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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2009 09:45:32 -0700

I found the last three articles interesting here, although you may find that others interest you.

Nimer J

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Sat, 31 Jan 2009 08:56:22 -0600 (CST)
From:   Fred's Head Companion <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
Reply-To:       Fred's Head Companion <fredshead@xxxxxxx>
To:     nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx

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

        Link to Fred's Head Companion <>

Free College Lectures Online <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 02:19 PM CST

       Academic Earth

Academic Earth is a video depot for individual lectures and entire courses from some of the top universities in the United States. Visitors to Academic Earth will find lectures and courses from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford. Many of the lectures and courses can be found at various websites on the Internet. What Academic Earth does is take all of those lectures and courses and put them in one, easy-to-search, place. You can search for lectures and courses by topic, popularity, professor, or by university.

Click this link to visit <>.

       The Teaching Company

The concept is great! Scour the world for the best professors and record their lectures. Paying customers get world-class university courses, at less than world-class university prices, while attending the class at their convenience. I know friends who have listened to a dozen classes this way (while driving). A class that sounds interesting to me is Robert Greenberg's celebrated forty-eight lessons on "How to Understand and Listen to Great Music." A friend said that it was more than a music appreciation class, it was a view of western civilization through music. Professionally recorded, lively, insightful, fast-paced, authoritative, and memorable. What more could you want from college on a cassette?

Since 1990, great teachers from the Ivy League, Stanford, Georgetown, and other leading colleges and universities have crafted 175 courses for lifelong learners. They provide the adventure of learning, without the homework or exams.

Another class that sounds interesting is an overview of Egyptian history taught by a mummy expert and a decent introduction to western philosophy. The Teaching Company catalog lists an eclectic range of other seminars. One caveat: these courses seem expensive for many individuals. But they are a lot cheaper than college, and most courses are at least forty or so tapes, so you really get your money's worth. Classes are also available on digital cassette, DVD, and in other formats. You can also check your local library, which would work best for me. Course clubs are another way to get the classes, and this would bring the cost down because you would share the cost with others.

Use this link to learn more about The Teaching Company by visiting their home page <>.

       More Free Science and Video Lectures Online

This searchable blog-based archive offers lectures and slides for introductory science and math courses, and a wide variety of more specialized topics.

Click this link to visit the Free Science Online website at <>.

       VideoLectures - exchange ideas and share knowledge

This site contains free video lectures from the world's leading and prominent scientists." So far, the site features "92 events, 1266 authors, 1454 lectures, and 2247 videos." It also includes a sizable number of interviews and tutorials.

Click this link to visit <>.

       Free Video Lectures

A large collection of links to video and audio lectures on science, technology , law, and other topics from colleges and other educational institutions in several countries, but mostly the United States.

Click this link to visit <>. <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 01:36 PM CST

There's nothing worse than clogged sinuses for someone who is blind or visually impaired. This can often bring on stuffy ears, which can effect travel, balance and the ability to hear equally from the left and right. If you suffer from bad sinuses during the winter, or maybe bad alergies, a Neti Pot may be the answer.

The Neti Pot sure looks weird, it reminds me of a jeanie's lamp, but it offers quick relief for cold and allergy sufferers as it goes about gently unclogging the nasal passage by washing away mucus, pollen, bacteria and viruses courtesy of a soothing stream of warm salt water. It is recommended that the Neti Pot be used regularly for the best effect. Those suffering from chronic sinusitis, allergies and respiratory illnesses should really try this, my wife loves hers.

Click this link to purchase a Neti Pot from the Taylor Gifts website <>. NOTE: Can be purchased at most drug stores.

Television Networks Featuring People Who Have Disabilities <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 12:47 PM CST

       Endeavor Freedom

People with a variety of disabilities make-up 20% of the population and yet disability news, stories, and events make up less than 3% of what the corporate media reports on. If you happen to be in a minority with a disability you are represented even less, and if you are poor and a minority with a disability, then truly nothing in mainstream culture reflects your/our everyday experience of life. wants to change all that.

"We want to capture and relay the everyday stories of everyday struggle by everyday people with disabilities just trying to manage the American dream here in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

We want you to be the hero, the star, the story and we want you to share with us the stories that you consider news, issues which are important to you, that are rarely if ever seen on corporate news. All of us are touched at some point and in some way by a disability. Share with us how it is that a disability affects you or some one you know.

In order for us to make this project a success we are seeking the active participation of the entire disability community abroad. This will be your chance to write, shoot, direct, and edit your story and share it with us so that we can in turn share it with the world. also represents an opportunity for people with disabilities to become involved in media vocations which we as a community have been largely locked out of up until this point. We do have paid staff positions available to website developers, radio hosts, film editors, journalist, and camera personnel.

We are also seeking creators of disability unique content and will pay accordingly. We envision expanding into the central hub for the disability community. If you are interested in being part of our project please contact me. We'll start where we can and expand into all directions as time and space allows.

We are especially interested in bilingual personnel so that we can extend our reach to all communities of minorities with disabilities. So, if you are or know of anybody that might be a good candidate for any of these positions, please invite them to submit their resume to ZenGarcia@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:ZenGarcia@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>. Click this link to visit <>.

       The Abilities TV Network

Recent studies show that 50+ million Americans are living with or facing some type of disability or physical challenge. There are over 300 million Americans. This means that just about everyone in the U.S. is related to, knows someone with, or directly cares for someone facing a physical challenge. "The Abilities TV Network" will be a national TV network and global web site run by the physically challenged, for the physically challenged, our loved ones, those who care for us, and those who serve our interests. It will feature TV shows based on the experiences of people who are living with physical challenges, and will act as a resource for them and their families as well. It will also provide information for companies that hire people with disabilities. "" is currently under construction. It will be an interactive web site that will allow subscribers worldwide to connect with the shows' writers, directors, producers, and each other. Viewers will also be able to watch clips of the shows right from their computers. A network of this type is long overdue. Networking, appearances, affordable sponsorship and advertising opportunities will follow shortly, so please stay tuned. TV Shows Will Feature What Individuals Can Do, Not What They Can't.

Click this link to visit <>.

       People With Disabilities Broadcasting Company

Lights, camera, action! How many actors or actresses can you recall that have disabilities?

There was Geri Jewell. She was the cousin of Blair on the "Facts of Life" sitcom in the 1980s. Geri's disability is from Cerebral Palsy and I haven't seen her on TV in years.


topher Burke, who was born with Down Syndrome, had a recurring role on "Our House" during the 1980s. A few times, he also appeared on "Touched by An Angel."

My favorite actor was another angel, the late Michael Landon. He was a champion in promoting actors with disabilities. Few people know that Matthew Laborteaux who played the role of Albert, son of Charles Ingles, on "Little House on the Prairie" series is autistic. When Landon introduced "Highway to Heaven," he also launched the acting career of James Troesh. Never before to my knowledge, had a real actor with quadriplegia using a sip and puff wheelchair been shown on TV.

Most importantly, the role Troesh played as Scotty was dignified. Scotty was a successful attorney, and married to a nondisabled woman. Landon frequently had themes in his shows about the negative attitudes the public has about people with disabilities.

When a young punk deliberately parked in an accessible reserved space, Jonathan the angel used his powers to plop the auto upside down! Oh, how I wish I had those powers to zap cars out of those coveted spots.

Landon also wrote and directed shows about Tom Sullivan, a totally blind person who climbed mountains, and had a family.

So, why doesn't the mainstream media ever focus on real live people with disabilities? Move over CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS. On the 15th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the People With disabilities Broadcasting Corporation (PWdBC) formally unveiled its Web site creating and maintaining an electrifying new disability media presence.

This new corporation will create the first 24-hour, seven day a week, TV channel "of, by, and for persons with disabilities."

This channel will feature dramas, sports, news and other features. It will also promote and design programming that will be accessible for everyone.

The PWdBC was founded by Howard Renensland who has an adult daughter with developmental disabilities. Renesland believes that too few people with disabilities appear in television and film.

Likewise, people with disabilities are not represented in the creative behind the scenes processes of networks. This new corporation aims at true inclusion.

Somehow, I believe Michael Landon is looking down from heaven with a big grin on his face.

For further information, click this link to check out the PWDBC website: <>. Click this link to e-mail Howard Renensland at: howard@xxxxxxxxx <mailto:howard@xxxxxxxxx>. Click this link to visit the PWDBC Blog Page: <>. Internet TV for Assistive Technology

Wouldn't it be cool if people with disabilities had our own TV network that showed programs about assistive technology and the various issues that surround being disabled?

Welcome to <>, where the latest and greatest information on Assistive Technology and how it pertains to Section 508 is made available to everyone.

The goal is clear: To provide the public with a single point to find solutions to Section 508 compliance, and to showcase the companies responsible for the technological breakthroughs necessary to enable true Section 508 compliance.

John Williams is the founder of <> and has been a professional writer for 35 years. He has been writing about disability issues since 1978 and is a former award winning weekly columnist for Business Week Online Magazine. He also writes a weekly column for the National Organization on Disability <http://www.NOD.ORG> called Closing the Gap.

In 1982, Mr. Williams coined the phrase "Assistive Technology." Since then it has become a universal word in describing products benefiting people with disabilities.

He is also the founder and former publisher of Assistive Technology News, a tabloid newspaper covering Assistive technology issues.

For 24 years, Williams has been writing on assistive technology's benefits to people with disabilities. He has written about hundreds of products used by people with disabilities. He is credited with raising the awareness of disability issues, especially the benefits of assistive technology, to a national level.

Since he started writing a column, he has interviewed President George Bush, former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, former first lady Hillary Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, Clint Eastwood, Governor Jesse Ventura, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Senator Max Cleland, Congressman Jim Langevin, Vinton Cerf (one of the founding fathers of the Internet), Country Western singer Mel Tillis, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer, and other noted people in the disability arena.

Mr. Williams' column has won the Easter Seals Equality, Dignity and Integrity Award, Stuttering Foundation of America's 2000 Journalism Award, California Media Access Award. It was a contributing factor for Business Week Online receiving the New Media Excellence Award, for Easter Seals giving Business Week its leadership corporate award in 1999, for McGraw Hill Publishing Company receiving the American Foundation for the Blind's Lifetime Achievement Award for 20 years of writing about products benefiting blind people, and in November 2000 he received the Charles Van Riper Lifetime Achievement Award for his work in writing about stuttering and his leadership in this promoting opportunities for people with speech impediments.

Mr. Williams has been an environmental writer and has covered NASA, the Congress, Pentagon and the Supreme Court. He has edited two books on the environment, one on poetry and a NASA publication on A History of Sunspots.

He has had more than 2000 articles published and has written five books. His 1976 Merit Badge Book for the Boy Scouts of America on Space Exploration is the largest single selling Merit Badge book in the history of the Boy Scouts. His co-authored book with Dr. Frank G. Bowe, "Planning Effective Advocacy Programs," sold more than 35,000 copies and he wrote and designed the first national Communications Resource Handbook for United Way of America in 1976. UWA sold more than 20,000 copies to its member agencies. He is also one of the original writers of United Way/National Football Spots seen every during NFL games.

Mr. Williams is married and he and his wife have two children. He reads French, Latin and historical biographies. He graduated from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy and minors in mathematics and history. He loves camping, hiking, fishing and attending baseball games.

Click here to visit the web site <>.

Remembering the Speak and Spell <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 11:26 AM CST

Just a little more than thirty years ago, Texas Instruments brought us an important development that would change many a childhood, the Speak and Spell.

Despite it's humble size, The Speak and Spell played an important role in Speech History. It was one of the first highly accurate and widely available text-to-speech products, really one of the first practical applications of speech synthesis for a consumer market.

The toy was a direct outgrowth of Texas Instrument's bizarre 1970s experiments in speech synthesis. The world had just seen man create the tech required to reproduce human speech with tuned voices stored on ROMs. Seeing the potential of those speech fruits, Paul Breedlove, a TI engineer, began development of the Speak & Spell in 1976 with a $25,000 budget. Yes, even then it seems that the world callously and stupidly turned a cold shoulder to speech. Breedlove, however, would be vindicated. Within two short years, the Speak & Spell was flying off the 1978 shelves.

Breedlove's completed proof incorporated TI's trademarked Solid State Speech technology, which stored full words in solid state the way calculators of those halcyon 1970s days stored numbers. The Speak & Spell even had a slot for "expansion module" cartridges, which could be inserted to beef up the onboard vocabulary.

The Speak and Spell had its limitations, but had great staying power. The machine was produced for nearly twenty years and saw many improvements over its 1978-1992 run. Its vacuum florescent display was replaced with liquid crystal, it was given a membrane keyboard (which in turn was changed from ABC to a standard QWERTY layout), and it saw several releases in different languages.

Click this link to learn more about the Speak and Spell from Wikipedia <>.

Article Source:

Tips for Walking on Ice <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 10:39 AM CST

Winter storms often produce ice and snow, leading to slippery walking surfaces. Here are some helpful tips to make winter weather travel safer.

  1. Before going out, try to plan your route to avoid places where ice
     frequently forms. Taking that shortcut you usually use might not
     be a good idea if it will mean traveling on paths that have
     untreated surfaces.
  2. Proper footwear is key. Avoid plastic and leather soles or high
     heels in favor of rubber and neoprene composite shoes or boots to
     provide better traction. Shoes or boots should have soles with a
     raised tread pattern on a low, wide heal and sole with a leading
     edge in many directions. Consider purchasing a pair of ice
     grippers or cleats to attach to your shoes to help with traction,
     but remember that these can sometimes become slippery indoors when
     walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile or ceramic.
     Practice putting them on your shoes and walking with them before
     you have to use them.
  3. When you step outside, take short, shuffling steps and use your
     feet and cane to explore the surface as you move to let you know
     ahead of time where patches of ice are before you step onto them.
     When it comes to walking on ice, The Tortoise and the Hare has the
     best advice, slow and steady wins the race. Try to keep your hands
     free of objects so that you can use rails and other sturdy things
     in the environment to help maintain your balance. When you know
     that a stretch of sidewalk is particularly icy, try to find a
     grassy shoreline to walk on for better traction.
  4. When you know that you must walk on ice, Keep your knees slightly
     bent and point your feet outward slightly to help maintain your
     center of balance. Try to keep your center of gravity directly
     over your feet as much as possible.
  5. If you feel yourself start to slip, try to relax and stay calm as
     much as possible. Try to maneuver yourself so that you don't fall
     forward or land on your dominant hand. Let go of whatever you are
     carrying in your hands so you can maintain your balance. A broken
     cell phone is better than a broken bone.
  6. If you know that a fall is coming, try to keep your head up and
     land on a fleshy body part instead of a bone. The idea here is to
     execute a planned fall to avoid breaking bones or hitting your
     head. Visit for more
     information on the art of safer falling
     <> and try to familiarize
     yourself with the techniques described there.

With some planning and care, you can help reduce your chances of serious injury from winter weather walking.

SAMNet Radio <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 10:03 AM CST

Serotek Corporation, a provider of internet and digital information accessibility software and services, has launched an online radio station called SAMNet Radio. The name of the station is derived from Serotek's online community, the System Access Mobile Network, or SAMNet. SAMNet Radio will air the best music of the last forty years, the latest technology news, live and interactive voice chats, and a portal for all to know what is happening in the SAMNet community.

Directed at an audience who is blind or has low vision, SAMNet Radio's slogan is "Your station, your community." The station's manager is Michael Lauf, former creator, host and producer of HandiTalk, the first interactive internet radio program to discuss the needs of the blind and visually impaired.

Click this link to listen to SAMNet Radio: <>.

Listen and Learn Recordings <>

Posted: 30 Jan 2009 09:32 AM CST

It really doesn't matter who you are, what you're interested in, where you live or if you have no computer experience at all. This site will have something for you. Listen and Learn Recordings are friendly, easy to follow, informal but well structured audio introductions, tutorials and walk through's that are aimed at everyone from the beginner to the more advanced professional to get a running start with some new software or hardware. That's not to say you will only find computer related topics. If you want to hear about it, they want to record it! Use the feedback form to send your wish list to the recording team.

Do you have an interest in doing some voluntary work for LALRecordings? They're always looking for people to help expand the website.

Click this link to learn something new with <>.

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