Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

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

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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

D.O.A. with Described Video and Closed Captions by CaptionMax

Frank Bigelow (Edmond obrien) races against time -- and a luminous toxin -- to solve his own murder in this 1950 film noir. After a night of carousing in San Francisco to escape his devoted fiancée (Pamela Britton), the small-town everyman accountant discovers that he has been poisoned and has only days to live. Now he's desperate to find out who would want him dead, and why.

CaptionMax is the world's largest provider of quality audio description, closed captioning, and subtitling. Thanks for watching our fully accessible public domain movies. Be on the lookout for more to come and contact us if you have any suggestions.

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How Blind Artists Might Create?

Arch Beach Mystery by Michael M. Michaelson

Please understand here, that no one person can speak for all those blind artists out there and tell exactly how they go about creating a work. I can say something about my own self and I’m sure it would pretty well relate to many other blind or partially sighted artists and their ways of creating art.

Let’s start here, It is said, Literature is the means by which the world attempts to understand itself. Art is the means by which mankind attempts to express itself. Inspiration is the spark by which expression is inflamed. And creativity is the light or result of the flame of inspiration.

Now, Everything worth its thought must have a foundation . This simply means that every idea springs from a source and if one were to trace that idea back, it would most likely lead to an original source or starting point. A work of art emerges forth from a source and flows into the imagination generator, where it is energized into a plan or possible creation.

This entire process might be called inspiration but even this spark of inspiration must come from somewhere.

Every human mind has the sparks of inspiration flying around within its existence but sparks do not always start fires. It takes something more than sparks to set the action of creativity into motion. This ability to take a spark and turn it into a light admitting fire and bring warmth and light into the life of others is the summation of an artists work.

The artists mind is always on the prowl for insight, inspiration and ideas. He is familiar and alert to the sparks of inspiration and in some cases its the flash of a great falling star. But the creative energy begins with some kind of awareness working within an artist mind.

An artist is a hunter, an explorer, a scientist and an inventor all tied up into one being.

Creative minds do not let events or circumstances pass them by without reaching into them, and grabbing something from them. The artists mind works in a very different manner and is always working and searching out, and probing into, you might say, things, for the sake of inspiration.

The difference between a creative mind and just a mind that works is difficult to measure. Why would some children on a beach just dig a hole while another builds a very nice sand castle. Of course the sand castle takes a lot more thinking, planning and imagination. And these two different efforts would indicate a different mind set; and so to with the mind of a creative person verses just an ordinary get along mind.

I will begin this question of creativity using a process that is now going on with one of my very own works. I recently stretched and prepared a 6 foot square canvas and laid out a basic pattern of shapes using a black masking tape. This tape is highly contrasted against my white canvas and I use this as a guiding reference point too help me see the different areas of the canvas. Within these heavy dark lines I lay out an entire work, having the picture first formed in my mind. It is now broken down into individual sections so to better manage the area I am working in. these smaller areas are then crisscrossed with thicker lines of acrylic glue, strings and threads, and certain things might be set off with tacks or pins. The picture is generalized up to a point and once I begin my creative process, the powers of mind, imagination, inspiration, ability and challenge will begin to insert themselves into my core idea and slowly force direction and alter perceptions and a new work will come into existence.

However, as I was finishing up another larger painting I kept walking by this prepared canvas and within a week or so, I decided or saw something else. My ideas slowly began to rearrange those tapes and lines, and just a few days later I completely changed them to fit an entire new picture.

The original picture was going to be 7 water falls, falling into one deep canyon but this canvas will now be a background of brilliant blues with a center point of light. Then over laying this entire canvas will be one giant oak tree. Why one giant oak tree, I do not really know. But what changed my mind from seven waterfalls to one giant oak?

I really cannot say. Maybe it was just the size of the canvas and somehow my minds eye saw a great oak filling it up. But I think it was a conversation about family from long ago while we were driving and someone pointed out and made comment about a giant oak standing up with the sunset blazing behind it. They described it as silhouetted in the haze and this might have over ridden the water fall idea. I’m thinking right now, why did I decide to go blue on background?

Well, one reason might be that I love the color blue and I so happen to have a lot of containers of blue, in all shades. But somehow in my minds eye, I see a brilliant blue with many shades forcing this giant oak to stand its ground and obscure the blue and allow the oak to dominate the entire canvas.

I will say that as I begin this work, it might just change again as I begin laying down the paint .

For me the ideas are not the greatest troubles. For my mind is constantly working and creating new pictures and creations but the trouble is that I will not have enough time to ever transfer those ideas into reality by placing them onto canvas.

Ideas are not the problem for me but sorting through those multi levels of sparks and choosing an inspiration that is strong enough to endure my level of impatience and limited ability and that is my greatest challenge. I must be sure that I begin a work that I will both enjoy and fully give myself over to. I am always trying to collect idea kindling so that when inspiration strikes, I have prepared myself to turn it into a roaring blaze.

Direction here is significant, for I have a saying, “One Degree in the beginning makes all the difference in the end!”

Therefore in my experience of blind order, its best to have a plan based and a vision to guide your creative powers into a harbor of completion. It is like taking a journey on a sail boat without knowing where your going. The boat is your desire, ability and power, while the wind is as if inspiration. And that wind can take you to many places but you just might end up somewhere you didn’t want to be and its very difficult to get back to home port.

An artist must exercise some control over his own inspirations and use his creative abilities wisely. In other words an artist must learn to harness his creative powers and focus them onto or into a work. For time can wear a mind ragged and then abandone it unfulfilled because inspiration drove the artist off his course while his creative powers kept on changing his direction until he was lost and out of paint!

The worst thing to do to a real inspiration is to let the fire of creativity die half way to dawn. To have your kindling struck by the spark of inspiration and burst into a flame is wonderful but to be able to make that fire burn until the dawn of completion arrives takes a lot of work. This effort is what makes inspiration and creativity join forces and blend and become a work of art.

A blind artist faces a very different problem in this process of creativity. For often it might be a lack of confidence and the thought of humiliation and rejection of his or her efforts. Again, if a blind or partially sighted person is just using art as a hobby or creative past time, hey, no problem. But if that person ever seeks approval or validation from others, that person enters a whole other realm of challenges.

Having a creative mind is one thing but doing something with it is another thing. Some creative minds had no intention of ever becoming famous or recognized but through a chain of circumstances their work became recognized and in this recognition came the title of, Artist!

Ok now, a week has past since I wrote down my ideas on the blue background. Well, I have begun the work but guess what folks, it has turned into a full green background with a huge full moon set into all these shades of green. What happened you might ask?

Its spring here in Oregon, I actually got out of the house a few days back between rain storms, and was struck with green light. Green shades and light glaring from everywhere. And the season of change hit me and instead of having a general source of rising light I thought a full golden, green butter yellow moon shining through the entangled branches of the oak might help me in setting off the giant oak with greater contrasts.

So was I inspired to a new level or just simply changed my mind? Whatever it was, this blind artist must get back to exercising his creative ability, so for now, get going and do something with your creative powers before the fire of inspiration dies and you never see the dawn of satisfaction!

Prepare your kindling to receive the spark of inspiration and get to work creating!

Michael M. Michaelson has created and, using Freedom Scientific software. The sites serve as a creative outlet containing new stories for those seeking something a little different, and his on line art portfolio offers everyone the opportunity to purchase outstanding works by a blind artist.

Michael, along with his works of art enjoys self-publishing and has more than twenty-three of his own publications for sale, as well as many free reads and places for other writers to publish their works on these sites.

Tactile American Flags

Those who have lost their sight or are visually impaired can still behold the splendor of the United States flag by feeling the corrugated stripes and the distinct rectangle that houses the 50 rigid stars on the American flags made by Norva Cordova.

Cordova, a member of the General Marion Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, said making the Braille 18- by 12- inch American flags is a project dear to her heart for several reasons.

Cordova machine sews a thin blue braid around the field of silver metal stars. The white stripes are left alone while a red braid is sewn over each red stripe.

"If you are blind, you can feel the difference between the white and red stripes,” she said. “You may not know colors, but you know it’s striped.”

Cordova has made 14 flags this year, and 75 total since she began making them about five years ago. Each flag takes about three hours to complete, she said.

The national DAR organization’s Web site advertises her flags for sale to other chapters as a fundraiser for DAR, Cordova said, but locally, she donates them to the blind. She donated three to the school system, where they work with visually impaired students and 10 to the Colorado State Veterans Nursing Home, where she received positive feedback on the flags she contributed to the veterans.

Featured in the August 2006 DAR national magazine, Cordova took first place in the DAR Regional Southwest Division before advancing to the national competition, where she won second place at the National American Heritage Contest in the fiber arts division in Washington D.C.

Cordova later received a request from the national Children of the DAR for a flag to add to the Braille flag display in the headquarters in Washington D.C. She served as her DAR chapter’s flag chairperson for four years, where she previously made up certificates to honor different businesses in town that displayed the American flag properly, and continues to support patriotic projects sponsored by the local DAR chapter.

One of Cordova’s Braille flags is on display with her contact information at Skyline Vision Clinic, 700 Main St., and her flags are available for purchase for $20 by calling her at 719-671-1710.

Article Source:
Cañon City Daily Record

Accessible Rubik’s Cube

Designer Brian Doom’s creation may look odd, but it is quite possibly the most functional Rubik’s Cube ever created because it caters to both the sighted and visually impaired communities equally.

Doom’s design, which is based off of the classic Rubik’s Cube, adds–quite literally–a special touch.  Instead of featuring only colors, Doom has added a tactile feature to each color so that anyone with a visual impairment can figure out the different patterns on the cube.  The yellow squares have a rounded wooden knob attached to them, the white squares have a raised, rubber square attached, the blue square has a round, felt sticker stuck to it, the orange squares have a rounded plastic jewel glued to them, green squares have a small raised label stuck to them, and the red squares were painted black and have a small rounded screw raising out of the top of them.  Red was changed to black so that it couldn’t be confused with orange. 

Originally, this Frankenstein Rubik’s Cube was designed so that Brian could get an intuitive sense of where the squares moved as they spun around.  But he realized that his additions made the puzzle accessible to anyone with a visual disability, and even to sighted people who may wish for a new challenge as they try to solve it in the dark.

Such a simple idea has turned into something that gives everybody an equal chance to play with one of the world’s classic puzzles.

To read the original article, please go to

Article Source:
Matilda Ziegler Magazine for the Blind

Wooden Hadley Houses Part of Local History

If you’ve lived in Winnetka, Illinois for a long time, you may remember a red and green wooden schoolhouse with Hadley School for the Blind painted on the side.

Designed by former Hadley director Dorrance Nygaard, these Hadley Houses graced a number of area businesses thanks to the efforts of Robert Lechner, a longtime Winnetka resident and former president of Zengeler Cleaners. Lechner was active in the community as a member of the Winnetka Lions Club for more than 20 years, including serving as its president. He also was a past president of the Winnetka Chamber of Commerce. Lechner was interested in promoting Winnetka’s “hometown treasure,” so he worked with the Lions and area businesses to feature the Hadley Houses in their establishments.

One of those businesses was Charlie Beinlich’s Food and Tap in Northbrook. According to Lechner’s son, Larry, he used to frequent Beinlich’s every week. While we can’t say for certain, we are fairly sure that’s how three wooden Hadley Houses ended up in Charlie’s tavern in 1954.

According to Charlie’s granddaughter, Linda Rainey, who now owns the business with her husband Tom, the Hadley Houses have become a staple in the tavern’s history. When Charlie Beinlich’s first opened, the “language” in the place was so bad, Linda says, that Charlie insisted anyone who swore had to put some change in the “blind box.” He would then match the amount from the register. Over the years, any change dropped onto the floor or behind the bar was promptly added to the Hadley House as well. These hard-to-miss wooden houses still sit on the bar today and have generated thousands of dollars for the school. The houses also have been a great conversation starter, especially with out-of-towners. One is even featured on the tavern’s website.

The Hadley Houses also have played an important part in local Lions history, showcasing the strong relationship Hadley has had with the organization since the 1930s. Giant replicas of the Hadley Houses were featured on floats in local “Candy Day” parades to raise awareness, and Lions members who referred new students to the school were recognized with a special pin. Whether it was through the Lions of Illinois Blind Activities Committee that was set up to assist Hadley, or the Winnetka Lions Club, word got out about the school.

This year, Hadley celebrates its 90th anniversary as the leading educator of braille and the largest provider of distance education for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers. With 10,000 students in more than 100 countries, the world is Hadley’s campus, but because of the support of community members such as the Beinlich family, Bob Lechner and the Lions Club, this will always be our home.

© 2010 The Hadley School for the Blind
700 Elm Street, Winnetka, Illinois 60093 - 2554
Toll-Free: 800-323-4238
Phone: 847-446-8111
Fax: 847-446-9916
| email:

Article Source:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Electronically Communicate with Your Healthcare Provider with Arctrieval

Arctrieval is changing the way we communicate with our healthcare providers by allowing for electronic correspondence between you and your doctor/hospital/insurance company.

I am still amazed at the amount of paper we have to use, despite the time most of us spend online. If this company does things right, this could be very useful for the blind and visually impaired.

Arctrieval is a Web-based service that allows you to send communications to your health care provider via email, fax or snail mail, and lets you monitor those methods of communication. You can also setup and manage your family’s accounts as well. For electronic messages, Arctrieval uses the ubiquitous PDF file format, certainly a concern for accessibility. Arctrieval also facilitates transferring your medical records to other online repositories (such as Microsoft HealthVault).

Arctrieval is free for consumers, you can sign up here. Even if you don’t sign up, you can make use of some forms that Arctrieval makes available for free.

Click this link to visit

Monday, March 29, 2010

How to Use Bump Dots to Maximize Accessibility

by Laura Legendary

Whether you are a person with a slight visual impairment, have low vision or no vision, you'll find that these tiny helpers can make tasks at work or home more accessible. What are they? You may not have realized it, but even if you have no vision loss at all, you've been using them for most of your life.

"Bump dots," also called "high marks," are raised bumps found on keyboard key caps, usually on the first fingers of the PC keyboard home row, as well as on the five or center key of a ten key numeric keypad. They are simply tactile locators that can help you orient yourself to the keypad more quickly. You have probably noticed them on ATM machines, telephones and calculators. However, for a person who is blind, or who has low vision, high marks can be used almost anywhere in your home or workplace.

There are a number of manufacturers of these tactile dots, and they are available in a variety of sizes and colors. They can be as large as one half inch in diameter, or as small as a Braille dot. You can find them in black, blue or fluorescent neon brights . Some are even clear. Usually, they are made of some sort of resin or plastic, and you buy them in packages of small sheets from which you can simply peel off the adhesive dots when you need them.

How can you use them to assist you around the house? Since the dots are adhesive, they stick on most surfaces. Bump dots are a great way to locate, identify and organize.

Here are some of the ways I use them:

  • I stick them on each wash cycle indicator line on the washing machine, those that indicate gentle, heavy or normal wash.
  • Apply them to the high, medium and low settings on the clothes dryer.
  • Apply them to the indoor thermostat to indicate that perfect 68 to 72 degrees.
  • I have them stuck to the oven temperature dial. One at 350, one at 400 and another at 450 degrees. those are my most often used oven temps.
  • I use them to differentiate between two of the same thing. One has a dot, the other doesn't. For example, if I know I have one of the items in black, another in white, the black one has the dot.
  • I've even used them in hotel hallways to mark my door! It's faster than examining each Brailed door plaque, I just stick a dot on the wall preceding my door. Have you found one of my dots in your travels?
  • Stick them on your electronics to indicate where a plug inserts. For example, “video in" has a dot, “video out" does not.
  • I put a dot at the exact spot on the microwave dial that is the precise setting for the perfect bag of popcorn.

There is no limit as to how you can use these markers. You may be wondering how the dots can be used if the surface isn't smooth. Well, there is a solution for that, too. Dots can be purchased in a tube containing a soft putty or paste. Just squeeze out a drop onto a porous surface, a slanted surface or even wallpaper. When the droplet dries, you have a tactile marker.

With a bit of imagination and some creativity, you'll be "spot on" when trying to locate and identify items throughout your environment. bump dots can make life a little easier for anyone who has vision loss. What are some of the clever or unique ways you've used them?

Laura Legendary is a speaker, author and educator specializing in disability awareness, accessibility and assistive technology. Visit Eloquent Insights at to request Laura for your next event. Find Laura's Accessible Insights blog at

Choosing To Use A Cane

Using a cane gives sighted people an understanding of why you do things that may seem strange to them. It helps them figure out that you need to do things differently (as opposed to thinking you are rude, not paying attention or other misconceptions they might come up with if they don't know you are blind).

Also, your knees will thank you for not running into fire hydrants anymore. Having a cane makes it much less stressful to walk down a crowded sidewalk or through a mall or store. People generally get out of your way, so you don't have to worry about accidentally running into them. It's really just a part of the process of accepting that you are visually impaired and learning to use the tools that are available. You will find people to be very helpful when they see the white cane.

Contributor: Shawn McMurdo

How to Protect Confidentiality and Privacy

by Donna J. Jodhan

the protection of confidentiality and privacy is becoming more and more important to everyone. Each time we access the Internet our confidentiality and privacy become a part of the picture. Each time we fill out an online form, our confidentiality and privacy become a concern. Each time we enter our most personal information, our confidentiality and privacy need to be considered at the highest level. Each time we enter such info as our date of birth, social security number, credit card number, and first and last name, we give away a large and vital piece of our confidentiality and privacy.

For someone who is sight impaired this becomes much more than the protection of confidentiality and privacy. It becomes an issue of being able to enter one's most private information and complete forms without having to ask someone else for assistance. There are still many websites out there that do not allow the sight impaired the right to enter information independently and it is becoming more and more of a concern to sight impaired Internet users. Not just the sight impaired but anyone who is classified as being print disabled. So, how do we address this problem?

To all web masters:

  1. If you require the user to log in, then make sure that the log in process is accessible to all persons.
  2. Make sure that everyone can easily access your forms and that it is easy to fill out fields within your forms.
  3. Be sure to provide appropriate feedback messages to let the user know whether or not the form has been successfully completed and if it has not, provide sufficient information to tell the user why; with appropriate instructions as to what they need to do in order to successfully complete it.

In short, you need to design and develop websites that print disabled persons can access and use without having to depend on human intervention.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate 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: are living in a world where

Living in a Sighted World

by Donna J. Jodhan

Living in a sighted world is something that I accepted as a child and acceptance is something that enables me to function as best as I can. There are challenges to face; namely unhealthy attitudes on the part of individuals, governments, and society as a whole. There are technological challenges to face; keeping up with the evolution of the Internet using access software that is a few steps behind the times. There are social and employment barriers to deal with as well as barriers from several other quarters but I'll tell you this for sure! At the end of the day when I lie quietly in bed waiting for the sand man to take me off to dreamland, I thank God for my family and friends. Those who have never used my lack of sight as a barrier against me.

Unlike so many others with vision problems, I have been blessed with family who do not really think of me as blind or if they do they have never really allowed it to get in the way. Naturally when I was growing up my parents, brothers, and granny were a bit over protective at times but apart from this I was treated normally in every sense of the way. My cousins acted normally around me but like everything else they always came to my rescue whenever I found myself in difficulty; like bumping into things, unable to find my way, or not being able to find stray or fallen objects.

I have friends who do the same; Debbie in Tennessee who has known me since we were in high school and who recently admitted to me that we never really discussed my blindness until now and when she read my blogs she realized that we had never done so. Gabriella in Toronto; who has never allowed my lack of sight to get in the way of a really warm and treasured friendship. I often call her my electronic cane! Dena in North Carolina; my friend across the border as I call her. This is a very special friendship because you see, we have never met since forming a natural and normal friendship in 2005. She never knew what I looked like until last December and I have trusted her to tell me what she looks like. A blind friendship if I may say so.

There are so many others that I can mention here but for now I think that this is enough for you to get the picture. If you would like to learn more then by all means drop me a line at and I will be happy to respond.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate 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:

Friday, March 26, 2010

How to Pack a Waste Free Lunch

How to Pack a Waste Free Lunch

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
This is a very easy change you can make for the environment. By carrying your lunch this way, you also avoid trips to restaurants or the cafeteria and you can eat better. Try packing a lunch without any trash left.


  1. Use a re-useable lunch box, not a disposable bag. Choose something durable that you can use for a long time. Many good, insulated models exist.
  2. Freeze your ice pack the night before. If you pack your lunch the night before, you can also leave the packed bag in the refrigerator overnight. It will stay cold longer with the packaging chilled also.
  3. Pour your drink into a reusable thermos, water bottle, or leak-proof cup. Avoid items that are not recyclable, like boxed juices or bags.
    • This goes for coffee, too. If you drink coffee, make it yourself at home and carry it in a thermos. Use a reusable cup or mug for the stuff. To cut down on even more waste, make yourself some reusable coffee filters and be sure to compost your coffee grounds.
    • A thermos can also keep soup hot.
  4. Use fabric napkins, tea towels, or small cotton bandannas instead of paper napkins or paper towels. If you didn't have to wipe up any big spills, you'll probably find that you can leave a fabric napkin there for multiple meals.
    • When it gets dirty, put the new napkin or towel in when you take the old one out, so you don't end up at your destination without one.
    • A tea towel can also serve as a place mat and/or to wrap your entire lunch if you do not have a lunch box. See How to Do Furoshiki (Wrap and Carry Things With Square Cloth).
  5. Use reusable containers for your food. There are plenty of choices besides plastic wrap and plastic bags.
    • Wrap your sandwich in a "Wrap-n-mat" or similar item. This item is plastic on one side to keep your sandwich fresh, as cling wrap does, but it is cloth on the other side and doubles as place mat.
    • Place your sandwich in a plastic container. A two- or three-cup flat, plastic box holds a sandwich, keeps it fresh, and prevents it from getting squished. It may take up a bit more space, so choose a lunch box with that in mind, if you can.
    • Use durable, reusable containers to hold wet or messy items: pudding, yogurt, dips, salad dressings, etc.
    • Use reusable fabric sandwich/snack bags to hold dry items: crackers, grapes, chips, sandwiches, etc.
    • Consider Mason jars, the kind used for canning. Some spaghetti sauce also comes in these jars. Save the lids from spaghetti sauce and reuse them to carry things like soup (if you have a microwave where you're going) so they won't leak. Only use glass containers if the lunch box won't take abuse on a playground.
  6. Pack a real fork, spoon, and table knife, or a pocket knife for adults. Thrift stores and garage sales frequently have inexpensive, mismatched flatware (if you would rather have a separate one for your lunch box to avoid breaking up a set you use at home). You could reuse plastic ones instead, but metal is a lot sturdier and easier to work with.
    • Get a couple of sets so you can immediately replace the fork, spoon, and knife any time you take dirty ones out.
  7. Pack leftovers, especially if you have access to a microwave. Using up leftovers that would otherwise go uneaten means less waste. If you like to take leftovers for lunch, get in the habit of preparing extra food whenever you cook at home.
  8. Avoid single-serve and heavily packaged items.
    • Refill small containers from larger ones. You can carry applesauce, yogurt, trail mix, dried fruits and nuts, crackers, and all sorts of things this way, and you get to choose your own portions.
    • Buy the ingredients for several lunches at once. You will generally use much less packaging buying larger quantities of ingredients than buying prepared meals. Use reusable grocery bags when you go.
    • Cook for yourself and your family. If you are in the habit of taking a granola bar, candy bar, packaged muffin or can of soup, see if you can come up with home-cooked alternatives. Muffins, corn bread, and cookies are all easy to make at home.
    • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or packaged. Most come in their own truly recyclable packaging, so don't forget to put any peels or cores back into one of the other containers in your lunchbox and take them home to compost.
  9. Pack no more or less than you need. You eat lunch every day, so you have many opportunities notice how much you usually need. If you pack too little, you may end up supplementing your lunch with a trip to the vending machine or cafeteria. If you pack too much and don't eat it, food will go to waste. Pack foods you or your family like. If you or they don't like it, it won't get eaten, and it will go to waste.



  • Look at any waste you do create each day. Is there a package or napkin left in your lunchbox at the end of the day? See if you can improve on matters.
  • Bandannas make fantastic cloth napkins. They don't wrinkle much and absorb better than many cloth napkins that are made with polyester. Consider buying a large pack on-line and use them for meals at home, too.
  • Wrap soft fruits like peaches and pears in whatever you're using as a napkin, or use a container to protect them from bruising or squishing.
  • If you wind up with a banana peel or apple core to dispose, take it home and compost it or start a vermicomposting bin.
  • Carry recyclable containers home if your school or office doesn't offer recycling. Better yet, use reusable containers.


  • Never litter. If you do have trash left after lunch, put it in its appropriate bin.

Related wikiHows

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Pack a Waste Free Lunch. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Uninstall Windows Live Messenger

Windows Live Messenger, including current Windows Live Messenger 2009 and upcoming Windows Live Messenger 2010, has been made part of Windows Live Essentials, a group of programs that are freely available from Microsoft. As such, there is no longer a standalone Windows Live Messenger setup installer to install the popular instant messaging client program, previously and still commonly known as MSN Messenger.

As with the change to package Windows Live Messenger inside Windows Live Essentials, the messenger client is now installed via a unified installer which also installs other products such as Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Toolbar, Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Movie Maker.

As Windows Live Messenger is now installed by Windows Live Essentials unified installer, the name and location of its uninstaller has changed.

Here’s how to uninstall Windows Live Messenger via the official uninstaller:

  1. Go to Control Panel.
  2. Click on Uninstall a program or Add or Remove Programs.
  3. Select Windows Live Essentials, then click on the Uninstall or Change / Remove button.
  4. In the Windows Live program, select the Uninstall radio button and click the Continue button. Another option is “Repair” to fix any issue with a Windows Live program.
  5. You will be asked to select the programs you want to uninstall. Select the check box for Messenger and click the Continue button.
  6. Windows Live Messenger is uninstalled.

If for some reason, the official uninstaller for Windows Live Messenger cannot be used to uninstall the messenger client program, click this link to download the custom Windows Live Messenger uninstaller.

MenuMaid Cleans Up the Right-Click Menu of Windows

If your context menu in Windows Explorer and/or Internet Explorer is a little more cluttered than you'd like, Menu Maid makes entry removal easy.

Menu Maid allows you to circumvent the hassle of editing your registry to remove unwanted entries in the right-click context menus of Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer. While Internet Explorer only has one right-click context menu to alter, Windows Explorer has different contexts based on where you've right clicked or hit the applications menu key. Menu Maid can edit out context entries for everything, or just sub-contexts like directories and drives. Menu Maid is freeware, Windows only.

Click this link to learn more or download MenuMaid.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

What Is The Expanded Core Curriculum?

Educators define core curriculum as the knowledge and skills a student should learn by high school graduation. This foundation, for almost all learning, is generally related to academic subjects.

Most professionals firmly believe that visually impaired students need an expanded core curriculum that requires additional areas of learning. Experiences and concepts casually and incidentally learned by sighted students must be systematically and sequentially taught to the visually impaired student.

Contributor: Dr. Philip Hatlen

Blind golf explained

Blind golf is played all over the world and the first match was believed to have been played in America in the 1920's. But what exactly is the game all about?

Blind golf is exactly the same as normal golf but the main difference is that the player can use the help of his or her caddy also known as a guide. The guide is the player's eyes. They will describe how the ball lies, what the yardage is and most importantly, set the player up so they hit the ball correctly.

Some players like having a club laid on the ground during the set up. This helps to aim the shot in the right direction. Coming up with the ingredients for a putt are much more complicated than a full shot from the tee or the fairway. Some players walk the putt from the hole to the ball, allowing them to measure the distance of the putt.

There are catagories that players will fit into based on their vision. Players with about 10% of vision will fit into the B3 category which is the category for golfers who can see the best. The maximum handicap in this category is 36.

B2 is the next category with a maximum handicap of 45. They can see between 3-6% of normal vision.

The B1 category is for people who are totally blind. Their handicap extends to 56.

You can learn more about blind golf by clicking this link:, or by clicking any of the following video links from the BBC.

Windows broadband
Windows narrowband
Real player broadband Real player narrowband

Macular degeneration: What Is It?

Age-related macular degeneration is the most common cause of sight loss in people aged 60 years and older.

The macula is a small area at the centre of the retina, the area at the back of the eye that converts light into images. This area is responsible for seeing fine details, for example when reading or recognising people's faces.

Macular degeneration (also known as maculopathy) is when the cells of the macula become damaged and stop working. People with macular degeneration have blurry or distorted central vision, and sometimes see shapes and colours that are not there. Peripheral vision (vision at the outer edges of the eye) is not affected, and it does not result in complete blindness.

There are two types of macular degeneration. In 90 percent of people with macular degeneration the cells of their macula slowly stop working, due to wear and tear. It usually develops slowly, affects both eyes equally and is known as "dry" macular degeneration. In the other 10 percent of people with macular degeneration, the disease develops when small blood vessels behind the eye bleed, causing build up of fluid and scarring. This form of the disease can progress quickly, leading to severe and rapid loss of vision. It tends to affect one eye first, although the other is often affected later. This form is known as "wet" or neovascular macular degeneration.

People are more at risk of developing age-related macular degeneration if they smoke, have high blood pressure or have close relatives with the condition.

Unfortunately, there are no cures for the dry form of age-related macular degeneration currently available. However, there are lots of ways to make the best of the remaining peripheral vision.

The wet form of macular degeneration can be treated by laser if it is detected at an early stage. Laser treatment may prevent vision from getting worse, slow down the progression of the condition and sometimes bring back sight that has already been lost.

Because there are no effective treatments for late-stage age-related macular degeneration, prevention is important. For more information contact:

Macular Degeneration Foundation (MDF)
P.O. Box 531313
Henderson, NV 89053
Toll Free: 888-633-3937
Phone: 408-260-1335

VES-AutoFocus Telescope System

The VES-AutoFocus Telescope System is the first self-focusing bioptic telescope system specifically designed for the visually impaired. This hands-free telescopic system was designed to provide continuous and immediate clear focus from 12 inches to optical infinity. The device allows a visually impaired person to move his head or shift attention from a book to a person without the need to re-focus the device.

Toll Free: 800-326-6460

Contributor: Maria Delgado

Create Your Own Audio Games

From the website:

Are you a devoted player of audio games? Is your brain spinning around with interesting and innovative ideas for games that you would like to make if you only knew how to go about it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes... Read on!

BGT is a revolutionary toolkit from Blastbay Studios which allows you to produce your own audio games from the ground up, without having any prior knowledge of computer programming at all. Who said game development had to be complicated? BGT, which stands for Blastbay Game Toolkit, allows you to spend all your valuable time coming up with new great ideas and concepts, rather than wasting months struggling with never-ending programming guides that don't make any sense to begin with. If you fit into this category of enthusiastic entrepreneurs, then BGT is the perfect tool for you to turn your ideas into stunning reality.


  • Contains a powerful, high-speed game engine.
  • Uses an extremely versatile scripting language.
  • Comes bundled with many helper modules to make game creation even easier.
  • Ships with extensive documentation and example material.
  • Language syntax conforms mainly to that of C++, making it easy to learn other programming alongside BGT.
  • The language tutorial is available in audio form, read by a professional voice artist.
  • Two different versions to suit hobbyists and pros alike.
  • Liberal licenses - pay once, use forever.

BGT is currently in beta testing. This means that new features will be added, old ones may be changed or removed, and there may still be bugs and other stability issues. We are more than happy to hear your feedback at this stage, so go ahead and give the engine a test run and tell us what you think!

Click this link to visit the BGT page of the Blastbay Studios website.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How Blindness Changes: An Artist's Perspective

Arch Beach Mystery by Michael M. Michaelson

Well now, if you are a curious sol or a practicing artist or maybe a hopeful one, and you want to possibly understand how blindness might change an artists perspective, just attempt to first layout, then begin, and start, and finish an entire work in a dark, and in an unlighted room. No faire turning on the lights when you need to find a certain brush, mix special colors, use a drill to drill a hole, or use a hammer, or maybe staple a canvas together. Remember now, you cannot ever see the results of your work, you must depend on others to speak for you, and make a judgment upon your efforts. Now If you do look, only once, your out of the perspective game, for that is unfair. This first method would be for a completely blind person.

If you might wonder how a partially sighted person might see, well, maybe put on a pair of welding goggles and go to work. Or maybe do all your work with a tiny flash light. And you could always put on your grand mothers really thick glasses which will blur everything up real good and maybe make you dizzy in the meantime. Or how about taping and covering one eye shut, and then taping a toilet roll onto the other eye, so you have to see everything through its length and then turn down the lights real low. That might do it for starters. But toss in the fact that your just experimenting, while the impaired artist must work and live with his challenge everyday.

I once wrote a story about a martyr locked into a deep dark dungeon for 20 years. In order to really get the feeling or a better perception of what I was trying to say, I thought to lock myself into a tiny closet without any lights for a 24 hour period. About 6 hours in that dark closet gave me more than enough insight to what I wanted to write about. To tell you the truth, I could not deal with it and cut my vigil short.

What really influences perspective or perception in a blind artist? Everything! For myself, my blindness has effected, changed and influenced every aspect of my entire life. There is nothing that it has not touched. I became a hands on person. I developed a habit of touching things, and feeling everything, because I could not see or perceive detail. Thus, I would pick things up , feel the weight, determine their shapes and maybe some of the detail. Oh did I ever get in trouble when I would reach for something and accidentally knock it over. Do you know how stupid this made me feel. But again, after knocking over many things I sort of learned how to approach things in a new way. Then I actually developed a special way to reach out and find the object, and very carefully feel my way around, until I came up with a perception of the object in my mind. Therefore, my perception of touching something went through many lessons and every reach had to be calculated and thought through.

Many blind people will tell you that they had to learn how to see things that were not there. By this I mean that as children out on the playground on a nice spring day with the sky full of tumbling clouds, we would be looking up at the clouds and everyone would be pointing out shapes in the clouds. “Hey, look, there’s a dragon running across the sky,” someone would say. And sure enough, even though I could not see such a thing, in my mind I imagined a dragon running across the sky. I will tell you, my dragon was a whole lot better than theirs . For in a split second I could make mine any color, any size and even make it spit fire if I wanted to. And even after the clouds went away, I still had the fire spitting dragon in my mind.

But this type of perception did not work well when trying to grasp the concept of ideas being expressed on the board with written formulas, no, this did not work for me folks! Therefore, I somehow found the area of mathematics somewhat over whelming and to this day, numbers and me don’t work well together, especially if there are dollar signs attached to them.

Now growing up and walking home from school, I always had my head down. People would ask me what I was looking for and I finally realized that my vision was so limited, that I had to look down in order to see where I was going. Did I bump into anything, bet your life I did! Was I embarrassed when this happened, bet two of your lives, that I was. However, every little landmark along the way became measuring points for me, and the only real problems came when they paved the road anew, or cut down one of my landmarks. Of course this forced a physical perception and a different perspective into existence for me.

Because I could not see, I had to ask tons of questions about the simplest thing. I had to extract as much information out of an explanation in order to see or understand of what they might be talking about. Thus when it came time for me to tell my side of the story, the detail was so much greater and most of the time it was an over kill. This is why I became known as a long worded talker, and on and on I would go!

If only someone would have helped harness my imagination when I was a little person, and put it into art, or maybe writing, but instead, my imagination went wild in many areas. My perceptions and perspectives of things, events, and of people, and ideas were so often out of common proportion, that some told me that I should run for congress!

My views of things were mostly imagination and with this, my perceptions of things had to be measured out much more carefully. For I might misuse my imagination and therefore, distort a true perception, beyond what might be considered normal. Thus a self discipline came into existence.

Even though I was the most rebellious person you might ever know, somehow, an order had to be established in my life, because a basic order meant, being able to get along with the least frustration. An example of this was simply putting things into an exact place and when I needed that tool I would reach for it or open the drawer and it would be right there, until my little sisters used it and then my orderly world would be destroyed.

A blind person must have a good memory. Mine was developed early on. I could not reed a phone book and so had to remember maybe up to a hundred numbers of my friends. Many of my friends were amazed and often used me as their personal phone book when we were on the road. Did this memory work for me. Yes, it became a great tool for me. But it too was limited, for in order to remember someone, you must be able to se their face and fit it to a name. I had to now try and recall the voice to the name and this was not easy and didn’t always work for me.

My limited vision forced me to listen to every sound, count steps, measure distances, determine directions of the sun which gave me baring and I could pretty well get the best of sighted people out of dead ends and back to wherever they wanted to go.

I could give precise directions, with every little bit of detail. This was odd to some, but they found themselves reaching their destination, by using my signs and sounds and applying my perceptions into their visual awareness. An example of this was , Ok now, you will go past a large factory on the left, cross under a freeway and stay to the right over the river until you get to a signal and the shop is right there on the left hand corner. This is a simple one, for the factory could be heard, the freeway underpass was obvious, and the bridge over the river was long with a hollow sound, and stopping at a signal was normal and just remembering where the shop was from my last visit got them there without a miss.

I believe that I used up most of my brain storage capacity just in remembering directions. Clear to this day I can pretty well get you anywhere in the world. I invented the GPS long before its modern day existence.

It was much easier for me to identify shapes, rather than faces. And then imagine looking at a girls shape with the thought to identify her. And oh boy, did imagination ever get me in trouble. As time went by, women’s shapes changed and I forgot who they were, unless they spoke to me, just kidding here folks!

As I moved into the creative area I found that I thought very much different about how things might be arranged. I liked order and in time learned that the human perception in art has a real common sense structure to it.

Even though I could not see details or a lot of colors, I was able to use contrast to create perspective and even though my works were a little immature they still attracted some attention. But painting pictures could not pay my bills, nor feed my life style and when it came time to get married, hey, I had to start my own business. This was done in order to promote my life into a future that might be beneficial to both my wife and myself. Thus one day I found myself working for a landscape company who soon saw that I had an excellent mind on how to arrange things into both order and harmony and make them work for the customers.

I applied my limited art ability onto a larger scale when I started a landscape business. Why, a landscape business you might ask. Well, once my sight got so bad that I could no longer paint a good landscape onto the canvas, I decided to up the scale. Thus, I would create a very nice picture on a large scale and actually get paid for it.

In this I learned, how the mind relates to order, and how order relates to perspective, and how perspective is tied into perceptions. When the human eye is guided across a landscape, and the lines flow nicely, and everything is fit into the picture without confusion your mind sees harmony. But if something appears out of place there is a sudden break in the harmony and this impulse is sent into the brain and the brain registers it as something irritating and it becomes confusion. Therefore, the scene that the mind is looking at becomes unpleasant and if it is a work of art, you walk away with a impulse inside your mind saying, not right, don’t like it!

Blind or partially sighted people should have a lot of stories to tell about how their adjustments to life forced into existence a whole new perspective, and brought about a very different perception into their thinking. If we were to then apply these changes into a blind artists mind, then project those perceptions into his or her work, we would come up with a very different measure of expression. These perceptions should be appreciated far more than normal to the sighted. If the sighted viewers or judges of art would consider from where the work had come from, meaning from a blind experience, I feel that there would be a much greater understanding of a blind artists work.

But we know that this is how it does not work. For not until an artist attains some level of recognition does anyone really care what made the painting or work come into existence. The only thing that really counts up front is how the work appeals to the jury or to those carrying the check book.

If the artist has not attained the ability to somehow draw the human eye into the work and if the brain is confused or irritated, most likely there will be no sale or a place for that work.

However, there is no set rules for this mind harmony explanation. Because there are people who love to have their brains stimulated by confusion, irritation, battle and disruption to harmony, and so this type of art has now been developed into an entire realm of its own expression.

For a blind artist to create an object that can be handled is very different than a painting by a blind artist that cannot actually be felt with the hands. Every artist has a vision within his mind but it takes an incredible amount of intuitive ability to bring that intangible vision into the realm of reality. Even for a sighted artist, it is very difficult to bring forth his perception and create dynamic perspective but imagine a blind artist attempting to express perspective and create perception without being able to see any of this?

If, a blind or partially sighted person can achieve such a task, and the sighted observer can relate and actually perceive these perceptions, and enjoy them, then that blind person is more than an artist but a true communicator.

Think about how an artist alters human perspective? He achieves this with his own, inner ability, which is truly very different from the ordinary mind. I often think that a blind artist is like an alien who has come to this world to show the sighted, how to see beyond their sight through a special gift called, Perception!

Michael M. Michaelson has created and, using Freedom Scientific software. The sites serve as a creative outlet containing new stories for those seeking something a little different, and his on line art portfolio offers everyone the opportunity to purchase outstanding works by a blind artist.

Michael, along with his works of art enjoys self-publishing and has more than twenty-three of his own publications for sale, as well as many free reads and places for other writers to publish their works on these sites.

Fred Gissoni

An Interview with Fred Gissoni, who passed away September 21, 2014:

In 1988, Fred Gissoni joined the Customer Relations Department of the American Printing House for the Blind (APH). Fred retired from APH at the end of 2011, marking over 50 years working on behalf of people who are visually impaired and blind. Fred took the job at APH after a 30-year career and retirement from the technical services unit of the state agency that was then called the Kentucky Department for the Blind. While at APH, Fred provided tech support for various APH products, but he also generally answered questions. He was so renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions that APH's database and blog created to disseminate information on every aspect of blindness was named for him: Fred's Head from APH.

Fred Gissoni was born in New Jersey. Blind since birth, he did not, as he tells it, go to one of the five widely renowned schools for the blind in that area, but rather, to a resource room in a public school, first in Garfield, NJ, and later in Hackensack. He was interested in amateur radio at age six or seven, and although it would be a while untill he actually obtained his license, that marked the beginning of a lifelong passion for all things technical.

His first job was in a factory, drilling holes in radio brackets. He had already obtained a four-year degree from Rutgers University (or "universable" as he says in his whimsical way) and had begun work on a master's degree at New York University. During his internship with the New Jersey Commission in 1954, he met the love of his life, Betty, who was also working as a teacher for the commission. The two were married in her home state of Kentucky in 1956, the same year that Fred took a job with a subsection of Kentucky's Department of Education. His boss was the legendary Tim Cranmer, a combination that would bode well for blind people everywhere.

Gissoni and Cranmer learned the abacus together, and Gissoni wrote detailed instructions for its use. That book, Using the Cranmer Abacus, is still available from the American Printing House, as is the abacus itself. Fred wrote and taught a course on use of the abacus for the Hadley School for the Blind as well.

His passion for sharing information and teaching others has been so widespread and abundant, it's difficult to catalog. While he worked some conventional resume builders into his full-time career (part-time teaching at the University of Kentucky, for example) he has written and shared how-to and other information far and wide throughout the blindness field. He wrote for Dialogue magazine for four years, and developed materials for the Hadley School for the Blind. He was one of the earliest contributors to TACTIC magazine, a quarterly publication on access technology. Whenever I received an article from Fred, I knew it would be interesting and require little editing. What made his contributions particularly unusual, though, was I never had to ask. If Fred learned something new or interesting, or just thought of a new or interesting way of accomplishing a task, he would write an article about it.

In terms of the technology blind people are using today, what stands out most notably in the work of Fred Gissoni would probably be the development of the Pocketbraille and Portabraille, collaborations of Fred Gissoni and Wayne Thompson, while the two were colleagues at the Kentucky Department for the Blind. The Pocketbraille was built to be housed in a videocassette box (one for a VHS cassette, which was state-of-the-art in the mid 1980s.) One could enter data from a Perkins-style keyboard and hear it spoken through speech. When Fred learned of a braille display manufacturer in Italy, the project grew into a refreshable braille device called Portabraille. With the Portabraille, a person could enter data and read it in braille, and could transfer that data to a computer for storage or manipulation. You couldn't store the data; you could simply write it and "dump it" as Fred explains, but it represented an astonishing breakthrough in terms of braille and portability at the time. The Kentucky Department made only 12 Portabraille units -- two of which enabled blind people to retain their jobs. Rather than making a profit from the machines themselves, Gissoni and Thompson sold the detailed instructions for building the device for $5, and directed interested individuals to Southland Manufacturing for the circuit boards. About 200 copies of those instructions were purchased -- by individuals representing 45 states and 20 other countries. One of the people interested in those plans and circuit boards was Deane Blazie, who had worked as a teenager for Tim Cranmer and became a lifelong friend. Deane Blazie's interest in those plans, of course, led to the birth of the Braille 'n Speak, a truly revolutionary product for the blind.

When Deane Blazie showed the Braille 'n Speak to Fred Gissoni, Fred was so excited he did what his generous teacher instinct always prompted him to do. He shared the information. He sat down and made a recording, explaining all of the amazing features of this brand-new product. He also wrote an article which appeared in the Fall 1987 issue of TACTIC, recommending the product as a portable, versatile, $895 constant companion. When asked about his own inventions, though, Fred Gissoni does not distinguish between high tech and low. He is particularly proud of the Janus Slate, for example, the double-sided interline braille slate that holds a three-by-five index card for brailling on both sides. When I asked him why the name Janus, he replied, "Well, Janus was the Roman God of portals. But I like to tell people that he was the Roman God of braille, and since we didn't actually have braille for several hundred more years, he didn't have much to do." And yes, that is a sampling of what I like to think of as vintage Fred Gissoni banter.

Other inventions he developed for APH were also small items including a pocket braille calendar and a gadget he called FoldRite, which simplified folding an 8-1/2 by 11 sheet of paper into thirds.

Similarly, when asked about his proudest accomplishments, he doesn't mention Portabrailles or courses teaching blind people to be competitive in math class. Instead, his reply involved people. "I think my proudest accomplishments would be introducing Larry Skutchan to APH and, on another occasion, letting a capable woman who worked switchboard know about a job in customer relations, hoping that she would apply. She did and went on to head the department."

Where does this spirit of generosity come from? Fred seems unaware of his own generosity, of course, but when pressed for explanation he points out that many people were generous with him when he was young. There was a high school teacher, he recalls, who made raised-line drawings for him (by hand and on his own time) to clarify concepts in science and math. And there were many people involved with amateur radio who shared information willingly as he was learning.

Although he has plenty of tech savvy (using a computer daily and providing tech support for such products as the APH Braille+ Mobile Manager), he continues to use the abacus and is never without a slate and stylus. "Batteries die and chips fail," he says simply.

Ham radio has been a favorite pastime for Fred Gissoni since childhood, and still claims much of his time (although he says the apartment he now lives in is "electronically noisy." He is active with his church, on the parish committee and has a variety of duties including putting up signs for Sunday school. In the past, he enjoyed swimming, some cross-country skiing, and for over 30 years walked to work each day, but today he gets a ride to work from a friend and is more likely to be found exercising hands and brain exchanging emails or working out a technical problem. You can find him on the social networking site LinkedIn, but he says this is only because he responded to the invitation of a colleague and not due to any personal interest. Don't ask him to sign up for MySpace or Facebook, he says, because he doesn't have time for that sort of thing.

On the Fred's Head web site, APH refers to him as a legend. He is that. But Fred Gissoni is also a treasure -- who has shared his tips, techniques, knowledge, genius, and generous spirit with blind people everywhere for 80 years -- and is still having fun doing it.

Article Source: Cool Stuff in Every Pocket: An Interview with Fred Gissoni by Deborah Kendrick, AccessWorld, November 2009

Friday, March 19, 2010

How to Clean White Shoes

How to Clean White Shoes

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Cleaning shoes has been a challenge for humans since we first covered our feet. White shoes are a particular problem, especially in the summer months when people are active. White shoes are made from a variety of materials and your cleaning method will depend on what material your shoes are made from. In this wikiHow we'll examine the culture of shoe cleaning, and cobble together some advice for those who prefer not to buy new shoes every three months.


Rubber Shoes
  • If your shoes are not made of leather, follow these steps. Warning: Don't do this with leather shoes or they will be ruined!
  1. Assess the damage to your shoes. Are they muddy? Scuffed? Or just lightly soiled?
  2. Get a good cloth and wrap around it around your hands like brass knuckles. use this to scrub away obvious dirt, mud and grime.
  3. Wash the cloth with a liberal amount of soap. Rub the soap all over the white part of the shoes.
  4. Get a stiff brush and brush all over the soap covered parts.
  5. Wash the soap off with a clean cloth.
Suede shoes
  1. Any leather shoe not made from smooth leather needs special cleaning techniques.
Canvas shoes
  1. Clean canvas shoes by spot washing using a mild detergent and soft toothbrush.
  2. Once clean, consider spraying canvas shoes with a "Scotchguard" type fabric protector. Test the spray on the tongue of the shoe to make sure it won't stain.
Machine washing
  • Some people wash their shoes in the washing machine. There are a few tips to remember:
  1. Remove the laces and any other removable parts.
  2. Use the warm, not hot, cycle.
  3. Add regular detergent.
  4. Either place the shoes in a bag with towels to protect your washing machine or just dump them in with a load.
  5. Do not use the dryer as this will probably melt your shoes, destroy your dryer, or both. If you feel you must use the dryer use a very low heat and a protective bag.
  6. Let the shoes air dry or use paper towels.
  7. Note: even if the shoe is machine washable multiple washes can break down the adhesive that holds the shoe together.
Clean smooth white leather shoes
  • Cleaning leather shoes is considerably more complicated. Leather is skin, and so most methods that clean skin will also clean leather. To complicate matters there are a vast set of choices in commercial leather cleaning products. Proper care for leather shoes involves more than cleaning, but also protecting and polishing the leather. To clean leather properly, determine which type of leather you have. The instructions here are for smooth leather.
Clean smooth leather with soaps.
  1. Use a soft cloth to remove obvious dirt and dust from the surface of the shoe.
  2. Remove the laces.
  3. Rinse the shoes with warm, not hot, water, inside and out.
  4. Prepare a solution of warm water and a 'natural soap'. Common soaps for cleaning shoes include:
    • Saddle soap is the most common choice.
    • Liquid detergent like dish-washing liquid.
    • Regular hand soap.
  5. Use a soft brush and scrub every part of the shoe with the soap mixture.
    • Do not scrub too hard or your could damage the surface of the leather.
    • Remove scuff marks with a nylon backed brush, or wait until the conditioner is applied.
  6. Rinse the shoes in warm water again, both inside and out.
  7. Stuff your shoes with paper towels. The paper will absorb the water and make the drying process go faster.
    • Replace the paper when it gets water logged.
    • Do not use newspaper as the black ink can run and ruin your shoes.
    • Stuffing your shoes with paper also helps them hold their shape as they dry.
  8. Allow your shoes to drip dry.
Clean your shoes with commercial products
  • Shoe cleaners come in gels, foams, sprays, liquids and creams. You can also use leather cleaning products designed for car seats.
  1. Put your shoes and all materials on top of several layers of newspaper before you begin.
  2. Remove any laces.
  3. If your leather shoes have a lot of old polish buildup, you may want to use a pre-cleaner.
  4. Read the directions on your leather cleaner.
  5. Many leather cleaners come with an applicator top, or you can use a soft shoe brush.
  6. Use the brush to rub the cleaner into any cracks and seams.
  7. Remove the cleaner based on the packet instructions.
Leather shoe products
  • There are many products on the market for cleaning leather shoes. Leather is leather, so any leather cleaner, be it for jackets or car seats, will also clean your leather shoes.
  1. Shoe wipes can be bought all over and are great for spot cleaning. Some people also use Baby Wipes.
  2. A Clorox Bleach Pen is used by many to spot clean white shoes, especially in seams and in stitching.
  3. Clean-n-Brite is also used by many to safely clean white leather. You can visit website, there is a page about cleaning leather.
  4. KIWI Sport Shoe Scrub-Off Heavy Duty Cleaner has good results.
  5. A Magic Eraser, which you can buy in any art store, has also had good results in spot cleaning shoes.
  6. Permatex DL Hand Cleaner is a product for cleaning skin that works well on almost all leather. You can find this product in hardware stores.
  7. Goo Gone is an excellent cleaner, also often found in hardware stores. Follow the dilution directions on the packet and eventually Goo Gone will remove just about anything.
  8. Goop waterless hand cleaner is another excellent hand cleaning product used by contractors to remove the harshest dirt from skin and as such is also a great leather cleaner. Goop also removes stubborn stains that other products may not reach, and thus is a good first treatment for very dirty shoes.
Condition your shoes
  • Conditioning your leather shoes will help soften and moisturize the leather, and protect it from drying out and cracking.
  1. Use a leather conditioner especially made for smooth leathers. Do not use a cleaner and conditioner in one product.
  2. Use a 'natural' conditioner that absorbs into the material, not a synthetic conditioner.
    • Some people use Mink Oil as shoe a conditioner.
  3. Choose a conditioner that is the same color as your shoe.
    • If you still see scratches or other imperfections choose a shoe conditioner in a shade one shade lighter than the color of your shoe.
  4. To condition your shoes:
    1. Rub a small amount of conditioner into the shoe using a clean cloth or applicator.,
    2. Cover the entire shoe with conditioner.
    3. Wait a few minutes.
    4. Wipe the shoes free of any extra conditioner.
Polish your shoes
  • An important stage in shoe cleaning is to polish your shoes. High-quality leather shoes should be polished at least once a month.
  1. Choose the correct polish for your kind of shoe.
  2. Choose the correct color of polish.
    • If you wish you can use mutiple polishes: white for the white parts, black for the black.
  3. Understand that shoe polishes come in four basic forms: waxes, pastes, liquids,and creams.
    1. Creams and pastes add moisture to your shoe by soaking into the leathers as they work. Because they actually penetrate the surface of the leather, creams and pastes cover scratches and other imperfections. Creams and pastes work well on all types of shiny or smooth leathers.
    2. Wax shoe polishes are good for protecting form the elements but do not treat the actual leather of your shoes.
    3. Liquid shoe polish is easy to apply, but like wax, doesn't penetrate or condition the leather.
    4. Shoe polish paste is the longest lasting, but is very messy and slow to work with. Shoe polish cream is a great compromise, and is available in lots of colors.
  4. To polish your smooth leather shoes:
    1. Apply the polish to a small area of the shoe to make sure the color matches.
    2. Rub the polish into the shoe with a soft clean, lint-free cloth.
    3. Apply the polish in small, circular motions.
    4. Be sure to get plenty of polish on any imperfections.
    5. Allow the polish to dry.
    6. Shine your shoes by buffing them with a soft cloth or brush made specifically for shining shoes.
Toxicity of shoe polish
  • Commercial shoes polishes can contain potentially harmful chemicals. Even those products that claim to be free usually do not list their ingredients, so it is difficult to know for sure. If you are concerned about the safety of working with shoe polish there are some tips and alternatives you can consider.
  1. The EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) has identified a chemical called Perchloroethylene (PERC) that does not occur in nature. The largest US user of PERC is the dry cleaning industry, but it is also used in textile mills, chlorofluorocarbon producers, vapor de-greasing, metal cleaning operations, and the makers of rubber coatings. In commercial products PERC is often found in aerosols, solvent soaps, printing inks, adhesives, sealants, polishes, lubricants, typewriter correction fluid and shoe polish. PERC enters the body when breathed in with contaminated air or when consumed with contaminated food or water. It is less likely to be absorbed through skin contact. Once in the body PERC can remain for a long time, stored in fat tissue.
  2. If you choose to use shoe polish always take precautions:
    1. Wear gloves.
    2. Use in a well-ventilated area.
    3. Keep all polish out of the reach of children or animals.
    4. Discard any rags or extra polish as you would dispose of other potentially harmful household chemicals.
  3. If you would prefer not to use shoe polish consider one of the many folk solutions to polishing your shoes including the use of vegetable oil or petroleum jelly.
Folk Remedies
  • Over the years keeping leather shoes clean has been a classic common sense problem, something that was important to a variety of people including soldiers and others in uniform, nurses and such, for hundreds of years. As a result there are many folk remedies for various stages of the leather shoe cleaning problem.
  1. Westley's Bleche-Wite whitewall/blackwall tire cleaner is reported by some to be an excellent leather shoe cleaner. Note: Tires are made form rubber, so this method may work better on rubber shoes.
    1. Use a scrub brush and rinse the shoe with water.
    2. Use a clean cloth to rub in the tire cleaner.
    3. Rinse.
    4. Note: tire cleaner does a great job getting that foam rubber between the boot and the sole white again.
  2. Grease stains on leather can be treated with this method.
  3. Toothpaste is used by many to clean their leather shoes.
    1. Put a dab of toothpaste on a washcloth or old toothbrush.
    2. Gently rub the stains with the toothpaste.
    3. Rinse.
  4. Mildew can be removed from leather shoes.
    1. Mix:
      • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol
      • 1 cup of water.
    2. Sponge the solution onto your shoes and work it into the leather well.
    3. Allow to air dry.
    4. Clean, condition, and polish.
  5. Petroleum jelly is reported by some to be a good cleaner and protector for leather shoes.
    1. Apply jelly to a smooth, clean, lint-free cloth.
    2. Rub in the jelly using a circular motion.
    3. Let them rest a little while.
    4. Wipe off the jelly using a clean cloth.
  6. The inside of a banana peel has been reported to work for smooth leather shoes.
    1. Test in an inconspicuous area like the tongue of the shoe.
    2. Rub the banana peel all over the shoe.
    3. Clean with water and a clean cloth.
  7. WD40 is used by some to clean and protect their leather work shoes.
    1. Remove any obvious direct, mud or other debris.
    2. Spray the shoes with WD40.
    3. Gently buff using a lint-free cloth.
  8. Furniture polish is used by some to keep thier leather shoes in good condition. This may not be the best solution for white shoes, but if you can find white furniture polish it may work.
    1. Clean very dirty shoes with a household cleaner.
    2. Spray the polish lightly over the shoe.
    3. Wipe away any excess polish with a clean cloth. The polish helps seal in moisture so leather shoes don't dry out and crack.
  9. Olive oil or walnut oil may also clean and protect smooth leather.
    1. Test the oil in an inconspicuous spot like the tongue of the shoe to ensure color fastness.
    2. Work a small amount into shoe using a soft cloth.
    3. Polish with a soft cotton cloth.
  10. Use lemon juice to remove regular dirt spots from leather :
    1. Mix:
      • 1 part lemon juice
      • 1 part cream of tartar
    2. Work the paste into the spot with a soft cloth.
    3. Let it sit for a few hours, if needed.
    4. Come back and apply a little more paste.
    5. Work it in and then wipe clean.
  11. Ink spots can be removed in two ways:
    • Dip a cotton swab into rubbing alcohol and rub the spot.
    • Use a non-oily cuticle remover. (Note: That is "cuticle" remover, not nail-polish remover.) Leave it on overnight and wipe it off with a damp cloth.
  12. Keep leather supple, use the following homemade mixture of vinegar and oil:
    1. Mix:
      • 1 part white vinegar
      • 2 parts linseed oil
    2. Pour the solution into a jar with a lid.
    3. shake well and apply to the leather with a soft cloth.
    4. Let it sit for 12 hours and buff.
    5. If the cloth starts to soil, be sure to change it often.
  13. Road salt can be removed from leather with a vinegar solution:
    1. Mix:
      • 1 part water
      • 1 part white vinegar
    2. Dip a soft cloth into the solution.
    3. Blot the solution over the shoes to remove the salt. You may have to do this several times to clean the entire surface.
    4. Rinse the shoes with clear water when you are done.
  14. Water spots can be removed from leather by:
    1. Moistening the area with a little water.
    2. Let it dry or gently blow dry. Never place leather in the sun to dry.
  15. VO5 hair conditioning gel is reported to be a good leather cleaner.
    1. Remove most of the dust and obvious dirt with a damp cloth or brush.
    2. Rub a little dab of gel over the surface and wipe with a soft cloth to a shine.
    3. A little gel goes a long way, so don't use too much.


  • Leather should be kept out of direct sunlight.
  • The next time you buy a pair of leather shoes, condition them before ever wearing them. This will help insure that your shoes are best protected from the start, and will save time on future cleanings.


  • Rags or clothes used that come in contact with the shoe polish should also be immediately discarded.
  • Remember: When removing spots from leather, always test any cleaning method on an out-of-the-way spot first.
  • Don't try to use shoe polish to change the color of your shoes. If you need your shoe color changed, consult a shoe repair shop.

Things you will need

  • Newspapers
  • Gloves
  • Soft Cotton Cloths or Rags
  • Soft Shoe Brush (optional)
  • Smooth Leather Shoe Cleaner
  • Leather Conditioner for Smooth Leather Shoes
  • Shoe Polish, or a Shoe Polish Alternative
  • Leather protector (a Waterproofing Product)
  • Laundry detergent

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Clean White Shoes. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Going Shopping with Mom

by Donna J. Jodhan

Going shopping with mom is always a very special occasion for me. You see, she is not just mom; she is my shopping buddy, my eyes, and my best friend. She knows exactly how to interact with me and how to make my shopping trip a joy, rather than a chore. For I can tell you this! Going shopping with a blind person can either turn out to be a nightmare or a joy, it all depends on who is taking you shopping.

For those who have little or no experience with taking a blind person shopping, here is how mom does it. I take her arm and she gently but firmly guides me through the mall; describing things as we walk. She describes the people passing by, tells me the names of stores, and if I am interested in any of them as we walk by, we stroll inside for a visit. If it is a clothing store, mom and I visit each rack and she tells me what is on each rack. If it is a shoe store, we do the same and if it is a supermarket then the fun really starts!

In stores, mom takes her time to describe the merchandise in detail. She tells me the colors of things, describes the shapes of clothing and shoes, and if I am interested in something, she takes the object of interest off the rack and we go to the fitting room to try it on. Mom gives me her opinion of how it looks on me; whether or not the color suits me or if it fits me well. I trust her totally to tell me how things look. It helps a lot that I was able to see at one time,so as she describes things, I picture them in my mind.

Shopping in stores is a two way street, when mom chooses things, she allows me to use my sense of touch to help her decide if something would be what she may or may not like. I am unable to help her with colors of course, but I can tell if clothing fits her by touching her shoulders if it is a sweater, blouse, or jacket, and feeling the length of skirts and coats. If it is a pair of shoes that she is trying on, then she allows me to use my fingers to make sure that her toes are not too close to the tips of the shoes. For handbags and purses, she places them in my hands and I can feel the shape and give my opinion.

Shopping in the supermarket is not much different for mom and me. She describes what's on the shelves, tells me the prices, and places produce and packaged meat in my hands so that I can get an idea of what she is describing. We always have fun doing this because we both love shopping at the supermarket.

So there you have it; shopping in a different way but getting the job done in style.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate 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:

Can You Identify the Barriers?

by Donna J. Jodhan

Editor's note: This editorial can be applied to most countries in the world; not just a Canadian concern.

There are artificial barriers, attitude barriers, real barriers, challenging barriers, insurmountable barriers, and so on. All of us face a combination of these types, but in my humble opinion, we as sight impaired persons face all of these. Canadians on the whole would probably not be shocked to learn of some of them that we face but on the other hand they would be absolutely mortified if they were to learn about others. Some would definitely be shockers to the mainstream Canadian but others would merely be shakers.

Barriers to employment: over 80% of blind and visually impaired Canadians are unemployed. This statistic has been a thorn in our side for decades and does not seem willing to change because of a lack of action on the part of both government and society. Barriers to a better standard of living - over 70% of disabled Canadians live below the poverty line and the statistic for blind and visually impaired Canadians is even higher. This would be a shock if the rest of the world were to know but it is no shocker to disabled Canadians themselves given the daily challenges that they continue to endure.

Barriers to accessible websites: no shocker and no shaker. The Federal government refuses to do anything for their own reasons and hidden agenda. I would even venture to say that our government simply ignores us because it is easier for them to do so. Almost all of their websites remain a challenge to access, they still refuse to make information accessible in alternate formats, and because of all of this there are real barriers to job opportunities within the Federal government.

Barriers to timely materials at universities: an embarrassment for a developed country such as Canada. There still seems to be many challenges being faced by our blind and visually impaired students at the university level. So often I hear the complaint that a student is unable to obtain their materials on time and more often than not they receive them so late that they are forced to delay the completion of their courses.

Barriers to timely treatment in our health system: a crying shame and unacceptable. My comments here apply to the city of Toronto. It took me over three months after I started complaining of loss of vision before I could see a retinal specialist who told me that my retina was detached and another three months before I could have surgery to repair it.

Barriers to technology: yet another embarrassment and my opinion applies to Ontario. We can only update our technology every five years based on the ADP program. Because most sight impaired persons are financially challenged, they depend on the ADP program to help them update their technology.

Barriers to accessible mobile devices: not very accessible in so many cases. Here I point to such things as accessible cell phones, PDAs, MP3s, and so on. Designers and Developers are still struggling to make these things fully accessible to the sight impaired and even if they are somewhat semi accessible, they are too expensive for most sight impaired persons to afford.

Of course there are more barriers that I can mention but I think that this is enough to paint a very sad and gloomy picture. In addition to these, we face a very real and unhealthy attitude from society as a whole. I am sure that you have the picture by now so I will stop here. Barriers for us to own up to and barriers for us to start breaking down. If we admit to our hang-ups and discomforts then we are definitely on the right track.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate 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:

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