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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2009 10:22:04 -0700

Here's one for the females, the travel-orientated males, and the tech geeks who get annoyed by clicking in internet exploder.

Nimer J

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Sat, 14 Feb 2009 08:54:35 -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 <>

Tips For Sewing <>

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 03:15 PM CST

Blind people can sew; and they can do it well; however, they do need special assistance with preparing and cutting patterns--and they will need to learn some special techniques that are not needed by sighted seamstresses.

All of the hints given below assume that the seamstress knows how to perform a given sewing task, but has trouble doing it because she cannot follow a printed mark or line on the pattern. This article is an effort to give directions for creating tactile markings. It is not a class in sewing.

Special assistance is needed to cut out a pattern. If your favorite pattern is made using a heavy-weight, cloth-backed vinyl at least one-eighth of an inch thick, you can lay out the fabric and pattern on any large table and feel its edge well enough to cut along it with a pair of hand scissors.

The pattern also has to be marked so the grain of the fabric can be felt. Using a cutting tool of your choice (scissors, razor, etc.), cut a broken line of slits along the grain line, and there you have it. (A broken line is best because you can use it to use to measure from, but you won't have to worry that the two sides of the pattern will slide apart--as might occur if the cut were a continuous one.)

Darts require special attention. Sighted seamstresses use tracing wheels to mark darts. Blind seamstresses must make accommodations. First, you should mark the size and placement of the darts. Put a hole big enough for a pinhead to fit through along the dart line (wherever there is a black dot). At the edge of the pattern, cut a slit long enough to extend halfway through the width of the seam allowance.

To mark the stitching line of the dart, leave the pattern piece on the fabric after cutting it out. Put pins in the garment through the dart holes in the pattern from both the top and the bottom sides. (The points of the pins should be as close to each other as can be managed, so both sides will match.) Then slide the pinhead on the topside through the dart hole in the pattern and remove the pattern. Take the pieces of cloth apart--being careful not to loosen the pins in the process. Fold the dart matching the pinheads as if they were the printed dots, and match the slits that were cut at the edge of the pattern.

After you have folded the dart, you will have pins on the top and bottom sides of the dart. Remove the pins from the bottom side. (You will use the top ones as a guide.) Now your aim is to stitch a straight seam from the slits to the final pin that is located at the point of the dart crossing each pinhead.

If you lay a piece of paper from the slits to the point of the dart--and then stitch along the continuous line it provides, the result will be a straight line. (Of course, take the pins out as you go, so you will not break the needle.) If you are making a double-ended dart, use a different piece of paper between each set of two pins, so the stitched line will be the proper shape.

Other markings will become necessary as the patterns you use become more complicated. Imagination and the ability of the sighted help when doing the original cutting--and marking will determine how to make variations in the original pattern. For example, if you acquire two hole punches in different sizes, you can create two holes the same size to indicate one type of mark, and a combination of hole sizes to indicate a different one. (Just make sure each hole is big enough for a pinhead to fit through.)

Cut notches so they point out rather than in, and be sure the size of the notch reflects whether there are one, two, three, or four notches in the series. Patterns you don't know well are easy to assemble just by matching the notches.

The last two hints I would offer are appropriate for all seamstresses. Be sure to press every seam as you go. It is easier that way, and the garment looks flatter where the seams cross. Finally, finish your garment more quickly than you gain weight!

       Automatic Needle Threader

Threading needles can be difficult for people, blind or not. Here's a nifty tool to get the job done. You put a needle in one of the little funnels (eye down), drop the thread over the slot next to the funnel, and press a button. The thread is pushed through the eye of the needle and it comes out the other side of the funnel. I love it, it's so simple and yet ingenious and can save so many people a lot of trouble.

Click this link to purchase the Automatic Needle Threader from Lee Valley Tools <,104,53208,58703&p=58703>.

How To Use Latitude And Longitude For Geographic Awareness <>

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 03:15 PM CST

Tactile globes and those having large print labels may be helpful in learning basic concepts. From such globes, one can learn that the earth is round, most of its surface is covered with water, that Europe and North America are separated from each other by the Atlantic Ocean, etc. However, when it comes to finding specific countries or cities within a country, such globes are inadequate. By glancing at a globe you are not likely to discover that Reno, Nevada, is west of Los Angeles, California, but it is! Neither are you likely to discover that Rome, Italy, is north of Chicago, Illinois, but it is! Vladavostok, Siberia is just about as far north of the equator as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This kind of information is best discovered through the use of latitude/longitude tables.

The equator is an imaginary line that encircles the globe at its mid-point between north and south. There are other such imaginary lines that encircle the globe. These lines are either north or south of the equator and are called "parallels of latitude". Their distance north or south of the equator is expressed in degrees. The parallel of latitude that separates North Korea and South Korea is called the thirty-eighth parallel. This imaginary line is 38 degrees north of the equator. It also runs through Lexington, Kentucky and Athens, Greece. The distance between degrees is 60 nautical miles, about 69 statute miles. Degrees can be subdivided into minutes with 60 minutes equal to one degree. Minutes can be subdivided into seconds with 60 seconds to the minute. With a little arithmetic, it is possible to tell that the distance between two consecutive seconds is about 101.2 feet.

There is another set of imaginary lines called meridians. These lines cross the equator and come together at the poles. At the equator, two consecutive meridians are 60 nautical miles (one degree) apart. As they advance north or south of the equator, they come closer and closer together until they all meet at the North and South Poles. Since meridians are time lines as we will see shortly, this coming together at the poles means that at the poles, if you want to know what time it is, it can be any time you want it to be.

Just as distance north and south is measured with respect to the equator, so distances east and west are measured with respect to the zero meridian. The zero meridian begins at the North Pole, goes south through Greenwich, England and continues until it finds itself at the South Pole. Its opposite number, the 180th meridian, also is known as the International Dateline.

The zero meridian crosses the equator somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean off Africa's west coast.

Meridians of longitude also may be thought of as "time lines". Lines that divide time zones are influenced by political and economic considerations, but nature also plays a role in determining time of day. The sun seems to travel westward at a rate of 15 degrees per hour. When it is noon at Greenwich, England, it is 7:00 in the morning in New York City, about 75 degrees to the west. (In summer, the use of daylight saving time shortens the "clock difference" to four hours, but this has nothing to do with astronomical observation of time.)

How can we use this sort of information? If we know both the latitude and longitude of a given location we can determine its position north or south of the equator and east or west of the zero meridian. If we know the latitude/longitude of a second location and if we apply the appropriate formulas, we can measure the airline distance between the two places. We also can find the direction in which we would have to travel to go from point a to point b. For example, Louisville, Kentucky and St. Matthews, Kentucky are two points that are quite close to each other, both are located at latitude 38 degrees 15 minutes north (of the equator). Louisville is at longitude 85 degrees 46 minutes west (of the zero meridian). St. Matthews is at 85 degrees 39 minutes west. This means that Louisville is very close to but west of St. Matthews.

Latitude/longitude information about leading centers usually can be found in a current edition of I^World Almanac. Goode's World Atlas has an index which includes pronunciation of place names as well as latitude/longitude values.

It may be difficult to obtain raised line or bold line drawings of given locations but it should be easier to obtain latitude/longitude positions. With such information one can gain information about his or her home community with respect to neighboring towns.

Contributor: Fred Gissoni

National Council on Disability (NCD) <>

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 03:14 PM CST

The National Council on Disability (NCD) is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress on issues affecting Americans with disabilities. The Council is composed of 15 members appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In its 1986 report Toward Independence, NCD first proposed that Congress enact a civil rights law for people with disabilities. In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.

NCD's overall purpose is to promote policies, programs, practices, and procedures that guarantee equal opportunity for all individuals with disabilities--regardless of the nature or severity of the disability--and to empower individuals with disabilities to achieve economic self-sufficiency, independent living, and inclusion and integration into all aspects of society. NCD is currently coordinating a multi-year study on the implementation and enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other civil rights laws.

The NCD Bulletin publishes the latest news regarding persons with disabilities. Available in alternative formats and via the Internet, it is produced free-of-charge by NCD.

The NCD also offers a great resource of Links to Disability and Civil Rights Organizations: <>.

National Council on Disability
1331 F Street, NW, Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20004-1107
Phone: 202-272-2004
TTY: 202-272-2074
Fax: 202-272-2022

Stop That Clicking in Internet Explorer <>

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 03:11 PM CST

Have you ever noticed that when you click a link in Internet Explorer, there is a distinct "click" that plays through your speakers? As if the actual click of the mouse button or the tapping of the key wasn't realistic enough! If you've never heard that sound, you should consider yourself lucky, because by default, it is always activated. At first, it's unnoticeable, but as you become more experienced with surfing the Web and you begin to follow links to your favorite Websites, you will start to hear it more frequently. Luckily, there is an easy way to turn this sound effect off.

First, you need to find the Control Panel. In Windows XP, the Control Panel can be located right from the Start menu. For Windows 95/98/Me/NT, click on the Start button, choose Settings and then click the Control Panel icon.

Once you have the Control Panel open, you'll need to search for the Audio properties. In Windows XP, you will find that under Sounds and Audio Devices, if you're in the Classic View. If you're in the Category View, you will first need to click on Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices, followed by Sounds and Audio Devices. (To see whether you are in the Classic or Category view, simply refer to the first box in the blue column on the left hand side of the Control Panel window). Hitting tab when using a screen reader will usually place you on a control that will let you choose the classic view.

For older computers, you can find the same settings by clicking on Sounds and Multimedia Properties or simply Sounds, depending on the version of Windows you're using.

Once you've clicked on the Sounds and Audio Devices icon, you will see the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties window. Across the top of that screen, you will see various tabs that can take you to different parts of the Properties area. Go ahead and click on the Sounds tab. Control+tab will navigate through the tabs if using a screen reader.

In the second half of the screen, you will see a scroll menu that lists all of the Windows sounds in different categories. Scroll down until you reach the Windows Explorer category and then click on the Start Navigation option. Screen reader users will hit tab until you get to a treeview that says Windows. Open that treeview and look for this option.

When you click on the Start Navigation sound, a drop down menu will become available. This is where you can change the sound for each action. Click on the drop down arrow and a list of available sounds will appear. The one at the very top is the one we want. Find it and select [None].

Once you select [None], the last step is to click the OK button at the bottom. Hit tab until you get to the button if using a screen reader.

Ah, silence sure is golden, isn't it?!

Twitter Meets eBay at <>

Posted: 13 Feb 2009 01:52 PM CST

Tweebay is a significant contribution towards the concept of social classifieds. It mashes up the celebrated micro-blogging resource with the well-established e-commerce site and conjures up a new alternative for buying and selling over the web.

The posting of items is carried out at no cost, and you are provided up to 240 characters to describe your product. A photo can likewise be uploaded for reference purposes.

A search tool is included for added convenience. This search tool will let you specify not only the listing tag, but also the name of the Twitter user in question. You don't have to disclose your Twitter credentials when using this service. All you have to do is follow Tweebay on Twitter and confirm your bids through direct messages. That is another well-thought out feature of this service.

Click this link to start shopping with <>.

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