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Showing posts from March, 2009

Medication Assistance with take-n-slide

Take-n-Slide helps you monitor your medication's daily doses, up to 4 times a day. Just attach the self-stick dosage strip to your prescription, vitamin or daily supplement bottle of any size and align all "indicator slides" to the left. Then, take your medication and move one indicator slide to the right. Just remember not to place dosage strip over important instructions. For more information, or to order the dosage strips, call 678-494-2992 or click this link to visit http://www.take-n-slide.com.

A Unique Luggage and Recovery Service

Luckily, (knock on wood) I've been very lucky in my travels through airports so far: the one time my luggage was misplaced, the airline found and delivered it to my door the very next day. But that experience was enough of a scare for me to relate to the thirty-seven million people who lose their luggage every year, and never get it back. Now, there's a solution to this problem that works with existing databases and websites to keep you and your luggage together. TRACE ME Luggage Tracker provides you with a strong, durable airline approved tag for your luggage, that has a unique serial number and 2D bar code ensuring your suitcase can always be identified and returned to you. Tags are suitable for all types of luggage including briefcases, laptop bags and is ideal for all members of the family. Your personal details do not appear on the tag, your identity is safely and securely stored on Immobilise.com, a database genuinely used by law enforcement agencies, major lost proper…

Talking Email Keyboard for the iPhone

I've mentioned that talking products, created for sighted people, often benefit the blind and visually impaired. I'm going to tell you about another product that fits into this catagory, but before I do, let me give you the description of this product from the manufacturer and let you decide its best use. "With the Internet in your pocket, it’s hard to not take advantage of it in every situation possible. However, there are some instances in which iPhone use is limited, particularly if you’re behind the wheel of a car. Talking Email Keyboard from G.P. Imports attempts to change that by allowing you to type e-mails as you drive." Typing email as you drive? How many blind and visually impaired people have been hit while trying to cross the street? Let's see if we can't find a better use for this nifty product. Talking Email Keyboard works by announcing each letter you’ve typed after you tap a key, saving you the trouble of having to look down at the screen a…

Better Living with Fred's Head

Here's a story in which it is shown that the regular use of the Fred's Head blog can improve one's quality of life. Greg Samsa awoke one Saturday morning to the sound of a baby crying. He got out of bed, remembered that his wife had left for a teacher's convention the night before and knew that he had to take care of things. He put on his bathrobe and went into the nursery. "Jen-ny" he sang. "Daddy's here, Jenny. Daddy's here." He felt around in the crib for the baby and picked her up. Jenny's crying continued, but with less force. "Are we hungry?" Greg asked, bouncing the little girl in his arms as he carefully navigated into the kitchen. He put a saucepan of water to heat on the stove, then prepared a baby bottle one-handed and set it in the saucepan. Jenny's cries continued. "I've got to change her diaper," he thought. Laurie usually took charge of that task--manipulating the diaper while he helped to cl…

About Fred's Head

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Click this link to hear a message from Fred. Created by and for people who are blind or visually impaired,
Fred’s Head is where you go when you gotta know!Explore the collective ideas and experiences of blind or visually impaired people by visiting Fred’s Head! You’ll find hundreds of tips and techniques to help you solve everyday difficulties, and detailed explanations of more complex issues that may challenge you. Why Is this Blog Called Fred's Head?Fred's Head is a free service from the American Printing House for the Blind (APH) that publishes tips, articles, and resources by and for blind or visually impaired people. The Fred's Head blog was inspired by APH's legendary Fred Gissoni. Fred has been providing technical support to APH customers and writing APH technical manuals since 1988. Prior to coming to APH, Fred had many accomplishments in the field of blindness. He has been working in the field since 1953 and has been a rehab placement officer, counselor, te…

I'd Rather Be Shopping

Why pay full price if you don't have to? With this site, you can now stay on top of coupons for all your favorite online stores. Not only does this site offer great coupons for many online shops, but after checking out the About Us section, you'll find that they offer great customer service as well. If you have any problems using a coupon, you can e-mail them and they^D>'ll be happy to help you out! On the main page, you'll find featured coupons, coupon categories, coupons of the day and popular coupons. If you look to the right, you'll find the Coupon of the Day, printable coupons and the area where you can sign up for their email list. Along the top of the page, you'll find these navigation tabs: Today's Coupons: Clicking on this tab will bring you back to the main page from any other section.
Coupons by All Stores: Under this tab, you'll find a listing of coupons alphabetized by store. That's a great way to browse the stores if you're loo…

Free Programs to Open Any File Extension

Have you ever had a mystery file on your computer that no program on your hard drive could open? I've downloaded audio files and had no player to play them, man how annoying. OpenWith.org provides detailed information about most file extensions and links to free programs that can open and create each type of file. "All of us at OpenWith.org have found ourselves helping our parents and friends open obscure file types time and time again, and decided that this information was best shared with everybody." There are plenty of great programs out there that will cost you hundreds of dollars to do what you need. What you probably don't know is that there is usually free software that is just as good. You just don't know about it. OpenWith.org is run by a group of computer programmers who don't mind helping people with their computer problems. That's why the site was created.

Click this link to visit http://www.OpenWith.org.

National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET)

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET) is a national membership organization dedicated to rendering all possible support and assistance to those preparing for or teaching in the field of special education. NASET was founded to promote the profession of special education teachers and to provide a national forum for their ideas. NASET is a national professional association that seeks to meet a critical need for many of America's special education teachers. NASET was established as a professional organization for former, current, and future special education teachers who had no professional organization to call their own. NASET develops and promotes professional excellence through the support of teachers who provide services to children with special needs. The organization is dedicated to ensuring that all children and adolescents with special needs receive the best education possible. NASET serves the professional interest of special education teachers in…

Top Ten Mistakes Parents Make in IEP Meetings

By: Matt Foley, M.Ed and DeAnn Hyatt Foley, M.Ed., Parents, Lubbock, Texas (Reprinted with permission from the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired and the Kentucky School for the Blind) The following article appeared in Parent to Parent, a quarterly publication of the Kentucky School for the Blind that contains information relevant to Kentucky parents and families of children who are blind and visually impaired. Editor's Note: While reading through various articles and looking at various websites, a friend of mine came across an article that contained information that would have helped my wife and I immensely when we started down the "IEP Road". I thought it would be very beneficial to share this article with my readers. Although this article is based upon the federal regulations, some of the language or terms used within this article may be slightly different than what is used in your state since new regulations have been drafted. If you have any…

Three Books about Blindness & Related Topics

While looking through The Braille Forum from the American Council of the Blind, I found the following three books and wanted to share them with you. Words in My HandsDiane Chambers has a degree in therapeutic recreation and is a sign language interpreter. She has also written, Words in My Hands: A Teacher, A Deaf-Blind Man, An Unforgettable Journey. This is a true story about Bert Riedel, an elderly deaf-blind man who played classical piano. Before he lost his sight and hearing to Usher syndrome, he was a dentist in Lombard, Ill. Diane met Bert when he was 86 years old and taught him how to read tactile sign language. While the story illustrates psychosocial factors that complicate the disabilities of deafness and deaf-blindness, it carries an inspirational message as well. It shows that miracles can happen where there are dedicated professionals and caregivers. For more information about the book, visit www.ellexapress.citymax.com or contact Diane Chambers at 303-591-1040. As I …

Educational Software for the Blind

Hugh Haggerty operates a website that offers a variety of educational software and games. Many are specifically designed for people who are blind or losing vision. One such program helps you learn braille using a standard computer with adapted keys. HAGGERTY ASSOCIATES was founded in 1981 in Cranbury, New Jersey. Original software designs included educational programs for Secondary Schools. As time went on, the company branched out into accounting software for Credit Unions, and eventually into hosting and designing websites for small business and organizations. "Today, our main focus is educational software. This software includes Mathematical software, Physics, Biology, Science, and testing and instructional software. Some of our software is FREE."

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

Tweet from JAWS

Are you on Twitter? Isn't it amazing how popular this micro-blogging site has become? Now Twitter can be even easier to use with scripts for JAWS that allow you to tweet from anywhere in Windows. Jawter, in essence, can turn your screen reader into a Twitter client. You can read tweets from the people you follow, write a tweet to your own Twitter page, reply to someone's tweet and activate any link they might send. Blind Cool Tech has a podcast you can listen to in order to learn more about Jawter, click this link to download.

Click this link to download the Jawter scripts for JAWS from RandyLapTop.com.
Click this link to visit Fred's Head on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/fredshead.

How to Protect Yourself: Virus Information and FREE Virus Scanners

It seems that there is no end to viruses, trojans, and worms. We've seen variants of the Beagle, Netsky, MyDoom, and so on and so on. Most of these nasties were transported or replicated from pc to pc using email attachments. These are easy to spot if you're paying attention, simply because they are usually executable files, but not always. Some attachments contain Macros (simple programs that run within other programs-all the titles in Microsoft Office use macros). If you're not that familiar with spotting file extensions, don't worry, that's what I'm going to talk about in this article. If you're a little hazy on the whole "file extension" thing then let's spend a few moments explaining it. File extensions are what tell the program how to treat a particular piece of data. For example, most people are somewhat familiar with .doc or a .txt file extension, these are both text documents and when the user opens this file the Operating System …

Deafblind Communicator

HumanWare has created its DeafBlind Communicator (DBC). The DBC enables deaf-blind users to communicate with members of the hearing and deaf communities. The basic DBC provides a TTY for communicating with other deaf or deaf-blind individuals. The DBC consists of two components: 1) a BrailleNote with braille display and either a standard or braille keyboard and the accompanying software, and 2) the DBC Companion phone. These two separate units communicate wirelessly with each other using Bluetooth technology to allow for face-to-face communication. The BrailleNote has special software built into it that enables it to operate as a TTY when connected to a land-line telephone. With the addition of a SIM card and a texting plan from a wireless provider, a DBC user is able to send and receive text messages via cell phone. The DBC instantly translates the text to braille and vice versa. To learn more about the DBC, contact:

HumanWare
Toll Free: 800-722-3393
Email: us.info@humanware.com

National Cristina Foundation (NCF)

The National Cristina Foundation (NCF) is a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to the support of training through donated technology. Its mission is to ensure access to computer technology and the sharing of technology solutions to give people with disabilities, students at risk and the economically disadvantaged the opportunity, through training, to lead more productive lives. NCF works to see that computer technology resources coming out of their first place of service are not wasted, but are given a second productive life helping to develop human potential.

National Cristina Foundation (NCF)
500 West Putnam
Greenwich, CT 06902-7474
Phone: 203-863-9100
Web: http://www.cristina.orgTexas Center for the Physically Impaired and Refurbished ComputersFor 15 years, the Texas Center for the Physically Impaired has operated a program where, for a $100 donation, they will provide individuals who are blind or visually impaired within the US or Canada with a computer. The computer is a refu…

Accessible Breast Cancer Information

The National Braille Press is offering free copies (in braille or PortaBook) of the American Cancer Society booklet, For Women Facing Breast Cancer. The publication covers mammograms, biopsies, cancer staging, treatment options, and breast reconstruction as well as how to join clinical trials and where to find emotional support. Each section includes a list of questions that individuals might want to ask their doctor or nurse. Copies are limited to one per customer NBP has other health-related braille publications, including: After Diagnosis: Prostate Cancer, free
Menopause Guidebook, free
Simple Ways to Control Your Weight
Atkins Carbohydrate Gram Counter
Diabetes Cookbook: Desserts NPB also offers a free four-week trial of Syndicated Columnists Weekly, a braille magazine that includes columns and editorials print and online newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post. You can download a free sample (text or braille) on the National Braille Press we…

Low Vision Aid for People with Macular Degeneration and Retinitis Pigmentosa

Millions of people in the US have age related Macular Degeneration, and other low vision diseases that have caused permanent loss of central vision. The SightMate LV920 viewer can help many of these individuals with inoperable visual impairments improve their visual acuity and quality of life. The SightMate LV920 viewer is a portable, lightweight video magnifier that optimizes residual peripheral vision. Private clinical trials show that people with between 20/70 to 20/200 acuity in their best eye have been able to increase their reading and distance acuity to 20/40 or even 20/20! By a combination of edge detection (contrast enhancement), color blindness compensation and a zoom capability of 20x, the SightMate LV920 viewer will also assist people with Diabetic Retinopathy or Glaucoma who have suffered a gradual loss over the entire vision field. SightMate is intended to be worn while sitting. It is not designed to be used in mobile activities of any kind such as walking, playing sp…

The SENSEsational Alphabet Book

From the publisher: "This is a completely interactive ABC picture book, focusing on integrated sensory methods to learning. This enables all students, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, to build a basis for fundamental communication skill development. The book incorporates visual stimuli, movement, touch, smell, sound, braille, and sign language, with each page having a unique feature. Learning the alphabet has never been more exciting and stimulating! This fun and engaging book lets students feel the different textures of the Horse and Lizard, smell the distinctive aromas of Apples and Roses, move the hands of the Watch, pull the Zipper, and much more! Learn the entire alphabet and many beginning words in sign language and braille. Touch the corresponding key pad and recite the letters and words along with the book. A portion of all proceeds is donated to various children's charitable organizations and educational facilities across America". This book is tru…

MathPlayer: A Math reader for Blind Students

Design Science has developed a product called MathPlayer to help the visually impaired. The player reads mathematical text aloud, and you can alter the way it reads certain functions (for example, you may prefer close parens or you might like it to just say parenthesis). The program understands the need to know whether a portion of a fraction is the numerator or the denominator, it understands that you would need to know when the argument of the square root ends, etc. MathPlayer enables Microsoft Internet Explorer to display mathematical notation in web pages. It is based on MathML technology and requires Internet Explorer for Windows version 6.0 and later. "We make MathPlayer available for free in order to foster the adoption of MathML in the math, science, and education communities". Right-click on an equation and see what MathPlayer lets you do with it! You can cut-and-paste math into any one of a growing number of MathML-compatible software packages, such as Maple and …

Macular Degeneration Support Inc.

Macular Degeneration Support Inc. (MDS), offers a host of online resources for people with macular degeneration and related diseases. The organization's web site contains: more than 1500 links to low vision-related resources, library, book store, an email discussion group, chat room, and literary contributions--writings by people with low vision. MD Support is a non-profit, public service organization. It was created in 1995 by Dan Roberts, a retired educator. Its director and staff are all visually-impaired volunteers. The organization publishes a "web book" containing the same information as its web site which are distributed at cost to individuals who do not have internet access. There are currently two volumes of the Web Book. Individuals who purchase the two volume set can receive bi-annual updates. According to MD Support, any profits from the sale of the Web Books is used for the organization's outreach efforts. For more information about MD Support, use…

Humanware, a manufacturer of assistive devices

Humanware is a designer and manufacturer of technology for people who are vision impaired. Their products include: The SmartView video magnifier, a low vision aid that enlarges objects, actions and text onto a display screen
PocketViewer, the truly portable low vision device
Victor Reader, a line of digital talking book players that allow reading of talking books recorded in digital format
Trekker, a revolutionary system that uses GPS and digital maps to help blind people find their way in urban and rural areas
Maestro, a PDA using a text-to-speech technology adapted application and a tactile keyboard membrane over a PDA touch screen
BrailleNote, provides a choice of output options by combining a crisp high definition Braille display with clear, responsive speech
BrailleNote PK, the world's smallest blindness PDA, it combines a high definition braille display with speech output
VoiceNote, provides high quality speech output without the Braille display

For more about Humanware and thei…

Accessible Cell Phones for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

It seems that cell phones keep getting more and more complicated. You can browse the internet, take pictures, chat and check your email with your cell phone. Unfortunately accessability hasn't improved with the phones. Some companies have figured out that blind people do use cell phones and we want to use the same features as our sighted counterparts. Before I give you a list of some accessible cell phones, let me tell you about a very basic phone and phone service. Originally designed for elderly parents or grandparents to use as an emergency phone, or for anyone who is technically challenged Jitterbug is a MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) that uses the Sprint system and features easy-to-use phones with operator-assisted calling and speed dial set-up. Jitterbug currently features two phones made by Samsung. Both have large, easy-to-read displays, loud and clear sound, and feature large, easy to dial buttons with clear markings (no confusing icons). They also "pla…

Accessible iPod for the Blind

We're hearing more and more about iPods and how easy it is to download audiobooks, music, and podcasts from the internet. Most portible MP3 players are difficult for the blind to use because of on-screen menus. The iPod Shuffle is the best unit for the blind so far. The size of its buttons are a bit smaller than those on full-sized iPods, but the blind will appreciate its simplicity: there's neither a screen to worry about reading or properly navigating. There's no complicated settings to change. Its only controls are "back," "forward," "play/pause," and the volume controls. The iPod shuffle, of course, can handle all iTunes-imported audiobooks, as well as those purchased from either the iTunes Music Store or Audible.com. Since these audiobooks can range anywhere from 45MB to 250MB in filesize, we'd definitely recommend the 1GB or 2GB models. Even at this capacity, you may find yourself frequently "refilling" the unit with ne…

Disability, Accessibility and Information Resource

e-Bility.com was launched in 1998 as a one-stop accessible destination for disability related information, resources, services and products. Its purpose was three fold: Empower people with disabilities, by making it easier and quicker to find relevant information in an accessible format
To offer a low cost alternative for small groups in the disability and community sector to have a presence on the Net
To explore and promote web accessibility Today, e-Bility.com is an active network of people and organisations interested in disability issues. It includes individuals, organisations, support groups, professional associations, service providers, and equipment suppliers from across the disability, health, special education and community sectors.

Click this link to view http://www.ebility.com.

libbraille: a Library for Braille Displays

Libbraille is a computer shared library which makes it possible to easily develop for Braille displays. It provides a simple API to write text on the display, directly draw dots, or get the value of keys pressed on the Braille keyboard. This website also provides a free online Braille translation tool based on Libbraille as well as some detailed documentation about various international Braille alphabets. Libbraille supports a wide range of Braille displays with a serial or USB connection and can autodetect most of them. The terminals of the following manufacturers are supported: Alva, Baum, Blazie Engineering, EuroBraille, HandyTech, Hermes, ONCE, Papenmeier, Pulse Data, TechniBraille, Tieman and others. The program is free and can be used with various computer programming languages like C, C++, Python, Java, PHP and JavaScript. Many projects are using this component for output on Braille displays.

Click this link to visit the libbraille website at http://libbraille.org.

MozBraille

MozBraille is an extension to transform Mozilla or Firefox to a stand alone accessible Internet browser designed for blind or partially sighted users. With mozBraille you don't need a third party program like a screenreader. MozBraille offers its users three displays or outputs : A Braille output on a braille terminal,
Text to speech output,
A big characters view. MozBraille is a part of the VICKIE project at http://inova.snv.jussieu.fr/vickie. The main goal of this project is to create an electronic school bag for visually impaired children. The main output is the Braille and the less important is the text to speech because students have to listen to their teacher ;-). Note : MozBraille is a beta version, so there are lot of features to add. At the moment, blind or partially sighted users can't use this software alone.

Click this link to visit the MozBraille website at http://mozbraille.mozdev.org.

BrailleSurf

BrailleSurf 4 is an Internet browser for visually impaired users, which allows a simplified reading of the information available on the Web. BrailleSurf 4 shows this information in a text form. This information can then be displayed on a braille bar, or it can be spoken by a speech synthesiser thanks to appropriate drivers. The text can also be presented on the screen according to the needs of partially sighted people. A further important use of BrailleSurf 4 is to allow a fast review of the accessibility level of a website for visually impaired people. BrailleSurf 4's technical principle is to analyse the source code of the HTML pages, in order to keep only the essential information and to design an optimal layout. The graphical objects are filtered and the page is rebuilt in a textual way. The BrailleSurf 4 browser exists in English, French and Spanish and is compatible with Windows 95, 98, NT and 2000. It allows to drive different kinds of braille displays and speech synth…

Where is that Beeping Easter Egg?

What better way for children to celebrate Easter than with an Easter Egg Hunt? Now, specially designed Beeping Easter Eggs, available from Maxi-Aids Products for Independent Living, allow Blind and Visually Impaired kids to join in on the fun! Instead of going by visual cues, kids locate these eggs by following the loud, clear beep they emit. They give children who might otherwise be excluded the opportunity to participate in the special spring tradition of the Easter Egg Hunt. Beeping Easter Eggs can also be used on Easter morning to provide an audible alert as kids with low vision experience the excitement of locating their Easter baskets. In addition, they're great for use at disability awareness functions as well as senior homes and assisted living facilities to bring the joy of Easter to all ages. The beeper assembly and batteries are housed in the bottom half of each egg. The beeper is easily operated using a built-in ON/OFF switch and drilled holes allow sound to be tran…

Miriani: Online Adventure Game for the Blind

By Jessica Pitzer Miriani is a multi-player online roleplaying game in which you take on the role of a starship pilot. It is set in the year 2355, and things are quite a bit different than in our world today. Their are 40 known sectors, which are populated by many planets, moons, and space stations. Some of the activities you can do are: Become a pirate, and steal from other players.
Protect human space from aliens called praelor by fighting in invasions, and by participating in combat missions.
Asteroid hauling.
Salvaging Debris.
Planetary mining.
Couriering.
Trading.
Traveling through space, hunting for artifacts.
Mail delivery.
Passenger Transports.
Atmospheric Salvaging.
Archaeology.
Planetary surveying, both in space, and on the ground. Miriani is a MOO, a Multi-User Domain - Object Oriented game that requires a MOO client. If your sighted I recommend VMoo from http://www.vmoo.com/download, and if your blind, I recommend either Monkey Term, or VIP Mud from http://www.gmagames.com/vipmud.s…

Goalball or Torball?

The following article was originally posted on the eyeway.org website and is reposted here for your convenience. TorballBy Satguru Rathi Torball is a game developed in the 1970's for blind and visually impaired people. The game suits men and women of all ages. There are lots of facilities in this game for rehabilitation activities as well as leisure, school and top level sport. Torball is played on a rectangular court of 16 metres in length and 7 metres in width. On the court are six players from two teams, i.e. three players per team. A goal is erected at either end of the rectangular court. The game is played with a bell ball, which must be thrown underneath three cords tightened across the court. The object of the game is for each team to throw the ball across the opponent's goal line while the other team attempts to prevent this from happening. Then, the former defending team takes on the attacking play and former attackers in turn defend their goal. A particularity of…