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Showing posts from August, 2009

Write a Letter Online, Have it Sent Through the Regular Mail

The following tip came from Lisa to FredsHead@aph.org. I found a site that allows you to write a letter online and send it via snail mail. It is easy to use, and does not require registration. Simply fill in the address fields, write your letter and once finished pay with PayPal. Your letter will be printed and sent ( US first class ) within 24 hours. The down side of SnailMailr is that it doesn't support international letters. A basic letter ( up to 4 pages ) cost $1.00. You can add more pages for $0.10 and remove the SnailMailr logo for $0.15. The page is broken into an edit box for return address, another for recipient address and text which reads:

"Step 2:
Write your letter" Unfortunately, This link can't be clicked in the normal way by pressing enter. Instead, I had to turn MSAA mode off, root my mouse to the words "Write Your Letter," and left click. Once I did this, I was taken to a page where I was able to type in my letter. There are also w…

How to Address a Letter to a Government Official

How often have we been advised to 'write our Congressmen' when we're up to our armpits in some sort of dilemma or challenge such as keeping video description on television, various dog guide issues, or runaway drug costs for senior citizens? So now you've decided to take action and ask for help from your Uncle Sam (or local Alderman). Good for you, let's get started!

Start with: what, who, where? It helps to clarify exactly what your problem is, so you can determine who or where is your best source of help. For example, if you were plagued by bad sidewalks, you would first start with your local phone directory to check your town or city's listing for either Public Works, or a Department of Sidewalks. That local telephone directory is a decent source of some basic government information, from the municipal all the way to the White House.

Search the Internet. Here are a few helpful sites that contain information about the government.

FirstGov.gov: The U.S. Governmen…

How to Prepare a Basic Resume

There are as many kinds of resumes as there are jobs. Use a style that matches your personality and career objectives.

Choose one or two fonts at most, and avoid underlined, boldfaced and italic text. Many companies use automated recruiting systems that have difficulty with special formatting.

Opt for the active voice rather than the passive voice (say 'met the goal' rather than 'the goal was met').

Provide contact information such as your home address, phone number and e-mail address at the top of your resume.

Include an objectives statement, in which you use clear, simple language to indicate what kind of job you're looking for. This should appear below your contact information.

List your most recent and relevant experience first. Include time frames, company names and job titles, followed by major responsibilities.

In a second section, outline your education, awards, accomplishments and anything else you wish prospective employers to know about you.

Hire a proofreader …

Read Books! Because Braille Matters

The National Braille Press is delighted to continue the distribution of free braille materials to young potential braille readers an their families through the expansion of their "Read Books! Because Braille Matters program. NBP has produced attractive Braille Book Bags for distribution to families of young blind children, at no cost to a school, or the families. The contents of the book bags include:

An age-appropriate print/braille book (in English or Spanish)
A colorful print/braille placemat
Braille-large print magnetic letters
two guides for parents, "Because Books Matter" and "Just Enough to Know Better"
A coupon that parents can redeem for either another free print-braille children's book or a set of braille-print playing cards. The program goals are to: Foster a love of reading at an early age;
Expose parents of preschool blind children to braille as an effective method of reading and writing;
Encourage parents to learn just enough braille to help their…

Using An Interpoint Braille Slate

Because the interpoint slates offered by the American Printing House for the Blind easily can be mistaken for slates for writing on one side of a page only, the following information is presented to make use of these slates easier. To load paper into either the standard interpoint or interpoint postcard slate, stand the slate on its edge with the hinge pointing left. Open the slate part way so that the hinge is the point of a long narrow letter v. Stand the paper on its edge between the two plates of the slate. Make sure that the left edge of the paper is backed off a bit from the hinge. When you write on the second side, it will move slightly toward the hinge, and there must be room for it to move without binding at the hinge. Make sure that when you close the slate, all four pins will pierce the paper. If the pins at the ends of line one are in position to pierce the paper when you close the slate, just press against the pins at the ends of line 4 so they do pierce the paper. T…

How to Write an Effective Cover Letter

A resume is an essential tool for any job search, but it's not the only tool. Your cover letter is equally important in creating a good first impression for a potential employer. Take some time to make your cover letter great and increase your chances of landing that dream job.

Find a job posting, job tip or advertisement that interests you, and make sure you are truly qualified for the position. Busy employers sometimes receive hundreds of letters, so don't waste their time or yours.

Match the letterhead style and paper you will use for your cover letter to that of your resume. This helps to establish a solid first impression.

Skip the salutation if you do not know the name of the person who will be reviewing your resume. It's best to address the letter to a specific person; call the company and see if the receptionist can give you a name and title.

Grab the reader's attention right away - make him or her want to keep reading. You need to distinguish yourself early from t…

Find Serial Numbers Hidden in Your Computer

You just purchased a new computer and it came loaded with software and tons of CDs. What would happen if that computer should happen to crash? Would you be able to find all the serial numbers necessary to reinstall all the programs that came bundled with your system? Could you see the print on the stickers? What can you do to solve these problems?Well, the answer is in the Windows Registry. All of your serial numbers are stored there and you can find them if you know where to look. Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to go into your Windows registry, I'm going to make things even easier with a free piece of software. LicenseCrawler is a little gem you can use to scan your machine for serial numbers. The program is 100% free, make sure you don't pay for it. After downloading the application, simply run it and it will return all the keys from your computer. When you first run the application, you'll have the option of searching your machine or another on your …

Texas School For the Blind And Visually Impaired

The Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI) provides a wealth of educational services and resources that include adaptive technology and publications. These resources can be accessed through the TSBVI Instructional Resources Page; this website has an easy-to-use search feature.

Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
1100 West 45th St.
Austin, TX 78756
Toll Free: 800-872-5273
Phone: 512-454-8631
TDD: 512-246-9451
Fax: 512-246-9450
Web: http://www.tsbvi.edu

Special Education Exchange Resource Web Site

In 1993, Dr. Brad R. Walker started a computer bulletin board service (BBS) called the Special Education Exchange (SpEdEx) in order to provide information to all persons interested in the field of Special Education. The web version of SpEdEx has been online since March 1996. Whether you are an educator, professional, parent, consumer, student or someone else who has an interest in special education, you will find a variety of resources through SpEdEx. For example, SpEdEx provides links and online documents that provide access to professional, job, school and university listings, conference announcements, a discussion area and even poster sessions in easy-to-use formats. The majority of these are presented in standard web-format, along with a few that are made available in "universal" Adobe PDF format. Since its inception, SpEdEx has relied on users to help it to grow. With this in mind, SpEdEx accepts users' suggestions with regard to content and it actively solicits…

Creating Keyboard Shortcuts on the Mac is a Spark

Spark is a powerful, and easy to use shortcuts manager. You can use it to set “hot keys” to open applications and documents, execute AppleScripts, control iTunes, trigger menu items, and more. Here are the steps to set up some basic shortcut keys of your own. Once you understand the basics it’s not difficult at all. When you first launch Spark you’ll get the intro screen.
Check the two boxes marked “Activate Spark at Login” and “Activate Spark immediately”. This will make sure Spark will always launch and your shortcut keys will continue to work after you reboot the computer.
Now you’ll see the main screen. The table is blank at the moment but once you set some shortcut keys it will display them.
Ignore this screen for now and open the File menu, select “New HotKey” and you’ll see a sub-menu with the different types of hotkeys you can set with Spark.
You can test each type for yourself later, for now choose the “Application” sub-menu to set up a hotkey that opens an application for you.

Accessible MenuPages

Judy Dixon sent the following information into Fred's Head and it's a great resource for those looking to have a night out on the town. Naturally that would start with great food and an accessible menu. Menupages is a website that has thousands of restaurant menus. nearly 30,000 restaurants in eight major markets: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, and South Florida. You can search by neighborhood, type of food and lots more. Menus are available as "viewable on-screen" or "printable" in a pdf. Both formats are easy to read with a screen reader.

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

Anne Sullivan Macy Fellowship

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision at Mississippi State University (MSU) sponsors the Anne Sullivan Macy Fellowship in collaboration with the University's Department of Counselor Education and Educational Psychology. Emphasizing rehabilitation research in the area of blindness and low vision, the program was started in the fall of 1992 with the goal of producing scientist-practitioners well grounded in state-of-the-art research methods and practices. Accredited by CACREP and CORE, this advanced degree program requires students to pursue and to attain a doctoral degree. The fellowship experience includes a paid graduate assistantship with the RRTC; tuition reimbursement; participation in ongoing applied research; involvement with professional groups, state agencies for the blind and consumer advocacy organizations; and involvement in regional and national training conferences. For more detailed information about the Anne Sullivan Ma…

Locating The Keyhole In A Lock

Use your forefinger to locate the keyhole and put the tip of your finger on the keyhole. Then put your key under your finger and guide the key into the keyhole. Some persons use one hand to do this, while others use one hand to locate the keyhole and the other to insert the key into the lock.

Contributor: Jean LeSand

Phone Support Groups for Families of Blind Children and Teens

The Jewish Guild for the Blind’s National Tele-Support Network, the only one of its kind in the country, provides free, weekly telephone support groups facilitated by social workers and psychologists for families of blind, visually impaired or multi-disabled children and teens. The Guild is nonsectarian and one of the nation’s foremost not-for-profit vision health agencies. Created by The Guild’s Children’s Vision Health Initiative, which seeks to eliminate preventable vision loss in children, the Tele-Support Network responds to a national need for support and facilitated interaction among these families. For many, The Guild’s Tele-Support Network is the only opportunity for them to interact with other families with a blind or visually impaired child and it meets a critical need especially if participants live in small towns or rural areas. Families are encouraged to join The Guild’s Tele-Support Network. To register or for more information, please call 800-915-0306 or click this l…

Mozekty: The Talking Internet Radio Database

I have lots of friends who ask me for accessible websites to find good links to internet radio stations. I usually send them to http://www.billsparks.org because Bill is visually impaired and understands how to create an online database of station listings that is screen reader friendly. Bill does a great job at keeping his website updated, but there's only so much one guy can do. Sometimes, you just want to try something new. Why can't there be a database of stations that is being checked by a handfull of people to insure that they are online and why can't that database be screen reader friendly? I was asking myself this question one day and did a Google search for internet radio database. The results weren't good. What I found were programs that were not accessible and tons of online resources that hadn't been updated in years. Well, I kept searching and eventually came to the InfraDrive Mozekty page. The description of the program said that "Mozekt…

FREE DAISY Book Reader from Freedom Scientific

Freedom Scientific is providing FSReader, its popular DAISY book reader, free to users of its PAC Mate™ and PAC Mate Omni™ accessible Pocket PCs. FSReader for the PAC Mate and PAC Mate Omni can be downloaded free from the Freedom Scientific Web site. Users who install Freedom Scientific’s JAWS 11 and MAGic 12 products will be pleased to discover that both products include the full desktop version of the FSReader DAISY player. This will be the case with Demo versions of JAWS and MAGic as well.

Click this link to learn more about products from Freedom Scientific by visiting their website: http://www.freedomscientific.com.

Windows Media Player 11 Guide for Those Who Use JAWS

For those who want to better understand Windows Media player 11, here's a guide for users of the Jaws screen reading program, written by David Bailes at Chorlton Workshop for hsbp. This is a guide for Windows Media Player 11, running under Windows XP. Although the Player can deal with most types of digital media, including audio, pictures, and video, this guide is only concerned with digital audio. The guide describes how you can use Windows Media Player to: Play audio files, audio CDs, and data CDs containing audio files.
Organise the audio files on your computer using the Library.
Rip audio CDs to your computer.
Burn audio and data CDs. Click this link to read the Windows Media Player 11 Guide. http://vip.chowo.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/jaws/Windows-Media-Player-11-Guide.html

Accessible TV Listings

TV GuideBlindBargains.com has found possibly the simplest interface for TV listings and it's from an unexpected source. Often times, wireless interfaces to websites are more usable and slimmed down, making them easier to navigate. Try this link to TV Guide's wireless portal, and obtain a list of what's currently on for your cable or satellite provider in a few seconds. The listings are completely uncluttered, with just the channel number, name, and the current show.

Click this link to visit the wireless version of TV-Guide's TV listings: http://wireless.tvguide.com. EpguidesEpguides is a website where you can quickly lookup TV show episode titles and air dates. The site currently has episode lists for over 4100 TV shows. You can search and browse them alphabetically, sort them by year, check out currently running shows and view a current and fall US TV schedule grid. Additionally you can subscribe to newly added shows, recently canceled shows (US only) and rece…

Over 70 Years of the Audiobook and How it Rose to Fame

By Peter Markovic Seventy years ago, a person would not have found an audiobook section in their local bookstore. This is because it was 1931 when the concept of talking books was developed in order to help the blind enjoy the same literature that those who could see enjoy. From there, it grew into something greater as the years went by. It took a while for the audiobook to grow in popularity because of the types of media it was placed upon. Records were the first method of recording and playback used. They were not very portable. Individuals would play them on their phonographs at home and that was the only time in which they were able to enjoy their audio book. Later, the audiocassette was developed, which allowed individuals to enjoy them on their audiocassette players. In the late 1970s, cars that came standard with eight track players were being fitted with audiocassette players, which allowed individuals to play their recorded books while on the road. By the mid 1980s, this…

Assistive Technology Oral History Project

The Assistive Technology Oral History (ATOH) Project was founded by Dave Edyburn and Chauncy Rucker in 2007 to gather first-hand accounts of pioneers in the field of assistive technology (AT). The project uses methodology and protocols used by oral historians who seek to capture the rich experiential knowledge base of a discipline or culture. To date, a small group of supporters have created a list of early contributors that we have used to conduct 19 interviews. "The initial response has been extremely positive as AT leaders begin thinking about their legacy and new young leaders desire a deeper understanding of the historical context of their profession. We propose to interview as many people as possible who have contributed to the AT field. We digitally record our interviews and have transcripts made of each interview. The audio files and transcripts are then made available online, without charge, through this website. Naturally, we seek to ensure that our documents are unive…

APH 150th Anniversary Retrospective Website

In 2008, APH celebrated its sesquicentennial. Visit our special website (www.aph.org/150th/) that looks back at the festivities marking our 150th year. Events included completion of the renovation of the APH front lawn; the opening of a new museum exhibit area; an exhibit and presentation in Washington, DC; an essay contest with over $20,000 in prizes awarded; special 150th programming at the APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees; and a celebratory luncheon for all APH employees and retirees. You'll find fun text, photos, and video on our sesquicentennial site.