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.

(See the end of this page for subscribing via email, RSS, browsing articles by subject, blog archive, APH resources, writing for Fred's Head, and disclaimers.)


Friday, January 29, 2010

US Blind Tandem Cycling Connection Website

The website for the US Blind Tandem Cycling Connection provides an online resource for blind and sighted cyclists to team up for a bike ride. By creating a profile, riders can search for either a sighted pilot or a blind/visually impaired stoker in their local area. Profile questions help riders match up based on riding experience and cycling goals. Tandem experience is not necessary. The website provides a tutorial to teach the basics to new pilots and stokers.

The US Blind Tandem Cycling Connection endeavors to increase the participation of individuals who are blind/visually impaired in the exhilarating sport of tandem cycling. Their vision is that everyone with a visual impairment has the opportunity to experience tandem cycling, with its’ feeling of freedom and sensation of speed.

The US Blind Tandem Cycling Connection is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. Click this link to create a profile and share the ride, visit

US Blind Tandem Cycling Connection
P.O. Box 944
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone: 818-719-0238

HoverCam Scans Documents Quickly, Will it Work with Open Book or Kurzweil?

The USB-powered HoverCam X500 uses a digital camera to take a snap shot of a document and is designed to replace the much bulkier traditional flatbed scanner. It takes a snapshot of the document placed beneath its lens in a split second, much like a camera, as opposed to the more drawn-out method of traditional scanners and takes up much less desktop space than a flatbed. The manufacturer, California-based Pathway Innovations and Technologies, says the HoverCam’s capabilities make scanning, faxing, emailing, archiving and organizing files a quicker, neater and more enjoyable experience.

Documents are filed automatically in RIA format (Rich Internet Application), which is based and developed on Adobe Air 2.0 technology, making it very flexible.

There's an anti-skew program built-in and documents scanned on a black background can be trimmed automatically, too. Images can be dragged and dropped into folders of your choice and PDFs can be created instantly. Its compact design makes the HoverCam even more functional in today's office. The beauty is it works equally well with over-sized and irregular documents as it does with regular or smaller sized documents. High throughput scanning is also possible with this device where some traditional scanners struggle to cope.

There are two models to choose from: HoverCam X300 (2MP, maximum resolution of 1600 x 1200 (150dpi equivalent) – good for home use, and the HoverCam X500 (5MP) which has a maximum resolution of 2544 x 1936, or 600dpi equivalent. More often than not, 300dpi is good enough quality to publish, archive, etc.

HoverCams come with HoverCam Flex software that links HoverCam to a workstation or the internet to allow easy sharing of digital scans to social networks or private back-ups.

Having a built-in microphone allows the HoverCam to be used as a visual presenter in conference rooms or classrooms, and also works with Skype to allow real time video shows and teleconferences, even in low light.

The company also produces the HoverCam CardPro, a device that scans, stores and organizes your business cards like “a digital rolodex”, say the manufacturers. The CardPro can extract the business card information for use in other documents or applications.

The home-use HoverCam HoverCam X300 sells for US$139.99. The office-use X500 sells for US$199.99 and the HoverCam CardPro is listed at US$79.99.

Click this link to learn more about the HoverCam.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Own a Business? Then You Need Tactile Signs

Tactile signs are a common means of communication used by people who have both sight and hearing impairment. Some methods of tactile signing are Hand-Over-Hand, Tracking, Tracing, Co-active signing, Braille signing etc. These are based on standard systems of Deaf Manual Signs. These signs are ideal for schools, colleges, offices, hospitals and public places that get a lot of human traffic. manufactures high quality signs that are durable as well as affordable. Tactile Touch Signs available at the store are compliant with all of the relevant ADA regulations, and will make a facility more accessible to hearing and sight impaired people. This store provides a huge selection of tactile signs like Braille Signs, Accessibility Signs, Fire Exit Signs, Elevator Signs, Mounting Bases, and many more. The online store also offers 185 stock products for Tactile Signs.

The Tactile Touch Braille Door signs include various Braille Signs and Accessibility Signs. All Braille signs are available in 16 different colors and use Grade 2 Braille that complies with California Braille specifications. This standard is also valid nationwide. The online store offers unparalleled and sturdy Braille designs like Spanish Braille Signs, Glow Braille Signs, In Case of Fire Signs, Custom Braille Signs, etc.

All the office door signs are manufactured from top quality materials and are highly resistant to almost any climatic condition. They provide easy customization of engraved, ADA door signs. The shipment of orders over $50 is free throughout the United States.

For more information on door signs, please visit

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Braille Eni Puzzle

We're always on the lookout for games and toys modified with braille. This product comes to us from the Seen From The Heart blog and was posted by Carter.

From the blog:

"I bought this off of the other day, and decided to check it out before I posted about it. I was slightly concerned it was junk, but we really like it. It's sold out on amazon though! I don't know if they are getting more or what. They can also be found on this website, hopefully, some of those places have websites.

Basically, this is a popular puzzle toy from Korea. There are several different versions, and one of them has braille on it. You move the pieces around the column to get them in rows, or to create a certain pattern. It's basically like a rubix cube, only a different shape. (Since rubix cubes are easier to come by, you could just braille one of those. Mark all of the reds with a "1", orange with a "2", or you could associate a letter to each color. You could even spell a name or something else personal.)

Anyway, we do like this toy. Our daughter is much too young for it, but we had fun doing it. At first I had trouble getting the pieces to move easily, and was frustrated. But, once we had moved all of the pieces, they started moving easier. They click into place, so a blind person would be able to hear when they have them lined up, and when to make a new "move."

I think it is a neat little trinket, and would be perfect for long car trips, or whenever you want to keep your little ones occupied for awhile."

American History In Video

From the website:

"American History in Video provides the largest and richest online collection of video available for the study of American history, 2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection's wealth of video and multiplicity of perspectives allow students and scholars to see, experience, and study American history in ways never before possible .

Indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video give the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video. This collection is an exclusive collaboration with the A&E Television Networks and features some of their most important documentaries and series from The History Channel, A&E Network, and Biography. Historical coverage ranges from the lost colony of Roanoke through the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf; biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas.

Several types of video footage have been chosen to provide a well-rounded collection for historical study:

  • Documentaries from key partners such as The History Channel and others provide long-term perspectives on historical events, historical people, and key turning points in American history. These documentaries often incorporate contemporaneous footage and photographs; feature interviews with citizens, newsmakers, and other witnesses to history; and make the knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm of numerous scholars, historians, and researchers readily available. Judicious reenactments of historical moments, particularly with the Civil War, help students visualize important aspects of history, such as the impact of military strategies and tactics on historical outcomes.
  • Newsreels, routinely shown before feature films in movie houses, were the only way for citizens to see American and foreign events and news during the pre-television era. With contemporaneous footage and coverage of a wide variety of stories, from war and politics, to fashion and sports, and more, newsreels remain a valuable window on American history, society, and culture. American History in Video is the only source where the entire series of United News (governmental newsreel from the Office of War Information) and Universal Newsreel (commercial newsreel from Universal Pictures Company, Inc.) stream in full online. Forthcoming in Spring 2009 are complete sets of Semantically Indexed and searchable Release Notes, the original documentation provided for each newsreel release in each series.
  • Public affairs video from series like Longines Chronoscope (Columbia Broadcasting System) were usually created to provide contemporaneous analysis on issues of the day. Through interviews and debates with politicians, diplomats, and a range of foreign and American experts and leaders in a variety of fields, these videos shine a light on the topics, issues, and people considered newsworthy, as well as the received wisdom, in a given time period.
  • Archival footage adds another critical dimension to historical analysis, with coverage of events and people for an often more specific purpose than other�types of video.

Taken together, this rich combination allows students and scholars to study history in new ways." Click this link to visit American History In Video:

If you're looking for a good "Today in History" site, The History Channel has a video version of this service.

Click this link to watch Today in History from the History Channel:

NBC News Time Capsule

One of the features of Hulu is a collection of old news segments and entire news programs from NBC. Hulu calls this collection of segments and programs the NBC News Time Capsule. Included in the line-up are Kennedy's inauguration, the first Today Show, and the first Apollo 11 Moon Special.

Teachers of US History may find the videos in the NBC News Time Capsule to be helpful in teaching lessons on 20th century US History. Teachers of media studies may also find the videos useful for lessons on changes in reporting and improvements in broadcast production over the last fifty years.

Click this link to visit the NBC News Time Capsule on Hulu.

94 secret Windows shortcuts

Ed Bot over at ZDNet has a list of some cool shortcuts for Windows. These are mostly for Windows 7 but may work in Vista and XP as well.

"The shortcuts I’m referring to involve the shell command, which is curiously undocumented in the Windows 7 Help files or on Microsoft’s web site. The idea is to give Windows programs and users access to common locations using the Windows shell, Windows Explorer. The syntax is simple—you type shell, followed by a colon and the name of the shell folder location. That list of folder locations is hard to memorize, with lots of inconsistencies especially in regard to spacing. For example, the shell shortcut for the shared Downloads folder is shell:CommonDownloads, whereas the equivalent shortcut to the shared Documents folder is shell:Common Documents. And the command will not tolerate typos. If you add a space in the former or leave out the space in the latter, the shortcuts won’t work. The good news is that these commands are not case-sensitive, so you can ignore the sometimes odd capitalization.

Despite the syntactic challenges, these shortcuts are very useful for some tasks. They’re especially good for fast typists who don’t want to move their hands from the keyboard to do a bunch of mouse movements. If that’s you, tap the Windows key to open the Start menu with the insertion point already positioned in the Search box. Then type shell: followed by the location."

Click this link to visit and read Ed's list of shortcuts for Windows.

Push Button Padlock: Accessible Security for the Blind

Push Button Padlock

You've just started school and you need a lock for your locker. What do you usually do? I'll bet you buy a lock from the campus bookstore or the local hardware store and the first thing you do is ask a friend to read the printed code so you know how to unlock the thing. Does this sound familiar to you? "Excuse me, but I just purchased a push button padlock. Can you please tell me what my combination is?" If you have to ask someone what the combination is, then your security may be compromised.

APH to the rescue! The traditional push button padlock is now accessible. You can finally have a combination that is known only to you. Each lock comes with two large print/braille cards listing the combination, along with large print and braille instructions. Buttons eliminate the worry of losing a key. Just push five buttons and presto, you're in! Use at school, work, or home.

Push Button Padlock:
Catalog Number: 1-03990-00
Click this link to purchase the Push Button Padlock.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

Flash Padlock USB Drive

Now, if you like this type of lock for your locker or backyard gate, how about taking the same idea and putting it on a USB thumb drive?

The Corsair Flash Padlock drive is available in a 1GB and a 2GB model for those of you who need serious file storage. The Flash Padlock offers a feature you won't see elsewhere.

The front of the drive has a five button keypad that allows you to set your own, custom pin number of up to ten digits long. A hardware-enabled auto-lock function secures the drive each time you unplug it from your PC once you choose a pin number.

Once the drive is secure, the data on the drive can't be accessed unless you know the pin number. The drive won't even be recognized by Windows when plugged into a computer without entering the pin number. No software is required on the attached computer for the Flash Padlock to work and it is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Click this link to visit the Corsair website to learn more about the USB Flash Padlock.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How Better Customer Service to Special Needs Consumers Can Increase Revenues and More

by Donna J. Jodhan

This is a statement that I preach to my clients every day. If you improve your customer service to special needs consumers then there is no doubt that you will accomplish some very astounding benefits such as:

  • You will increase your revenues,
  • You will expand your customer base,
  • You will improve your business image,
  • You will become the darling of your industry.

Why you ask?

By improving your overall customer service to special needs consumers, you will show that you truly understand your consumers. You will also show that you are not just thinking of today, but also tomorrow and way beyond. You will show that you are listening to what your consumers are demanding and not tell your consumers what they should be demanding as too many companies tend to do. For make no mistake about it! As the years roll by, special needs consumers are going to be making up more and more of your consumer base and who are those special needs consumers that I dare to mention?

Seniors, those afflicted with disabling diseases, the blind and visually impaired, those who are hard of hearing, those afflicted with cognitive and learning disabilities, the physically challenged, the print disabled, those whose first language is not English, and? Yes, those busy professionals, the single parents, and parents with young children. You see, many, many consumers with special needs for you to improve your customer service to. Be nice to them and they will keep coming back to you and you know what? Their loyalty will be undying.

One last suggestion: With more and more persons becoming victims of loss of sight, it would not be a bad idea for companies to make themselves aware of the types of products and services that will be needed. Learning now will certainly help to avoid many unnecessary incidents in the future. Get to know more about the types of technologies that blind and sight impaired consumers use, how you can make your websites more accessible to them, and the types of services that they need in order to remain happy customers.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Your MP3 Player Can Talk with Rockbox

If you've been wanting to get in on the portible MP3 player craze here's some software that will be of use.

Rockbox is an open source replacement firmware for mp3 players. It runs on a number of different models and allows those MP3 players to have their own screen reader. Players currently supported include:

  • Archos: Jukebox 5000, 6000, Studio, Recorder, FM Recorder, Recorder V2 and Ondio
  • iRiver: H100 and H300 series
  • Apple: iPod 4th gen (grayscale and color), 5th gen (Video), Nano and Mini 1st/2nd gen
  • iAudio: X5 (including X5V and X5L)
  • Additional models are in development

Click this link to visit the Rockbox development site:

Brian Hartgen has created an audio presentation concerning how to install Rockbox onto an iPod.

Click this link to download the tutorial:

Accessible Electronics, a recent entrant in the accessible MP3 market, has relaunched their website to improve accessibility. The new site offers the ability to purchase their selection of media players modified with the Rockbox software. Weekly specials and accessories are also available.

Click this link to visit

Umbrella Etiquette

Do you travel with an umbrella? If yes, the following tips will help to keep you and those around you safe during those rainy days.

  1. Use the Right Umbrella: Carry an umbrella that is appropriate for your use and proportionate to your body size. There is no rule saying you can’t own more than one umbrella: a small one for your use alone and a larger version when you are walking together with another person.
  2. Avoid Umbrella Rage: They say it’s a jungle out there on the streets … and rainy days are even worse. Some call it “umbrella rage” as children and adults alike do battle on crowded streets, using their umbrellas as the weapon of choice. Whenever you see another person approaching, tip your umbrella away from them the other person to avoid colliding your umbrellas. Be sensitive to how the metal or plastic points sticking out at every fold may poke someone in the body or, worse, in the eye. Rain or shine, utilize just half the width of the sidewalk when walking in a group, so others can easily pass by. Depending on how wide the sidewalk is no more than two or three people should ever walk abreast.
  3. Learn the Dance of Umbrellas: For a taller person, when you encounter another person using an umbrella, raise your umbrella up so a shorter person may pass by without colliding with your umbrella. Likewise, if you are a shorter person, lower your umbrella closer to your head. The end result is a well choreographed “dance of umbrellas” down the street, each umbrella being raised or lowered in graceful motion, avoiding all conflicts, collisions, and pokes in the eye.
  4. Keep It Closed and Dry Inside: It is customary to close your umbrella before entering a building. Remove any excess water by gently taping the tip of the umbrella in front of the building a couple of times. The first question upon entering should be where you may place the wet umbrella to avoid further dripping. Make use of the carrying case that came with your umbrella, or the disposable plastic bags that many office buildings and stores provide, to cover your wet umbrella while indoors.
  5. Park Umbrellas with Care: Be mindful of where you place your umbrella. If no umbrella stand is provided, set your umbrella upright with the tip on the floor beside you. In trains, planes, and automobiles, lay it on the floor near your feet, not on an empty seat where other people may sit on it or the puddle it leaves behind. Keep your umbrella away from walkways where someone might trip over it.
  6. Carry Cautiously: It continues to amaze me how oblivious people are about the physical space they occupy. When not in use, always hold your umbrella vertically, with the pointed end down. Do not tuck it under your arm horizontally with the ends sticking out ready to stab someone.
  7. Look Both Ways and listen carefully Before You Open: Be mindful of who may be standing nearby when opening your umbrella. Open it with care, noticing whether your umbrella will poke someone.
  8. Just Enjoy Windy Days: When the wind is so strong that your umbrella is in jeopardy of being turned inside out, simply forget it. Tilting your umbrella into the wind only obstructs your forward vision and, more times than not, doesn’t help much, anyway. Rather, brave the elements in a good rain coat with a hood. Try to remember that a little water never hurt anyone (except, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West).

BONUS: Prevent Umbrella Loss: Folks at any lost-and-found department will tell you they have hundreds of unclaimed umbrellas in storage. If you forget your umbrella somewhere, you may have a chance of someone returning it if you tape your telephone number and/or email address to the very top of the umbrella’s main strut above the handle, where it will least likely get wet and come loose.

© 2004 ADVANCED ETIQUETTE. All rights reserved.

Parents and Visually Impaired Infants (PAVII)

Parents and Visually Impaired Infants

Parents and Visually Impaired Infants (PAVII) is a pack of print materials designed to help parents of infants who are visually impaired become involved as primary members of the intervention team. Includes:

  • Parent Assessment of Needs: Help identify home-based goals for infants.
  • Parent Observation Protocol: Covers parent observation of self and child through videotaping.
  • PAVII 'How-To' Papers on Assessment: Home-based assessment information.
  • The Art of Home Visiting: Responsibilities of a home visitor and issues in the home visit process.
  • Getting Ready for School: The learning environment, family factors, child factors, school district factors, expert input, and educational rights.
  • Learning Together: A Parent Guide to Socially Based Routines for Visually Impaired Infants: Help a baby learn during everyday activities (also available separately).

Materials come bound in a sturdy three-ring notebook. Recommended ages: birth to 3 years, primarily for parents.

Catalog Number: 7-96150-00

Learning Together only:
Catalog Number: 7-68660-00
Click this link to purchase Parents and Visually Impaired Infants (PAVII).

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

Interacting with your low vision newborn: Framing

Free High Quality Audio Books at AudioOwl

AudioOwl offers an extensive collection of high quality public domain audio books. They are helpfully organized by genre, including children and teen/young adult. You can browse by genre, or search the entire site by author, title, or key words.  A selected book can be “previewed” before deciding to download it. In other words, you can listen to the reader.

AudioOwl offers two download options.  A book can be added to iTunes as a podcast.  Or, the book can be downloaded in a zipped folder that contains an MP3 file for each chapter, for use with any MP3 player.  It is worth noting that some of these files are quite large and require considerable download time.

I mentioned the high quality of the audio books from AudioOwl, and it really is excellent.  I previewed samples from a variety of genres, and in every instance the quality of both the reading and the recording was top notch.  This should come as no surprise because AudioOwl is making use of recordings from LibriVox, where each book is read by a volunteer. 

Additional features of the site include audio books in multiple languages, links to other resources about the work, and a brief summary of each book. Readers/listeners are encouraged to review and rate the audio books on AudioOwl.

Click this link to visit

Monday, January 25, 2010

Choosing and Wearing a Bow Tie

If there was ever a misunderstood item of male clothing, then the bow-tie is that item. Perceived as an accessory appropriate for mockery, relegated from everyday use to infrequent evening wear, the bow-tie is the symbol of a lost generation.

So many people are incapable of tying their own bow tie. A fact which, in itself, shouts of a neglect for a style of necktie which has been ridiculed as much as it has been celebrated; people are as likely to associate the bow-tie with Jerry Lewis as Winston Churchill, and this unhappy result has had a marked effect on the pride of a wearer. Once deemed to be the height of artisan sophistication, if you wear a bow-tie on any occasion other than a black-tie event, ordinary people are likely to expect you to pull a bunch of flowers from your sleeve.

Below are some rules and guidelines about choosing and wearing the daytime bow-tie.


The first rule is that the bow tie you select should be one you tie yourself. No self-respecting man should buy a ready-made bow tie; they are only for children and have the intractable flaw of being too perfect. A real bow-tie is imperfect. Though the Beau spent hours trying to tie his neckwear, discarding the ‘failures’, the key with bow ties is that they should be different every time, thus making the self-tie bow tie one of the most unique accessories in a man’s wardrobe. Sometimes a little fat, sometimes a little too tight, however they are made, they are usually gloriously asymmetric in appearance. This asymmetry has the canny effect of adding an air of old world civility to the wearer. Don’t crave for symmetrical perfection because that was never the point in wearing one in the first place; when you see Churchill’s bow it is loose and characterful, not a stiff cut-out.


The other rule with wearing a day-time bow tie is that it must be patterned. Non-patterned bow ties look like black-tie substitutes, so always shop for dots, stripes or paisley. Colours should be sober and darker in tone; forest green rather than apple green and claret rather than blood red. The reason for this is to turn the bow-tie into something which is not screaming for attention, but rather standing, silently still, ignoring the prying eyes and castigating remarks – rather like an Irish Guard on duty outside St James’ Palace. The idea of this simple revolution is to remove the comical bow-tie from the limelight of the Big Top and to forge a new association with the stylish gentlemen of the day.

When to wear it

Bow-ties look youthful when worn properly and they can brighten up almost any outfit. Wear a bow tie with a sharp, slim-fit suit for an on-trend cut with an eccentric dash. Or wear a bow tie with a casual collar and a cable crew neck for a ‘relaxed academic’ look. Bow-ties can also prep-up plain spring outfits of short sleeved shirts, tailored shorts and blazers. The key is to avoid overdoing a look with a bow tie; keep pocket squares to a visual minimum and try not to colour match too much. one of the best retailers of preppy nostalgia clothing in the world, Ralph Lauren (, has a wonderful selection of bow ties.

Article Source:

Friday, January 22, 2010

Find and Share College Notes Online with Notelog

Is College turning out to be a bit tricky for you? I do recall that my first year was difficult, if only because there was such a world of experiences and activities to go through. The actual courses weren't that difficult, but if you mixed the obviously daunting aspect of a whole new change of scene with the increased number of responsibilities, then I think we all can agree on what makes College so difficult to begin with.

As a blind student, I learned that networking with other students was the way to go. It helped me get notes, learn my way around campus, I even learned where the best places to eat were located.

Notelog is the place to find, share, and create college notes! Instantly view notes and documents absolutely FREE! Have a question? They have answers! Connect with the fastest growing social network dedicated to notes, knowledge, and know-how! Everyone is an expert at something, share knowledge, answer questions, and earn money. It's that simple!

  • Instantly view, create, & download college notes, documents, & eBooks absolutely FREE!
    Study smarter not harder! Learn faster with better notes and start earning better grades.
    Ask, answer, and discuss questions covering just about any topic!
  • Collaborate to graduate! Share notes, knowledge and know-how with anyone around the world using Facebook, Twitter, and more!
    Create study groups to collaborate and discuss class materials in a specific academic subject or course.
  • No more need to email papers or projects. Simply store & manage them all on Notelog!
  • Studying abroad, full-time, half-time, online or offline no matter what type of student you are Notelog can make college easier!
Click this link to visit

NOTE: Not all features of this website are compatible with screen readers and magnification programs.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wild Music: The Sounds and Songs of Life

While parts of this site may not be easily accessible to someone using a screen reader, it offers the classroom teacher the chance to teach using the world of sound. Low vision students may not have as difficult a time accessing the site, there is lots of Flash content that could be difficult to figure out for someone who can't see the graphics.

Wild Music is a fun and educational website on which students can learn about sounds commonly heard in nature. Students can listen to the sounds and explore what creates those sounds. Some of the activities students will find include a game of animal audio memory in which students hear sounds and have to match them to each other. Students can find activities such as The Mosquito in which they compare their hearing to the hearing of various animals.

Wild Music is a resource that could be used by both science and music teachers. Science teachers can use the site as an exploration of the sounds animals make and why they make those sounds. Music teachers can explore how the sounds of nature influence musicians.

Click this link to visit

Friday, January 15, 2010

How to Tie Your Shoelaces

We all learned how to tie our shoes at a very early age. I can still remember the old wooden shoe that we used to practice on at the Kentucky School for the Blind.

Did you know that there are all kinds of ways to tie a shoe? After visiting this site, I couldn't believe just how many there are.

Ian's Shoelace Site gives you graphic illustrations, and text descriptions of different ways you can tie your shoes. You won't believe the different options you have.

Click this link to visit Ian's Shoelace Site:

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

Social Security Benefits for Children with Disabilities

This booklet describes the kinds of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and health benefits for a child with a disability and explains the evaluation of disability claims for children.

In English:
In Spanish:

Folding Clothes

A. Folding Shirts

First button every other button and the cuffs, if applicable. To find the top of the shirt, put your hand inside the top of each sleeve. Shake out the shirt holding onto the top of it. Lay shirt face down on a table with the collar to the left. Pull the sleeves out to the sides smoothing out the fabric as much as possible. Bring the body of the shirt close to the edge of the table. Put the index finger side of the left hand next to the collar (right side of shirt), fingers pointing to the shirttail, and fold over right side of shirt. Fold the right sleeve lining it up lengthwise with the shirt. Repeat for left side of shirt. Bring the tail end of the shirt up to the collar to fold in half lengthwise, or fold in thirds by bringing the tail end up one third and then fold again in half.

B. Folding Creased Pants

By holding the bottom of each pants leg put the seams together, making sure the inside seams are touching. Hold the bottom of the legs and put under your chin. Bring the waist of the pants up and fold in half, or hold on to each end and bring hands together.

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

These tips from Carol Woodward were published on the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired website and are made available by special permission of the author.

Leaders and Legends: Richard Edwin Hoover

Richard Edwin Hoover
Inducted 2002
Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Richard Hoover (1915-1986) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He obtained his B.S. degree in 1936 from Penn State and an M.D. from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1950 with post-graduate work at Johns Hopkins Wilmer Institute. He married Lydia in 1959 and they had two sons.

In 1936 he was selected as a teacher of mathematics and physical education at the Maryland School for the Blind where he was known especially for his wrestling teams. He set up the first wrestling tournament among schools for the blind, a tradition that has continued for 40 years. Beginning in 1962 he offered ophthalmological services to students at the Maryland School for the Blind and served on the Board of Directors for the school beginning in 1973.

Richard Hoover has been referred to as the "Father of the Lightweight Long Cane Technique." In 1944 as an army sergeant, he was assigned to the center for the treatment of blinded soldiers Valley Forge Army Hospital. There he developed a successful cane technique, replacing the traditional short wooden cane with a lightweight long cane cut to a prescription length and using the technique of arcing the cane from side to side with the tip touching the ground in front of the trailing foot. He carefully chose additional staff to whom he taught these techniques and who in turn taught them to the blind soldiers. This program has been imitated by many schools and civilian agencies for the blind. University training programs were established beginning in 1960 and eventually certification standards and a code of ethics. In the next 25 years more than 2000 mobility instructors would graduate from 15 university training programs.

Following the war, Richard Hoover entered medical school and became a distinguished ophthalmologist. He was an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and was on the staff of other hospitals in Baltimore and Chief of Ophthalmology at Presbyterian Charity Hospital and Greater Baltimore Medical Center. In spite of a demanding medical practice, he served on many boards, provided consultations to a multitude of governmental, public, and private agencies serving the blind and visually impaired both in the United States and throughout the world. He was in the vanguard of his profession in encouraging the development of services for children and adults with low vision. He also was influential in the development of genetic counseling for families in conjunction with the National Eye Institute. He has been described as visionary, discerning, innovative and revolutionary in his approach to the mobility of the blind.

Richard Hoover Richard Hoover's Hall of Fame Plaque

Plaque sponsored by the family of Richard Hoover

About the Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is dedicated to preserving, honoring, and promoting the tradition of excellence manifested by the specific individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame and through the history of outstanding services provided to people who are blind or visually impaired.

These significant professional colleagues of the recent and distant past are a fascinating cross-section of heroes and pioneers who not only shaped our rich history, philosophy, knowledge and skills, but also give us insights into current and future challenges. These giants shared their personal lives and showed us strategies to ensure that services for blind persons remain unique and specialized. Enjoy their lives and contributions and reflect upon your own list of heroes.

Hall of Fame: Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field is a project of the entire field of blindness. It is curated by the American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Visit the virtual Hall of Fame for the inspiring stories of many more heroes of the field of blindness.

Check out this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind, if using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

How to Make a Bed Neatly

You don't have to be a perfectionist to keep a tidy bed. Your bed will look nice, stay clean, and be the place you would like to sleep. Putting it all together neatly at first will even make daily bed-making easier!

  1. Start at the bottom with a dust ruffle. If your final bed cover does not go all the way to the floor, a dust ruffle will help to keep dust from collecting under the bed while providing a decorative accent. The dust ruffle goes on top of the box spring, covering the box spring and bed frame. They do not require washing as often as sheets, and should stay clean with quick and regular vacuuming.

  2. Put on a mattress pad and any protective coverings (such as a waterproof sheet for a child's bed). Smooth them out, running your hands outward from the middle to remove any creases or wrinkles.

  3. Put the fitted bottom sheet in place. Pull the fitted bottom sheet elastic tightly and evenly over the mattress corners. It helps to work diagonnally from one corner to another, Smoothing from the center, then tucking under the sides.

  4. You can Use a flat sheet instead of a fitted sheet on the bottom, if you don't have any fitted sheets. First unfold the sheet with the wide hem at the top and the narrow hem at the bottom. Spread it out evenly across the bed, tucking in the bottom edge of the sheet. Then pick up the side edge at the bottom corner holding it out while tucking the left part hanging down at the corner, then let the edge fall and tuck it in as well. This is a "hospital corner". Repeat for the other bottom corner, then repeat the entire process at the top. Finally, smooth from the center and tuck in the sides.

  5. Unfold the sheet, wrong side up, with the wide hem at the top and the narrow hem at the bottom. (This will mean the right side of the sheet shows later when you fold down the top over the blanket.) Spread it out evenly across the bed, allowing any extra length to fall at the bottom edge. Tuck in the bottom edge and make hospital corners as in the previous step: Pick up the side edge at the bottom corner and hold it out. Tuck in what is left hanging down at the corner, then let the edge fall and tuck it in as well. Repeat for the other bottom corner.

  6. Put blankets over the sheets. Place blanket(s) right side up with the top of the blanket at the point you wish to turn down the top sheet - about 8 inches from the top of the bed. Tuck in the bottom edge and make hospital corners there. Fold down the top sheet over the top edge of the blanket. Tuck in the sides if you wish to keep the covers tight or if they would otherwise hang out below the comforter or bedspread.

  7. Decorate with a warm comforter. Most comforters are decorative and too thick to tuck in, so simply spread it out evenly over the bed. Run your hands through the middle, removing any wrinkles or creases.

  8. Decorate with a bedspread. This is a final decorative and protective cover that is usually lighter than a comforter. Again, spread it out evenly over the bed and run your hands through the middle to remove any wrinkles or creases. Bedspreads may be removed and gently hung over a rack or chair, or folded down neatly at the foot of the bed for sleeping.

  9. Don't forget the pillows. Put on any under-case pillow covers, then pillow cases. Fluff out the pillows and place them at the top of the bed. If you wish to cover the pillows with the bedspread, fold the spread at the top sheet/blanket line, then put the pillows in place and fold the cover back up over them.

  10. Add accessories. Place additional or decorative pillows on top, and step back to survey your creation!

Undercovers such as mattress pads and pillow covers will help protect your bed and pillows so they last longer. In return they also protect you from allergens and asthma-inducing particles that might collect there.

Use sheets large enough that they won't come untucked and pull out while you are sleeping. This makes the bed more comfortable to sleep in and easier to make up again the next morning.

Tuck in sheets and blankets snugly and smoothly, removing any creases or wrinkles. Folds are both uncomfortable and unsightly.

You can also put the sheets on the bed, upside down, and then fold the top back a foot, so that the top side shows for that one foot. Then tuck in the edges.

Bring the bottom edge of the flat sheet just to the edge of the mattress (with nothing to tuck). This gives you more fabric to tuck in at the top, for a better fit where it is most needed.

Think before giving up on that second sheet. The practice of using only a comforter or duvet without a top sheet makes daily bed-making a bit simpler, but that sheet serves other purposes: protecting the sleeper's skin from rough blankets and covers, keeping blankets and comforters cleaner, and adding a little extra layer of warmth. It's a lot easier to regularly wash a sheet than it is to wash blankets and comforters, and the covers last longer when they are kept clean and laundered less.

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

Using a Flat Cooktop Stove

Message: How do you lign up a pan on the burners of these new cooktop stoves if you are blind?

I use one of these cooktop stoves and I am totally blind. First of all, you can feel that there is a texture on the otherwise smooth cooktop where the burners are located. You can use this textured area as a guide to place the pan. Once the burner is heated, you canhold your hand several inches above the cooking surface to sense where the heat is eminating from to tell if the pan is situated over the burner correctly. In other words, if you feel excess heat coming from the area to the left side of the pan you know that the pan should be moved a bit to the left. When the amount of heat you feel is pretty much the same all around the pan, it is centered on the burner. You need to do this because sometimes after you have placed the pan on the right spot it can slide a bit while stirring the contents, etc.

I have heard that there is some kind of device that uses suction cups to delineate where the burners are located on a smooth cooktop, but I cannot remember where one can order it. If you know, please email me at and I'll update this record.

the Electrolux Infinite Cooking System

What if there was a stove that had one large burner? Imagine a stove that won't burn you when you brush up against it. That's something you'd see on Star Trek right? Nope, Electrolux is bringing this technology to us today.

The Electrolux Infinite Cooking System uses something we've all heard of in Science class, but don't exactly remember what it is: induction. Instead of the stove being hot, the pot is. By generating a magnetic field, heat is created only when an electromagnetic element comes into contact with steel cookware.

In short, the pot becomes the heating element while the cooktop remains cool. Induction cooking is precise. Temperature changes are instantaneous and, for the purposes of keeping foods warm, can remain constant indefinitely without over-cooking. As the cook surface remains cool, foods do not burn or stick, making cleanup easy. And, compared to either gas or electric cooktops, energy consumption is significantly less.

The heated surface is only as big as the pot on the surface, meaning it adjusts for different sized pots. Pretty cool.

Another innovation is the "power boost" technology, which heats up extremely fast, but only takes a modest amount of energy. The all-digital controls allow you to set it to auto-shut off, or you can choose from one of the 15 digital heat settings. This could be the only bad thing about the stove. Can blind people use the digital controls?

Along with all these features that make it the envy of pretty much every kitchen, it looks very slick. Completely flat, with shiny edges, and those pretty digital displays. What more could you possibly ask for in a stove? The only scarey thing left could be the price, which was not available at the time of this article.

Click this link to learn more about the Electrolux Infinite Cooking System.

If you are familiar with induction cooking you know it is the safest. Now Diva de Provence has made it even safer for the 10 million blind individuals in North America by offering a tactile marking kit for its line of induction cooktops. The kit includes a choice of either raised letters or Braille symbols, as well as 3M Bumpons that can be placed on the controls for easier reading and identification. Since Diva cooktops use electromagnetic energy to heat only the cookware, the cooking/burner surface remains cool* to the touch.

The cook top will only reach a maximum temperature of 482° F (as compared to halogen at 1,112º F). The heat from the pan will transfer to the surface and cause it to be hotter the longer you cook.

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Subscribe to Sites that Don’t Offer RSS Feeds

I have so many RSS feeds that I monitor for information about blindness. Occasionally, I'll come to a site that doesn't offer an RSS feed. This really causes me problems, especially if the site contains good information. Now, I can create an RSS feed for these sites, and it's very easy to setup.

Feedity lets you create a fully-functional RSS feed for almost any web page. Simply copy and paste the web page URL into the provided field and click the "Preview" button. In the next step you will be able to preview and refine the generated feed. Once you’re satisfied with the results, proceed to ‘Get feed’ to add the new feed to your feedreader.

Click this link to visit

Jishaku Magnetic Board Game

by Andrew Leibs

Named Learning Express 2009 Toy of the Year, Jishaku demands deft touch, steady hands, and good memory, making it an accessible game for the blind and visually impaired.

Jishaku (Japanese for “magnet”) is a strategy game where players take turns placing game pieces (magnetic stones) on a “game base” fitted with a foam insert topped with holes.

There are three ways to play Jishaku, including “I’m Out!” where players race to be the first to place all of their stones on the board—a deceptively difficult task. Like all magnets, Jishaku stones have North and South poles—but are unmarked; they look like small silver lumps, benign and boring.

But holding one magnet over the game base can make every piece jump. Players feel the magnetic tug on every turn. Learning to use that pull to one’s advantage (e.g. attracting or repelling pieces without pushing them into others) is the key to mastering Jishaku. It’s not only where you place games pieces, but how.

Three Ways to Play Jishaku

Jishaku is a game for two or three players or teams. For games 2 and 3, players should have pencil and paper ready to keep score.

Game 1: “I’m Out!”

Each player starts with nine game pieces (six for three-player games) and takes turns placing one piece at a time into a hole in the game base. If any stones attach to the piece played, that piece and any others connected to it are removed and added to that player’s pile. The first player to get rid of all their stones is the winner and says, “I’m out!”

Game 2: Elimination

Each player starts with nine game pieces (six for three-player games) and takes turns placing one magnet at a time into a hole. Players are assessed one point for each stone that attaches to the piece played (and any other stones that connect) during their turn. The object is to avoid picking up points. All played magnets are left in the base. Play continues until one player has no magnets left, when the board is cleared, points tallied, and a new round begins. The first player to accumulate 10 points is eliminated. Three-player games continue until two players have 10 points, the winner being the surviving player.

Game 3: Roundup

Divide the magnets. Alternating turns, each player places a magnet onto the playing surface until 10 are on the board (nine in three-player games). Players then take turns placing one of their remaining magnets so that it attracts others, scoring one point for each “captured’ piece, not including the piece played.

Round 1 continues until all magnets are captured or one player runs out of magnets, even if the board is not cleared. The first player to capture 12 stones wins.

Jishaku Magnets Tap Hematite’s Healing Power

The primary ore in Jishaku stones is Hematite, which healers in ancient Egypt used to reduce inflammation and treat anxiety. Ancient Romans saw the silvery ore as a talisman. Hematite is used today in “magnetic therapy” and as a “grounding stone” to promote wellness. Replacement magnets (for those that get lost or lose their strength) are available on the Jishaku website.

Few recent board games are as tactile as Jishaku. It’s an ideal game for the blind and visually impaired whose skill at seeing their world by touch might provide an advantage.

Click this link to visit the Jishaku website:

The Bucks Stop Here: Keeping Track of Your Cash

Money is an important part of life in this day and age and even though the use of electronic money, such as debit cards, is becoming more and more widespread, it is still very important to be able to identify cash.

Coins can be identified by feeling the size and edges. Quarters are the largest of the commonly-used coins, followed by nickels, pennies and then dimes. You can also tell quarters and dimes by their ridges, and nickels and pennies by their smooth edges.

Bills can be identified by using a special folding scheme. One such scheme is to place ones outstretched in your wallet, fives folded once lengthwise, tens folded once widthwise, and twenties folded twice, once lengthwise and once widthwise. Larger bills and two-dollar bills can be placed in separate compartments of your wallet or purse.

You don't have to use this folding scheme. There are others out there you can learn or you can invent your own. Just remember that it is important to be consistent-- always use the same method so that you don't get confused.

Another possibility is to braille your bills. MaxiAids has a product called the "Click Pocket Money Brailler" that makes brailling money quick and painless. Just insert the edge of the bill into this device and squeeze. It marks denominations of 1,5,10,20,50, and 100 dollars. The Money Brailler is about 1 1/2 inches wide and 3 inches long and comes with a chain to attach it to your key ring. Go to for ordering information:

A high-tech solution is the Noteteller 2 manufactured by Brytech, Inc. This is a hand-held portable device that scans bills and announces their denomination in either English or Spanish. It recognizes both the old and new US currency designs. They also make a note reader that recognizes Canadian currency and announces in either English or French. It features adjustable volume, includes a headphone jack for privacy and announces when the 9-volt battery needs replacement. An enhanced model is available for hearing-impaired users that provides sequences of vibration pulses to indicate the denomination. See Brytech's website for more details:

If you have text reader software on your home computer, you may be able to use your PC to recognize the denominations of your paper money. Open Book is a package that includes "Buckscan", a program that identifies bills. The K1000 package from Kurzweil also recognizes denominations of currency. For more information on Open Book, visit the Freedom Scientific web site: For more information on Kurzweil:


Orbit Research has created the iBill, an affordable Talking Banknote Identifier for the blind and the visually impaired.

At about a third of the cost of existing devices, the iBill offers ease of use and accuracy of the identification of money.

The iBill is an exceptionally convenient and affordable solution that can be used by each and every blind or visually impaired individual. Measuring just 3 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.7 inches, the ultra-slim and compact "key-fob" design provides the ultimate in convenience, allowing it to be carried unobtrusively in a pocket, purse, clipped to the belt or attached to a keychain or lanyard. Among the features that set it apart from other such devices are the extremely high accuracy (better than 99.9%) and the near-instantaneous speed (less than one second in most cases) with which it identifies banknotes.

The iBill is designed with the sole purpose of providing the simplest, fastest and most accurate means to identify U.S. banknotes. Its unique ergonomic design permits easy and intuitive use without the need for any training or practice. Upon insertion of a banknote into the device, its denomination is identified at the press of a button. Based on the user's preference, the denomination is announced by a clear and natural voice, or by tone or vibration for privacy. The unit identifies all U.S. banknotes in circulation and recognizes them in any orientation. Banknotes in poor physical condition are indicated as unidentifiable and are not misread. The unit is also upgradeable to recognize new banknote designs.

The iBill achieves all of this while operating on a single, commonly available AAA battery which lasts for over a year with typical use. Its durable construction and sealed design ensure trouble-free use. The unit is backed by a one-year warranty from Orbit Research, and toll-free customer support.

Specializing in the development and manufacture of products for people with disabilities, Orbit Research's mission is to employ cutting-edge technology to develop innovative and affordable products that are essential for an independent and productive lifestyle. Click this link to learn more:

Mary Scroggs was left blind in one eye and with limited sight in the other after a car crash several years ago.

Blindness or any form of vision loss can present many challenges especially when it comes to money.

Scroggs has developed a website called in hopes of raising awareness about the plight of those who have trouble seeing.

Scroggs says braille currency could carry certain markings for those who are visually impaired.

"We are one of the few countries on earth where money can't be determined by touch," says Scroggs.

She is hoping the website will generate renewed nationwide attention but realizes she may be facing an uphill battle.

To visit, click here:

You may also find this video, from the Washington State School for the Blind helpful. If using a screen reader, press space or enter on the first button to play.

CNN Audio Links for the Blind

There's so much going on in our world today. It's hard to keep up with everything when you can't pick up a newspaper and read the headlines. You don't always have access to a television, especially at the office and radio signals can be difficult to receive in some buildings. You could turn to the internet but streaming video isn't always an option. What good does video do for people who are blind anyway?

CNN has two audio streams that will make keeping up with the news as simple as clicking a mouse. Audio streams of CNN Radio and CNN Television are available and stream via Windows Media. Clicking on the following links will load a page from CNN and the audio should start within a few seconds. If you have a pop-up blocker, you'll want to insure that it is active because of advertisement pages that will try to load. You can also use the podcast link to have hourly news updates delivered to your computer or portible MP3 player.

Click this link to listen to CNN Radio.

Click this link to listen to the audio of CNN Television. Click this link to subscribe to the CNN Hourly News Podcast:

World at Your Fingers

This comprehensive set of tactile world maps provides an excellent opportunity for developing map-reading skills.

World At Your Fingers features a large tactile reference map showing the major oceans and land masses of the Earth using high-contrast raised surfaces, braille and print labels, and textured lines and areas. It also shows major mountain ranges, rivers, and lines of longitude and latitude.

Four additional maps are included in this set:

  • Embossed map of the world
  • Raised-line world map
  • Sinusoidal ("orange peel") map
  • Map of Antarctica

A guidebook is included with suggested uses, general principles of map instruction, extension activities, and additional resources. Recommended ages: 8+

World at Your Fingers
Catalog Number: 1-01190-00
Click this link to purchase World at Your Fingers.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:
APH Shopping Home:

Printable World Maps

I'm thinking this could be a useful site in the classroom for low vision students. Maybe a teacher could print these off and enlarge them for greater accessibility?

Printable World Map provides over 150 printable maps that you can download. Choose from maps of continents, countries and regions. There are labeled maps, fill-in-the-blank maps and unlabeled maps.

Click this link to visit

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

DVD: Raising Kids Who Are Blind

It's a challenge raising a confident child, especially one who also happens to be blind. An East Bay family has created a compelling DVD, sharing their early successes with a powerful message for parents of all kids.

Graciela Tiscareno-Sato and her family are champions of the belief that a disability does not define a Milagro, whose name means "miracle" in Spanish. Milagro survived a premature birth at 25 1/2 weeks. Even though she's blind, her parents committed early on to raise her with as normal a childhood as possible.

Climbing walls, gymnastics -- you name it. Milagro loves movement and exploring the environment around her. As she learns to navigate the world independently, it's not Milagro, her parents worry about.

"I worry about how the rest of the world will try to limit her and what she can do based on just not knowing what blind people are capable of," said Graciela Tiscareno-Sato.

That's why Graciela is on an educational and motivational mission through a DVD they made called Raising the wild and confident blind baby, toddler and preschooler."

The project shares photos and videos from Milagro's first five years of life. And how her parents encouraged physically challenging activities to stimulate her development. Executive director Julie Bernas-Pierce of the Oakland-based "Blind Babies Foundation" says it's stories like these that help advocate a more accepting society.

It's a community quest for a brighter future -- the Blind Babies Foundation helped Milagro's family early on; as it has for the last 60 years providing in-home services to hundreds of visually impaired children in 14 northern and central California counties. The progress has been powerful and inspiring. Click this link to learn more about Milagro at
Click this link to learn more about the Blind Babies Foundation at

Anne Frank: the Writer and Life After the Holocaust

Most of us have read The Diary of Anne Frank. I know that for at least my generation, it was part of the curriculum for reading when I attended school.

This site looks at Anne Frank for more than just her diary. It looks into Anne Frank, the writer. She wrote short stories, essays, the beginning of a novel and even fairy tales.

To begin your journey, either click Launch the Exhibition or An Unfinished Story at the top of the page. This will open in a new window and it is a fully interactive journey to discover Anne. Here you can experience more of Anne's writing with excerpts from Eva's Dream and Give. I found the exhibition works OK with speech, the buttons are not labeled, but you can click "proceed" at the bottom of the window to move through the various screens. It was a delight from start to finish, especially the audio clips.

But wait! There's more to this site than just the interactive exhibit. You can find navigation on both the top and the side of the page.

  • Interviews - here you will find interviews, not only with the curators, but also with Anne Frank's cousin Buddy Elias.
  • Original Writings - here you can see Anne's original writing. You can zoom in and get an up close look at it. If you scroll your mouse over the images, it will tell you what you're looking at from Anne's diary to the pictures that hung on her wall. Get an up close look at those as well.

  • Web Links - here you will find links to other Web pages about Anne Frank.

  • Share Your Thoughts - here you can read other peoples' responses to the site and their thoughts on Anne Frank. You'll find comments by teenagers and adults. You can even leave your own thoughts here for others to read on this topic.

This site is extremely well done and very informative. You really learn about the girl behind the diary and her dream of being a writer.

Click this link to learn about Anne Frank the Writer.

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl

by Anne Frank

Anne Frank's marvelously detailed personal entries chronicle 25 months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist as they hide from the Nazis. (Young Adult)

Large Print (18 point) -- L-05801-00

Click here to purchase these items through our Quick Order Entry page:

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy".

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:

Life After the Holocaust

Life After The Holocaust is an online exhibition by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. It has moving interviews with Holocaust survivors about their challenges of starting life again after World War II.

It's visually attractive, and the audio interviews are closed-captioned. The video plays in a Flash player, audio can be downloaded as MP3 files.

The survivors featured on this Web site describe the vital role of remembrance in rebuilding their lives. After listening to the survivors speak, what are your thoughts about the significance of remembrance and commemoration? Why is it important to study the Holocaust?

Click this link to visit Life After the Holocaust:

Voices of the Holocaust

Here's a similar site from the UK.

"During the 1930s and 40s, the Nazis and their collaborators murdered six million Jews. Hitler's intention was to destroy all Jewish communities, and to build a 'master race' of Aryans. Many other 'non-aryans' were persecuted including Romanies, homosexuals, and the disabled, as well as those who were politically opposed to the Nazis. This terrible moment in history is now known as the Holocaust. It remains one of the most horrific examples in recent European history of indifference, inhumanity, prejudice and genocide."

"Voices of the Holocaust consists of oral history testimonies gathered from Jewish men and women who came to live in Britain during or after WWII. These testimonies are personal, individual, true stories, that describe the hardships of life during Hitler's reign."

Click this link to listen to the Voices of the Holocaust.

A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust

"An overview of the people and events of the Holocaust through photographs, documents, art, music, movies, and literature." Includes a timeline (accompanied by photos and documents), a guide to the people involved (victims, perpetrators, resisters, etc.), and suggested educational activities for elementary, middle and high school students.

Click this link to visit

World War II Remembered

"Relive the WW II experience through the memories of those who survived." Site includes: American Home Front, Anne Frank's Story of Courage, Attack on Pearl Harbor, and Hiroshima: A Survivor's Story.

Click this link to visit World War II Remembered.

Voices on Antisemitism

Created by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the "Voices on Antisemitism" podcast series provides a "broad range of perspectives about antisemitism and hatred today." With funding from the Oliver and Elizabeth Stanton Foundation, this series contains over 50 conversations with Holocaust survivors, judges from South Africa, and German scholar Matthias Küntzel.

Visitors can browse through the podcasts, subscribe to the RSS feed, and even offer comments on each program. Along the right hand side of the homepage, visitors can view a collection of "Related Links", which include articles from the Holocaust Encyclopedia and detailed subject bibliographies. Additionally, there are guidelines for educators who wish to discuss the Holocaust in their classrooms.

Click this link to visit the Voices on Antisemitism website. Click this link to watch "Dear Kitty" Remembering Anne Frank on YouTube.

Read How You Want, the Blog

There is so much going on in the publishing industry these days, new ebook readers (each with different features), new formats of books, changes in pricing methods, etc. Accessible books publishing company, ReadHowYouWant, has a blog at where you can gather information on the publishing industry as well as accessibility issues. Included in the blog are profiles of publishing partners, technology news updates, book reviews, and more.

ReadHowYouWant encourages readers to become a member of the publishing community by following advancements in technology, and by commenting on blog posts and news stories as often as possible. Publishers and technology companies can send announcements for possible posting to, and are always welcome to comment on posts as well.

Posts on the ReadHowYouWant blog have included:

  • Featured Publisher Partner: Basic Health Publications
  • Scratch Kitten Goes to Sea reviewed by Large Print Reviews
  • RHYW Responds to Possible WIPO Expansion
  • Solutions for Visually Impaired Readers
Click this link to visit the Read How You Want Blog at

It's RadioTime

RadioTime, a privately held Dallas-based company, focuses on providing complete radio content and tools to help listeners quickly and easily find their favorite radio stations and personalities plus discover new ones.

The radio guide includes all stations you hear on your radio as well as Internet radio. Listeners can access their favorites through their PC and other connected devices including cell phones and home entertainment centers.

The site offers free, no-hassle registration so listeners can customize their radio experience for faster access each time they visit. Listeners can skip registration and enjoy all of the same benefits of listening to radio. They’ll just have to find their favorites on every visit.

RadioTime has partnerships with many broadcasters to ensure you get complete and accurate station listings. Their guide powers Sonos, Logitech Squeezebox, Cisco Home Audio, and Windows Media Center, to name a few.

Click this link to listen to internet radio with

This Week in Radio Tech

If you want to learn more about the techy-side of radio, this is the podcast for you! Each week, you'll get a new show with current news, commentary, ideas, fun, and tips to help broadcast engineers. It's mostly about radio engineering, but TV and other audio engineers will find the podcasts useful, too.

Click this link to visit

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Add a Recycle Bin to Your Flash Drives

If you’ve found yourself wishing that your flash drive had a recycle bin so that your portable apps and documents had the same safety net that you’re desktop files do, iBin brings recycle bin functionality to your flash drive.

iBin is a small, stand-alone portable application. Place it on your flash drive and run it and create the iBin folder that will be your portable recycle bin. If you have a large flash drive with a lot of files, I suggest running it for the first time when you’re not going anywhere. iBin indexes the entire drive to build a list of files it should protect and send to the recycle bin.

Once iBin has finished the initial drive index, it’s packed with some other cool features. It comes with a well written manual, but if you skip reading it at least note that in order to delete a file from the flash drive while iBin is running you’ll need to hit WIN+DEL, not just the delete key. iBin intercepts the standard delete if it is performed on a file it has indexed. All files you delete with iBin end up in X:\iBin\ where X is the letter of your flash drive. In the Custom Options menu of iBin you can specify what happens on deletion, how files are restored, how big the recycle bin should be, and if iBin should auto-clean the recycle bin.

Click this link to download iBin, FREE from the First Toy Lab website.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Labels That Can't Talk

by Donna J. Jodhan

You got it! Labels cannot talk to me whenever I need to know the contents of a can, box, or anything else. In general, I am able to tell the contents of a box usually by its size and sound. That is, when I shake it. For example, a box of cereal is bigger than a box of shake and bake. However, when it comes to those cans and tins, that's when the fun begins.

Being able to read and decipher labels is one of the biggest problems for me. Not only do I often have difficulty deciphering the contents of a tin, can, or box. It extends to being able to read the label itself. That is, knowing the description of the contents of the package in question. Two irritants; being able to read the ingredients on the package and knowing the actual contents of the package.

My woes often extend to being able to read labels on other types of packages and this includes CDs, labels on electronic products, and so on. Labels can not talk so I need to get sighted assistance to read them. A few years ago a bar code reader was developed to help blind and visually impaired persons read labels on boxes and tins and cans. Some have told me that for the most part, this nifty little device is extremely helpful but it is also very expensive like so many other gadgets that have been developed for us. The bar code comes with a database of over 5000 entries and it is possible to add other entries but in order to do this one has to depend on sighted assistance. As long as there is a bar code on a box, tin, can, or package, it is possible to add it to the database if it is not already there.

The bar code reader has made things easier for us but due to its exorbitant price I am unable to take advantage of it. You can learn more about the bar code reader and more by visiting the Independent Living Aids website at

Since writing this, I am extremely excited to tell you that there is another product out; much cheaper, and has the potential to make the lives of blind persons much easier. This product is called the Pen Friend, it was developed in Britain, and is available right here in North America. Check it out as soon as you can! You can start by going to Great articles on how to lable a variety of items can be found right here in Fred's Head. Click this link to learn how to label items from Fred's Head..

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, an accessibility and special needs business consultant wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Textured Pegs

Textured Pegs

Helps develop fine motor skills, manual dexterity, and grasp/release skills, reinforcing concepts of direction and position. Includes a 12-hole board and 12 large textured pegs. Print instructions. Recommended ages: 1 to 6 years.

Textured Pegs:
Catalog Number: 1-08930-00
Click this link to purchase APH's Textured Pegs.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
Web site:

APH Shopping Home:

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Braille Blocks for Babies

These classic ABC blocks from Uncle Goose are available in braille. Great for families with visually-impaired members, parents or children. These blocks are admired by teachers for the use of lower-case letters. The European style font makes this set not only functional because it is easily traced by little fingers, but attractive as well.

The Braille Math set of 16 blocks is embossed with numbers and math symbols (+, -, =) using the Braille Nemeth code. On two sides of each block a number or symbol is impressed into the block along with the corresponding Braille cell and a series of dots to represent the number. A great companion to our Braille alphabet block set. Ages 2 & up.

Uncle Goose also offers multiple alphabets, including Greek, Danish, Spanish and Russian. They even have a replacement service, because these aren't the sort of toys where you simply shrug if you lose a piece: they're just too nice.

Uncle Goose Toys
PO Box 1355
Grand Rapids, MI 49501-1355
Toll Free: 888-774-2046 Phone: 616-365-1274
Fax: 616-365-1636 Web:
Click this link to purchase the Braille Blocks for Babies from the Uncle Goose website.

Liblouis: a Free Braille Translator

Liblouis is an open-source braille translator and back-translator. It features support for computer and literary braille, contracted and uncontracted translation for many, many languages (Arabic, Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Esperanto, Estonian, Finish, French, Gaelic, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Norwegian, Slovakian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Vietnamese, Welsh) and has support for hyphenation. New languages can easily be added through tables that support a rule or dictionary based approach. Included are also tools for testing and debugging tables.

Liblouis also supports math braille (Nemeth and Marburg). The formatting of braille is provided by the companion project liblouisxml.

Liblouis has features to support screen-reading programs. This has led to its use in two Open Source screenreaders, NVDA and Orca. It is also used in some commercial assistive technology applications, from ViewPlus for example. Liblouis is based on the translation routines in the BRLTTY screenreader for Linux. It has, however, gone far beyond these routines. It is named in honor of Louis Braille. In Linux and Mac OSX it is a shared library, and in Windows it is a DLL.

Click this link to download the Liblouis braille translator from

Connect Your iPod to a TV

Using iPod's "TV-out" feature, you can view slideshows and videos from your iPod on a TV screen. There are a couple ways to do this depending on what kind of accessories you want to buy. These steps will walk you through ways you can connect a TV to an iPod.

Using the iPod AV Cable

Use the Apple iPod AV cable. This plugs into the RCA ports on your TV or VCR and is by far the easiest method.

  1. Connect the AV cable into your iPod. Plug the small end into the iPod where the earbuds would go.
  2. Connect the red RCA plug. This goes into the right audio input of the television or VCR. The colors should match.
  3. Connect the white RCA plug. This plugs into the left audio input of your TV. Connect the yellow RCA plug. This goes into the video input of your TV.
  4. Begin playing a video on the iPod.

Using the iPod Dock

Find the right input on your TV. First, try channel 3 or 4. Next, find an "Input" or "Video" button on your TV or remote and scroll through the options until the video appears.

  1. Use the Apple universal iPod dock. This lets you use S-video for a slightly better picture. Place the iPod in the dock.
  2. Connect the S-video cable to the S-video Out port on the dock. Connect the other end of the S-video cable to the S-video Input on the TV.
  3. Connect the AV cable to the Line Out port on the dock.

TV-out is only supported by iPod video and iPod photo. Click this link to visit Apple's support site to learn more about connecting an iPod and iPhone to a TV.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Powerful Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp from the Daylight Company

The Daylight Company has introduced the Daylight Ultra Slim XR, a new generation professional grade magnifying lamp ideal for low-vision users.

Featuring powerful, flicker-free daylight-quality light, the Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp XR (U22080) can be used at home or in a work environment. The proprietary Free Motion Head-Joint combined with the lightweight XR lens make it easy to position and secure using just one hand, while the distortion-free, high-transparency biconvex XR magnifying lens provides the advantages of a traditional glass lens without their inconveniences.

The stylish and sleek lamp uses the powerful, flicker-free Daylight energy saving tube that delivers the equivalent of 150 watts of daylight quality light while using just 28 watts of electricity. A contrasting red on-off button is easy to find and use. Specifications: Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp XR

  • Powerful 28w Daylight energy saving tube (150w equiv.)
  • Unique crystal clear 7” XR lens to see more of your work (1.75X, 3 diopter)
  • XR technology makes the lens 50% lighter and extra resistant
  • New Free-Motion Head-Joint and high quality metal arm guarantee precise & smooth positioning without use of old-fashioned wing nuts
  • Flicker-free electronic ballast, work for longer in optimal comfort
  • Quick Lens Swap System, increases magnification in seconds without any tools
  • Solid lamp stem and sturdy metal clamp for tables and portable work stations
  • Practical lens cover protects lens from sun and dust
  • 2 additional high magnification lenses available separately
  • Specially designed table and floor stands available separately
Ultra Slim Optional XR lens (U62001)
  • Crystal clear 5” XR lens
  • 2.25X magnification (5 diopter)
  • Replace the lens in seconds, no tools required
  • Suitable for the Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp XR (22080)
Ultra Slim Swing Arm XR lens (U62002)
  • Crystal clear 1½” XR lens
  • 4X magnification (12 diopter)
  • 4.75X magnification (15 diopter) when combined with the Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp XR
  • Easy to fit, no tools required
  • Suitable for the Ultra Slim Magnifying Lamp XR (22080)

With headquarters in London, The Daylight Company maintains offices in the United States, Europe, Australia and other countries. For further information visit

Monday, January 04, 2010 The place for original historical documents online

From the site:

"Footnote helps you find and share historic documents. We are able to bring you many never-before-seen historic documents through our unique partnerships with The National Archives, the Library of Congress and other institutions.

Our patented digitization process is helping bring other collections to life on the web everyday. Footnote is more than just a dusty, digital archive online. We provide you the tools to share your historical passions and connect with others.

Footnote is perfect for

  • History Buffs
  • Genealogists
  • Researchers
  • Family Historians
  • Military Historians
  • Teachers

In January of 2007, goes live with over 5 million documents already featured on the site. Today we continue to grow and bring to life history that was once hidden.

Click this link to visit

Quickly Access Settings and Features with the Windows 7 GodMode

Who wants to navigate through tons of menus and links to find the various settings and cool features in Windows 7? Because it's so different than Windows XP, many users get lost when trying to find settings that used to exist in the Control Pannel.

“GodMode”, a term devised by the Microsoft development team, which provides a single place to access all Windows settings without needing to browse options and folders in the Control Panel may be an easier way for blind and visually impaired users to find what they need more quickly.

To use it:

  1. Create a new folder in a convenient place like the Desktop.
  2. Rename the folder to GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} (note that you can change the “GodMode” text, but the following period and code number are essential).
  3. The folder icon will change, double click it to show the GodMode window.

The trick appears to work on both the 32 and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. Vista 32-bit and Windows Server 2008 32-bit should also work. However, it is known to crash 64-bit versions of Vista, you may need to boot in safe mode or to the command line to delete the folder.

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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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