Summer 2012 Lighthouse Newsletter As We See It, Technology Edition In this issue: 1. I-What? I-Devices Improve Accessibility 2. Unexpectedly Awesome: Dining in the Dark 3. Five Helpful iPad Apps (Applications) 4. Mobility & Technology 101: Accessible Pedestrian Signals 5. Top Ten Ways Technology Has Increased Accessibility for the Blind 6. Upcoming Summer Events 7. Lighthouse Summer Classes 2012 8. Frequently Called Numbers 9. Helpful Websites 10. About the Lighthouse 1. I-What? I-Devices Improve Accessibility During the past two years, technological changes have greatly expanded possibilities for visually impaired persons with the development of devices such as the iPad, iPod, and iPhone. These "i-devices" can fit in your pocket or a small bag, and can be used to perform a variety of tasks. In the past such tasks required separate gadgets. I-devices make it easier to complete many tasks using just one gadget. One innovation is that for any "i-devices" to be made accessible, software does not need to be separately purchased and loaded on to the unit, making it much easier for a blind or visually impaired person to use their new gadget immediately. Accessibility comes in the form of print enlargement or speech output from a screen reader called Voiceover. Often you can have these options set up at the store where you buy the item with little effort on the part of the sales representative. Applications for all kinds of activities or services are being developed every day, making access to them better than ever for the person with a visual impairment. A standard Bluetooth keyboard obtained on line or from the Apple store makes screen navigation more efficient, as keyboard commands can be used on this device as well. If someone wants to purchase a Braille device to enhance the experience, many can be purchased at less than half the cost of a standard proprietary Braille note taking device. Let's examine a day in the life of an iPhone user. An iPhone alarm wakes you up and tells you the time. You check the weather and your iPhone tells you that there is supposed to rain. The bus breaks down on your way to work, so you tell the phone to "call work" & let them know. While you're waiting, you can surf the internet, access the radio, find a podcast or read an audible book. At work, you use your reminder list to stay on task. After work, you go grocery shopping and use the digit-eyes application to identify items you want to purchase. You call a cab to go home using the contacts in your phone. When you get in the cab, you use a GPS application to check your location and the money reader to check the $20 bill to pay the cab. While cooking dinner, you use the timer on the phone to remind you when to check your food. The phone notifies you of some email messages, and you use an application to pay some bills. Finally able to relax, you use the Comcast application on the phone to look up a TV show to watch. These are just a few of the tasks that can be completed using an iPhone or other Apple devices. Interested? The Lighthouse will offer an i-devices class starting July 10th, from 3-6pm on the 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month. Questions? Call Elizabeth Bowden at (850)942-3658 or email ebowden@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . 2. Unexpectedly Awesome: Dining in the Dark By Austin Davidson To be honest, the first time I attended Dining in the Dark, I had pretty low expectations. I figured we'd eat dinner in a room with all the lights off, and I'd still be able to see, of course. I didn't think it would be all that different from any other boring fundraiser dinner, and I really wanted to just hurry up and get it over with so I could score the brownie points from my mom and move on. To my surprise, the evening proved to be opposite of nearly all my assumptions and is now an event that I look forward to each year. Simply put, Dining in the Dark is a wonderfully executed glimpse into what it's like to be completely blind. The real fun starts when it's time for your party to be seated. After stepping out of the elevator, you and your friends will be lined up single-file and guided to your table by, yes, a blind person! It seems odd until you start to make your way into the dining room, where you realize that they have somehow managed to block out any trace of light, so a sighted person would be pretty useless. It is pitch-black like you've never experienced before. You literally can't see a hand waved in front of your face much less the table setting (or anything else for that matter). As the dining room fills up, boisterous laughter and conversation fills the room, as first-time guests realize the evening is more than they signed up for. It is impossible to describe, but I will toss out a few highlights that I think are fun and unexpected. First, your wait staff is none other than the Leon County Sheriff's Office SWAT team, equipped with night-vision goggles. Second, I challenge you to accurately guess what you eat over the course of the evening. You'd think that your tongue would do a pretty good job of identify what's on your plate, but not knowing what you're eating really throws things off. At my table, we were pretty embarrassed at some of our guesses after the lights were turned on and we could see again. Third, don't expect your eyes to "adjust." At no point during the evening will you regain vision; you're in a world of pitch black until the lights are restored. There's also a more serious side to the evening. It can be difficult to put yourself in another person's shoes, especially when it comes to things like "what it's like to be blind." Sure, you may think that you can imagine what a blind person goes through, but I promise, it will impress upon you a mountain of respect and wonder for those who navigate the world in darkness, adapting so well that we forget how hard it must be for them. For me, it helped me to understand something I've been exposed to all my life (my grandmother is blind), but had never felt connected to in a meaningful way. It showed me the challenges of being blind first-hand, and it made me sincerely appreciate organizations like the Lighthouse that help people adapt to life without vision. I can't recommend the evening enough; you will be entertained and educated in ways that are sure to surprise you, and if you're like me, you'll leave the event saying to yourself, "What an awesome experience that was! I can't wait to bring some friends to try it out next year..." Join us November 4, 2012 for this year's event! 3. Five Helpful iPad Apps (Applications) By Lynn Evans Since Apple has increased accessibility, if you have an iPad or an iPhone, what can you do with it? Here are just a few examples: I Blink Radio: I chose this one to keep folks updated on the latest technology. It is from Serotek and it's free. I Say: This is a scanner that will read text such as a restaurant menu once you take its picture. And hey - this one is free. Look Tell Money Identifier: This app will recognize any denomination of bills provided you have any bills left over after buying all these apps-this one costs $1.99. The Big Clock: Turn your iPhone or iPad into a huge digital clock with day and date display for 99 cents. Navigon Mobile Navigator: At $44 this should do everything you expect a GPS app to do. It will get you there and get you back home. For more information about the above apps go to the link below: http://tinyurl.com/6pqeoh6 4. Mobility & Technology 101: Accessible Pedestrian Signals From buzzers and bells to cuckoos and chirps, accessible pedestrian signals have come a long way over the years. You may still find some of all these types in Florida. However, the standard for newly installed accessible pedestrian signals (APS) includes several valuable features that help solve old problems, listed below. Pushbutton Locator Tone The exact location of pedestrian signal poles is inconsistent from intersection to intersection throughout the city. So, locating the pole and pushbutton with little or no vision can be a challenge. Under the new standard, the button has a locator tone which sounds repeatedly every second during the non-walk phase of the signal. This can help one find the pole and pushbutton when approaching the intersection. Tactile Arrows Determining which button to push to get the signal for the desired street can also be difficult. Until now, this information was often not provided for sighted pedestrians, and even less often in an accessible format for those with vision impairments. The new standard is that each signal has a raised arrow pointing in the direction of the crossing. This will either be located on the pushbutton itself or on a sign near the button. Audible Walk Indicators For the past several years, the cuckoo and chirp sounds have been used to indicate the walk phase of the signal. Research has shown that people have difficulty remembering which sound is associated with which direction or street (ex: cuckoo for north/south crossings). These sounds may also be confused with the calls of real birds in the area. The sound of the new standard is an unmistakable, rapid ticking sound (think machine gun!). The ticking sound continues throughout the walk phase. The sound may alternate with a verbal message of "walk." If you are touching the button at the beginning of the walk phase, you may also feel a vibration. (This vibrotactile feature can be helpful for someone with a hearing impairment.) Additional features to the new signals may also include the volume adjusting automatically to the loudness of the surroundings, a countdown of remaining seconds for the crossing, and informational messages such as the cardinal direction of travel or the name of the street to be crossed. (The last two may be activated by holding the button down for several seconds.) As with the old style signals, the new signals are tied into whatever information the existing visual pedestrian signal provides. Examples of the new APS standard are currently in use in Tallahassee at the following intersections: Park Ave. and Capital Circle SE, Governor's Square Blvd. and Reece Park Rd., and Tennessee St. and Monroe St. More are scheduled to be installed, especially at some busy intersections that serve as bus transfer points. A few words of caution: The information provided by the APS is meant to supplement, not replace, traffic cues. It is still important to familiarize yourself with the intersection, to use standard alignment techniques, and to pay attention to the traffic before crossing. For more detailed information about accessible pedestrian signals go to www.acb.org/node/617 or www.apsguide.org . As always, the Lighthouse's Orientation and Mobility Specialists will also be happy to answer your questions at (850)942-3658. 5. Top Ten Ways Technology Has Increased Accessibility for the Blind 10. Devices can now identify money or color. ~ Carolyn Lapp 9. Online banking and bill paying eliminate the need to write checks or address envelopes. ~ Lois Butterfield 8. Talking glucose meters enable blood sugar level checks and determine how much insulin to take . ~ Lynda Jones 7. You can find almost any appliance that talks... even things you'd rather not hear, such as a talking scale! ~ Jeanine Kane 6. Portable software programs can make any computer accessible ~ Carolyn Lapp 5. Almost everything can be ordered online and delivered to your front door. ~ Wayne Warner 4. Talking GPS programs make it possible to easily find destinations-you may never get lost again! ~Lois Butter field 3. Bar code scanners can be used to scan products, get info on the item and comparison shop. ~ Carolyn Lapp 2. You carry more power and access to information in your pocket now than a room-sized computer in years past. ~ Wayne Warner 1. Email and texting greatly expands communication and frees many from the use of printed documents. ~ Elizabeth Bowden 6. Upcoming Summer Events New Tech Class Begins July 10th: I-Devices Recent changes in technology have made many devices produced by Apple accessible to the blind and visually impaired without the purchase of separate adaptive software. Such devices can be daunting, due to the nature of the touch screen and differences between Microsoft versus Apple operating systems. A new training will teach how to use the iPhone, iPad and iPod at the Lighthouse on the 2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Interested? Please contact Elizabeth Bowden, AT Specialist at 942-3658 ext 214 or ebowden@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . Freedom Scientific Demo Day: July 11 You are invited to the Lighthouse on July 11th for a demonstration of equipment from Freedom Scientific.. From 9am- noon, come learn more about low vision technology. Afternoon sessions from 12:30-3pm include technology solutions for the blind. A Door Prize Drawing for a free RUBY Handheld Video Magnifier. The schedule is below: 9:00 AM Event begins 9:30 AM Video magnifiers including RUBY, ONYX, and TOPAZ 11:00 MAGic magnification software for the PC 11:30 SARA (Scanning And Reading Appliance) as a low vision tool 12:00 Complimentary Lunch 12:30 Scanning and reading with the PEARL camera and OpenBook 1:45 Screen Reading with JAWS and FOCU Braille Displays 3:00pm Conclusion of the event Register for this event with Charlie Madsen by phone: 1-800-336-5658, by e-mail: seminars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, or online: www.FreedomScientific.com/Seminars The event is free and a complimentary lunch is included. Dog Guide Group Outing: July 21 Cook Out! Do you have a dog guide or want one? Join the Quarterly Dog Guide Group! Last quarter was a trip to the Tallahassee Museum, and on July 21, Sila and Robert are hosting a cookout. If you are interested, please contact Evelyn Worley, Orientation & Mobility Specialist at 942-3658 x 203 or eworley@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx . Introduction to Independent Living Class Aug. 21, 10am-1pm This class is an opportunity to learn all you ever wanted to know about resources, adaptive aids, and techniques for coping with vision loss. You even get to make your own lunch. The introduction to the class is 8/21 and the class runs from September through December, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays, 10am-3pm. If you are interested please contact Jeanine Kane, CVRT at 942-3658 x 215 or jkane@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 7. Lighthouse Summer Classes 2012 Braille Class: Every Wednesday, 11:30am-2pm Diabetes Group: 3rd Thursday, 10am-12pm i-devices Technology Class: 2nd & 4th Tuesday, 3-6pm Independent Living Class Introduction: August 21, 10am-1pm Orientation and Mobility 101: (Tentative) Wednesdays, 10-11:30am Quarterly O&M with Dog Guides: July 21, Cook Out Strategies for Coping with Vision Loss Group: 1st Wednesday, 1-3pm Transition Summer Program 2012: June 11th- August 3rd, Monday through Thursday, 9am-3pm Way to Work, Strategies for Employment Group: 2nd & 4th Wednesdays, 10am-12pm 8. Frequently Called Numbers 211 Big Bend (24 hours) 211 Big Bend Transit 574-6064 DBS 245-0370; 1(800)672-7038 Dial-A-Ride 891-5199 Elder Care 921-5554 Insight Support Group 878-1923 Lighthouse of the Big Bend 942-3658 Magnifiers & More 671-3936 Medicaid 921-8474 Project Insight 24-hr Helpline 1-800-267-4448 Senior Center 891-4000 StarMetro 891-5200 Talking Book Library 1-800-226-6075 VA Low Vision Clinic 878-0191 ext. 2086 Yellow Cab 580-8080 9. Helpful Websites American Foundation for the Blind - http://www.afb.org/ American Printing House for the Blind - http://www.aph.org <http://www.aph.org/> Blind Bargains - http://www.blindbargains.com/ Family Connect - http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp Florida Braille and Talking Book Library - http://webopac.klas.com/talkingbooks/florida Hadley School for the Blind - http://www.hadley.edu/ Lighthouse of the Big Bend - http://www.lighthousebigbend.org <http://www.lighthousebigbend.org/> National Federation of the Blind - http://www.nfb.org/nfb/Resources.asp Self-help Resources for Vision Loss - http://www.visionaware.org/ 10. About the Lighthouse Lighthouse of the Big Bend provides free services to individuals who are visually impaired or blind in Franklin, Gadsden, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor & Wakulla Counties. Address: 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace, Tallahassee, FL 32301 Phone: 850-942-3658 Toll-free: 1-888-827-6063 Fax: 850-942-4518 Email: info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Website: http://www.lighthousebigbend.org <http://www.lighthousebigbend.org/> Lighthouse Board of Directors President: Evelyn Sewell Vice President: Fred Sanguiliano Treasurer: Lynda Breen Secretary: Jamie Ito Members: Norris Coster Fred Flink, OD Ted Judd Sila Miller Lighthouse Staff Assistant Director: Evelyn Worley, ext 203 Assistive Technology: Liz Bowden, ext 214 Data Entry Specialist: Simone Cunningham, ext 213 Early Intervention: Jennifer Crowder, ext 202 EI / O&M Specialist: Sharon Scherbarth, ext 220 Executive Director: Barbara Ross, ext 201 Independent Living: Jeanine Kane, ext 215 Toni King, ext 211 Alex Crawford, ext 228 Specialist Assistant: Mike Worley, ext 204 Transition Specialists: Amanda Kan, ext 208 Angel Scruggs, ext 206 Transition / O&M Specialist: Amanda Bernath, ext 216 Vocational Services: Wayne Warner, ext 210 Eva McElvy, ext 205 Lynda Jones, ext 212 FREE SERVICES: Do you know someone in your life who might benefit from services? We'd love to help. It's easy-just call 942-3658 or email info@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Thanks! -- Lighthouse of the Big Bend Guiding People Through Vision Loss 3071 Highland Oaks Terrace Tallahassee, FL 32301 (850) 942-3658 www.lighthousebigbend.org Check out the TABI resource web page at http://acorange.home.comcast.net/TABI and please make suggestions for new material. if you'd like to unsubscribe you can do so through the freelists.org web interface, or by sending an email to the address tabi-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word "unsubscribe" in the subject.