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Showing posts from September, 2006

A Flashlight with Legs

The Inferno Flexi-Light from Gerber looks and functions like a normal flashlight until you realise that the 7 LED bulbs each have their own hidden articulating legs. When extended the LEDs can then be pointed in multiple directions illuminating different areas all at once. The Flexi-Light can be used as a task light, table-top lantern, tent chandelier or flashlight. It gives users total control of how and where they use light in the field. The Inferno also has 5 different lighting modes including a focused white flashlight, a diffuse white area light, a red night vision area light, a red night vision focused light and a flashing red emergency beacon. On 3 AAA batteries the flashlight will run for about 40 hours which isn't that bad considering it's powering 7 seperate lights at once.

Click this link to purchase the Gerber Inferno Flexi-Light from the Edmund Scientifics' website.

Learn how to build with cardboard

Here's a post for you teachers and rehab specialists out there with the ability to think out of the box. Maybe that should be think about the box? Adaptive Design Association, located in New York City, ADA is a non-profit whose mission is to make customized equipment for people (and especially children) with special needs. They use and reuse inexpensive material like cardboard, fabric, brown paper bags, wood, plastic, and basic electronics to make chairs, toys, and physical therapy equipment which can be custom designed for a person's exact dimensions and needs. They hold workshops, where you can learn basic skills in cardboard carpentry. There's enough time in one class to build something you can take home and use. ADA envisions a day when adaptive design services are widely recognized as an indispensable resource for children and all people with disabilities and customized equipment is being produced quickly, affordably, and locally. To learn more, contact:

Adapti…

Thank God and Greyhound He's Home!

By Donnie Parrett Those of you who may be Country Music fans, may remember a hit song by Roy Clark from the 1960's entitled, "Thank God, And Greyhound, She's Gone!" A few minor adjustments to this song title made it a perfect headline for my story. Our oldest son, Brad, was in last week for a few days from Native American Bible College, which he attends in Shannon, North Carolina. When he got ready to return to school last Thursday, I decided to make the trip back to North Carolina with him. It is about a 10 hour trip, and I wanted to ride along and keep him company. Before heading out for North Carolina I called Greyhound to see about a bus ride from Lumberton, North Carolina to London, Kentucky. My bus would be leaving Lumberton at 8:30 am on Saturday morning and would arrive in London, Kentucky at 3:00 am on Sunday morning. For most of you this would be no big deal, but for someone who has been legally blind for 37 years, this was quite a challenge. I had…

Crayola Color Wonder Products: Great for Blind Parents

Everyone knows Crayola as probably the most popular brand of crayons, constantly coming out with new colors and even larger boxes. But Crayola has come up with this amazing product that is almost totally mess-free and perfect for blind parents with sighted children. The trick to the Crayola Color Wonder products is that the special markers and finger paints only show up on special Color Wonder paper. Your child can color on anything else to his or her delight, and the only thing that may show up is a wet spot. This works great for blind parents because you don't have to worry about your sighted child marking on the walls or furni?ture. Visually impaired children can color without worrying about missing the edge of the page or messing up clothes. Nothing is damaged if they color in the wrong place! Crayola Color Wonder products are available just about anywhere. Sets often include finger paints and markers. There are also themed packages, like Dora the Explorer or Cars, which …

The symptoms of cataracts

Is your vision blurry, especially at night or in very bright light? It could be an early symptom of cataracts. A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye that interferes with clear vision. Unlike a healthy, transparent lens, which focuses light rays precisely onto the retina, a lens clouded by a cataract loses its ability to focus light rays. The light that reaches the retina is scattered and diffuse, causing blurry vision. The amount of vision impairment depends on the size and density of the cataract and where it is located in the lens: the nucleus, cortex, or posterior lens capsule. A cataract in the periphery of the cortex, for example, has little effect on vision because it does not impede the passage of light through the center of the lens. On the other hand, a dense nuclear cataract causes severe blurring, interfering primarily with distant vision (at first). A cataract that develops in the posterior capsule has a greater effect on near vision and also causes sensitivity …

Dura-Bull Dog Bedz and Guide Dogs

The visually impaired achieve ease and freedom of mobility largely through the use of guide dogs, a common and costly solution that allows special challenges to be overcome. However, the cost of training for both the animal and the handler can be prohibitive for many, which is why the nonprofit organization Guide Dogs for the Blind has provided comprehensive services of more than 10,000 dogs to eligible handlers since 1942. Dura-Bull Dog Bedz, a leading pet bed supplier, has taken up the cause to donate a portion of all proceeds to Guide Dogs for the Blind, which operates entirely on private donations. The washable dog beds sold by Dura-Bull Dog Bedz are resistant to pests, odors, dirt, water and urine and are covered with marine quality, rip-stop vinyl, essential for making the bed weatherproof. The bed provides premium ergonomic support and was constructed out of strong, easily cleaned materials. Before the creation of Dura-Bull Dog Bedz, there had never been a bed on the market th…

Audiobook Cutter

I love listening to Star Trek audiobooks. It's so cool to hear the actual stars of the series reading the books. The only problem I have is that the MP3 files are often an hour or so in length and my bus ride into work is only 35 minutes. Because I'm afraid of dropping my portible MP3 player, I often use one of those mainstream MP3 players, the ones that cost around $30, so if I drop the thing it's not a great loss. These MP3 players don't offer the ability to stop an MP3 and pick up where you left off. This means that I have to start over and try to fast forward through the file. Some players don't offer the fast forward feature, which would make listening to an audiobook almost impossible. I was sure happy to find a program called Audiobook Cutter. Audiobook Cutter is an easy-to-use tool which splits large MP3 audiobook files into smaller ones without re-encoding. The split points are determined automatically based on silence detection. Because of t…

Toy Guide Helps Shoppers Find the Best Gifts for Children with Disabilities

a disability can be challenging, which is why the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) teamed up with the Toy Industry Foundation, Inc. and the Alliance for Technology Access to produce Let's Play: A Guide to Toys for Children with Special Needs. The Guide helps parents select toys that will have the most positive experience for children who are disabled - whether they are dreaming of Swing 'N Score Baseball or hoping to find the My Little Pony Celebration Salon beneath the wrapping paper. Let's Play features toys reviewed by more than 100 children with a variety of special needs, including children with visual and hearing impairments. The Guide offers descriptions of why certain toys are more appropriate and fun in addition to labels indicating who may find specific toys most enjoyable. All of the toys in Let's Play can be found in stores throughout the country. Toys like the Lullaby Gloworm, which is soft and plush and sings seven lullabies with one squeeze …

Creating Accessible Web Pages for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Blind people surf the Internet. They have special software in their computers that reads the screen to them, and they use the keyboard controls of their Internet browser to navigate. If you are creating a Web site, you want to be sure to make your site accessible to blind surfers. Maybe you are a teacher putting a lesson or two on the web, maybe you are a student creating a site about your hobbies or your favorite band, or maybe you are a business hoping to generate sales over the Internet. Whatever your motivation, you want people to visit your site. If you fail to make it accessible, people will be frustrated by the lack of accessible content and leave. They probably won't return.This can be avoided simply by making your Web site's content accessible to anyone, and that is very easy to do. In fact, if you use HTML as it is intended-- for structural markup and not for graphic design-- you are already most of the way to having an accessible page. This article will …

Text to Podcast

MagneticTime.com has announced that MT-Podcast is available for free to hobbyist bloggers. Bloggers interested in using MT-Podcast can email press@magnetictime.com. Instructions will then be emailed to eligible bloggers. Traditional podcasting is expensive and time consuming. MT-Podcast allows anybody to produce professional sounding podcasts without hiring actors or specialist speakers. With MT-Podcast, the sound quality is consistently high with MagneticTime's natural voice producing the podcast for the user and is completed in a time-effective manner - with lengthy podcasts produced in just a matter of minutes. MT-Podcast simplifies the process by automatically and accurately converting written scripts to MP3 podcasts without needing a recorded voice. MT-Podcast is a web-based service, thus enabling users to manage individual podcasts, add/edit/remove podcast episodes and manage their own accounts. For more information on MT-Podcast or to become a partner of MagneticTime…

MarvelSoft: The Future of Sound

MarvelSoft has some easy-to-use talking software, completely narrated with pre-recorded human speech. Their flagship product is Talking Typing Teacher, an interactive program for Windows that teaches keyboarding skills. All directions, posture tips, drills and games are narrated entirely with pre-recorded human dialog (as well as shown on-screen). This means that students never listen to hard-to-understand synthesized speech when learning to type with TTT. Full support for large-print users, multiple student access, and the ability to create customized lessons makes TTT an invaluable teaching tool for individuals and professionals alike. Talking Toolbox is a collection of powerful, easy-to-use tools you'll find yourself using every day. Once you have Talking Toolbox on your computer, you'll enjoy using a talking email client (known as Post Office), a calendar to help you plan your week, month and year, a feature-packed word processor, a lightning-fast address manager, a phon…

Premier Predictor Pro

Message: Are there any screen reader accessible word prediction or composition writing programs?
Location: California Word Prediction is a technology developed to assist people who have difficulty spelling and writing. As a person types, word prediction will display a list of the most probable words allowing the typist to select the word from the list. This technology can significantly reduce the number of key strokes and individual needs to make. The built in talking dictionary lets the typist hear the definition to make sure that the word they select is the right word. Whether, and weather can be very confusing to some writers. Predictor Pro has many of the features you would expect in a word prediction program, but there are just a few things that really set it apart.

It works with every application, not just Microsoft applications or a single program.

It has a network addition that lets one teacher manage all the users. Teachers no longer need to add words to every workstation. Th…

Address Labels: Here's What To Do With Them

Do you have piles of those little print address labels that companies send out to get you to donate money to their causes? I have found some great uses for those little address labels, so they don't go to waste.

Business Card/Calling Card: Store a sheet of these stickers in your purse or wallet at all times. This way when someone asks for your name and/or address you have it handy. You could write your phone number on the stickers as well.

School Supplies: Place the stickers on your child's school supplies to keep them with the correct child. Yes, I realize they are in your name, but your child will think that's cool, and if you're like me, you probably have at least one sheet with their name on it too!

Lost and Found: Put an address sticker on your camera, cell phone, MP3 player, notetaker or eyeglass case. Anything that can be lost that you carry with you frequently. If you ever lose your item, it can be easily returned.

Trick or Treat: We've used our address labels …

Living Blind

By Julie Johnson http://www.livingblind.com/guidedogs.html is where you can find links to On The Go guide dog harnesses, leashes, relieving harnesses and other guide dog related equipment. I personally make the On The Go equipment myself to meet your exact specifications and needs. It is the equipment that I personally use daily. I am blind and a guide dog user myself. I understand the need for quality information and a friendly, helpful smile! You'll find both at http://www.livingblind.com. If you're blind or visually impaired, a friend or family member of someone who is, a teacher, or just interested, whether you have some useful vision or not, if you're looking for helpful information and energetic discussion, head over to http://www.livingblind.com. Living Blind is an online community of blind and visually impaired people sharing ideas to create a friendly, and informative site so that we can learn and grow together! It offers information and helpful "how …

Cleaning Up After Animals

Four-legged family members don't make nearly the mess that the other two legged ones in our homes make. But their messes tend to stain and smell more than the others, and that simply won't work. So here are a few suggestions and some "whys" about cleaning up after them. The biggie, of course, is "accidents". Bear in mind that uric acid crystallizes, but the crystals still smell. If it's on your carpet, you don't want that liquid to crystallize down in the pad. That's why it's so hard to get the smell out. The best solution is to sop up the wet immediately, getting it as dry as you can. Don't push on it (as in stepping on the wad of paper towels you threw down on top of it) until you're sure that all of the surface moisture is sopped up. This will help prevent the carpet from becoming a giant urine sponge. When it's as dry as possible, sprinkle salt (kosher salt is especially good), on the stain to absorb even more wetness. Aft…

Email Music

Have you ever found a song that you liked so much, you just had to share it with someone? Well, wouldn't it be cool to do that by placing it as the background music to an email you send out? While your friends read your email, they will hear the song. If you use Outlook Express, you can add background music to your e-mails with ease. Go ahead and create a new e-mail like you normally would and then go to the Format menu. Next, choose Background and then Sound. A new box will pop up and you can either type in the name of the file or you can browse for it. Just hit the Browse button to navigate to where you have the file saved. When you find it, select it and then you can choose if you want the song played continuously or if you just want it played a certain amount of times. Just choose the correct number for your preferences. When you've made all your decisions, hit OK and then send the email as usual. Note: People who use screen reading technology sometimes find the automa…

This Website is a Real Trezr

The one thing about being blind is that you miss out on all the great deals that are plastered in print newspapers and magazines. All those great coupons that sighted people clip to save a dollar or two here and there would be nice for blind people too. I came across a site that has some really great deals, chosen by folks like you and me. It's truly a Trezr. Trezr (pronounced "treasure") is an accessible social-bookmarking site, but devoted entirely to bargain hunting! The site combines Digg-style voting with the latest deals on travel, digital cameras, clothing and accessories, and more. The most popular deals are "Trezr"-ed by users, so it's easy to find the best ones, and there are some really great budgeting and money-saving tips as well. I especially liked this tip on the best times to buy everything from airplane tickets to baby clothes. They even have RSS feeds. Definitely worth checking out!

Click this link to visit http://www.trezr.com.

Optical Aids to Help You Cope with Low Vision

By Maureen Cook | Low vision aids come in all shapes and sizes and serve a multitude of different purposes. A one-size-fits-all approach just won't do when it comes to choosing these devices, especially when you consider that a very wide range of eye problems can cause low vision. Age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, head trauma and stroke can all result in reduced visual acuity, reduced contrast sensitivity and glare sensitivity. It should be remembered that these eye conditions often involve impaired color vision, and that the majority of sufferers are over 60. This is why many of the more high-tech low vision aids now coming on to the market offer customised viewing modes (magnifiers, for example, which allow material to be viewed in black and white, blue and yellow or black and yellow) or adjustable image brightness. Customisation need not always be high-tech, however. It can be as simple as fitting a magnifier with a flexible, adjus…

Stop, Look, and Listen: Quiet Vehicles and Pedestrian Safety

By Deborah Kent Stein The following article appeared in The Braille Monitor in June of 2005 and has been edited for Fred's Head. Twenty-five years ago I read a futuristic article about technologies that might some day free the world from dependence on fossil fuels. Among the developments we could expect by the twenty-first century, the article proclaimed, was the electric-powered automobile. Electric vehicles would be powered by a rechargeable battery rather than the traditional gas-burning combustion engine. They would be safe and efficient. Furthermore, such vehicles would alleviate noise pollution along our roads and highways. Electric cars would be virtually silent. I read the prediction about electric cars with deeply mixed feelings. I applauded the idea of cleaner air and a reduction in greenhouse gases, a benefit to the entire planet. Yet, because I am blind and travel using a long white cane, the thought of silent vehicles filled me with apprehension. Like countless oth…

The Telegraph Office

Welcome to a site that is a "Tribute to Morse Telegraphy." You'll find navigation on the side menu or in the middle of the page. Let's explore the great sections of this site. Main Page - This link will always bring you back to the front page of the site. There are several sections devoted to information for collectors. They are: References, Topics for Collectors, Histories of the Key Makers and Topics for Advanced Collectors. There are also several sections devoted to the history of the telegraph. Telegraph and Wireless Inventors - Here you can learn all about the people behind the invention from Morse's patent in 1849 to the experiments of J.C. Bose. You can find an interesting section here called Heroes of the Telegraph where you can check out biographies of telegraphers. History of the Code - Here you can learn not only about the codes, but how they were sent. You can also check out telegrams and radiograms and how they were coded. Pretty neat, huh?! Yo…

Gardening In A Square Foot

By Michael Russell If you havent heard of square foot gardening, you're about to learn one of the most useful and versatile gardening techniques ever created. Conceived by Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, the techniques have been enthusiastically adopted by gardeners all over the world. Square foot gardening is eminently suited for container gardening, patio and roof gardening, backyard gardening, organic gardening, herb gardens, vegetable gardens, flower gardens and more. The basic concept is to start small; the unit of measure is the square foot. Although Bartholomews original square foot garden was four feet square, many schools, community gardens and home gardeners start even smaller; a couple of one square foot containers is plenty to get you started. According to Bartholomew, a four square foot garden provides just enough harvest for one person.

How to Create A Square Foot GardenCreating your own square foot garden is as easy as building (or buying) a box i…

Battery Powered Candles

Here's a great idea for people who are blind or visually impaired and love the smell of candles in their home. This Flameless Wax Candle adds instant atmosphere to your home. Whether you're hosting a gathering of friends, a quiet dinner for two, or just soaking in the tub, the illumination of candlelight is a perfect way to set the mood. Enjoy the warmth and ambiance of candles anytime, anywhere, with this scented, flameless wax candle. This battery operated flameless candle adds color, light and drama without an open flame. It's safe around children, pets, furniture, at the office - even out on your deck. It will infuse the air with a pleasant, subtle aroma. You'll love the quality and realistic design of this flameless wax candle. Dual LED lights simulate the gentle flicker and light of a candlewick. LED bulbs last for 100,000 hours of continuous use. Four AA batteries give your flameless candle 100 hours of life. 6" pillar flameless candle is made of 100%…

The Pizza Fork

Myself, I eat pizza with my bare hands. There's no need to bring anything between me and my pizza. Maybe you are the kind of person who likes to cut off a bite before cramming it into your mouth. However you do it, this device will certainly be a conversation piece and may solve my problem of not looking like a pig while enjoying a Meat Lovers pizza. The Pizza Fork has all the poking functionality of a standard fork but incorporates a pizza cutting wheel, simply roll over the pizza to cut off a mouth sized portion. You obviously recognize the significance of this invention. You must have one for yourself. Better buy a few because everyone at the table is gonna wanna try yours, and that would just be gross.

Click this link to purchase the Pizza Fork from the Stupidiotic website.

Newspaper Radio

PressDisplay.com by NewspaperDirect, Inc. has launched "Newspaper Radio", a unique service that allows people to listen to newspapers and magazines on either their computers or mobile smart phones. Hundreds of newspapers and magazines are available on http://www.PressDisplay.com for online viewing, offline downloading and now, for listening. Newspaper Radio offers commuters, business travelers, expatriates and the visually impaired access to news that has previously been unavailable to them. It is simply a matter of copying their favorite newspapers' URLs from the PressDisplay.com website and pasting them into Microsoft Windows Media Player. Once stored in Window's Media Player, listeners can tune-in to the latest edition of their newspaper or magazine at any time.

Atari Retro: Games for People with Low Vision

Do you remember playing Pong? Did you have it on your old ATARI 2600? I can remember my visually impaired friends gathering around the floor model TV to play. We'd play that thing for hours! I can remember how easy the graphics were to see because most games were set against a black background. Those days of fun aren't over. You can purchase an updated Atari 2600 for your children and bring back the memories. That's right, you get all the retro action without having to store all those silly cartridges. It definitely looks retro, right down to the dark wooden panels and the terrible color scheme. You even get two of the classic joystick controllers, with improved mechanics inside, of course. The included 7 foot A/V cable will hook up to just about any TV. The AC adapter is also included. All your favorite old games are built in, along with some new ones:

Adventure
Adventure II
Haunted House
Return To Haunted House
Secret Quest
Wizard
Asteroids
Asteroids Deluxe
Pong
Battlezone
Cent…

Stir your sauces without hands? It's possible with the Stir Chef

Whether you are too busy, too tired or too distracted to stir, the Stir Chef will prevent you from burning your stovetop masterpiece! It's great for people with weak arms, busy Moms or for the aspiring chef! Do you find yourself wishing for an extra helper to stir the simmering gravy, soup or pudding while you read the braille recipe? The cordless Stir Chef hands-free pan stirrer may be the answer you've been looking for!

Insert the appropriate size stirring paddles.
Place the Stir Chef unit over the sauce pan, stretching the arms to the edge of the pan.
Turn the Stir Chef on and adjust the settings for either a continuous stir or an occasional stir. When the task is done, lifting one of the support arms will release the Stir Chef from the pot edge.

Details:

Spring-loaded 'arms' adjust to fit a 1½ to a 4½ quart saucepan (6" to 8½ " wide and at least 3 1/2" deep).
3 assorted sizes of heat resistant, dishwasher safe stirring paddles (6", 7" and 8&qu…

Resource Guide for Parents who are Blind or Partially Sighted

I had the pleasure of working with this lady for about a year. She's great, and I'm sure the book is as well. Through the Looking Glass and its National Resource Center for Parents with Disabilities are proud to announce the first comprehensive resource guide for parents who are blind or partially sighted. The 212 page Hands-On Parenting: A Resource Guide for Parents who are Blind or Partially Sighted provides a wide range of practical information, adaptations and resources for parents who are blind or partially sighted. The Resource Guide addresses many situations a parent who is blind might face, such as: If you are a parent who is blind, how do you diaper, feed or give medications to your baby? How will you know where your toddler is? How do you choose the colors for your child's clothes? How can you help your children with homework? What types of toys or games are available for a parent who is blind to use with their child? How can a parent who is blind educat…

Voice Activated TV Remote Controls

A frustrating fact of life for many blind or visually impaired people is that consumer electronics continue to get smaller. While this is great for portability, it makes finding and pushing various buttons on these devices more difficult. The InVoca voice activated TV remote control is a hands-free device that goes against the push for smaller electronics, reminding us that buttons are not always necessary to do things. This remote changes the channels, controls volume, and more with just the sound of your voice. It's a great solution for anyone who has difficulty seeing or dealing with small buttons. Use the InVoca voice activated remote control for all your audio-video electronics. Simply speak into the universal remote to command your TV, VCR, DVD, cable and satellite with the sound of your voice. It's easy to set up and accepts up to 54 voice commands! You can even perform multi-step functions with a single command-e.g., switch the TV to channel 3 and press "play&…

How to Play Blackjack

Entire books can be, and have beenwritten about playing and winning blackjack. The following is only a basic blackjack education. Review the steps below to learn the basics of the game.

The Elements

Know the object of the game: to get a hand higher than the dealer's without going over 21.

Know how to score a hand: a king, queen, jack and ten are always worth 10 points each; the ace can be either 11 points or 1 point; and the other cards are their face value - an eight is worth 8 points, for example.

Increase your hand's value by asking the dealer for more cards, one at a time.

Try to stop taking cards before your hand exceeds 21 points. You automatically lose if you go over 21 - "go bust."

Notify the dealer and the other players immediately by showing your cards if you get a natural 21 - one using only 2 cards, an ace and either a face card or a 10 - a "blackjack."

Win the hand by not going over 21 and by having the same number of points or more points than the de…

Easy Outlook Express Repair

Easy Outlook Express Repair is a utility for restoring damaged folders in Outlook Express. If Outlook Express cannot find your messages in its folders, you can use Easy Outlook Express Repair to get your messages back as well as to recover the damaged Outlook Express folders. If Outlook Express data files (dbx files) are somehow damaged and you cannot use Outlook Express to view the messages stored in its folders, Easy Outlook Express Repair will help you to extract messages from the damaged folders and save them to the disk. The saved messages can be viewed in Outlook Express and/or imported to any other mail client. Using the program does not require any special skills. You will recover your lost messages just in 2 steps. To recover messages from a damaged folder, you only need to specify the file to be recovered and the location on the disk to save the recovered messages and do not forget to press the "Start Recovery" button. Easy Outlook Express Repair will read the spe…

Keyboard Basics

The keyboard is the primary text input device of your computer. Learning to master its use should be one of your first priorities. There seems to be a lot to learn about the computer's keyboard, even if you were proficient on the earlier manual or electronic typewriter keyboards. The time (and practice) that you invest in mastering computer keyboard skills will be well worth your effort. Learning to use the unique keys and mastering the special functions of the computer keyboard can save you a lot of time. Make close friends with keys such as CTRL, ALT, Windows, TAB, and Shift. You'll be glad you did. Although a computer keyboard is based on the old typewriter layout, there are some major differences in the ways that keys are used. Computer keyboards also have additional keys. Learning to use the unique keys and special functions of the computer keyboard can save you time and make you more comfortable with your computer.

Most computer keyboards have a row of Function keys at t…