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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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Guide Horses: An idea that's a hit with neigh-sayers

Do you need a service animal but are scared of or allergic to dogs? Why not consider a miniature horse? The Guide Horse Foundation in Kittrell, NC can provide you with one of these dependable service animals. At this point, you're probably thinking "A horse! Why use a horse?" On their website, the GHF offers these answers to that question:


"Why use a horse?

There are many compelling reasons to use horses as guide animals.

  • Horses are natural guide animals and have been guiding humans for centuries.
  • Horses have been shown to possess a natural guide instinct. When another horse goes blind in a herd, a sighted horse accepts responsibility for the welfare of the blind horse and guides it with the herd.
  • Many blind people ride horses in equestrian competitions. Some blind people ride alone on trails for many miles, completely relying on the horse to guide them safely to their destination.
  • Through out history, Cavalry horses have been known to guide their injured rider to safety."

Those certainly are convincing arguments! It makes one wonder why no one thought of it sooner. History shows us that horses make excellent guides; what is it about horses that makes this possible? The GHF says horses have several characteristics that make them suitable to guide the blind:

  • "Calm Nature - Trained horses are extremely calm in chaotic situations. Cavalry horses have proven that horses can remain calm even in the extreme heat of battle. Police horses are an excellent example of well-trained horses that deal with stressful situations. Guide Horses undergo the same systematic desensitization training that is given to riot-control horses.
  • Great Memory - Horses possess phenomenal memories. A horse will naturally remember a dangerous situation decades after the occurrence.
  • Excellent Vision - Because horses have eyes on the sides of their heads, they have a very wide range of vision, with a range of nearly 350 degrees. They also have outstanding night vision and can see clearly in almost total darkness.
  • Focus - Trained horses are very focused on their work and are not easily distracted. Horses are not addicted to human attention and normally do not get excited when petted or groomed.
  • Safety - Naturally safety oriented, horses are constantly on the lookout for danger. All horses have a natural propensity to guide their master along the safest most efficient route, and demonstrate excellent judgment in obstacle avoidance training.
  • Stamina - Hearty and robust, a properly conditioned Guide Horse can easily travel many miles in a single outing.
  • Manners - Guide Horses are very clean and can be housebroken. Horses do not get fleas and only shed twice per year. Horses are not addicted to human affection and will stand quietly when on duty."

The Guide Horse Foundation was formed by Janet and Don Burelson after they successfully trained "Twinkie," their pet miniature horse, to guide a blind person in a wide variety of situations, including busy urban settings and shopping malls. Founded in 2000, they already have nine horses in the training program and about 40 people on their waiting list. They placed the first horse, "Cuddles," into service in May 2001 with Dan Shaw, a blind man who lives in Maine. You can learn more about Dan and Cuddles at their website: http://www.danandcuddles.com.

On their website, www.guidehorse.org, the GHF suggests that the ideal guide horse owners are the following types of people:

  • Horse lovers- Blind people who have grown up with horses and already understand equine behavior and care.
  • Allergenic People- Many people who are severely allergic to traditional guide animals find horses to be a non-allergenic alternative for mobility.
  • Mature Individuals- Many people have trouble dealing with the grief of losing their animals. Horses live far longer than traditional guides.
  • Physically Disabled Individuals- Because of their docile nature, Guide Horses are easier to handle for individuals with physical disabilities. They are also strong enough to provide support, helping the handler to rise from their chair.
  • Dog Phobia- Individuals who fear dogs are often comfortable working with a tiny horse.
  • Outdoor Animal- Many individuals prefer a guide animal that does not have to be in the house when off duty.

While horses can adapt to living in any situation, GHF recommends that owners live in suburban or rural areas. A horse can be trained to live in an apartment, but they prefer to be outdoors when off duty, so a fenced yard with a lawn for grazing is ideal.


Training

To be selected for training, a horse must be 26" or less at the withers-the highest part of the horse's back, between the shoulder blades-and must be certified sound and healthy by a Veterinarian. The prospective guide horse must also exhibit the intelligence needed to be able to complete the training program before the horse is accepted. A horse can start training right after it is weaned (about six months old) and the training itself takes anywhere between six months and a year.

Because the horse is instinctively prey, not predator, the training of a guide horse is carried out in a much different fashion than the training of a guide dog, but the objectives and the end results are pretty much the same. A guide animal must be able to safely guide its handler in all common situations. To achieve this, the guide horse is taught:

  • to respond to 23 voice commands
  • to avoid stationary and moving obstacles
  • to negotiate stairs, elevators, and even escalators
  • intelligent disobedience- the ability to ignore commands from the handler that would put the handler or the horse into danger (such as refusing to cross a street when there is approaching traffic).

The Guide Horse Foundation also makes sure that the handler of the horse is trained. The handler must attend certified orientation and mobility courses, learn the 23 voice commands, and the proper use of the harness and reins before the handler is allowed to train with a horse. The prospective owner is also taught to provide the proper care, feeding, grooming, and housing of the Guide Horse. After this elementary training, the handler works with several horses to find the one whose speed and attitude match best the handler's needs. At this point the horse and the handler are trained together to learn how to function as a team. Once the team has proven its ability to successfully deal with the potentially dangerous situations of ordinary life (such as street crossings) the team will move to the new owner's home and train in negotiating the specific places, events, and regular travels of the handler's life. The Foundation will conduct periodic follow-ups to make sure the team remains safe and effective.

Guide Horse Foundation
2729 Rocky Ford Road
Kittrell, NC 27544
Phone: 252-433-4755
Email: info@guidehorse.org
Web: http://www.guidehorse.org

Monday, June 25, 2007

Do You Have Unclaimed Money or Property?

Have you ever forgotten about a check that someone owed you? It sounds hard to believe, but it happens. Did you get your tax return from the state last year? Are you sure?

Thousands of dollars of unclaimed property and checks go undelivered because the state doesn't have current information on the recipient. Someone could leave you money as part of a will and if you don't know about it, the money will sit in a state office until claimed by you or another family member.

As blind and visually impaired people, we know it's easy to misplace a piece of printed mail or to have someone forget to read it to us. Mail can easily be thrown away without us even knowing about it.

Most state treasury departments have online databases of unclaimed property that you can search for free. It only takes filling out a couple of pages of information, and sending a credit card bill that has an old address to claim most items.

To check and see if you have any unclaimed funds, click on your state's link below. Most have a simple database search. If you find your name with an address that's familiar to you, download the paperwork. Instructions should be on the page. Usually, it entails proving you're who you say you are (copy of a state ID) and proving that you lived at that address. If you don't have an old bill from the address, many times your electric or credit card company can make a copy.

Alabama State Treasury Unclaimed Property Program

Alaska's Unclaimed Property Searchable Database

Arizona Department of Revenue Unclaimed Property Division

Great Arkansas Treasure Hunt

California State Controller UCP Inquiry System

Great Colorado Payback

Connecticut State Treasury Unclaimed Property Owners' List

Escheat Unclaimed Property (Delaware) - Maybe Delaware is more efficient than other states because their list is so small that it's a .pdf file instead of a database!

Great Florida Treasure Hunt

Georgia Unclaimed Property Program

State of Hawaii Unclaimed Property Search

Idaho State Tax Commission

Illinois State Treasurer Cash Dash

Indiana Unclaimed

Great Iowa Treasure Hunt

Kansas State Treasurer

Kentucky State Treasury

Louisiana Department of the Treasury

Maine Unclaimed Property

Comptroller of Maryland

Massachusetts Abandoned Property

Michigan's Money Quest

Minnesota Department of Commerce

Mississippi State Treasurer

Missouri State Treasurer

Montana Department of Revenue Unclaimed Property

Nebraska State Treasurer

Nevada Unclaimed Property New Hampshire Treasury

New Jersey Taxation

State of New Mexico Unclaimed Property

New York State's Unclaimed Funds

North Carolina Unclaimed Property Program

North Dakota State Land Department

Ohio Online Treasure Hunt

Oklahoma Unclaimed Property Fund Search

State of Oregon Unclaimed Property

Pennsylvania Treasury

Rhode Island Treasury Unclaimed Property

South Carolina Unclaimed Property

South Dakota Unclaimed Property

Tennessee Treasury Department

Texas Window on State Government

Utah State Treasurer

Vermont State Treasurer

Commonwealth of Virginia Department of the Treasury

Washington State Department of Revenue

West Virginia Treasury

Wisconsin Office of the State Treasurer

Wyoming Unclaimed Property

Tack-Tiles: Building a better braille instructional aid

Teachers and parents who are in search of a fun yet effective braille teaching tool might want to explore the Tack-Tiles Braille System--a growing collection of instructional aids for anyone interested in learning braille. Tack-Tiles owe their origin to a parent who was seeking a way to teach his young son braille. One day he noticed the similarities between a typical plastic Lego-like block and a braille cell. He modified a set of blocks to represent each letter in the braille alphabet and created a sheet onto which his new invention, Tack-Tiles, could be affixed.

That moment of inspiration has become a multi-faceted instructional tool. A typical Tack-Tile is printed on the forward vertical surface with that Braille character's most commonly used visual code(s). For example, the Tack-Tile with dots 1,4 is labelled [ c/3 ]; Tiles bearing dots 3,4,5,6 are marked [number sign/ ble ]; those with dots 2,5,6 present are labelled [ dd/dis/.] and so forth.

Every Tack-Tile Braille System Set contains 320 tiles, four large support slates (each holds eight rows of 20 tiles), four small slates (four rows of 10 tiles) and a carrying case. Tack-Tiles currently offers the following sets:

  • English, French, Spanish, Italian, and German literary Braille
  • Nemeth Braille for mathematics
  • Braille for music notation
  • Computer Braille

In addition to its standard kit, Tack-Tiles also produces a Calendar Kit. The calendar slate has a magnetic-backing so it can be affixed to any metal surface. It includes enough specialized calendar tiles to display two months at the same time as an aid in teaching calendar concepts, transitions and comparisons. The upper right hand corner of each tile is radiused for proper Braille orientation.

For some imaginative methods for using Tack-Tiles visit the company's web site and follow the link to the Forum.

Tack-Tiles Braille Systems, LLC
PO Box 475
Plaistow, NH 03865-0475
Toll Free: 800-822-5845
Phone: 603-382-1904
Fax: 603-382-1748
Email: braille@tack-tiles.com
Web: http://www.tack-tiles.com

Contributor: Malcolm Turner

Friday, June 22, 2007

How to Record Nature Sounds

By Jake Ludington

Recording environmental sounds like singing birds, wild animal calls, water running through a streambed, or the chirp of baby birds is one of the more fascinating (and challenging) aspects of audio recording. Some of the same audio recording techniques apply when recording things like car noises, lawn mower engines and other man made sounds, but you don't always get a chance to do a second take with nature like you do with machines.

Getting started in recording nature sounds requires three basic things:

1) A recording device, like a MiniDisc recorder, Compact Flash recorder, or other digital audio recorder.
2) A stereo microphone or stereo microphone pair
3) Headphones for listening to what you're recording

The big reason to use a digital recorder is to avoid the hiss that comes with using a tape recording medium. The stereo microphone or pair of microphones provide the listener with something much closer to what you'd hear in the real world than a single microphone accomplishes on its own. A microphone zeppelin windscreen is also useful for cutting noise from wind while recording.

You also need a good dose of luck and patience in order to find the specific species of bird or animal you're hoping to record. For a great overview of what's required for recording sounds from the wilderness, the Wildebeat Podcast has a great interview on recording the sounds nature with Kurt Fristurp (of the National Parks Service Natural Sounds Program) and Dan Dugan (of the Nature Sounds Society). Two great tips from the podcast are how to find places free from unnatural sounds and some of the basic techniques for getting a good sample of the sound you hope to record.

One of the best places to get a quick foundation in how to record nature sounds is the Nature Sounds Society. Their Question Bird service provides a solid foundation of answers for people looking for detailed information on the types of audio gear you need for recording various kinds of natural sounds.

Article Source:
Jake Ludington's MediaBlab

Free Music Downloads at We7

Here's a legitimate, safe and legal way to download free music from the Internet, using the same concept Google made famous, ad-supported. We7, a UK based website, delivers free music downloads without any DRM, so users can play the tracks for free, when and how they like, and even share DRM-free music legally with friends. All with the small price of hearing an audio advertising message for up to 10 seconds or less on the tracks that are downloaded for free.

If the business model of We7 can succeed, it's not short of a digital music revolution, which currently is haunted by a high degree of online piracy. Money spent on online music stores such as iTunes, Rhapsody, BuyMusic, MusicMatch, Urge, Sony Connect, Zune Marketplace, Urge, Emusic and Walmart Music can be saved.

Backed by musician Peter Gabriel, British We7 works by offering consumers free music downloads tagged with 10-second advertisements, which are played before the music starts. Four weeks after downloading, We7 users have the option to download up to 20 favorite tracks with the advertisements removed for free. All tracks, whether purchased or free, are DRM free. Artists and singers in turn will get their share of earnings, paid for by We7 from the advertisement revenue. So essentially users will get free music, ad-free and DRM-free without involving piracy.

We7 is currently in beta and hasn't signed any major labels. The venture is currently working with independent record labels, featuring artists such as Youssou N'Dour, Public Symphony, Capercaillie, Jon Christos, Diana Galvydyte and Jakob Fichert, Afro Celt Sound System, Big Strides, the Dave Matthews Band and Hall & Oates. This may be one of the Achilles heel of We7. To be successful, more music from top artists and hot up-and-coming songs are needed.

For those who love a particular track, but don't want the advertisements, they can purchase the track directly, which comes in a higher bitrate.

To get your free music downloads, simply add the song to your playlist, and then download the free MP3 from there. You can also download your playlist as a podcast (RSS feed).

Click this link to visit http://www.we7.com.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

White Cane to help blind and visually impaired webmasters

White Cane Media is a website design and hosting service catering specifically to the blind and visually impaired. The founder of White Cane Media, David Goodwin, is himself blind. David has been involved in website design and management since 1995, and has a sound understanding of the needs and concerns of blind and visually impaired webmasters.

Whether people want to promote their business, share news and information, express their thoughts through a personal blog, create an online discussion forum on their favourite topic, or share pictures through an online photo album, this service will provide the perfect opportunity. The service offers a range of hosting and web site design options that will cater for all levels of knowledge and experience. A basic hosting account is available for those who already have a good level of expertise, or are keen to learn for themselves. Additional options and features are provided for fledgling webmasters who require a little more help in getting a website up and running quickly and smoothly.

For more information, contact:

David Goodwin
White Cane Media
Email: info@whitecane.co.uk
Web: http://www.whitecane.co.uk.

AbilityOne: Employment Opportunities for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

AbilityOne, formerly known as the JWOD Program, provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have severe disabilities in the manufacture and delivery of products and services to the federal government. As the largest source of employment of people who are blind or have severe disabilities in the United States, the AbilityOne Program taps into the abilities of nearly 47,000 individuals nationwide in coordination with over 600 nonprofit agencies. In 1938, the Wagner-O'Day Act was passed under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in order to provide employment opportunities for people who are blind by allowing them to manufacture mops and brooms to sell to the Federal Government.

In 1971, under the leadership of Senator Jacob Javits, Congress amended this Act ( 41 U.S.C. 46-48c) to include people with severe disabilities and allow the Program to also provide services to the Federal Government. Over sixty years later, this extraordinary socioeconomic program provides Federal customers with a wide array of quality products and services, while providing thousands of people with severe disabilities real jobs and increased independence.

The Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled is the JWOD Program's Federal overseer. Through two Central Nonprofit Agencies, National Industries for the Blind and NISH (serving people with a range of disabilities), the Committee currently works with over 600 nonprofit agencies across the country, as well as in Puerto Rico and Guam, to provide employment opportunities to people with severe disabilities. The purchase of JWOD products and services by Federal customers helps battle the 70 percent unemployment rate faced by this untapped labor resource.

In 2006, the Committee decided to change the umbrella name for the program it administers under the Javits-Wagner-O'Day Act from "JWOD" to AbilityOne. For more information, click this link to visit the JWOD Website at http://www.JWOD.gov, or click this link to visit the AbilityOne website at http://www.AbilityOne.gov.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Help Bring Accessibility to XM Radio Receivers

I received the following email and wanted to share it with you. There come times when opportunities arise to bring accessibility to products. There are people out there who realize that things need to be useful to everyone and that no one is getting any younger. Vision issues are going to dominate the lives of many baby boomers. Please help by reading the following and emailing the address below.

by Jim Aldrich: http://www.vipconduit.com and http://www.accessible-devices.com

Hello all,

I was speaking with Mr. Ralph Stewart of MyRadioStore.com. I was inquiring about which XM Radio Receiver was accessible to Blind people these days. A number of changes have taken place which necessitated some changes in XM receivers. The demodulator needed to be turned down to minimize interference to those listening to standard radio stations, especially in an automobile. Some people didn't like Howard Stern coming over their favorite religious station as an example. Many of the newer XM portables are using touch screens these days which aren't accessible for us.

Mr. Stewart then said it's about time for XM receivers to have audio feedback or prompts for those who cannot see the screen. Some engineers he spoke with said the chips used in XM receivers would easily support speech output. He wants to know how many people would be interested in an XM Receiver with speech? Please Email him at ralphs@myradiostore.com. Let's open the flood gates and let him hear from us! He will forward our mail to appropriate engineers and personnel at XM Radio. Perhaps we can make a difference! Please feel free to pass this on to any blindness lists you are on. Thanks for reading!

Protect Your Thumb and Clean Up Your Language While Hammering

In Fred's Head, we talk about devices that no blind or visually impaired person should be without because they improve their lives in some way or another. Well, if you work with wood or find yourself hammering nails into things often, I have another gadget for you. This one not only keeps you safe but prevents you from using the colorful language that often occurs when working with a hammer.

The inventor of this intelligent gadget must have bruised his thumb many a times while using the hammer. He or she obviously got tired of this and created a device that will help you keep the hammer on the right target.

The ThumbSaver was designed and tested by real tradesmen and lends a helping hand when driving nails, screws, fence staples, or just about any fastener. You can use ThumbSaver on nearly any job from fine trim or craft work to the largest framing jobs, building fences, decks or installing joist hangers.

A strong magnet is machined into the durable ergonomically designed aluminum shaft and finished off with a comfort grip. Just pull the tool out of your pack or tool belt, pick up a fastener with the magnet and drive the nail or screw! Once you use it you will know why it is called the ThumbSaver!

The thumbSaver comes in two sizes: large is 7 1/2 inches long with a 7/8 inch grip. Mini is 6 inches long with a 5/8 inch grip.

Click this link to order the ThumbSaver from the Awesome Tools website.

Tips on Using and Reusing Old Dish Towels

  • When they get old and ratty, don't throw them away! Reuse old kitchen towels as cleaning cloths, cut the towels into sections, great for all-purpose cleaning and dusting.
  • Reuse old towels as cheap Swiffer Mop refills. When you're done, just shake the excess muck off, then throw the dirty cloth in the laundry.
  • Dish towels are also an easy alternative to a big, bulky dish drainer. Just put out a couple of tea towels on the countertop, and lay your dishes on them. Hang the cloth to dry when the dishes are finished drying.

If you're looking for a truly durable and absorbent dish towel, try using flour sack towels. Your mothers and grandmothers (or maybe you yourself) used these years ago from the actual flour sacks, but now these amazing towels come in fun patterns and colors. So you get the beauty of a funky towel, while actually getting a towel that dries properly. What a concept!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

OneDerWear: The Wear Once Disposable Underwear

I know, everyone's wondering, right now, why I'm writing an article about disposable underwear on a service about blindness. I haven't lost my mind, hang in there and let me set this up and I think you'll see my reason for this entry.

Have you ever went to a national convention and, once at the hotel, discovered that you forgot to pack the stack of socks and underwear that you had sitting beside the suitcase before the cab showed up to take you to the airport? You thought you put it in with the shampoo and all the other necessities for the trip. Now, what are you going to do. Will you go to the giftshop and ask if they sell underwear? Maybe you'll get lucky and there will be a store near the hotel, but being a visitor to the city, how will you get there? Are you actually going to take a cab somewhere to buy socks and underwear?

Maybe you just don't want dirty socks and underwear around until you get home to do the laundry.

OneDerWear is an ultra-light disposable underwear created for traveling. Designed to provide the utmost comfort and convenience, OneDerWear disposable underwear is 100% cotton and ideally packaged for maximum space efficiency. Each package contains five compact pairs of individually wrapped disposable underwear that can fit in the palm of your hand. With OneDerWear, you simply wear and toss!

My suggestion for the above situation would be to put a pack of these in your suitcase and leave them there. Now, if you ever forget to pack socks or underwear, you're good to go because you've got a backup.

OneDerWear comes in a variety of packs and colors. For men, there are the classic Briefs and Boxers. Women can choose from Classic Briefs, Bikini Briefs or Thongs. Socks are available in Mid-Calf or Ankle Length, in black or white. Each pack is sold for six bucks, not bad to insure that you always have what you need on a trip.

By the end of your trip, you'll be surprised to find plenty of luggage space for gifts and souvenirs.

Click this link to purchase OneDerWear: The Wear Once Disposable Underwear from http://www.onederwear.com.
Click this link to check out Disposable PlaneSheets from Solutions.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Rated "A" for Accessible: Movie reviews for the blind and visually impaired

Movie Review Query Engine

So, you're thinking about going to the movies or maybe renting one, but you're not sure what would be good to see. Well, on this Website, you can find movie reviews that will help you decide if a film is worth seeing or not!

Registration is free and it will give you access to premium features, such as extra reviews and to see if the film you're looking up is showing in your area. Only the blanks with "required" beneath them are necessary in order to register.

The easiest way to use this site is to search by the title of the movie. It's awesome if you know what you are looking for. For instance, I wanted to look up the Superman films. I searched for Superman, chose it from a list of movies with Superman in the title and I got to read a ton of reviews on each movie.

Don't have a movie in mind? No problem, you can search by Categories. This search engine is a drop down menu, so just choose what you want to search by and click Go. My favorite option is Recent Releases, because it's a great way to find what's in the theaters now and how they fared with other viewers. You can also check out Upcoming Releases if you want to plan your movie trip ahead of time. Or, maybe do a search for "most popular title" for the last week, previous day, last 12 hours or last three hours.

No matter how you search, you are bound to find tons of reviews on the movie of your choice. Check it out today and have fun at the movies!

Click this link to visit the Movie Review Query Engine at http://www.mrqe.com.

Blindspots

Being blind or having a visual impairment doesn't have to keep you from enjoying the pleasure of going to the theatre and taking in a good movie. But the truth is, some movies are easier to follow than others. Now there is Blindspots, a website that rates movies for accessibility for blind and visually impaired moviegoers.

Every movie that Blindspots' reviews receives a rating on a 1 to 10 scale. A movie earns a 10 if a blind person can follow without any assistance from a sighted assistant. A 1 score indicates a film that was next to impossible to follow, even with assistance.

Of course, the most accessible film could have a real stinker of a storyline. But the creators of Blindspots' recognize that personal taste is, well, personal. Since the sole focus of the service is to rate movies for accessibility, reviewers do not judge films for content, violence, sexuality or profanity.

The site keeps current with new releases. And its archive of reviews is growing every day. Visitor comments and questions are openly encouraged.

Click here to visit the Blindspots home page: http://www.vashti.net/blind.

Kids in Mind

Now, you can find out a movie's appropriateness for your kids before you ever leave the house. This Web site breaks each movie down into three major categories: Sex and Nudity, Violence and Gore and Profanity. They also cover substance abuse, discussion topics and the message of the movie. For each category, they list what was seen or heard in the movie.

For example, Profanity: "1 scatological term, 1 clinical scatological term, a man yells "sheep" in frustration, 2 anatomical terms, name-calling (ugly, stalker, insane, loco, jerks, Captain Ahab, fool, stupid), 4 religious exclamations." - The Evan Almighty review at Kids in Mind.

Doesn't that really break it down for you? And they do that for each category. You will know exactly what your kids might see or hear before you ever get to the theater. That way, if there is some offensive material or if it's not age-appropriate for your kids, you can veto the movie beforehand.

On the main page, you will find the newest reviews added to the site. On the right hand menu, you'll find links under the categories of This Week, Last Week and In Theaters for movie reviews.

You can also use the alphabet under the main menu near the top of the page to search by first letter or you can use their handy search engine to type in what movie you are looking for.

On the main menu, you will also find a New on Video, which gives you the same style of reviews for movies that have been recently released on video or DVD. You will also find a Help/FAQ link on the main menu, should you have any problems with the site or if a question arises.

This is an excellent tool for monitoring what your children watch.

Click this link to visit http://kids-in-mind.com.

Let's Talk Twango

Twango is a Website where you can upload and share your photos, videos, audio files and various other documents. Now, I know there are a lot of sites that allow you to do the same stuff, but Twango definitely has some cool features. Twango is completely free to use and there is no sign up required.

To use Twango without signing up, click this link to visit their Website. The first thing you'll see is where you can start to upload your files. Just hit the Browse button and find what you'd like to upload. Select it and then hit the Upload button. Your file needs to be 10 MB or smaller, but other than that, you shouldn't run into any problems.

If you do choose to create a free account, you can immediately upload files up to 100 MB in size, upload multiple files at once, work with your video and audio players, create slideshows, page tickers, etc. and even easily organize your files. Another great thing about Twango is that when you upload a file, you can opt to get links to them to put in your blog or even send them through email. This way, your friends and family members can see your photos, videos, etc. with just one click. The links never expire either, so they'll always be there to view. How cool is that?!

Twango offers unlimited storage, so you'll never have to worry about running out of room for all the items you'd like to share. If you're not sure Twango is right for you, explore the site before you start anything of your own. You can see what other members are uploading, you can check out some of the other members' profiles and see their latest comments. There truly is so much to do with Twango, you'll never run out of options.

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

The XP Look in Vista

Have you recently started using Windows Vista? If so, are you having a little trouble navigating your way through the new setup of the operating system? At first, it can be quite confusing. Everything you were familiar with in Windows XP has been changed or moved to another location and that makes it really hard to get your work done, doesn't it? Well, lucky for all of us, there are a few things you can do to change everything back to the way it used to be.

As I'm sure you already know, along with Vista came a whole new Start menu. And I'm guessing that some of you don't care too much for it. If that's the case, you can switch it back to the way it looked in XP. To do so, just right click on the Start button and choose Properties. Make sure you're under the Start Menu tab and tick the option for Classic Start menu. Click OK and then check out your new Start menu. Now, doesn't that feel better?!

Once you switch back to the old Start menu, you can also customize it. Hit the Customize button and you'll see all the choices you have. You can add or remove items from your Start menu list, you can sort your items and so on and so forth. There's even a checklist of different options you can choose from. For example, you can choose to display your favorites, display the Run command, expand the Control Panel, use the personalized menus, etc. There's so many choices! When you're done, just click OK twice and you'll be all set.

The Mouseless Right Click

There are many people who are new to the right click menus and the options they contain in various Windows programs.

Many people aren't remotely interested in trying to remember all the key combinations necessary to replace the features in a right click. These right clicks are great for everyone who's comfortable with the mouse, but what about the rest of you? The ones who have low vision and love to use the keyboard as much as possible, but still want to complete the same tasks found in these menus. Is there a mouseless solution for you?

Take a look at your keyboard to the right of the space bar and just past the Alt and Windows keys. See it? That key is called the Applications Key and it replaces the right click of the mouse. Many screen readers use this key for totally blind computer users, but you don't have to be a total to get good use of it.

Once pressed, you can use the arrow keys to navigate through the pop up menus and the Enter key to select your choices. If you hit this key accidentally or just want to back out of the pop up menu, hit the Esc key.

Here's a quick note: When I checked my laptop keyboard, I found this key in the top section of the keyboard. You may have to do some searching to find it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Elevator Etiquette

Apparently, the state of elevator etiquette has gotten so out of hand that the people at ElevatorRules.Com decided to lay the ground rules for proper elevator behavior.

ElevatorRules lists the most important rules for different elevator-riding scenarios, so you'll always know what to do in every elevator-related situation. Sure, it's common sense, but you'll be surprised at what you can learn.

I've summarized the top 5 tips for those of you who frequent elevators:

  1. If you are going up or down one floor, use the stairs.
  2. Stand away from the doors while waiting to board and wait until everyone has exited before entering.
  3. Do not have loud, annoying conversations or sing while in the elevator.
  4. If you are sick, consider boarding an empty elevator so you won't get others sick.
  5. Here's one that is more difficult for those of us who don't see: do not re-press the call button or a floor button that someone else has already pressed.


Click this link to learn more elevator etiquette from ElevatorRules.Com.

Two Screen Readers for Linux

The Linux Screen Reader (LSR) is an application that transforms the contents of the computer screen to other media, enabling non-visual access to the graphical Gnome desktop environment. The basic function of the screen reader is to report changes in the state of an application as a user interacts with it using the keyboard or other system input device. What is reported to the user and what commands are available for controlling the screen reader are determined by cascading scripts that completely define the user experience. The scripts can be loaded and unloaded by the user at run time, and custom scripts can be written to improve the usability of certain applications and interactions. How information is reported to the user and how the user gives input are determined by one or more configured input and output devices. Like scripts, devices can be loaded and unloaded by the user at run time, and custom device profiles can be written to support new methods of input and output (e.g. Braille, speech, switches, and joysticks).

The current implementation defines a keyboard device for input and a speech device for output using the IBM ViaVoice speech engine. A default script that responds to focus, selection, and caret changes in the active application is included. The default script also defines some basic keyboard commands for navigating applications, setting the speech rate, and reporting where the user focus currently lies. Documentation is included with the source code.

This technology was created by Pete Brunet, Larry Weiss, Peter Parente, and Brett Clippingdale. They can be reached through e-mail. at https://secure.alphaworks.ibm.com/aw.nsf/contact/lsr.

Another software speech synthesizer with capability for nine languages is also available for Linux. Click this link to check out TTSynth at http://TTSynth.Com.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Craft Adaptations for Adults with Vision Impairments

People who have enjoyed making crafts at different times in their lives prior to vision loss may think they can no longer continue. Also, individuals who would like to begin making crafts for the first time may hesitate because of reduced vision. But we know, from years of teaching experience with individuals who have little or no sight, that it is very possible to continue the fun activity of craft-making. This book, with its extensive range of easy adaptations, will show you how it can be done!

This is the first publication in VisionAWARE's Independence! series. It contains 17 favorite crafts, along with detailed instructions and adaptions for crafters who are blind or have low vision. The contents have been field-tested for many years by Vision Rehabilitation Therapist and author Stephanie Stephens Van, a highly qualified and experienced vision rehabilitation professional. This updated and expanded large print (18 point APHont) version includes five additional crafts, and a new introduction, "hints" section, and resource list.

A complete Table of Contents is located on the VisionAWARE web site and includes previews of two sample crafts.

Click this link to learn more or purchase Craft Adaptations for Adults with Vision Impairments from the VisionAware website.

Blind Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual People (BFLAG)

BFLAG, Blind Friends of Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual People is a chartered affiliate of The American Council of the Blind. BFLAG is the only national organization dedicated to serving the special needs of individuals who are both visually impaired and part of the GLBT community.

Education and information remain cornerstones of BFLAG's mission of improving the quality of life of those who are blind and lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Collaborating with PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), BFLAG has transferred a growing volume of literature into accessible formatted materials from which the visually impaired can benefit.

BFLAG also advocates for this segment of the community by ensuring adequate services are made available by agencies and institutions serving the blind and by providing a forum for views and concerns of this often overlooked segment of the GLBT community.

For more information about BFLAG and its services, contact:

BFLAG
4802 Holder Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21214-3009
Email: bflagmpls@yahoo.com
Web: http://www.bflag.org

Thursday, June 07, 2007

reCAPTCHA That CAPTCHA

A CAPTCHA is a program that can tell whether its user is a human or a computer. You've probably come in contact with them, colorful images with distorted text at the bottom of Web registration forms that are totally inaccessible to screen readers and some screen magnification programs. CAPTCHAs are used by many websites to prevent abuse from "bots," or automated programs usually written to generate spam. No computer program can read distorted text as well as humans can, so bots cannot navigate sites protected by CAPTCHAs.

About 60 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that's not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort and make it easier for the blind to solve these electronic puzzles? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into "reading" books.

To archive human knowledge and to make information more accessible to the world, multiple projects are currently digitizing physical books that were written before the computer age. The book pages are being photographically scanned, and then, to make them searchable, transformed into text using "Optical Character Recognition" (OCR). The transformation into text is useful because scanning a book produces images, which are difficult to store on small devices, expensive to download, and cannot be searched. The problem is that OCR is not perfect.

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can't read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here's how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

reCAPTCHA also provides audible methods to solve their CAPTCHAs. Instead of using a combination of numbers and letters, which can be confusing and difficult to understand, reCAPTCHA uses eight numbers to solve their puzzles. By using numbers only, the puzzles are easier to solve.

Click this link to learn more about reCAPTCHA by visiting their website at http://recaptcha.net.

The "Save All" and "Close All" of MS-Word

Have you ever had several MS Word documents open at once and want to quickly save or close them all?

Maybe you're going to close the program and would like to avoid the continual pop up boxes, asking you to save each document. Maybe you're going to walk away from your computer for a few minutes and would like to quickly save everything "just in case." You know how those situations arise when you wish you would have saved everything before the machine "freaked out" or the power failed.

I'm sure that when you save your files, you use either Ctrl+S, the Save button or you go to the File menu, Save choice. Any of those options are great, but remember, you have to repeat the process for each document.

Feeling a bit frustrated? After all, you only wanted to walk away for a quick minute and it's going to take you five just to shuffle through all those open files to get them saved. Looking for a quicker option? Maybe one that allows you to save all the documents in one quick move, instead of file by file? Next time you're in a bind, give this a try.

Hold down the Shift key and go to the File menu.

Take a good look. See it? Listen to your screen reader, you should hear something different?

Where the Save choices used to be, there should now be Close All and Save All options. Choose Save All and Word will go through all open documents and save each one without closing the documents. (For new documents, it will bring up the Save As window to allow you to name your document, just like individual Save As commands would have done). Close All will close all open documents, prompting to save if necessary.

Now, if only we had something like this for around the house. You know, vacuum one room and poof, they're all vacuumed. Make one bed and poof, they're all made. You get the idea.

Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT)

COAT is a coalition of disability organizations, launched in March 2007, to advocate for legislative and regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet protocol (IP) technologies. The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology, or COAT, consists of over 67 national, regional, and community-based organizations dedicated to making sure that as our nation migrates from legacy public switched-based telecommunications to more versatile and innovative IP-based and other communication technologies, people with disabilities will benefit like everyone else.

Emerging digital and Internet-based technologies can provide people with disabilities with new opportunities for greater independence, integration, and privacy, but only if these are designed to be accessible. The guiding principle of this Coalition will be to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of daily living through accessible, affordable and usable communication technologies as these continue to evolve.

>More information about the disability coalition is available at http://www.coataccess.org or through email at info@coataccess.org.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Windows Vista Keyboard Commands

Do you have anything on Vista yet? (Vista being Window's new operating software.) Anna Dresner has compiled all the commands and tricks for using Vista without a mouse in one easy-to-use reference card.

It's not too soon to see what's different!

To order online, visit http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/VISTA.html or to order, send payment to:

NBP
88 St. Stephen Street
Boston, MA 02115-4302
Toll Free: 800-548-7323
Phone: 617-266-6160 ext 20

Fred's Head in Space



BlogInSpace.com Logo

When we started the Fred's Head Companion, we wanted to push blindness-related information out to the millions of readers on the internet. Here's a service that takes our message and sends it even further.

Some 60 years ago humans first began transmitting television signals powerful enough to reach beyond our earth's atmosphere. Since then the media has continued to broadcast messages from I Love Lucy to the five o'clock news into space, potentially reaching intelligent alien life forms beyond our solar system.

Blog in Space is the first entity to allow everyday bloggers to transmit the news and thoughts of an everyday person into space. Simply put, they take your blog's RSS feed and transmit it out on a powerful deep space transmission dish.

Click this link to learn more or to send your blog into space: http://www.bloginspace.com

Free and Accessible Online Retail Store Price Comparison Service

SalesCircular.com announces the availability of an Internet service to help shoppers compare prices and features for products advertised at their local retail stores. This is a free service available immediately at their Website www.SalesCircular.com.

One of the best features of Internet shopping is to compare prices and features. However, blind and visually impaired customers still do the majority of their shopping in local retail stores as they need to touch and feel the products before buying. SalesCircular combines the best of both worlds by presenting prices and features of products advertised at the retail stores. This information is organized in specific product categories to show at a glance and screen-reader friendly listings.

Blind and visually impaired shoppers face three challenges to doing comparison shopping on their own:

  1. The advertising information is fragmented in various circulars that are distributed as junk mail, newspaper inserts and E-circulars at store Websites. In addition, store advertising is targeted to cover customer population near retail store locations. This simply means customers do not have all the information on what's advertised in retail stores.

  2. Rebates, coupons, bundled purchases (buy-one-get-one-free), middle of the week and one day sales make the comparison shopping difficult.

  3. Conducting comparison shopping takes a lot of time and effort and all the above are not presented in a format easily used by the blind or visually impaired.

SalesCircular makes things easier by consolidating the sales information at the retail stores and making it available over the Internet. It provides for quick feature and price comparisons thereby allowing shoppers to find the best deal. Store ads have few specials mixed in with regular-priced merchandise. SalesCircular.com helps the shoppers pick and choose the best priced products from each store. As the shoppers know what products are available in stores before they visit the store, it also reduces the possibility they will fall for a potential bait and switch by the stores.

SalesCircular.com is a free service covering over 90% of population in 45 US states. It covers products from regional stores and major national retailers like Best Buy Co, Circuit City Stores, CompUSA Inc, K-Mart Corp, Office Depot, Office Max Inc, Radio Shack, Sears, Roebuck and Co., Staples Inc, Target, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. etc.

For more information, visit the company's website at http://www.SalesCircular.com.

Tips to Prevent Child Drowning

Hanging out at the beach or the pool is a ton of fun, especially for kids. As the summer approaches, think of the following tips so you and your kids can play by the pool without worry:

  1. Never leave a child unattended or with a young sibling in a swimming pool, wading pool, bathtub or hot tub.
  2. Pools should be fenced and gated with self-locking gates.
  3. Always secure the safety cover on your spa or hot tub.
  4. Do not leave empty containers in yards or around the house where they may accumulate water and attract young children.
  5. Adults and teenagers age 14 and older who supervise children should know CPR. Studies have demonstrated that nearly drowned children given quick CPR suffered no brain damage.
  6. Children should be given swimming lessons but should not be considered water-safe until they are 14 years old.
  7. Keep small children out of bathrooms unless supervised by an adult or older child.
  8. Older children and even adults should not swim alone in the ocean or fast-moving rivers.
  9. Children should wear bright-colored flotation devices when boating.
  10. Don't mix alcohol, children and water.
Article Source:
UCLA emergency physicians

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Read PowerPoint Presentations to Your Group with PowerTalk

Have you ever had to use PowerPoint for a presentation at work? You created the slides and had no problem reading them when they were on the computer, but now you can't see them on the large screen during your presentation.

Maybe you are a sighted presentor and your audience is visually impaired or blind and you are uncomfortable reading all the text associated with your presentation. You want to make things accessible for your audience, you just don't like to read aloud. What can you do?

PowerTalk will read aloud the text included in any Windows PowerPoint (2000 or later) presentation, at least through Windows XP. This is a great tool for anyone who is unable to narrate or read his or her own presentations.

PowerTalk is straightforward to download and install, and it is just as easy to use. All you do is right-click on the shortcut to a presentation and then select "Narrate with PowerTalk". PowerTalk reads both the text that appears on the screen as well as hidden text that is attached to images. Helpfully, PowerTalk waits for text to appear and for animations to run their course before speaking the text.

PowerTalk automatically uses your default Windows voice. So, if you use PowerPoint extensively, it might be worth your while to purchase a high quality voice. These readily available downloads normally cost about US$30.

PowerTalk is a completely free open source add-on that will make life easier for the visually impaired presentor. Click this link to learn more or download PowerTalk: http://fullmeasure.co.uk/powertalk.

The TEMO Talking Microwave

This is a great product that has shown up in stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Imagine a talking microwave under $100. It's available and here's some of the features:

  • 0.9 cu.ft. 900W Oven Cavity
  • 10 Power Levels
  • Digital Display with Clock
  • Turntable
  • Instructive Talking Programmable Feature
  • Interchangeable Voice Language Feature (English/Spanish)
  • Eight Instant Settings for Common Foods
  • Five Express Cook One-Touch Settings
  • Five Memory Setting Buttons
  • Remind Signal


Specifications

  • Model: 87106 or 87108 (the difference is the color)
  • Turntable Diameter: 12.4 inches
  • External Dimensions: 20.1 x 17 x 11.2 inches
  • Net Weight: 30.5 lbs

The buttons are totally accessible. They're easy to feel, and are much like the buttons on any other appliance or remote control. It also has a little knob that you turn to set the cook times, with a little notch you feel [tactile] each time you turn it so you can easily tell how far to turn it.

You push a button on the knob and it'll ask you to set the minutes, then when you set the minutes you push the button again and it'll ask you to set the seconds. After you do that you push the button again and it starts. It is really easy to use. Click this link to purchase the Hamilton Beach 0.9 cu.ft. Talking Microwave from walmart.com

Contact your local Best Buy or Wal-Mart if walmart.com runs out of stock for pricing and availability or click this link to visit the Microwave section of the Hamilton Beach website.

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sloppy Joes

Got a pound of ground beef? Sloppy joes are a hit at my house, and they're simple to make. Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion diced (pickier the kids, finer the dice)
  • 1 small bell pepper diced (optional)
  • 2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestshire sauce

Over medium heat, brown then drain the ground beef. Return to the heat and add diced onions and peppers, cook until soft. Add tomato sauce, paste, brown sugar, steak seasoning, and Worcestshire sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and cook for an additional five - ten minutes stirring occasionally. Serve on toasted buns.

Friday, June 01, 2007

New Visions Network

The New Visions Network is an online chat site for people who are blind or visually impaired, irregardless of their race, religious affiliation or economic status. Everyone has an interesting story to tell and we can all learn from each other.

"This site was created by a group of friends with a New-Vision. our dream has come to life, and we would like you to continue our dream by adding ideas of your own."

"We see for the future, a place where people can come and share with others. We have brought to this site our ideas, and we can all help each other find a place for everyone. Join us, enjoy and have fun."

"We have attempted to make navigation on this site as easy as possible. Every page has the same look and feel and has been designed with accessibility in mind. You can access practicly everything on the site from the menu and the footer links."

Click this link to visit http://www.new-visions-network.com.

Just Hurry Up and Listen

By Chuck Ayers

I am certainly not a trained historian. But lately when I chat with elderly men or women and engage them in conversation about their early growing up experiences, I attempt to follow their personal chronicles with great interest. This is surely aided by my little pocket digital recorder. I have recently been able to harvest an abundance of colorful history from senior town's folks. And, usually the most unsuspecting common and humble person generally has the most interesting story to tell, people who often shy away from talking about themselves. People from the back streets of society. People such as: Farmers plowing with mules, oil field workers missing fingers, farmer's wives cooking with wood burning stoves, or immigrant mill workers, for the most part, have the richest accounts of life. All who had carried the weight while carving out hard earned history.

Almost all these ordinary people have captivating stories. A spoken life's narrative Otherwise known as oral history. A verbal history seeming to be the mortar that bonds together the larger brick house of history.

Once an older person begins recounting his or her past, I usually have a tendency to ask too many questions born out of curiosity. However, I am learning to just let them naturally pour out their fountain of memories like an Oklahoma gusher. But, I want to know everything. I feel we have limited time to explore their rich experiences. So many people to talk to. Many questions to ask. So little time left in their lives. And most importantly, so much we amateur oral historians can learn.

What I like about oral history is the emotion and honesty heard in the speaker's voice. You know they've been there and experienced history up close and personal. Hands-on living history. They have a convincing sincere tone. Most matter of fact but no big deal. And, to them, it was just another experience filed away in to their deep well of memories.

These "Salt of the earth" people sometimes had incredible Experiences and for the moment, forgotten. Buried away until someone like myself goes in the goldmine of his or her memory to extracts a priceless experiential nugget. Usually an experience that seems worlds away from our own experience. A spoken capsule of history that sometimes aids in connecting the historical dots from the past to the present.

To view my all new website and Blog, go to: http://www.chuckayers.com Web-log, Your Mail, Music, My Weekly Radio Show, Essays, Favorite Breakfast Places, and More.

The Wilson Digital Recorder

The Wilson is a state-of-the art digital voice recorder that is simple to use and inexpensive. Makes a great gift! Record up to eight hours of voice messages and download to your computer via the included USB cable.

Features
  • Stores multiple messages
  • Easily add or delete messages
  • Clips to your belt, visor, or purse
  • LP/SP switch for "Long Play" or "Standard Play" (shorter recording time, better sound quality)
Use to Record:
  • Phone numbers
  • Addresses
  • Shopping List
  • Reminders
  • To-do lists
  • Notes
  • Appointments
  • Messages
  • Lectures
  • Directions
  • Audio instructions
  • And much more!

Measures 2 x 3 x 0.5 inches.

Note: Requires 2 AAA batteries (not included).

Note: The Wilson digital recorder is not related to the Wilson Reading System product and is not available on quota.

Catalog Number:
1-03993-00
Click this link to purchase The Wilson Digital Voice Recorder.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@aph.org
Web site: http://www.aph.org
APH Shopping Home: http://shop.aph.org

In the First Person

"An index to letters, diaries, oral histories, and personal narratives," in text, audio or video. Browse through repositories, collections, historical event, subject, etc. or search for specific collections or documents. Some of the documents and collections indexed here are available only to subscribing institutions, but much of this material is free.

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

Paper Out!

By Chuck Ayers

I am certainly one dedicated to rational and thoughtful thinking. And, those of you who really know me surely respect my effort I spend in laboring with good reasoning and sound judgment. Nonetheless, A dedicated compulsion is what drives me to consider all angles while looking at each decision with a clear and unbiased mind. If I can possibly avoid making a wrong decision then I am the better for it.

I consider myself a keen observer of reality and usually learn how things work with relative ease. Witnessing what is normal and consistent is a clear indicator of how things should work. If I can observe a regular pattern and duplicate that, then that's how things should and can work. However, others, with an odd sense of correctness, go against the norm. Eccentric is the best way to describe them. Seemingly almost always going against the proverbial grain just to point out their own opinion or presents. No matter what is said or done, they will take issue with you and make you feel like you are the odd man(or woman) out.

Now, having traveled and been to various parts of this land of ours, I have seen how things are and how they should work. I have stayed in hotels, motels, and individuals homes. I've visited inside airports, train stations, bus stations, and lobbies of tall and short office building. I have also been inside gourmet restaurants, fast food restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations, and yes even port-a-potties and outhouses.

My observation is this. After observing bathroom after bathroom in every building setting, the answer is clearly without a doubt a unanimous conclusion. It is conclusive that professional housekeepers of restrooms and other lavatorial facilities always place the roll of toilet paper on its wall bracket with paper rolling outward. The reason I bring this to your attention, is there are a few dullards among us who insist installing the paper with paper rolling inward and away from the TP user. Certainly making it inconvenient to roll the paper with ease. Thus causing unnecessary consternation and suffering. Don't they know housekeeping professionals all over America place the toilet paper roll with tissue falling outward? Where did these contrarians receive their personal care education and toilet training? Who are these people anyway? They certainly must be socio/cultural misfits.

Me being an easy going guy and one to preserve consistency can certainly tell the difference between out and in. It's oh so obvious to the casual observer. Paper should roll out just as is done by professional housekeepers and janitorial staff.

To view my all new website and Blog, go to: http://www.chuckayers.com Web-log, Your Mail, Music, My Weekly Radio Show, Essays, Favorite Breakfast Places, and More.

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