oddities and Trivia

This website is maintained by Jeff Miller, a teacher at Gulf High School in New Port Richey, Florida and gives great information about words.

Imagine having tons of words to use in your next game of Scrabble. You can learn really long words, words that have uncommon double letters; triple letters; and even quadruple letters, Palindromes, and much more!

Click this link to view nineteen pages of Word Oddities and Trivia:

Monday, December 05, 2005

Braille Bullets?

Message: I am Brailling a formal document, with a list that I would ordinarily put bullets in front of. Is there some kind of symbol in Braille that serves the same purpose, or do I simply make the list? Also, with MS Word, people often put headings in bold font. Is the italics Braille symbol the best way to do this, or is there some other symbol? Thanks for any ideas.

If you're doing a "formal" document, here are the quotes from Braille Formats (See

The rules say you probably don't need the bullets in the list. Rule 7 Section 2a3 of Braille Formats says:

"3) Bullets, hollow dots, check marks, and other signs printed before each listed item solely for visual effect must be ignored in braille".

As for bold headings, Rule 3, Section 12 says the following:

"Special typefaces ignored. Ignore special typefaces for the following. Chapter titles and other headings except paragraph headings".

Many braille readers find excessive emphasis a pain to read. However if you really want the bullets there, use dots 3 6, 3 6 followed by a space.

Audio News To Go

OdiogoT - short for "Audio News To Go" is a Windows application that extracts blog posts or articles from news sites (such as The New York Times, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal) and converts them to light audio files in seconds. The files can then easily be uploaded to any MP3 player. This gives users anytime, anywhere access to their favorite printed news content.

Many articles and blog posts available on the Web today can be read through third-party websites such as Google and Yahoo! thanks to the standard distribution format, RSS. Odiogo converts the content on any website containing RSS feeds into small audio files using cutting-edge text-to-speech technology. Unlike many of its predecessors, this new breed of artificial intelligence technology observes punctuation and more natural speech patterns to provide a better quality listening experience.

OdiogoT comes with 200 preinstalled news feeds including The New York Times, CNN, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, BBC, and Rolling Stone. Users can also easily add feeds beyond Odiogo's list; any website that provides an RSS feed can be podcasted via OdiogoT. Every page of text converts, on average, into a 2 MB audio file, allowing approximately 256 articles to be stored on a 512 MB MP3 player.

OdiogoT requires a PC running Windows XP or 2000 with at least 128 MB memory and 5 GB hard drive space. Having installed the software, users simply select their desired news feeds (e.g. San Francisco Chronicle Business section; BBC Health section etc) using the "Feeds" button, click "Refresh" to start downloading the latest articles from the selected feeds and convert them into MP3 files, and, lastly, drag and drop the MP3 files produced by Odiogo into Apple iTunes or any other MP3 program.

OdiogoT can be purchased securely online at, by mail, or over the phone at 1-415-412-7270. Purchase includes email support as well as a 15-day money-back guarantee.

No More Error Reports

Every time I have a problem with this one program, a little window pops up and asks me to report the error to Microsoft. Sometimes this window can get in the way, preventing JAWS from properly reading the screen. There is a way to stop this window from popping up, read on for the answer.

To get rid of that pesky window, right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop and choose Properties.

In the System Properties window that appears, go to the Advanced tab and click Error Reporting.

You have a few options. You could Disable error reporting. This will make any crashing program's window simply close itself. Poof! No explanation of what happened.

You could also click But Notify Me When Critical Errors Occur, but it might be even safer (and less confusing down the road) if you select Enable Error Reporting and Choose Programs to exclude only your commonly crashing program.

Click OK until you're back to your desktop, and that error reporting window shouldn't bother you when using that particularly touchy program any longer!

The ABCs of My Programs

Remember when your computer was new and all the programs were listed in alphabetical order? Don't you wish there was a way to alphabetize all the programs under Start/Programs?

There is a way, and it's easier than you think.

  1. Click the Start button, then Programs. Highlight any program group (i.e. menu item) that's listed there.
  2. Now, just right-click, or use the Applications key and select Sort by name from the resulting menu.

That's it. Remember that you can still cut and paste program groups around if you want to manually specify which ones sit at the top of the list.

The Fred's Head Companion Newsletter

Fred's Head Database

So, you really like the Fred's Head database? Are you one of those folks who click on the link to see the most recent entries? Do you find yourself visiting the Fred's Head Companion page everyday to see what's new? Would you like a way to get the new articles in your email? Thanks to the Fred's Head Companion newsletter you can!

In order to sign up for the Fred's Head Companion Newsletter, you must do the following:

  1. Visit the Fred's Head Companion page at, or click the "Our Blog! Read the Fred's Head Companion" link from the Fred's Head start page.

  2. Under the heading "Receive Posts by Email" look for the box labeled "Subscribe to the Fred's Head Companion feed ". If you are using a screen reader, you can press the letter "e" twice and you should be taken directly to the edit box.

  3. Enter your email address in the box.

That's it. You should receive a confirmation email and the newsletter will be delivered daily to your In Box. Fred's Head Companion articles are also available through an RSS feed, as well as a podcast. You can find more details on these features by visiting the Companion page.

Find Medical Information in The Merck Manuals

Basically this site has all of the Merck Manuals available online for free, which means a lot of medical information you can use to make informed decisions. You can access two reference books for patients and caregivers, The Merck Manual Second Home Edition and The Merck Manual of Health and Aging.

The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, The Merck Manual of Geriatrics, and the Merck Manual of Veterinarians are also available on this site, but they contain more technical information for healthcare professionals. They might be useful to look up more about a specific condition or test if you already know the basics from the "for-patients" books.

The Merck Manual Second Home Edition covers topics such as Accidents, Children's Health Issues, Fundamentals, Special Subjects, and Women's Health Issues, only to name a handful. Special Subjects included sections about alternative medicine, diseases of unknown cause, surgery, and medical decision making.

The Merck Manual of Health and Aging organizes 66 chapters into 4 sections: fundamentals of aging, caring for yourself and others, medical conditions, and even social, legal, and ethical issues. This section discusses how you can properly care for yourself, your children, and your family. The manual discusses how the body ages and what kind of care you need to give it.

These useful manuals put a lot of information at our fingertips. I looked up some symptoms I am having, and the manual provided me with direct questions to ask my doctor. I can go to my doctor's office better informed and have an idea of what to expect. If I don't understand something after my appointment, I can look up any tests or medical terms later.

Now, does this give you the information you need to run out and treat your neighbor's problems? No, these are online for research purposes, and to help you be better informed. They are not designed to be a replacement for your family doctor.

Click this link to view the Merck Manuals:

Bowling Breakthrough

Tenpin bowling is a social activity that most people enjoy quite regularly nowadays.

The first time I tried it was in my teen years when my brothers took me to Hollywood Bowls in Brizlington in Bristol. This was quite a memorable experience because they kept trying to position me in the right place to throw the bowl straight down the middle and it never reached the pins!

I had a few failed turns before a member of staff came along to tell us that I could use the barriers to help the bowl reach the pins. The barriers would automatically come into place for my turn and then go down for everyone else's turns. This was news to us and I was surprised to see an improvement in my game as small as it was.

Although I have always been bowling with my friends and family ever since, I was never really a good player. That is until I joined the team of visually impaired bowlers in the summer of 2005.

It still makes me laugh to remember how much everyone else on that team joked about my bowling technique, or lack of it as the case was! I even became known as "the barrier queen" for a while and I'm sure they miss that now because they still refer to it every now and then.

After a lot of advice and coaching from just about everyone, I slowly began to improve my bowling technique which was seen as a miracle to most!

I got told everything from how to stand with my right leg behind my left one, to try standing sideways to throw across my legs, to practice my swing and test my aim before throwing, and so on.

The majority of my success is credited to a friend's mum who goes bowling with us every Tuesday. My gratitude is endless because I would never have improved if she hadn't put so much time and effort into helping me get it right. She even shared games with me to get us a better score while teaching me how to perform better at the same time. She rescued me from all the shame and embarrassment of being the worst player while everyone else was so great and I will forever be thankful for that!

I am now able to play a good game on most weeks and usually score between 100 and 115 which is a huge step up from the 50 or so that I use to score with great difficulty in the recent past!

I know that to most people this story might sound trivial, but I believe that it is important for visually impaired people to do the things they enjoy doing regardless of how visual they may be. It is too easy to give up trying when there are so many barriers holding us back, but the feeling that one experiences after achieving high can only be properly understood when it is directly experienced firsthand. Experience has shown me that it is this exact feeling of achievement that keeps me going on to face and conquer other potential drawbacks.

For me personally, breaking down one barrier despite its size gives me hope and determination with regards to future barriers that I know I will have to deal with throughout my life as a visually impaired individual.

Bowling rails are available for purchase from:

American Blind Bowling Association
315 N. Main St.
Houston, PA 15342
Phone/Fax: 724-745-5986

Contributor: Anela Naz

Get Sticky with Sticky Keys

I love using keyboard shortcuts. It's quick and makes me look like I'm a pro or something. However, I realize that many of you like to keep one hand on the mouse, so those three key combos are out. How about a way to type one key at a time rather than all at once?

This feature is called "Sticky Keys" and gives you a delay between key strokes when doing a keyboard shortcut. Let's say you want to copy something-rather than hold down Ctrl + C you can type Ctrl then C. Ready to get sticky? Here's what to do...

Head over to the Control Panel (Click Start / Settings / Control Panel ) and select "Accessibility Options".

On the "Keyboard" Tab, place a check in the checkbox next to "Use Sticky Keys".

Click OK to close the Accessibility Options window.

Now you can do combos a key at a time. Yeah!

Saving Unfinished Email Messages

How can I "hold" an unfinished email to send later? I use Outlook Express.

Whether it's a telemarketer or a "Clunk!" and suspicious giggling from the next room, life's interruptions don't mean you have to start writing your message again from scratch. From the composing email window, select File, then Save. A window will appear to tell you that it has been saved to your draft folder. When you come back to your computer, open the drafts folder and take up writing that message where you stopped!

Saving Unfinished Email Messages

How can I "hold" an unfinished email to send later? I use Outlook Express.

Whether it's a telemarketer or a "Clunk!" and suspicious giggling from the next room, life's interruptions don't mean you have to start writing your message again from scratch. From the composing email window, select File, then Save. A window will appear to tell you that it has been saved to your draft folder. When you come back to your computer, open the drafts folder and take up writing that message where you stopped!

Cyber Security Bulletins for Your Computer

There are several records in this database on how to keep your computer free of viruses, spam, and phishers. Now I have a site where you can keep up-to-date on all the latest computer threats.

Cyber Security Bulletins, from the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, provide weekly summaries of security issues and new vulnerabilities. They also provide patches, workarounds, and other actions to help mitigate risk. The site offers the bulletins in weekly emails, or through their RSS feed. Click this link to see the latest Cyber Security Bulletins:

Pricelessware Software for Your Computer

I don't know about you but I love free stuff, especially free computer stuff. I found a site that contains a list of free computer software, and it's just waiting for you to download it.

The Pricelessware list is a compilation of software collected through a yearly vote by the participants of the "alt.comp.freeware" newsgroup. It is a list of what people have voted as "the best of the best in Freeware".

The software listed on the site is commonly referred to as "Pricelessware", a term given with great respect and thanks to the authors of these programs for giving us such wonderful quality freeware. I can't guarantee that everything will be screen reader friendly, but you never know what you'll find until you take a look.

Click this link to get some free computer software:

A Tutorial for Microsoft's ActiveSync

You just received your new portible notetaker? I think congratulations are in order here! You will absolutely love the freedom your new device will bring, but you may find the Microsoft ActiveSync program a bit confusing.

I'm not sure how many of you are new to Windows Mobile devices, but a company called Aximsite has a tutorial for people new to ActiveSync.

This tutorial may help people understand how to set up ActiveSync, and to understand some of its limitations (i.e., limit of two computer partners, limit of one e-mail partner, and the lack of subfolder support for calendar, contacts and tasks). This is certainly an easy-to-follow guide to get yourself started. Click this link to view the ActiveSync tutorial from Aximsite:

Create A TinyURL

Have you ever found a cool product on the web and wanted to share it with a friend? Were you discouraged to find that the URL was extremely long? Imagine trying to share a web address like: tohistory=&searchtab=home&address=&city=irvine&state=ca&zipcode=?

You have to be careful when sharing long URLs, they can wrap around to a new line and not work properly in some email programs. Imagine trying to share that URL over the phone!

There is a website that can help you "shrink" those long URLs down to size. TinyURL automatically squishes any long URL into a permanent, smaller URL that you can easily share with others.

The whole process is simple:

  1. Copy any long URL to your clipboard.

  2. Point your web browser to

  3. Paste that long URL into the box on the TinyURL web site.

  4. Click on the "Make TinyURL" button.

  5. Copy the resulting shortened URL and share it with others.

For example, using TinyURL I can turn that really long MapQuest URL into something MUCH shorter:

Better still, TinyURL also has a free "bookmarklet" that lets you add a TinyURL button to your browser that cuts that five step process down to one step: Anytime you are on a page whose URL you'd like to smush, just click on the TinyURL button in your web browser. No cutting and pasting. TinyURL automatically smushes that long URL. This feature may be somewhat difficult for screen readers because the button appears on the tool bar of your browser.

I probably use TinyURL half a dozen times a day. It has helped me share long links with friends and co-workers.

There are other sites that will assist you in shrinking down URLs, check out the following sites:


SnipURL provides the same service as TinyURL. Using SnipURL is easy as pie. All you have to do is dump the address into the box and select the Snip URL button. That's it!

If you want to take advantage of all of SnipURL's features, you are going to need to create a user account, which takes two seconds to fill out with no sensitive information being traded. Once you see the features it has to offer, you'll understand why this account will be so valuable..

So if you're somebody that is always working with links, this may be a service you want to check out. It could make your life a little easier anyway.

Click this link to visit

Removing The Windows Login Prompt

I am the only user name on my computer. How can I skip the user login step?

For security reasons, it can be a good idea to leave this be. However, if saving time is important to you, try the following:

Go to "Start" and choose "Run". In the dialog box, type "control userpasswords2" (without the quotes) and click "OK"

Under the "Users" tab, uncheck the box "Users must enter a user name..." and click "Apply".

You'll be asked for your Administrative password. If you have one, type it in and confirm. If you don't, just click "OK". The windows may disappear automatically, or click "OK" to close them.

The next time you boot up your computer, you shouldn't have to log in.

What does "IP" stand for?

Outside the computer world, IP sometimes stands for Intellectual Property.

In computer lingo, IP stands for "Internet Protocol". You'll often see it paired with TCP, "Transmission Control Protocol." Together, TCP/IP allow two different computers to talk back and forth over the internet.

Every computer and server (email servers, IP hosts) has an IP address.The IP address acts like a return postal address stamped on packets of data that your computer sends through the internet.

IP addresses are made of four numbers separated by periods, for example, This stamp on data sent through the net tells receiving computers what country, service provider, host, and computer sent the info.

Some routers and software can make you anonymous over the internet by masking your IP address. In addition, less scrupulous computer masters can take control of a remote computer and thus have that computer's IP (return address) stamped on their evil doings.

Want to find out your IP address? Check out

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Maintaining Your Freezer

Most people buy a freezer and stick it in the corner hoping for the best. There are a few hints that will help you get the most out of your freezer.

  1. To help maintain an even temperature in your freezer, never freeze more than 3 pounds of food per cubic foot of your freezer. If your freezer is 10 cubic feet, do not freeze more than 30 pounds of product. If you add too much frozen food, you may raise the temperature of the freezer, causing your already frozen foods to defrost.

  2. Try not to overload or underload your freezer. Try to keep it about 2/3 full at all times, this is the optimum space for allowing air circulation and minimal effort for the motor to work to keep the food frozen. If you don't have enough food, fill it with containers of ice, or fill old milk jugs 3/4 full with water and place in the freezer.

  3. Try to defrost your freezer every 2 months or if the ice reaches a depth of more than 1/2 inch.

  4. Label and date all foods stored in the freezer with print and/or braille labels.

  5. Store similar items together. I found some small plastic coated wire baskets that I use to separate different kinds of food.

  6. When you place something in the freezer, check on it in about 24 hours. If the item still is not completely frozen, check your freezer temperature. The dial should read no higher than 0ºf. Usually between -10º to -20º is better.

If you think your freezer isn't keeping things cold enough, place a zip lock bag of ice in the top of your freezer. If the freezer gets too warm the ice cubes will melt.

Continue to check to see if there is any water in the bag. If there is, it means that your freezer did not stay cold enough and your food may not be safe to eat.

Baking Bacon

I have found that making bacon is a cumbersome task. It throws grease all over my kitchen and you have to constantly watch it and turn it until done.

I have found the easiest way to prepare the bacon is to bake it.

  1. Take a large baking sheet with edges (jelly roll pan or cake pan) and line with aluminum foil.

  2. Lay your bacon pieces on the foil with the pieces just touching.

  3. Bake in a preheated 400º oven for 15-20 minutes depending on personal preference for crispiness.

  4. Remove from the oven and serve everyone piping hot bacon at the same time.

After breakfast, just pull off the foil from the pan and toss. Clean up is done!

Chilling Drinks for Hot Summers

There is nothing like a tall cool drink on a hot summer day. Unfortunately as it gets hotter out your ice cubes melt making your drinks watery. Try this handy tip to add a bit of spice to your summer drinks.

Get a couple of extra lemons, limes, strawberries or even use some balled melon depending on your drink. When you get the fruit home, wash it thoroughly and cut into medium sized pieces. Place on a flat cooking sheet in your freezer. Once the fruit has been thoroughly frozen, usually a couple of hours, place them into a large zip lock storage bag and freeze. Now when you prepare your favorite refreshment, drop in a couple pieces of fruit for coolness and added flavor.

Wouldn't this be great for those large cups of water?

Circus Web

My wife and I were looking through some picture albums and came across some pictures of the kids at the circus. This got me curious to see if there were any good circus sites on the net. Let me tell you, I sure found what I was looking for.

If you click the "Circuses" button on the side menu it gives you an alphabetical list of Circuses from the United States, as well as a bunch of circus related links. Each link goes to that Circus' homepage, where you can learn tons of nifty stuff about them. A favorite of mine is Circus Flora. Their site is really well put together. Now that's a circus I'd like to see.

"History" is the next button on the menu. If you want to learn about the rich history of the circus click here. A time honored tradition from the time of Rome until the present. How did it start? Find out by reading here.

"Lore" to me is the heart and soul of this site. Here is where you can find out about every aspect of the circus from participating to attending. Well written and thought provoking it doesn't seem like another history lesson.

Let'sgo to the Circus by clicking this link:!

Computer Media: What are the Differences?

What are all these different drives? Probably the easiest way to explain it would be to define each of them:

  1. Hard Drive - A hard drive is a fast, high capacity internal disk drive found in all modern PCs. Unless the computer is older than say, 12 years, it should have a hard drive in it. Any PC running Windows does.

    The reason for having a hard drive is to give you a permanent place to keep your computer's information. They are generally much more reliable than keeping your data on a floppy disk (that's not to say you shouldn't back up your info though), are much faster, and hold tons more.

    Adding a second hard drive is a great way to add more space for files. They are available as both internal or external.

  2. Floppy Drive - These little 3.5" disks hold about 1.4 MB of information. It seems like just yesterday that floppy disks ruled the planet, but now with the cheap price of CD-Rs and CD-R drives, the floppy drive is being put to pasture. Most new computers don't even have one.

  3. Zip Drive - A zip drive is basically a floppy drive on steroids. The disks work in the same manner as a regular 3.5" floppy disk, except they can store up to 100 MB. A 3.5 floppy can only store 1.4MB.

    In case you're wondering, no, you can't stick a zip disk into your 3.5" floppy drive and expect it to work. In fact, you would have to insert it with the assistance of a hammer. If you wanna use Zip disks, you'll need a Zip drive.

    Oh, and Zip drive should not be confused with Zip files!

  4. CD-R- A CD-R is a writeable CD, meaning you can record data to the CD. Works just like a regular CD ROM drive otherwise. Although you can add data to a CD-R, you can't delete data from it. Once it's there, it's there. Most CDs hold 675 meg of info.

  5. CD-RW- Same as a CD-R except you can re-write the CD. So, you can remove old files, and add new ones if you like. The only disadvantage to this over the CD-R is the disks are generally more expensive.

  6. DVD-R/+R - As DVD recording comes of age and the prices come down, more of us will likely be adding DVD writers to our computers. If adding a DVD writer to your computer, I would suggest getting one that writes to both DVD+R and DVD-R disks.

  7. USB Drive- Also known as a thumb drive, key drive, pen drive or flash drive. These handy little things plug right into your USB port and come in many sizes.

  8. Card Reader- If you have a memory card reader for you Compact Flash, Smart Media, or other camera card it is technically a drive. These are beginning to appear as standard in some new computers, but you can also get external ones. They really make transferring pictures from the digital camera easier.

  9. Digital Audio Player- We go more into detail about these elsewhere, but in this context consider your player an external hard drive.

I hope this helps clear things up.

Light and Fluffy, Dishes?

You just made a casserole for dinner, and now that it has all been eaten you are left with a baked on mess. You have tried almost everything, but your elbow grease is just about all used up. What else is there to do?

From your laundry room, grab a sheet of fabric softener (2 or 3 for larger pans).

Place it in your casserole dish and fill with water.

Let sit for at least 20 minutes.

Now just grab your scrubber and the mess should clean right off.

Cleaning The Coffee Pot

You are looking at your coffee pot and notice that there is a lovely brown coloring on the glass. Time to clean the coffee pot!

  1. When the pot is cold, fill the pot with about a half a cup of water, 2 tablespoons of salt and a cup of ice.

  2. Now holding the pot by the handle, swirl the ice and water in the pot. The ice and salt will scrub the stains from the inside of the pot.

  3. Dump out the water after a few minutes and see if you need to repeat. Once the pot is clean, dry and let warm back up to room temperature.

  4. Now fill the pot with 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar. Remove the used filter and place a clean filter in the tray.

  5. Pour the water into the hopper as normal and let run through a cycle.

  6. Dump the water from the pot, bring back to room temperature and repeat with plain water.

Your pot should now be squeaky clean and your coffee should taste better!

You can do the cleaning cycle once a month or as needed, it's up to you!

Basic Measurements

Here are some basic measurements that you may have been wondering about:

  • 3 teaspoons= 1 tablespoon
  • 2 tablespoons = 1/8 cup
  • 4 tablespoons = 1/4 cup
  • 4 oz = 1/2 cup
  • 8 oz = 1 cup
  • 16 oz = 1 pound
  • 2 cups = 1 pint
  • 2 cups of Sugar = 1 pound
  • 1 pound of Butter = 4 sticks or 2 cups

An Easy Way to Clean The Blender

You just finished making up a fresh treat in the blender for the family, and now you need an easy solution for cleaning the blender? Well, you knew exactly where to look!

Cleaning the blender is simple, just place a cup of water into the blender and a squirt of dishwashing soap.

Now just blend away.

Remove from the base and dip your rag into the soapy water and wash the gasket well, then re-assemble and wipe off the outside of your blender.

Rinse well and dry. Ready to go again!

Need to Keep Lots of Food Hot?

You have a large amount of food that you have to prepare, you are having a hard time trying to figure out how to keep it all warm. You might have a bit of trouble finding all of the supplies, but this tip will help you keep it all warm.

Find a box that is large enough to hold all of your food with plenty of room to spare.

Now locate some thick foam insulation boards. You can find these at your local home improvement store.

Cut the pieces to line all sides of your box and a piece for the top.

Now cover the whole inside with aluminum foil.

When you have your box prepared, just drop in all the food and place on the lid and your food will be kept toasty warm for hours.

Use Outlook Express to Create a Web Page

Don't have a web page editing program? Don't know HTML? No sweat. Anyone can write an email-so why not use Outlook Express to design your web page.


That's right. If you can make a rich text email you can save it as a web page. It won't be the fanciest site on the net, but at least you'll have something for people to visit.

Before we get started, you should create a folder called "Web Page" to save the HTML files and pictures in. Any pictures you will be using should be in there first.

Click "Create Mail" just like you do when writing an email. Go to "Format" and make sure it is set to "Rich Text (HTML)".

From here get as creative as you can. Keep in mind the design principals mentioned in previous Fred's Head articles.

You can add a background color by going to "Format", choosing "Background" then "Color". Select one from the list.

Next you can specify the size of your font and select the color. Unfortunately you cannot specify your font-it will open using the viewer's default font (probably Times or Arial). Want the text centered? You can do this too by clicking the "center" text format button on the toolbar.

How about a picture? Just go to "Insert", "Picture" and browse your way to the "Web Page" folder you created on your hard drive and grab the image you want. Folks with some vision can also click the "Insert Picture" button on the toolbar (it looks like a mountain). Highlight and delete all the file information in front of the actual picture file name. When you click "OK" you'll get a box with a red X, but that's fine for now.

Once your page is just the way you want it, you can save it as a web page. Go to File/Save As and change the save as type to "HTML Files". Give the file a name-the first page of a web site should always be called "index.htm". Put it in your "Web Page" folder.

Now the page and pictures need to be put on the internet. Follow the uploading instructions for your server-each one is different or I would explain how here. Make sure that you also upload the picture too.

There you go. Remember, it's not the best way to make a web site, but it works, and talk about accessability? Have fun and be creative.

Retro Turntables and Radios From Crosley

If you like the retro look, Crosley has some cool stuff for you to check out on their web site.

In 1920 Powel Crosley founded the company that pioneered radio broadcasting and mass market manufacturing around the world. Dismayed with the $130 price tag for the radio receiver he promised to buy for his son's birthday, Crosley decided to make his own. Upon successfully building a working set for only $35, Crosley was quick to spot the mass market potential.

Today the Crosley name lives on with superbly detailed replicas that truly transcend time. Reintroductions of original vintage radios and turntables feature the newest technologies graced by unforgettable Crosley stylings. The Crosley Collection includes AM/FM radios, portable suitcase - styled record players and turntables, record changers, multi-functional audio cassette/compact disc players, jukeboxes, music boxes, telephones and more.

Click this link to take a trip down memory lane with Crosley:

The History of Computing and the Internet

The history of computing and the story of how the Internet came to be are fascinating subjects to me. But it's too big a story to tell here, so I've pulled together some excellent links that you can use to explore it at your leisure.

The HISTORY OF COMPUTING PROJECT: offers a timeline of the major events in the history of computers, biographies of computer pioneers, and even a history of video games.

The HOBBES' INTERNET TIMELINE: gives a brief history of Internet milestones from 1957 to the present.

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind Telecommunications Training and Employment Division

The South Carolina Commission for the Blind Telecommunications Training and Employment Division train Blind and Visually Impaired individuals to work in a call center environment. After 12 weeks, employers are able to hire qualified individuals who have completed a rigorous customer service training program. The Training and Employment Division at SCCB has placed hundreds of blind and visually impaired persons in customer service jobs not just in South Carolina, but all over the United States!

Since its beginning in August 2001, SCCB Telecommunications Training Center has trained hundreds of Blind and Visually Impaired consumers. The Telecommunications Training Center partnered with Vanguard, Inc., as well as, the American Red Cross to train qualified visually impaired or blind persons who wish to reenter or remain in the work force.

Upon completing 6 to 12 week training, if an individual decides that relocating may not be the best option for them, there is an employment consultant that works alongside the vocational rehabilitation counselors to help place those individuals in a competitive work environment in their local area.

Students leave with the necessary skills that are required to work in a fast-paced call center setting. They are work ready individuals who are able to compete with persons whom have no disability.

For more information on the Telecommunications Training and Employment Center, contact Ed Bible, Director of Training and Employment at 803-898-8786 or You may also contact: Steve Cook
American Red Cross Training Program Instructor
South Carolina Commission for the Blind
Phone: (803) 898-8788

The PCMate CCTV for Your Laptop

You have a meeting in the board room? Wonder where you are going to plug in your camera? No need to worry, just connect your PCMate to your laptop's USB port and view the meeting agenda or watch the presentation right on your screen. Whether you are going from classroom to classroom or sitting on a plane you can have your video magnifier with you at any time.

With the PCMate you simply connect to your laptop and anywhere you go you have your video magnifier. The PCMate is powered by the USB port, making your computer your CCTV.

The PCMate has split screen, distance viewing, color select and can even "Capture" an image to be saved as a file on your hard drive.

The PCMate uses only 3% of a 72 watt hour laptop battery.

For more information on the PCMate or any other Clarity Product please use the contact information below:

2222 Park Place
Suite 1C
Minden NV 89423
Toll Free: 800-575-1456
Phone: 775-782-5611
Fax: 775-783-0966

Autism Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment

Meeting Students' Learning NeedsOver the past several years, the incidence of autism, or the range of conditions known as autism spectrum disorder, has increased. Children with autism have special needs and require a great deal of support from family and teachers. When a child with autism is also blind, the situation becomes even more complex. To address the needs of children with autism and vision loss, AFB Press has released Autism Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment: Meeting Students' Learning Needs-the first book of its kind.

Written by Marilyn H. Gense and D. Jay Gense, two professionals who have devoted their lives to studying and helping visually impaired children with autism, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment offers a comprehensive look at how autism interacts with vision loss and presents effective ways to work with students. Helpful resources include suggestions and approaches for assessment, instruction, and program planning; numerous forms and tools for capturing vital information; and information on assessment instruments, instructional materials, and web sites rich in important advice. Parents, teachers, and service professionals will find this one-of-a-kind resource invaluable as they help to bring children with autism and low vision out of their isolation and "into the world."

The book is available at AFB's online bookstore, click this link to learn more.

Spray On The Flavor

The David Burke Flavor Sprays contain zero calories, zero fat, zero cholesterol, zero carbohydrates and FDA-approved flavoring. Whether you are on a low carb, no carb, low fat, no fat, no sugar, point system, or counting calorie diet, the Flavor Spray is right for you!

By eliminating your toppings, gravies, dressings, and sauces the flavor spray provides the flavor that most diets are missing. No longer when you diet will you crave the sweet taste, or yearn for flavor when you count calories. Just spray our flavor spray and you will no longer need to satisfy your craving for flavor. Follow a low carb meal regimen, and allow flavor spray to add the toppings and sauce to your meal.

Want the taste of ranch dressing on those french fries? Spray it on! How about tasting some cookies & cream on your morning bagel? Spray it on! Hey kids, tired of drinking plain old milk? Then spray some Memphis BBQ in there! OK, well maybe you could use something different on that one, but you could certainly use your imagination and come up with all kinds of new goodies! Click this link to find out more about the Flavor Spray Diet, or to purchase the sprays online:

12 Tips to Reduce Food Contamination from Packaging

The following guidelines should help give you ideas of how to avoid food contamination from packaging.

  • Plastic tends to migrate into fatty foods, especially hot fatty foods. Don't leave cheese wrapped in its plastic wrapper sitting in the sun! Cool leftovers before placing in plastic storage containers.

  • Plastic wrap should never come into direct contact with fatty food in the microwave. It is also important not to use leftover margarine or yogurt tubs in the microwave. Use ceramic or glass cookware instead.

  • Microwavable packages should be avoided. Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) migrates from the packaging into the food, as do the adhesive components (and their degraded products) of the package.

  • A 1988 FDA study of microwavable packaging components, called heat susceptors, showed that low levels of the carcinogen benzene could migrate into food when heated.

  • Skip the boil-in-a-plastic bag foods, as well as sous vide foods--foods that are vacuum packed.

  • When you can, replace plastic cups and other eating utensils that come into contact with hot fatty foods with glass or metal. For example, instead of buying a plastic thermos, consider a metal one.

  • As much as possible, avoid food, water, and other beverages sold in plastic containers and bottles. For example, try to buy water from distributors who can deliver large glass jugs in convenient dispensers.

  • Package components can migrate into wet food, especially if the food contains alcohol, acid, or fat.

  • Use substitutes for bleached paper products that can come in contact with food, such as gold coffee filters and glass bottles.

  • Avoid packaging with antioxidant preservatives such as BHT, an additive with a questionable safety record.

  • Avoid buying imported food in cans sealed by soldering the soldering may contain lead. Lead-soldered cans are bumpy feeling under the seam, as opposed to seamless or welded cans.

  • Many cans have plastic coatings that line the inside of the can out of concern that the metal might contaminate the food. Eighty-five percent of the cans sold in the United States have such linings, and the plastic coating leaches substances into the food, which can disrupt the hormonal system. When you buy the cans there is no way to tell which cans are lined with plastic and which aren't.

Planet Tea

My wife is a tea aficionado, and through her love of tea, I've grown to understand and love the stuff myself. Although my earlier efforts were to drown it in sugar and cream, now I understand what a good cup of Jasmine with just a little bit of sugar is all about. Now I have many favorite teas, and I'd like to share my love of it with you by sharing this site.

Here you will be able to browse the following sections: Resources, What is Tea, Tea's Origin, World of Tea, Preparation, Health Benefits, Article Archives, and Links.

What is Tea? Well if you check out the "What is Tea" section, they can answer that question promptly. There you will learn all about tea from its technical definition to its simple definition. From the four kinds: Black, Green, White, and Oolong.

World of Tea - This section gives you a map where you can explore the different kinds of tea from different places all over the world. If you click on the location you can see in detail what kind of tea that location produces.

Preparation - Do you know how to make a proper cup of tea? Well it's not heating water in the microwave and stuffing a tea bag in, that's for sure. Learn all about how one makes a cup of tea, and how long you should let it steep.

Health Benefits - well we all sorta know that drinking tea has health benefits, but what exactly does it do for our bodies? Find out in this section.

I also want to recommend the "Article Archive" where you will find some great articles on tea. They were very interesting and diverse.

Hey anyone want a cuppa tea?

Click this link to visit the Planet Tea website:


When you buy your herbal tea, you will be tempted to store it in the refrigerator like coffee.

Tea should not be stored in a humid environment.

If you store it in a tightly sealed airtight container in your pantry, it will remain fresher without absorbing scents and flavors from other foods around it.

Tea should be used no more than one year from the purchase date.

Net State, The History of States and More

Welcome to Net State. I know it looks like just another states and capitals site, but there's more!

If you just use your mouse to rollover the states, that's all you will get, the state and it's capital. But, if you are adventurous and click on the state THEN you get to the cool stuff on this site.

Out of curiosity, I chose Ohio. Here's an example of the introduction I received:

"Welcome to Ohio, birthplace of seven U.S. presidents, birthplace of the first professional baseball team, and birthplace of that all-American favorite, the hot dog!"

"Ohio grew into a highly industrialized state in large part due to its geography. (Location, location, location...) With ports along Lake Erie, major rivers, and rolling plains, Ohio was perfectly situated to grow as America grew, and to provide what America (and the world) needed. Ohio's industrial might has encompassed steel, automobiles, rubber products, chemicals, machine tools, and building materials. The state is also the eastern end of the corn and meat belts, with agriculture contributing to Ohio's economic strength."

Boy that makes Ohio sound really interesting. On the side menu you have access to more great information like Almanacs, Symbols, Geography, Maps, People, Forum, News, Quiz, and Schools just to name a few. Not all of the site will be speech friendly, but there is a lot of text information for browsing.

So check out your state, and then every other state that catches your eye-I sure did my share of trotting around America on this site. I started in Ohio and spent at least an hour checking out other states!

Click this link to visit the Net State home page:

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Deleting Unwanted Programs From Your Computer

It seems like I get questions all the time asking how to remove / uninstall programs. So, here's the step-by-step procedure:

  1. The first thing to do is click the Start menu, Programs. Then hunt for the program you want to delete. Oftentimes, you'll find an Uninstall program under it's program group.

  2. Another way would be to click the Start button, Settings, Control Panel. Then open the Add/Remove programs icon. You'll see a list of programs that Windows can remove from your system. Just click the one you would like to remove and hit the OK button.

  3. If neither of the above works, you can always go to the program's folder and delete it. However, there is no guarantee that the program was confined to that folder. It could have other files distributed throughout your computer.

  4. Finally, you might consider a program like Spring Cleaning . It can remove unused or old versions of programs and toss duplicates and unneeded files.

As I mentioned earlier, you might get a message during uninstall telling you that there are shared files (.dll) that are not needed-it seems that whenever I delete these, it turns out I DO need them for another program to run, so it may be best to keep those files.

Keep in mind that some of the files that get placed on your hard drive when you install a program are basically updates to some of your existing files. So if you are uninstalling something and get a message saying not all the files from a program could be removed, it may be due to the fact that other programs also use these files.

Tips On How to Repair A Video Cassette

If you've got a favorite or irreplaceable videocassette that's been broken or damaged, resist the temptation to try splicing it. A poorly spliced videotape could ruin the video-head drum in your player. All is not lost, though, if you want to salvage the tape's contents.

  1. Take out the five screws with a Phillips screwdriver from the bottom of two videocassettes, one you can sacrifice and the one that's been damaged.

  2. Gently separate the tops and bottoms of the cassettes. Some tapes have a label down the sides, you will have to remove these labels.

  3. Study the way the tape threads through the cassette. You'll need to remember this later.

  4. Discard all of the tape from the sacrificed cassette, but keep all the other parts, including the reels.

  5. Take the first section of the damaged tape (still on its reel) from the videocassette you want to save and transfer it to the shell of the sacrificed cassette.

  6. Attach it to the take-up reel with adhesive tape. The take-up reel will be on your right if you have the case facing as if it were going into a VCR.

  7. Take the empty reel from the sacrificed cassette and transfer it to the shell of the cassette you're saving. Attach the second section of broken tape to this cassette.

  8. Reassemble the cassette shells, being careful to thread the tape the way you found it. You now have two tapes that contain as much of your material as can be saved, with no midtape splice that could damage your video-head drum.

  9. Copy the two tapes to a new videocassette and then throw them away.

Practice this videocassette repair technique on a couple of tapes you don't care about before you attempt to repair that irreplaceable tape of your sister's wedding.

If a tape breaks at one end, you can safely reattach it to the reel for the purpose of copying it, but you should still throw it away since it won't have the leader that the VCR's end sensor relies on to tell it to stop rewinding.

For more information on videocassette restoration, visit this blog:

Visually Impaired computer users can now explore technical drawings

Digitised technical drawings are typically presented and edited on standard PCs with appropriate software installed. However, blind and visually-challenged persons must access a user interface and presentation tool specially tailored for them.

The TeDUB project has overcome the limitations of existing technologies by creating an innovative, accessible system. The Image Interpreter analyses drawings semi-automatically or automatically using image processing and knowledge processing techniques.

The system is capable of analysing and presenting diagrams from a number of formally defined technical drawing domains, primarily electronic circuits, floor plans and software (UML) engineering drawings.

Diagrams enter the system, are processed and transformed to the internal format of the TeDUB system and accessed by the Diagram Navigator, which allows users to interact via a number of devices, including an ordinary keyboard for input and textual output, either accessed through a Braille device or a screen reader.

The system also offers navigation using a joystick and sound notifications. Users can choose between interfaces. For example, the 3D sound interface provides spatial information relating to the user's current position, which allows them to 'walk' around the diagram.

An evaluation took place in Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands and the UK involving 35 blind or partially-sighted participants, including students aged 16 to 30 following courses on computer science or informatics, and professionals aged 21 to 60, working as programmers, software consultants and university lecturers.

They were positive about how easy the system can be learned. They also liked the simple operation of the interface when using keyboard commands and the combination of different interfaces to operate the system, as well as how to access information.

TeDUB can be integrated into available screen readers, avoiding the need to recreate completely new software environments. It also solves a problem that has traditionally demanded the more laborious solution of manually creating tactile diagrams.

Project partners are extending the number of types of drawings the system can handle and plan to include business bar and pie charts found in standard business communications. Future plans include focusing on the educational domain, specifically e-learning content.

For more information on TeDUB, visit the project web site by clicking this link:

How to Know if Someone Likes You Romantically

Sometimes the direct approach is best - just ask. But if that seems too bold for your liking, look for the following signs.


  1. Pay attention to your conversations with the person in question. Does this person show a special interest in having a conversation with you and, once started, make an effort to keep that conversation going?

  2. Is this person "accidentally" running into you in places where he or she knows you will be, such as at your desk? At the Laundrymat on Tuesdays? At your brother's birthday party?

  3. Make a note if he or she mentions future plans to spend time with you: "That band is coming to town soon. We should really get tickets".

  4. Spend time alone together. Canceling other plans in order to be with you longer, or not finding excuses to leave, could be a sign of interest.

  5. Has he or she been calling for random reasons, such as, "I was wondering if you knew what that pizza place down the street is called," followed by, "Are you hungry?"

  6. Has this person taken a sudden interest in your life and hobbies? This is a sure sign that he or she is interested in something - and it's probably not your CD collection.

  7. Observe how the person acts around your friends - he or she might be extra friendly to your closest pals for a reason.

Body Language

  1. Sometimes seeing someone you have a crush on results in telltale physiological signs. Does the person in question blush when you look at him or her? His or her sympathetic nervous system is probably going into overdrive. Does he or she have trouble speaking, using jumbled words when talking to you?

  2. See if the person in question mirrors your motions: When you lean back, he or she leans back; when you put your elbows on the table, he or she does the same.

  3. Note whether this person sits or stands in the open position - that is, facing you with arms uncrossed. In addition, a woman tends to cross her legs in a man's direction.

  4. Does he or she move closer to you and/or touch you softly, such as with a pat of your hand or a touch of your cheek?

  5. Other elements of body language include frequent eye contact, holding your gaze and looking down before looking away, energetic speech coupled with open hands, and flashing palms.

  6. Does the person you're wondering about just plain smile at you a lot?

Take some time to closely observe those around you, you may be surprised at what you discover.

Get Help With Your Modest Needs

Modest Needs is a non-profit organization reaching out to the people conventional philanthropy has forgotten: hard-working individuals and families who suddenly find themselves faced with small, emergency expenses that they have no way to afford on their own.

Most persons living paycheck to paycheck earn just barely too much to qualify for any type of conventional assistance. This means they can't receive the help they need to overcome a short-term crisis - until they've already lost everything.

Modest Needs exists because they think there's a better way to do things. As far as They are concerned, no hard-working person should ever have to choose between taking a child to the doctor and putting food on the table.

At Modest Needs, compassionate persons whose lives have been touched by kindness pass that kindness on to hard-working individuals and families struggling with the burden of an unexpected emergency expense.

They do this by helping people afford small, emergency expenses like those we've all encountered before: the unexpected car repair, the unanticipated visit to the doctor, or the unusually large winter heating bill. Assistance can come within seventy-two hours from the time of request.

Operating this way since 2002, the members of the Modest Needs community have prevented 1604 individuals and families from entering the cycle of poverty over a small, emergency expense. And in keeping with their philosophy, they never ask for anything in return.

By choice, the work they do at Modest Needs is funded exclusively by the generosity of private citizens, with gifts typically ranging from $5 to $100 at a time.

If your life has been touched by kindness, and you're looking for a meaningful way to pass that kindness on, I hope you'll join the Modest Needs community. Here, every person has the power to change a life. Modest Needs is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit corporation.

If you need help to afford a small, emergency expense, please apply for assistance.

Click this link to visit the Modest Needs home page: You may also use the contact information below to send a gift or a personal note:

Modest Needs Foundation
150 W 22nd St
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-463-7042

The Ketch-All Multiple Catch Mousetrap

I lived on a farm with my family during my teen-age years, and as wenter came, we found that field mice loved our home as much as we did. One problem that I always had with the old-fashioned mousetraps is checking to see if I caught anything. My father ended up with that job.

How does a blind person check those things anyway? Once you set the trap, I guess you would have to use a stick or something to disarm it, but then if you have a mouse in the trap, it doesn't sound right to poke around at it. You can't reach down to see if there's a mouse, it's gross for one thing, and you may trap your finger in the process.

Luckily for me, someone has solved this delemma. The Ketch-All Multiple Catch Mousetrap is a wind-up repeating trap. No bait required. Just put it two inches from the wall and for some reason the mice climb right in. A spring loaded trap door flips them into a little chamber, and they call their friends to join them.

One trap catches ten a night, and the mice don't seem to mind at all. The one that I know of is the Trap Man, sold as the Ketch-All in the US, but the Mouse Master looks like it may work just as well.

Of course, it does leave you with the problem of what to do with a daily box of live mice, but that's for another Fred's Head article.

Click this link to purchase the Ketch-All Multiple Catch Mousetrap from

The Mouse Master is available from Triton Pest Control, click this link to visit their site.

Freshen The Air with Light Bulbs?

The title got your attention didn't it? No, I haven't totally flipped my lid, and no, my personal intelligence light bulb hasn't burned out.

Fresh2 makes fluorescent compact light bulbs coated with a titanium dioxide film. The fluorescent UV light causes a chemical reaction with the film, and the resulting oxidation eliminates odors. I know it sounds far fetched, but the things really work. I ordered a pair for our laundry room which is located in our basement.

We replaced the room's sixty watt incandescent bulb (which we kept on all the time) with this new Fresh2 forty watt fluorescent fixture. I immediately liked the fact that we're saving electricity, but within one day, the odors were completely eliminated. The only problem that some may have is that the air should circulate around them, meaning that they work best in exposed sockets, which isn't the most attractive look. Results will vary based on the size of the room.

A similar technology is being used in Japan on windows. In this application, exposure of the titanium dioxide to sunlight UV caused a reaction that effectively cleaned the windows of soot, grime, etc.

For prices and ordering information, click this link to visit the fresh2 web site:

Don't Get Stuck Running Speaker Wires

I have been using these wonderful little Mounting Squares from Scotch for about 2 years now for holding things up, down, and together, and have loved them. They are Clear, easy to remove from surfaces, and can be purchased from any home improvement center.

I was desperately searching for an easy and elegant way to tack down my speaker wire for a new surround sound system when I stumbled upon these little gems and knew that I had found the answer. These squares are like a cross between Sticky Tack and the best Scotch tape you've ever used. They are gooey and very sticky, yet hold their form and are almost totally invisible.

For tacking down speaker wire, many folks nail those little "U" shaped brackets into the wall; but these are so much better. I simply stuck one to the wall, stuck the speaker wire to it and then stuck another one over it to make a "sandwich" with the speaker wire in the middle. It looks fantastic, it's non-marring, it's easy and fast, and it really holds well! In addition, these hold up pictures, posters and even light objects with ease. They are truly an innovation and fill a need that many don't realize they have until they see the product. They are just great to have around.

Precut, Removable Clear Mounting Squares
Hang notes, photos and other lightweight items on metal, glass, wood, plastic-most smooth surfaces.
Two-sided adhesive with a removable liner.
Securely holds objects up to 1 lb.
Precut 11/16" squares.
35 Squares per Pack

Click this link to purchase the Scotch Mounting Squares from Amos.

Stop Drafts Cold With The Twin Draft Stopper

Lots of people visiting my house comment on all the different gadgets I have, but the only one they ask me about, so they can get one of their own is my double draft stopper. Sometimes the simple and cheap is more impressive than the complex and expensive.
The Twin Draft Stopper is two long cylinders of styrofoam that slide into a cloth cover, which is then slid under the door and holds the foam in place to stop drafts. The foam can be trimmed to fit your door and the extra fabric folds back and fastens with hook/loop material. It glides with the door, can be easily removed, and the cover is machine washable. They're available from a variety of web sites, and are a lot cheaper than having your doors replaced.

Click this link to purchase the Twin Draft Stopper from the Improvements Catalog.

Bugzooka Those Nasty Bugs From Your Home

Spiders up in the corners of the ceiling. Mosquitoes lurking on the wall by the light. Flies on the windowpane. You can hear them, feel them, but they're hard to hit, and when you do, they squish. So don't even try to hit them, yuck!

The Bugzooka looks, sounds, and is priced like a kids' toy but is highly evolved efficiency when it comes to removing bugs from your home. No batteries. Just cock the bellows on your hip, point the extendable end to within an inch or two of the offending insect, thumb the trigger, and FWOOP!, insect magically gone. Stroll the country house---thirty spiders, fwoopety-fwoop, all gone in five minutes. Don't suck bugs in to your expensive vacuum, some can crawl out of the hose, and who wants bugs in the bag when it comes time to change it.

Bugs are sucked, in good condition, into a chamber on the end of the Bugzooka where they can be studied by a child (probably male) or released humanely. If you really don't care to see the bugs up close, the kit includes a smoked-plastic version of the capture chamber. Now that's nuance.

Click this link to purchase the Bugzooka from

Remove Spiders from Your Home

Spider Catcher is the latest in arachnid immobilisation technology. You can catch a spider while still remaining 65cm away. All you have to do is pull the trigger on the handle of the Spider Catcher, pop the bristled end onto the creature and release.

The spider is incapacitated thanks to the nylon bristles that act like glue to its hairy little legs. Unfortunately, you'll have to finish the job yourself and release the beast in the garden or kill it. The device can also be used to catch butterflies and moths without hurting them.

There's a shorter travel version for caravans, boats, motor homes, cars, tents, etc.

Click this link to learn more about the Spider Fighter.

Gardening Gloves for the Blind

My wife used to come in after a day of gardening with her hands roughened and scratched. Sure, she had gardening gloves, but they'd always get pulled off and forgotten the first time she had to do anything delicate. Leather, canvas, cotton -- nothing would stay on her hands.

Last year she picked up a pair of Atlas 370 gloves at the local garden store. They're extremely thin, lightweight, and flexible, so there's no need to take them off. The palm is tough nitrile -- made it through a season with no punctures or tears -- while the back is a cool, breathable knit. You could tie your shoes without taking these off.

These gloves were actually designed for precision assemblers. Gardeners discovered them and adopted them in a heartbeat. They're pretty easy to find at local garden centers (many of which also carry a heavier cold-weather version), but several on-line retailers stock them. For blind or visually impaired gardeners, they work great!

Click this link to visit the LFS Glove & Safety site:

Native Baby Sling

Like most Americans, I hauled my firstborn around in his carseat or infant carrier, which made traveling on public transportation very interesting. Have you ever tried to use a dog guide while packing a child?

For my second child, I researched slings extensively, and bought one from a company called New Native.

This carrier goes over one shoulder and the opposite hip. It is popular for those finding conventional carriers too bulky, and looking for a carrier that can easily be stuffed into a diaper bag or purse. It can be worn with the baby in front, side or back. For mom, it is ideal for discreet nursing. Made from 100% cotton fabric, with no buckles, padding or metal rings that can slip or be uncomfortable.

Extra small and larger sizes are available upon request. They make sizes up to 5XL in a variety of colors.

Click this link to see if the New Native Baby Sling is right for you.

Medicinal Benefits of Whole Foods

"For the first 5000 years of civilization, humans relied on foods and herbs for medicine. Only in the past 50 years have we forgotten our medicinal "roots" in favor of patent medicines. While pharmaceuticals have their value, we should not forget the well-documented, non-toxic and inexpensive healing properties of whole foods. The following list is but a sampling of the health benefits from whole foods."


"Apple. Lowers cholesterol and risk for cancer. Has mild antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory estrogenic activity. High in fiber, helps avoid constipation, suppresses appetite. Juice can cause diarrhea in children".

"Asparagus. A super source of the antioxidant glutathione, to lower cancer risk".

"Avocado. Benefits circulation, lowers cholesterol, dilates blood vessels. It's main fat, monounsaturated oleic acid (also concentrated in olive oil), acts as an antioxidant to block artery-destroying toxicity of bad-type-LDL cholesterol. One of the richest sources of glutathione, a powerful antioxidant shown to block thirty different carcinogens and to block proliferation of the AIDS virus in test tube experiments".

"Banana and Plantain. Soothes the stomach. Good for dyspepsia (upset stomach). Strengthens the stomach lining against acid and ulcers. Has antibiotic activity".

"Barley. Long known as a "heart medicine" in the Middle East. Reduces cholesterol. Has anti-viral and anti-cancer activity. Contains potent antioxidants, including tocotrienols".

"Beans. (legumes, including navy, black, kidney, pinto, soy beans and lentils). Potent medicine in lowering cholesterol. One-half cup of cooked beans daily reduces cholesterol an average 10 percent. Regulates blood sugar levels. An excellent food for diabetics. Linked to lower rates of certain cancers. Very high in fiber. A leading producer of intestinal gas in most people".

"Beets. Richer than spinach in iron and other minerals. The greens are helpful in cases of anemia, tuberculosis, constipation, poor appetite, obesity, tumors, gout, pimples and helpful in the elimination of irritating drug poisons. Beets are one of the best foods to relieve constipation and they are also good for obesity.

For more foods, and why you should eat them, click this link to visit the Medicinal Value of Whole Foods site:

What's That Acronyma?

APH, ACB, KSB, KCB, VIPS, TARC, NCAA, NAACP, GDUI, and NFB. Don't you hate it when someone throws you an acronym? You spend the next few seconds rolling it over in your mind, trying to figure out what they are talking about, so as not to look too behind the times.

Maybe you just received the latest office memo and there's about to be a big purchase from, you guessed it, another acronym! Wouldn't it be great if there was a place where you could go to look up this funny name, and actually know what it stands for? There is, and the link is at the bottom of this article.

Acronyma is a large, online database full of acronyms. You simply put in the acronym, hit the "search" button, and get instant results. As of this article, there were 471909 acronyms and abbreviations for you to search. There are also acronyms and abbreviations in Spanish, German, French, Dutch, Italian, and Portuguese.

Click this link to visit the Acronyma home page:

Freelance Opportunities for Disabled Latino Writers in the U.S.

the National Technical Assistance Center for Latinos with Disabilities, is looking for reporters with first person experience with Latino culture and disability.

Reporters are needed to write articles documenting

  • success stories about how Latinos with disabilities living in the U.S. have found jobs or advanced in their careers

  • experiences and challenges disabled Latinos face in obtaining education, training, assistive technology, independent living services and jobs in both urban and rural communities in the U.S.

  • Latino organizations reaching out to serve disabled members of their communities

  • disability organizations reaching out to serve Latinos

  • analyses of the situations of disabled Latinos in areas of the U.S. that have a high concentration Latinos with disabilities

  • obstacles and failures, especially if something was learned from the experience

  • interpretation of how new federal initiatives or legislation impact disabled Latinos

Reporters will be expected to use a variety of techniques to obtain information including conducting interviews and surveys, attending meetings, networking, and using local or Web-based libraries and information centers. Articles will be short, practical, and may be submitted in English or Spanish. Go to to see sample articles. Reporters will be compensated for their work on a per-article basis.

To apply, send a resume describing yourself and your skills, and a one-page article you have written about disabled Latinos to Robin Savinar at or call (510) 251-4325.

The National Technical Assistance Center for Latinos with Disabilities is a project of the World Institute on Disability, supported by the Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Insight Radio: Europe's Only Radio Station Serving The Blind and Partially Sighted

Insight Radio broadcasts over the Internet providing tailored, accessible information for people who are blind or visually impaired.

By tuning into Insight Radio, a blind or partially sighted person can listen to a selection of newspapers on the same day they hit the street, thus overcoming the situation where it can take up to three days for them to receive an abridged audio recording of newspapers. The station also has a regular and popular line-up of news and entertainment programmes, supported by live studio debates and phone-ins.

This project is achieving a great deal, not the least helping to break down the barriers faced by blind and partially sighted people in having quick and easy access to information. It also provides a valuable training ground for blind people who may be interested in building a career in broadcasting. The station has had fifteen people enter into full-time employment or training within the broadcasting industry, including BBC Scotland.

Insight Radio began broadcasting on November 20, 2003. It can be accessed by clicking this link:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Smith-Kettlewell Journal for the Blind

The entire contents of The Smith-Kettlewell Technical File are now available by FTP. The Smith-Kettlewell Technical File is a quarterly technical journal for blind and visually impaired readers that contains, among other articles, a seven part series on soldering techniques, and an extensive series on basic electronics construction methods which culminates in building a series of practical test instruments. also included are numerous articles on specific integrated circuits and other solid state devices.

To find this journal, go to this case-sensitive site:

You may also contact Tom Fowle at if you have difficulties accessing the site.

Start your Career as a Travel Agent

Imagine a future in the exciting Travel Industry

Working at home in your own home-based travel agency is one of the most exciting business opportunities available. The Ctravel terminal has placed Soneil Vision as a leader in its field with a leap in current technology. Ctravel software is Internet based software that will give access to all travel and ticketing networks. It can be used in a call center, in a travel agency office, at home as an extension of the office or anywhere as an independent travel professional. The blind person can able to read each single line displayed and ultimately make a booking.

Ctravel allows blind travel agents to login and check for:

  • The lowest fares available
  • Availability options
  • All applicable rules and routing
  • Passport and visa regulations
  • Special meals and services
  • Complex itineraries with stopovers and open jaws
  • Waitlist and sell-up booking classes
  • Calculate the airport taxes
  • Reserve the seat allowing you to view the file later
  • Print the ticket directly from the PNR

The software also allows you to make or receive phone calls, faxes and emails from anywhere as if you were physically present in the office by using a VPN.

For more information on this exciting field, see below:

Soneil Vision Enabling Solutions
29-6033 Shawson Drive
Mississauga, ON L5T 1H8
Phone: 905-565-0840
Fax: 905-565-0352

Light Up Your Portible Devices

Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Cables with LED Light-Up Connectors!

They may look like ordinary clear cables... but power up your PC and the clear connectors light up! Great for case-modifyers or just for fun, and they're very helpful for identifying cables when you've got several USB devices connected at a hub.

Get organized and look cool at the same time

These great cables are available in 3,6, and 10ft. lengths, in blue, green, clear, and red colors.

Click this link for detailed information on these light up USB cables, or to purchase the cables from

Voice-Dialing and Information Services over the Phone: Weather, Traffic, Airlines, Taxis, and more

Message: hello fred!

I'm working with a blind 80 something year old Veteran who asked me about cell-phones. I don't know much about them. He would like one with voice input capacity.

I'd greatly appreciate any help with this you might be able to offer. location: California

Let me begin by saying that the majority of the phones on the market today are not accessible to the blind. Menu functions like checking the status of the battery, call waiting, the call list, and the address book are almost impossible to use. There are phones that speak this information, but they are very expensive, and if he's like me, spending several hundred dollars for a cell phone is out of the question. I always said that if I spent that kind of money, I'd drop the phone as soon as the purchase was completed.

Cingular Wireless has a plan where you can get the software free if you are blind or visually impaired, but the phone costs $249, which is a lot of money for a cell phone. The reason for the expense is that the phone must run a particular operating system to accommodate the speech software. Cingular does not offer a payment plan for this phone.

Now, there are things that can make cell phones easier to use. The first thing that most folks look at is the keypad. We want keys that are raised, with a dot on the "5" key for reference. Most "flip" phones have a keypad that is flat, which is difficult to use by the blind. How raised the keys need to be is a personal preference, depending on the sensitivity of the fingers.

Sprint offers its voice-dialing service, Sprint PCS Voice Command, for free to customers who are blind, visually impaired or physically disabled. The free service, which allows calls to be dialed by speaking the desired contact or phone number, also includes 10 free directory assistance calls per month. Sprint PCS Voice Command is currently available to Sprint customers for $5 a month.

To take advantage of this program, customers should contact Sprint to obtain an application form. The form requests basic customer information; in addition, customers are asked to have their doctor or ophthalmologist sign the form certifying the customer's eligibility. For more details about this offer, please visit, or to obtain an application, contact Customer Solutions at (888) 211-4727.

Sprint PCS Voice Command is enjoyed by many of Sprint's disabled customers who have difficulty dialing phone numbers or reading handset display information. Sprint PCS Voice Command uses next-generation speech technology that responds to any voice and works on any Sprint PCS Phone.

The Sprint PCS Voice Command personal address book holds up to 500 names and 2500 phone numbers. Sprint PCS Voice Command users can manage their personal address book online, by voice and through Sprint Directory Assistance.

This advanced service is network-based so customers who upgrade to a new phone or happen to lose their Sprint PCS Phone won't lose their address book and contacts. Plus, Sprint PCS Voice Command customers may also "Call the Web" for access to news, weather, sports, email and other information.

Cingular Wireless has a similar service called Voice Connect that will allow a person to speak the numbers they want to dial. To use this service however, one must enter *8 on their cell phone. They can then speak the number they want to dial, or enter names in to an address book. Once the names are in, you can say something like, "call mom" and the phone will call the number you've associated with your mom. The service does have some other features like getting the current weather conditions, a wake up call feature, getting sports and news, and your daily horoscope. If you are blind, you can get this service for free. You will have to show some documentation, but it's usually something simple. Blind users can also get the 411 service for free.

For more information on the various plans that Cingular offers, visit their home page for Disability Resources:

VoiceDialer for Windows Mobile Pocket PC

Voice Dialer is available for Windows Mobile based Pocket PC's. The application lets you say the name of a contact you would like to call, freeing your hands from having to dial the number manually. VoiceDialer retrieves the names and phone number from your contact list and then dials the number.

According to SmartVoice, the developer, VoiceDialer is accurate enough to never need training, it will work the first time even if you have never used it before. They also say it can handle multiple users and accents. VoiceDialer contains text to speech to provide a complete eyes-free interface, allowing confirmations, and the ability to call to multiple locations including mobile, work and home.

Find more information on Voice Dialer by visiting the web site:


A similar service can be found at 1-800-555-TELL. The phone line is provided by Tell Me (R). It lets you get information such as news, sports, weather, stock quotes, entertainment news and driving directions. The software is easy to navigate, it tells you exactly what you can do.

When you call, you tell it what kind of information you want to hear. An example would be to say "weather" and the system will get that information for you. If you are interested in sports, you say "sports", then say the sport you want to hear about. You could say a specific team such as "Braves". In the sports baseball area, you can also say "American League" or "National League" to get all the scores from a specific league. If you pick the taxi or airline option, Tell Me will directly connect you with a cab company in the area you choose, or will connect you with an airline representative.

This service is toll-free for U.S. citizens, the phone number is 1-800-555-TELL, or 1-800-555-8355.

Surf The World Wide Web with Your Phone

netECHO; by InternetSpeech lets people unleash the power of the Internet simply with the sound of their voice. netECHO; lets users give simple voice commands like "Yahoo," or "e-mail" to get the Net-based information they want.

Access is provided via any phone, and information on any web site, whether voice-enabled or not is available to the user. A computer is not required. InternetSpeech is a California corporation, founded in 1998.

See how easy netECHO is to use by checking out the demo.

Click this link to visit the netECHO home page:

Hotline for Disability-Related Air Travel Problems

In August 2002, the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office), established a toll free number that consumers who experience disability related air travel problems may use to obtain information and assistance. The hotline is staffed from 7 am to 11 pm local time in Washington, D.C., seven days a week, and provides general information to consumers about the rights of air travelers with disabilities and assists air travelers in resolving time-sensitive disability-related issues that need to be addressed in real time.

Unfortunately, many members of the public are still not aware of the existence of the hotline, and as a result the hotline is not being sufficiently used. The Enforcement Office asks that you advise members of your respective organizations about the existence of an aviation consumer disability toll-free hotline and encourage them to call the hotline if they should experience disability-related air service problems. The toll-free number for the hotline is 1-800-778-4838 (voice) or 1-800-455-9880 (TTY).

The Enforcement Office is committed to improving the quality of air transportation for people with disabilities and believes that with your help the toll-free hotline can be a major step towards accomplishing this goal.

The Kansas Audio-Reader Network

The University of Kansas' Audio-Reader Network, the second-oldest radio reading service in the nation, makes print accessible for people who are blind or who cannot use printed materials because of a disability.

Audio-Reader was one of only two radio reading services in the nation -- Minnesota was first -- when it was established in 1971 by Lawrence philanthropist Petey Cerf. Today, with the help of FM radio broadcasters, cable TV companies, microwave relay systems and the Kansas Lions Sight Foundation Satellite Network, reading by radio is available to thousands of people across Kansas and western Missouri, with some Audio-Reader programming available via satellite to other radio reading services across the United States.

Audio-Reader is generally broadcast on the subcarrier of an FM radio station. This means a special radio is required in the home. The radio is provided by Audio-Reader, on loan, for as long as it is wanted. In some locations Audio-Reader may only be available through the local cable company. In those cases, Audio-Reader will provide a special radio if one is required, but the listener will have to subscribe and pay for basic cable service. Listeners receive a program guide in large print, Braille, or cassette.

Audio-Reader, offered as a public service by KU, provides live and recorded broadcasts of printed materials including current books, magazines and newspapers. The range of materials includes the New York Times and Wrestling USA, as well as Spanish broadcast of content in Dos Mundos, an English-Spanish newspaper published in Kansas City, Mo.

Other services include Personal Taping and Fax Response. Pamphlets, newsletters, articles, instruction manuals or other printed materials under 100 pages can be mailed to Audio-Reader and a volunteer will read the text onto a cassette. Shorter documents may be faxed to their offices and they will telephone the sender and read them back, usually within a half hour. Details about these services are available upon request.

Audio-Reader also streams the material it provides to the blind through their website. The stream is in the RealAudio format and is available to registered users only. You can request membership through the contact information below.

Audio-Reader also operates a newspaper-by-telephone system, the Lions Telephone Reader. Please use the contact information below to receive an application for service, or a broadcast schedule:

1120 west 11th St.
P.O. Box 847
Lawrence, KS 66044
Toll Free: 800-772-8898
Phone: 785-864-4600
Fax: 785-864-4053

Describe Online for the UK

Ever wondered where to go after you step onto the platform or how to find your train when you leave the bus or taxi? Ever felt lost in the maze of tunnels and galleries where no natural light reaches you? Ever been left wondering what the sign really means when you don't know where you are, let alone where you're going?

Describe Online, a web site in the UK, is publishing text guides to public premises, on a web site which is accessible to all who can benefit from this information. Ever been shocked by the silence you received when you hoped to hear the information you've been waiting for?

The site contains guidance information relating to the London Underground and National Rail networks, together with our first guide to a town centre. It also contains an accessible National Rail map and National Rail station finder as well as a growing number of guides to stations throughout the country.

With Describe Online's text guides of various locations, the user can better understand a location before traveling. It's almost like having a tour guide telling you what's around! Describe Online is co-operating with public information websites to make their pages more accessible and user friendly. They can produce a text guide to your premises, which would include the routes to and from public transport. Their guides range from instructions to customers telling them where to obtain assistance from staff, to descriptions of the entire premises in whatever detail is agreed to be appropriate. Some of their guides include:

  • Sight Village 2005
  • London Underground
  • National Rail
  • Glasgow
  • Watford Town Centre

If you are planning a trip to any of these locations, check out the text guides to insure you are prepared before you travel. A similar site is planned for the United States in the future.

Click here to visit the Describe Online home page:

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The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.

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