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Showing posts from July, 2010

VA/GSA Contract Products from APH

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APH is proud to announce our Veteran's Administration Federal Supply Schedule contract number V797P-4266b. Nearly 100 selected APH products are available for purchase under this contract. Search for APH products at this General Services Administration website: https://www.gsaadvantage.gov/advgsa/advantage/main/start_page.doTo request a brochure containing the Authorized Federal Supply Schedule Price List for selected APH products, call toll-free at 1-800-223-1839.

The Good and Bad of Curb Cuts

by Donna J. Jodhan If you take the time to think about it, curb cuts can either be a blessing in disguise to many but at the same time it can also be a real curse to others. For many it is a welcome relief while traveling along the sidewalks, but for many blind and visually impaired persons it is quite the opposite. Shocker or shaker? Probably a shocker to the mainstream pedestrian but neither shocker nor shaker to the blind and visually impaired walking wounded. For those emergency medical technicians, curb cuts represent a great alternative and time saver when negotiating sidewalks in a hurry. For a delivery person, it also saves time and energy when dragging heavy or clumsy packages. For those in wheelchairs, it is a real bonus and the same could be said for moms with strollers but for those of us who are unable to see these new wonders! It is not. If a blind person is using a cane to travel then the picture is this: They have great difficulty being able to tell the d…

Online Hindi Audio books and E Books for free download.

Are ebooks available in Hindi? Hindi is a convenient, and crucial, first step to reaching all Indian languages, or as many as we can reach anyway.
This, the Digital Library of India, is a JACKPOT! Check this out first. E books in almost all the Indian languages. http://www.new.dli.ernet.in/.
Here's a list of sites dedicated to Audio books in Hindi:
http://www.audiohindi.com
http://www.geeta-kavita.com
Hindi Audio Book Blog: http://thatshindi.oneindia.in/blogs/hindi+audio+book/1/showtags.html
Hindiebooks: http://sites.google.com/site/hindiebooks/
HINDI UNIVERSE: http://hindiuniverse.blogspot.com/2008/03/free-download-hindi-ebooks.html
Hindi Movies: http://www.hindilok.com/hindiblog/2006/09/free-download-hindi-e-books-literature.html


Myths about Blindness

by Bob Branco Being blind, we sometimes have to answer questions from sighted people who are genuinely curious about how we live. While it’s true that many sighted people understand that the only thing different about the blind is that they can’t see, others are so out of tune with our world that they take their curiosity outside the box. I have a blind friend who is a father of three children, has a degree in engineering, is quite intelligent, and tries his best to support his family like anyone else would. He does his own grocery shopping, which, in all honesty, is quite common for a blind person, as long as he receives reasonable assistance. A sighted person found out that my friend did his own grocery shopping, and asked him if there were grocery stores for the blind. I think that most of us know that there aren’t any, but someone asked the question. The irony here is that although we know that there aren’t any grocery stores for only blind shoppers, the person who asked was ve…

Eat the Seasons

If you're trying to increase the amount of fresh and local food you're eating, it helps to know what's in season. Eat the Seasons tells you what fruit, vegetables, nuts, and meats are in season. Visit the site and you're immediately shown what's in season for the US and Canada, for those across the Atlantic you can switch to the UK/Ireland view for more accurate results. You can click on individual items in the list of seasonal foods to read more about the nutritional content, buying and storing tips, and interesting facts about the food in question. While you're checking out seasonal foods don't forget to take a peek at the Epicurious Seasonal Ingredient Map and how to lower your food bill by shopping for food in season.

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

Accessible Crossword Puzzle Games for the Blind

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Spoonbill Software's Blind Gamers Crossword PuzzleBG Crossword Puzzle allows vision impaired and blind players to solve Crossword puzzles downloaded from the Internet. As with all Spoonbill Software's Blind Gamers games, it is self-voicing, no need to use your screen reader. For the benefit of vision-impaired players, the crossword is presented in the normal crossword grid format. In addition, the answer words and the clues are displayed in two lists which can be navigated using the arrow keys on your keyboard. This pair of lists can be maximized to fit your screen allowing the words to be more easily read. Blind players also use the arrow keys to move up and down the list of words and clues and can use the W key to speak the current word, or the C key to speak the current clue. By default the across words and clues are presented first. You can switch to a display of the down clues by hitting the D key on your keyboard, and back to the across clues by hitting the A key. Ther…

Sirius XM: More Accessible To The Visually Impaired

The original Pulsar app brought Apple and Sirius XM together to create magic. Apple computer users could finally stream Sirius XM’s Premium Online content the way it should be done. Pulsar did it right! For starters, a browser wasn’t required. The interface was clean, elegant and easy to use. A third-party app wasn’t required to make it work. Users only had to enter in their username and password once. Best of all, the music wouldn’t stop playing with annoying timeouts. They did forget one thing, the blind and visually impaired. Now, Sirius XM Radio is more accessible to the visually impaired, thanks to the utilization of Apple’s VoiceOver technology in the newly updated Pulsar online streaming app. Rogue Amoeba spent some time working with visually impaired users to determine the best way to utilize Apple’s VoiceOver technology in the application. With approximately 15 million blind and visually impaired individuals in the United States, this new accessibility to Sirius XM’s Prem…

Print n Share from Your iPhone

Wouldn't it be great just to print out an Email or an iPad or iPhone contact address and phone number, or quickly print out a web page to read later? Move files to or from your computer and print them. How about printing photos from your iPad or iPhone Photo Album? Or even take a picture and print it out immediately! The Print n Share app for the iPhone allows you to print to any WiFi or shared printer on a WiFi network. Not only that, by installing the publisher’s Weprint software on your computer, you can print through your 3G connection from most anywhere. Print n Share works with both the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. It will print most anything you can imagine, from photos to Word documents. Overall, if you are only going to consider one program for printing, this is the one to consider due to its versatility, publisher tutorials and positive user reviews. As a bonus, this app can turn your iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch into a hard drive on your WiFi network.

Click this link to …

ADA 20th Anniversary: US Disability facts and Statistics

July 26, 2010 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which guarantees equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications. Unless otherwise indicated, all the data is from the Americans with Disabilities: 2005 report at http://www.census.gov/prod/2008pubs/p70-117.pdf. Population Distribution54 million: Number of people who have a disability. They represent 19 percent of the civilian noninstitutionalized population. By age:5 percent of children 5 to 17 have disabilities.
10 percent of people 18 to 64 have disabilities.
38 percent of adults 65 and older have disabilities.
12.4%: Number of females with a disability, compared with 11.7 percent of males. Source: 2008 American Community Survey http://factfinder.census.govUsing or Needing Assistance11 million: Number of disabled people 6 and older who need personal assist…

Descriptive Video Brings Films to Life for the Blind

by Alena Roberts The other night my husband and I watched the new Alice in Wonderland. Just for kicks I asked him to check if there was a descriptive video track. Much to my surprise there was, and so for the next few hours I was able to fully experience the film. Watching movies and TV with descriptive video is like a whole different experience for me. I really get to imagine what people are seeing and no longer do my sighted friends and family have to attempt to describe what’s happening when there is no dialogue. I especially appreciate the descriptions when there is a lot of action happening on screen because those scenes are especially difficult to describe unless you’ve seen the film before. It’s taken a long time, but I think that one day soon most if not all films will have descriptive video tracks included. Sony has already committed to including it in all their releases and I’m hoping that other studios will follow their lead. I used to believe that finding films with desc…

Demonstrate Braille With Cards From APH

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I'm going to give a presentation on how to read braille. Do you know of anything I could use as handouts? APH Alphabet Card Folder. Designed to raise the awareness of braille among print readers, this card displays the braille alphabet, a sample of large type, and provides a brief history of APH. Folds in half vertically. Sold in packs of fifty. As an educational service, up to five individual cards are available free on request by phone. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04000-01
Click this link to purchase the APH Alphabet Card Folder (50-pack). Braille Alphabet and Numbers CardIntended to increase the awareness of braille among print readers, this card presents the alphabet, numbers, and limited punctuation signs in braille and in regular type. A simple sentence in uncontracted braille is included, allowing for translation practice. 100 per package. Not available free. Note: Not available on Quota.

Catalog Number: 1-04020-00
Click this link to purchase the Bra…

Test Your Password Strength at How Secure Is My Password

The folks over at Lifehacker have found another great site for us to talk about. How Secure Is My Password is a no-frills password checker that dishes the dirt on your password strength or lack there of. How Secure Is My Password is a simple site with a singular focus, forcing you to think about the strength of your passwords. Enter any string of characters and it will tell you how long a brute force attack against that password would take using modern computers. NOTE: For the sake of security, we'd strongly recommend constructing fake passwords for testing purposes rather than using your actual password. Consider the site an interesting exercise about how adding a few characters and symbols to your password can increase its security. You can never be too paranoid about security!Simple passwords like "Password" are immediately flagged as weak, identified as one of the most 500 common passwords. Plug in something a little trickier like RedDogLa$er4225#Niner and you get…

Retrieve the Software Installation Keys From Your PC

You know how it is.  You buy some software on CD, or online, and install it.  The program works perfectly for ages and then one day it doesn't.  Maybe you decide to purchase a new PC. Time for a reinstall of your applications.  Except that you forgot to write down the installation key of that software, and the CD case (or confirmation email) has long since been lost.  So you face the prospect of having to buy another licence for that can't-do-without application. If that sounds familiar, here's a possible solution.  A tiny, free utility for Windows (XP and above) that retrieves and displays the installation keys for loads of Windows apps. The utility in question is called Softkey Revealer, and you can download it from http://sites.google.com/site/cakirbey/softkeyrevealer. No need to install anything - just unzip and run and then copy those keys somewhere safe, before you forget again!

Helen Toolbar Application from AFB

From the AFB website: "We offer you a free downloadable, fully accessible, web site rating toolbar application (which we affectionately named "Helen") that will enable you to have your voice heard as you experience problems and/or success in using any website. And, most importantly, Helen™ will enable the collective voice of the user community to be heard by website providers, extending Helen Keller's lifetime efforts and legacy as an advocate for those whose voices might not otherwise be heard". The Helen Toolbar Application is Freeware provided by the American Foundation for the Blind. Click this link to visit the AFB website to download.

Blind Crafting for Everyone

by Susan Roe 

I have been an avid crafter both before and after I lost my sight over thirty-two years ago.  There is nothing I love more than working on a project and actually seeing it through to completion.  Whether I sell an item, give it to someone or donate it to a charity, I always have the satisfaction of knowing that there will be someone somewhere who will appreciate owning what I do best. 

There have been quite a few people who have either encouraged my crafting or have taught me different skills.  My mother, Katherine, first taught me to crochet when I was eight years old.  She showed me how to crochet granny squares in matching or contrasting colors.  We would then sew them together to make warm afghans for our beds.  She didn’t stop with crocheting, and soon taught my sister and I to quilt by hand, as well as how to use a sewing machine. When we were small children, she made handmade Hobby Holly dolls and sold them to make extra money for our Christmas presents…

What to Consider When Buying a CCTV

by Laura Legendary Many people believe that once their eyesight begins to deteriorate beyond the point at which they can easily read large print, their reading days are over. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are innumerable tools available that enable people with vision loss to relax with their favorite reading material. One of the best of these tools is a device called a CCTV. More recently, they have been referred to as video magnifiers. These devices, which in many cases do not require a computer or any knowledge in the use of a computer, enlarge nearly any printed text to nearly any size. The letters CCTV stand for "Closed Circuit Television." If that sounds familiar, you're right. Security cameras use similar technology to provide surveillance capability for retail establishments, parking lots and hotels. Simply put, a CCTV is a closed-circuit system that consists of a camera directly connected to a monitor. In the case of a low vis…

accessible talking maps for the Windows PC

Sendero Group expands the power of accessible location information to the Windows PC with Sendero Maps. Sendero Maps allows the user to have fun exploring his or her environment and to develop location literacy in the process. Sendero Maps can be used by itself on the PC or as a partner product to the five other Sendero GPS products. With an intuitive user interface and the power of the PC, accessible maps are at your fingertips. Just type a destination, select a route and you are on your way. Sendero Maps for the PC enables you to: Explore rural roads or city streets, intersection-by-intersection.
Record personal Points of Interest and add rich audio content like restaurant menus or museum descriptions.
Hear your direction of travel. Check the odometer for distance traveled.
Search a 15 million Points Of Interest database in North America for everything from airports to zoos. and choose one as your destination.
Create and follow a route to that destination.
Easily save and print or embo…

Trials and Tribulations in the Airport

by Ann Chiappetta I stood at the ticket counter waiting for the skycap for assistance to the departure gate. My bag was checked and my dog had done her business before arriving. I was mulling over the threat of my flight being canceled due to the storm settling in over lower Westchester and Long Island when the skycap appeared. I could tell he was pushing a wheelchair. The thoughts about canceled flights were replaced by predicting how long it would take me to convince the ticket agent and the skycap that I didn’t need the wheelchair. “Excuse me,” I said to the ticket agent, hoping to head things off, “I don’t need a wheelchair, just a sighted guide.” I knew from experience that trying to explain it to the skycap was an effort in frustration. Stating my needs to the ticket agent was my best bet. “You don’t want help?” she asked. “I just need sighted assistance. I have a guide dog. I can walk.” “You have a dog? Can it sit in your lap?” I took a deep breath, “Look, all I want i…

SayText: a Free, Accessible OCR App for Blind iPhone Users

SayText reads aloud the text in the image that it creates with the iPhone. It is intended for visually impaired users. It is a free spin off product from the DocScanner team.
Place the iPhone in the center of a document and double-tap the “Take picture” button.
Slowly elevate the iPhone upwards from the document, until the whole document is in picture. A beep sound indicates, that the document has been detected. The camera will shoot automatically when focused.
While the OCR is running, tap the screen to hear the progress status.
When the OCR is ready, swipe right on the screen to listen to the document.  .

Read Websites with RoboVoice

RoboVoice is a web service that will let you have any page that you come across when surfing the internet read out loud. This means that you can visit a page, have it read aloud while you head to another and navigate it as usual. The first page will continue to be read in the background.
The implementation of RoboVoice is accomplished by dragging the bookmarklet that is provided into your browser’s toolbar. Once that has been taken care of, you will be able to activate it (and deactivate it) at will
The one and only requisite for using RoboVoice is having Silverlight installed. If you don’t have it, don't worry, an official download link is provided on the application's website. The installation shouldn’t take more than a minute or two.

http://robovoiceapp.appspot.com/

Add Convenient Accessibility Tools to Any Browser

The free JISC TechDis bookmarklet and user script does something long overdue for web users. It creates a toolbar that makes text bigger, changes its font, reads it out loud, spell checks it, and even pulls its references. Crafted by the University of Southampton's electronics and computer science school, the toolbar is offered in one of three ways: as an instant toolbar bookmarklet that can be used on pretty much any browser,
a Greasemonkey-style user script that can be installed just as universally,
a Windows-only installer that does the installing for you. What the toolbar itself does is to provide a ton of neat tools; text-to-speech reading, font fixing and magnification, spell checking, and reference searching—that exist in a lot of different places in the browser, and in other browser add-ons, but make more sense as a click-to-activate toolbar. This is a great tool for students, those who have trouble with the web's standard layouts, and anyone looking for an easier go…

First Blind Person To Climb Mount Everest

Erik Weihenmayer (born September 23, 1968) is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001. He also completed the Seven Summits in September 2002. His story was covered in a Time article in June 2001 titled Blind to Failure. He is author of Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther Than the Eye can See, his autobiography. Erik is an acrobatic skydiver, long distance biker, marathon runner, skier, mountaineer, ice climber, and rock climber. He is a friend of Sabriye Tenberken and Paul Kronenberg, the co-founders of Braille Without Borders, whom he visited in Tibet to climb with them and teenagers from the school for the blind. A documentary film based on the project, Blindsight, was released in 2006. Another documentary, Fellowship of the Andes, was produced by Dutch filmmaker Bernd Out. The film shows how Erik inspires a team of blind and visually-impaired students on their mountain trek across the Andes in June 2006. In a…