Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Walgreens Recruits Employees With Disabilities Through Highly Accessible Website

Walgreens has launched an innovative initiative to hire people with disabilities at its distribution center in Anderson, S.C. and is recruiting through a specially-designed Website.

Walgreensoutreach.com describes jobs available at the Walgreens distribution center and is designed to be accessible by people with sensory, physical and cognitive disabilities. The center has begun pre-hire training and will open in 2007. Initially, Walgreens will hire more than 200 employees with plans to ramp up to more than 600 employees. Walgreens goal is to have at least one-third of the workforce consist of employees with a variety of disabilities working in a fully-integrated team. This "real work for real pay" environment will be competitive employment in which performance standards must be maintained. Job openings at the Anderson distribution center include a number of management positions.

Walgreensoutreach.com provides information to help potential employees understand what work will be like at the distribution center. The site incorporates audio messages, photos, video and a large-print text option to depict jobs and worklife at Anderson. The site also is designed to be accessible to blind and low vision individuals who use screen reader technology.

Knowing the difficult challenges faced by people with disabilities who want to work, Walgreens designed the Web site to address concerns such as transportation, housing and the impact of gainful employment on Medicaid, SSI or SSDI benefits.

Hopefully, this will be a start to Walgreens making their entire employment areas accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. There are many jobs that we can do if given the chance. Walgreens are everywhere and so are blind people. I'm hoping that Walgreens will expand this site to cover all their stores and employment opportunities in the future.

For more information, contact:

Carol Hively
Walgreens Corporate Communications
Phone: 847-914-2923
More information on Walgreens is available at Walgreens.com or Walgreensespanol.com.

Discounts at CurrentCodes.com

Hundreds of well-known online stores like Barnes and Noble, Staples, and Amazon.com have a place within their shopping cart for a "coupon code" that gives a percent or dollar amount off your purchase. If you don't know the code, you can't take advantage of the discount. You can find these secret discount codes and coupon codes listed on many sites across the internet but the problem with these sites is that they're usually personal homepages and they don't maintain their lists!

Currentcodes.com has a full-time staff of trained individuals whose only job is to find new coupon codes and discount codes and verify the accuracy of the existing database.

Click this link to start saving money with CurrentCodes.com.

If you're looking for a site with the latest deals, bargains and message boards, click this link to check out http://www.DealHunting.com.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Entertain the Little Ones with Activities for Kids

Looking for something fun to do with your kids this weekend? Here is a really cool, appropriately named site, called Activities for Kids. Type in your state and zip code to find all kinds of activities and events in your area. You'll also find places to visit from museums to miniature golf courses as well as music, dance, and other classes, and day camps and other summer programs that your children might enjoy.

Click this link to visit the Activities for Kids website: http://www.activitiesforkids.com.

How to Properly Wash Your Dog

Dogs should be kept on a regular schedule of washing. This is important to prevent skin and odor problems. It is also important to use a dog shampoo because it is formulated for a dog's skin. Here are some steps to follow when it comes to washing your dog.

Make sure to use a shampoo that is for dogs and if you have a puppy, get a shampoo that is for puppies. People shampoo is just not right for dogs. It can dry out the dog's skin.

For puppies and small dogs, it is best to wash them in the sink or bathtub. Make sure to use warm water and not hot water or cold water. This will be much more comfortable for the dog and make it a more pleasant experience.

If you have one of those massage shower heads on a hose, you can give your larger dog a bath in the tub as well. Most dogs find this just as relaxing as we do.

Brushing or combing prior to the bath will help remove tangles and matts in the dog's hair or fur. Depending on the breed, this will become important because the tangles will be difficult to remove after the bath.

The frequency of washing depends on the climate and breed of the dog. Generally speaking dogs should be washed once a week during the summer, once every two to three weeks in the spring and fall, and about once a month in the winter. This schedule is meant for healthy dogs and may vary if your dog has skin or health problems. It is best to check with your veterinarian if this is the case.

Begin your dog's bath by gradually wetting the dog's coat. Make sure the coat is sufficiently saturated and then apply enough dog shampoo to achieve a good foaming lather.

Gently massage the shampoo into the coat. Only shampoo the dog's head if necessary. Make sure not to get the dog shampoo in the eyes or ears.

Once you have achieved a good lather, rinse the coat very thoroughly and REPEAT with clean water. With your hands squeeze the water out of your dog's coat. Lift or remove your dog from the tub and towel dry. Make sure to comb and brush the hair as it dries especially if your dog has long hair. This will help prevent knots.

If your dog has a strong body odor, try thoroughly washing and rinsing. If this does not resolve the issue, your dog may have a skin problem. If this is the case, you should seek the care and advice of your veterinarian.

Many dog owners are reluctant to wash their dog regularly due to concern over removing natural oils from the skin and coat. Actually, many skin problems come from insufficient washing.

Regular washing is part of a good hygiene program for your dog. Since dogs cannot bathe themselves, it is up to us dog owners to take on this responsibility.

The Different Types of USB Connectors

Today, most computers come with two or more USB ports and it's very unusual if your computer doesn't have at least one.

Right now there are four main types of USB connectors: Type A, Type B, Mini-A and Mini-B. All of these types are supported by USB 1x and USB 2x. Let's go over what these different connectors do in relation to what you do with your USB ports.

Type A

This type is known as the host connector, also referred to as the downstream connector. This is the one that you usually plug into the ports on your CPU or into a USB hub. It's usually rectangular in shape.

Type B

This connector is mainly used for the devices that can be plugged into a port. This one is also known as the upstream connector and is the one that attaches directly to the end of a device (whether that be a digital camera, a printer, a mouse or keyboard, etc). A Type B connector is usually box shaped.

Mini-A

This type of connector was designed to connect with mobile devices. This one can be used without a computer and it can be used with most mobiles, big and small.

Mini-B

This connector was designed to replace the original connector for USB 2.0 because they were too big for certain devices such as a PDA or a cell phone.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Orientation to the Car: You're in the Driver's Seat

This article is intended for general information about driving. You should never get behind the wheel and attempt to drive without proper training. Many states offer driving for the visually impaired, check with your state rehabilitation office for more information.

Have you ever been curious about driving? How do they do it? Is it difficult? Where are the gas and break petals actually located? Let's take a closer look.

Manual Transmissions

In a manual car, there are four or more forward gears which are used for speed control. The most common arrangement is in the shape of an H with 1st being in the upper left; 2nd is lower left, 3rd upper right, 4th lower right, and reverse is far far right and down. New cars may have up to 6 forward gears, look at the knob on the shifter to find the proper shift pattern for that car.

First gear is used to start the car from a dead stop (for example, at a signal), neutral (usually in the center of the shift pattern) is used when you need to have the motor on but don't need to be moving and second gear is used to slow down to make a turn. The last gear is reverse, which is for backing down a driveway or parking spot.

There are three foot pedals. They are, in order from left to right, the clutch, the brake, and the accelerator. The clutch is used when changing gears and is managed by your left foot. Your right foot alternates between the accelerator and the brake.

To make the car move, the driver will press the clutch down and place the shifter into the first gear position. They will lift their foot off the clutch, apply very gentle pressure to the gas pedal and at the same time, continue to raise the clutch until the car starts to move. They say this is the hardest part of driving a manual car. Master this and the rest is easy.

Automatic Transmissions

Simply put, an automatic transmission shifts gears automatically, whereas a manual transmission requires the driver to shift the gears. In an automatic, the driver will select the gear they want and the transmission will shift into higher and lower gears by itself.

Manual transmission vehicles come with a tachometer (located next to the speedometer) which allows the driver to see how hard the engine is working, so to speak. When the engine is pushing harder, the driver will up shift by pushing down on the clutch pedal with their left foot and move the gear selecter to the next gear up. Then they will let off of the clutch. When the engine is working less, the driver will do the same except move the gear selecter handle to the lower gear.

The gear selecter, or shifter, comes up from the floor to the right of the driver. It looks like a stick, which is why manual cars are often known as "stick shifts".

Shoes, Boots and Jackets for Your Dog Guide

Your dog guide takes you all over the country and over a variety of surfaces. Your feet are always protected from the snow, ice, rocks, dirt and salt that covers the surfaces of many sidewalks. What about your guide's feet? What can protect their feet from these items that can be a health risk for your best friend?

At Pampered Pets you'll find a variety of dog shoes, boots and slippers designed to keep your guide's feet Safe & Dry And that Help Prevent Injury From Heat, Cold, Ice, Salt, Stones And Abrasive Surfaces.

To measure your pet for boots/shoes:

While dog is standing, measure from the front edge of the small pads to the back edge of the large pad. (Do not include the nails). If you have some vision, you may want to place the foot on a piece of paper, marking the paper at the front and back of the foot, and then measure between the marks on the paper.

Click this link to visit the Shoes & Boots page of the Pampered Pets website.

All Weather Muttluks



  • Available in rain slicker yellow; Made with waterproof coated fabric;
  • The leather toe cover (available in sizes M-XXL) offers protection and durability for larger dogs; with the Cordura Nylon toe cover available for smaller dogs (sizes Itty-Bitty to Small);
  • Self-tightening Hook & Loop straps allow for an easy, secure and quick fastening that ensures a snug and comfortable fit;
  • 3M Scotchlite reflective material on the back of the strap provides safety for dogs by offering nighttime visibility;
  • The comfortable stretchy cuff is versatile and easily adapted for dogs with short or long legs;
  • The boot bottoms are made from treated, water and salt resistant leather;
  • The entire boot is stitched with heavy-duty industrial bonded nylon thread;
  • Available in eight sizes to fit breeds from Chihuahuas to Great Danes and everything in-between;
  • Distinctive and reusable cloth mesh packaging can be used for storing or washing Muttluks, or for general storage;
  • Muttluks come complete with a paw-fitting chart that makes it easy for pets to be sized on the spot and offers strong sales support at retail.


Muttluks Inc.
2360 Midland Avenue, Unit 3
Toronto, ON Canada M1S 4A9
Toll Free: 888-MUTTLUK (688-8585)
Phone: 416-699-6922
Fax: 877-MUTTFAX (688-8329) or 416-699-4161
Email: muttluks@muttluks.com
Web: http://www.muttluks.com

ThermalWear Canine Cooling System

Let your best friend enjoy the dog days of summer without becoming overheated! ThermalWear Dog Vests can maintain a constant 50º F for two or more hours, keeping your canine companion comfortably cool.

Unlike humans, dogs can't sweat to cool off. The Dog Vest absorbs a dog's excess body heat, allowing the canine to work or play harder and longer in extreme temperatures.

ThermalWear Dog Vests have been used professionally by police K9 units and search and rescue dogs, but they're also excellent for your dog guide or unemployed house dog as well.

Click this link to purchase the ThermalWear Canine Cooling System from pet gadgets.

Video Clips Provide Useful Tips for Parents

Are you still having problems teaching your visually impaired or blind child how to tie shoes? Have you ever wondered how students distinguish dollar bills from one another? Is your child still having trouble with color coordinating his or her wardrobe? If so, help is available!

The Washington State School for the Blind has produced a variety of video clips on subjects as familiarizing yourself with a new environment, tying your shoes, labeling clothes, buttons and zippers, folding money, etc. These short clips provide useful tips for parents and teachers to help children who are blind and visually impaired to perform common daily living tasks such as those mentioned above. The clips are available on the WSSB website at http://www.wssb.wa.gov/video.asp.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Find Cool Stuff At Swaptree

I was looking through some older movies that I have at home and came to the realization that I'll never watch those things again. I don't want to throw them away or simply donate them to a thrift store. A quick Google search of the net braught me to Swaptree.

With Swaptree's multiple-way trade algorithms, you're instantly shown thousands of items that you could receive in trade for any item. So you don't spend time searching for potential trades, negotiating a trade with another user, or messing with some sort of point system. Just list some items that you want to trade and Swaptree will show you everything you can get for them.

You're not charged for listing or trading items. Your only expense is paying the shipping of your item. Use the post office's Media Mail service and you can send everything for less than $2. Better yet, if you want, they'll try to find a trade for you with a Swaptree member right down the street, or with one of your friends or co-workers, so you can forget about postage and hand your item over in person.

Just enter the UPC or ISBN code that is on the back of every CD, book, video game or DVD, and Swaptree will find the correct item details: edition, release, version, paperback/hardback, normal/widescreen, etc.

You don't even have to worry about going to the post office. you can print accurate postage and perfect mailing labels directly from Swaptree. Don't worry about calculating the weight, or entering the correct shipping or return address, it's all done for you.

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

Podcast Notification by Email

Here's another great way to keep up with your favorite podcasts!

http://www.podcastsender.com is a completely free service which can provide you with an e-mail each time a new podcast is ready for download from the publisher. So now you don´t have to download and install an rss reader or podcast aggrigator. You can also listen to your favorite podcasts directly from the site.

Click this link to visit the Podcast Sender website: http://www.podcastsender.com.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

WIKI Visual Impairment (Blog)

By Arthur Murphy

The subject of this blog is the development of a wiki: a collaborative environment of resources for blind and visually impaired technology users. Just as Wikipedia is a collaboratively edited resource, this proposed wiki would be a resource for a targeted audience - a wiki created by a smaller set of contributing authors and editors.

Please feel free to use this blog to express your thoughts on the subject: good idea, poor idea? Ways to recruit authors and editors. Suggestions for the major categories of information. Possible sponsors / funding sources. Alternative forms of technology to harness the same information to support the same goals.

Click this link to visit the WIKI Visual Impairment (Blog: http://wiki-visual-impairment.blogspot.com.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

ALTAIR for Windows: Text Editor, Web Browser and Email Client for the Blind

the Japanese Society for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities has produced a free self-voicing program called ALTAIR.

ALTAIR is a free program designed for blind, low vision or deaf-blind users. ALTAIR is a text editor, web browser and e-mail client with built-in speech synthesizer and can output to a Braille display. Font size can be enlarged and font and background color can be changed for people with low vision.

With ALTAIR, persons with visual impairments and people who are deaf-blind can read content effectively on the Internet. ALTAIR can import files from Word, Excel PowerPoint and PDF. The program is available in English and Japanese.

Click this link to visit the English homepage of ALTAIR for Windows. You will be asked if you want to install the Japanese language pack for Windows. Simply choose cancel to abort installation.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Every Child Can Be An Author at SillyBooks

SillyBooks invites children to submit their written work, either fiction or non-fiction. Submissions may be individual or collaborative efforts. SillyBooks publishes all the writing that it receives, and visitors to the site are encouraged to vote for the writing they appreciate most.

As a powerful motivator, each month SillyBooks turns the best piece of writing it receives into a beautifully illustrated and animated flash book that is read aloud by a professional actor. SillyBooks chooses what it deems to be the best piece of writing from the 3 submissions that receive the most votes.

For most authors, I expect that the cash prize of $25 pales by comparison with the published version of the writing.

SillyBooks has created an accessible, high quality website, with a significant range of attractive and engaging offerings for children. In addition to the material written by children for other children, there are stories and poetry by established authors, catchy animated songs suitable for sing-along, puzzles and games.

SillyBooks is a website with potential to enrich and extend learning and literacy development on many levels. Click this link to visit http://www.sillybooks.net.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Accessible Tax forms and Information

U.S. taxpayers can download IRS publications and forms in text or braille from the IRS website.

Click this link to visit the IRS Accessible Tax Forms (in Braille and Text Formats) page.
Click this link to visit the IRS Accessible Tax Publications (in Braille and Text Formats) page.
Click this link to visit the IRS Accessible "Speech-Friendly" or "Talking Tax Forms" in PDF Format page.

The forms on the IRS site can be filled in usingAdobe Reader version 5 or higher.

What Does OS Mean in the Computer World?

Not sure what OS stands for? You hear it mentioned all the time, but you're just not 100 percent positive of what it means. That's okay, no problem. OS is short for Operating System. Windows is the most common operating system, but Linux and Mac OS X are also choices.

Whatever flavor you enjoy, they all do pretty much the same thing. They give you a way to run programs and work with your computer. Whether it be Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, etc., they all basically just let you use your computer, because it surely wouldn't work without one.

So, next time someone is talking about their OS, you'll be able to give the nod of understanding that only comes from knowing your acronyms.

Let PowerPoint Do The Talking

A good voice narration in a PowerPoint presentation delivers the message almost as well as a presenter can. Synchronize the narration with PowerPoint's great visual animations and you have a multi-media stand-alone presentation that can be used effectively when a live presentation is not feasible.

Recording a professional-sounding narration is not an option for most people and a studio voice-over recording is expensive and time-consuming. In any case, a recording has to be synchronized with the visuals and re-recorded in case of changes.

Now, Tuval Software Industries' Speech-Over Studio offers a complete solution: without recording, a PowerPoint user, entering text only, can create a professional, synchronized narration -- quickly, easily and cost-effectively.

This unique software uses a text-to-speech engine to transform the narration script text into a voice sound track that sounds like it was made in a recording studio. Realistic voices, available from vendors in all major languages and regional dialects, speak any text you write. Need to change the narration? Just edit the text.

The resulting multi-media presentation can be experienced with PowerPoint alone.

The software can benefit in many areas

  • Converting an important one-time presentation to a narrated stand-alone for people who couldn't attend.
  • Automating frequently repeated presentations, such as a plant safety orientation.
  • Adding narration to marketing presentations for Web or E-mail distribution or for trade shows.
  • Talking educational presentations that help students learn and review.
  • Building and updating training courses rapidly and easily -- without the professional voice-overs that cost so much time and money.
  • Sending narrated communications to corporate colleagues to express information, plans or ideas more clearly and effectively.

The Speech-Over Studio platform stores speech for an entire presentation and includes a novel speech editor that can copy and paste speech between screen objects. It can integrate multiple voices in a presentation, and produce alternate narrations for different audiences and different languages. And, if you like, you can record your own voice instead.

The user interface features a speech toolbar based on a familiar text editor paradigm and a speech text display panel.

To learn more about this truly remarkable product, visit the Tuval Software Industries website to view an online demo and download a free trial: http://www.speechover.com.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Do It Yourself Hair Detangler

A friend of mine has two daughters. She always talks about the shape of the girl's hair in the mornings, and what a fight it is to get it untangled. "There's got to be something out there that can help with this" she'd say.

After doing some research, she found the following solution perfect for untangling not only her daughter's hair, but her mornings as well.

Here's what you'll need

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup hair conditioner
  • 1 spray bottle


  1. Mix ingredients well by shaking together in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray hair liberally.
  3. No tangles = no tears. Use more conditioner if needed. Just not too much or it will weigh hair down and may appear dull. Approximately 50 sprays, likely more!

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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.



The products produced by the American Printing House for the Blind are instructional/teaching materials and are intended to be used by trained professionals, parents, and other adults with children who are blind and visually impaired. These materials are not intended as toys for use by children in unstructured play or in an unsupervised environment.





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