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.

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Monday, July 31, 2006

Hands Free Light Switch

Do you have a room in your house that always seems dark? Do you have trouble adjusting to inside lighting after being outside? Are you totally blind and forget to turn the lights on or off when you enter or exit a room? Would you like a device to control the lights for you?

The Screw-In Motion Sensor Switch automatically turns lights on when you enter a room and off after you leave. No wiring is required; just screw the device into a standard, uncovered light socket. Turns lights off within minutes of leaving the room. Senses motion within 360°. Ideal for laundry rooms, garages, basements, attics, walk-in closets and stairways.

This is the easiest to install motion sensor switch. Simply unscrew existing light bulb, screw the sensor in position, and screw the light bulb into it. Automatically turns the light bulb on when motion is sensed and turns it off 4 minutes after motion stops. (for indoor use only). Measures 3" in diameter and 4" long. The motion sensor switch can be used with 25W to 100W bulbs (not included). NOTE: This unit is not designed for use with an enclosed or shaded bulb of any kind. Use only with ceiling-mounted, bare bulb light socket.

Click this link to purchase the Screw-In Motion Sensor Switch from the Smarthome website.

Garage Sale Hunter and the Yard Sale Database

Do you love a good sale? I love checking out Garage Sales to see if they have any vinyl albums. It sure is difficult to find a good sale when you can't read the signs that are stapled to poles around the city. Well, our worries are over. Thanks to the internet, another aspect of life just became more accessible.

The goal of Garage Sale Hunter is to create a "nationwide garage sale forum." It's that season and let me tell you here in Louisville, the garage sales are already in full force. You can find a garage sale near you or you can post your garage sale so people can find you. The best part is that it's absolutely free.

You can also find garage sale tips, and get on their garage sale mailing list. The mailing list will give you a daily e-mail of garage sales in your area. You can even use their flyer maker for free to make flyers to post for your garage sale. Yet another handy site for your favorite lists. Check this one out.

Click here to visit the Garage Sale Hunter web site: http://www.garagesalehunter.com/.

Yard Sale Database

This site not only has yard sale information, but it also uses Google maps (for those of you who have enough vision to use this cool program).

There are several ways you can use the Yard Sale Database. You can first search by zip code. Just type in your zip code and click Find. You can post your yard sale, remove your yard sale, check out the FAQs and even read Yard Sale Stories. It's free to post your yard sale, so you can get lots of visitors to buy your old stuff. Then, when you're done, you can remove your sale from the site. Pretty easy, huh?

Another way to search is to click on the bulleted sales on the map on the main page. You'll get all the details for that sale. And of course, you have the three Google map options: map, satellite and hybrid, to view the postings.

Click this link to visit the Yard Sale Database: http://www.yardsaledb.com.

YardSaleAd.com

Summer is ideal for yard sales. There's no school, the kids can set up lemonade stands, people actually come out of hiding and want to find a good bargain, the weather's nice, etc. The question is, "How do I sell my yard sale?" Certainly, there's the old school cardboard sign along the side of the road, and a clever ad in the inaccessible Sunday classifieds. But those don't really guarantee anything. Now you can try another method: YardSaleAd. It's a website that lets you post your yard sale and all the important details. For those looking for a good sale, YardSaleAd makes it easy. Just enter your search criteria (location, categories, date, etc) and YardSaleAd will help you find it. Simply register to get unlimited access for free. Click this link to visit http://www.YardSaleAd.com.

Ultrasonic Pest Repellent with Night Light

Whether you live in the country or in an urban area, wild mice and rats can be dangerous pests in your home, especially if you can't see them. Repel these rodents humanely with the Ultrasonic Pest Repellent with Night Light.

This three-pack of electronic pest controllers will effectively repel rodents from three rooms of your home. Each repellent has a built-in night light for added comfort.

Designed specifically for small rooms, the Ultrasonic Pest Repellent plugs in to any outlet to provide effective temporary relief from rats and mice. You won't need to deal with the cleanup required of traps or poisons, and these electronic pest control devices won't affect other electronic appliances, such as computers or televisions.

The Pestcontro system produces ultrasonic sound above the hearing range of common domestic pets such as dogs, cats, snakes and birds. Do not use in a room with rodent pets, such as hamsters, mice or rabbits.

Click this link to purchase the Ultrasonic Pest Repellent with Night Light from the Smarthome website.

The Doctor Game

By Teresa McEntire |

Here is a fun game that a group of older children or even adults will enjoy. You need at least a group of 5 to 6 people and there's no limit as to how many can play.

Every player sits in a circle. Then one or two people, depending upon the size of the group, are chosen to be the doctor. They must walk away out of hearing range while the rest of the players decide upon a problem that the "doctor" must figure out. The doctor figures out the problem by asking each player a question. The questions can be the same or different.

The players decide a certain way that they will answer the doctor's questions when she comes back. Here are a few examples of problems that could be used:

  • Every answer that a player gives has to start with the same letter as their last name. My last name is McEntire, so if the doctor asked, "What is your favorite food?" I could answer, "Manicotti."

  • Every answer has to start with the first letter of the color of shirt that they are wearing. If I was wearing a blue shirt and the doctor asked, "What is your favorite sport?" I could answer, "Bowling."

  • Every answer has to do with the ocean. If the doctor asks "What is your favorite movie?" The player could answer, "The Little Mermaid."

  • Every player answers the question of the player next to them. The doctor asks the first player, "What is your favorite food?" that player answers the question correctly. Then the second player is asked, "What is your favorite T.V. show?" and that player answers, "Potatoes."

Some problems are obviously harder than others. So if you have a young doctor it is a good idea to make the problem a little easier to solve.

Once the players have decided upon a problem they call the doctor back in. The doctor starts with one person and asks a question. Then they continue around the circle asking each person a question. If a player cannot think of an answer another player can help them. The player does not have to answer the question honestly or specifically, just according to the problem given. For example if the doctor asks "Who is your favorite sibling?" and you have to answer the question with something that has to do with food, you could say, "My brother who eats a lot." Each player tries to answer the question as best they can without revealing the answer to the problem.

When the doctor thinks he as figured out the problem he can guess what it is. If the answer is not correct then he keeps asking questions until he correctly guesses the problem. If he does guess the problem then he chooses a new doctor. The group decides on a new problem and the new doctor tries to solve it.

Article Source:
http://fun.families.com/blog/the-doctor-game

Friday, July 28, 2006

Brown Sugar Saver

I don't use brown sugar enough to use it up before it becomes hard. This little terra cotta disk keeps your brown sugar soft. You just soak it in water, pat it dry, and put it into the bag or canister. It says it also keeps coconut, raisins, and cookies moist. Nice. Terra cotta disk is 2 1/4" in diameter.

Click this link to purchase the Brown Sugar Saver from the Walter Drake website.

Easy Oven Cleaning

You have an older oven, and it is not self cleaning. You hate getting all the chemicals to clean with, they reek and cause a nasty mess that is hard to clean up after.

You can try a simpler route by cleaning it once a month with out all the chemicals. Turn your oven on to warm up. Turn off the oven once it is warm and place a bowl with about a cup of ammonia in the center of the oven.

Close the door and let it sit overnight. In the morning, grab a rag and a large pan of clean water and wipe out the interior of the oven. All the baked on goop should come out fairly easily.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

How to Stop the Hiccups

The cause and function of hiccups has baffled medical practitioners since the time of Hippocrates. Although no one has figured out the exact science behind these "abrupt diaphragmatic contractions," we have come up with a few home remedies that might be able to help.

  1. Swallow 1 teaspoon of white table sugar, dry. A study found that this stopped hiccups immediately in 19 out of 20 people. Repeat up to three more times at 2-minute intervals if necessary.

  2. Gulp down a glass of water if the sugar doesn't work.

  3. Eat a piece of dry bread slowly.

  4. Gargle with water.

  5. Right after a hiccup, breathe in as DEEPLY as possible, hold it as long as you can and exhale as much as possible.

  6. Lie on your side and relax for a few minutes. If the hiccups do not go away, lay on your other side.

  7. This is my favorite one: Ask the person with hiccups their middle name. They say it works every time!

Keep in mind that hiccups can be caused by eating too fast and subsequently swallowing a lot of air or drinking too much alcohol.

See a doctor if you have severe pain, if your hiccups last longer than a day (or 3 hours in the case of a small child), or if they started after you took a prescription medication.

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

iSpeak It: Convert Text to Speech with the Mac

iSpeak It allows users to make use of Apple's text-to-speech capabilities to convert documents such as Word, AppleWorks, TXT, RTF, and Pages 2 into audio files which users can place on their iPods. The program features support for Xgrid to make use of more than one computer to convert documents to audio files, improved support for Web Feeds including drag and drop support for URLs, enhanced Atom feeds support, and document processing enhancements such as better support for paragraphs and sentence breaks. Mac OS X 10.4 or later is required.

Click this link to learn more about iSpeak It for the Mac: http://www.zapptek.com/ispeak-it/.

Click this link to download the latest version of iSpeak It for the Mac: http://www.atpm.com/mirrors/ispeakit.zip

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Books About Color Blindness


Message: I am looking for several children's books that would be suitable to read to a group of young children Pre-3? that would help them to understand what color blindness is and some problems it creates.

location: MT

Thanks for contacting Fred's Head at the American Printing House for the Blind. After I received your question, I turned to the professionals here at APH. They found the following titles that may be of assistance.

  • Seeing red by Jim Halligan & John Newman.
    Dublin : Wolfhound, 2003.

    Ben digs up a box in a bog thinking good things are sure to follow-magic powers, money, etc. But Jim is color blind, which turns out to be a bit of a problem when colored lights start flying out of the box.

  • Eyes by Carol Ballard.
    Chicago, Ill. : Heinemann Library, c2003.

    Contains (in 48 pages) Windows to the world -- Development of sight -- Eye care -- Eye problems and injuries -- Looking at the eyes -- Corneal transplant -- Light and dark -- Tears -- Inside an eye -- How do you see? -- Nearsightedness -- Farsightedness -- Near and far -- Retina -- Color blindness -- Eye examinations -- Using both eyes -- Other eye diseases and disorders -- Blindness -- Living with blindness -- What can go wrong with the eyes?

There is a nice set of graphics comparing different views of the same colors at the following sites:

It won't mean anything unless they can visualize the condition.

Boostaroo Portable Headphone Amplifiers

As a parent I understand the idea of preventing my children from doing things that could cause them difficulty later in life. My parents did the same for me.

I was a music nut as a child. I always had a stereo playing and at night, I would adorn those large headphones that made me look like something from another world to keep the music pumping. My mother always said that I'd be deaf someday but I just cranked them up that much louder.

My children are the same way. My oldest son listens to music with his portible MP3 player and it's so loud that I can hear it when we're in the same car. When I think of saying something to him, I'm reminded of my parents. Don't you hate that? You can hear yourself and the younger voice of one of your parents at the same time, saying the same thing as you say it to your child.

Anyway, I was listening to some tunes on the bus the other day and wanted to crank things up a bit. I went for the volume only to find out that I was at the max. I guess I must have had a terrible set of earbuds on that day. I really could have used the Boostaroo Portable Headphone Amplifier.

Boostaroo makes several models of amplifiers, two of which are capable of providing a whopping 400% increase in volume. Digital compression, enhanced spatial imaging and surround sound add to the experience. All models include a "splitter" allowing a friend to plug in. So, as my parents would say, now you and your friend can go deaf in tandem.

Click this link to check out the various models of headphone Amplifiers and Splitters at Boostaroo.com and crank it up!

Email without A Computer

I have an older friend who is visually impaired. He says that he'd love to email friends and family but he doesn't know how to use a computer and couldn't see the screen, even if he knew what he was doing with the email software. He has no problem reading his mail with a CCTV. I was thrilled when I heard about the Celery email system and immediately called him with the following information.

The Celery email system allows you to send emails without having to own a computer. It's basically a printer and scanner. To send an email, you simply write out the email, put it in the slot, press 2 buttons and your email is scanned and sent to the recipient. Very easy!

When you receive an email, your phone will ring. When you pick up the phone, your email is automatically printed out by the printer. You don't even have to touch the Celery machine!

The most interesting part about this gadget is that it requires no outside computing equipment or an Internet connection! You simply plug it into your phone line and the Celery service will allow you to send and receive emails.

If you're not home you can still get your Celery emails. As long as you have an answering machine or some sort of auto-answering device, the email will be printed off so you can pick it up when you get home.

For pricing and other information, check out Celery's website at http://www.mycelery.com.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Storing Blueberries

You just picked up a batch of fresh blueberries from the market and you are trying to decide how to store them.

  1. Once you get them home, pour them onto a large dark towel that you won't mind getting stained.
  2. Look them over well and pick out any berries that might be overripe or rotten and toss.
  3. Pull off any stems that you might find.
  4. Gently dry off the berries and place in a shallow pan, cover well with plastic wrap.
  5. Refrigerate for up to 10 days.
  6. When you're ready to use your berries, place them in a colander and gently rinse under cool water.

Legally Download Movies to Watch On Your Computer or Burn to DVD

CinemaNow, Inc. at http://www.cinemanow.com is an Internet provider of premium on-demand movies and video content. CinemaNow legally offers downloads of more than 4,000 feature-length films, shorts, music concerts and television programs.

Hollywood movies and popular TV shows are available on a download-to-own basis (also known as electronic sell-through), providing an unlimited viewing period on up to 3 devices. CinemaNow also makes movies available on a pay-per-view basis providing customers a 24 hour window to watch the video. As with all CinemaNow downloads, customers can start watching the video in as little as 30 seconds or they can download the file and watch it anytime, anywhere on their PC or laptop.

CinemaNow also offers a large library of independent movies, classic TV shows, documentaries and other videos on a free (ad-supported) streaming basis. This content can be viewed in CinemaNow's accessible, cutting-edge video player which allows customers to save their favorite scenes and easily access their favorite movies. Customers can also upgrade to a Platinum Membership which enables commercial-free viewing and video downloading.

One of the coolest things they offer is the ability to burn your own DVDs. Browse their Burn to DVD section and purchase the movie you wish to download. With Burn to DVD movies you get more than just the film, you get all the deleted scenes, interviews and other extras you would find on the DVD. CinemaNow DVDs work with any standard +R or -R blank DVD.

Once you have completed the burn process, you can play CinemaNow videos on almost any DVD player.

All CinemaNow DVD videos have full menu capabilities just like a store-bought DVD that work with your DVD remote for easy navigation.

For more information on CinemaNow, contact:

CinemaNow, Inc.
4553 Glencoe Avenue
Suite 200
Marina del Rey , CA 90292
Phone: 310-314-3000
Web: http://www.cinemanow.com

Monday, July 24, 2006

How to Tie a Bow

While you might think you already know how to tie a bow--after all, you tie your shoelaces all the time, don't you?--the "one loop" method that most people use with shoelaces doesn't produce the most symmetrical bow with ribbon. But, with a little tweaking of your technique, you can be well on your way to making beautiful bows in no time!

  1. Cross the two ends and loop one under (the same way you start when you tie your shoes).
  2. Make one side into a loop. If you are tying a ribbon, make sure it doesn't twist.
  3. Make the other side into an identical loop.
  4. Cross the two loops and pull the one on top through the hole between them (the same motion you made in step one).
  5. Pull tightly. The bow will look messy at this point.
  6. Adjust the loops and loose ends so that they are even.

Make sure the two sides are the same length before you start to ensure evenness in the end.

Wireless Driveway Monitor

Have you ever missed a ride because your paratransit or cab driver didn't let you know that they were sitting in your driveway? It always seems to happen when you're going to that really important meeting or doctor appointment. I'm going to tell you about a gismo that will alert you when those drivers are out there and you'll know exactly when they entered your driveway.

The Wireless Driveway Monitor's indoor receiver chimes and flashes when a vehicle drives past the sensor on your driveway. The unit has a 1,000 foot range between vehicle sensor and indoor receiver, perfect for long driveways. It doesn't get false alarms from pedestrians, animals, or shadows. Driveway Monitor only detects vehicles. Just mount the sensor next to your driveway on the included stake or wall bracket and plug the receiver into any electrical wall outlet inside your home! Driveway Monitor is completely wireless.

Click this link to purchase the Wireless Driveway Monitor from Gismo City.

The Wireless Mail Alert System

Do you look forward to receiving your next braille or cassette magazine from APH? How many times do you run to the mailbox only to be disappointed because the mail hadn't run yet?

I have a gadget that will alert you to the mail being delivered. It's called the Wireless Mail Alert and it's easy to install and use. The mailbox sensor is triggered when a mailman opens the mailbox door. The sensor sends a radio signal to the indoor display (up to 300 feet away) and lets you know that the mail has arrived.

Features:

  • Don't trudge out in the cold, rain, or snow only to see if your mail has been delivered!
  • Mail Alert notifies you immediately when your mail is delivered so you can take care of business quickly.
  • When the mailman opens your mailbox door, the receiver inside your home or office will flash constantly and chime every 5 minutes for two hours. Press the MAIL button to reset the system after you have picked up the mail.
  • Up to 300 foot range between sensor and receiver.
  • Lithium battery (2032 type) for transmitter and 120V AC adapter for receiver are both included. Average battery life is one year.

Mail Alert is designed to work with conventional mailboxes with doors that open downward. Mail Alert will not work on unconventional mailboxes without doors or with doors that open sideways.

Click this link to purchase the Wireless Mail Alert system from Gismo City.

Ride On Carry On

Traveling as a blind or visually impaired person can be difficult. We have to deal with our canes, dog guides and luggage while trying to get directions to the right gate for our flight. Have you ever tried this with a small child and a stroller? That could drive anyone to absolute madness!

Even if you have someone with you the aggrivation levels can be enough to cause divorce or at the very least a quiet flight while tempers drop to normal levels. It can sure put a damper on any vacation or convention.

If you have experienced this or know someone who has, the Ride on Carry on is something you'll want. This device is an excellent way to get your luggage and child from A to B with minimal effort and only two hands are required.

This chair is designed for toddlers, it simply straps to the back of your rolling luggage and collapses to fit in the overhead compartment. Each seat is made of a durable and washable 100% polyester fabric and is made to fit all 18" to 22" carry-on-bags. It can be installed or removed in a matter of seconds. No more strollers in the airport!

This chair holds a child up to forty-pounds and could be one of the best travel gadgets out there.

Click this link to purchase the Ride On, Carry On from Beach Comber.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Kid's Zone at the NLS Website

This section of the NLS website offers an online search engine to locate children's books in the national collection and provides annotated bibliographies of award-winning books such as Newbery Medal and Honor books, Coretta Scott King and John Steptoe winners, and Schneider Family Book Award winners. Kids Zone also lists books in popular series such as the Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, Redwall Abbey, and Swallows and Amazons. Other features include information on children's magazines and a link to the Library of Congress Kids and Families web site.

Kids Zone may be accessed through a link on the NLS home page at http://www.loc.gov/nls or directly at http://www.loc.gov/nls/children/index.html.

For further information, contact:

James Herndon
Head, Collection Development Section
jahe@loc.gov

Disability Radio World Wide

Disability Radio Worldwide creator, producer and host, Jean Parker is a well-known disability rights activist with years of experience working in the movement. Jean's list of program guests reads like a "Who's Who" of the disability community leadership around the globe. Almost all of the guests on Disability Radio Worldwide are people with disabilities and experts in their fields, discussing the full spectrum of issues related to advancing the human rights of people with disabilities around the world.

Disability Radio Worldwide is a dynamic, 30-minute weekly program broadcast by FM stations, radio reading services, over the Internet in the RealAudio format, and on shortwave radio. The weekly broadcasts originate from Radio for Peace International in Costa Rica. Click this link to check the website for current times and frequencies: http://www.rfpi.org/quarterly-sked.html.

Weekly programs are distributed in the United States by the Pacifica Radio Network and can be heard on many local Pacifica affiliates. Broadcast outlets are added periodically so check the website for up-dated information.

Click this link to visit the Disability Radio Worldwide website: http://www.rfpi.org/disabilityradio/.

Furniture Terms and What They Mean

My wife and I have decided that we need a new kitchen table and chairs. We went to a local furniture store to begin the hunt and found a few sets that looked good.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the sets of tables and chairs were less expensive than we thought, so we began looking at bedroom sets. We quickly became confused at all the strange names that the sales person began throwing at us. I have to admit to being rather embarrassed at my obvious lack of furniture lingo and am now going to try to save you from the same embarrassment.

Here's a list of furniture terms and what they mean:

  • Armoire: A large cabinet with two doors and shelves used for storing clothes. Or you could also put one in your family room/living room/media room to store electronic equipment.

  • Break front: A bookcase or china cabinet made of three vertical sections, the center one projects forward beyond the two end sections.

  • Buffet: A small cupboard. The French definition of the word is "a small sideboard, a place for keeping dishes".

  • Bureau: In America, a "bureau" is another name for a "dresser" or a bedroom storage piece. In France, the word was used to describe the red cloth covering for a writing desk, and, later, was used to refer to the desk itself.

  • Case goods: Specifically, storage pieces made primarily of wood. More generally, refers to entire collections of wood bedroom and dining room furniture, including some pieces that are not storage, such as headboards and dining tables.

  • Credenza: A sideboard or a buffet in my house.

  • Gate leg table: A table with a folding leaf held in place by a leg that swings out like a gate. It was a popular feature in Colonial American homes.

  • Highboy: A high chest of drawers. Yet another piece of furniture whose name has French origins. In this case: haut bois, which in French means "high wood".

  • Occasional tables: A term applied to small tables, such as coffee tables and lamp tables.

  • Secretary: No, not the person who types memos at an office. Rather, a drop front desk, with bookshelves above and drawers below.

  • Settee: A long seat or bench with arms and a high back.

  • Sideboard: A piece often found in dining rooms. It features a long flat top for serving and is usually equipped with drawers or cabinets for storing china.

  • Wing chair: An upholstered chair with a high back, stuffed arms and wing-shaped projectors at head level.


Fabrics

  • Batik: Any hand-printed material, which gets its color as a result of dipping the fabric into dye.

  • Brocade: Has an embossed appearance and is made of heavy silk with an elaborate pattern in silver or gold threads.

  • Chenille: Derived from the French word for "caterpillar," which is a good way to describe chenille yarn: plush and fuzzy.

  • Chintz: Was once defined as any printed, cotton fabric, but now it refers to fabric with a glazed or "polished" surface.

  • Damask: Gets its name from the ancient city of Damascus where elaborate floral designs were woven in silk. Damask is flatter than brocade and is reversible.

  • Ticking: You'll hear this term used a lot if you are shopping for a new mattress. Ticking is a strong cotton fabric used to cover mattresses.


Other Helpful Terms



  • Bow front: Term used to describe a cabinet front that curves outward to appear convex.

  • Camelback: A curved sofa back characterized by a large central hump.

  • KD: "Knocked down." Term applied to furniture sold unassembled or only partially assembled.

  • Motion upholstery: An upholstered piece with reclining or inclining seating features.

  • RTA: "Ready-to-assemble." Rather straightforward term, which is applied to furniture, sold unassembled or only partially assembled.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Cranky Candles That Won't Sit Up Straight

If you have problems getting your candles to sit up straight in their holders, here are a few hints that may help.

  • If the candle is a bit too large for the holder or just won't stand up straight, bring a large pot of water to boil on your stove top.

    Once the water has reached boiling, dip the bottom 2 inches of each candle into the water.

    Let it warm up in the water for several minutes.

    Pull it out and gently press into the holder. The candle should gently form to the base.

    If the candle is not soft enough, simply place the candle end back into the water and wait a few more minutes until the candle is pliable.

  • If the candle is too small for the holder you can use some double stick foam tape to hold it in place.

Never leave a candle burning unattended.

Big Button, Braille Telephones, Overlays and The Phone Monocle for Your Cell Phone

With a little practice, most blind individuals learn to dial regular touch tone and rotary telephones without difficulty. However, some individuals may choose to use adaptive telephones.

In this record, we've put together a brief list of places that sell adaptive telephones as well as other helpful products:

  • Phone Merchants.com: http://www.phonemerchants.com/visim.htm carry telephones that feature big buttons and braille markings for each number in the keypad.

  • All Phones.us: http://www.allphones.us offer adapted telephones with jumbo-size buttons and braille. One of their models also announces the numbers as you dial. In addition, when using one of its memory buttons, the phone will announce the name of the person you are calling.

  • Independent Living Aids: http://www.independentliving.com offers a variety of adaptive telephones, including some with built-in talking caller IDs.
    Independent Living also offers Bold Number Overlays for cell phones.

  • Maxi Aids.com: http://www.maxiaids.com is another distributor that has a variety of adaptive telephones. Maxi-aids also carry inexpensive large print overlays that may be used to adapt any telephone you may already have in your home or office.

  • Magnifies Inc.: http://www.thephonemonocle.com is the California company that holds the patents for magnifiers for cell phones, PDA's and Palms and GPS. These Phone Monocles" are available in seven popular colors and allows the screen of any phone to be enlarged for easier viewing. No more reaching for the reading glasses to answer and see the phone display. Video streaming and games are easier to see and play as well. The Phone Monocle is the name given to these screen magnifiers. The Idea behind The Phone Monocle came from a woman named Joanie Taylor. She has several years of Ophthalmology and vision experience.
  • The Giant Caller ID displays calls on a large screen with large text!

    The Giant Caller ID tells you the name, phone number and date of call. It also has a flashing new call indicator. There are 3 lines with large text so you can read the LCD display from several feet away without having to walk over. There's even a repeat call indicator so you can tell you're being called by the same person even if you forget the name or number.

    It stores 50 names and numbers so you can keep track of who called. It's also very easy to fit in wherever you want with a 6-foot long telephone cord included which could allow you to place it in a more visible spot than your phone might be. It has included wall mounts, as well as a 3-position pedestal that makes it very easy to stand on a desk or table.

    It requires 4 AAA batteries for a long period of use, and is 5? x 5? x 3? so it's big enough to be visible from far away but not too big so that it gets in the way.

For tips on how to quickly learn to dial a touch tone or rotary phone, search Fred's Head using the key words: dial telephone.

Removing Wax From Carpeting

By James C

Candles do wonders for setting the mood on a romantic night or at a dinner party. But what happens when that wonderful romantic candle gets dumped over? You end up with a mess. Wax is a very difficult stain to remove but is not impossible. Read along and I will tell you how to take care of a wax stain.

First, you need to gather the supplies that you will use. You will need a steam iron, a dull instrument (like a spoon) and several white terry cloth towels. Fill the iron with water and set it on the lowest steam setting. Now take your towels and soak them in water., Wring them out so they are just damp and you are ready to begin wax removal. Before you apply an heat, you want to scrape off as much wax as possible. Be careful not to damage your carpet but get as much as possible.

Now place a damp terry cloth towel on your wax spot. Place the steam iron over the towel being careful not to touch the carpet with the iron. The wax should melt rather quickly so you will not need to leave the iron on more than a few seconds. Keep moving the towel as it becomes filled with melted wax.

Repeat the process until all of the wax has been removed.

Simple process right? Well it is pretty simple. You just need to be careful not to let your iron contact the carpet, not to let your towels dry out and not to leave the iron in one place for too long. If you have a colored candle, you may be in for bad news. You will probably get the wax up but not the dye.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=James_C

Google's Accessible Search for the Blind

Accessible Search is an early Google Labs product designed to identify and prioritize search results that are more easily usable by blind and visually impaired users. Regular Google search helps you find a set of documents that is most relevant to your tasks. Accessible Search goes one step further by helping you find the most accessible pages in that result set.

Google Accessible Search is designed to help the visually challenged find the most relevant, useful and comprehensive information, as quickly as possible.

In the past, visually impaired Google users have often waded through a lot of inaccessible websites and pages to find the required information. "Our goal is to provide a more useful and accessible web search experience for the blind and visually impaired".

Google defines accessible websites and pages as content that the blind and visually challenged can use and consume using standard online technology, and they've worked with a number of organizations to determine which websites and pages meet those criteria. The search takes into account several factors, including a given page's simplicity, how much visual imagery it carries and whether or not it's primary purpose is immediately viable with keyboard navigation.

Click this link to visit the Google Accessible Search website: http://labs.google.com/accessible/.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Carroll Center for the Blind

The Carroll Center for the Blind, located in Newton, Massachusetts, is a private, non-profit agency which serves persons of all ages who are blind or visually impaired.

Throughout its history, the Center has pioneered innovative methods for blind persons to gain independence in their homes, in class settings, and in their work places. New and evolving technologies, combined with time-tested adaptive methods, individual attention, and personalized care and therapies developed by the Carroll Center's professional staff, have provided the blind community with many opportunities for success and independent living.

Click this link to visit http://www.carrolltech.org for information on how to take on-line courses in new technology.

Click this link to visit All About Access, the Carroll Center's blog on technology: http://blog.carrolltech.org.

The Carroll Center for the Blind
770 Centre St.
Newton, MA 02458
Toll Free: 800-852-3131
Phone: 617-969-6200
Fax: 617-969-6204
Email: intake@carroll.org
Web: http://www.carroll.org

A "Touch" of New York

It's more than just a fashion statement. Inspired by a friend who became temporarily blind after a stroke, New York-based fashion designer Stephen Kenny created See NYC, a line of T-shirts with three Braille messages: I Love New York, Brooklyn and Come Closer. But more than just a clever fashion device, the shirts whose statements are printed in raised Braille type help raise money for charities that aid the visually impaired. After learning that most cases of blindness in Africa can be cured for a mere $30, Kenny created his cotton tops with the idea that 5 percent of proceeds go directly to Sight Savers International and Lions Club International.

Sight Savers International works with the world's poorest countries to bring people in need proper eyecare. Lions Club International is recognized worldwide for its member services to the blind and visually impaired. The Lions first took up the cause in 1925 when Helen Keller challenged members at an international convention to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness." Now Kenny, in his own way, is helping in the crusade with his hands on designs.

Click this link to visit the SeeNYC website or contact SeeNYC at info@seenyc.org.

How to Create a Business Card in Outlook Express

Do you work for a top notch business and want to let others know about it? Do you run your own business and you figure email is a great way to get the word out about what you do? If you've answered yes, then you need an electronic business card.

You could make a business card just for fun. It's a perfect way to exchange contact information with other people.

To create a business card in Outlook Express, open the program and click on Tools, then Address Book. Now, you'll want to create an entry for yourself, so click on New, New Contact and type in your name or your business name (whichever you prefer). You can include just your first name or your full name. That is up to you. Click OK when you're done.

Now find your name on your list of contacts and click on it to highlight it. Screen reader users will arrow down through the list of names until you come to yours.

Use ALT+F or click on File, Export, Business Card (vCard). The vCard is just the format that the business card uses. The format can also be used in different digital devices and operating systems. Now, a new window will appear and you'll want to choose a location where your business card will be saved. You can save it in your My Documents folder or even on your desktop. It doesn't matter where you put it. Just place it somewhere so you can easily find it. Once you pick a location, click Save. That's all there is to that!

You have the option of inserting your business card into every email you send out. This is probably a smart thing to do if you want to get more information about your business out to people, but if you just need to exchange contact information with a few folks, you can also attach it to certain emails. This will save you from having to type out all your information every time you need to give it to someone. If you want to send your card to business people and not to family and friends, you'll only want to attach it to certain emails and not every single one.

To add your business card to certain emails, go back to the main screen of Outlook Express and compose a new message. Then go to the Insert menu and choose My Business Card. That will take care of that part.

To add your business card to every email, go to Tools, Options and select the Compose tab. Under the business cards section (toward the bottom of the box), you can choose either Mail or News. (You'll probably want to choose Mail unless you use the News part of OE). Either way, use the drop down menu and find your name in the list of contacts that appears. Your name should be there, because you created your contact earlier. Click OK when you're done and your business card will now show up in every e-mail you send.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Use Nail Polish Everywhere

By Nicole Humphrey |

If you find yourself with bottles of nail polish that might not be your color, or that may not be fashionable anymore, there are dozens of ways you can use the rest of the polish in the bottle.

  • Remote Control: Use glow in the dark nail polish to light up frequently pressed remote control buttons. This way when you want to change the channel or turn the volume up, and you're in the dark, you can see it!
  • Paint: Use nail polish as a paint throughout your home. Paint flowers or hearts on a child's mirror, use it for craft projects, to put names on items, paint pictures on frames, etc.
  • Keys: Use different colors of nail polish and make a small dot on each key on your key chain. It will make finding the correct key much easier. And it's a lot cheaper than buying those colored heads for the key.
  • Medicine Measurer: The tiny cups they give you for medicine are so hard to read. Use nail polish to mark the line on the cup to make dispensing the correct amount, easier. You could even do this for each family member. Give them their own cup and mark the bottom with a letter in nail polish. Then mark the dosage amount that person requires with nail polish on the outside of the measuring cup.
  • Clear polish: Works great as a transparent coating over all sorts of things; labels, names, anything you don't want to scratch off. You can also spread it over the address label on a package to keep it waterproof and from smudging!
  • Color Coding: Use nail polish to color code different family members belongings. Makes separating much easier. Brushes, combs, tooth brushes, labels in underwear, etc.
  • Prevent Rust: This works for any item that has the potential to rust. Just paint the item with a coat or two of clear nail polish.
  • Costume Jewelry: You can protect your costume jewelry that tarnishes quickly, by brushing clear polish onto the back of each piece.
  • Shoe Laces/Ribbons: Ribbons and shoelaces are known for unraveling over a period of time. Dip the ends in a clear nail polish or you can use a color if you'd like. Allow to dry for several hours.
  • Warts: Clear nail polish works great in order to get rid of them and prevent spreading the virus to others. It only takes about a week and it will be gone.
  • Buttons: Don't lose anymore buttons. Just apply a drop of clear nail polish to the thread that holds the button onto the garment. This way you prevent the thread from fraying and you won't lose any buttons.
  • Pantyhose: Isn't this the most known "extra" use for nail polish? You can stop a run in pantyhose by dabbing some clear nail polish on the run. Be sure and apply the polish to each end of a run and then allow to dry.
  • Window Screens: Do you have a hole in your door or window screen? As long as it's a small hole, this little tip should work. You can dab the clear nail polish all around the hole. If it's really small you can fill the hole with polish to prevent bugs from getting through.
Article Source:
http://frugal.families.com/blog/use-nail-polish-everywhere

Use RSS to Get Great Deals At Target

Do you have a Target department store near you? Do you shop there? Would you like to know what's on sale this week?

Target now has an RSS feed to bring accessibility to its sales listings.

Add this link to your aggrigator to subscribe to the Target RSS feed: http://sites.target.com/site/en/spot/rss/weeklyad.rss.

The ZoomText Keyboard

Designed for the ZoomText user, the ZoomText keyboard will make typing and using ZoomText faster and easier than ever before. With the ZoomText Large-Print Keyboard, each key and button label is easy to see, even in low light, thanks to its 36-point text and high-contrast black on yellow color scheme.

The ZoomText keyboard also provides quick access to ZoomText 9.0 features. Sixteen dedicated buttons will allow you to instantly start ZoomText, change magnification levels, toggle screen enhancements, launch AppReader and DocReader, and more, all without having to memorize hotkeys. You can even reassign each feature key to your choice of ZoomText commands, Internet and multimedia commands, or to open an application, document or web page.

For more information, contact:

Ai Squared
P.O. Box 669
Manchester Center, Vermont 05255
Phone: 802-362-3612
Fax: 802-362-1670
Email: sales@aisquared.com
Web: http://www.aisquared.com

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cleaning and Freshening Around the House with Dryer Sheets

Dryer sheets, also known as fabric softener sheets are inexpensive, and can be purchased anywhere that sells laundry supplies. There are dozens of uses for these little squares, here are a few suggestions.

  • Removing Baked On Food: If you are having trouble getting baked on food out of a casserole dish, fill it with hot water. Add a fabric softener sheet. Let it soak for a couple of hours and then rinse. Most of the caked on food will slide right out, and the rest will come out with a swipe of a sponge.
  • Cleaning Pots: Food that is burned onto a pot or skillet works the same way. Just fill with warm water and throw in a few dryer sheets. Let it soak for at least a half hour, but a couple of hours works best. The burnt food should wash right out.
  • Cleaning Hairbrushes: Fill a container with warm water. Add two dryer sheets and stir. Then, add your hairbrushes and combs. Let them soak for a couple of hours. Build up from hairspray and other hair products will come right off. Rinse and allow to dry.
  • Freshening Smelly Shoes: Place a dryer sheet inside the shoes and within a couple of hours, your shoes will smell great. Place it in the shoe immediately after you take it off. The warmth from your feet helps to activate the dryer sheet.
  • Place a dryer sheet inside a new vacuum bag to keep things smelling fresh as you vacuum the floor. The heat of the vacuum cleaner will help activate the sheets.

Using Lemons Around the House

I love lemon in my tea. It adds that extra little kick that I find enjoyable. After doing some research on the net, I found some other ways to use lemons.

  • Removing Coffee Stains from Your Coffee Pot or Thermos: Add a couple of lemon wedges, ice cubes and salt. Stir it all together vigorously. The acid in that lemon juice will remove the stain and leave the pot shiny and clean.
  • Cleaning the Sink Disposal: When you have used your lemon slices, remove the "peel" and toss them into the disposal and run it. The oils from the lemon peel make those horrid disposal smells a thing of the past! The lemon's acid will eat at any caked on food, helping to keep your disposal clean.
  • Curing Dry Skin: Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a small bowl and use it to rub on your elbows, knees and any dry patches on your skin. Your skin will feel refreshed and moisturized.
  • Dry Them for Decorating: They can be added to potpourri, decorate a wreath or place near a candle wreath, or adorn your Christmas tree with a few. Just place slices on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 175 for 4-6 hours. You might also want to add in some lime or orange slices to create a citrus theme.
  • Disinfectant: A lemon is a natural disinfectant. If you run out of what you normally use, try some lemon juice. Gently wipe it on your skin, your counters, whatever needs some disinfecting. The acid is the key.
  • Curing A Sore Throat: Squeeze one lemon and dilute with 1 cup of hot water. Use this concoction to gargle three times a day. You'll be feeling better in no time!

The Dual Screen Reader and Screen Magnifier

Dual gives you both speech and magnification. By combining the LookOUT screen reader with the Magnus screen enlarger, Choice Technology has created Dual, a program which can read your computer screen both loud and clear. It speaks the screen contents, and simultaneously magnifies everything on the screen up to 16 times.

  • Dual will speak what you type.
  • Read out your documents.
  • Magnify whatever is on the screen.
  • Read your e-mails and Web pages.
  • Invert the screen colours giving you, for instance, white print on a black background.
  • No extra speech synthesizer is required.


Preferences



  • There are speed, pitch and volume options for the speech.
  • Magnification can be suspended and restored with the PAUSE key.
  • A Novice verbose mode can help beginners.
  • Easy-to-learn keystrokes.
  • Visual Basic scripting for complex situations


System Requirements



  • Windows XP, 2000 or NT4 (not 98 or Millennium)
  • A fast modern multimedia PC or laptop (at least 800 MHz and 128MB RAM)
  • Any sound card and a low-end Video card

For more information, contact:

Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk

Screenruler: A Magnifying Strip to Help You Read the Computer Screen

ScreenRuler is a strip magnifier for those with moderate seeing difficulties. As you move the mouse pointer about the screen anywhere in the Windows system, a horizontal strip area is magnified two times to make plain what you are viewing. The rest of the screen remains normal size. You can have the background dimmed out if desired. The cursor colour can also be changed easily to make it more visible.

The ScreenRuler software works with Windows XP and Windows 2000. It is very robust and from a technical point of view, should not interfere with your PC's video card.

For more information, contact:

Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk

Magnus: the Inexpensive but Powerful Screen Magnifier

The Magnus screen enlarger (formerly Magnice.)

Magnice changed its name to Magnus when a version arrived that runs under Windows XP and 2000. The original Magnice 2K, which works with Windows 98 and Millennium, is still available, and the description below applies to both versions.

Magnus Features



  • Magnifies whatever appears on the screen
  • From 2 to 16 times magnification
  • Split screen and lens options
  • Font smoothing
  • Colour inversion e.g. white print on black
  • Pause key to temporarily suspend magnifier


System Requirements



  • Windows 98, Me, XP, or 2000; also NT4 with SP6, but with this system there can be problems for network users.

For more information, contact:

Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk

The LookOUT Screen Reader

The LookOUT software package will give a voice to your computer. You will hear what you type and listen to everything that appears on your screen. If you see a little, it will save you having to strain and look all the time. If you can't see at all, you can still enjoy the computer. You can alter the way the voice behaves:

  • There are speed, pitch and volume options.
  • Male and female voice options.
  • A Novice verbose mode for beginners.
  • On-screen navigational musical tones.


  • LookOUT will speak what you type.
  • Read out your documents.
  • Tell you where you are in the system.
  • Read your e-mails and Web pages.
  • Access some CD-ROM reference works.
  • Speak contextual help information.
  • No extra speech synthesizer is required.


For the Expert



  • Format and attribute information.
  • The ability to use tables effectively.
  • First-class Internet access with WebbIE
  • On-screen markers for easy navigation.
  • Visual Basic scripting for complex situations.


System Requirements



  • A modern multimedia PC or laptop (At least 350 MHz and 64MB RAM).
  • Any sound card and a low-end Video card.
  • Windows XP, 98, ME, 2000 or NT with Service Pack 6

For more information, contact:

Choice Technology (UK) Ltd
7 The Rookery
Orton Wistow
Peterborough
PE2 6YT
UK
Phone: 01733 234441
Fax: 01733 370391
Email: info@screenreader.co.uk
Web: http://www.screenreader.co.uk

Thursday, July 13, 2006

How to Play Blind Man's Bluff

Originally the game was called Blind man's buff, which means a small push, but when the game journeyed across the ocean from England to America it was changed to Blind man's bluff. This was a popular game played by pioneer children and still enjoyed by children today.

This game needs to be played in a large enclosed area that does not have many objects in it. If you are playing the game in a house push the furniture against the walls to prevent accidents.

One child is chosen to be the "blind man" and is blindfolded. The other children scatter around the room trying not to be tagged by the blind man.

There are several variations to the game:

  1. Once the blind man tags another child that child becomes "it" and puts on the blindfold.

  2. The child who is tagged is out and must sit against the wall. Then the blind man continues to try and tag the children until all of them have been tagged. The first player to be tagged becomes the blind man.

    In this version the blind man must try and guess the name of the child that they have tagged. The blind man is allowed to feel the face and clothing of the child they tagged before guessing. If they correctly guess the name of the child then that child becomes the blind man.

  3. Another variation to the game is Marco Polo. Marco Polo is usually played in a swimming pool. The person who is "it" closes their eyes. The other players scatter around the pool. When ever the person who is it calls out "Marco" the other players must answer with "Polo." This way the person who is it can follow the voices to find another player. Once another player has been tagged then they become "it".

This is a great game for blind and sighted kids to play together. The sighted children will not have the advantage over the blind children because of the blindfold.

Blind Man's Bluff is an accessible game developed by Tony Sales from RNCB, Hereford, England. In this simple game you have to shoot the maniacs carrying guns and chainsaws, but avoid shooting the cat. Blind Man's Bluff is being hosted by X-Sight Interactive as a Direct X/SAPI 4 open-source project.

Click this link to download Blind Man's Bluff.

Cleaning the House with Baking Soda

Baking soda is another inexpensive and versatile product. It can be used for so many things around the house. These are a few of my favorites.

Diaper Rash Soother: Put a half cup of baking soda in a warm bath. Soak for around 10-20 minutes. Let the skin air dry after the bath, and the diaper rash will be a lot better. By the next day, it's gone!

Carpet Deodorizer: If your carpet smells a bit musty or has an unpleasant odor, sprinkle on some baking soda and let sit over night. Vacuum it up the next day. The odor should be gone and you won't have that long-lingering commercial carpet deodorizer smell.

Use baking soda as a fabric softener. You can add it to the wash cycle but for best results, add it to the rinse cycle. It can be made into a thicker substance by mixing in some water and placing in a fabric softener ball. It removes all the soap and softens the clothes.

Baking soda is the best for cleaning tea and tomato sauce stains from glass or plastic bowls or pitchers.

Shoe Odor Remedy: Sprinkle a generous amount into sneakers to help absorb odors. You don't even have to clean it out, just refill as necessary.

Mosquito Bites: Mix a thick paste of baking soda and water and apply to the bites. In about 1 minute the itching stops and in about one hour the redness and swelling will disappear.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Understanding the Christening

So you've been invited to a Christening. What is it anyway? What can you expect to happen? What will you be expected to do? Don't worry. Let's take a closer look at this celebrated tradition.

There are two types of ceremonies; religious and non-religious. Irrespective of which type is chosen, the common theme throughout is love and surrounding the child with family and friends in order to celebrate the child's birth and life ahead.

Religious Ceremonies

A Christening is the child's first initiation into the religious faith. At a Catholic Christening, the parents make their declarations, the baby is baptised with holy water, and a lit candle representing Jesus as the light of the world, is given to the parents and Godparents. The priest may ask the parents to attend preparation classes to fully understand the significance of a baptism. Catholic Christenings are often held as a separate service for one or more children. There are no hymns and the service lasts approximately 30 minutes.

Secular (Non-Religious) Ceremonies

There are a range of non-religious celebrations to choose from including a Baby-Naming Ceremony, Welcoming or Thanksgiving. These options are free of any commitment to the Christian faith. People will often include contributions from family/friends, and finish it off with tea or a buffet. These ceremonies last on average 20 minutes.

Christenings are generally held within the first year of a baby's life, although some parents wait until the child is a little older.

Generally, photography is welcome during all types of ceremonies but it may be worth checking with the person presiding first as the congregation or gathering is likely to be invited to photograph the child, family and Godparents at specific points during the ceremony.

The child will usually be dressed in a special Christening outfit/gown or family heirloom garment. Women would be expected to dress smartly - hats are not necessary, and for men, suits or smart shirt and trousers. Ties are often not a necessity, particularly for summer ceremonies.

After the ceremony, a buffet or tea is generally served at the parent's home. The child will be shown off to all the family and friends, and Christening gifts are generally presented to the child. After the buffet, the official cake may be cut, and at this point, some people choose to plant a tree or dedicate a plant which will grow with the child.

Role of the Godparents

There are usually three Godparents - two the same sex as the child. The role of the Godparent comes from the days when converts to the early Christian church were usually adults whose parents were not Christians. The Godparents role was to provide a Christian mentor to help them through life. People also link the role of the Godparent with that of becoming 'legal guardian' should the child ever be orphaned. However, this would need to be written into a will with the permission of the Godparents themselves. Non-religious participants usually engage a 'mentor' who will watch over the child and steer them through life with help, care and advice.

Godparents are chosen for their own Christian beliefs but also because they are very close friends of the parents, or other family members. Godparents or guardians should be people who are going to be around to offer support for the child if needed.

Christening Gifts

Many people prefer a traditional gift idea for a Christening such as pewter, silver or china; these are great gifts for the child to treasure. Another nice idea is to provide a photo album or keepsake box to store precious memories of the child's special day. For religious ceremonies it is common for a silver cross and chain or a bible to be presented to the child.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Discussing Salary During Interviews

By Erika Cox |

Many people are hesitant to talk about salary during a job interview but unless you already know what the employer is offering and you are happy with it then you should definitely discuss salary during an interview. Don't be nervous or embarrassed. Salary is part of the job and should be discussed along with everything else.

Here are a few guidelines to help you discuss salary in an interview:

  1. Try not to offer a specific amount first. Mention a hypothetical figure to get the employer to mention a specific figure.

  2. If an employer asks how much you made at your last job, try to avoid giving a specific amount so as to not be cornered into making the same amount. You can say something to the effect that my duties are much different with this position than my past duties, therefore, I would prefer what is comparable for this position.

  3. If the company has no established salary range for the position ask the employer what is the salary range of other workers doing a similar job. Or, if you've done your research, you can mention that the average salary nationwide for this position is this amount.

  4. Before asking about the salary, make sure you know what other benefits offered by the company will be. The benefits package may substitute for a lower pay.

  5. Make sure you ask if a performance and salary review is available and how often one is given.


Article Source:
http://employment.families.com/blog/discussing-salary-during-interviews

Friday, July 07, 2006

Easy Icing without the Drips

As a totally blind person who likes to cook, I understand the difficulties we can have when trying to icing a cake or brownies. I often make the greatest of messes when trying to put icing on a spoon or knife and then attempt to get it on the cake. You know what happens, the icing drips on the counter or on the side of the pan. What a pain!

The next time you are making a dessert that requires you to drizzle on a topping, the easiest way is to use a sandwich bag.

Place your drizzle mix (icing, fudge, etc.) into a sandwich bag and seal closed.

Now cut away a small corner of the bag with a pair of scissors.

Hold the bag over your dessert and gently squeeze to push the topping out of the corner of the bag.

Now take a knife or the back of a spoon and spread things out properly.

What to Leave out of your Resume

By Erika Cox |

Employers receive tons of resumes and they are looking for specific information related to a specific job. Resumes that include unnecessary information will cause that resume to be put at the bottom of the pile or worse, thrown in the trash. Here is a list of items to leave out of your resume. It saves you time and makes your resume look more impressive.

  1. Forget the photos. Unless you are applying for a modeling or acting job, don't include pictures. It may give the employer misleading impressions or the employer can come to inaccurate perceptions.

  2. Salary requirements. Unless the employer requests this information, leave it out. You can undermine yourself by asking for too much or too little.

  3. Reasons for leaving your jobs. Discuss this in the interview or on the application. Employers don't need or have time to read this information up front.

  4. References. Again, leave them out until asked for during the interview or on the application.

  5. Empty assurances. Honest, dependable, hard working, etc. everyone thinks they possess these qualities. Make sure you can back it up with concrete evidence while explaining job duties and during the interview.

  6. Explain gaps. Employers screen resumes thoroughly for employment gaps. Make sure you have a good explanation for them and explain any accomplishments you obtained during your gap. Simply stating you were trying to find yourself won't work.

  7. Leave out personal hobbies, interests, and information. Unless it pertains to the job or is related to a particular profession, there is no need to provide details into your personal life. Plus, you don't want to come across as if the job will get in the way of your personal life. Also, never include personal identity information like age, race, or gender. It's against the law to discriminate but you will never know if that really was the case if you never hear back from the employer.


Article Source:
http://employment.families.com/blog/what-to-leave-out-of-your-resume

How to Tie a Square Knot

Also known as a reef knot, the square knot is secure and easy to untie.

  1. Start with two pieces of rope that are close in diameter. We'll call them rope A and rope B for ease in describing this process.
  2. Hold the end of rope A in your left hand and the end of rope B in your right hand.
  3. Cross rope A over rope B to form an X.
  4. Wrap A once to the right around B, just like the first step in tying a bow in your shoelace. A is now sticking out to the right and B is to the left.
  5. Cross A over B again, forming another X.
  6. Wrap A once to the left around B.
  7. Pull on the free ends to tighten the knot.

This knot isn't recommended for weight-bearing situations.

This knot is specifically for joining ropes of equal diameter, and does not work well with mismatched ropes. It also does not hold well with nylon ropes.

Cleaning the Pool is Like Paradise

I've always wanted an above ground pool but I don't want to clean one. I've had pools in the past that were small enough that they didn't need a filtering system but bigger than what I wanted to clean. This little device sure would be helpful for anyone who either has a pool, or like me, is thinking of getting one.

The Paradise Spa Vac cleans your pool or spa without batteries or pumping, and it doesn't need to be connected to a hose or drain. Using a simple suction method, this extendable pool cleaner removes all the debris that sinks in the water, leaving behind only clean, filtered water.

To remove unwanted debris from your pool or hot tub, simply place your finger over the Paradise Spa Vac's end cap. Place the pool cleaner in the water and release your finger, and all unwanted debris will collect in the clear chamber. When you lift the Spa Vac out of the water, clean, filtered water automatically drains out, leaving the debris in the chamber. To empty the contents, simply twist off the lower cup.

Click this link to purchase the Paradise Spa Vac from the Smarthome website.

What is a PS/2 Port?

A PS/2 port is more commonly known as the mouse port. It is a special port that is used to connect a mouse or a keyboard to a computer. This type of port usually works with a mini DIN plug that contains six little pins and it is usually round. You may know these ports by their color, as the mouse port is usually green and the keyboard port is usually purple.

PS/2 ports were created by IBM and most computers come with two of them, usually located side-by-side on the back of your computer's case.

The Size and Style of Todays MP3 Players

Do you copy your music CDs to files on your computer with Windows Media or some other program? Would you like to take that music with you when you travel? If you answer yes to these questions, a portible MP3 player is for you. There are two kinds of MP3 players: hard drive and flash memory. Each type has its own unique advantages.

Hard drive players have a hard drive inside them and can store a lot of digital music files. This makes them ideal for serious music lovers. Hard drive players are generally compact and slim with moving parts that can cause your music to "skip" under high impact conditions.

Players that have embedded flash memory are tiny and usually rely on built in flash memory to store digital music. Since flash memory players have no moving parts, they can handle bumping and jostling without the risk of "skipping". Their light weight also makes them a great choice for jogging or aerobics. Flash players store fewer tunes than hard drive players.

CD portibles or MD players are another way to take your tunes with you as you travel. They are not considered MP3 players, even though they can play CDs with MP3 files. They are an affordable and versatile choice for people who don't mind transferring their music files to discs. CD portables are noticeably larger than today's hard drive and flash players, closer in size to the hard drive players.

There are tons of extra features to look for when shopping for an MP3 player. If you want to listen to FM radio, you should look for a portable that includes an FM tuner. Many players can capture voice snippets through a built in microphone or record radio broadcasts from that built -in FM tuner. These players are great for people who want to save interviews or lectures. If you choose a player that has embedded flash memory and a memory card slot, you can expand the players memory capacity by purchasing flash memory cards and use them to store additional tunes. Other accessories include headphones, remote controls and docking stations.

You can find MP3 players in almost any store that has an electronics section. Drug stores and supercenters will also stock some kind of MP3 player. The size of the player's memory will varry so shop smart and do your homework.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The four types of Interviews

By Erika Cox |

Yes, interviews actually come in different types so prepare yourself accordingly. Interviews usually fall into four general categories.

The first type is the target directed interview, which consist of the interviewer being direct, businesslike, and usually impersonal. Respond nicely and professionally to every question without too much deviation into other areas or humor.

The second type is the family interview. The family interview is warm, friendly, and at ease. The focus is usually team oriented, so emphasize how much of a team player you are, how you get along well with others, what you bring or can offer to the company, and your communication skills. Humor and some deviation from answers is generally acceptable.

The third type of interview is called the thinking person's interview. The interviewer is more interested in how you do things, what you expect to accomplish, your goals, specific skills, and in-depth explanations of your work experience. Provide logical, expanded answers about your methods, goals, and thoughts.

The last type of interview consists of the interviewer being unpredictable, jumping from one area to the next, and being judgmental. Be quick with your responses, alert, speak in general terms, and let the interviewer take over the interview.

Article Source:
http://employment.families.com/blog/the-four-types-of-interviews

The Resume: References

by Rachel Whitmire |

This part of the resume is important, so make sure that you don't skip this step.

First of all, you need to decide who to use as your references. Take a moment and brainstorm all of the people who would have good things to say about your character or work performance. Don't forget to include teachers, religious leaders, mentors, coworkers and friends. The one group of people that you should avoid, though, is relatives. Using a relative as a reference hurts your credibility. The general belief is that your relatives will have good things to say about you, whether they are true or not. Employers will view your relatives as biased, so it is better not to include them.

Once you have a list, narrow it down to at least three, but no more than five people. Think about those who have known you the longest, those who have known you in a professional environment and those who you believe have a high opinion of you.

Now that you have your list, call each person. First, ask them if you can use them as a reference. After that, get all of their contact information and be sure that it is accurate. A potential employer is not going to spend the time to hunt down the correct phone number or address for one of your references. Have all of the information readily available for your employer so that your references will be given the opportunity to do their job - which is to say nice things about you.

Finally, I recommend that you not put your references on your resume. Instead, state that references are "available upon request". Put your references on a separate sheet of paper with the same heading as your resume. If an employer asks for your references, then you give them a copy of this reference page. Why go to all of this trouble? It is out of respect for the people who are acting as your references. This way, they are only called by those who are serious about offering you a job.

Above all, make sure that you take the idea of references seriously, your future employer definitely will.

Article Source:
http://employment.families.com/blog/resume-references

Taking The Mystery Out Of Nails

By Bill Prudehome

Nails can only be used in fibrous material hence you cannot use a nail to hold anything to metal or plastic. The reason a nail works is that when it penetrates the fibrous material, the fibers bend in the direction of the penetration and literally grip the nail. It takes more force to remove a nail then it does to drive a nail.

Although nails come in hundreds of shapes, in this article we will discuss the two most popular; common and finishing nails.

Common nail, used for rough carpentry as the head always shows. Common nails come in sizes from 1 to 4 inches have a smooth shank and a diamond shaped tip. The longer the nail, the thicker it is and the bigger the head. The rule of thumb is that a nail should be three times longer than the thickness of the item that you are attaching. For general 2 x X lumber use a 3.5 or 4 inch nail. 3.5 inch when nailing side-to-side, 4 inch when nailing to an end grain. When nailing two 2 x X pieces of lumber together use a 3.5 inch nail and angle it so that it does not penetrate the second piece of lumber. Nails that penetrate all the way through a board provide less grip than a nail that is buried within the lumber. If a nail penetrates, the penetrating end should be bent over for two reasons, increase the strength of the joint and safety. An improved rough carpentry spiral nail is now being manufactured which provides greater holding power. The spiral nail is twisted and turns as it penetrates the lumber (similar to a screw). Do not use spiral nails for temporary nailing as they are much more difficult to remove than a smooth shank common nail.

Finishing nail, used for finished carpentry as the head can be conveniently recessed and the material filled so that the head does not show. Finishing nails come in sizes from ½ inch to 3^D>" (the smaller ½ inch to 1^D>" are know as brads). The length rule does not apply to finishing nails, as it is usually necessary to use a nail that is much longer than three times the thickness of the item you are attaching. When using finishing nails in hardwood or near the end of a piece of lumber, such as a trim or molding, it is always wise to drill a hole in the material being attached, as this will avoid splitting the lumber. The hole should be slightly less than the diameter of the nail. The best way to determine the size is to use your drill box. Remove the drills and try to place the nail in the hole that the drill came out of. Use the next size down from the last hole that the nail would slide into. Remember that it is not necessary to grip the material being attached, as the head, even a finishing nail head, will hold the material in place.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Bill_Prudehome

That Mouse Is Leaving A Trail!

I'm not talking about that kind of mouse trail silly! : ) Fortunately, the type I am referring to are also called pointer trails and they can be found on the mouse pointer in Windows.

Have you ever been working on your computer and your mouse pointer disappears? You try moving your mouse around as fast as you can to try and find it, but it just seems like it went away. If this has happened to you, I have something that you might be interested in.

You can add a trail to your mouse pointer so it's easier to locate. To do this, go to Start and open up your Control Panel. Once in there, click on the Printers and Other Hardware link, then choose Mouse. This will open up the Mouse Properties box and you're going to want to choose the Pointer Options tab.

Go down to the Visibility section and checkmark the line that says "Display pointer trails." You can then decide how long you want the trail to last. When you're done, click OK.

Now, you will have a trail following your pointer every time you move your mouse. Keep in mind that it might take you a little while to get used to the trail, but you will. And just think about how fast you'll be able to find your mouse if it decides to "disappear" again!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Resume: Education Section

by Rachel Whitmire |

After your employment history, put your educational background on your resume. Some people place their education closer to the top of the resume - before their employment history. This is fine if you have a college or university degree. However, if you just have a high school diploma and then maybe a little bit of college or a few professional courses, it is better to put this below your employment history so that the employer can see what you have accomplished after leaving high school. Education isn't everything, so make sure that they see your work experience.

Just like your employment history, your education also needs to be written in reverse order. Your most recent education goes first, then the one before that and then your high school or GED program comes last.

Also, remember to include the name of your school, the city and state where it is located and the dates that you attended (at least the month and year that you started and ended).

Remember to include ANY education you have had in this section. If you attended college for a semester, then put that there. You'll put the name of the school, the dates you attended and then instead of putting the title of your degree, say "Courses towards an English degree" or "Courses towards a nursing degree". You went to school, you passed the classes, so go ahead and take credit for that!

One thing that many people often leave off of their resume is their high school diploma or GED. They make the assumption that the employer will know that they have this level of education. Sadly enough, that just isn't true in the United States today. If you have a high school diploma or GED, you actually rise above a sizable portion of the population. Make sure the employer knows you have it. Also, if you don't include this education, they may assume that you never finished high school, which can automatically disqualify you for a number of different positions.

Article Source:
http://employment.families.com/blog/resume-education-section

Easy Clean Up in the Kitchen

I like cooking but hate the cleaning up afterword. Here are two tips that are easy to do and will help cut down on your cleaning time in the kitchen.

Aluminum foil is simply one of the best things to have in the kitchen. You can use it for so many things, including setting the stage for easy cleaning after cooking. You can place it on pans when you are baking anything from biscuits to chicken. When you are done with the pan, simply tear off the aluminum foil and toss it, leaving your pan as clean as it was when you pulled it out of the cabinet.

Another great thing you can do when cooking is practice cleaning as you go. One way you can do this is to unload your dishwasher before you begin cooking. As you use the dishes, simply slip them into your dishwasher. Then when dinner is over, everyone can put their plate directly into the dishwasher, leaving you with very little clean up to do.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Setting Up Your Speakers in Windows

Are you a sound fanatic? Do you have your computer hooked up for surround sound or at least have multiple speakers? Well, if you tell Windows about your sound configuration, you'll probably enjoy your speakers even more. This tip is for Windows 98 and higher.

  1. Click the Start button, Settings, Control Panel. Open the Multimedia icon. (XP users, you need to hit the Start button, Control Panel and then open the Sounds & Audio Devices icon). Nothing like consistency from version to version you know?

  2. Under the Audio tab, click or tab to the Advanced Properties button (in XP, it's just called the Advanced button).

Using the drop box on that screen, you can tell Windows what your speaker arrangement is. It has everything from headphones to surround sound.

Here's a thought: Playing Shades of Doom in surround sound, now that's fun! If only I could keep my wife from yelling at me. I think she said something about the floor vibrating, but I couldn't hear for sure.

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