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.)


Friday, March 31, 2006

Accessible Resource for Plus Size Apparel

Have you been looking for plus size apparel for a while? Plus size apparel doesn't have a high level of availability despite the increasing demand. The plus sizes are mostly displayed in either a small section of the clothing department or in expensive specialized boutiques, it can be very frustrating to find what you are looking for and you may end up settling for something that doesn't really satisfy your needs.

Are you tired of searching indefinitely and in vain, for plus size apparel? Are you frustrated by settling for less than what you want and deserve? Are you dreading those long fitting sessions? Why waste your time and energy searching all over the place when you can find what you want online.

This site will provide you with a great selection of plus size clothing and a variety of specialized clothing items such as: plus size lingerie, plus size swim suits, plus size dresses, plus size maternity clothes, plus size wedding dresses, plus size bra, plus size jackets and plus size pants. As you can see, the site has a lot to offer in plus size apparel.

Put an end to your frustration and find what you want in plus size apparel and accessories:

Pacman Talks!

In 1980 a little known distributor by the name of Midway released a game destined to become one of the greatest arcade classics of all time. Developed by Namco, Pacman is a maze game in which a player navigates Pacman, a yellow figure, through a maze eating pills and avoiding ghosts.

Pacman has undeniably had a significant impact on the video game industry. Until Pacman, video games were almost exclusively "Space Shooters" - games in which a player controls a space craft that has to shoot something. Pacman was the first game to break out of that model and be incredibly successful. Since then, video games have diversified considerably and continuously branch out into new and creative areas.

The name Pacman is derived from the Japanese phrase Pakupaku which loosely translates into "he eats, he eats". In fact, the game was originally released under the name Puck Man in Japan, but when the game was picked up by Midway to be released in the US the name was changed to Pacman for fear of vandalism that could potentially be inflicted by Americans in arcades and will include scratching the P into an F in the Japanese name "Puck Man".

The first known "perfect Pacman game", in which a player must complete all 255 levels, collect all the bonuses and never be caught by a ghost, was played by Billy Mitchell in 1999. Billy set the record at a local arcade in New Hampshire while employing a strategy of improvising throughout the 6 hours of game play and not using any repeating patterns or tactics. The final score was 3,333,360.

Pacman Talks takes you into a world of fast movement and suspense with rich dynamic sound effects and many wonderful and unusual voices. This highly addictive game is as exciting as the video arcade game of the eighties. It has all the things you want, a full audio menu with game sounds described, hot keys to tell you what's going on around you, twenty four levels and a high score standings list.

The developers have taken extra care for the sound (and feel) of the original PacMan. The player is greeted with a compilation intro featuring the original PacMan sounds and Buckner&Garcia's 80's hit record PacMan Fever. Pacman Talks has simple rules, You're Pacman, running from ghosts, and earning points by eating dots, super power pills and bonus objects. When powerful, you can scare those ghosts. But when your power is normal and get caught by a ghost, you lose a life, and go back to where you started. When you eat all the dots on a level, you go on to the next one where the ghosts get faster, smarter and harder to scare. When you lose all your lives, the game is over,

You can download the demo through the link below, allowing you to play the first level of Pacman Talks. If you decide to purchase it, you will receive a registration key from the game vendor which can be entered when you start the game. This will allow you to continue to the other twenty three levels.

A Flash version of Pacman can be played for free at This version of the game is not compatible with screen readers.

Click this link to visit the Pacman Talks page at PCS Games to download the demo or purchase online.

More Flash-based games can be played online for free at

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Choosing The Right Eyeglasses

Eyeglasses in the world today have become so fashionable that even some people will wear them without having the need. However, some people really do need glasses and don't wear them for one reason or another. Reasons include: they cannot afford to go to the eye doctor, or they feel glasses do not look all that wonderful on them. Whatever the reason, it is very important to wear your eyeglasses if you need them.

There are several reasons one should wear eyeglasses if it has been deemed necessary. The first one is obvious, so you can see. In most states, you won't be able to get your drivers license if glasses have been prescribed and you refuse to wear them.

Additionally, headaches are common in those who are far sighted or near sighted and do not wear glasses. This is caused from the amount of work your eyes have to do in order to properly function.

People who are farsighted often believe that they can just pick up any old pair of glasses at the grocery store and this will help them see clearer when looking at things close up. This is not true, while some people may have some good luck with this type of reading glasses, most of the population do not. You will still need to visit your eye doctor for a few reasons. First, because regular eye exams help to catch eye diseases right away when they can be treated more easily. Second, because many people require glasses that have a different prescription for each eye, and drug store reading eyeglasses do not offer this, which will lead to headaches.

You can choose eyeglasses that look great on you by following these tips. The shape of the frame should match the shape of your face. The frame's size should fit with the size of your face and the color should compliment your best personal features (such as eye color).

There are seven basic face shapes, before buying eyeglasses you should determine which category you fall under and buy glasses that fit your shape. The seven basic face shapes are round, oval, oblong, base-down triangle, base-up triangle, diamond and square. You should also determine the color that best fits with your overall skin, hair and eye color.

There are a variety of eyeglasses available today. Fashionable eyeglasses are no longer hard to come buy or extremely expensive. You can even get eyeglasses now, which change to sunglasses when you step out into the sun. They can cover lenses with an anti-reflective coat to prevent glare and annoying reflections.

You should visit your eye doctor once a year, two years at the most, for regular eye exams. As people get older, the prescription strength changes in the eyes, which will cause you to purchase new eyeglasses. Of course, if in between eye doctor visits you notice that your eyeglasses are not working as well as they used to, make an appointment for an eye exam right away.

Are You Ready for Reading Glasses?

Are you at the point of not being able to read up close without straining? Many people find themselves in need of single-vision reading glasses. It's not a sin. In fact, reading glasses can be fashionable, colorful, and fun to coordinate with your wardrobe. There are full size, half-eyes, bifocals which are "plano" or no added Rx on the top so you can actually walk in them without getting dizzy, sun readers, and wallet readers which work great for restaurant menu reading.

Reading glasses can be custom-made for each individual through an optical dispenser, or they can be purchased "ready-made" at retail shops or online at stores such as

Ready-made readers became popular in the 1990s: three times more pairs were purchased during that decade than ever before, at an estimated rate of 30 million pairs per year. They are less expensive than custom eyewear, allowing you to own several pairs for a reasonably small amount of money.

Reading glasses are available in many fun styles and colors. Individuals with presbyopia can experiment with fashion, purchasing a somewhat outrageous pair of glasses without risking a lot of money. If your mood changes the style, you can always get another inexpensive pair with a more conservative look. Pre-made reading glasses also allow you to warrant keeping extra pairs in different locations such as; home, office, boat, car, cabin, and so on. It is commonplace for patients to own several pairs of readers.

Don't confuse reading glasses with computer eyewear. If you're using reading glasses to try to view your computer screen, it's probably not working very well. Reading is done in your "near" vision, and computer work is done in your "middle" range vision. I don't know of any ready-made computer glasses as of yet. For now, I suggest you see your eye doctor and local optician.

It is important to maintain good eye health by consulting an eye doctor when you need a change in prescription, or at least once every two years. The need for a new pair of reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural aging process at work, but it might also signal that there is a serious problem with your eyes that can be treated if caught in time. Glaucoma, for example, is a serious eye disease that has no symptoms at first but can steal your vision if it's not controlled with medication. A simple, standard test can detect it, but you'll need to visit your eye doctor in order to have the test.

Music for Your Wedding

The big day is coming. You've worked so hard to insure that this will be the greatest day of your life. How about adding another special touch, music.

Did you know that many couples have used CDs to announce their wedding? You can order a personalized gift CD single of "Friends are Quiet Angels" (The Friendship Song) How about giving your Bride's Maid a CD as a special gift?

There are so many wonderful songs that can be used in a wedding. From the time the guests arive, to the last dance, music can set the mood. Don't worry, you don't have to drag out your CD collection. I've got a website that will have everything you need.

At Wedding Music Central you can purchase CDs designed for your special day. Each song is performed by Grammy / Emmy winners; you can even listen to sample MP3 files of each disc.

Are you thinking of a DJ? Wedding Music Central has tips on what to play and when to play it, song suggestions, how to hire bands & DJs, they can even help you with sheet music.

Click this link to visit Wedding Music Central:

For more wedding ideas, click this link to visit

Quick Reference Guide for Party Menus

By Margaret Rench

Deciding what food and how much to serve for a party is stressful. Remember:

  • The guests are there to mingle with each other and with you. Food is important, but it's not the end of the world if you forget to make something or if something doesn't turn out right.

  • Make things that you are comfortable cooking and that you have had success with. If the only thing you can cook is spaghetti, then serve spaghetti and splurge on some fancy bakery desserts!

Snacks and Appetizers

If you are having an adult party plan on 4-6 snacks per guest. If it's a child's party you can plan on less. Try to have a variety of 3-4 items. Frozen meatballs cooked in a crock pot with brown gravy are an easy treat! Cheese cut into fun shapes, crackers, shrimp, mini pizzas, deviled eggs, even fruit or vegetable trays would be fine.


Buy pre-made salad for the party. Add some carrots, radishes and onions before serving. The size of the bag and your guest count will give you an idea of how much to buy. From my experience there is usually salad left over. Don't forget the salad dressings.


If you are feeding children plan on two finger sandwiches per child. Peanut butter and jelly cut into shapes with cookie cutters is a fun way to serve them. If you are feeding adults, you will want to plan on one and a half full size sandwiches per person. Peanut butter and jelly might not go over well with adults. Try ham and cheese, Italian meats with olive oil, tuna or meatballs.

Meat dishes

This is not the time to try out new dishes. Make something you have cooked before and that others loved. If serving boneless fish, meat or poultry plan on approx. 4-6 ounces per person.


Fancy bread rolls are a nice touch for any dinner party. You can expect each guest to eat two if they are small, one if they are large. Buy frozen dough and cook them right before you serve the dinner. The smell will really add to the atmosphere. You could also serve French bread or bagel slices. Plan on two loafs of French bread to feed 10-12 people.


Make sure you have plenty of salt, pepper, mustard, catchup, relish, jelly, olives, steak sauce, and salad dressing. You never know what a guest is going to want on their food. Put items into small bowls and set around the serving area.


Isn't this what everyone is really after! Come on admit it, you'd skip the rest of the food, just to have the dessert. I would and have! Count on one portion of cake or pie per guest. A normal round cake will serve 8-10; a ¼ sheet cake will serve approximately 12-15 guests.


You can plan on one 9 oz. drink per child. Keep some extra bottled water and boxed fruit drinks on hand. Try to have a variety of drinks on hand for an adult party. If you don't want to supply beer or wine, but don't mind if your guests drink, there is nothing wrong with a "bring your own" note in the invitation if it's a non-formal get together. You can safely provide diet and regular soda and bottled water.


For more party tips and theme party ideas, visit Margarets' website:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Memories on Hand: The Beauty of Class Rings

The first recorded instance of class rings for a graduating class occurred at West Point in 1835. The tradition has spread, and now in the United States class rings are a common purchase by students, often seen as an intregal part of tradition as the caps and gowns on graduation day. Class rings are a great way of not only having a living momento to your high school or college years, but also as a way to tie you to your fellow classmates, to increase that sense of comradery and belonging to something greater.

Class rings were generally a single design, made by the high school or college, and the only design change would be the graduation year. Today's class rings are usually customized by each student in some way. Because of this, there no longer really is a "typical" class ring, though popular generalities still exist. Men's rings are generally larger than women's. The most popular color is gold, though that differs depending on the school and company providing the rings. Students have the option of ordering rings made of white gold, silver, or any other precious metal. The center stone is traditionally one of the school's colors, but there are no guidelines for the size or cut of the stone. The center stone can easily be customized to reflect the student's personality.

Josten's is the most popular maker of class rings, though Balfour, Herff-Jones, and ArtCarved are three other major companies that also sell class rings.

The school's name usually appears on one side, the year of graduation is necessary on the other. This is, after all, the distinguishing mark that shows exactly where you belonged in the rich history of the institution you attended. The school's logo, motto, or insignia is also a common choice for design. Many students have their name, initials, or nickname engraved on the underside of the ring, just under the stone, to further personalize the ring.

Monday, March 27, 2006

How to Become a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant

Become your own boss with an exciting new beauty consultant job with a Mary Kay business.

  1. Find a Mary Kay beauty consultant in your area. To do this go to Type in your area code to find the consultant nearest to you.

  2. Find more information about the business by calling the consultant in your area. She will answer any questions that you may have about selling Mary Kay.

  3. Order a starter kit. The cost of the kit is approximately $100.00 but it is worth it if you are looking to make some really quick money.

  4. Listen to all the CD's located in your kit. They will help you with any selling issues that you may have.

Always have a positive attitude, no matter what. If you do not have a positive attitude, nobody will want to do business with you.

"Dress for success". If you're not dressed well in a business-like manner, then your customers will not take you seriously. Women, expect to wear skirts or dresses to all meetings you attend.

Do not expect your business to take off right away. It takes hard work and determination but if you have the right attitude you can make it work.

To be eligible to sell, you must be 18 years of age.

Tips For After The Move

It's a new day and a new place. There is a smell of paint and boxes surrounding you. It's time to get settled. If you handle unpacking systematically, you won't have any problems.

  • Get the movers to place boxes in the rooms where they belong, for example all boxes that contain kitchen stuff should be placed in the kitchen.

  • Create a priority list and unpack accordingly. Many people prefer getting the kitchen and bedrooms done first followed by the living areas.

  • Check that all appliances and electronics work. Keep a master list and check as "OK."

  • Next have the utilities turned on and all the appliances connected to the right outlets.

  • Create a mover's file and file all receipts, insurance papers, as well as contracts in it. Pin a sheet with the mover's numbers and contact details. Ensure that you have the bill of lading and payment receipt.

  • Keep ready the papers pertaining to the transfer of school registrations. Plan to meet the school authorities and complete the formalities.

  • Make time to meet the new doctor, dentist, and vet.

  • Visit the local citizens club or Y. If you are religious make contact with your temple or church.

  • Go to the local library and get a membership for the family.

  • Introduce yourself to your new neighbors and call your office to let them know you have arrived.

  • A visit to the mall, drugstore, and grocers is a must. It will help you make new friends and stock up on essentials.

  • Make the move an adventure for the kids and plan special treats to help them settle in quickly.

  • Go to the local bank and set up your accounts.

Help the kids and pets settle in by bringing them small gifts and set up a routine for them. Many families hold a "new life" party or ritual, and plant a tree or bush to symbolize new life and order pizza or have a barbecue in the yard. Music and laughter always eases any tensions or discomfort. Hugs and kisses help create bonds and erase fears. Spend more time with the young ones and pets to reassure them of your love and support.

Packing a "love em" box helps. This could contain favorite CDs, a family movie, a few pictures, a story book or cuddly toy. Having things that a family is comfortable with eases the first night in a new home.

Transitions are always hard and every bit of effort made to facilitate settling in goes a long way. Plan on what to do after the move and things will go smoothly.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Consider Lasik: Lose Those Glasses For Good!

Glasses might be a popular fashion accessory, but there is no fun in wearing them out of necessity. Lasik, or laser assisted in situ keratomileusis, is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to deal with short- or long-sightedness, helping spectacle wearers say goodbye to glasses for good.

Sight correction surgery has been available for a number of years, but as in other medical fields, increasing understanding and technical innovations continue to make these surgeries more effective and affordable. There was a time when only the wealthy and the brave could undergo sight correction procedures, but developments like Lasik are widening the options for those with imperfect vision.

Using hi-tech equipment to create a flap in the cornea through which the corneal tissue can be adapted to improve a patient's vision, Lasik is both quick and relatively painless. Unlike the major surgical procedure eye correction formerly represented, Lasik now allows patients to walk in to a clinic and walk out again a short time after. Although extensive eye exams must be performed before the procedure to ensure that the patient's eyes are suitable for treatment, Lasik itself can take less than one minute to correct the sight in one eye.

The procedure itself is almost completely painless. Special drops are used to anesthetize the eyes and for those feeling particularly anxious, a mild sedative can be administered. The patient lies down with the eye in alignment with a special laser. A retaining device is used to keep the eyelid open while the procedure is performed. The laser is used to reshape the cornea; a higher prescription will require slightly longer to complete than those with milder vision impairments.

Once the procedure itself is completed, the patient will be asked to rest briefly. While many normal activities may be resumed the following day, most doctors advise a few days off from work, and rigorous exercise is to be avoided. A post-treatment program will be arranged with your doctor and it is of the utmost importance that this be adhered to completely to ensure the success and continued health of the eyes.

Lasik undoubtedly represents a wonderful opportunity for those who have struggled for years with glasses or contact lenses. While the procedure does not always achieve full twenty-twenty vision, it can afford a huge improvement in a person's sight. So ditch the glasses and discover Lasik - there are many other fashion accessories to try!

For more information on lasik eye surgery visit or

Quickly Clean Just About Anything!!

By Jennifer Shircel

Ok, so if you're at all like me, you have 1 main disinfectant cleaner, a glass cleaner and a furniture polish! I don't want to have a specific cleaner for every little thing in the house!

Now, I've got a great solution to quickly clean the kitchen countertops, the bathroom sinks and counters and just about everywhere in between!

We all either have old cloth diapers we aren't using anymore or have old rags just sitting around the house collecting dust - so use them! I took my old cloth diapers and cut them into 4 squares. Now, take a container, probably something that is plastic and has a tight fitting cover and fill it with your favorite cleaner/disinfectant and water. Now, toss in your cloths and put the cover on tight.

The next time that you need to quick wipe up the kitchen counters or maybe a quick clean-up in the bathroom, grab out a cloth, ring it out good and wipe up your mess. Once you're finished, toss it in the laundry! This is going to save you tons of money and mostly a lot of time having them right at your convenience and saving you the cost of buying all those disposable sanitizing wipes!

Jennifer is the owner of MomOnABudget:, a great resource for money saving tips, organizing ideas, quick and easy recipes, home remedies, work at home ideas and much more!

Article Source:

The Facts About Credit Card Fees

The following are charged by most credit card companies under almost all circumstances, .

  • Annual fee - Paid for being a user of the card
  • Cash advance - fee. Paid when the card is utilized for making a cash advance; usually a flat fee or a percentage of the amount advanced
  • Balance transfer - fee. Paid when a balance from another credit card is transferred to the other card. Checks are usually sent to pay-off the card. Balance transfer happens when the check is used to settle the amount due on the other card.
  • Late payment fee - Paid if payment was done after the date due
  • Over the credit limit fee - Paid for payments exceeding the credit limit
  • Credit limit increase fee - Paid for a credit limit increase request
  • Setup fee - Paid for opening a new credit card account
  • Return item fee - Paid for returned checks when bill payments by check was done for insufficiency of funds (meaning, the check bounced)
  • Other fees - Payments made for over the phone settlements, cost coverage for credit bureau reporting, account review, provision of other customer services. Other fees and charges are information which may be found on the credit card agreement.

Credit Limit

The credit limit is the maximum cost - for making purchases, cash advances, transferring balance, finance charges- which may be charged on the credit card. An over-the-credit-limit fee will be paid for exceeding the credit limit.

Features and Incentives

Incentives and special features are offered by many credit card companies for using the card:

  • Rebates and discounts on purchases
  • Regular flier miles or minutes for telephone conversations
  • Additional warranty coverage for purchased items
  • Insurance for car rental
  • Insurance for accidents incurred while in travel
  • Credit card registration, in case wallet is lost or stolen and a report of missing credit cards had been made.
  • Insurance coverage on credit card balance: Payments for card holders who become jobless or disabled or suddenly die. Premiums are usually paid monthly, allowing payment cancellation if payments are more than what the desired payment amount is or if the insurance is no longer needed.
  • Insurance coverage for the first $50 of charges, in case card is lost or stolen. Charges over $50 are protected under federal law.

Prior to availing of these special features, carefully decide whether these features are needed. Never pay for a feature that is of no use to you.

Accessible Health Care Guide to all Diseases and Conditions

Welcome to the! Your complete online health guide, have compiled and consolidated the latest information on all diseases and conditions basics, their symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and their treatment. Diseasesatoz also provides health advice on different diseases and conditions with various health articles which will make it easier for you to ask your doctor important questions and to take a more active role in keeping you and your family healthy. provides you with the best required health information. Here you can learn about the symptoms, causes, diagnoses and treatments of a broad range of illnesses. Look here for complete information on common diseases and conditions and health resources for yourself or someone you care about. Learn how to manage your health.

Click this link to learn about diseases, from A to Z:

Disclaimer: All information on is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Using The Braille 'n Speak Scholar With Windows XP

Braille 'n Speak® Scholar Talking PDA Message: We have the Braille'n Speak Scholar and want to hook it up to a Windows XP computer. Do I copy the .com or.exe files to the C:\windows\system folder or do we need to look for an up date to the software? Location: Kentucky

If you have a Braille 'n Speak Scholar and it is a recent one having a September, 2004 revision, you should be able to install the program WinDisk onto the computer. WinnDisk is on the CD that should have come with the Scholar.

If you have an older Scholar, let me know and I can arrange to have information sent to you about doing all this good stuff with Hyperterminal that you likely already have. To tell the revision date of your Scholar, go into the status menu with dots 3-4-chord (that means together with the space key) and press the keys for the braille letter r dots 1-2-3-5. The revision will be announced. Then, exit the status menu with e-chord, dots 1-5 together with the space key.

Contributor: Fred Gissoni

Hope For Vision

Hope For Vision is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of retinal degenerative and other blinding diseases, to providing information and community tools to help those coping with vision loss, and to develop the tools required to support a grassroots movement to raise urgently needed funding for scientific research. More information can be found at

Hope For Vision
124 11th Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202-294-6187

Monday, March 20, 2006

Hidden Tracks On CDs

A hidden track is a piece of music which has been deliberately placed on a compact disc, audio cassette, vinyl record or other recorded medium in such a way as to avoid detection by the casual listener. In some cases, the piece of music may simply have been left off the track listing, while in other cases more elaborate methods are used. In some rare cases a "hidden track" is actually the result of an error that occurred during the mastering stage of the record's production.

You know how it works. The CD is over, and you're sitting there wondering if you should put on another one. Then all of a sudden, you're startled by more unexpected music. I hate that.

The main problem is when you rip the CD to audio files. You end up with a file that has two songs, separated by at least a minute of silence.

The Beatles were responsible for what may be the first "hidden track" (although it may not be considered a full track) on the 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band: a collection of sounds were inserted at the end of the LP, including some in the run-off groove. After the final chord of "A Day In The Life" dies out, there follows an extremely high-pitched sound. This is followed by an odd collection of Beatle nonsense chatter in the run-off groove, forming a continuous loop which would go on infinitely if the album was left alone on record players which do not include an auto-return arm. This was recreated on the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band CD version (which fades out after about 20 seconds) and is not a separate track but part of "A Day in the Life".

For more information and a list of CDs that contain hidden tracks, visit this link at Wikipedia.

Internet Radio Station for Shortwave Radio Listeners

The Electronic DX Press, an internet based short-wave listeners group, overseen by Bob Padula, a well known DXer, and professional short-wave monitor has recently established an internet radio station. The station produces programs about short-wave listening, which would be of interest to those who enjoy listening to short-wave radio. The programs can be heard as streamed audio, or downloaded directly, or through their podcast. I urge anyone interested to take a listen to the shows, and leave feedback for Bob.

Click this link to read the blog, or subscribe to the RSS or podcast feeds:

To learn more about the Electronic DX Press please visit

Fixing Wobbly Knobs On Furniture

You have a chest of drawers that has a wobbly knob. Don't you hate that? You're always afraid you're going to pull the knob off when you open a drawer.

Grab a screw driver and remove the screw from the inside of the cabinet.

Now using nail polish, white glue or wood glue, place a drop in the hole of the knob.

Before the polish or glue dries, replace the screw.

Now when the polish or glue dries, it will securely hold the screw into the knob with out a wobble.

Electronically Monitor Your Children Up To 300 Feet

Curious kids tend to run off or start wandering away before parents have a chance to catch them. Make sure you know where your kids are with the IonKids Wristag system, which allows you to monitor up to four kids at once. This child safety system consists of two components: a comfortable bracelet for the child to wear and a convenient base unit a parent can easily carry and operate. The base unit will monitor up to four Wristags from up to 300 feet away, alerting you with sound, lights, and vibration if a Wristag goes out of range. One Wristag is included with the starter kit; additional Wristags are sold separately.

Know that your children are close by and safe whether you are in the mall or at the park. Lock a Wristag onto your child's wrist and use the base unit to set the range in which your child can travel. The Wristag is equipped with sensors that detect the child's skin. If these sensors perceive an excessive gap between the Wristag and the skin, the child safety device immediately activates the Wristag alarm and sends a "tamper" alert to the base unit to warn parents of the possibility that the Wristag has been improperly removed. In addition, the Wristag contains a strong locking mechanism that won't open easily without the included key.

Item Includes

  • Base unit
  • Wristag
  • Wristag key
  • Octopus charger
  • 2 charge adapters
  • AC adapter
  • Instructions
  • Warranty card

Click this link to purchase the IonKids Starter Kit from the Smarthome website.

How To Store Cake

You just had the most amazing cake for dessert, but you have so much left! How can you store the rest?

Most cakes with a sugar frosting can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days.

To get the most out of it, tear off a piece of plastic wrap and cover any cut edges. This will help keep it from drying out.

Now just place it into a cake keeper or you can place a large bowl over it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What you Need to Know about Cat Food

By Jay Moncliff

  1. Cats Need Protein in their Cat Food

    The cat food you feed to your cat should always be rich in protein. This generally should come from meat, poultry or fish. Many cat food brands advertise chicken, beef, and tuna flavored cat food because they know that cats need protein and cat owners are looking for quality cat food. However, you need to make sure the cat food you buy has a sufficient amount of cat food regardless of what flavor it is.

  2. Cat Food with Taurine

    Check the cat food you typically buy for an amino acid called taurine. This particular amino acid is very important in the overall health of your cat, and your cat will eat as much food as it has to in order to supplement this particular amino acid. So, if you are buying less-expensive cat food that does not have the proper nutrients your cat will eat a lot. If you buy a nutrient rich cat food then your cat will eat little and save you more money while still getting proper nutrition.

  3. Canned Cat Food or Dry Cat Food?

    Many people do not know whether they should buy canned or dry cat food, or whether it even matters. Because of this, many people simply buy the cat food that is most affordable or convenient for them. This is actually a mistake. Cats should be fed a mixture of cat food. The dry cat food should be given for free feeding, especially if you are away on vacation or out for the day. Canned cat food should be supplemented at other times as well because it has water in the food and significantly more protein than the carbohydrate rich dry cat food. Not to mention the same food over and over might bore your cat and cause him to stop eating that cat food altogether.

  4. Avoid Cat Food Fillers

    Cats need to eat a cat food that is rich in protein, so make sure the amount of fillers is kept to a minimum. Carbohydrates are not essential for a cat's existence, so don't buy cat food that is full of them. Instead, check labels and buy cat food that is not filled with fillers and other byproducts.

About the Author

Jay Moncliff is the founder of a blog focusing on Cat Food.

Mike Cleveland: An Award Winning Fiddle Player

Indiana native Mike Cleveland started playing the fiddle at age four when he was at the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville. According to his biography, "In 1993 he was chosen to be part of the Bluegrass Youth All Stars at the IBMA's award show. Later that year Mike made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a guest of Alison Krauss. His list of guest appearances over the years is a who's who of bluegrass legends including Bill Monroe, Jim and Jesse, Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Doc Watson, Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson, and J.D. Crowe." Now, he has his own band, Flamekeeper, and continues to win popular and critical acclaim.

  • He was selected for the International Bluegrass Musicians Association's (IBMA) Fiddler of the Year award in 2001, 2002, and 2004.
  • He was also awarded the IBMA's Instrumental Album of the Year Award in 2002 for his album, Flame Keeper and the 2004 award for Live at the Ragged Edge.

For more information about Mike, and to hear samples of his playing, visit his website:

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cleaning Curling Irons

You are getting ready for work and as usual you grab the curling iron. You have already had your first cup of coffee and you get a really good look at it. Ewwww, what is all that stuff on it?

As you use your curling iron hair spray will build up on your iron. Since it is an electrical appliance do not attempt to clean it while it is plugged in.

Once the curling iron has been unplugged and is cool you can clean off your iron with a damp rag.

If you can't quite get it all, or it is being stubborn, grab a bottle of rubbing alcohol and dab some on your rag. This should clean the rest of the hairspray off with little effort.

Sensible Scoops for the First Time Kitchen

Setting up a first time kitchen can be quite a task. You don't know exactly what you need and when you do look, there are a billion choices. For a bare bones kitchen here is an item that you will want to have on hand. Please remember when you are making your purchases, don't skimp on the quality. If you spend a little bit more now, you will save a lot of money down the road.

One of my favorite tools is a Stainless Steel Scoop. These are the guys that look like an ice cream scoop.

You can get 3 different sizes: 3 tablespoon, 2 tablespoon and 1 tablespoon.

If you can only get one, get the 2-tablespoon size. It is ideal for filling regular size muffin tins, making medium sized cookies, removing seeds from melons, making meatballs and portioning out cream based salads like chicken or potatoes.

The 1-tablespoon size is ideal for making small cookies, meatballs, filling miniature muffin tins and making melon balls.

The 3-tablespoon size is ideal for filling large muffin tins and making large cookies.

Shine a Little Light with the Twin LED Book Light

Do you find yourself needing extra light while reading? Do you like to read in bed at night? Don't keep your spouse awake while you enjoy your novel. The Twin LED Book Light can clip to any hardcover or paperback book to light up the page without disturbing anyone nearby. This book light features two ultra-bright LED lamps in an extendable swivel head for easy focusing, regardless of where it's attached to your book. The Twin LED Book Light is powered by two AA batteries (sold separately).

The Twin LED Book Light's head rotates 60 degrees and slides up and down to offer versatility while reading. The clip attachment rotates 360 degrees for further flexibility. Complete instructions are included.

Click this link to purchase the Twin LED Book Light from the Smarthome website.

Ring Removal from Wood

You have coasters, but no one in the house seems to want to use them.

You feel across your coffee table, and you notice there are rings from cups that have been left there. A family member comments that the rings are white in color and really stand out.

You can remove most rings by rubbing some mayonnaise on the rings and let it sit for about an hour.

After an hour, gently rub off the mayonnaise using a soft dry cloth.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What to Look for in Nutrient Rich Oranges

By Shauna Hanus

Oranges contain a range of nutrients that encompass more than just Vitamin C. Oranges contain foliate, fiber, antioxidants, potassium, thiamin calcium and magnesium. It is estimated that one orange can provide as much as 2/3 of the daily requirements of Vitamin C.

Oranges are such a versatile fruit tree that this evergreen is widely grown in Florida, Arizona and California. Orange trees can be found in not only sweet orange groves but also as part of an overall landscaping plan. The hearty bitter variety of orange tree tends to be found in landscaping design.

Being the United States third most popular fruit yielding only to apples and bananas is not the oranges only claim to fame. Orange blossoms are pungently sweet and the scent is commonly used in colognes, perfumes and soaps.

When buying oranges look for firm round oranges that seem heavy for there size. This heaviness is an indication that the orange is full of juice.

Some green in oranges may be acceptable. When oranges are left on the tree to ripen they may uptake some of the chlorophyll used by the tree. This will only strengthen the sweetness of the orange.

After you get your oranges home they can be kept in either the refrigerator or on the counter. Oranges will keep well for up to two weeks. Avoid extra moisture when storing oranges never store oranges in plastic bags for this will encourage the growth of mold.

Article Source:

Online Resource for Party Games

Party Games Etc has free baby shower games, bridal shower games, birthday party games, printable party games, TV Trivia, and Movie Trivia games for your next event.

You'll find easy instructions to a variety of games for all occasions. Each of the party games are designed to fit your party theme. Cool movie trivia is fun at any event! Check out the printable shower games and the Journey to the Wild Divine.

Click this link to visit Party Games Etc:

Break Out for the Blind

Wrecking Ball is a blind-accessible version of the classic arcade game Break Out. The object of this game is to break all the bricks in each level using a bouncing ball. There are seventeen columns of blocks arranged in eight rows, making 136 blocks. If the ball lands in the top center--that is, center and quietest, the blocks will shrink to half their size. If it lands on the bottom--that is, anywhere where it's very loud, you will hear a crashing sound and lose that ball. The number of remaining balls will then be announced.

There are two sets of keystrokes used to move your ball. The shift keys and space keys function exactly like flippers on a pinball table. When the ball is anywhere from on the right the to just right of center, press right shift and the ball will go forward and left. If the ball is in the center, hit the space bar. This not only makes it go forward but slows it down somewhat. This is good if you find the ball going too fast. If the ball is anywhere from left of center to extreme left, use the left shift key to send it to the right.

Using the flippers is relatively easy, but they don't get the ball moving as fast as you might like. Therefore, there is a second set of keys you use to move the ball.The rows of keys above the row with the space bar and shift keys act as a paddle, which, instead of being moved by the mouse, is placed at the position of the corresponding key. For example, pressing the l key moves the paddle to the extreme right. If the ball is there, the paddle will hit it. There are nine columns of keys arranged in four rows. they are:

1 through 9
q through o
a through l z through period.

The bottom row of keys move the ball very slowly. It is made to go mostly forward. The top row of keys sends the ball speeding off, but its direction is irratic. However, there are times when speed is all that counts.

When the game starts, you'll hear music and the SAPI text to speech voice welcoming you to the game. If you do not hear speech, make sure a TTS engine is installed on your computer. You will also hear thumping noises. They are panned across the soundscreen. They are the blocks. The deepest thumps are blocks closest to the bottom, while higher clicks are bricks furthest away. You will be able to hear, by these sounds alone, where all the bricks are. When the ball hits one, you will hear it shatter. When this happens, the ball will either bounce to the left, right, ahead, or back at you. Sometimes it can break multiple bricks, bouncing between them until it reaches the bottom of the soundscreen. You will hear additional sounds when the ball bounces off the sides, and a boing sound when it bounces off the back. You will only hear the boink sound if the blocks are not shrunk. If the music is too loud, you can adjust it by pressing and holding the up and down arrow keys below the six pack.

Click this link to learn more, or to download Wrecking Ball.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wilderness Survival: How Long Would You Last?

This site has tons of survival information. Do you know what to do if a plane crashes and you survive? Do you know what to not eat because it's poisonous? Could you make a fire in the middle of nowhere with just the stuff in the area?

If you can't, you can find out how on this site. You can find out about dangerous fish, insects, and animals. Learn about survival gear, and how to make a shelter that will keep you out of the storm. There's even a quiz to test yourself.

To navigate through the sections, use the menu on the sidebar. They are divided into three categories: Wilderness Survival, Survival Reference, and Marketplace (which we won't be discussing here).

I really liked the information provided in the Survival Reference section. The fish were exceptionally interesting, because a lot of people assume you can just eat whatever you catch, not even realizing that they would die from toxins, or get stung from fin spines.

Click this link to learn more about Wilderness Survival:

Finding Older Versions of Programs

Who says newer is always better? Sometimes the older versions of programs just seem to work better. Maybe you finally got the hang of the old version when they totally revamp the interface of a new program. Maybe you liked the way things were laid out in the prior version of a particular program. Maybe the new version of some commonly used program has issues with your screen reader or your system in general. Maybe the program was released too early, and it's crawlin' with bugs.

If you have an older PC being used in the house you can always keep the file size down and the CPU usage to a minimum using programs that were more geared towards these systems resources.

Whether you're not happy with the new version of a program, or you need something to run on that old 98 box, then you may find this site accommodating. Older Versions is a website that offers downloads of older versions of some of the most popular programs. Older versions of AOL, CD Clone, DeadAIM, and a bunch of Media Players and all kinds of instant messengers. Go check it out you may find some useful downloads.

Click this link to search the website.

I Keep Running into Runtime Errors

A runtime error is caused by an error within a program's code. This is a problem at the programmers end, not yours.

What usually happens is that you (or the software) do something unexpected and the program doesn't know how to handle it. When someone creates a piece of software, they try to anticipate every possible scenario. Unfortunately, that's next to impossible and sometimes you end up with bugs, including runtime errors.

So, what do you do if you get one of these runtime errors? Check the program's website for any updates or patches. You could also contact the program vendor and let them know the details of your problem. This could include where you are within the program when the error occurs, your version of Windows, or what other programs you have running in the background.

Light Locator from Lighttech Interactive

Lighttech Interactive has released an action/adventure game called Light Locator. In the game you play as detective Henry Johnson as he tries to save a whole city by deactivating the mega radioactive bomb a group of terrorists has planted in its main sky scraper!

Features include

  • totally self - voicing (no screen reader required)
  • 3 skill levels to play on
  • the ability to view your local top ten scores for the 3 difficulty levels
  • authentic sound effects
  • and more!

Lighttech Interactive is commited to delivering high quality, entertaining accessible games! Check out the Lighttech Interactive website by clicking this link:

Music for Baby Boomers at Max's Music Place

The people who entertained you in the 1960s were born roughly between 1938 and 1944. Max was born right at the end of 1939. During the 60s he was busy starting his career, but now that it's behind him, he has returned to his first love, MUSIC! Instead of wallowing in nostalgia, bring back old memories with new music. Give him a look and a listen.

Who is Max Robinson?

"I'm old enough to know better and young enough to do something about it. I've been singing in public since I was eight years old, playing guitar since I was ten, and seriously writing songs since 1992. I don't swear except when I get one of those error messages resulting from the artificial stupidity we call software. I don't smoke and I don't drink. What do I do for fun? I get my jollies from writing songs and singing them for people. When an audience appreciates my work it gives me a high no mere chemical can approach."

"The kind of music I do can best be called folk. In addition to folk music I like Folk-rock, Classical, Bluegrass, Rock-n-roll prior to 1960 and country prior to 1975. I am married to Sue and we have no children. The way I get money to buy such nonessentials as food, clothing and shelter is to collect retirement from the state of Kentucky."

"I used to teach physics and electrical engineering at Western Kentucky University. I was also known as the Science College Electrical Engineer. Oh, by the way I am legally blind. I have about 2% of normal vision in only one eye. I have been this way all my life so I don't know what I'm missing."

"I was born on a farm in Iowa. The nearest little town was, and still is, Laurel. It's about halfway between Marshalltown and Newton. At about three months of age the local country doctor figured out that I had cataracts. No big deal today but in 1940 it was. Between the ages of 6 months and 18 months I had three operations, a process known as needling."

"At the age of five I was going blind again so my parents took me to Doctor Wolf in Marshalltown. five more operations scattered over the next six years left me with 20/400 in my right eye and 20/800 in the left."

"At age thirteen the retina in my right eye detached. There was no treatment. The laser if thought of was science fiction. It wouldn't be invented for another nine years."

"Iowa at that time was ranked forty-eighth among the states in services for the blind. Hawaii and Alaska were still foreign lands. My mother's family lived in Florida and It was ranked number two in services for the blind. A move had to be made."

"I attended public school and was home schooled, my mother was ahead of her time. I passed the GED or what ever it was called then. I entered the university of Florida in 1960 to study electrical engineering. I graduated in 1965 with a bachelor's degree and 1966 with a master's."

"I was employed by the University of Florida for 2 years and eventually moved to Western Kentucky University where I taught physics and electrical engineering for the next thirty-three years. I retired in 2001."

"So where did the music come from? Oh, yes. Rewind back to 1948 when I was eight years old. I sang all the time. I sang along with the radio or if I was outside playing I just sang. My mother entered me in an amateur contest in Marshalltown. It was held in a large auditorium that seated about twelve hundred people and broadcast over KFJB which still exists under that call sign. I still remember the songs I sang. It was a medley of I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover and Zip-a-Dee-Do-Da (phonetically spelled). I won first place. I can still sing those songs today."

"When I grew up enough to reach around the ancient guitar that had hung on the wall ever since my oldest brother had traded it for a shot gun, I started lessons. I was age ten."

"A year earlier I had gone on an airplane ride with a cousin who had his pilot's license. I was scared while I was up there but after we landed I wanted to go up again. I made up new words to the tune of Take Me Out to the Ball Game called Take Me Up In An Airplane. It was pretty bad but my mother thought it was the best thing since Beethoven's 9th symphony. Well, isn't that part of a mother's job description to think things like that?"

"I sang it on stage, the radio and even early TV. We were Iowa farm folk. What did we know, or care about copyrights?"

"That was the end of my songwriting for a very long time. For a time in my late teens it seemed I would have a career in music and my parents were supportive. Then, all about the same time, I bought an electric guitar, a tape recorder and past the test for a ham license. That led me into the world of tubes, resistors and capacitors."

"I showed strong aptitudes towards music and electronics but the advice I received at the time was I stood a better chance of having a regular income in electronics rather than music. It's the classic case of the road not taken. What might have happened if I had gone for music rather than electronics. I'll never know, unless such questions are answered in the life after life."

"I started writing songs again in 1992. Retirement was in sight by then and I started preparing for another career in music after I retired. There is no chance of a real career and there never was. It's just another expensive hobby, something to fill the retirement years. But I'm having fun doing it so I don't see any reason to quit."

Click this link to visit Max's Music Place:

Friday, March 10, 2006

Harmony Service International

Sometimes life brings conflict. It's good to know that there's someone who can help us through the tough times.

Cultures and communication are like icebergs--90% below the surface of habits and consciousness. This 90% Unknown is structured in upward -controlling levels of the mind, which cause havoc if incorrectly understood and applied. Harmony Service International is here (or travels to your location) to troubleshoot optimal solutions for you in cross- or multi-cultural situations in international business and negotiations.

"I founded Harmony Service International in 1987 as an import/export company and counseling service. I have imported from four countries, was rated most highly among speakers at Department of Commerce workshop in Austin, TX, was recommended by world's top-paid financial consultant Sir Harry Schultz in his Newsletter (#615, p. 4), and spoke at a Wealth Protection conference in Nassau, Bahamas, at which Sir John Templeton and experts from seven other countries also lectured."

"My focus is on how the mind and cultures are structured in order to efficiently and optimally troubleshoot solutions for business and personal problems." For more information please contact:

Dan W. McCarthy
Harmony Service International
Fax: 502-447-7981

Voice of the Nation's Blind: An Online Magazine

The National Federation of the Blind operates Voice of the Nation's Blind, an on-line Web magazine with articles of interest to blind people about various topics, including legislation and public policy, culture, and technology. It can be found at, or by going to and clicking on Publications, then on Voice of the Nation's Blind. For more information please contact:

Christopher S. Danielsen, Editor
Voice of the Nation's Blind
National Federation of the Blind
1800 Johnson Street
Baltimore, MD 21230
Phone: 410-659-9314, ext. 2330
Fax: 410-685-5653

How to Dress for a Job Interview - Men

Skills, experience and attitude will land you a job, but your interview attire is more important than you think. It's an opportunity to make a good first impression with a potential employer or future boss.


  1. Know the company you will be interviewing with, and research the industry that it's a part of to familiarize yourself with the universal dress code. Ask a friend at the company or stake out the front door to find out what current employees wear.

  2. Go in a suit and tie to any company that's part of a more formal industry, such as banking or law. Choose a basic black, dark gray or dark navy suit, a matching tie and black leather lace-up shoes. Borrow anything that you may be leery of investing in well in advance to ensure that it's clean and fits well.

  3. Opt for dressy casual attire for a company that you know doesn't expect suits. Pressed khakis or slacks, a clean, ironed button-down shirt, a belt and a leather loafer will serve you well.

  4. Match the belt to the color of your shoes. Choose black if your outfit consists of dark grays, navys, browns or black. Opt for dark brown if you'll be wearing tans, muted pastels or medium toned colors.

  5. Polish or clean your shoes the night before your interview. Scuff marks on your shoes reveal a lack of forethought and attention to detail.

  6. Keep interview accessories professional. Take a briefcase or nice leather- or vinyl-bound portfolio to carry resume, references or other pertinent documents. Leave tattered manila folders or college logo folders at home.

  7. Avoid cologne or aftershave that may overpower the interviewer. Place your watch in your pocket once you make it to the front door so that you're not tempted to look at it during the interview.

Check your appearance before heading into an interview. Ensure your tie is straight, your teeth are clean and your hair is groomed. ^DNB^DNB

Let your talent and personality get you noticed, not your clothes. Save the bright colors, wild prints and trendy fashions for another occasion. ^DNB^DNB

Do not come in looking like a jewelry shop. Men should limit jewelry to a wristwatch, cufflinks, and a wedding band. Earrings, necklaces, nose rings, and similar items are not interview material (for the man who wants the job). Whatever the type of industry, men should use jewelry sparingly when going for the interview.

How to Dress for a Job Interview - Women

Perfect grooming is your first assignment when you interview for a job, whether you want to be a CEO or an entry-level factory worker. To a prospective employer, how you dress says a great deal about you.

  1. Call the receptionist or secretary at the prospective employer's office for tips on what employees wear.

  2. Consider the job's location. If it's a library in a strip mall, you can wear a sweater and slacks. At a corporate office, wear a conservative business suit. A pantsuit with a sweater or blouse is appropriate for an informal office.

  3. Choose between closed-toe shoes, pumps and loafers. If you are wearing a skirt, nylons are a must.

  4. Avoid miniskirts, tight sweaters, sloppy overalls and sandals with straps.

  5. Check your outfit for holes, tears, stains, scuffs or wrinkles.

  6. Tone down the use of makeup, hair spray, perfume and jewelry. One nose ring is one too many and may cost you the job of your dreams.

  7. Inspect your hair, nails, hems and the shine on your shoes.

  8. Wear a silk scarf and carry a nice briefcase or portfolio. Leave the oversized, disorganized handbag at home.

You have one chance to make a first impression; it's better to dress too formally than to dress too casually.

Trendy is fine, as long as you keep your style subtle. Clothes make a strong statement about you. What do you want to say?

Before you go into your interview, make sure you give yourself a final once-over. Be sure that your pantyhose aren't twisted or sagging, that your clothes are wrinkle-free and that lettuce from your salad at lunch isn't stuck between your teeth.

If your interview is in the winter months, don't forget to clean your coat. it's more likely to have picked up dog hairs and lint since you wear it every day.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

What Is A Bot?

The word bot comes from the word robot, meaning work. A bot can be described as automated software that sends out commands when it receives a specific type of input. Bots are often found in chat rooms and through advertisements on Web sites. For example, if you're ever in a chat room and automatically get kicked out because of a violation, the bot is what actually removed you from the area. A bot is also partly responsible for some of those banner ads you see, for those of you who can see, going across your computer screen.

There are also Web searching bots, which are also known as spiders and crawlers. They crawl the Internet searching for HTML documents and record the information they find. Later, they create catalogs from the information they generated from the Web sites they "spidered." The information is used for the search engine results that you get on Google or Yahoo!

From the above mentioned situations, bots may seem like they're your friends. They can help you out, like removing violators from chat rooms and creating search catalogs.

The reality is that bots are not friendly. Bots are also known as "zombies" or "drones." They are part of the malware family; the part that allows an attacker to gain complete control over an infected computer. They also work closely with worms or Trojans to control your PC. So, if your computer has been victimized by any sort of infection, the bot is able to take over and, in a way, "zombie" your PC. So, if you notice your computer is running slower or it suddenly crashes, keep bots in mind as a possible reason. You'll just want to run your antivirus and spyware protectors immediately.

If your protective software happens to find a bot on your system, it may come under the names of AttackBot, SubSeven, EvilBot or SlackBot. These are types of bots that consist of a single binary. Others use one or more binaries, as well as, attacking open source script files that you may have on your computer. These are commonly known as GT Bots, with GT standing for global threat. Some bots are also created to generate clones.

To make sure you can stay safe from any threats that bots hand out, make sure your antivirus and other protection software is up to date. Be sure to run scans of your computer often.

Tips for Storing Butter

When you store butter, you can keep it in the refrigerator for about one month.

If you are going to store it for longer than a week, make sure that you place it in a tightly sealed bag.

You can freeze butter for up to six months, but once again, make sure it is tightly sealed in a bag.

Text Messaging Scam: Blind Cell Phone Users Beware!

If you are a cell phone user, and are blind or visually impaired enough that you can't read your cell phone's screen, you may want to contact your service provider and have text messaging turned off. If you have an accessible cell phone, watch out for messages from 42222. This warning from a fellow APH employee explains it all, her message follows.

I use my cell phone very little and usually keep it turned off. I never use text messaging.

I received a text message from 42222 which I opened, thinking it might be one of those general welcome to our service messages from Verizon or something like that. The message said something like welcome to saurus...and I think it mentioned Verizon. I wasn't interested and did not read further, still thinking this was perhaps one of those welcome to our new service messages. I kept getting messages from 4222 and did not open them.

I was billed 10 cents for each text message and 9.99 for a download on my cell phone bill.

I have never downloaded ringtones or anything else.

The Verizon customer services rep said this was "Blinko" and she agreed to remove the charges for the text messages but not the download. The 9.99 download was the charge just for OPENING AND READING the initial message. Thankfully, I had not opened all 9 messages.

She had me text message the word quit to them and then put a block on text messages so I can no longer receive or send them.

I did a quick google on 4222 on text message fraud and found this was a number used by some other fraudulent services that seem to be part of a class action suit, and references Jamster and bighippo. I only found one reference to Blinko, which is what Verizon said was the fraudster in this case. I am not sure if there is a relation to Jamster and Blinko. They seem to be based in Italy, per this article.

Probably all of you reading this have been heavy cell phone users for a long time and would never be taken in by opening a message from someone you did not know, but I thought I would spread the word, just in case. Also, I had not known one could just block text messaging. We had to ask if there was something to do to stop messages like this, and she said they could block them.

Some of the stories I read about the jamster fraud suggest that blocking the service and emailing them "quit" may not be the end of the story, and I won't know I suppose until I have received a few more bills from Verizon and confirmed that this is really settled.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

How to Help a Teen Keep a Job While in School

Focus on balance, making sure there's ample time for school, studying, after-school activities and the job. It's difficult but it can be done.

  1. Sit down for some preplanning before the job search begins. Figure out workable days and times.

  2. Get a job description before the teen takes the job. A job that asks a lot of a teen may make him or her too tired to keep up with other things, and the job may eventually have to be sacrificed.

  3. Make sure there is ready transportation available. If the teen does not have a car or doesn't see to drive, arrange your schedule so you can get him to work on time.

  4. Will assistive devices or other specialized technology be necessary for the teen to be successful at the job? If so, be prepared to purchase these items.

  5. Show respect for your teen's job. If Aunt Martha is coming for dinner, don't insist that the teen try to get out of his shift in order to be home.

  6. Keep tabs on how classes are going. Grades, test papers and parent-teacher conferences are great ways to keep on top of it.

If there's too much to do and your teen is losing sleep and neglecting schoolwork, it's time for a major sit-down talk about what needs to go. Perhaps the job can be kept if another extracurricular activity is dropped.

Keep your eyes open for symptoms of stress; a short temper, poor appetite or exhaustion are signs that your teen is not juggling all of his responsibilities well.

If your teen gets into a dispute with his boss, it's likely that he will not welcome interference from his parents. Be supportive, but don't butt in.

LED Lamp with built-in motion detector

Place the I-On LED Cordless Task Lamp with Auto-Sense on any flat surface or mount it to the wall using the included suction cup. When set to Auto, it will use a built-in motion detector to sense your presence, turning on automatically if the room is dark, and the photo sensor won't allow it to turn on when it's light out, so it won't use up unnecessary power.

You don't need to turn on a blinding light when you get up late at night. The I-On LED Cordless Task Lamp with Auto-Sense can mount on any desk, a wall, or even a mirror, and it will turn on automatically when it senses motion. This LED lamp features an ultra-bright LED in a flexible head. The I-On LED Cordless Task Lamp is powered by four AA batteries (sold separately).

Item Includes

  • Lamp
  • Suction cup
  • Instructions

Click this link to purchase the I-On LED Cordless Task Lamp with Auto-Sense from the Smarthome website.

Accessibility Expectations: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

By Chris Hofstader

As may be obvious to people who read Blind Confidential, I talk to a fairly large number of different blind people on a regular basis. I often infer conclusions from our conversations and write about them here. Recently, I have held one-on-one discussions with four other blind men. Do not place too much scientific credibility that the results I infer from these conversations, on the topic of "Accessibility Expectations," as they violate two major research principals. First, I include myself in the results so you might call this a gonzo survey and, the other four people I talked to all fall into the category of personal friends and, therefore, scientific objectivity hardly applies here. Finally, all of these conversations were part of another conversation so no controls existed, individuals were not asked the same set of questions and my own opinions clearly colored any results that might be derived from this informal study.

This population of five blind men, only coincidence left out any women, includes 4 middle aged blinks and one college student. Half of us in the middle aged group lost our vision later in life, the other two were blind from birth. The college student also blind from birth, has lived less than half as long as the other four and, therefore, brings a very different perspective to the conversation.

"What differences, if any, exist in the expectations of people blind from birth when compared with those who lost their vision later in life?"

This question came up when one of those middle aged men, blind from birth stated that Blind Confidential always sees the glass as half empty rather than half full. In the following weeks, I pondered this notion and, when talking about the idea again, the conversation moved to the question: Do people blind from birth have a different set of expectations from those of us who went blind later in life If so, why?

I'll start with the group of four middle aged blinks. In order to move the separate conversations in the direction of the topic, I would pose the question, "Do you find life easier today than you did twenty years ago?"

Immediately, the split between the congenitally blind and those blind later in life starts to show. The two of us who lost our vision later in life, look back twenty years and remember times when we could see and accessibility posed virtually no problems. If we bought a new stereo component, we could bring it home, look at the manual and have it hooked up in seconds. We never struggled to figure out which bus approached the stop and we could read menus and nearly anything else that we found interesting.

The two who have been blind from birth, however, responded in precisely the opposite way. They raved about all of the new access available to them through screen readers. One described a then and now scenario as, "Twenty years ago, if I wanted to buy a new record, I had to call a friend for a ride to the record store, have them read me the information on the packages and then choose those I wanted. Today, I can launch any of a number of web sites, browse at my leisure and buy what I want independently."

Back and forth, those of us who went blind later in life would always find the many things that we could no longer do and those things we can do but much less efficiently. The blind from birth pair kept reminding me of things they could not do twenty years ago that, with JAWS, PAC Mate or an iPAQ with MSP, they do every day in 2006.

So, is the glass half full or half empty?

I move to my college student. This young man, a member of the JAWS Generation, grew up using JAWS and cannot imagine a world without talking computers. His sighted counterparts grew up with Windows and Macintosh and cannot imagine a world before graphical user interfaces. He looks at the world as both half full and half empty. This young man can imagine the future with really cool user agents that provide access to inaccessible appliances, he likes the notion of 3D audio interfaces and he finds force feedback, low cost, haptics very exciting. At the same time, our college student also describes how much progress he has seen and enjoys in JAWS and, more recently, with MSP that provide him with incremental improvements from year to year.

As is the case in mainstream technology, the kids often have the best ideas as they have far fewer pre-conceived notions. I learned this many years ago, when I could still see well and Turning Point Software, my employer back then got the contract to write a paint package for kids that would ultimately be released as "Fine Artist." Microsoft intended the software to allow children to make their own paintings as well as teach them about art history. We got to create really cool features like "cubist mode" which would convert a child's drawing into the cubist school of modern art. Perhaps the most fascinating moments, though, occurred when we watched the video Microsoft made with real kids using the software in their Redmond usability lab. The kids would click on parts of the screen that had no hot spot and then ask the adult why it didn't do anything. When the child was asked what it should do, they almost always came up with an excellent idea. Many of those ideas made it into Fine Artist before release and the program received rave reviews.

Back to my unofficial and unscientific focus group. The three populations all had different expectations. One pair wanted everything we had lost, the second pair celebrated everything they now have and the kid likes what he has but wants much, much more.

Does this tell us anything about how AT products should be designed in the future?

Because the study has no scientific grounding, no controls and is statistically insignificant, I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this article. I do think this topic deserves further research so we can find more solid conclusions.

As my personal bias lies with those of us who went blind later in life and because the aging population will mean that an ever increasing number of people with vision impairments had once had sight, I think we need to push for the "everything" solutions as they won't hurt the group who has been blind all of their lives. Perhaps, though, those of us who write opinion pieces should also remember just how far AT products and accessibility has come in the past couple of decades. If these advances hadn't occurred the late in life group and the college student may not even have the ability to imagine more radical innovations in the future.

Are We so Dependent on Scripts and Developers?

Yesterday, Chris W., one of my online buddies, posted a comment about my item about His comment included the thought that, because the Audible Player didn't work perfectly on his MSP enabled iPAQ that that the more mainstream solutions like MSP and PAC Mate aren't really that different from the blind-guy-ghetto solutions as we have to wait for the AT company to do something to make the software more accessible. On this issue, I strongly beg to differ and actually point above to the guys who enjoy all of the progress made in the last twenty years, even in the last five years that clearly separates the mainstream platforms in PAC Mate and with MSP or Pocket HAL on off-the-shelf PDA devices.

I use Audible Player on my iPAQ, PAC Mate and desktop, all of which run mainstream operating systems. The Audible Player is imperfect on all three and, although I could write scripts for JAWS or MSP, I'm too busy and too lazy to do so. Imperfection does not mean unusable. Certainly, Audible Player, if scripted, would perform much better. But, as it is, with all of the poking around with the JAWS and MSP cursors, I can and do use it on a daily basis. This separates the wheat from the chaff.

If I had a blind-guy-ghetto (one of these days, I'll post a Blind Confidential glossary so I can use abbreviations for such often used phrases) handheld, I could not use the Audible Player at all. I think might have a toolkit/API that a vendor can use to bring its content to their device but I don't see Humanware running out any time soon to write a proprietary Audible Player.

For my tastes, at least, I prefer marginal accessibility to no access at all. PAC Mate and MSP make this possible, The BrailleNote family of products do not. While I'll complain about mediocre to poor accessibility and do whatever I can to influence the mainstream companies to make their products more screen reader friendly, I'll yell and scream and start throwing things and probably end up in a locked psychiatric ward one of these days over absolute walls to even some accessibility. If it can't be perfect, give me something I can fool around with and maybe make work well enough for myself. PAC Mate, MSP, Pocket HAL, JAWS, Window-Eyes, HAL, ZoomText, MAGic and others provide access to everything even though the access might be poor in some applications; the blind-guy-ghetto products provide exactly what their vendors think you want or need and assume that we blinks are too stupid to do a little hunt and peck, peek and poke and use, albeit not as efficiently as we might like, programs that they considered too hard for us. Let me make my own decisions please.

Blind Confidential serves as a commentary on issues regarding people with vision impairments. No topic is too controversial for this online resource.

Dusting the TV

You notice that your TV is covered in dust every time you turn around. Using furniture polish is not good for the glass, using glass cleaner on plastic may not be good, and the cabinet is not made of wood, so what should you use to clean the family entertainer?

You can grab a fabric softener sheet and use it to dust it off.

The fabric softener will cut through the static and erase the dust.

Seven Ways to Leave Your Clutter

Everyone has some degree of clutter lurking at home. When you're tired of moving it around, stepping over it, and losing important items in it, it's time to take control of the clutter. What should you do with it? You have seven options:

  1. Dispose of it. Much of clutter is trash you either thought you would need or figured you'd throw out later.

  2. Put it away. About half of the remaining clutter in most homes consists of items that simply haven't been put away. Fill a laundry basket then deliver the items to the proper rooms. Avoid this trap by making things easy to put away and by enforcing a family "use it and put it away" rule.

  3. Donate it. If you don't use it, it's not a treasured decorative item or memento, and it's not an important piece of paper, get rid of it. Pass it along to someone who can use it.

  4. Refer it. The novel you've been saving for Debbie, the recipe you copied for Aunt Jan and the glove borrowed from Mom need to be sent or delivered to their rightful owners. Gather them and make your rounds tomorrow.

  5. File it. Set up a "hold" file for wedding invitations and concert tickets (after you note them in your calendar). Set up a "to file" file for all important papers.

  6. Fix it or have it repaired today. Those buttons aren't going to sew themselves. Either mend them or take them to a seamstress. The same goes for the broken toys and watches.

  7. Give it a home. Everything else is something that belongs in your home but you don't know what to do with it. Where DO you put extra batteries and your kids' artwork? Designate a permanent place in your home for each group of items you find in a clutter pile. Simplify by making a list of items and where they belong.

Barbara Myers is a speaker, author and organizing consultant. Enjoy a free time management tips booklet and lots of tips to get organized at

Article Source:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Got Milk? Keep It Fresh

Who thinks about storing Milk? There are a few simple things that you should keep in mind to help keep your milk fresh.

Do you get the plastic jug or the carton? When you buy milk, you should get it in the carton. The carton helps insulate the milk and keep it at a more even temperature. This will help it from spoiling as quickly.

Your refrigerator should be kept at 40 degrees, and the milk should be stored on a shelf inside the refrigerator and not on the door. The door has too drastic of temperature changes every time the door is opened.

No matter what the expiration date on the carton, you should dispose of milk that has been opened for more than one week.

If you need to store it for longer, freeze it. You can store milk frozen for up to 3 months.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Keyboard Control of Cursor Movement in Word

Besides the usual arrow keys to move one space / line in the appropriate direction and the Page Up / Down which moves part of a screen in either direction, there's a couple of extras that can be used to make your movements quick and easy.

  • If you combine the Ctrl key with an up or down arrow, you'll move to the top of the previous / next paragraph.
  • The Ctrl key + a left or right arrow will move you to the start of the previous / next word.
  • Ctrl + Page Up / Down will move you to the top of the previous / next page in the document.
  • Home will take you to the beginning of the current line of text.
  • End moves you to the end of the current line of text.
  • Ctrl + Home or End will move you to the very top or bottom of the document.
  • Alt + Ctrl + Page Up will move you to the top of the current screen of text. (The documents will not jump anywhere. The cursor is simply moved to the top of the currently visible text).
  • And of course, Alt + Ctrl + Page Down will move the cursor to the bottom of the current screen of text.

Quicker navigation in Word is now literally at your fingertips.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Family Reading with the Harvard Family Research Project

The Harvard Family Research Project invites you to browse a new section of their website and learn how to use children's storybooks to promote family involvement in education!

Launched in partnership with Reading Is Fundamental, the Family Involvement Storybook Corner is a unique source for information on using children's storybooks with family involvement themes to engage families in their children's education and encourage family-school-community partnerships, all while supporting literacy. Family involvement storybooks can be used to promote the awareness, discussion, and practice of family involvement in a wide range of settings -- including family literacy programs, family support and parenting programs, out-of-school time programs, and ESL programs.

Come to the Storybook Corner to download an annotated bibliography of storybooks with family involvement themes for ages 4-8 or to get ideas on how to use family involvement storybooks in the classroom. You can also download a teacher lesson plan and parent handout for using a multicultural storybook to promote involvement, and you can discover what happened when one teacher used this lesson plan in her third grade classroom. When you visit the Storybook Corner, you can even find a teacher training tool for using a multicultural storybook to promote family involvement.

Future Storybook Corner resources will focus on Latino family involvement. These will include an annotated bibliography of storybooks on family involvement among Latino families, tools for reaching out to Latino families, and information on our own research-inspired family involvement storybook -- "Tomasito's Mother Comes to School," a story about building home-school connections for an immigrant Latino family.

To learn when these new resources are available, we invite you to join our Family Involvement Network of Educators (FINE). When you join, you will receive monthly email updates about current ideas in family involvement. Membership is free, and as a member, you become part of a network of over 5,000 people who are interested in promoting strong partnerships among children's educators, their families, and their communities. You can learn more about FINE at:

Carrie-Anne DeDeo
Publications Editor
Harvard Family Research Project
3 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone: 617-495-9108
Fax: 617-495-8594

How to Copy and Paste in Windows

Not sure how to copy and paste? No problem, you're not the only one. I've had several people ask me how this week, so here's a little help for you!

First of all, you can copy and paste just about anything: text, Web pages, files, pictures, etc. There are two easy ways to get the job done. You can either highlight what you'd like to copy with the mouse, then right-click on your selection and choose Copy. Then you simply move your cursor to where you'd like the copied material to be and right-click again and choose Paste.

The other way to copy and paste is through keyboard shortcuts. To copy, highlight what you want by holding down the shift key and using the arrows to navigate. Press CTRL+C to copy the material to the clipboard. To paste, move your cursor to the designated spot and hit CTRL+V.

Either way you do it, copying and pasting is rather simple and it comes in handy quite often.

Why Does My Streaming Audio Break Up?

So you've found this really great internet radio station that you'd like to listen to but when you click the "listen" link and the audio starts it skips and pauses. What is causing this? Does your media player say something about buffering? What does that mean?

A buffer is basically an area of memory that a hardware device or software program uses when it needs a constant, uninterrupted flow of information.

For example, when we listen to streaming audio, the program we use "buffers" the signal a little before the music starts to play.

Here's how it works. Your audio program "collects" a few seconds of audio, then starts playing them. If there is a split second interruption, you don't notice it since the audio you're listening to is already a couple seconds old. Since you're not listening to the audio at the same instant it comes in, it gives the program a few seconds to compensate for any slight interruptions (and there are lots of those). It doesn't always work if the connection isn't good, but it does help.

Information from the internet comes down to your computer in packets. Sometimes, especially with sstreaming audio, these packets can get out of place, like streaming packets 1 3 2 instead of 1 2 3. This will cause audio to skip around. Packets may also be skipped entirely, instead of packet 1 2 3 4 we get 1 2 4. This will cause sections of audio to be skipped, similar to a CD skipping.

The only solution to this is to try a slower stream if available, or reconnecting to the internet and trying the stream again.

The Mozart Project

Welcome to the Mozart Project. Here we will learn all about the life, times and music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. You'll find navigation to be very simple. Just use the links in the middle of the page. They are:

  • Biography - Not only will you find biographies of Mozart's mother, father and sister, you will also find a chronology and a family tree.

  • Compositions - You can view the compositions by date or by category. This is a very comprehensive listing.

  • Selected Essays - Read two essays on Mozart. Interestingly, one that separates the facts of Mozart from the fiction of the play Amadeus (a play written by Peter Shaffer about Mozart) in great detail.

  • Bibliography - there are many great resources that this site has garnered information from. Here you can really explore where the information came from. It may even draw you to check a book or two out from your local library.

  • Links - You can get an in depth look on related topics like Mozart's Operas, Orchestras, Scores and home pages.

This is a good way to start researching the musical genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's life and music. For me it was the tip of the iceberg and it led me to explore more on my own.

Click this link to visit The Mozart Project:

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