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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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How to Transfer Settings and Files From One Computer to Another with Magic Transfer

If you're looking for an easy way to transfer your files, Windows settings and other software preferences from one computer to another, Magic Transfer is a tool that you must check out.

Magic Transfer is freeware, comes at less than 1 MB and helps you transfer your files and settings from one computer to another. Once installed, launch the program, click "Backup" and select the items that you want to back up. You'll notice that Magic Transfer gives you the following options:

  • Internet Explorer Favourites, Cookies, History and Settings
  • Firefox Bookmarks, Plugins and Extensions and Settings
  • Outlook Express Address Book, Mail Folders, Accounts and Settings
  • System Keyboard, Appearance and Mouse settings, Desktop, Quick Launch and Start Menu shortcuts among other things
  • Files that you specify

Magic Transfer also gives you an estimate of how much space these would take when backed up.

Now, click the backup button on the bottom of the window and specify a folder where the backup should be stored. Copy this folder to a CD or USB drive and when you're on your other computer, install Magic Transfer, hit the Restore button and point to the location of the folder where the backup is present.

All backed up settings will be restored. Magic Transfer works great when you're reinstalling Windows or if you have a new computer. I only wish Magic Transfer gave more options to backup other programs, not just Firefox, IE and Outlook Express.

Click this link to learn more or download Magic Transfer.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Get a List of All Keyboard Shortcuts in MS-Word

If the curious computer user has MS Word on his Windows PC or OS X Mac, he can pull together a printable list of all the keyboard functions in his word processor. This amazing feat can be accomplished with MS Word 97, 2000, 2002, or 2003 in Windows, MS Word X or Word 2004 will work on an OS X Mac.

Here are the quick and dirty clues to MS keyboard secrets.

  1. Click the "Tools" menu, then hit "Macros In."
  2. Pick "ListCommands" in "Macro Name."
  3. Hit the "Run" button.
  4. When the "List Command" box appears, choose the "All Word Commands" and click OK.

There it is, the list can be saved under any name and printed whenever the urge strikes. Instead of being keyboard secrets, these shortcut keys are yours to use, enjoy and share with your friends. The more word gets around about these obscure functions, the more they will enter into keyboard life and start performing the functions for which they were intended.

Note: For users with different versions of MS Word, hit F1 to access the help file and then type in "keyboard shortcuts" to see the list as well.

Vision Loss Resources

Vision Loss Resources has announced the relaunch of their website ( that features a text-only version with screen reader compatibility. The site utilizes the latest technology available to offer full customization to people with blindness and vision loss, and delivers easy access to valuable information.

Through this site, information can be accessed about topics such as low vision assessment, rehabilitation, programs for seniors and children, deaf-blind services, recreation, everyday living skills and community center activities.

Vision Loss Resources (formerly known as the Minneapolis/Saint Paul Society for the Blind) is an independent nonprofit agency whose mission is to assist people who are blind or visually impaired to achieve their full potential and to enrich the lives of all persons affected by blindness or vision loss.

For more information, contact:

Vision Loss Resources, Inc.
1936 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-871-2222
Email: Web:

Websites for Family Reading Time

One of the best things you can do with your young children is to read to them. Even if your child is not blind or visually impaired, you will find that reading creates quality time that can never be replaced by video games or TV programs. Here's some websites that provide story books that you, and your child, will enjoy.

Free Books for Kids

This is a great site where parents can read books to their children. Classics such as Tom Sawyer and Treasure Island can be found at this screen reader friendly site.

Children's Story Books Online

This screen reader friendly site has interactive short stories for children of all ages. These stories are not the classics, but they are still fun reads.


This site contains illustrated short stories aimed more at the preschooler. This site has classic stories such as The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Hare and the Tortoise. The site is screen reader friendly, but may be frustrating for younger users.

Mighty Books

This site has interactive, animated short stories for children to listen and read along with Flash. Additional features include knock, knock jokes, games, art corner, and a puzzle page. Parent and child will both enjoy exploring this fun site, not all areas will be compatible with screen readers.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

AM/FM Radios for the Blind

Listen to Everything with C. Crane

C. Crane radios have been favorites of blind and visually impaired listeners for many years. I have been fortunate to have had many friends in the radio business and they've all told me about these radios. I wanted to share this one with you, I think they've improved the model by adding features that we will love.

The CCRadio Plus, Silver offers all the features of the original CCRadio - including unparalleled long-distance AM tuning - but now adds FM reception, National Weather Service emergency alerts, even the audio signals from local off-air TV stations! Combine these features with a highly tuned playback system designed to recreate the human voice accurately, and you get the ultimate talk radio listening device!

Although the CCRadio Plus, Silver offers dozens of features, perhaps its most significant is its short-wave receiver-quality reception of AM radio stations up to 300 miles away. Its reception is so powerful, the CCRadio Plus, Silver has even been known to pick up radio signals from Hawaii all the way from the mainland.

The CCRadio Plus, Silver also makes it easier to tune into programs on more than one station. For example, you can tune in one station and set the radio to switch to another station automatically at any time you specify. It's perfect if the talk radio show you listen to in the mornings is on a different station from the sports news you want to hear in the afternoon.

This improved version also features an updated external radio jack and FM stereo sound to the headphone jack. A lighted LCD display indicates battery life, time and station, with a signal meter that lets you tune your favorite station for the best reception in your area. Choose to wake to an alarm or the radio, or hit the snooze button for a few more minutes of sleep.

Other features include:

  • 1 KHz fine-tuning
  • External antenna jack can improve reception in a metal or brick building
  • Audio input and output jacks
  • Timer for taping programs or automatic station switching
  • Activated weather alert switches to weather band immediately when alarm sounds
  • Varying tones indicate FM, AM, TV or Weather band, ideal for the visually impaired

The radio is powered by the included AC adapter or via four D batteries (sold separately), which will power the radio for more than 250 continuous hours. CCRadio Plus, Silver is also available in black mica.


  • Dimensions: 11" W x 6 1/2" H x 4" D
  • Weight: 3.8 lbs.
  • Power: 4 D batteries or AC power adapter
  • Battery Life: Over 250 hours
  • Frequency Coverage: FM band: 875. to 108 MHz stereo; AM band: 520 to 1710 kHz; TV band: channels 2 to 13, audio only Weather Band: Channel 1: 162.400 MHz; channel 2: 162.425 MHz; channel 3: 162.450 MHz; channel 4: 162.475 MHz; channel 5: 162.500 MHz; channel 6: 162.525 MHz; channel 7: 162.550 MHz
  • FM, TV and Weather Band Antenna: Telescopic whip antenna
  • AM Antenna: Built-in ferrite bar; external AM antenna directly wired through filter network into RF front end

Click this link to purchase the CCRadio from the Smarthome website.

Low Vision Large Dial AM/FM Radio

Blind and Low Vision music lovers will instantly appreciate this table radio. With only 3 dials controlling all functions and an oversized tuning dial that is easy to manipulate, listening to your favorite station has never been easier or sounded better. The ultimate combination of performance and simplicity, it is still small enough to fit even the tightest space. It's precise tuner pulls in even the weakest stations and delivers a crystal clear audio signal. This AM/FM Table Radio provides exceptional audio quality and easy-to-use functionality in an attractive, handmade wood cabinet. Perfect for home or work. At only 4 lbs, this unit is also easy to handle and set up. Features Stereo headphone output jack. 9V power adaptor included.

Click this link to purchase the Low Vision Large Dial AM/FM Radio from

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Websites of Interest to Seniors

Here are some sites for networking with other seniors, making new friends, learning more about computers, obtaining information about retirement, etc.

Senior Citizens Resources: This Website is run by FirstGov and it provides several tips for senior citizens. It gives information on consumer protection, places senior citizens can volunteer, seniors and adult education, advice on estate planning and federal and state agencies for seniors. This site also has links to the government sites that may be beneficial to senior citizens, such as the Administration on Aging, the Social Security Administration and the Veteran's Health Administration.

Click this link to find some Senior Citizens Resources.

SeniorNet: This Website's mission is to provide access to computer technology for older adults. As a result, senior citizens will be able to gain knowledge and eventually share it with others. This site is basically set up as a discussion board. Everyone is welcome to participate in the SeniorNet RoundTable discussion groups. You just have to sign up for the boards and then you will be able to learn and teach others about computers and using the Internet. If you feel like you could share your wisdom with others or if you want to learn more, this site is perfect for you!

Click this link to visit SeniorNet.

Web Pointers for Seniors: If you're looking for even more sites to try out, this is the place you'll want to go. It is managed by a retired couple from Oregon and they have set up a website full of links they feel would be of special interest to senior citizens. There are links to such topics as senior issues, grandkids, senior guides, caregiving, health, nutrition, legal issues, financial planning, travel and others. Do keep in mind that this site hasn't been updated in awhile and some of the links no longer work, but it's still worth taking a look at. There are still working links to a lot of helpful information that's useful for seniors.

Click this link to visit the Web Pointers for Seniors website.

SeniorLink: This site is helpful for senior citizens to maintain independence in their homes. The developers of this site want seniors to be able to do this safely and with dignity. This site even offers some help for children who have aging parents. It gives advice on making the difficult choices that come with the care of their aging parents. This site does have some parts that require a paid subscription, but you can access free information in the Caregiver FAQ and Top Elder Risks sections.

Click this link to visit SeniorLink.

Write a Senior Citizen: Here is one more site I thought some of you might be interested in. This is more on the fun side of things! This Website was actually created by two teenagers who wanted to bring senior citizens together. You can use it to write other seniors by email or even by snail mail as a pen pal. If you're wanting to get connected with other seniors, this is a good place.

Click this link to Write a Senior Citizen.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

APH Traveling Exhibits: Bring History to Life at Your Location

A Kiosk of the In Touch With Knowledge exhibit

The APH Museum offers three traveling history exhibits. Each exhibit draws on the Museum's unique collection and extensive research on the history of the education of blind people. You can rent these exhibits for display at your school, library, or other organization.

"IN TOUCH WITH KNOWLEDGE: The Educational History of Blind People"

Kiosk-style exhibits feature interactive displays with original artifacts, reproductions, graphics, tactile exhibits, and hands-on activities. The exhibit focuses on the history of tactile innovations in four areas: reading and writing, geography, mathematics, and science. Braille labels, large print, and audio text descriptions provide complete accessibility. This 800-square foot exhibit is modular, allowing for flexible exhibit arrangement.

"Building A Future: U.S. Residential Schools for Blind and Visually Impaired Students"

Free-standing exhibit features a chronological arrangement of photo illustrations. The photos show historic buildings of sixty-one U.S. schools. This compact exhibit includes descriptions in large print and braille.

"War of the Dots"

Colorful tabletop-size traveling exhibit presents the history of English-language dot systems, including the revisions and debates leading up to agreement in 1932 of the standard dot system, Standard English Braille Grade Two. The exhibit includes large print text and photo illustrations on a foldout panel, historic books embossed in different dot systems, and braille booklets.

For additional information, visit and click on "Perspectives" or contact:

American Printing House for the Blind
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
800-223-1839, ext. 365
502-895-2405, ext. 365
Museum Direct number: 502-899-2365
Fax: 502-899-2363

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The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) makes every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the data contained in the Fred's Head articles; however, APH makes no warranty, guarantee, or promise, expressed or implied, concerning the content or accuracy of the information provided in Fred's Head. APH does not endorse any technique, product, device, service, organization, or other information presented in Fred's Head, other than products and services directly offered by APH.

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