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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2009 13:32:34 -0600

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Wed, 11 Mar 2009 12:08:51 +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 <>

BrookesTalk <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 12:33 PM PDT

The work of the Speech Project at Oxford Brookes University is concerned with all aspects of speech driven and other alternative access to the Web and the representation of Web based information.

They have built a Web browser for blind and visually impaired users called BrookesTalk, that integrates with Internet Explorer to increase Web functionality for visually impaired users. BrookesTalk has been translated into Spanish, creating BrookesSpanish. BrookesTalk has also been translated into French, Malay and Chinese (Mandarin).

To help older adults, they have developed Voice Help, a special front end for BrookesTalk, which talks the user through their interaction. Current work involves looking at ways to support memory loss at the interface, and at browser functionality for older adults. They have also started a project investigating access to the Web for severely disabled users, involving a range of interaction modes, particularly speech, and to "investigate whether Web access has any positive influence on the lives of subjects who have not used the Web before, in terms of neuropsychological improvement and heightened levels of self esteem."

Click this link to learn more about BrookesTalk <>.

libbraille: a Library for Braille Displays <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 11:56 AM PDT

Libbraille is a computer shared library which makes it possible to easily develop for Braille displays. It provides a simple API to write text on the display, directly draw dots, or get the value of keys pressed on the Braille keyboard.

This website also provides a free online Braille translation tool based on Libbraille as well as some detailed documentation about various international Braille alphabets.

Libbraille supports a wide range of Braille displays with a serial or USB connection and can autodetect most of them. The terminals of the following manufacturers are supported: Alva, Baum, Blazie Engineering, EuroBraille, HandyTech, Hermes, ONCE, Papenmeier, Pulse Data, TechniBraille, Tieman and others.

The program is free and can be used with various computer programming languages like C, C++, Python, Java, PHP and JavaScript. Many projects are using this component for output on Braille displays.

Click this link to visit the libbraille website at <>.

MozBraille <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 11:42 AM PDT

MozBraille is an extension to transform Mozilla or Firefox to a stand alone accessible Internet browser designed for blind or partially sighted users. With mozBraille you don't need a third party program like a screenreader. MozBraille offers its users three displays or outputs :

   * A Braille output on a braille terminal,
   * Text to speech output,
   * A big characters view.

MozBraille is a part of the VICKIE project at <>. The main goal of this project is to create an electronic school bag for visually impaired children. The main output is the Braille and the less important is the text to speech because students have to listen to their teacher ;-).

Note : MozBraille is a beta version, so there are lot of features to add. At the moment, blind or partially sighted users can't use this software alone.

Click this link to visit the MozBraille website at <>.

BrailleSurf <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 11:43 AM PDT

BrailleSurf 4 is an Internet browser for visually impaired users, which allows a simplified reading of the information available on the Web. BrailleSurf 4 shows this information in a text form. This information can then be displayed on a braille bar, or it can be spoken by a speech synthesiser thanks to appropriate drivers. The text can also be presented on the screen according to the needs of partially sighted people.

A further important use of BrailleSurf 4 is to allow a fast review of the accessibility level of a website for visually impaired people.

BrailleSurf 4's technical principle is to analyse the source code of the HTML pages, in order to keep only the essential information and to design an optimal layout. The graphical objects are filtered and the page is rebuilt in a textual way.

The BrailleSurf 4 browser exists in English, French and Spanish and is compatible with Windows 95, 98, NT and 2000. It allows to drive different kinds of braille displays and speech synthesisers, through downloadable, optional drivers.

Click this link to visit the BrailleSurf website at <>.

Where is that Beeping Easter Egg? <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 09:18 AM PDT

What better way for children to celebrate Easter than with an Easter Egg Hunt? Now, specially designed Beeping Easter Eggs, available from Maxi-Aids Products for Independent Living, allow Blind and Visually Impaired kids to join in on the fun! Instead of going by visual cues, kids locate these eggs by following the loud, clear beep they emit. They give children who might otherwise be excluded the opportunity to participate in the special spring tradition of the Easter Egg Hunt.

Beeping Easter Eggs can also be used on Easter morning to provide an audible alert as kids with low vision experience the excitement of locating their Easter baskets. In addition, they're great for use at disability awareness functions as well as senior homes and assisted living facilities to bring the joy of Easter to all ages.

The beeper assembly and batteries are housed in the bottom half of each egg. The beeper is easily operated using a built-in ON/OFF switch and drilled holes allow sound to be transmitted more loudly. Each egg measures 3" Long x 2-1/4" Diameter and uses 2 replaceable and readily available type "N" batteries, which are included. For more information on Beeping Easter Eggs (Item #402733), product pricing or to order, visit <>.

Space-Trading Game for the Visually Impaired <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 08:47 AM PDT

Niels Bauer Games has released Smugglers 4, a Windows turn-based science fiction space trading game. You have complete control over your life, from managing the actions of your crew, to boarding enemy ships and taking over their fleets, and using these captured ships to conquer entire star systems. Before starting the Smugglers 4 adventure, you choose to be a greedy trader, an ambitious bounty hunter, a ruthless pirate, or other denizen of space.

Features in the latest version of Smugglers 4 include support for the visually impaired. The program is compatible with the popular screen reader JAWS, allowing blind people to play the game without any help from their sighted friends. The game also features a new battleship class, a moveable trade window, and the ability to directly attack enemy starbases.

The flaw with most space trading games is the painfully long time that players must wait while they fly to a distant star system or planet, with much of the game's fun being sucked into the vacuum of space during the seemingly endless flight. Smugglers 4, by contrast, is a turn-based game, and it takes only seconds to arrive at a destination on the other side of the galaxy.

Players' decisions directly affect life on your ship, in your star system, and across the galaxy. Each time you start a new game, you'll enjoy a completely different experience, with new challenges, and different results. Smugglers 4 simply cannot get old because it is completely different each time you play.

You can earn money through trading, pirating, or by fulfilling missions. And as you grow in your career, you earn awards and medals. With financial and personal growth come the additional resources and skills to buy new ships and upgrade your equipment. Smugglers 4's open-ended gameplay offers virtually limitless opportunities, and your actions will ultimately have an impact on a galactic scale.

There are 24 star systems with 75 planets. The professionally crafted planet art adds to the enjoyment of the game. There are four different factions, with different ship designs and different uniforms. There is a wide range of ships, each with unique weaponry and defense systems.

Smugglers 4's enhanced non-linear war and campaign system provides new ways to influence your battles. The program's unique text engine provides an enormous variety of story lines and mission descriptions, and more than 10,000 different descriptions of your battles and outcomes. Smugglers 4 is family friendly, and is fun for children, adults, and seniors. Smugglers 4 may also be enjoyed by the visually impaired. Using the program's special mode and a standard third-party screen reader, Smugglers 4 can be enjoyed by people who cannot see the screens well enough to use the standard mouse or keyboard controls.

Smugglers 4 runs under Windows XP and Vista, and may be purchased securely online from <>. You can download a free trial version from the same website. The program comes with a 14-day money back guarantee.

Do I Need My Umbrella Today? <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 08:26 AM PDT

How many times have you left the house with the sun shining, birds singing and by the time you return, rain is pouring and you forgot your umbrella?

One of my favorite bus stop conversations is when a sighted person says, "Man, it sure looks like rain today." I'm now wishing I could see the threatening clowds so I could have grabbed my umbrella that is now totally useless and standing in the corner of my hall closet.

Technology to the rescue! The website Umbrella Today brings the answer to this daily question of "do I need my umbrella today?" Simply enter your zipcode and it tells you whether you need your umbrella today or not. Even better, type in your zip code, get the answer, and if you have a talking cell phone, sign up to get a text message sent directly to your phone on days when the answer is YES, without having to do anything else. At the office? Maybe you check your email at home before leaving? Not a problem, the site also supports email notification as well.

Ah, the simplicity of getting only what you need to know and being ready for what awaits you outside.

Setting Parental Controls On Your Computer <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 07:07 AM PDT

If you have both children and a computer at home, you've probably wrestled over whether to let your kids use it. If they do, you might wonder how to impose time limits and make sure they don't go to Websites that are inappropriate, change important settings, delete your email, etc. Luckily, both Mac OS X and Windows Vista make this easy.

Instructions for setting up parental controls on the Mac can be found by clicking this link: <>. Instructions for setting up parental controls for Windows Vista can be found by clicking this link: <>.

One note: both these systems require you to create a separate account/login for your child, so make sure you do that first.

Now you can rest easy, knowing Junior won't stumble across some profanity-laced tirade on YouTube when you're in the next room.

Miriani: Online Adventure Game for the Blind <>

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 05:48 AM PDT

By Jessica Pitzer

Miriani is a multi-player online roleplaying game in which you take on the role of a starship pilot. It is set in the year 2355, and things are quite a bit different than in our world today.

Their are 40 known sectors, which are populated by many planets, moons, and space stations. Some of the activities you can do are:

   * Become a pirate, and steal from other players.
   * Protect human space from aliens called praelor by fighting in
     invasions, and by participating in combat missions.
   * Asteroid hauling.
   * Salvaging Debris.
   * Planetary mining.
   * Couriering.
   * Trading.
   * Traveling through space, hunting for artifacts.
   * Mail delivery.
   * Passenger Transports.
   * Atmospheric Salvaging.
   * Archaeology.
   * Planetary surveying, both in space, and on the ground.

Miriani is a MOO, a Multi-User Domain - Object Oriented game that requires a MOO client. If your sighted I recommend VMoo from <>, and if your blind, I recommend either Monkey Term <>, or VIP Mud from <>. Their are also a number of soundpacks that can be found on the internet, links to these can also be found on the in game message boards, and at, who has a link to an older one for monkey term.

The hostname to connect to the MOO is, and the port is 1234.

Click this link to learn more or play Miriani: <>.

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Nimer M. Jaber

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