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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Mar 2009 23:48:53 -0600

"every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear"
Ani Difranco: I'm Not A Pretty Girl 1995

Nimer M. Jaber

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-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Sat, 28 Mar 2009 12:04:25 +0000
From:   Fred's Head <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
To:     nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx

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

        Link to Fred's Head <>

Better Living with Fred's Head <>

Posted: 27 Mar 2009 10:55 AM PDT

Here's a story in which it is shown that the regular use of the Fred's Head <> blog can improve one's quality of life.

Greg Samsa awoke one Saturday morning to the sound of a baby crying. He got out of bed, remembered that his wife had left for a teacher's convention the night before and knew that he had to take care of things. He put on his bathrobe and went into the nursery.

"Jen-ny" he sang. "Daddy's here, Jenny. Daddy's here." He felt around in the crib for the baby and picked her up. Jenny's crying continued, but with less force.

"Are we hungry?" Greg asked, bouncing the little girl in his arms as he carefully navigated into the kitchen. He put a saucepan of water to heat on the stove, then prepared a baby bottle one-handed and set it in the saucepan. Jenny's cries continued. "I've got to change her diaper," he thought. Laurie usually took charge of that task--manipulating the diaper while he helped to clean the baby-- but she was in Chicago.

"Why didn't I think to get some practice while she was here?" he asked Jenny. "That's okay, Muffin. Daddy will fix it."

One important lesson Greg had learned in graduate school was that not knowing an answer to a question was not nearly as bad as not knowing how to find an answer.

Greg went into the living room, where the computer was. He always left the computer running, so it only took a moment to get online. He selected "Fred's Head" from his bookmark file. He went straight to the edit box with his screen reader by pressing the letter "e", and typed "baby diaper" in the search field. He got How To Diaper A Baby <> as a result.

"Piece of cake!" Greg said to Jenny. "I think."

Greg carried Jenny down the hall to the nursery and followed the instructions he'd gotten from "Fred's Head".

"Fold this…" he said to himself. "…check that she's covered…peel this… peel this… Done! That wasn't too bad!" He put a clean romper on Jenny and they went back to the kitchen.

The bottle was ready, so Jenny got her breakfast. After she had eaten, Greg got Jenny settled into the baby carrier and started making his own breakfast. Greg fixed himself some oatmeal and toast and wondered what else it was he wanted to eat.

"Fried eggs!" Greg said. "That's what's missing. I want fried eggs!"

He went back to the computer, hit the letter "e" until he landed on the search box, then typed "frying eggs" into the search field.

He found two results: Frying eggs using an egg ring <> and American Egg Board Recipes <>.

Greg hit the link for Frying Eggs Using An Egg Ring <> and read over the record.

"Seems easy enough," Greg thought. "I know we don't have the egg rings-- but maybe those metal cookie-cutters will work. I'll give it a try."

Returning to the kitchen, Greg got a frying pan and set it on the stove. He set the burner to 'medium high' and put two tablespoons of oil in the pan. The Samsa's keep their oil in a wide mouth jar near the stove. A metal measuring spoon whose handle had been bent 90 degrees fits through the wide-mouth opening and serves as a ladle for the oil, providing an accurate measure.

Greg pulled the two largest cookie-cutters out of the bottom drawer. One was used for making gingerbread men; the other was a large five-pointed star. He added them to the pan. He grabbed two eggs from the refrigerator and started cooking.

After cleaning up the breakfast dishes, Greg got ready for work. He didn't have to perform any weddings this week, but he wanted to stop by the office anyway. The new computer was delivered yesterday and he hadn't finished setting it up. He also wanted to fix a couple of weak spots in tomorrow's sermon.

Greg got dressed for work and took Jenny next door to the Davis' house. Mrs. Davis was the regular babysitter, and she was expecting Jenny today. He knocked on the door.

"Good morning."

"Good morning, Doris. How are you today?"

"Okay. I'm watching Scooby Doo."

"Are you? That's nice. Do you like it?"

"Yeah," Doris nodded.

"Good. I liked it when I was your age. I'm here to drop Jenny off. Is your mom around?"

"Yeah. She's upstairs." Doris ran off, yelling "Mom! Reverend Greg is here." She soon ran back. "She says you can come in."

"Thanks, Doris." Greg stepped into the house.

"Hi Greg! Isn't it a lovely day?" Mrs. Davis' voice came from above and to the left. Her voice got louder and closer as she walked down the steps. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"No thanks, Sandra. I'm trying to decaffeinate."

Greg accepted a glass of water and chatted for a little while, then headed off to the church. The church was nearby, only seven blocks away. Greg always walked there when the weather was nice.

The Thomas Merton Unitarian Universalist Church was a former Methodist church. It was originally built in the early 1800s and had been expanded twice since then. The building had lots of narrow hallways and steep staircases; there was even a spiral staircase that led from behind the sanctuary to the choir loft. Greg had been minister here for seven years, so he was familiar with the layout and was comfortable navigating to his office. He went directly to his desk and turned on the computer.

He had spent most of yesterday getting the various cables connected and getting his software installed. He still needed to get desktop shortcuts created for his most-used programs. It had been four years since he made shortcuts on his old computer, and he had forgotten the procedure. The computer manuals were not accessible, so he got online. He hoped that "Fred's Head" could help. He typed in and added it to his bookmarks. He searched for "computer shortcuts" and received several results.

Greg selected How to Transfer Settings and Files From One Computer to Another with Magic Transfer <> and found the information he needed.

Greg saved this article to his favorites for reference and created his shortcuts and he was quickly finished. He then opened up tomorrow's sermon: "The Importance of Heroes: Role Models in Modern America." He decided that he was happy with it, especially the part about how product endorsements and advertising in general had adversely changed the role of modern heroes, but it still needed another good example. He went to "Fred's Head," looked under the "Browse Articles by Subject" heading, chose the Role Models <> link, and was rewarded with several results.

"These are just what I need to round out the sermon!" Greg thought.

He used some of the results to strengthen the weak part of his essay. Pleased with the finished product, he typed up an outline to use as a guide in the morning. He went to the closet and turned on the braille embosser then shut the closet door. He went back to his outline and chose 'print' from the file menu. The clattering of the embosser was loud even through the closed door.

Greg checked his email. There was a short message from his brother.

"Greg, I just heard on the radio that someone published a book on astronomy for blind people. Does that make any sense to you? Love, Bill"

Greg decided to check "Fred's Head" before replying. A quick search on "astronomy" returned several articles. Greg opened the article The Sky's Not the Limit: Astronomy for the Blind and Visually Impaired <> to learn more.

Greg emailed the record to his brother along with this message: "It makes good sense to me."

The next email came from the church's music director.

"I want to do some movements from Bach's Cantata 140 for that special memorial service next month." She wrote. "The arrangement has an important trumpet obbligato. Would you be willing to play the trumpet part? Let me know soon. Thanks, Callie"

"That would be a lot of fun," thought Greg. "I wonder where I can get a copy of the braille music?"

Greg decided to search "Fred's Head," for "braille music". The first result was titled Braille Music <>." Greg opened it and began reading.

Greg saved this information to his desktop, intending to research the location of the trumpet part after lunch. He knew APH's Louis database <> had over 200 thousand entries, so he figured that the trumpet part would probably show up there.

He checked the time: 11:30-- "almost time for lunch," he thought, "Just a couple of things to get done first."

Greg needed to replace his old tactile metronome. He had knocked it off the shelf while practicing two days ago and it had shattered when it hit the floor. Greg clicked on the "Fred's Head" Assistive Technology <> link and the computer responded with a variety of results.

Greg selected Finding Adaptive Technology Is As Easy As Abledata <>, and the computer displayed the article.

Greg surfed over to the Abledata site and bookmarked it. He found a replacement metronome in the music section; the description included the manufacturer's contact information, including a web address. He surfed over and found that they supported internet sales. Two minutes later, his new metronome was on its way.

The other thing he needed to do before lunch was to find something special to cook for Laurie when she returned from Chicago. Once again he called up "Fred's Head," this time he clicked on the Recipes <> link."

Greg decided to browse through the Cooking <> subject, he enjoyed cooking and had found good ideas there before. He learned the trick about keeping his oil in a wide mouth jar and using a bent metal measuring spoon from "Fred's Head" a couple of months before. "Maybe they've added something new since the last time I was here."

"These are some great articles!" He thought for a moment. "I've got a few tricks that I learned from Laurie that I'd like to share with other blind and visually impaired people."

Greg used the letter "h" on his keyboard to navigate to the "YOU Can Contribute to Fred's Head!" heading and clicked on the fredshead@xxxxxxx <mailto:fredshead@xxxxxxx> link. He typed his idea into a new email message. He checked for errors and then clicked the send button.

"Alright. That's enough for one day." Greg thought. He shut down the computer, collected his braille outline and turned off the embosser. He placed the outline on his desk and decided to put off searching for music and to spend some time outside with his daughter instead.

Greg stopped at the sandwich shop across the street from the church for some lunch, and then went to get his daughter.

The End.

About Fred's Head <>

Posted: 27 Mar 2009 01:19 PM PDT

Fred Gissoni emerging from computer monitor

       Created by and for people who are blind or visually impaired,
       Fred’s Head is where you go when you gotta know!

Explore the collective ideas and experiences of blind or visually impaired people by visiting Fred’s Head! You’ll find hundreds of tips and techniques to help you solve everyday difficulties, and detailed explanations of more complex issues that may challenge you.

         Why Is this Blog Called Fred's Head?

Fred's Head is a free service from the American Printing House for the Blind <> (APH) that publishes tips, articles, and resources by and for blind or visually impaired people. The Fred's Head blog was inspired by APH's legendary Fred Gissoni.

Fred has been providing technical support to APH customers and writing APH technical manuals since 1988. Prior to coming to APH, Fred had many accomplishments in the field of blindness. He has been working in the field since 1953 and has been a rehab placement officer, counselor, teacher, case supervisor, center director, and technical service unit director. He has written and taught courses for the Hadley School for the Blind <> and was a visiting instructor at the University of Kentucky <>. Fred was the co-inventor of a device that would eventually become the APH PocketBraille <>, one of the earliest braille notetakers.

Fred is known across the US for his vast wealth of knowledge about blindness, especially as it applies to daily living. Staff from the American Printing House for the Blind <> wanted to capture the knowledge in "Fred's head" and so the original Fred's Head database was established in the early 1990s. Many of Fred's tips, tricks, and resources were written as articles and published in the database, along with articles contributed by other APH staff and by Fred's Head users.

         The Fred's Head Companion

In order to use the latest technology for people who are blind or visually impaired, APH began the Fred's Head Companion blog in 2004. In addition to the original Fred's Head Database, the Fred's Head Companion was a way to widely syndicate the information that was created for the original database. Through a variety of services, the records in the original Fred's Head database were delivered to a much broader audience through email, RSS aggrigators and to portible MP3 players as a podcast.

APH continues the tradition of sharing knowledge through the current blog, simply called Fred's Head. And Fred Gissoni, now in his 70s, continues to serve blind and visually impaired people across the US by being available for questions in APH's Customer Relations Department. The original Fred's Head Database was discontinued in March of 2009.

         The Fred's Head Blog

Fred's Head, the free service from APH that publishes tips, articles, and resources for blind or visually impaired people, has changed format. The Fred's Head Companion blog has been renamed to Fred's Head ( <>).

Fred's Head is one of the first places you'll find announcements about new APH products. We also publish articles and links on dozens of topics of interest to blind people. A few of these are: adjusting to blindness, assistive technology, clothing, deafblind resources, dog guides, employment, family life, health, kitchen hints, organization skills, safety, and transportation.

All of the thousands of Fred's Head articles that were in the previous database have been published to the blog. You will still be able to search the blog for a specific article or topic. In addition, you can browse the articles using the subject listings that are located toward the bottom of every blog page.

The Fred's Head blog offers many functions that were not available in the original database. You can receive newly published articles via email, RSS, or Twitter. Articles are self-voicing, just click on the speaker icon and the text is automatically read to you. If you find an article you want to share, send it to a friend's in-box with just one click.

         The Fred's Head Newsletter

So, you really like the information in Fred's Head? Are you one of those folks who click on the link to see the most recent entries? Do you find yourself visiting the Fred's Head website everyday to see what's new? Would you like a way to get the latest posts in your email? Thanks to the Fred's Head Newsletter you can! Click this link to learn more <>.

         The RSS Feed

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts. Users of RSS content use programs called feed "readers" or "aggregators": the user subscribes to a feed by supplying to his or her reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user's subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user.

You can subscribe to the Fred's Head Companion RSS feed by adding the following URL to your news aggregator:

         The Companion Podcast

Wikipedia says that a podcast "usually consists of a combination of audio and/or video that is made available for download via syndication. It is this syndication aspect of the delivery that separates a podcast from a file available for download. The files are usually retrieved with software applications (generically known as podcatchers) such as Apple's iTunes so that subscribers can listen at their convenience on devices that have intermittent, slow, or are otherwise lacking Internet access. The podcatcher reads an RSS feed (whose entries point to specific podcasts, usually sorted by date) to identify and retrieve the podcast."

You can subscribe to the Fred's Head Companion Podcast by adding the following URL to your podcatcher:

         Fred's Head on Twitter!

Wikipedia defines Twitter as "a free social networking and micro-blogging service, that allows its users to send and read other users' updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length."

You can follow Fred's Head in a number of ways using the free Twitter service: on our profile page at; by using RSS, SMS, email; or through a variety of third-party applications. To get started, simply visit Fred's Head <> and click on the "follow me on Twitter" link toward the bottom of the page.

         YOU Can Contribute to Fred's Head

Fred's Head is updated nearly every business day. Michael McCarty, APH's Expert Database Coordinator, scours dozens of sources to add and revise content. And Michael wants to hear from you! Those from any walk of life can submit an article, tip, trick, technique, web link, or other resource. If we use your information, you'll be credited by name as having expanded the knowledge in Fred's Head.

If you would like to contribute, or have questions about Fred's Head, please contact:

Michael McCarty
Expert Database Coordinator
American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Ave.
Louisville, Kentucky 40206
Phone: 502-899-2396
E-mail: mmccarty@xxxxxxx <mailto:mmccarty@xxxxxxx> or fredshead@xxxxxxx <mailto:fredshead@xxxxxxx>

Spell Check Your Website <>

Posted: 27 Mar 2009 08:10 AM PDT has been designed with one goal in mind: to make it extremely simple to keep websites free from spelling errors. The spellFOCUS spelling engine to help identify genuine spelling errors and minimise false positives. The aim was to build a system that would provide immediate value without complex configuration of custom dictionaries or require human intervention.

Websites often span across thousands of separate web pages creating a challenge in performing a site wide spell check. Spelling errors on large websites that have multiple content contributors cannot be easily identified by the website content manager. English web pages constructed by non-native English speakers can be prone to spelling errors. Deadline pressures for editors at frequently updated websites such as news websites can create an environment prone to the introduction of spelling errors. Spelling errors are often not identified during a visual inspection of content due to the brain's ability to automatically compensate for incorrect or missing letters. These are all reasons why a website like this is necessary.

With, you can: Create an automatic online spell check for mistakes in US, UK, CA, AU & International English website content (new languages being introduced regularly). Unique spellFOCUS technology identifies genuine errors and ignores false positives. View screenshots of errors on the web page & get notified of newly introduced errors automatically. Automatically identify & spell check new content or spell check only a specific section of your website - e.g. a knowledge base. Flag specific content such as blog comments to be ignored during the spell check process. Use - become a hero in your office!

Click this link to check your website with <>.

You are subscribed to email updates from Fred's Head <> To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now <>. Email delivery powered by Google Inbox too full? (feed) <> Subscribe <> to the feed version of Fred's Head in a feed reader. If you prefer to unsubscribe via postal mail, write to: Fred's Head, c/o Google, 20 W Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610

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