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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 07:49:25 -0700

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Thu, 26 Feb 2009 14:15:11 +0000
From:   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 <>

How to Play Hearts <>

Posted: 25 Feb 2009 12:41 PM PST

Hearts is a trick-taking game in which the object is to accumulate as few points as possible.


  1. Shuffle and deal in a clockwise direction a standard deck of 52
     playing cards with no jokers.

  2. Give each player 13 cards.

  3. Take three cards from your hand and lay them facedown on the table
     before the first hand is played. Pass them to the player on your left.

  4. Pick up the three cards that were passed to you by the person on
     your right.

  5. Lead the 2 of clubs if you're holding it. Otherwise, play a club
     when it's your turn, going clockwise around the table.

  6. Pick up the trick if your card was the highest-numbered card in
     the suit that was led - which means that you won the trick.

  7. Lead the next trick if you won the first one. This time, you can
     lead with any suit.

  8. Follow suit if you didn't win the first trick. That is, play the
     suit that someone else leads.

  9. Play a heart (or another card of a different suit) only if a
     player leads a suit that you don't have.

 10. Lead with a heart only after someone plays a heart because he or
     she couldn't follow suit.

 11. Continue playing until all 13 tricks have been played.

 12. Count up the points - 1 for each heart and 13 for the queen of
     spades - from the tricks you took.

 13. Write your score and the other players' scores on a notepad or
     braille paper.

 14. Let the person to your left deal the next hand.

 15. Repeat Steps 3 through 13.

 16. End the game when one person has reached or exceeded 100 points.
     The player with the lowest score at that point wins.

There is no trump in hearts. Aces are ranked highest and 2s are ranked lowest.

"Shoot the moon" - win all the hearts and the queen of spades - and all the other players get 26 penalty points apiece and you get zero.

Variations of the game generally concern the manner of passing the three cards before each hand is played - alternating passing the cards to your left, across from you and to your right and keeping them yourself.

A heart cannot lead a round until another heart has been discarded. Discard a heart only if you do not have the suit that was led.

       Big Screen Hearts

If you'd rather play an electronic version and have some vision, this might be for you.

This classic game with big screen play is so much fun players won't be able to put it down. Hearts captures competitive play for a single player with three virtual opponents and easy to follow player icons. Automatic light, electronic card shuffle, and auto scoring are just some of the features. One reviewer had this to say about the game:

"When I bought this for a low price, I knew it was a Radica and I own several other of their handheld electronic games and really like them. I have a knee issue which requires me to challenge myself, off my feet, and all these games are perfect. I didn't know how to play Hearts until I went back to the computer and practiced there. I am so proud now that I can play this game ! Hearts is not difficult to learn. I am an adult and this is a card game. Play Hearts on your computer and if you like it, you'll love the take along ( about 4 x 6 in.) version of the game. The cards are big and easy to read. The controls are easy to use and the game is lighted. It has been fine for me to learn Hearts, but if you already know the game, you'll love it. Good for older people or low vision, too." Click this link to purchase Big Screen Hearts from <>.

Free Software For Office 2007 From Microsoft <>

Posted: 25 Feb 2009 11:55 AM PST

This site could contain the Ultimate List of software created by Microsoft for Office 2007.

Microsoft Office has been around in one form or another for a very long time. Long enough that many people know its functions inside and out in any version. For them, this site is an Office power user's dream. For the rest of us, there are some interesting additions to the current Office version. I assume that the software works since it was created by Microsoft, screen reader accessibility may vary from program to program.

Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, Power Point, Visio and Word all have software listed. I'm not familiar with many of them but there are some interesting listings; Facebook and Flickr for Outlook, a Sudoku add-in for OneNote, and a Creative Commons Add-in that embeds a Creative Commons license into a Word, PowerPoint, or Excel document.

Check it out if you have Office 2007, you might find something useful or fun.

Click this link to visit the Microsoft website to download free programs for Office 2007 <>.

A Walk in the Woods: Resources of Hiking Trails Designed for the Blind or Visually Impaired <>

Posted: 25 Feb 2009 07:44 AM PST

It's a beautiful day: a pleasant breeze is blowing, the air is warm and dry, and the National Weather Service *promises* that it will be beautiful all day. All in all, it's a perfect day to be outdoors!

Walking outdoors, just for the sake of walking, is a transforming experience. The warmth of the sun on your skin, the breeze blowing through your hair, the sound of the breeze rustling through the trees and the songs of the birds, the scents of the outdoors-- freshly-cut grass, sweet wildflowers, and that musky smell of last year's leaves decaying on the ground-- being surrounded by this wonderful atmosphere puts you in touch with Nature, reminds you that you too are a natural being, reminds you that you are alive and connected to this wild and wonderful planet.

Nothing compares to hiking along a backcountry or forest trail miles and miles from civilization, but it requires lots of time and planning. For those people who can't spare the time and resources necessary to prepare for a trek on a wild trail through rough country, there are plenty of options, including interpretive trails that have been specially designed for the blind or visually impaired person.

One interesting example of this type of trail is the "Lion's Tale Trail" located on Virginia's George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Originally known as the "Braille Trail" in the 1970's, washed out and destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996, the trail was reopened and renamed in 1999. This trail is only a half mile long, but it packs a lot of useful experiences into that space. Each interpretive stop has a sign printed with high contrast lettering and imprinted with Braille and a headset provides audio highlights of each stop along the trail. Sighted visitors are encouraged to wear darkened goggles as they walk the trail, in order to appreciate the sensory experience. The "hands on" interpretive stops include "sniff boxes" that feature samples of local vegetation and an opportunity to plunge one's hands or feet into cold running water of a stream. The audio descriptions about Virginia forest ecology also teach you interesting facts about plant life, what life exists in a rotten log, and why river stones are round. The trail itself is paved with gravel, with wooden treads embedded in the gravel to alert you that a stop is near.

Another example is located at the Plano Outdoor Learning Center, in Plano, Texas. This trail was specifically designed for students; the stops along the trail are called "learning stations" and there is a teacher's guide available to help design lesson plans tailored to this trail. The trail has sixteen of these learning stations which provide opportunities for students to gain an awareness of the variations of size, shape and texture of different types of trees, and to examine various small animal habitats. This trail also has an audio component for additional description. This trail features a low wooden edge on one side to allow students to navigate easily with a cane. Spaces in the edge announce that a stop is coming up.

There are two trails in the United States that came about as a result of young men seeking projects to become Eagle Scouts. Near Tampa, Florida, F. Robert Webb improved a trail at Hillsborough County Community College's Environmental Studies Center at English Creek. This trail uses a guide rope to assist with navigation. Knots in the rope alert you to an upcoming "sensory box." These boxes contain specimens for visitors to touch and smell, adding to the experiences from walking the trail. Hard and pointy pinecones, soft and feathery ferns, and fragrant examples of fennel and wax myrtle are placed in the boxes just before your visit. Call 813-757-2104 to make an appointment to visit this trail.

The other Eagle Scout project came about when Brad Stewart saw a need for a special trail in the town park of Vernon, Connecticut. Brad decided to create a trail that would allow the visually impaired to confidently hike unassisted. Vernon's Braille Trail features an 800-foot path through the woods. This trail also uses a guide rope for navigation, and eight of the rope's support posts have signs in both Braille and large-type print that tell of local history, with references to the local species of plants and animals. This trail uses knots in the rope to signal hikers that they were approaching one of the signs. Since the project's completion, many people-- including special-needs organizations, student groups, and individuals-- have all taken advantage of the trail. An ongoing project will extend the trail through larger sections of the park.

Another example of an interpretive trail is the Button Bush Trail located near Eastham, Massachusetts. This quarter-mile trail is a big loop that starts at the Salt Pond Visitor Center, runs through the forest and over Buttonbush Pond as it circles back to the Visitor Center. Located in the Cape Cod National Seashore Park, the trail's designers incorporated a nautical theme: they attached round floats to the guide rope to act as attention-getters for the information stations.

A different type of design is the "fragrance garden" concept. This is a much more tame and deliberate attraction than a walk in the woods, but is still a pleasant way to spend some time on a nice day. In a fragrance garden, aromatic herbs and textured plants are carefully selected and planted so that they are easy to reach with the nose and the fingers. Usually there will be a railing around the planting beds and braille identification for the various plants. Examples of fragrance gardens are found in the Meining Memorial Park in Sandy, Oregon, The Barnwell Cultural Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, and the Ramat Hanadiv Memorial Gardens in Jerusalem, Israel.

What are you waiting for? It's a beautiful day! Get yourself outside as quickly as you can! Need to know where to go and how to get there? Try the list of websites that follows this article. If what you need isn't there, call your local tourism bureau to get information about trails, parks and gardens in your area. They will either have the information you need or will direct you to the appropriate source. In the United States, each state has a Parks Department or Department of Natural Resources that administers the State Parks. National Parks in the U.S. are taken care of by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service. Don't delay! Get out into this wild, wonderful world today!

End of lecture. Here is a list of some useful websites:

LocalHikes at lets you search by state to find trails near your area. Each review gives basic info (distance, hike time, difficulty, etc.), ranger contact, and trail reviews where available.

USDA Forest Service. The home page of the United States Forest Service gives you access to information about any national park in the US. Trailweb. This is a good source of information about trails in the US. It also has information about planning, equipment, and packing for extended hiking trips.

The American Hiking Society. In addition to helping locate trails, this website has a lot of information about preserving and maintaining trails, hiking clubs, and major hiking events. http://www.americanhik <>

Yahoo directory of websites about hiking: http :// <>

The following organizations assist people with disabilities with outdoor recreation:

   * HOPE Network (Harmarville Outreach Programs and Education Network) <>

   * Three Rivers Adaptive Sports <>

   * National Center on Accessibility, Indiana University <>

 National Parks

Most national parks ( <> have paved trails that provide a representative sample of natural attractions. The Staple Bend Tunnel Trail near Johnstown, Pennsylvania, part of the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, has a 2.5 mile accessible trail with a number of scenic overlooks that leads to the first railroad tunnel built in the United States. A 4.5-mile accessible section of the New Portage Trail on the Altoona side of the historic site is also planned.

       Free Disabled National Park Pass

The park pass that is given free, the America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass <>, is a lifetime pass to the National Parks. The pass is given in person to the disabled individual at the park they wish to access. The pass is given to all permanent residents of the United States and actual US citizens that have a permanent disability that is able to be documented.

   * A licensed physician statement
   * A Veteran's Administration statement (or by any Federal Agency)
   * A document by the State (like a vocational rehabilitation agency)
   * SSDI statement (Social Security Disability Income)
   * SSI statement (Supplemental Security Income)

The free access National Park pass will let the pass holder into any National Park free and will give a half off discount to the bearer for some of the "Expanded Amenity Fees". These fees can include camping and swimming. There are some cases where other fees may or may not be enforced; the pass holder will have to check with the National Park they would like to access to see what the pass will allow. Click this link to read a PDF document that includes a list of places that have the national pass <>. The free access National Park pass for the disabled cannot be transferred to another party or be sold to someone. It is specifically designed to be carried and used by the person that was documented to get the access pass. It will also not allow any discount to special recreation permit fees or to concession fees.

ADA Changes: The New Definition of Disability <>

Posted: 25 Feb 2009 07:13 AM PST

By Tim Moore

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) <> was enacted in 1990 and became effective on July 26, 1992 to protect those with major disabilities in the workplace. Since then, much has changed, especially the definition of the term ^D<'disability^D>'. On January 1, 2009, the definition of ^D<'disability^D>' was changed drastically.

In the initial ADA, a disability was defined as a mental or physical impairment that ^D<"substantially limits^D>" a ^D<"major life activity^D>". Major life activities were activities such as walking, hearing, seeing or breathing. Due to this strict definition, many employers used the law to prove that their employees were not truly disabled ^D<'under the law^D>', even when the employee was experiencing a disability that limited work and life activities. One case in particular was Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. v. Williams. In this case, Ella Williams lost even though she had carpal tunnel syndrome because she could still perform activities such as bathing herself and brushing her teeth. In 2002 the court determined that the term disabled must be ^D<"interpreted strictly to create a demanding standard for qualifying as disabled.^D>"

In the new definition of disability, the ADA states ^D<"an impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.^D>" This new definition was created in hopes of providing greater protection for disabled employees.

There were other major changes as well, including an expanded list of major life activities. Now the list includes ^D<"major bodily functions^D>", including reproduction, excretion and digestion. In addition, applicants are now considered disabled even if their disability is in remission or episodic. They are considered disabled even if the use of medications, prosthetic limbs or hearing aids helps their condition. Now, applicants are considered disabled based on whether or not they need medication and other medical help. For instance, if someone has seizures but takes medication for this episodic condition that keeps it under control, they are still considered disabled because they have seizures even if they are not taking their medicines. The only amendment to this rule is a visual impairment that can be corrected with corrective lenses.

These changes will bring forth many changes in the workplace: more provisions for the disabled, more training for supervisors and managers, and more training and understanding for employees. Where once companies could question whether or not an employee was truly disabled, now they must focus solely on accommodating these disabilities. Finally, the focus is moved away from employers trying to prove that an employee is not disabled, to the employer taking care of their employees.

Reference: Tim Moore is a former Examiner for the Social Security Administration. He has a website that provides information on the SSD and SSI disability system and which also provides a Social Security Disability FAQ <>.

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