Showing posts from March, 2008

WordPerfect for DOS and Windows 3.1 Files

WordPerfect for DOS, in the opinion of many knowledgeable users, is still the greatest program ever written. Some of its features have not been matched even by the latest Windows software, and its interface remains unequaled for efficiency and elegance. Its support for multiple font formats has not yet been equaled by any other program or operating system, and its support for multiple alphabets, languages, and symbol sets has only been equaled by the latest versions of Windows. This site was created as a way to share printer drivers and other files that can be of help to anyone who wants to continue to use WordPerfect for DOS in the twenty-first century. Every user of WordPerfect for DOS under Windows 2000 or XP should buy a $US20 copy of Tame from This program speeds keyboard input and improves compatibility for WPDOS and other DOS applications under Windows 2000 and XP. WordPerfect for DOS is no longer marketed by Corel. Fully legal replacement and upgrade copie…

SEN Teacher: Online Resource

"SEN Teacher provides cost-free teaching & learning resources for students with special needs and learning disabilities." That's how this repository of special education resources sums itself up. (SEN is the acronym from the UK that stands for Special Education Needs.) SEN Teacher offers a substantial collection of "printable" (and brailleable) downloads. There are links to websites that provide information about a wide range of disabilities, free online resources, and freeware download sites. The free software listed here includes programs to help develop basic mouse and other computer skills that may assist someone with low vision, programs to practice switch use, programs that support curriculum, and much more. There are even a few programs by SEN Teacher itself (1-5 Counting, 3D Shape Venn, Buried 3D Shape, Girl Face Matching). I think you'll find something of use here.

Click this link to visit

Large Type Boy Scout Handbook

Message: I am a Scoutmaster in Hickory, NC. I have a new Scout that is visually impaired. He gets all his school text books in large print. I would like to know if there is an official Boy Scout Hand Book in large print? Yes, APH has the official book Boy Scout Handbook published by Boy Scouts of America (c1998) in large type. This version consists of 2 pamphlets, 494 pages and a font size of 14 point. When ordering from APH Customer Service, please provide the catalog number L-98300-00.

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
Web site:

E-file Your Taxes: It Can Be Done with a Screen Reader

Message: Dear Fred, I know in the last couple of years, they have come out with e-filing for taxes. Are there really any good benefits to doing it that way? Can someone who is blind or visually impaired complete the tax forms online? If so, please enlighten us! Filing taxes online has become very popular in the last few years and even the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has been known to "push" people into filing their taxes this way. Of course, we can all figure out that e-filing is a big money saver for the government, but there really are some benefits for us too! First of all, I want to make sure everyone understands the terminology I am talking about. The whole thing is called e-filing. It's basically just a way for all the tax payers in the world to file their taxes electronically through the Web. To some, it's a more convenient and faster way to get their taxes done. If you don't agree yet, you may change your mind after hearing about the following benef…

USB Mini Desktop LED Light

Here's a nice way to light up your desk at home, in a dorm room, or at the office, using only the power from the USB port of your computer to make the three LEDs shine. Features include: Mini USB light with 3 LEDs
Powered by USB port
Touch power On/Off
Flexible metal gooseneck
Dimension: 6cm dia x 38cm tall
Weight: 157g Click this link to purchase the Mini Desktop USB Light from

Seatbelts Protect Your Eyes from Airbags

Ophthalmologists from Brown University and Penn State University medical schools wanted to analyze the variety of eye injuries that occur in airbag-deployed collisions. They scoured over 9,000 records from a single metropolitain Level 1 trauma center between 1997 to 2005. They discovered 47 documented eye injuries. Here's how the numbers broke down with the occupants of the 47 airbag-worthy crashes: 21 of 47 occupants did not wear seatbelts and 71% of them sustained serious eye injuries
Only 76% of this group recovered 20/40 vision or better
14% of this group ended up legally blind Meanwhile: 26 of 47 occupants were wearing seatbelts and only 31% sustained serious eye injuries
96% of this group recovered 20/40 vision or better
Nobody in this group ended up legally blind The authors concluded that seatbelt use is associated with fewer airbag eye injuries, less severe eye injuries, and better visual outcomes. So, now you have two reasons to wear your seatbelt: to protect your life a…

Select Text with the Help of a Macro

From the Top Tech Tidbits Newsletter we learn of a macro that, when using Word, allows you to mark a spot, navigate in the usual way to a destination in your document, then hit a second key, automatically selecting the text between those two positions. These macros work in any version from Word 2000 to 2007. Directions for installing them on your system have been updated to include Word 2007 keystrokes.

You can grab the macros and instructions (in an MS-Word document) at this link:

Online Price Drop Notification

Is there a particular product you've had your eye on for awhile but you want to wait a bit for the price to drop before you buy it? If this is the case, Price!pinx can keep you updated by letting you know when the price of that product drops, saving you time and energy. To start using Price!pinx simply search the internet for the product you want, and enter it along with the price at Price!pinx. The site will monitor a majority of shopping sites on the net and when it detects a lower price than the one you entered, it will notify you. Save money and time while still getting everything you've always wanted.

Click this link to start saving money with

Buy or Post Your Unpublished Books at is a site devoted to those who share a passion for books, and acts as a place to bring unpublished writers together with interested readers. The site includes works of fiction and non-fiction, as well as plays and scripts. Book prices start at $2.50, and increases as a book becomes more popular (as indicated by sales on Book Habit). Authors pay nothing to add their books to the site, and receive 40% of the sale price. Once you download a book, you can enjoy it on your computer, mobile phone, PDA, or ereader. Books are downloaded in the PDF format. For readers, the site provides a place to explore undiscovered authors or find books on niche or specialty subjects not typically published or promoted by mainstream publishing companies. User reviews provide a means to share your opinion, as well as to learn what others thought of a book before you purchase it. Authors may benefit from constructive user criticism, and can use the site to gain visibility or sales figures tha…

Create a Custom Streaming Internet Station

A new breed of Internet radio stations allow you to create your own custom streaming station, edit it, skip songs at will, share your station with others, and discuss music. Unlike Pandora, which is a veteran in this field and is difficult, if not impossible, to use with screen readers, with no hope for change in sight, Jango, currently in beta, is very user-friendly. To get you started, here's a little tour of some of their main features: Stations: Play your selected artists (plus similar artists we recommend) To create a new station, just type in an artist and press play. To add more artists, just go to "My Home" and click "Add to Station".
Rate which songs to play more (or less): To make your stations even smarter, just click the smilies in your player to rate which songs you want to play more or less. Screen reader users will find three rating links, bad, OK, and good.
Tune in to other stations: The faces in your player are other people listening to simil…

Robert Krampf's Science Education Company

Robert Krampf is a science educator based in Florida. Mr. Krampf and his wife travel the country giving upbeat presentations about a range of science topics appropriate for students at many grade levels. On his website, he features videos of experiments and demonstrations that students and teachers can do. Each video is accompanied by a list of resources needed to perform each experiment or demonstration.

Click this link to visit Robert Krampf's Science Education Company at


Darrell Shandrow at Blind Access Journal posted the following announcement about a new website and I wanted to share it with Fred's Head users as well. As you know, the web page of has not been updated for years after I began focusing on software projects. I knew the site needed a redesign, but wanted to work on Windows GUI development, so left it there as a community service for whoever still found it useful, and instead posted direct links to program or documentation files that I added to the site. Inthane, Jeff Bishop, and others gathered some of these links on pages of their sites in order to ease finding them -- collaboration I appreciate. Last year, I agreed to take over a community project, begun by Chris Hofstader, to develop a C# tutorial for JAWS users. I expanded the scope to any .NET language and any screen reader, naming the project Nonvisual Development with .NET. List members suggested a wiki as a vehicle for collaborating on the tutor…

How About an Extra Set of Hands in the Kitchen?

The Sticky Bowl has been designed to attach any mixing bowl securely to a flat surface. It basically provides an extra hand in all types of kitchens, whether you're working on your own or with others. Sticky bowl can also be applied to plates, bowls and platters. One side has been designed bigger than the other to accommodate a larger range of bowl sizes. On the side are easy to find release levers. Sticky Bowl is dishwasher safe.

Click this link to learn more about Sticky Bowl:

Tips and Resources for the blind or visually impaired traveler

Traveling with a vision impairment can be challenging, but that shouldn't deter you from getting out and seeing the world. Here are some suggestions to make your trip smooth and your stay stress-free.
Consider using brightly colored luggage or high-contrast tape on dark colored bags to make it easier to identify your luggage on the baggage claim carousel.

Invest in a specially designed "luggage locator" that includes a receiver unit (attached to your luggage) and a transmitter for the traveler. With the press of a button, the luggage beeps as long as it is within a five-foot range of the transmitter.

Carry a signature guide for signing credit card receipts. It's a good way to educate others that people with vision impairment are capable of signing their names.

Be mindful of your money and stay organized. If you're traveling in Europe, the new Euro currency can be distinguished by size, color and tactile characteristics.
Fred's Airport Tip I have found w…

How to Tell if an Egg is Bad

Food poisoning is one of the worst experiences a person can go through, it can be lethal. Eggs can be the source of some superb meals, but they can also be the source of food poisoning if they are eaten when they've gone bad. How can you tell when an egg is fresh or ready for the garbage can? You use the old floating egg trick, just follow these steps: Place the egg into a bowl of water. The water level should be deeper than the egg is long.
Leave things alone for a few seconds.
Observe what the egg does. Gently touch the egg to see if it does one of the following: Fresh eggs will sink to the bottom of the bowl and lie on their sides.
Slightly older eggs (about one week) will lie on the bottom but bob slightly.
If the egg balances on its small end, with the large end reaching for the sky, it's probably around three weeks old.
Eggs that float at the surface are bad and should not be consumed. If you have difficulty observing the egg by touch, smell the egg. With time, bacteria bre…

Online Database of Telemarketer Phone Numbers

Want to find out more about telemarketers that spam you? CallerComplaints is a free, public user-powered database of telemarketer phone numbers, harassing callers, debt collection callers, and telephone con-artists. Here you can lookup any such phone number and see if anyone else reported it and learn more about the company behind it. Aditionally, CallerComplaints offers a free and easy way to file a public complaint against any phone number that spams you. Keep in mind though these complaints have almost no legal power over the telemarketers. For more effective complaints, you might want to try the National Do Not Call Registry at

Click this link to visit

SusieSays Let's Go Shopping! is your guide to shopping. It is always better to go shopping with a friend so bring Susie along. Susie is that friend who helps you find all of those bargains. is a site that helps users with online shopping, from coupons to shopping tips. All of the content on the site is well organized into clear categories, from home and garden to kids clothing. Once you choose a category, there are sub categories like sizes and types of clothing. also has price ranges so you can search for items within your budget. The items on sale have a photo and a brief description of the item along with the brand logo. You can also use the key word search to find the coupons you are looking for. Using the coupons is simple, either click on them to check out or copy the code at check out and paste in the appropriate place. A unique aspect of the site, separating from the competitors, is when visitors comparison shop, they offer the option of checking…

Free Credit Scores at

Would you like to be able to check your credit score routinely and take actions that will help you to improve it? If so, then check out Credit Karma, a free service that allows you to check your credit score on a daily basis and will also provide you with tools and articles that can help you to improve your overall credit score. Credit Karma helps you to raise your credit score and at the same time, provides you with exclusive deals that get better as your score goes up. "The principle of Karma is common to many beliefs. The general idea is that any action a person takes either positive or negative, will have an inevitable equal effect in the future. Your credit score is kind of an expression of this concept; an index of your credit history: your credit karma. Credit Karma embodies the best parts of these two disparate yet similar concepts to help people stay aware of their Credit Score and gain access to exclusive deals at the same time." Credit Karma is giving consumers …

Give Blogs a Voice with

Listen to your favorite blogs using BlogBard, an online application which gives blogs a voice. This means of course, that you can multitask while listening to your blog roll, and you can take your blogs with you on the go. With BlogBard you'll have your own personalized audio station. You can listen to blogs in your Google Reader or Bloglines account, by logging in through BlogBard. If you don't see your favorite blog, simply type in the URL or RSS feed URL of the blog in the search box. You can also subscribe to blogs from the site itself. For publishers, BlogBard offers an embeddable Flash widget, adding audio to their blogs. For people who use screen readers, this site is not as friendly as it could be. You can't access the Flash player to control the reading. Once a feed is entered and the reading starts, the only option you have is to sit back and wait until it finishes. Low vision users should have no problems with the site.

Click this link to visit http://www.BlogBa…

Giant Golf Set

People often ask me where I find all the things I write about in Fred's Head. Most of the items I list are found on various gismo sites and are not designed for the blind or visually impaired. The beauty of this database is that we find things that blind and visually impaired people can use, even though they were never designed to be accessible or benefitial to our community. A good case in point is this item, the Large Golf Set. Here is the description of the product from the I Want One Of Those website: "The trouble with golf is that everything is so darn small. The club heads are tiny, the ball is minute, the holes are just ludicrous (as are the shoes of course), and you begin to wonder what on earth the point is. However, if it wasn't for someone inventing pinhead golf, then some other idiot wouldn't have come up with this super-size, super-stupid Giant Golf. Club, tee and ball are all ludicrously big, enabling even the tragically inept to take a successful sw…

Leading to Reading

I'm always looking for ways to bring accessibility into the classroom. Sometimes that means finding sites that teachers can use, maybe with some modification, to assist their students. Leading to Reading is, "A free resource to help parents and childcare providers develop the language skills of their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Available in English and Spanish." The site is divided into 3 main sections: Babies and Toddlers (Ages 0-2); Pre-Schoolers (Ages 3-5); Grownups. The collection of interactive options for both toddlers and pre-schoolers is extensive. These include nursery rhymes, games, lullabys, finger plays, songs, art, and exploratory activities. What I like best here are the books and stories. There are small books that could easily be translated into braille, and a wonderful collection of online books to be read aloud to children. Even for the toddlers, words in the stories are highlighted onscreen as they are read. It is hard to imagine a more …

Burn CDs and DVDs with CDBurnerXP

If you're tired of fighting with Nero or any of the inaccessible CD/DVD burning applications out there, this program is for you. CDBurnerXP is an application to burn CDs and DVDs, including Blu-Ray and HD-DVDs. It also includes the feature to burn and create ISOs, as well as a multilanguage interface. The program will take some getting used to, but I have used it to burn audio and data CDs and I understand what the program needs to burn a DVD, although I haven't done that as of this post. Key features include: Burn various types of discs, Audio CD, Data CD, Data DVD, standard DVD and more
Audio-CDs with or without gaps between tracks
Burn and create ISO files
Data verification after burning process
Create bootable discs
Multi-language interface
Bin/nrg ? ISO converter, simple cover printing and much more
Operating Systems: Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista
Absolutely FREE with no addware or spyware Click this link to learn more about CDBurnerXP:

Stock Market Challenge

This site offers a free stock market simulation game that lets you play the real stock market without ever risking a cent of your own money. A fun way to learn to invest. From the site: "Welcome to Max's Investment World Stock Market Challenge. You have come to the right place if you are looking to learn about investing on the stock exchange while having fun." You can play in two ways: Join the open competition where you will be ranked with other members on a weekly, monthly and long-term basis.
And/or create or join a private competition, which only you and those you invite can play. You can create or join a private competition after you register. The private competitions are ideal for teaching your class about stock market investing.

Click this link to play Stock Market Challenge at

Online Tutoring Service

What's it like to have an educational wizard by your side? Smart, very smart. Eduwizards is a place for students who need a little extra guidance in school. With Eduwizards, you can choose from a host of qualified tutors in a range of different subjects from kindergarten to college. Eduwizards tutors are not your average tutors either. They're ranked and reviewed by students who use them and most of them hold advanced degrees. This way, students can choose the tutor that's right for them. You can sort your wizard search by grade level, subject area and specific subject, or by feedback and hourly rate. Tutoring works on a one-on-one online basis. Simply check the tutor's available times and schedule an appointment. "Our website features the world's best tutors, ranked and reviewed by students. To get a feel for our site do a Tutor Search by selecting your Grade Level, then the general Subject Area, and finally the Specific Subject. You will see tutors with pr…

How to Safely Answer the Door

Home invasion, the act of forcibly entering a home to commit robbery or other crimes while the occupant is present, is a terrifying and dangerous experience. Unfortunately, federal crime statistics report that this kind of robbery is increasing in popularity and is a common type of robbery. Usually home invasion perpetrators gain entry by posing as legitimate visitors. The key to preventing home invasions is to recognize a potentially dangerous caller, because once the criminal enters the home, it's often too late to do anything about it. Think before you open the door. Too many of us automatically run to the door and swing it open when someone knocks, especially if we're busy around the house at the time. Get in the habit of pausing to ask yourself whether you're expecting anyone or whether this is a logical time for someone to be visiting.
Use a peephole or security chain when checking who is at the door. If you have some vision, look to see who the visitor is. Look thro…

Leaders and Legends: Mary Elizabeth Switzer

Mary Elizabeth Switzer
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldMary Elizabeth Switzer (1900-1971) was born in Massachusetts of Irish immigrants. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1921 with a major in International Relations. Her first few jobs after graduation were with the Minimum Wage Board, Treasury Department, Public Health Service, and the Federal Security Agency. It was her association with Dr. Howard Rusk who was developing the field of rehabilitation medicine that stimulated her life-long passion for rehabilitation. At various times, Mary Switzer served as Director of the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, Commissioner of the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration and the first Administrator of the Social and Rehabilitation Service of HEW. In 1954 she shaped the Vocational Rehabilitation Act, referred to as the Magna Carta in the work for the handicapped. Amendments to this act would put vitality into the State-Federal program for the …

Leaders and Legends: Stanley Suterko

Stanley Suterko
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldStan Suterko was born in 1920 in Chicago. In 1947 he graduated from the University of Illinois with a BS in Education and later with an MA from Western Michigan. He and Wanda were married in 1948, and they have three daughters and 7 grandchildren.Stan Suterko started his professional career as a corrective therapist in physical medicine and rehabilitation at the V.A. Hospital at Hines, Illinois. With the establishment of the Hines Blind Center in 1948 he was among the first five from the center to be prepared as orientors for veterans who were blind. He helped refine the orientation procedures and cane techniques that had been previously developed at Valley Forge Army Hospital. During the Korean war, he was given the responsibility of heading a unit at Hines that was to triple in size.When the Western Michigan University program began in 1961, as assistant director Stan Suterko played a key role in …

Leaders and Legends: Peter J. Salmon

Peter J. Salmon
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldPeter Salmon (1895-1981) was born in Hudson, Massachusetts. He was educated at the Perkins School for the Blind as a "partially seeing" student. After completing two years of post-graduate work, specializing in teaching the deaf-blind, he joined the staff of the New York Association for the Blind. In 1917, Peter Salmon took a position with the Industrial Home for the Blind as a salesman and subsequently served in a number of posts until he was appointed executive director in 1945. IHB of Brooklyn became Peter Salmon's own unique creation as he built it into the most complete voluntary agency service program for the blind in America. Two outstanding service achievements stood out: the first, a break-through in IHB's program for the partially seeing in the form of a workable optical aids program, which brought ophthalmologist and optometrist together; the second was a program for dea…

Student Lessons and Ebooks at the Beacon Learning Center

I'm always looking for ways to bring accessibility into the classroom. Sometimes that means finding sites that teachers can use, maybe with some modification, to assist their students. Beacon Learning Center has some great Student Web Lessons and Online Books (a number with audio) that would be accessible to English Language Learners. They cover English, Science, Social Studies and Math. Beacon Learning Center is an online educational resource and professional development center currently funded through a Technology Innovation Challenge Grant from the US Department of Education. The resources posted in the Beacon database are products of professional development activities teaching a standards-based planning model. The mission of Beacon Learning Center is to provide educators throughout the nation with standards-based resources and professional development, thus enabling them to identify, design, and implement quality education. High quality teachers use standards-based p…

Create Personal RSS Feed without a Blog

RSS feeds disseminate information, headlines, updates, articles etc, from blogs and news sites. They give you a daily dose of news, culture, sports, recipes, it's your choice what you want to be fed. To create a feed, you had to have a blog or website. Now, there's FeedXS, a Netherlands based feeder that lets you publish feeds without a website or blog. It's incredibly simple to use. Just create an account on FeedXS. Then make up a name for your feed and start adding articles. Anyone who has a feedreader can get your feeds once they subscribe. You can even post feeds directly from MSN messenger. Think of it as the purest form of feed broadcasting, no strings attached. The goal of is to supply millions of people and businesses with their own feed. People who use have an easy way to inform friends or clients about their news. No need to send email, just update the feed, and that's it!

Click this link to create your own RSS feed at http://www.FeedX…

Find a Job with RSS

The Productivity Portfolio blog has a great walk-through on how to create a collection of personalized RSS feeds to show any new jobs that pop up on eight popular or specialized job search sites, including Craigslist,, and Indeed. Even if RSS feeds are old hat for you, you might not know just what each of the major job-finding sites offers in accessible, localized, career-specific searches. Have you ever found a job through an RSS ping or email alert? Have a better way of not missing that potential next career? Share your story in the comments.

Click this link to read Create RSS Job Feeds from Job Searches from The Productivity Portfolio blog.

Leaders and Legends: Louis H. Rives, Jr.

Louis H. Rives, Jr.
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldLou Rives (1919-1986) was born in Virginia and lost his sight at the age of two. He was brought up by his aunt in Norfolk where he attended the public schools. He received his baccalaureate and law degrees from the College of William and Mary. He and his wife Marcie moved to Arizona where he lived until his death in September of 1986.In 1944 he became a member of the legal staff of the former Federal Security Agency for three years. He then transferred to the Vocational Rehabilitation Administration (VRA) where he held a variety of positions. While serving for a short time in the Dallas regional office, he demonstrated that the government could provide guidance to both public and private not-for-profit rehabilitation programs. He returned to Washington, DC to ultimately become VRA's Chief of the Division of Services for the Blind. Mary Switzer, VRA administrator, brought Lou Rives into the …

Leaders and Legends: Alice Geisler Raftary

Alice Geisler Raftary
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness FieldAlice Raftary was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1927. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nutrition and Institutional Management from Marygrove College in 1949. She and Raymond H. Raftary were married in 1950 and over the next eleven years were blessed with the birth of four daughters and four sons. Ray and Alice celebrated their fiftieth anniversary in April 2000 with their family that now includes seventeen grandchildren.Shortly before the birth of her eighth child, the macular degeneration that Alice first experienced in high school caused a substantial loss of vision and she became legally blind. That event rekindled her interest from college days in the field of blindness. While still a full time homemaker, she returned to Marygrove College on a complete grant from the Vocational Rehabilitation Department of the State of Michigan. Alice earned a Master of Education Degree specializi…

How To Remove Stains

Stains or spots on clothing must be found or identified by a sighted person. The stain should be marked with a safety pin, or if the spot is large surround the spot with safety pins. Use a prewash or stain treatment and let it soak for a few minutes. Then wash the garment with the other laundry in the washing machine. These tips from Carol Woodward were published on the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website and are made available by special permission of the author.

Sonic Stain RemoverThis device will remove virtually any clothing stain, no matter how stubborn. Try it on all types of stains. All it takes is a few drops of water and some rubbing and the stain will be gone. It utilizes ultrasonic technology-120 vibrations per second. Not a trace will be visible. It'll work better than any laundry detergent like Tide or Cheer. And don't be concerned about the Electric Stain Remover fading color. It won't harm your clothing's color integrity at all. This …