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Showing posts from June, 2006

Dumb American Laws

In the state of New York, forget about walking around with an ice cream cone in your pocket - on Sundays. In the city of Miami Beach, termite farms are not allowed. In Chicago, no matter how much you want to do so, if you find yourself sitting on the neck of a giraffe, resist the urge to fish. These and other strange results of the USA legal system can be found on the site Dumb Laws. This site is dedicated to finding the "literally hundreds of dumb, stupid, and ridiculous laws still on the books". Laws can be browsed by state, and you can also view the newest additions and view random laws. Note that many of these laws are NOT for the kiddies. Parental guidance is suggested.

Click this link to check out some Dumb Laws: http://www.dumblaws.com.

The Resume: Professional Experience

By Rachel Whitmire Your Professional Experience is the "meat" of your resume. This is where your potential employer is going to put most of his or her focus, so it is important that you do a good job in this section. First, a few things to remember when writing out your employment history:

Include the name of each business where you worked
Include the city and state where it is located
Don't include the address or phone number for the business (you only provide these on an application, not on a resume)
Be sure to include the dates that you worked there - at least the month and year when you started and ended the job.
Remember to put your employment in reverse order - that means that your most recent job goes first, then the one before that, then the one before that. These are the basic things to keep in mind, but also pay attention to how you list your responsibilities at each job. The best way to write these is with a bulleted list. Put at least three and no more than five…

The Resume: Summary of Qualifications

By Rachel Whitmire This part of the resume comes after your objective. The Summary of Qualifications is something that many people leave off their resume, but I highly recommend that it be included. This is where you have a chance to brag about skills and qualifications that might not make it into your resume otherwise. This section of your resume should be in a bulleted list. Include at least four items, but don't put in more than six. If the list is too long, then your prospective employer may not read it. Keep in mind that these need to be your best qualities and they should be things that fit with the job you are interested in. For example, if you are a wonderful welder, but you are applying to be a medical office assistant, then your skills at welding aren't exactly relevant. Take some time to come up with your qualifications and make sure that they represent you well and that they put you in the best light. Here are some examples that others have put in their summar…

Names Of Spring Flowers

By Marcus Peterson Spring indicates a season of new beginnings and delights after a long winter. It is an ideal time for weddings and nature trips, as numerous flowers are found everywhere throughout the season. For students and researchers, spring is the best time to study the exciting names and varieties of spring flowers. The names of spring flowers are as appealing and intoxicating as the fragrance of some of them. The flowers are found in varied colors, sizes, and shapes. Spring flowers make beautiful decorations, striking centerpieces, and enhance the romantic feeling of weddings. Spring flowers add color to the landscape. Daffodils, Oxeye Daisies, Dianthuses and Thymes list among the most popular names of spring flowers. Daffodils are wonderful flowers that herald the beginning of spring. Daffodils, in their yellow glory, complement other flower combinations and are well suited for decorations. Oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are drought r…

The Resume: Objectives

By Rachel Whitmire The objective is listed as optional in a lot of resume manuals, but I disagree. The point of your resume objective is to explain what kind of position you are seeking. Especially if you are sending your resume to a variety of employers, it is important that it be obvious why you have sent the resume to that particular company. What better way to do that then to write your purpose directly on the resume? Some people are a little scared of writing an objective, but it isn't very difficult. Basically, you want to say what kind of job you are hoping to find. The main thing to remember is not to use "I" at the beginning of your objective. Here are some examples that you can modify to fit your particular skills and interests:

Seeking a position as a customer service representative.
To find a position as an automobile repair technician.
Seeking a position where I can use my skills in customer service and sales to better the company and improve myself.
Seeking a…

Children ID Kits

By Miriam Caldwell | Once you have children you automatically begin to worry about their safety. There is the constant worry about what would happen if they become hurt and lost. You teach them about what to do when approached by strangers. Basically you watch over them and try to do everything you can to keep them safe. Do you have an I.D. kit prepared for your children? If the worse were to happen would you be prepared for that emergency? I suggest that you put together a simple identification kit for each of your children. Your kit should include a recent photo of your child. Take the time to write down the identifying features of your child. This should include your child's name, age, height, weight, hair and eye color. This will save you time so that you can focus more on finding your child. You should also have your child fingerprinted. You may want to contact your local police department to see if they offer this as a service to the community. I know that most police depa…

Tips for Cutting Carrots

Cutting carrots is actually quite easy if you do it right.

Wash your carrot well and trim off any green tops. If you have enough vision, watch for dark spots and trim them off as well.

To make the carrot more manageable, cut the carrot into several sections. The number of sections will depend on the size of your carrot. I like working with about 3 inch sections.

Take each section and cut it in half so that you have a flat section to lay on your cutting board.

Make several 2 or 3 lengthwise cuts to each of your carrot pieces.

Now, cut across the pieces that you cut lengthwise. You now have a diced carrot that was quick and easy.

Quick Tip To Spread Your Cake Frosting Easier

You just created a beautiful, moist cake. The cake has cooled and you are ready to top it with frosting. Problem: As you spread the frosting, it sticks to the cake, pulling up the beautifully golden brown top. Now your cake is topped with clumps. Solution: Use ice water to make spreading your frosting easier. Dip your knife or spatula into ice water before spreading. Sounds crazy but it works.

A Guide to Print Clarity Standards from CNIB

Whether you're designing a brochure or producing an instructional manual for a new product, there are some basic standards to follow to help ensure your message is easily understood. Clear Print, a document from CNIB, identifies 10 variables that affect print clarity, including contrast (black and white is always best), paper finish (many readers are highly sensitive to glare), and size of type (the bigger the better). Other recommendations cover type colour, type heaviness, letter spacing, margins and columns, and design and simplicity.

Click this link to read the Clear Print Guide: http://www.cnib.ca/accessibility/clearprint/CNIB%20Clear%20Print%20Guide.pdf. CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss.

Click this link to visit the CNIB website: http://www.cnib.ca/eng/index.htm.

Helen Keller and Deafblind Awareness Week in the UK

Deafblind UK, a national charity, working for deafblind people and run by deafblind people, coordinates deafblind awareness week, an annual health and social care campaign that raises awareness of this little-known disability. Services provided by Deafblind UK include training in communication and rehabilitation skills, a free 24-hour Helpline, a regional network of staff and volunteers, a range of publications in different reading formats and specially adapted technical equipment to assist with daily living. This special week complements June 27, Helen Keller's birthday. Deaf and blind from infancy, Helen Keller played a leading role in most of the significant political, social, and cultural movements of the 20th century. Throughout her lifetime (1880-1968) she worked unceasingly to improve the lives of people who were blind and deaf. To learn more about the UK's deafblind awareness week, or Deafblind UK itself, telephone 01733 358100, email info@deafblind.org.uk or clic…

The Bits and Bytes of Computer Memory

What is a Bit?A bit is the smallest amount of memory a computer can hold. A bit can literally hold only one of two values: 0 or 1. Think of this as a bit either being on or off, light or dark, true or false. While a bit in itself can hold very little data, bits are strung together in larger chunks that can hold more useful information. For example, eight bits make up a byte, which can hold a value from 0-255.

What is a Byte?In computer memory terms, a byte is a collection of eight bits. Unlike a bit that can hold the value of zero or one, a byte of memory can hold a value from 0-255. Think of the below number as eight individual bits making up a byte, all turned off. The value is 0.

00000000 If we turn on the right-most bit in the byte, the 0th bit (computer scientists love to count starting from the number 0), the value is now one.

00000001 What if we want to add 1 to the value? Remember that a bit can only hold values of 0 or 1. So how is the number 2 represented? We turn on t…

How To Remove Tarnish From Silver with Science

Tarnish occurs when surface molecules of the silver react with sulphur from the air or food to form a compound called silver sulphide. With repeated polishing over many years there is a danger of wearing completely through the plating and exposing the base metal. The only solution then is to have the item re-plated. A better idea is to remove the tarnish by converting the silver sulphide back into silver. This is quite easy to do and doesn't require any sophisticated equipment. You will need a bowl large enough for the silver item to be completely submerged, some hot water, some aluminum foil and some baking soda.

Line the bottom of the bowl with aluminum foil.
Place the silver item into the bowl, making sure it is in contact with the foil.
Boil enough water to immerse the item and pour it into the bowl.
Sprinkle the baking soda into the water, using about 1 tablespoon for each pint of water. It will foam up and could spill over the top of the bowl, so best do this in the sink. You…

How to Write a Letter

Writing a letter may seem like an ancient ritual that is only practiced by those of earlier generations, but there are many rewards to sitting down and expressing yourself on paper. Whether writing a quick note to a friend to say hello or composing a lengthy update to a relative, writing a letter shows effort, respect and care for others. It is a cheap, effective way to communicate with a personal touch.

Find a comfortable place to set up. A desk or table is always perfect for letter writing but may not create the mood necessary to compose your letter. Be adventurous, go to the park with a blanket and stretch out. Just be sure to bring something to lean on while you write.

Once comfortable, begin writing. Start with a proper opening, such as "Dear...", at the top left of the page. Include the date on the same line at the right.

Write an opening paragraph. Tailor your opening to the recipient. For example, if the letter is casual, you can begin with, "What's up?" o…

Encarta answers your questions via MSN Messenger

By Donny Parrett So many people have told me about this feature, I just had to try it out for myself, and now that I have, I've just got to share it with you! >You can add Encarta to your MSN Messenger contact list and ask it questions. The answers are totally fascinating but first, here's how to get this going.

Open MSN Messenger and sign in.

Add Encarta as a contact: encarta@conversagent.com

Press enter on Encarta from your Contact List.

Ask a question. You'll get this instant message when you add the contact: Welcome! My name is Encarta Instant Answers. I am a smart computer who can bring you the Encarta info you want right in your IM window! Here are some questions you can ask me:

* What is the size of Italy?
* Where was Nelson Mandela born?
* What is a cello? Type your question and I'll look it up for you! Well, I was in the festive mood, so I entered, "Who is Santa?" Encarta Instant Answers replied with, "Santa Claus, legendary bringer of…

DisabilityNation Website and Podcast

Persons with disabilities, family members, friends and the general public have another resource for information, news and feature rich content about disability and the people effected by it thanks to http://www.DisabilityNation.net and the DisabilityNation Podcast. The content of the site and Podcast are designed to be cross-disability related and meant to be both educational and encouraging to anyone with a disability. Content is geared toward multiple audiences including persons with disabilities, their family members, friends and the general public. Too often we hear about the legal, physical or attitudinal barriers facing persons with disabilities in our society today. Unfortunately, not enough attention is focused on those with disabilities living life. The goal of DisabilityNation is to be different than normal and to give you, the listener, the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience of hearing the program. DisabilityNation will highlight people working, partici…

How to Find True North Without a Compass

Which way is north? Whether you're lost in the woods or you're trying to install a sundial in your yard, you're bound to want to find true north from time to time, and chances are when the time comes you won't have a compass. What's more, even if you do have a compass, it will point to magnetic north, which, depending on your location in the world, can vary a great deal from true north. So what's an intrepid explorer to do? Read this article to find several ways to find North. These tips do require that you have some usable vision, but even if totally blind, they could come in handy, in case you have to tell someone else how to use them.

The Shadow-Tip Method

Place a straight stick upright in the ground so that you can see its shadow. Alternately, you can use the shadow of a fixed object that is perpendicular to the ground. Nearly any object will work, but the taller the object is, the easier it will be to see the movement of its shadow, and the narrower the ti…

Descent into Madness: An Audio Adventure for the Blind

The entertainment industry is primarily geared for sighted people. TV, movies, and video games are all visually-focused, leaving blind kids out of the loop. Some blind kids play Grand Theft Auto using only sound and the rumble pad. Think about how frustrating that must be! But they are eager to play so they suffer through it. There are not many after-school activities available for kids with impaired vision, so they play games intended for sighted kids by trial and error. Descent into Madness is a horror-themed adventure game from the team of students of the University of North Carolina who name themselves "Sounds Like Fun". You awaken one day to find that you have been kidnapped! Starting with no idea where you are, you slowly piece together clues that you have been the test subject of a scientist trying to find a cure for his wife's maddening disease. However, the experiments have had the unfortunate consequence of driving their subjects mad as well. Now it's up …

The Prodigy Glucose Meter

The Prodigy Meter is a talking blood glucose meter from Taiwan. Truly tiny, it measures 3-7/8 inches x 1-3/4 inches x 15/16 inch. It talks: the meter incorporates speech synthesis. The Prodigy's screen is clear and bright, and screen numbers are 5/8 inch tall. The meter uses "state-of-the-art" capillary action, touchable test strips (no "hanging drop of blood") and tests across a 20 mg/dl to 600 mg/dl range, with a tiny (0.6 ┬Ál) blood sample. Medicare beneficiaries who have met their deductible can get the meter and supplies for free. The meter is FDA-approved. The supplier is:

Diagnostic Devices, Inc.
PO Box 227397
Miami, Florida

You should contact the retailer:

Diabetic Support Program
3381 Fairlane Farms Road
Wellington, FL 33414
Toll Free: 800-990-9826
Web: http://www.prescriptionsplus.com

Accessible Fishing

By Ron Milliman For those who enjoy fishing, I want to share some information about a neat little gadget that I found really useful as a blind fisherman. It is a device called the Beacon that I purchased at Wal-Mart. It fits on the end of your fishing rod and jingles when you have a bite or fish hitting your line. It has two bells that are on springs and when the pole jiggles, it causes the bells to jingle. It also comes with several light sticks that would also help partially sighted fishermen. My Son and I often fish off my dock at night, and my Son was able to fish with two or three rods at a time because he could see them wiggle when a fish was hitting his bate. Since I couldn't see to watch two or three rods at a time, I always just fished with one, the one I held in my hand. With the Beacon, I am able to fish with more than one rod at a time just like my Son. I hold one in my hand and put the handle of another one or two rods in holes along the side of my dock, dr…

The Flower Guide for the Weekend Gardener

By Robert Mosse Everyone needs some form of flower guide to get the most out of their gardens, especially those who may not have time to garden every day. Flower gardening is all about stimulating the senses with a display of colors. So what should we plant, and when?The buzz in gardening seems to be about whether to plant annual or perennial flowers. Some of these flowers give us textures, shapes and heights, while others just go blooming crazy all season long. Here's a basic flower guide for these two kinds of flowers that will help you design a spectacular wash of color for your garden.Annual Flower Guide:Annuals do all of their growing in one season. The seeds germinate in the spring, the plants bloom and grow all season, and then they die. You will have to plant them each season, but the result is instant color. Also, if you make an error in your design about color or height, the wrong effect will only last a year.Annuals produce an endless array of colors and sizes, and mos…

Computer No Nos

Have you ever committed a computer no no? I'm sure we all have at one time or another, but we really should watch ourselves from here on out. To help you pinpoint a computer no no, here are a few things you should never do with your computer.

You should never turn your computer off while you're in the middle of a program or if you have a bunch of windows open. You need to always close out all programs and windows before shutting down your computer. If a program freezes up on you, always try to use Ctrl + Alt + Del before you do anything else.

You should never turn your computer off and then turn it back on without waiting at least 60 seconds. The system needs at least that long to calm down a little.

Never remove a disk or a CD from their respective drives until the drive light has turned off or you hear no sound from the drive. It usually takes a few seconds for it to turn off, but if it's still on, don't push that release button!

Don't ever use a magnet around your c…

The RNIB Web Access Center

The Royal National Institute of the Blind's Web Access Centre is a source of information for web designers, developers, content authors and website managers. Here you will find advice on how to plan, build and test accessible websites. For additional guidance, read articles on new or contentious topics and case studies from other organisations about how they have resolved accessibility issues. The Web Access Center blog is a more informal way of bringing people up-to-date with the latest news about web accessibility.

Click this link to visit the RNIB's Web Access Center websiteClick this link to visit the RNIB's Web Access Center Blog: http://www.rnib.org.uk/wacblog

Orb takes the home out of home entertainment

Orb gives you secure access to your digital media from your home computer through a simple Web interface. Stream your live TV, photos, music and videos to any Web-enabled device. Use Orb to find your music, photos, video and Webcams. If your PC has a TV tuner, you can watch live or recorded TV. Open a browser and log into your Orb account from any Web-enabled device and enjoy streaming your digital world. Whether you're using your mobile phone, PDA, or laptop, Orb is simple to use. After installing Orb Media on your home PC:

Open Orb on your Web-enabled device (mobile phone, PDA, laptop, remote PC).
Login and select your media (TV, Photo, Audio, Video, Web).
Orb streams your selection from your home PC.

Click this link to learn more about Orb: http://www.orb.com.

Blind Cool Tech Podcasts

The Blind Cool Tech Podcasts at http://www.blindcooltech.com are quite interesting - podcasts for and often by the blind. From the FAQ:

What is Blind Cool Tech?Blind Cool Tech is a podcast that brings some fun, education, and variety into your mp3 player. The show provides interviews, brings you along on sound seeing tours, and discusses life and cool technology, especially technology that blind people can use. Their current selection of podcasts, all of which are downloadable from the site above as MP3s, include soundscapes (including a slow train, a thunderstorm, and others), the responsibilities of using a guide dog, tests of various recording equipment, coffee-making, recipes, and more. Sighted or not, a site worth checking out.

Click this link to visit The Blind Cool Tech website: http://www.blindcooltech.com.

Recharge Your USB Gadgets While Inflight

If you have lots of gadgets and gizmo's that recharge with a USB port and you fly a lot, this is THE gadget accessory for you. Even economy class has headphone jacks, what if you could recharge your USB gizmo's through that headphone jack? This is a must have for geeks who love to travel. Inflight Power has a slick adapter that you plug into the headphone jack on the airliner that can power and charge your USB devices. At only 12 ounces, it won't take up a lot of the already limited space you are allotted for carry on items. The adapter works by allowing a trickle charge from the headphone jack to build up over about 3-5 minutes inside the adapter. Once done enough power is stored to power whatever is connected for about one minute, then the process starts over again. The device sells for around $35 in a variety of configurations. If you are looking to charge a cell phone, you'll need a particular adapter. Your MP3 player will obviously use another type. The …

How to Play Texas Holdem

How to Shuffle and Deal Texas HoldemAs you become a more serious poker player, you will want to know how to shuffle and deal Texas Hold 'em poker. In a home game, you probably won't do exactly like actual poker dealers at the casino or TV do, but do your best to emulate their techniques. After following these steps and tips, you will be able to effectively shuffle and deal at your home games.

Shuffle before dealing the cards. The first thing a real dealer might do is put the cards in a big pile (face down) and mix them around. Now pull them back together and shuffle the cards.

Use another technique where you basically pull cards from the bottom/middle of the deck and put them on top. While doing this, be mindful not to expose any cards. Then shuffle the cards normally again. This is done a number of times to ensure the deck is efficiently randomized.

Cut the deck one final time and get ready to deal.

After the blinds are posted, deal each player two cards face down, starting with …

Safely Picking Up Broken Glass

You were putting away the dishes, and a glass fell and broke. It is always so hard to get all the little shards picked up! First sweep the area well and dump the pieces into a garbage bag that has been doubled. I usually use the plastic bags that you get from shopping. Once you have all the large pieces taken care of, time to get the little shards. For these grab a piece of white bread. Use the bread in a sweeping motion across the floor. The softness of the bread will collect the little shards of glass. If you have a few pieces that are being stubborn, gently press the bread over the pieces until they are adhered to the bread. Toss into the bag with the rest of the glass, tie securely and dispose of appropriately.

How to Play Scrabble Scramble

You and the kids are bored. You play the same old games every day. This time, take an old game and make it new. Get out your box of scrabble, and take out the letters only and set aside the board. Place all of the letters face down on the table. Allow plenty of room for each player as they will be making their own grid. Let each player take 5 tiles. When you say GO! Each player will try to make a word. The first player to make a word yells GO! Each player now draws a letter from the box. The one that already has a word built can build on the word or making a grid like on the scrabble board, make a new word. The ones that don't already have a word, keep working on their first word. When someone makes a word, they yell GO! again, and everyone takes a new letter. This continues until a player uses up all the letters in their hand.

Deluxe Braille ScrabbleGreat fun for everyone! This deluxe version comes equipped with everything you need, tiles, game board and easy to follow inst…

Update Those Pages

Do you visit the same Web sites often? Or maybe there's a site that you visited a long time ago and you'd like to go back to it. Either way, you're going to want to see the most updated version of that site, right? Well, of course, who wouldn't?! As long as you have that particular site stored in your system, you can use this next tip. To ensure you always get the most recently updated site, you just have to change a quick setting in Internet Explorer. You'll want to go to Tools by either clicking on it with your mouse, or by hitting ALT+T. Arrow down or click on Internet Options. Once in there, look for the Temporary Internet Files section and click on the Settings button. A new box will appear and at the top, there is a section that says "Check for newer versions of stored pages:." This is where you can choose which option is best for you. In this case, the most practical would be "Every visit to the page." With this option checked, IE will c…

The Blind Jokes Archive

My father always said, "If you can't laugh at yourself, don't laugh at anyone else." I believe in this statement, and as a blind person, I've done plenty of things to laugh about. I've heard some really good jokes about blind people through the years, and now they're all in one place for everyone to enjoy. The Blind Jokes Archive aims to become the one-stop place for all blind-related humor. Not for the easily offended, but definitely for the easily amused. This site is an equal opportunity offender.

If you have a good sense of humor, click this link to visit The Blind Jokes Archive.

Get into The Zone BBS

The Zone BBS is a place for the blind and visually impaired to meet new people, play games, and get away from the more stressful parts of life. The site includes games such as Anagram Mania, Hangman, and Keno, message boards, Graffiti, and Quicknotes to talk to other users, private mail between members, user profiles, and much more. This site is a community, driven by its members, and always open to new ideas. Click this link to visit the Zone BBS: http://www.zonebbs.com. Please note that they do not censor their members thoughts, and believe in freedom of speech. There are options to ignore mass instant messages if you wish to utilize them, and we encourage you to make your own decisions as to what you view as acceptable content.

The Empowerment Zone

Jamal Mazrui has created a great resource for people who are blind or visually impaired. The site is called the Empowerment Zone, the largest public, plain text, organized collection of documents on the following subjects:

accessible education
accessible housing
accessible travel
civil rights
employment
financial advice
funding assistive technology
gender, relationships, and sexuality
health care
HTML, CGI, and Perl
independent living
Java
legal help
political action
popular applications, including Eudora, Internet Explorer, Lynx, Netscape, Notes, Pine, Word, and WordPerfect
rehabilitation
self development
Social Security
telecommunications
Windows The motto of Empowerment Zone is "helping individuals and communities achieve self actualization and full citizenship." Its resources may be viewed online or downloaded with any web browser, text or graphical. Suggestions are welcome for additions to this site or pointers to related collections.

Click this link to visit the Empowerment Zone: http:/…

All-Braille Transcription

All-Braille is a great resource for braille transcription. They can produce braille Business Cards and many unique products. Clients include corporations such as CaptionMAX and Lockheed Martin, Hewlett Packard to the Canadian and New Zealand Missions to the UN to internationally acclaimed performer Jose Feliciano. Whether 10 cards to 10,000 cards All-Braille can handle them all. Their braille and Large Print Menus are found in such venues as - The Statue of Liberty, NYC, The Renaissance Hotel in Houston, TX, The Renaissance Mayflower in Washington DC, CheeBurger CheeBurger in Boca Raton, FL, The Peabody, Memphis, TN, Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee, Fl, The Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL, the Azteca Mexican Restaurant chain based in Seattle, WA and scores more. How would you like to have an accessible cable and satellite TV guide? You'll finally know the position of your favorite stations. All-Braille is currently under contract with Comcast Cable in many Marketing areas for …

Patently Silly

Welcome to Patently Silly, a quirky site devoted to patents that are strange, unusual or just down right silly. I can tell you that they are, at the very least, odd. On the homepage, you will find the major sections of the site. In the Archive section, you can see all of the previous patents archived by category. They are just waiting for you to explore them! Some of the categories are: Food and Drink, Clothes, Accessories, Arts, Transportation and Animals. I can promise you that you'll find tons of strange patents. I found the patents in the Transportation section to be especially funny. I mean, haven't you always wanted arm shades? Or an SUV tent? I also thought the Recreation section was funny. You know you need a surf board with a viewing window, or maybe even a pig shaped swimming pool. In the Rant section, you'll find one featured patent. If you click the links in the paragraph, you can see different photos of the mentioned patented items. About Us - Here you can…

Annuals Bring Variety to Your Garden

Annuals are beautiful flowers that grace almost every garden. Depending on your climate, they will last only a season and will die off in the winter. Sometimes called bedding plants they are relatively inexpensive and loved for their bright flowers which bloom all summer. Annuals start and end their life cycle in one growing season. Typically, you wou ld purchase them in spring and plant them after the threat of frost has passed (although some hardy varieties may survive a frost). Some popular annuals include pansies, impatiens, petunias, marigolds and begonias. You can buy annuals for your garden and most garden centers and even the big home centers like Lowes and Home Depot. Annuals are sold in a variety of packages, some come in large pots while others come in individual packages like an ice cube tray with about 6 plants per pack. You can buy as many packs as you need to fill in your area, but be sure to read the instructions on the tag as to how far apart to plant so you know ho…

Why You Need a Gutter

By Dennis Frank If you're like most people, you don't give your home's gutter system much thought. And that's unfortunate because it's crucial to maintaining your home's integrity and value. The system serves no purpose until it rains, but when it does, a properly installed gutter system is the only way to ensure that the rain water won't collect on the roof or worse, run down alongside the walls of your home. When rainwater is uncontrolled, it can get in between the vinyl siding, wood or other material that covers your home and protects it from the elements. Water running uncontrolled down the side of a house can also get behind window frames and other openings and cause further damage that's often expensive to repair. In much the same way as it directs a bowling ball down the end of the lane a gutter system along the perimeter of your roof carries water away from your home. Water that is allowed to flow towards the home's foundation rather than…

What Kind of Embroidery Thread Should I Use?

By Stacy McDougall This is one of the most common questions we hear. The answer is simple, and difficult, at the same time. The first thing to decide is what fiber to use. Rayon, polyester, cotton, silk, or metallic? All have their pros and cons, but basically it comes down to personal preference. I believe in using whatever threads work for your project. If it works well in your machine, and you like the effect you get while using it, then don't hesitate, enjoy it! Don't let the embroidery "police" tell you what you should or should not use in your project. As odd as it sounds, embroidery machines have preferences too. So experiment, and don't be afraid to use a particular thread just because it's not "made for that".

Rayon ThreadRayon embroidery threads are currently the most popular threads used in embroidery machines. They perform consistently well in high-speed embroidery machines with very little breaking or fraying. Rayon is a high sheen thr…

What Kind of Sewing Thread Should I Use?

By Stacy McDougall This is one of the most common questions we hear. The answer is simple, and difficult, at the same time. The first thing to decide is what fiber to use. Rayon, polyester, cotton, silk, or metallic? All have their pros and cons, but basically it comes down to personal preference. I believe in using whatever threads work for your project. If it works well in your machine, and you like the effect you get while using it, then don't hesitate, enjoy it! Don't let the sewing "police" tell you what you should or should not use in your project. As odd as it sounds, sewing machines have preferences too. So experiment, and don't be afraid to use a particular thread just because it's not "made for that".

Polyester ThreadPolyester is far and away the most popular thread for general sewing. It is a very strong economical thread. Polyester thread won't fade or shrink in the wash. The luster, or sheen, of polyester thread falls between that…

LED Umbrellas Make You Easier to See

Proving my theory that almost anything can become a device to aid the visually impaired, I bring you the Twilight Umbrella. Visibility is so important on those dark and dreary days, and if you have to cross several streets, the easier you are to see the better. Rain is grim enough already without adding a dull umbrella to compound the misery. These two cheery rain-beaters laugh in the face of glum weather. The Twilight Umbrella (the black one) is studded with a galaxy of tiny blue fibre optic lights, and the Red Umbrella (which is, red unsurprisingly, has eight light strips that phase through five colours. Not only do they make you visible, but these funky light-up umbrellas stand out happily from all the dreary black ones out there.

Features

Three switch controlled lighting functions: 'all lights on', 'slow random phasing lights' and 'off'.
An automatic open button.
Available in Red with 8 phasing light strips.
The lights strips phase blue, green, yellow, purpl…

Accessible Nine Men's Morris

Nine Men's Morris, also called Merrelles, is one of the world's most ancient games. Your goal is to make as many lines as you can, all the while trying to prevent your opponent from doing the same. You see, whenever either player is allowed to place three of his men in a line, he has made a mill. And every time a player makes a mill, he takes one of his opponent's men. Play continues until one player is unable to move any of his men, or has only two men left. In either case, that player is unable to make a new mill, and he loses the game. This version of the classic game comes with a wooden box to store the board and men. There's a dot on the white pegs, so blind players will know which men belong to what team. So, if you're good at strategic games and enjoy a challenge, you'll like Nine Men's Morris as much as the Egyptians did over three thousand years ago. For ages 8 and up.

Click this link to purchase Nine Men's Morris from Future Aids.

Wooden Playing Card Tray

Here's a must-have for any card player! This perfectly-crafted wooden playing card tray has two separate cavities - one for the Discard pile and another for the Pick-Up stack. (That's right: as soon as you have this attractive card-playing accessory, you'll be able to do away with those annoying round bowls which never hold the cards properly - or the tall, tippy piles of cards on the table which always seem to get knocked over and mixed up.) What's more, the dimensions of each section in the tray are just the perfect size for any standard deck of braille cards or Uno cards. And the sides on this tray are much higher than those on the plastic ones you'll find in stores, so the added thickness of Braille dots on the cards won't be a problem at all. This Playing Card Tray effortlessly accommodates games which use one or two complete decks of cards. Newby card players and experienced card sharks alike will fall in love with this handsome all-wood card holder, wh…

How to Organize a Home Poker Game

Organizing a home poker game is an excellent way to bring friends, as well as people who don't know one another, together. Gambling in your home is illegal in most states. Check out state law on this subject.

Preparation

Survey friends by e-mail to find those interested in playing poker.
Invite six to nine of those interested. Ask them to bring friends to the game.
Choose to play a simple poker variation that people already know or can learn easily.
E-mail, in advance, the rules to the players who are unfamiliar with the game.
Buy at least two decks of braille playing cards and some accessible poker chips.
Prepare snacks the day before and set them out 1 hour before people arrive.
Don't forget the tunes! Invite more people than necessary. Invariably, people will cancel, and it is more fun to play with at least six players.

Play

Seat everyone around the table.
State the rules and house policies briefly.
Shuffle and deal the cards.
Rotate the deal so that everyone has this responsibility. Se…

How to Play 20 Questions

This is a terrific way to occupy children on a rainy day or during a long car ride. One player thinks of an object and the other players ask questions to determine what that object is. This game works best with four players or less.

Choose a person to start. This person must think of an object. To make the game easier, he or she can classify the object as animal, vegetable or mineral.

Have another player ask a question about the object that can be answered yes or no.

The person who has the object in mind should answer the question with a simple yes or no.

After hearing the answer, the questioner is allowed to guess the object. The players are allowed to ask a total of 20 questions.

If the guess is correct, the winning questioner now thinks of a new object. If the answer is incorrect, another player is allowed to ask a yes or no question. If the players use up their 20 questions without guessing the object, the player with the object in mind reveals it and thinks of a new one.

Keys-U-See Large Print Keyboard

The Keys-U-See large print keyboard by The Key Connection, is designed specifically to reduce the stress and strain a visually impaired person has to grapple with when he or she is using a computer. From the ABCs to the numbers and the punctuation marks, each key in the keyboard is labeled with the largest print that will fit the keycap. This user-friendly keyboard also has hot keys for emailing and navigating the internet and multi-media control keys. Power control and energy-saving options are also right on the keyboard. Another useful feature is that the directional navigation keys (or arrow keys) are molded so that each is recognizable by touch. The Keys-U-See keyboard is available in ivory with large black print, black with large white print for low light situations, and also black with yellow keys and large black print. Note that these color combinations are chosen for their visibility factor. With all it has going for it, the Keys-U-See keyboard is sure to gain quick accept…

Turn On the Water with a Wave of the Hand

The iTouchless EZ Faucet adapter can automate any sink, enabling easy control with the wave of a hand. The adapter fits over a conventional faucet, and runs for about a year and a half on just four AAA batteries. Touchless faucets are great for limiting the spread of germs and saving water, as they shut off instantly once your hands are removed from the sensing area. To adjust the temperature and flow of water, you can use your existing faucet controls and leave the adapter on. Plus there's a manual override in case you need it. Save money, save water, and save the hassle!

Click this link to learn more about the EZ Faucet Adaptor.

Independent Living Centers: An Introduction

By Jesse Fisher Independent Living Centers, as non-profit social service organizations, offer a wide variety of services and support in accomplishing their primary function of helping the disabled to transition into living as independently as possible. Fundamental to the Independent Living philosophy is the fact that disabled people are seen foremost as citizens with human dignity and rights and only secondarily are they seen as consumers of social services. Persons with disabilities deserve opportunities to make decisions on their own behalf just as non-disabled people. do. Their mission statements frequently include such things as assuring equal access, full participation, self-help, self-determination, in short, independent living and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities in their community.What Services Do They Offer?Services offered by Independent Living Centers are usually of limited duration and are always focused on achieving the goal of independence for those…

Digging in the Dirt: Container Gardening

Create a wonderful flower garden, kitchen garden, woodsy area, or shade garden on your deck or patio. Although growing plants in containers is not a new idea, it has become more and more popular in recent years due to our smaller living spaces. Easy access, care and maintenance are major factors that are especially important to those of us who are visually impaired or physically disabled. Truth is, it is just wonderful to be puttering around in our own little garden making things grow. The type of container garden you plant will depend largely on the amount of sun, shade and temperature available. Choosing Containers: Plastic, ceramic, terracotta or wood containers are all good choices. Stick with the same type of container throughout the garden for a pleasing look. Choose various sizes and shapes of containers. This helps to identify plants. Grouping together containers of various heights in threes or fives makes for easier watering and allows air circulation and more sunshine for e…