blind_html Free Computer? [Fwd: Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind]

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 07 Jan 2009 09:45:06 -0700

"Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very 
wise cannot see all
ends." LOTR

Nimer M. Jaber

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(720) (251-4530)

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 Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind

        Link to Fred's Head Companion <>

USB Switch: Control and Share USB Devices on Multiple Computers <>

Posted: 06 Jan 2009 02:55 PM CST

The USB 2.0 Manual Share 4 Port Switch is a great computer system adapter that allows up to four computers in the same home access to the same peripheral device such as a printer, scanner or mass storage hard drive. It can be used to create a network printer that is shared by everyone or even as a way to share multimedia such as music and videos.

Simply connect a USB peripheral device of your choice to the input of the switch, then connect up to four computers to the output of the switch via USB. For long runs of USB cable from a computer to the switch, a USB balun is sold separately. No software is necessary for installation; each computer will recognize the switch automatically, which is confirmed by a solid LED light on the corresponding switch input. Accessing the shared peripheral is as easy as double clicking the Scroll Lock key from any of the connected computers. A small investment in this switch saves you money in the long run, as you won't have the expense of purchasing, maintaining and consuming energy from the same type of peripheral for every computer in your home.

Click this link to purchase the USB 2.0 Manual Share 4 Port Switch from website <>.

       Here's Another Idea

Nearly all modern gadgets attach to your computer through a USB connection. However, not all computers have enough USB inputs to manage all of these devices, and even if they do, the locations of these inputs are often difficult to get to. With the USB 2.0 Manual Share Switch Hub, you can make quick and convenient connections with up to four devices, and each of those devices can be connected to two computers. In the same fashion that you would add a power strip for additional outlets, simply link the hub to a computer (or two computers) with the included USB cable(s) and add power by connecting the AC adapter. With no software needed, once the hub has been connected and powered up there are multiple USB ports available for one or two computers to share. Connecting a flash drive, camera, card reader, keyboard, mouse, memory stick, or MP3 player is accessible and easy, and because this unit is powered, higher end peripherals like external hard drives, printers, scanners or fax machines can be connected as well. The hub has a hi-speed USB 2.0 rating offering data transfer speeds up to 480 mbps while being backward compatible with older USB 1.1 devices. Adding a compact and lightweight USB hub is an inexpensive and handy solution that will allow two computers, even laptops, quick access to the same files and peripheral devices.

Click this link to purchase the USB 2.0 Manual Share Switch Hub from the website <>.

Software Giveaway of the Day <>

Posted: 06 Jan 2009 02:32 PM CST

This is an awesome site! The only trick to it is that you need to keep up with it daily to get the most out of it. What this site offers is a different piece of software that you can get totally free everyday.

No, it's not a free trial offer either. It is the full licensed version of the software. You get the whole thing. How does it work? Well, they buy the licenses for their giveaways and you agree to their terms and conditions, while they provide advertising for the publishers of the software. You can get a free game everyday as well, with the Game Giveaway of the Day area.

Not up to the task of checking the site everyday to see if what they offer is something you can use? Well, then just sign up for either their free email newsletter or RSS feeds and you'll be kept on top of everything and won't miss the programs you could actually make good use of. I immediately subscribed to the RSS feed so I wouldn't miss a thing!

Just remember that you have a limited number of hours to download the programs, so if you see one that you want, make sure you snag it. After the time is up, they go back to full price.

You may also want to check out their Freeware Library, which is full of free software from many different categories. For example, Audio & Video, Education and Desktop Enhancements, just to name a few. Not all of this software will be compatible with magnification or screen reading programs but who knows, you may find something that you can use. I'm looking at the games section for my oldest son who has perfect vision. What a cool way to get games for him!

Click this link to visit <>.

       Ultimate List of Free Windows Software from Microsoft

Did you know that Microsoft has over 150 FREE Windows XP, Windows Vista and MS-Office Programs available for download? Finding them them can be extremely difficult , but not anymore.

Click this link to visit the Windows Live website to read through the /Ultimate List of Free Windows Software from Microsoft/ <>.

Free Computers for People with Disabilities <>

Posted: 06 Jan 2009 02:30 PM CST

From The Official Jim Mullen Web Site: <>

       Jim Mullen and The Jim Mullen Foundation

On October 16th, 1996, tactical officer James Mullen, a six-year Chicago Police Veteran, was hit by a bullet that entered his right cheek, bounced off his jawbone and lodged in his neck, near his spinal cord. Mullen was initially treated at St. Francis hospital in Evanston before being transferred to Northwestern Memorial hospital. Jim underwent extensive rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) under the supervision of the Director of Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation at RIC, Dr. David Chen.

Since the injury, Jim has become the focus and the inspiration of thousands of Chicagoans and well wishers from around the globe.

Some of the highlights of Jim's extra curricular activities since his injury include:

   * The media has covered the Jim Mullen story extensively. His story
     has appeared repeatedly in every Chicago newspaper and every
     single local television and radio news network. His story has also
     been covered nationally in USA Today, People Magazine, A&E, and
     ABC News.
   * Jim Mullen has become a priority for high-ranking officials in the
     Chicago Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal
     Bernardin visited with Jim Mullen just weeks before his own
     passing, and Archbishop Francis George (now Cardinal Francis
     George) visited Jim during his very first day in Chicago.
   * In 1997, Jim Mullen lead the City of Chicago's St. Patrick Days
     Parade in his first public appearance outside of the
     Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
   * Jim was honored by The Chicago White Sox when he threw out the
     very first pitch for the 1997 opening day ceremonies. Jim then
     enjoyed the game from a private sky box with several of his fellow
     Chicago Police officers. Jim has also received support from
     several other Chicago sports teams including the Chicago Cubs, The
     Chicago Bulls, The Chicago Wolves, and The Chicago Bears. Note:
     Jim personally attended several games with his still undefeated
     "Win One For The Copper" banner.
   * Jim teamed with veteran sports agent and attorney Steve Zucker to
     dispute the city's policy to force early disability retirement
     onto any person unable to fire a weapon. Jim subsequently returned
     to his job on the Chicago Police Force on special assignment
     setting a new precedent for the disabled.
   * Jim received the State of Illinois Law Enforcement Medal of Honor,
     the Superintendent's Award of Valor, the City of Chicago's Blue
     Star Award, The Carter Harrison/Lambert Tree Award, Cook County
     Sheriff Michael F. Sheahan's Law Enforcement Award, Chicago's
     Father of the Year, Elmhurst College Speech-Language Hearing
     Clinic Award, Italian American Police Association Award of Valor,
     Glenwood School For Boys Award For Courage, and The Chicago Police
     Officer of the Year Award.
   * Jim has become a well-recognized computer enthusiast. Shortly,
     after his injury, Jim connected with Johnny Internet who taught
     him that anybody can use a computer regardless of any physical
     impairment. Jim owns a specially equipped computer which
     implements voice recognition to receive mouse and keyboard
     commands. Jim uses the computer to manage his personal
     information, send and receive e-mail, surf the web, and administer
     his businesses. He hosts his own Internet web site
     ( <>) that has become a
     comprehensive state-of-the-art information repository for all Jim
     Mullen and disability related information.
   * Jim has formulated an alliance with several Chicago area firms
     including Microsoft, IBM, Kemper Insurance, Dell Computers,
     Gateway Computers, Motorola, Dragon Systems, ANET Internet
     Services, 3-Com, Visual Highway, Wheels, Inc., Hobi, Fellows, and
     more. This alliance has organized the largest computer give-away
     for the disabled and the underprivileged in Chicago's history.
   * The JMF computer give-a-ways have transformed the lives of
     hundreds of "differently abled" individuals. JMF has worked
     directly with individuals with over 50 different types of
     impairments including visual, auditory, mobility, cognitive, and
     economic impairments. JMF has also received the support of several
     celebrities including Sammy Sosa, Dan Aykroyd, Reba McEntire,
     Anthony Robbins, John Paxson, Jim McMahon, and Mike Ditka.
   * Jim was selected by Microsoft CEO, Bill Gates, to be featured in
     the Microsoft Windows 98 Launch video in June 1998. This video was
     viewed by over 2 million people in over 200 countries
     simultaneously. Jim also appeared in the Microsoft "Enabled" video
     in March 1998. This video was distributed to over 300,000
     individuals with disabilities or special needs.
   * In February 2001, Jim was selected by President Bush to
     participate in the unveiling of the "New Freedom Initiative" at
     the White House. This legislation provides $1.025 billion for
     people with disabilities. Jim will continue to support his
     legislation as the President seeks the support of the congress.
   * Today, Jim is an inspirational and motivational speaker in high
     demand. His public speeches at seminars, conferences, awards
     banquets cover topics ranging from "overcoming obstacles" to
     "paying it forward through community service."
   * Jim's company, Visual Highway, now works to raise awareness in
     corporate America to make adjustments in the workplace to pave the
     way for people with impairments. His "enabled" vision outlines a
     four-step process (awareness, assessment, adaptation, employment)
     that outlines how an organization can hire individuals regardless
     of their level of ability.

The "enabled" vision may well turn-out to be Jim Mullen's legacy. Jim has been a servant to the community all of his life. His trademark smile often accompanies his call to duty^DELthat he is a community servant whether as a police officer, a philanthropist, or a father, husband, and friend."

       The Jim Mullen Foundation is proud to provide free computers for
       people who have a disability.

They specialize in providing computers for anybody especially for those individuals who think that they are unable to use one.

Just tell them who you are, the nature of your disability (along with verification from your doctor), and they say they will provide you with a free computer, and they will attempt to provide you with the necessary adaptive hardware and software so that you will be most productive with your new computer.

If you are in need of a computer click this link to download the JMF Computer Giveaway Application <>.

Alliance For Technology Access (ATA) <>

Posted: 06 Jan 2009 02:29 PM CST

The Alliance for Technology Access (ATA) is comprised of networks of community-based Resource Centers, Affiliates, Associates, Developers and Vendors dedicated to providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and increasing their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies. These ATA Members can be found all across the country.

Headquartered in San Rafael, CA, the Alliance for Technology Access is a national network of technology resource centers and technology vendors: 41 community-based technology centers in 27 states and the Virgin Islands, and 60 technology designers and developers.

ATA technology Resource Centers are non-profit organizations, driven by collaboration among people with disabilities, family members, and professionals in related fields.

All Alliance Resource Centers are accessible to people with disabilities. They are barrier-free, in terms of architecture as well as attitude. Everyone is welcome. No one is turned away. People of all ages, and with any disability, are encouraged to participate.

*Guided exploration and consultations:*
Children or adults with disabilities, their parents or other family members, as well as teachers and other professionals who serve people with disabilities, can make an appointment to visit an ATA Resource Center. Staff will listen to your dreams, goals, challenges, questions, and preferences, and will then guide you in trying out a variety of computer products which might interest you. Staff will give you information you will need to make informed choices. They will not sell you any devices. They are there to help you explore as many options as you like. You will then evaluate the software and hardware. Staff will help you to find where you can make purchases, and identify potential funding sources. You can be assured that staff members are constantly updating their knowledge and skills, so that they have the latest information.

If you are interested in a more comprehensive consultation, that can be arranged. For example, some parents of children receiving special education services seek a consultation which will result in the center staff member working collaboratively with the school to arrange for appropriate technology to ensure the full inclusion and participation of the student in the classroom with non-disabled peers.

*Information and referral services:*
Alliance Resource Centers love networking. They make connections in local communities and across the continent, with technology developers, advocacy resources, funding resources, experienced computer users of all ages with a wide variety of disabilities, parents, teachers, therapists, anyone in your community you might need to know. They are familiar with rights and legal mandates, as well as the most current technology. If you need more information than they can provide, they will know where to refer you.

The people at Alliance Resource Centers use telecommunications as an important tool in their work. They use on line services to learn and to share. They can post a question or problem on line, and in a few short hours, suggestions will appear from all over the country via email. They are competent in using bulletin board systems, on line data bases, search tools, and the World Wide Web. They are aware of the amazing benefits telecommunications can bring to people with disabilities, and they know how to help people to learn to use these new tools.

*Technical support services:*
You can call an Alliance Resource Center for help with your computer and assistive technology. Someone will know how to help you as you deal with frustrations or choices, and will know where to refer you for additional help. At the same time, ATA Resource Centers are committed to the notion that people with disabilities want to make their own choices and control their own lives.

*Product demonstrations:*
All Alliance Resource Centers provide product demonstrations for the public. Computers, adaptive devices, and software can be seen and evaluated on an individual basis or during a workshop. Developers and vendors frequently visit ATA Resource Centers to demonstrate the latest products.

*Participation in product development and testing:*
Many ATA Resource Centers work collaboratively with hardware and software developers to assure access to people with various disabilities. Centers frequently conduct testing of new devices and software with the goal of universal access in mind.

*Public Awareness presentations:*
All Alliance Resource Centers have staff or volunteers available to provide public awareness presentations for parent groups, school groups, teacher groups, organizations, support groups, university classes, and conferences.

All Alliance Resource Centers provide workshops for parents, teachers, therapists, adult services providers, and others interested in learning more about assistive technology. Many Centers also provide training sessions or technology play sessions for children.

*User groups:*
Some Alliance Resource Centers support user groups with special interests in common, which meet on a regular basis.

*Professional development:*
Some Alliance Resource Centers have staff members with vast experience in providing training for teachers, adult service providers, therapists, and other professionals who wish to increase their knowledge and skills when it comes to assistive technology. You can contact your nearest Center to contract for these services.

*Open access -- Resource day:*
Many Alliance Resource Centers have regular times during the week when anyone can drop in, without an appointment, to become acquainted with the services of the Center and the available equipment and software. Call the Center to see if they have this service.

*Lending library services:*
Some Alliance Resource Centers maintain software and/or hardware lending libraries. Others have adapted toy lending libraries, or video libraries. Please call your local Center to see if these services are available.

Alliance Resource Centers publish newsletters which can inform you of developments in the technology world and technology news in your local area.

*Outreach activities:*
Every Alliance Resource Center conducts activities designed to improve access to assistive technology for people who are generally underserved, because of geographical, language, cultural, or financial barriers.

*Special projects and initiatives:*
Alliance Resource Centers have a great deal in common. They are also unique, in that they engage in projects based on local needs. Often, projects are focused on inclusion of students with disabilities in typical classrooms, curriculum adaptation, transition from school to work, work-site accommodation, and outreach to underserved groups of people.

Alliance for Technology Access
2175 East Francisco Blvd., Suite L
San Rafael, CA 94901
Phone: 415-455-4575
TTY: 415-455-0491
Fax: 415-455-0654
Email: ATAinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:ATAinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

Video Described Movies and TV <>

Posted: 06 Jan 2009 01:24 PM CST

By Carla Ruschival <>

Descriptive Video Service, or DVS, National Captioning Institute, or NCI, and others provide video description so blind people can "see" what is happening in movies and on TV. Audio description is used with live plays in the same way.

Imagine watching your favorite movie with your eyes shut. No peeking allowed. The movie's a mystery; the clues are mostly visual - a handwritten note shown on the screen but not read aloud, someone looking in a window, a man moving silently down a dark street. Music plays at the end of the movie, but there is no conversation; you don't know who dunnit.

Frustrating, to say the least!

What's the answer?

Ask someone? Okay, providing there is someone around who wants to watch the same movie at the same time.

But what if that someone isn't good at describing things? What if she gets caught up in the story and makes such uninformative remarks as "Oh! Look at that!" or "That is just TOO funny!". By the time all the useless comments are over, you have missed a lot of action. Or what if someone talking in a quiet theater disturbs other people?

Just as closed captioning gives a deaf person information about what is being said, so video and audio description gives a blind or visually impaired person information about what is being seen on the stage or screen.

How does it work?

Video description isn't just someone talking over the movie or program. It is a carefully-written script, professionally recorded on its own "track".

When video description is included on TV programs, it usually can only be heard on the SAP channel (the one that may carry Spanish translations or other information of interest to a specific group of viewers). In theaters, special equipment must be in place for visually impaired customers to hear the track, and headsets are used so as not to disturb others.

Video description is also available on more than 200 home videos. No special equipment is needed - just a TV and a VCR or DVD player.

Live plays are audio described in many theaters. Since live performances may not be exactly the same every time, with tiny changes in timing etc., live audio describers are needed. The describer doesn't just show up and explain what's happening; many hours of preparation are necessary to create the descriptive script and to practice speaking it at just the right moments throughout the play.

Find out if theaters in your area offer audio-described plays by giving them a call. Make sure that you ask for the dates the description is available.

Many Talking Book libraries have DVS and other video-described movies available for free loan to their blind and visually impaired patrons. Call your Talking Book library or visit its website to check on available movies.

For more information about TV programs, home videos, DVD's, and movie theaters with video description, go to the WGBH website <>.

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