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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 07:54:33 -0600

"every time I say something they find hard to hear
they chalk it up to my anger
and never to their own fear"
Ani Difranco: I'm Not A Pretty Girl 1995

Nimer M. Jaber

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is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any 
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upon this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient 
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e-mail, and delete the
material from any computer.

(720) (251-4530)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Thu, 19 Mar 2009 12:11:29 +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 <>

SolSuite 2009 Features Bigger Card Sets <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 12:13 PM PDT

SolSuite 2009 is a high-quality collection of 500 solitaire games. All of the world's best solitaires are included: Spider, Klondike, FreeCell, Pyramid, Golf, Busy Aces, Canfield, Forty Thieves, Four Seasons, Carpet, Flower Garden, Rouge et Noir, Monte Carlo... and hundreds of original solitaires that you cannot find elsewhere!

For solitaire lovers, SolSuite 2009 is a guaranteed pleasure! Only SolSuite 2009 Solitaire gives you larger Card Sets that are easier to see. This card set features easy-to-read extra-large suit symbols, larger numerals and letters on regular size playing cards. In addition, by using it with any solitaire game, the cards overlapping in the rows and columns will be automatically increased in comparison to that of the standard card sets. The Large Print card set is helpful for the elderly and those with low vision. If you previously changed the card size for some solitaires, due to the increased overlapping of the Large Print card set, you could take advantage in changing the size of the cards for those solitaires. To do it, click the "Card Size" button in the "Select Card Set" dialog box.

Click this link to learn more about SolSuite 2009 from <>.

How to Protect Yourself: Virus Information and FREE Virus Scanners <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 10:05 AM PDT

It seems that there is no end to viruses, trojans, and worms. We've seen variants of the Beagle, Netsky, MyDoom, and so on and so on. Most of these nasties were transported or replicated from pc to pc using email attachments. These are easy to spot if you're paying attention, simply because they are usually executable files, but not always.

Some attachments contain Macros (simple programs that run within other programs-all the titles in Microsoft Office use macros). If you're not that familiar with spotting file extensions, don't worry, that's what I'm going to talk about in this article. If you're a little hazy on the whole "file extension" thing then let's spend a few moments explaining it.

File extensions are what tell the program how to treat a particular piece of data. For example, most people are somewhat familiar with .doc or a .txt file extension, these are both text documents and when the user opens this file the Operating System looks at this extension and then knows how to open it.

Bad Hackers try to use some sort of eye-grabbing ploy to get you to open their email and activate the virus which is always an attachment. Most Anti-virus nowadays stop, or at least warn, you of these high risk attachments and even take measures to protect you. However, on the average, 10-15 new viruses are created every day and I personally wouldn't count on any program to 100% protect my pc. That's why I scrutinize any email-if I wasn't expecting an attachment, I won't open it until I had a chance to talk to the sender.

Some of the more common file types used to hide viruses include:

   * .scr - Windows Screen Saver - USE CAUTION if you receive a screen
     saver via email. They can contain worms or viruses
   * .pif - DO NOT OPEN! This is most likely a virus. Clicking it will
     run a program or code that can mess up your computer.
   * .exe - executable file-a program that contains a virus, trojan
     horse, or worm
   * .pps - MS PowerPoint (can contain macro virus)
   * .zip - Zip (compressed) file with a nasty surprise inside
   * .vbs - Visual Basic script
   * .bat - Executable MS-DOS batch file
   * .com - DOS executable command
   * .asp - active server page-internet script
   * .doc - Word document (can contain macro virus)
   * .xls - Excel file (can contain macro virus)

This is in no way a complete list. Just because an attachment may have one of these extensions doesn't mean that it is a virus, but it should send up warning flags. Bad guys use clever subject lines, and viruses can appear to come from a friend so keep on your toes and don't fall victim to their deceptive traps. Scan those attachments and verify with the sender before opening.

       Email Security Scan

Let's see how secure your defenses are against mail-born threats. Think you're up to the test? Then read on.

The problem with all the security holes that arise from day to day is that it's hard to keep up. "Am I protected?" you wonder, "I update constantly, I scrutinize all my email messages, especially attachments, and read all of the awesome security articles that appear in Fred's Head, but how do I know for sure?"

Well, since such a large number of security holes center around email I'm happy to tell you about a service that can check your system for potential exploits. The service is a web based email scanner that you can tailor to send out over 20 different emails, each attempting to defile your system with dummy exploits. It's like hiring a security agent to go over your system and tell you what aspects of your security is in good shape, and what areas could use some improvement.

When set in motion, the scanner fires off the dummy viruses and exploits to the specified email address. Don't be surprised if your virus software starts popping up with security messages, as a matter of fact, this is exactly what you want to happen, it means your system is seeing the threats coming in.

The emails themselves have message bodies describing what their particular test was for and how to make sure you're protected from this sort of attack. Some of the emails have attachments and some attempt to create text documents on your desktop, the emails tell you exactly what to do to ensure the tests ran correctly, thus providing an accurate assessment of your system's defenses.

In addition to the testing your system for security holes this is also a good way to educate yourself on some email-born security issues by getting a chance to see them in action without putting yourself in any danger.

Click here if you would like to have your email security tested: <>.

       Free Virus Scanners

So, that new computer you purchased doesn't seem to be running as fast as it did a few months ago? Your anti-virus program now says that your subscription has ended? Sorry, can't help with this one.

But I do have some good news for you... I just saved a load of money on my, oh wait... wrong commercial. Actually, I can help you. There are some excellent free virus scanners, and some can even be run online.

I recommend Trend Micro's Housecall: <> for starters, which will scan your computer for viruses directly from the web. They also offer a free online spyware scanner.

There's also Panda ActiveScan: <> which scans, disinfects and eliminates over 90,000 viruses, worms and trojans from your hard disks, compressed files and email.

Both of these sites are trustworthy and use an ActiveX applet to do the scanning. If you have trouble starting the scan, your security settings may be too high. Follow the instructions on the site to modify your settings and things should work fine.

       Use an Offline Virus Scanner

For maximum protection, I recommend that you also install a good anti-virus program on your computer, which will scan your system at startup and continuously thereafter. McAfee virus protection is now included with AOL membership, and Road Runner offers their users the EZ-Armor package at no charge. If your ISP isn't offering any freebies, check out the free AVG package from Grisoft at <>. Screen reader users please note that later versions of AVG are, unfortunately, not 100% compatible. This is disappointing, I have used AVG for over seven years with no difficulty. I'm not saying that you can't use the program, but you may be limited when accessing program features and setup options.

       Avast! Antivirus

After hearing about all the problems that Jaws users have encountered when upgrading to AVG version 8.0, I decided to try to avoid those problems and installed Avast Home edition on my computer. This version of Avast is free for non-commercial use.

My experience with the program has been very positive. Installation was straight forward and learning to use the program has been very easy.

For increased accessibility, after installation, Users should open the program settings from the Avast icon on the system tray. From there, tab into the common settings and be sure that the "use skins" item is not checked. I would also recommend to tab into the "update basic" section and set the program update option to automatic. Other than that, I left all other options at the default settings.

The things I like about Avast:

  1. The computer scan ran in 20 minutes instead of 1 hour for AVG.
  2. Besides viruses, it's always scanning for rootkits and spyware
     which AVG only did with the full paid version.
  3. It monitors all web pages for malicious activity, which AVG did
     not do.
  4. It monitors all network traffic for network attacks and works in
     conjunction with your firewall software.
  5. If you use IM clients or Peer-to-peer networks, it will protect
     you on both of these fronts. If you don't use this, you can
     disable those services to save resources.
  6. I noticed that after installing Avast, my computer boot up time is
     about 1 minute faster.
  7. I have noticed that overall computer performance is better, which
     is a nice unexpected benefit.

Things I don't like:

  1. Avast does not allow you to schedule a daily or weekly computer
     scan with the free Home version. This really isn't a problem for
     me, since I had disabled this in AVG and ran the scan manually.
     Running a scan is very simple from the desktop icon.
  2. You are required to register the Avast Home product or it will
     stop working 60 days after installation. This is a very simple
     process but does require sighted assistance if done through their
     website. You can alternatively send an email to the support team
     <mailto:support@xxxxxxxxx> stating that you are a blind user who
     needs to register and they will send you your registration code,
     which you will need to paste into the registration screen. The
     registration is good for 14 months, at which time you will need to
     re-register. Not a big sacrifice for free access to such a great
  3. I did notice that downloading a large number of email messages in
     a single batch was about 20% slower than with AVG. If you only use
     web mail and not an email client such as Outlook or Thunderbird,
     then this will not affect you.

Click this link to download avast! antivirus for your home computer <>.

       NOD32 antivirus

ESET Smart Security is another accessible way to combat today's huge volumes of Internet and email threats. It combines ESET's award-winning NOD32 proactive antivirus and antispyware protection with a powerful yet easy-to-use firewall and robust antispam technology.

ESET Smart Security detects and disables both known and unknown viruses, trojans, worms, adware, spyware, rootkits and other Internet threats. It's easy to use yet simple to optimize for your specific needs.

Click this link to download ESET Smart Security <>.

       Grisoft Anti-Rootkit

Rootkits are a type of specially crafted code that is embedded within another application or even in a system's operating system. They spy on and capture information from the infected system and are invisible to most traditional antivirus solutions. This inability to identify the offending code leaves the system compromised, while the owner feels as if they are protected and they continue to conduct their business as usual.

Grisoft, the makers of the popular free personal antivirus solution AVG, has seen the rise of rootkits over the past year or so and they have been feverishly working to create a solution now, when the public needs it most. Grisoft says that their program will successfully find and remove rootkits, without hassling the user with false findings, prevalent in similar programs.

The program is simple to use too. Just download the application from their website and install it to your computer. After the install, you will be prompted to reboot your system. When your system has started back up, the AVG anti-rootkit application will be in your Programs list (Start, All Programs, AVG Anti-Rootkit) where it can be launched. From the main interface, simply select either "Search for rootkits" or "Perform an in depth scan." Then just watch the progress bar go.

At the end of the scan, the AVG Anti-Rootkit will display the results and offer more options as necessary. It's that easy to check your system for rootkits.

The rootkit remover has an update feature and it should be a very welcome addition to any user's security and cleaning arsenal! Click this link for a direct download of Grisoft Anti-Rootkit <>.

Animal Recordings Online <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 09:39 AM PDT

The Macaulay Library at Cornell invites you to search through "the world's largest archive of animal sounds. We have more than 160,000 recordings of 67 percent of the world's birds, and rapidly increasing holdings of insects, fish, frogs, and mammals." Note that not all selections are digitized.

Click this link to visit the Macaulay Library online <>.

       The Urban Bird Sounds Project

Want to learn more about the birds in your community? This project can help!

Written and narrated by high school students from Boston, MA, the Urban Bird Sounds Project features descriptions of birds, recordings of their songs and calls, tips for remembering them, and short quizzes to test your skills. We hope you enjoy it and good luck on the quizzes!

Click this link to visit the Urban Bird Sounds website at <>. To subscribe to the podcast, download the CD, or try the quizzes please visit <>.

Deafblind Communicator <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 09:15 AM PDT

HumanWare has created its DeafBlind Communicator (DBC). The DBC enables deaf-blind users to communicate with members of the hearing and deaf communities. The basic DBC provides a TTY for communicating with other deaf or deaf-blind individuals. The DBC consists of two components: 1) a BrailleNote with braille display and either a standard or braille keyboard and the accompanying software, and 2) the DBC Companion phone. These two separate units communicate wirelessly with each other using Bluetooth technology to allow for face-to-face communication. The BrailleNote has special software built into it that enables it to operate as a TTY when connected to a land-line telephone. With the addition of a SIM card and a texting plan from a wireless provider, a DBC user is able to send and receive text messages via cell phone. The DBC instantly translates the text to braille and vice versa.

To learn more about the DBC, contact:

Toll Free: 800-722-3393
Email: <>

Methods for writing your own checks <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 05:24 AM PDT

Having control over your own money is a symbol of independence for all people, blind, sighted or visually impaired. There are several readily-available resources and easy-to-learn methods that allow the blind and visually impaired to write their own personal or business checks free of assistance from others. There is also a simple solution for the problem that check writing presents for individuals who don't know how to write print.

If you are visually impaired, one of the easiest solutions is to ask your bank for large print or raised line checks. Large print checks are just a couple inches larger than regular checks and come in high contrast colors that make them easy to read. Raised line checks are also larger and have lines that can be felt and followed with a trailing hand as the owner fills out the check using the other. All blocks on the check requiring customer attention are tactually indicated.

Another solution for people who are blind and know how to write print is a check writing template. A template is a piece of plastic or cardboard cut to the size of the check. The template has rectangular "holes" or spaces that serve as a guide indicating where the signer needs to write in the Date, Amount, Pay to Order Of, Amount Written and Signature fields.

Betty Jo and Jack Keitzer offer a multipurpose check-writing and signature guide. The guide measures 6 1/4 inches wide by 3 1/8 inches long, weighs 2 oz. and has a lifetime guarantee.

Click this link to purchase a Keitzer Check Writing Guide from <>.

Blind individuals can also use raised line checks. The raised lines mark the beginning and end of each section of the check that requires signer input. The trick when using a template or raised line checks is to memorize the order of the sections so that you provide the proper input in its proper place.

Individuals who are blind and do not know how to write print can fill out their own checks using a standard typewriter. Start by memorizing or producing a written record of the number of spaces you need to move away from the check margin with each line. For example, to fill out the date, you would need to start three carriage returns down, and backspace 10 spaces from the right margin. To complete the amount section, return twice and backspace 10 spaces from the right margin, and so on until all entry fields are completed. There are several options for signing your check, including using a signature guide (which are available at many adaptive technology stores) or by creating your own template.

Another method for easily locating the signature line of a check is to create your own signature guide. This task can be done by punching dots along the signature line. You may use your slate and stylus or a sewing needle to punch the holes and form a guideline for where to place your "John Hancock." Finally, an option that simplifies both check writing and recording is a software product called "Checkbook Manager." Developed by Blazie Engineering, Checkbook Manager is used along with Blazie note-takers, such as the Braille 'n Speak. This piece of software keeps record of checks, deposits, ATM withdrawals, bank fees, and other transactions, and even allows you to use your printer to fill out your checks.

The Talking Checkbook and Money Talks are software designed to make account management and check writing quick, easy, and accessible for individuals who find it difficult to write in small areas or for those who find simple math difficult.

Talking Checkbook and Money Talks Features:

   * Manage unlimited number of accounts
   * Bookkeeping made easy using everyday terms.
   * Print standard checks from QuickBooks® or other accounting
     application with either an inkjet or laser printer.
   * Backup and restore data
   * Search for a specific check Check signing template to use with the
     printed checks
   * Compatible with any version of JAWS® and Window Eyes®.
   * Option of using internal voice or turning it off completely.
   * Accessible reports that can be saved as MS WORD® documents or
     exported to EXCEL® or LOTUS®.
   * Press a single hot key to hear the balance of any account.
   * Built in Talking Calculator
   * Built in Accessible Calendar

For more Information contact:

Premier Literacy
13102 Blasdell Dr
Dewitt, MI 48820
Phone: 517-668-8188

Money Talks
CD-ROM (Includes high quality synthetic speech)
Catalog Number: D-03560-00

Click here to purchase this item through our Quick Order Entry page: <>

If you need assistance, click this link to read the Fred's Head Companion post "Purchasing Products From The APH Website Is Easy" <>.

American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.
1839 Frankfort Avenue
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 6085
Louisville, Kentucky 40206-0085
Toll Free: 800-223-1839
Phone: 502-895-2405
Fax: 502-899-2274
E-mail: info@xxxxxxx <mailto:info@xxxxxxx>
Web site:
Click this link to take a quiz on check writing from the Multi-Cultural Educational Services website <>.

How to Backup Email and Other Data <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 05:22 AM PDT

Just about everybody has important data on their hard drive, from digital pictures to important documents, emails, earmarked websites the list goes on and on. In my experience people are pretty lax about backing up their PCs, and I think this really is an area that deserves attention. With a good back up set you can bounce back from a fatal hard drive crash and be up and running with all of your pictures, documents, downloads, email and favorites before you know it. Having important files stored on removable media is also a good safety precaution in case you get a virus or trojan horse.

There are a couple of different ways to back up important data, from the casual copy and paste to running complicated scheduled backups. There is no wrong way, as long as you have a copy of everything you need.

You can save the data on a couple of different types of media (floppy, ZIP, CD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, Flash memory, even DAT drives) but for home use I really recommend either CDs or DVDs, floppies are just too small, zips, although bigger than floppies are still small (100-200MB), and they're old and kind of expensive. Flash memory can store data, but it's not really something you want to save data to and store away unless there is no other option. DAT tapes are more for the corporate end of things and are overkill in most homes. CDs are cheap, hold a lot of data, work on any PC and are easy to store.

If you use CD-RW, or DVD-RW you can actually save money by setting up a "round robin" with your backups. To do this, you need at least 3-4 of the same backup set, take the oldest and erase it. Now use the blank disk for the new backup, the next time you do a backup use the oldest disk in the set and so on and so forth.

As for the methods of backing up, I find it's easiest when all my intended files and folders are organized in structured manners and not scattered all over my hard drive. This is a good way to insure that you don't forget anything important by hunting for a bunch of individual files. An easy way to stay organized is to create a descriptively labeled folder structure and try to be diligent about saving your data to it's designed folder.

Another good practice is to test your backups. Don't just take the burning software's word for it. After a backup, explore the disk and randomly go through files and open them up to make sure that they're complete and not corrupt. Learn from my experience; waiting for a complete system failure is not a good time to check the validity of your backups! This is a good way to get yourself in a lot of trouble. I know if I didn't back up the pictures or movies of my kids, I wouldn't be able to live with myself.

Once you have all your ducks in a row, it's time to back up. There are also a number of ways to do this. The easiest is to open your burning program, select data CD, and go through the folder, then explorer, and grab the folders you want to back up. When you select a folder, you should see it in the "burn" selection window. When you're done with your backup selection, choose "burn".

If you have Windows XP, you have the luxury of being able to open up the blank CD or DVD in Windows Explorer and copying and pasting the desired folders right onto the disk and tab over to "Write files to CD". Windows will do the rest for you. This is nice, but I personally still like to use my third-party software.

Most burning software has its own backup service, and there are a number of third-party backup titles out there. The nice thing about these types of software is the options, like compression, backup jobs, and incremental backups. These are nice features especially when you have some backups that you want to insure are up to date. For instance, you can create a "Back up Set" which is basically a saved and named list of folders and files that you want backed up. This makes the whole process so easy, you can create a backup set and run it to create a new back up or save just the changes to the backup. These are two options that are usually found in backup programs. If you use "backup sets", it's important to keep the files organized, and in all the correct folders. You can also schedule Backup Jobs, which are basically backup sets that are scheduled to run at predetermined times, and intervals (i.e. once a week Friday at 6:00).

       Backup Email in Outlook Express

There are a few ways to back up your email messages, some being harder than others. You may have tried to use the export feature or maybe you just tried dragging all your messages to another area so you could save them there. Well, if you've had no luck with either of those options, there might just be an easier way.

This process requires you to burn a backup CD, so you need to make sure your computer already has a burner or that you have an external one to use. You'll also need the appropriate software. Go ahead and insert the blank CD into your computer. A window will pop up on your screen asking what you want to do next. You're going to want to select "Open writeable CD folder using Windows Explorer" and press OK. (If your computer doesn't do anything when you put in the CD, you can just double click on your My Computer icon and open up your CD drive; usually drive E or F).

Now, we're gonna get into the backup fun. Open Outlook Express and go to Tools, Options and click on the Maintenance tab. Next, click the Store Folder button. Go ahead and copy the folder location that pops up on your screen (in the edit box for you screen reader users). Your folder name may be rather long, so make sure you get the whole thing copied (part of it may be hidden, so double check it). Yours will probably look something like the picture below.

Now, click Cancel twice to get out of the screens and then close down Outlook Express. Go to Start, Run and paste your folder name into the run command box. Click OK or press enter.

When the new window comes up, go to Edit, Select All (or use Ctrl + A). All of the items in that folder will then be highlighted. Next, look under the File and Folder Tasks area and click on Move the selected items. You're going to want to move them to your CD drive folder that we talked about above. (It's usually the E: or F: drive). Click to highlight the CD drive and then press the Move button. You will then be prompted to burn your CD. You will use your burner software just like you would any other time you were burning a CD.

Once your CD is done, all of your e-mails will be backed up. You can then go back into the original folder and delete all of the e-mails in there. This will save you some space on your computer. You can then accumulate more e-mails and when you think it's time, make another CD to back those up as well!

It's a very good idea to keep your e-mails updated and backed up. You never know when you might want to view an e-mail for the second or fifteenth time and with your backup CD, it's easy as pie!

As PCs become a bigger part of peoples' lives the information being stored is becoming more important. Performing backups is essential for protecting your data.

Something's Cooking In Sue's Kitchen <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 05:21 AM PDT

Are you frustrated with print cookbooks? Do you read recipes and wish, just once, that someone would write a recipe with the blind, or visually impaired in mind? Well, I've got a web site for you.

Sue's Kitchen is an online resource for helping people who are blind, or visually impaired to cook. Sue is also blind, and began cooking at the age of eight in 1961. She took courses in specific subjects, such as cake making, Italian cooking and traditional British fare, gaining certificated recognition from her local catering colleges, so she knows what she's talking about.

She has gathered a variety of recipes from traditional British food, through to spicy and continental cuisine. There is also a section on one pot cooking! Many recipes contain tips which through her own experience, will help people prepare some of the dishes more easily. There is also a list of abbreviations, terms and an explanation of cooking methods used throughout the recipes.

If you love to cook, or if this will be your first attempt, this is a great site for you to browse through. Check out Sue's Kitchen by visiting the following site: Click here to visit Sue's Kitchen at <>

Accessible Breast Cancer Information <>

Posted: 18 Mar 2009 05:40 AM PDT

The National Braille Press is offering free copies (in braille or PortaBook) of the American Cancer Society booklet, /For Women Facing Breast Cancer/. The publication covers mammograms, biopsies, cancer staging, treatment options, and breast reconstruction as well as how to join clinical trials and where to find emotional support.

Each section includes a list of questions that individuals might want to ask their doctor or nurse. Copies are limited to one per customer

NBP has other health-related braille publications, including:

   * After Diagnosis: Prostate Cancer, free
   * Menopause Guidebook, free
   * Simple Ways to Control Your Weight
   * Atkins Carbohydrate Gram Counter
   * Diabetes Cookbook: Desserts

NPB also offers a free four-week trial of /Syndicated Columnists Weekly/, a braille magazine that includes columns and editorials print and online newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post. You can download a free sample (text or braille) on the National Braille Press website: <>.

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