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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 11:54:30 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Tue, 10 Mar 2009 12:09:22 +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 <>

Using A Pocket Organizer To Manage Tasks and Important Papers <>

Posted: 09 Mar 2009 09:09 AM PDT

This addresses the problem of organizing important papers and tasks. Use an 8 1/2 by 11 inch organizer with pocket pages to provide a means of sorting papers, memos, or tasks by category. The pages can be labeled by categories that best apply to the user's needs; for example, the first pocket page may be reserved for "Immediate Concerns," while another may be reserved for "Tax Information." The organizer is portable and allows for immediate and "on-the-spot" sorting. At a later time, papers are easily accessed when needed--or when they are being filed in a more permanent location.

Contributor: Peggy Mesritz

Disability-Related World Wide Web Sites <>

Posted: 09 Mar 2009 09:08 AM PDT

These websites may be of interest to those concerned with telecommunications and disability. Sites without a host organization are staffed by people belonging to that group.

Website: Apple Disability Access - <>
Features: Disability information
Host organization: Apple ® Computer

Website: ATRC - <>
Features: Issues related to accessibility
Host organization: Adaptive Technology Resource Centre, Toronto University

Website: Center for Assistive Technology - <>
Features: General assistive technology access
Host organization: University of Buffalo

Website: DO-IT - <>
Features: Free special-needs transition and college-related resources
Host organization: University of Washington DO-IT program.

Website: EASI - <> Features: List of resources which give projects and documents regarding accessibility in electronic format
Host organization: Equal Access to Software and Information Project.

Website: IBM - <> Features: IBM products for people with a disability. Freeware can be downloaded
Host organization: IBM Corporation

Website: MedWeb - <> Features: Categorized list of servers concerning medical issues, including disability articles and databases
Host organization: None

Website: NIDR - <>
Features: Programs, grant contact information and calendar events
Host organization: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

Website: Trace Center - <>
Features: Assistive technology research and product development for special needs
Host organization: University of Wisconsin

This article originally appeared in accessAbilities 13 (1997-1998): 14-15. It was updated by Malcolm Turner in August 2001

Tips For Cooking Rice <>

Posted: 09 Mar 2009 09:07 AM PDT

Place enough rice in a saucepan to cover the bottom of the pan completely with a neat flat layer. Place a finger on the top of the rice and add water to the level of your first finger joint. Bring the water and rice to a boil. Cover the saucepan and reduce the temperature to a low simmering heat. When you can no longer hear the steam escaping, the rice will be cooked and tender. If you wish to reduce the amount of rice that sticks to the bottom of the pan, use a pat of butter and spread this over the bottom of the pan.

Contributor: Mario Eiland

A Method to Access Features Built into Household Appliances <>

Posted: 09 Mar 2009 09:07 AM PDT

       Back to Square One

My topic for this issue was suggested by my wife's coffee maker. When it is loaded with coffee and water, the coffee maker can be activated manually by flipping a switch. On the other hand, if the maker is loaded and its clock and timer are set appropriately, coffee will be fresh and ready first thing in the morning.

While both the time clock and the timer that control the coffee maker have visual displays, there were no speech outputs, tone patterns, or non-visual indicators built into the device to guide us in its use. My first thought was that the coffee maker would have to be used in its manual mode. Further thought, however, suggested a possible alternative. What if it were possible to set the real time clock and then the controlling timer? With the help of a sighted friend, I explored the problem.

Controls on the device consist of three buttons in a horizontal row and a three-position switch. In left to right order, button 1 determines whether the real time clock, or the control timer, is being set; button 2 sets hours; and button 3 sets minutes. The switch position determines whether the device is on manual operation, timer control, or off.

Whether the operator of the device is sighted or blind, first the real time clock must be set. Then, the control timer needs to be set. If a blind person is not able to read the clock and timer, I asked myself whether it might be possible to return them to a known value and then to use this value as a starting point from which to set them? As it turned out, this was exactly the case.

When the coffee maker is unplugged from household electrical current, it resets to 12 a.m. (The computer buzzword is "default.") Knowing this, it is possible to disconnect the maker, wait ten seconds or so to make sure it has defaulted, and then start setting the real time clock.

If the time is 8:27 p.m. when I decide to set the device, I must press button 2, once for each hour from midnight to 8:00 p.m. Then, I must press button 3, 27 times to set minutes to 27 minutes after 8 o'clock. So much for the real time clock.

To set the timer to begin brewing coffee at 5:05 a.m., I hold button 1 down and press button 2, (the hour button) five times. Then, with button 1 still depressed, I press button 3 (the minute button) five times. With the three-position control switch in "automatic," that's all there is to it.

"So what's the point of all this?" you might ask. My response would be that many devices can be operated using a basic principle; that is, If you can "get back to square one," (meaning you know where square one is--and what you must do to reach your ultimate goal from square one), it might well be possible for you, as a blind person, to use non-visual techniques to perform tasks for which sight is usually a requirement.

As an example, it might be possible to set a videocassette recorder and its timer independently. Note that such instruments often have battery backup systems that protect time/date values. In such cases, it is not enough to simply unplug the machine to get it to its default setting. You will need to disconnect the backup power source (some sort of internal battery), set and program the various features, and then reconnect the backup power source.

Machines are always quirky. Sometimes, a button held down just a moment too long can cause several numbers to roll by on the display. Sighted assistance will be required at first, but with practice, many useful devices can be under stood and mastered.

Reprinted from Micro Materials Update (Spring-Summer 1992):25-26.

Contributor: Fred Gissoni

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Nimer M. Jaber

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