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Showing posts from 2009

Accessible Christmas Carols

Christmas comes but once a year, and it never fails, someone will invite you to go caroling! You're blind, so naturally, you know how to sing and you have perfect pitch, right? We've all heard the same Christmas carols for years, but we don't always know the words. How embarrassing it is to be in a crowd of friends and not know the words! Even worse, having to ask someone to write them out in a Word document so you can braille them before you leave. At Christmas-Carols.net, you'll not only find the lyrics to your favorite Christmas carols, but each page has a midi of the song so that you can sing a-long! Copy and paste the words into a document for later braille translating and do a little practice before your friends arive. Some of the pages have an iPod Nano ad on them that has sound, but if you click the Sound Off button in the right corner of the ad, you can listen to your music with no interruptions. With well over 50 Christmas carols, it is well worth it! I…

Christmas Music on the Web

What if you could have an endless supply of great holiday music all day long without having to change a CD or cue up a playlist? Thanks to the Internet and AccurRadio, you can! There are several channels that stream music to fill your home with the festivities of the season. To get to AccuRadio's Holiday music, click this link: http://accuradio.com/holiday. You will be greeted with a choice of holiday music genres. You can pick everything from Jazz to Christian to Pop and more. I started out with "Old Fashioned," to bring back the memories of my parents Dean Martin Christmas albums. I think my favorite section, though, is the one called "Seasons Greetings." This is the main channel and features the best music from all of the other channels. With each channel, you can deselect artists that you would like to avoid. So if Burl Ives annoys you, just delete him from the list. To get your holiday music started, just click on your favorite section. An ad will pop up…

How to Organize a White Elephant Gift Exchange

A white elephant gift exchange is a lighthearted way to have fun with your friends, family or work colleagues. White elephant gifts are traditionally gifts considered extremely tacky, or that do not fit the tastes of the recipient, and that are given by a friend or close relative and therefore cannot be returned or exchanged at the store without potentially offending the giver. The thought behind a white elephant gift exchange is to give everyone a chance to rid themselves of these tacky gifts--and invariably gaining a new one! This is also known as a Yankee Swap, Dirty Santa, or Pirate Gift Exchange.

Organize the event. Give everyone invitations, along with a description of what a white elephant gift exchange is. Tell them to bring along the tackiest, most useless, and least fitting gift they've ever gotten stuck with, and to wrap it up or put it in a gift bag.

Keep gifts anonymous. Put all the gifts in an area where it will be hard for others to see who brought what. In other word…

Zoom into Any Screen on Your iPhone

Here's an iPhone feature that could have completely slipped your radar: zooming in and out of your screen. The zoom feature, which can be turned on in the Settings menu, uses a three-finger tapping system to zoom in on any screen. Just double tap with three fingers to zoom. To move around when zoomed in, drag three fingers around the screen. And to change the zoom farther or closer, double-tap and drag three fingers up or down. This feature only works with the iPhone 3GS and new iPod Touch, not older models. To activate the zoom feature, tap Settings, General, and then Accessibility.

Christmas is for Me

by Donna J. Jodhan I have had the good fortune to enjoy many wonderful Christmases; with and without vision and it does not matter! Christmas is for me. The smells and the sounds, the laughter and the merry making. When I had enough sight, I used to enjoy going out to window shop. To see the bright colorful lights, the flickering candles in the Church, Santa's bright red suit, and streets crowded with throngs of folks of all ages. I also loved to smell the scent of rich pine, cakes and goodies baking in ovens, and taste the various Christmas foods and drinks. I also loved to walk in the snow and watch those big white snowflakes race each other to the ground but most of all, I loved to ice skate around those huge outdoor rinks decorated with Christmas lights. That was then and this is now but not much has changed for me. True it is that I can no longer see the flickering candles, the colorful Christmas lights, and the big fat snowflakes, but this does not prevent me …

Finding, Researching and Downloading Books, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias on the Net

As technology advances, we're seeing more and more libraries offering digital downloads of their catalogs. Online libraries of material have become more popular as sighted folks discover iPods and electronic book readers and search engines now offer the ability to search printed texts and even download electronic versions of the texts. Online dictionaries and encyclopedias are making it possible for people who are blind or visually impaired to independently search for reference material. As a result, I am going to combine several Fred's Head records into one large resource document that will help you find and download books from a variety of search engines and websites. I encourage you to visit the Fred's Head Database or the Fred's Head Companion blog and search for the word "book" to see other resources. I will also reference many online dictionaries and encyclopedias that are free and accessible.

Louis Database of Accessible Materials for People Who Are B…

Watch Your Favorite TV Shows Online

Favorite-TV Shows is a website that streams episodes of various American TV shows online. This website has a wide selection of videos with the latest episodes from current-running TV series such as Heroes, Glee, Fringe, True Blood, and Family Guy. Simply pick the show and choose the season and the episode you want to watch. Episodes stream using Flash technology, the player controls are not accessible to screen readers, but I did get the episodes to play and the sound was good. You can view episodes from TV shows that are not aired anymore like That 70’s Show, Ally McBeal, Arrested Development and my personal favorite, Star Trek. Streaming is free and you don't need to sign-up in order to access the shows.

Click this link to watch your favorite TV shows with http://www.favorite-tvshows.com. TVGorge.comIf you're outside of the US and sick of not being able to see good TV online or just tired of waiting for Hulu to get your favorite shows, you'll want to check out TVGorge…

101 Historical Moments You Can Relive on YouTube

Events from both political and cultural history, captured and stored on YouTube, including Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma City bombing, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 1929 stock market crash, Billie Jean King in the "Battle of the Sexes," the first MTV program, the O.J. Simpson trial, the 1960 presidential debate, Woodstock, and the space shuttle Columbia disaster. I am a big fan of history, so you can bet I'll be spending some time here.

Click this link to check out the 101 Historical Moments You Can Relive on YouTube.

The Problem with PDF Content

by Donna J. Jodhan That's the crazy thing that so many content designers just do not understand. They continue to put all of their efforts into designing pretty PDF content but at the end of the day it is totally inaccessible to blind and visually impaired people. Why you ask? Very simple. PDF content is made up of an image that cannot be deciphered by screen readers. In other words; PDF files are image-based instead of textual-based. Blind and visually impaired persons use screen readers to surf the Internet. More and more online forms are being designed in PDF format and as a result of this, blind and visually impaired people are being deprived of their right to privacy and confidentiality. How is this? Simple! If a form is in PDF format it means that blind and visually impaired people need to depend on sighted assistance to help them complete it. It is frustrating, scary, and a downright violation of our right to confidentiality and privacy. There is a way for all o…

MY TWELVE DAYS AT APH

by Kerry Isham

On my first day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my second day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
two Talking Glow Dice,
and a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my third day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
three Rib-It-Balls,
two Talking Glow Dice,
and a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my fourth day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
four NIMAC Updates,
three Rib-It-Balls,
two Talking Glow Dice,
and a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my fifth day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
five Green Machines,
four NIMAC Updates,
three Rib-It-Balls,
two Talking Glow Dice,
and a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my sixth day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
six talking watches,
five Green Machines,
four NIMAC Updates,
three Rib-It-Balls,
two Talking Glow Dice,
and a braille copy of my Newsweek.

On my seventh day at APH
Tuck Tinsley gave to me
seven large print textbooks,
six talking watches,
five Green Machines,
four NIMAC Updates,
three Rib-It-Balls,
two Talkin…

Convert Email To HTML Pages

I've been looking for a service like this for the last few weeks. I was using a service called Twittermail to convert email messages to links that I could share with the Fred's Head followers on Twitter. The service has pprooved unreliable by not always sending my links to Twitter. I'm looking forward to giving this service a try. ForwardOn is a web service that provides an alternative way to share your favorite email messages with others. Instead of forwarding them to your friends individually, ForwardOn lets you send them to share@forwardon.com and convert them to html pages by publishing them to your personal forwardon.com account. Your messages will be presented on a clean formatted web page along with any attachments like videos, pictures or audio. Using the website is very easy and requires sign up. You can also browse email messages shared by other users, check out most popular shared items, rate them and leave comments. ForwardOn also has a reward system where, d…

Locate Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

I'm always looking for a good deal and this site has them. If you eat out with your family on a regular basis, KidsEatFor is definitely for you. It's a website that helps you locate restaurants where kids eat for free. Just type in your address or zipcode (US only) and hit “search”, KidsEatFor will then give you a list of nearby restaurants that offer kids specials. In case you know a restaurant in your area that is not listed, you can submit it for inclusion. You can even sort results by days of the week to get in on those daily specials. The restaurant’s address and phone number is also presented.

Click this link and feed your kids ffor free by searching at http://www.kidseatfor.com.
You might also want to check http://www.kidsmealdeals.com for kid-friendly deals at other restaurants as well.

Large Display Online Stopwatch

TimeMe is a free web-based timer and large display stopwatch for your browser. It can be used to time meetings, class tests or any other events. Due to its huge display it can be easily used in conference rooms with many people, at home for a low vision alternative to inaccessible timers or classrooms with low vision students. The watch can be set to count up or down and an alarm can be set to go off when the timer stops. Users may also adjust the timer's display (size, color, width) and sound alarm settings to fit their needs.

Click this link to visit the Time Me site: http://www.timeme.com/timer-stopwatch.htm.

MaximEyes Video Magnifier

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The newly upgraded MaximEyes Video Magnifier from EITAC Solutions Group is offered exclusively by APH. It offers access to printed materials, multimedia, as well as improved productivity. With up to 60X magnification, you are able to display an enlarged view of materials placed on the work surface. A new, larger 22-inch widescreen display provides a clear image for reading and writing.The improved MaximEyes has a unique interface that uses a new joystick controller that replaces the mouse from the previous model. You can manipulate the optional camera in any direction, zoom in or out, or control any of the wide variety of features.With an optional Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) camera, not available from APH, you can see information such as a lecturer being presented in the distance. Three inputs allow connection to other media sources, such as a VCR, DVD player, or compatible computers.FeaturesCorded PenTracker for improved writing capabilityNEW! Improved designNew! AutoTrack™ reading feature, …

Early Braille Trade Books

Sunshine Kit 1Finding the right book for young students is now easier!The Early Braille Trade Books Project combines commercially available books with braille labels for beginning readers. This kit includes books, braille labels, and access to an interactive website, please visit: http://tech.aph.org/ebt/FeaturesContracted or uncontracted braille labelsMatch books to a student based on braille knowledgeThe interactive website allows you to: Search for books by genre, core curriculum, or expanded core curriculumAccess a book summary and activities designed for braille readersMaintain a listing and percentage of contractions learned by each student -- great for documentation at IEP meetingsShare or transfer student records to other teachersSunshine 1 Kit Includes14 books, label packs, and a Quick Start Guide:Along Comes JakeBreadThe Cooking PotMr. GrumpThe Monkey BridgeNoiseNowhere and NothingOld GrizzlyRatty-TattyThe SeedSpider, SpiderThe Tiny Woman's ClosetWhat Would You Like?

APH Weeks Before Christmas

'Twas weeks before Christmas, Santa's short on time,
"I need accessible gifts for those who are blind!"

He's been watching the weather for snow and for ice.
He checks the time with his talking ZeitGeist.

"What can I do?" he pleads to his spouse.
"Dear, shop online at American Printing House."

"You know I forgot about the shop APH site.
It'll sure come in handy on a night like tonight."

"I'll grab my list and fire up the Mac,
Accessible gifts I'll have in my sack."

Look at the books, what a selection!
I'll pick this one from Chrissy's Collection."

"I know one book I'll sure be taking,
It's a good one to read, APH History in the Making."

"For Bobby, Tommy, Missy and Sue,
I'll make reading easier with the handy i-vu."

"Sam wants games, that's really nice,
I'll add to his list APH's Talking GlowDice."

"For those who aren't technologi…

Packaging Information Available from Horizons for the Blind

From the site: "Welcome to directions for me, your one stop source for accessible packaging information. This site will provide a consistent, quality source of complete packaging information for everything from preparation instructions to ingredient lists to Nutrition Facts labels for many common grocery, health and beauty products. We encourage you to support our corporate partners who have made a commitment to the blind and visually impaired community. If you don’t see a specific product listed on this site, please contact that company directly to suggest that they partner with us to make their packaging information accessible to a large and often ignored market. Directions was designed to be 100 percent accessible for text to speech users and also braille output devices. If you have difficulty finding any information on this site, please contact us at mail@horizons-blind.org."

Click this link to visit the Directions for Me website: http://www.directionsforme.org.
The Te…

Earn Your Doctorate With a Specialization in the Education of Students who have a Sensory Impairment

APH is pleased to announce the funding of the National Leadership Consortium in Sensory Disabilities (NLCSD) by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The consortium consists of 24 universities with doctoral programs that have an emphasis in one or more of the three sensory impairment areas: blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing, and deafblindness. For more information, contact Dr. Kathleen M. Huebner, NLCSD Project Director, Salus University, kathyh@salus.edu.