Posts

Showing posts from May, 2007

Tips for Cleaning Leather Furniture

Before you can effectively clean your leather furniture, you have to know whether you have the type of leather that stains can permanently penetrate. (dyed leather) or pigmented leather) This can be ascertained by letting a drop of water fall on an inconspicuous part of the leather. If it soaks in immediately, then so will the stains and if it doesn't, you at least have a chance of removing them. In general, leather should not be too wet and most water-based stains like cola, red wine and mustard can often be removed with a damp cloth. If that doesn't work, try a cloth dampened with a very mild soap and water solution. Saddle soap is a fine all purpose leather cleaner. Rub the lather into the leather using a cloth dampened with water and once dry, buff with a soft cloth. For effective conditioning, mix 1 cup boiled linseed oil and ½ cup white vinegar. Shake well and apply sparingly with a damp cloth and when dry, buff with a soft cloth. Olive oil can be substituted for the li…

Blind Search: Find Things Related to Blindness

BlindBargains.com has launched a new page called Blind Search. "Tired of searching for information on blindness, accessibility, or other terms and getting meaningless results? At Blind Search, we know you aren't looking for window blinds. We've hand-picked websites that are about blindness, blindness technology, and other related issues and brought them into one search engine, powered by Google." I've tried a few searches and have found this to give accurate results. Click this link to search the net with Blind Search: http://www.blindbargains.com/blindsearch.php.

Sorting Data in MS-Word

Have you ever found yourself wishing that the list you just typed in MS Word was alphabetized? Or, for those of you who are good with Excel, you're probably wishing you typed the list in Excel in the first place (where it's so easy to sort data). Turns out that it's very easy to sort data in MS-Word, here's how!

Highlight the entire list.
Go to the Table menu and choose the Sort option. You'll see that the default is set to Sort by Paragraphs, type of Text, Ascending. This will make your list alphabetical A to Z. (Descending will reverse the list from Z to A). There is an option of telling the program that your list has a header row (or title). If you highlighted a title with the data, you would use this option to prevent the program from sorting your title into the list. (In other words, the first row stays in place, regardless of its first letter). When you have everything set the way you want, click the OK button. You will be returned to the document and you sho…

Bigger Attachments with Gmail

Gmail, Google's email service, has added another feature and it has to do with attachments. If you like to send attachments like there's no tomorrow, you're going to love this. Now, you can send attachments through Gmail that size all the way up to 20 MB! That's actually double what they've offered up until now. And not only can you send attachments this big, but you can receive them at that size as well. Simply amazing! So, if you've ever had trouble sending large pictures, videos, documents, etc. to your friends and family members, you don't have to worry about that anymore. Any attachment up to the size of 20 MB will go through perfectly, even if you use Gmail with Outlook Express. Isn't it nice when an email service really gives you what you want? Gmail has yet to disappoint me, that's for sure. Give this a try today and make your Gmail space more useful than you ever thought possible!

Among Top Resources for the Blind are Audio Books and Text to Speech Software

Both audio books and text-to-speech software have proven to be invaluable tools for the blind, with audio books allowing the visually impaired to listen to full-length books on any subject imaginable, and text-to-speech software turning written words into spoken words in a flashAudio BooksWhile audiobooks can be listened to from a desktop or laptop, as well as an MP3 player, such as an iPod or even an equipped cell phone, text-to-speech software is best relied on from your computer, turning written words into spoken words and helping you to compose emails, review web pages, even lengthy documents and notes.Adding to the convenience, you can now download any audio book or have it sent directly to your doorstep through the postal service, keeping it as long as you need to hear it from beginning-to-end and then placing it in the provided return envelope for routing back – all for free.There are inexpensive audio book clubs you can now join through the Internet that allow you to download …

Down on the Pharm

At this moment, our low vision and sighted readers think I've lost my mind. No, I didn't spell it wrong! Pharming (with a "ph") is actually a term used in the computer world. I know you've heard of phishing before, because we've talked about it in the database and blog, and well, pharming sort of goes along with that. It's just another example of how hackers try to manipulate computer users via the Internet. Keep reading for a more detailed definition. Basically, pharming is the act of redirecting users to fake Web sites, without them ever knowing it happened. When you want to visit a Website, you type its domain name into your Web browser and that's then translated into an IP address by the means of a DNS server. After all of that goes through, the information is then stored in your computer's DNS cache. Hackers can use this to redirect you to a false site, one determined by the hacker. Pharming can also occur as an email virus that can destro…

The First Dog Guide Team

After the end of World War I the nation of Germany was devastated by financial depression. Many private businesses failed, including the Potsdam, Germany school, the first school to train dog guides for the blind. An American woman named Dorothy Eustis had heard about the program and decided it was a very worthwhile endeavor. Because she owned a company that was training German Shepherds as working dogs, she decided she might try to train dog guides for the blind. She did not start this right away, however. In fact she was still considering the possibilities when she wrote a story for The Saturday Evening Post about the potential for dog guides for the blind. A Nashville man named Morris Frank had heard the story and decided to write to Ms. Eustis and ask her to train a dog for him. She did and Mr. Frank became known as the first blind person to use a dog guide. As part of an arrangement he'd made with Ms. Eustis, Mr. Frank started training dog guides in the United States. The …

Home Appliance Tipovers

When I had my first child, one of the things I remember my blind friends telling me was to secure dressers and shelves to the wall using brackets. I would never have thought of the danger of furniture tipping over and harming little ones. And it's not just furniture that tip over. Kitchen ranges and TV sets can also pose dangers to our little ones. The following quote is from Public Citizen:

According to documents from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the national retailer Sears, manufacturers and the government have known about this lurking danger for more than twenty years. Since the early 1980s, manufacturers of ranges began using lighter-gauge steel to reduce costs, even though they quickly learned that this resulted in a tendency for the lighter-weight appliances to tip over when weight was applied to the oven door.

"There have been over 100 reported cases of death and injury from scalding and burns due to hot foods and liquids spilling from the stove t…

Dog Guide Friendly Airports

As any dog guide handler will tell you, some pet-relief areas at airports are simply a small patch of grass or a square or two of green Astroturf-like material. These places are often hard to find and force you to cross lanes of traffic before you can releive your guide. A few airports around the country have created fully landscaped pooch-parks. The following are some of the country's most canine-friendly facilities. In December 2004, Reno-Tahoe International Airport celebrated the opening of the Gate K-9 Bark Park. Paw prints stamped on the sidewalk outside the terminal lead to the enclosed Bark Park just north of the baggage claim area. The park is landscaped with trees and a canopy for shade and stocked with fresh drinking water and plastic mitts for quick clean-ups. They even have a fire hydrant for pet dogs who like to do their business the old-fashion way. In Texas, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a small park with a figure-eight-shaped dog walk located o…

The Effects of Pregnancy on the Eyes

Pregnancy is a truly wondrous experience. Every woman is aware that there are changes to her body that are entirely natural and obvious but many do not know or consider the effects of pregnancy on the eyes. Your Eyes and Pregnancy: What you need to know is an article that describes the effects on the eyes and the changes that take place in the body during pregnancy. The importance of recognising any symptoms and their consequences is emphasized while non essential medical jargon is avoided.

Click this link to read the article Your Eyes and Pregnancy: What you need to know.

Shaking Hands with the Blind

Message: Are there any guidelines for handshaking etiquette between sighted and blind and/or blind and blind persons?
Location: Texas This is a great question, thanks for asking. According to an article by the Washington State Department of Services for the Blind called How do I interview someone who is blind, "If you would like to shake their hand, just say, "I'd like to shake your hand," and they can extend theirs out to you." I have found this to be accurate when shaking hands with a blind or sighted person. I have said, "How about a handshake" right after being introduced to someone. I have also had a third person say "Mike, he's holding out his hand to you," but this can cause some discomfort for the person standing with their hand out. Bottom line, if you want to shake the hand of someone who is blind, simply say so. If they want to shake your hand, they will either extend their hand or they may say something to you. Now,…

Software Guides Available for JAWS and Screen Magnification Programs

David Bailes from the UK is making available, free of charge, several guides for using JAWS and screen magnification programs with applications such as Audacity and Windows Media Player 11. It is worth your time to visit the VIP Software Guides website to check out this valuable resource: http://vip.chowo.co.uk.

Article Source:
Darrell Shandrow
Blind Access Journal

Change Toolbar Size in MS-Office

Ever find yourself squinting at the buttons on the toolbars in various MS Office programs? Wish they were bigger? Relief is just a few clicks away! To begin, you need to go to the Tools menu, Customize choice. (Or right click over any toolbar and choose Customize from the toolbar list). On the Options tab, you should see the Large Icons choice. Check this box. Instantly, you should see the difference. The buttons should all be enlarged, while the document itself was not. If you like this solution, click on the Close button. The buttons will then stay the new size. If you don't like this solution, uncheck the box. This should return your buttons back to their original size. (Then click the Close button). One quick side note: When you change to Large Icons, you've changed the buttons in all the MS Office Suite programs. (So, don't be surprised if you change them in MS Word and find them enlarged in MS Excel as well).

"A Mother and Daughter Story" for Mother's Day

As a way to celebrate Mother's Day, the American Foundation for the Blind has released A Mother and Daughter Story on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyaSj3R1nuA. This moving video, featuring Esther Smith and her daughter Gwen shows us one family's experience coping with macular degeneration. And Esther and Gwen are not alone in their experience. This story captures the feelings of many families who are facing vision loss. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with an eye disease such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts, I encourage you to share this video with them. It has been posted on YouTube to make it easier for you to e-mail to friends and family, or to embed on your blogs. An accessible version of the video can be found on the AFB Senior Site: http://www.afb.org/seniorsite. Please take five minutes to watch it, and share it with others. Happy Mother's Day to all!

Article Source: Carl Augusto: American Foundation for the Blin…

Safety Tips for Extension Cord Use

Most people have used extension cords at some point. Many people use them regularly. They are very convenient but they can also become hazardous if not used with care. There are nearly 5,000 home fires each year related to extension cord usage, according to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The following tips will help you use extension cords more safely.

It's wise to only purchase extension cords that have been tested by a reputable testing laboratory. The most well recognized is Underwriter's Laboratory, so check for the UL on the label or look for other indications of appropriate testing.
Make sure you have selected the appropriate type of extension cord and choose a sufficient gauge of wire for the item you want to plug in. Remember, lower is better in this case as lower gauge numbers mean that the cord can better handle higher levels of electricity.
Check the amperage and never exceed the maximum. In fact, it is best to use an extension cord with a hi…

Lens Magnifying Glass for Windows

Here's a question for our low vision readers. Have you ever run into a Web site or a document that was really small and hard to view? The magnifier feature of Windows works pretty good for blowing up images, but as with a lot of built in Windows features, it's not the best program for the job. If you find yourself putting nose marks on your monitor when you're trying to get some information off your PC, let me show you an alternative program with some really cool features. The program I want to talk about is called Lens Magnifying Glass (LMG). If you're familiar with the Windows version of the magnifier, you're probably also familiar with its awkwardness. Well, the LMG makes things a lot easier. It doesn't take up half of your desktop; that is, unless you want it to. The LMG also allows you to use different skins, which gives you the option of getting different shapes and sizes of the viewing area. There are interactive buttons right on the interface, so there…

YouGetIt: a Search Engine with Local Results

Like most of the world, I use Google for most of my web searches. You can't get better results in my opinion. Others like Yahoo! I guess the only problem I have with these search engines is that it's difficult to search for something locally, like to find a pizza joint for example. YouGetIt is a search engine that focuses on providing information you need from a local standpoint. So, the first thing you'll notice, if you can actually see the screen, is your zip code in the top left hand corner. If you want to change the zip code it has selected, just click the "Change Zip Code" link and type another one in. (I think the site goes by the closest big city to you, so if you live in a smaller town, suburb, etc., you may need to change it). Once you're all set with that, you can start searching. The search box is located at the top of the page and beside that, you'll see a pull down menu of the different categories you can search under. Those include: Busin…

Are You a Yankee or a Rebel?

Has anyone ever told you that you sound like a hick when you talk? How could they say such a thing about your perfect speaking ability? You couldn't sound like a hick, or could you? Thanks to the AlphaDictionary Southern Accent Test, you can finally put these rediculous comments to rest. To find out how much Southern blood your speech shows, simply choose the words you use then press "Compute My Score!" at the end. alphaDictionary will compute your score and tell you where you're coming from: are y'all speaking Bubbaese or are youse guys Yankee Doodle Dandies? The higher your score, the deeper from the South you're from. The test is based on research by the Harvard Computer Society. Before you choose your answer, it may be helpful to say the word or phrase out loud. When you select your answer, you'll notice in the text line beneath your choice that it will say where the dialect is from. When you've answered all twenty questions, click Compute M…

Giant Connect Four

When it comes to being visually impaired, sometimes the bigger something is, the easier it is to see. I have two sons, one is visually impaired and they would both love to play on this giant version of Connect Four. Most of us know the small, plastic version of this game but it has actually been around for many years. Truth is that it goes back in history at least a few centuries, known generally as 'four in a row' or 'four in a line'. The game was taken on his exploration voyages by Captain James Cook and he became so engrossed with it during the long periods at sea that his crew gave it the name "Captain's Mistress", a name which has lodged itself in history. Players take turns to drop a disk down a chute, the aim being for a player to get four disks in a row, diagonally, horizontally or vertically. There are several sizes for you to choose from, some are even made of wood.

Click this link to purchase Giant Connect Four from Masters Games Ltd.

NFB Link: Linking Individuals to a Network of Knowledge

The National Federation of the Blind is offering a premier, one-stop resource for information on career paths, educational opportunities, recreational activities, technology, and many other topics from successful blind and visually impaired people. NFB-LINK, pairs individuals seeking information about blindness with successful blind people. A college student can learn how to conduct experiments in a biology class or a newly blind person can learn how to continue gardening after vision loss.To access this one-of-a-kind service, visit www.nfblink.org. On the site, you can share your expertise by joining the growing pool of mentors or you can request a mentor that can help answer your blindness-related questions. For additional information about this program, contact Rosy Carranza at rcarranza@nfb.org, or 410/659-9314, ext. 2283.

Terrestrial Invaders

Terrestrial Invaders is another take off the classic video game Space Invaders. This game includes several accessibility features that can be switched on and off, both off-line and on-the-fly, such as:

Adjustable game speed.
Adjustable size of all game graphics.
Separately adjustable FX, music and speech volume.
2D sound for localizing objects on a 2D plane.
Presentation of spatially localised captions using text and / or graphics for visualizing all game sounds.
Reading aloud (for the visually impaired) and automatic scanning (for the motor-impaired) of the game menus.
Two high contrast modes (bright graphics on dark background and the inverse).
Two novel alternative types of audio descriptions that verbalise the relative position of attacking spaceships in relation to the player and warn for incoming fire.
The option of using simple shapes (e.g., rectangles, ellipses) to render all graphic elements.
Controls can also be redefined, but currently this can only be done by editing the respectiv…

Are You the Administrator of Your Windows XP?

Have you ever run into a situation where you had to sign in to your computer under the Administrator account? Certain programs require you to have Administrator rights before you can install anything to your PC. ( Let's say you just bought a new piece of software and when you go to install it, you're asked for your Administrator information. So, you log into your Administrator account, you install the software and everything is just peachy keen. But, what happens when you're done with the whole process? Did you remember to sign out of your Administrator account and go back to your normal PC mode? Are you unable to remember if you did it or not? If you're not sure either way, there's a very easy way to check. All you have to do is right click on your Start button and check to see if the first option says Open or Open All Users. If you see Open All Users, that means you're still logged in under the Administrator account. If you just see Open, you're signed…