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

  • From: Nimer <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 16:18:49 -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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(720) (251-4530)

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:        Fred's Head Companion - American Printing House for the Blind
Date:   Tue, 31 Mar 2009 12:21:31 +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 <>

Medication Assistance with take-n-slide <>

Posted: 31 Mar 2009 04:59 AM PDT

Take-n-Slide helps you monitor your medication's daily doses, up to 4 times a day. Just attach the self-stick dosage strip to your prescription, vitamin or daily supplement bottle of any size and align all "indicator slides" to the left. Then, take your medication and move one indicator slide to the right. Just remember not to place dosage strip over important instructions.

For more information, or to order the dosage strips, call 678-494-2992 or click this link to visit <>.

TV Converter Box Coupon Program <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 01:09 PM PDT

Have you purchased your digital converter box yet? Are you confused as to which one to purchase that will allow you to listen to descriptive video?

You have four options to get a coupon to help purchase a converter box:

   * Apply online
   * Call the Coupon Program 24-hour hotline: 888-DTV-2009
     (888-388-2009). Hearing-impaired consumers can use the TTY service
     by calling: 877-530-2634
   * Mail a coupon application to:

     PO BOX 2000
     Portland, OR 97208-2000
     Click this link to download a Coupon Application in PDF
   * Fax a coupon application to 877-DTV-4ME2 (877-388-4632).

The TV converter box coupon application requires that you provide your name, household address, number of coupons requested (maximum of two) and whether you subscribe to cable, satellite or other pay television service.

Coupons look like plastic credit cards or gift cards used widely in the retail industry. There is nothing on the card to distinguish it from a credit card, so watch your mail carefully if you are blind or visually impaired. Unlike gift cards, TV converter box coupons will carry no stored value and can only be used towards the purchase of eligible TV converter boxes. Each household can request a maximum of two coupons. Each coupon may be applied towards the purchase of a single converter box. The coupons can be ordered one at a time or both at the same time.

For more information on the TV Converter Box Coupon Program, visit their website at <>. Another site that may be of help is DTV Answers: <>.

       Video Description and Converter Boxes

Now that you've signed up to receive a coupon for a converter box, what converter should you purchase? Mary Watkins, Director of Communications and Outreach for Media Access Group at WGBH did some research and found the following:

WGBH's Media Access Group has tested two of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration/NTIA-certified coupon eligible converter boxes and has determined that you can indeed receive and hear video description from a broadcast digital TV signal that properly includes it.

We tested two boxes:

Insignia from Best Buy
- Digital Stream from Radio Shack

We tuned in two different PBS kids programs broadcast on WGBH's digital channel and heard the descriptions coming through.

Even better news is that both boxes have both CC and SAP (or audio) buttons on the remote controls that allow you to access the various caption signals and alternate audio channels without having to go through the set-up menus.

You will find discrepancies in the on-screen menus when you use the two different methods for controlling the alternate audio:

   * both boxes display "English 1" and "English 2" in the on-screen
     menu when you use the SAP or Audio button on the remote control.
     Use English 2 for accessing the video description (or Spanish if
     you are looking for that).
   * in their set-up menus, both boxes display "English/Spanish/French"
     as the options in the pick list in those menus.
   * and, of course, neither of the boxes have audible/talking menus
     for control of the set up and control of the boxes.

The broadcaster must be properly tagging and sending the alternate audio in order for the boxes to pick up those signals and present them to the viewer.

The WGBH - Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) has published a new Outreach and Policy Paper, Digital Television and Video Description: Service Continues, Consumer and Industry Efforts Required

Most consumers are just now becoming aware of the mandated transition from analog to digital broadcasting scheduled for February of 2009 and how it will affect the TV viewing that they rely on daily. Blind or deaf consumers who purchase digital TV sets, and subscribe to cable, satellite or fiber-optic TV services have expressed frustration with set-up, reception and incompatibility problems regarding access services (captioning and video description), few of which are understood or even documented by manufacturers and retailers.

In addition, people who want to continue receiving free over-the-air broadcasts using their analog sets and an antenna must purchase a set-top converter box to do so - and figure out how to make captions and descriptions work for them. NCAM previously published an overview of problems confronting deaf or hard-of-hearing people trying to access captions via DTV or through a converter box. The "DTVCC" paper can be found on NCAM's Web site listed below.

This new paper focuses on challenges facing blind or low vision viewers who rely on video description to enjoy and fully understand television programming. Topics covered include: - Set-top Converter Boxes - Accessible Menus - Tips for Finding Video Description in DTV - Troubleshooting - and a Technical Note about PSIP (or Program and System Information Protocol)

This paper, along with much more information about the DTV conversion from a variety of resources, can be found at NCAM's DTV Access site, or

NCAM has established a one-way email address, dtvaccess@xxxxxxxx <mailto:dtvaccess@xxxxxxxx>, as an aggregator of complaints and problems related to the DTV rollout. If you send a report about a DTV access problem to this address, you will receive an automatic response that says that your report has been received and that they are gathering information but cannot respond to your inquiry, and that they will pass along common issues to relevant parties.

iRecord: The One-Touch Media Uploader <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 12:59 PM PDT

You know blind people love audio gadgets and this is a great one for recording just about anything to an MP3 file for listening while on the go.

The iRecord plugs into an audio or video device using RCA connections and S-Video and with a push of the button the content is converted to digital MP3 or MPEG4 format. Content can be converted directly to an iPod attached OR a USB device (flash drive or hard drive).

This device, the first of its kind, converts any type of video or audio, including cassette tapes, vinyl records, television shows, and VHS tapes, directly to an iPod at the touch of a button. The device allows you to preserve your audio and video memories without having to rely on a conversion service or risk long-term damage to the original medium, and no computer or special software is required. The converter plugs into any audio or video device equipped with RCA connections and S-Video (standard on nearly all A/V components) with its included audio/video cables. Simply push the record button, and content is converted to digital MP3 (audio) or MPEG4 (video) format, three hours of 320 x 240 resolution video content takes up approximately 1 GB, and is stored immediately onto an iPod (video iPod required for video content). Data can also be uploaded to a USB flash drive or USB hard drive plugged into the converters USB port; it automatically detects if it has attached an iPod or USB key. Plugs into AC.

Click this link to purchase an iRecord from Hammacher Schlemmer <>.

TV for the USB <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 12:58 PM PDT

Here's a great toy for those of us who have enough vision to enjoy all its features.

The Mini TV USB lets you take TV wherever you go! Using a regular TV Antenna or cable connection, you can now watch TV right on your computer screen. It's simple to install and no extra cables or power supply to carry around. Check out these features:


   * Video file playback
   * Digital video capture
   * DVD/VCD creation from captured video, recorded TV, and other sources


   * Listen to your digital music library
   * Build custom playlists
   * Rip from audio CDs


   * One-click red-eye removal, auto enhance, crop, and more
   * "Smart printing" allows multiple prints per page, various print
     sizes, and automatic photo rotation
   * Archive photos to DVD/CD

Click this link to purchase the MiniTVUSB <>.

NOTE: Software may not be compatible with screen reading technology.

American History In Video <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 10:17 AM PDT

From the website:

"American History in Video provides the largest and richest online collection of video available for the study of American history, 2,000 hours and more than 5,000 titles on completion. The collection's wealth of video and multiplicity of perspectives allow students and scholars to see, experience, and study American history in ways never before possible .

Indexing and searchable transcripts synchronized to video give the ability to drill down in seconds to find the footage of interest from thousands of hours of video. This collection is an exclusive collaboration with the A&E Television Networks and features some of their most important documentaries and series from The History Channel, A&E Network, and Biography. Historical coverage ranges from the lost colony of Roanoke through the 1988 Vicennes Affair in the Persian Gulf; biographical coverage ranges from eighteenth century figures such as Benedict Arnold and Daniel Boone to modern day figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Helen Thomas.

Several types of video footage have been chosen to provide a well-rounded collection for historical study:

   * Documentaries from key partners such as The History Channel and
     others provide long-term perspectives on historical events,
     historical people, and key turning points in American history.
     These documentaries often incorporate contemporaneous footage and
     photographs; feature interviews with citizens, newsmakers, and
     other witnesses to history; and make the knowledge, expertise, and
     enthusiasm of numerous scholars, historians, and researchers
     readily available. Judicious reenactments of historical moments,
     particularly with the Civil War, help students visualize important
     aspects of history, such as the impact of military strategies and
     tactics on historical outcomes.
   * Newsreels, routinely shown before feature films in movie houses,
     were the only way for citizens to see American and foreign events
     and news during the pre-television era. With contemporaneous
     footage and coverage of a wide variety of stories, from war and
     politics, to fashion and sports, and more, newsreels remain a
     valuable window on American history, society, and culture.
     American History in Video is the only source where the entire
     series of United News (governmental newsreel from the Office of
     War Information) and Universal Newsreel (commercial newsreel from
     Universal Pictures Company, Inc.) stream in full online.
     Forthcoming in Spring 2009 are complete sets of Semantically
     Indexed and searchable Release Notes, the original documentation
     provided for each newsreel release in each series.
   * Public affairs video from series like Longines Chronoscope
     (Columbia Broadcasting System) were usually created to provide
     contemporaneous analysis on issues of the day. Through interviews
     and debates with politicians, diplomats, and a range of foreign
     and American experts and leaders in a variety of fields, these
     videos shine a light on the topics, issues, and people considered
     newsworthy, as well as the received wisdom, in a given time period.
   * Archival footage adds another critical dimension to historical
     analysis, with coverage of events and people for an often more
     specific purpose than other�types of video.

Taken together, this rich combination allows students and scholars to study history in new ways." Click this link to visit American History In Video: <>.

A Great site for web and software developers, as well as users of assistive technology <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 08:27 AM PDT

Accessibility Resources is the simple name of this site that is subtitled the HCI Webliography and offers more than 200 links regarding an assortment of accessibility matters. The great news is that it is a global perspective, with information being provided by not only sites in the US, but from several companies in Europe as well as Australia.

The offered links are categorized into the following headings : first choice, companies, discussion, guidelines, organizations, papers, resources, and tools.

There will be some familiar names for those who live or work in the field of assistive technology, but there are many other useful resources offered whose names you’re probably not familiar with. Take some time and look over the site. There are items offered on the ADA, Section 508, W3C, and some you might not expect. It is encouraging to see that the compendium includes links on making Apple, Ajax, and Adobe’s Acrobat and Flash products more accessible.

If you’re like me, you’ll bookmark the Accessibility Resources site and return for further reading: <>.

Article Source:
Access Ability <>

A Unique Luggage and Recovery Service <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 07:51 AM PDT

Luckily, (knock on wood) I've been very lucky in my travels through airports so far: the one time my luggage was misplaced, the airline found and delivered it to my door the very next day. But that experience was enough of a scare for me to relate to the thirty-seven million people who lose their luggage every year, and never get it back. Now, there's a solution to this problem that works with existing databases and websites to keep you and your luggage together.

TRACE ME Luggage Tracker provides you with a strong, durable airline approved tag for your luggage, that has a unique serial number and 2D bar code ensuring your suitcase can always be identified and returned to you. Tags are suitable for all types of luggage including briefcases, laptop bags and is ideal for all members of the family.

Your personal details do not appear on the tag, your identity is safely and securely stored on, a database genuinely used by law enforcement agencies, major lost property services as well as airport baggage handling organisations across the globe to return lost luggage.

The effectiveness of the tag is not limited to air travel. The tough TRACE ME tag provides train operators, the police, lost property services and even local transport companies with the facility to securely identify your luggage and immediately notify you how to retrieve it from anywhere in the world.

Each customer has a personal online account with for updating change of address, telephone and email details. Never write your name on a flimsy old paper tag ever again.

Click this link to learn more about the Trace Me Luggage Tracker system <>.

       Lost and Found Sound Tag

The Lost and found sound tag ensures luggage doesn't get lost by letting you record a twenty-second message of important information like phone number, address or hotel name for fast identification. The bold color and shape are easy to identify in a carousel of similar suitcases. Three batteries included. 2 1/4 x 3".

Click this link to purchase the Lost and Found Sound Tag from Taylor Gifts <>.

Learn Spanish with Your MP3 Player <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 07:19 AM PDT

p>Are you interested in learning Spanish? “SpanishPod is a language training service unlike anything you have ever seen before. It works by taking the best of the traditional classroom, and recreating it around the needs and lifestyle of the student, with all the improvements that technology allows."

"Just like a traditional classroom, SpanishPod provides a community of practice: great teachers, lively discussion with fellow students, and a shared learning experience.”

When you visit, you have a large selection of Spanish lesson podcasts to choose from, from beginner to advanced. Once you subscribe you can choose the lessons you wish to hear. You can bookmark the lessons that you want and have them delivered to your personal RSS feed. There are ten steps to the SpanishPod learning method:

  1. Listen to the Podcast
  2. Review the Dialogue
  3. Review the Vocabulary
  4. Study the Expansion Sentences
  5. Complete the Exercises
  6. Rate the Lesson
  7. Ask Questions
  8. Review with Flash Cards
  9. Review the Dialogue Audio
 10. Revisit the Exercises

Learn Spanish on your own time with lessons that interest you by subscribing to <>.

Talking Email Keyboard for the iPhone <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 07:02 AM PDT

I've mentioned that talking products, created for sighted people, often benefit the blind and visually impaired. I'm going to tell you about another product that fits into this catagory, but before I do, let me give you the description of this product from the manufacturer and let you decide its best use.

"With the Internet in your pocket, it’s hard to not take advantage of it in every situation possible. However, there are some instances in which iPhone use is limited, particularly if you’re behind the wheel of a car. Talking Email Keyboard from G.P. Imports attempts to change that by allowing you to type e-mails as you drive."

Typing email as you drive? How many blind and visually impaired people have been hit while trying to cross the street? Let's see if we can't find a better use for this nifty product.

Talking Email Keyboard works by announcing each letter you’ve typed after you tap a key, saving you the trouble of having to look down at the screen as you type, at least in theory. The voice used by the app is pleasant and can clearly enunciate the letters you type. However, when typing fast, the voice can lag, decreasing your productivity.

Still, even with Talking Email Keyboard’s oral confirmation, it remains hard to know what you’re about to type without sneaking a peak at your iPhone. For instance, it’s impossible to know that you’re about to type the letter “y” until after you’ve hit the key and Talking Email Keyboard confirms it. It would be great if the application would announce letters as you scroll over them, like a screen reader. The application doesn’t announce any auto-correct words suggested by iPhone. And it doesn’t let you know when you’ve switched to the numbers/symbols keyboard. It may be something for a person with low vision, but I think the blind would have problems successfully using it.

As I noted above, G.P. Imports touts this app as something you can use while driving “if your local law permits”, I wouldn’t recommend the app for that use, no matter what your local laws are. That said, the app might be more appealing to visually impaired users who would appreciate the audio cues as they type, it certainly seems like a better use than having distracted motorists fumbling for their iPhones to tap out an email, when they should be focusing on the road. Talking Email Keyboard is compatible with any iPhone or iPod touch running the iPhone 2.x software update.

Click this link to learn more about the Talking Email Keyboard from AppBeacon <>.

New APH Louis Database and APH online ordering system <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 06:16 AM PDT

Dear APH Customers:

APH is excited to announce that new versions of APH's Louis Database and APH's online ordering system will be launched on Monday April 6th. We've implemented major upgrades to both sites to improve your APH shopping experience. Both sites have many new features too numerous to list here, but below are a few highlights.

Like the current Louis site, the new Louis site will allow users to search for all APH products & textbooks, plus educational materials from about 140 other agencies. The new Louis site features:

   * An easier basic search plus more advanced search capabilities
   * Convenient “My List” feature that allows you to save, email, or
     print items of interest
   * Ability to add APH products to our new shopping site cart

We will roll out further improvements to the new Louis site over the coming months. The Louis web address will change to: <>

The new APH shopping site features:

   * A familiar interface similar to many commercial shopping sites
   * Relationships between products that allow you to see optional,
     replacement, and related products
   * Ability to browse for products by categories

The shopping site will continue to be improved over the coming months -- for example, more product photographs and relationships between products will be added.

The shopping site web address remains the same: <>.

Note that in order to complete the launching of these sites, both the current APH web ordering system and the current Louis system will be unavailable on Friday April 3rd.

We welcome your questions or comments about our new sites. Please email cs@xxxxxxx <mailto:cs@xxxxxxx>.

Hotmail Goes Pop3 <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 05:43 AM PDT

Access to Hotmail via pop3 has been enabled worldwide, finally ending years of your email being trapped behind specific applications not available on some blindness-related products. Many notetakers for the blind use the pop3 email protocol to grab email from an email server. If you have a free Hotmail account, you'll be happy to hear that you can now access that account through your notetaker, or more traditionally through Outlook Express or Windows Mail on Vista.

Setting it up is fairly simple in most email applications, just create a new account using the following details from the Windows Live team::

POP server: (Port 995)
POP SSL required? Yes
User name: Your Windows Live ID, for example yourname@xxxxxxxxxxx
Password: The password you usually use to sign in to Hotmail or Windows Live
SMTP server: (Port 25)
Authentication required? Yes (this matches your POP username and password)
TLS/SSL required? Yes

This is so cool. I've had a Hotmail account for years but never checked it because I had to use a difficult web-based system. Now I can grab all my email from Outlook Express or Windows Mail in Vista, life is good!

Get Notified with POP Peeper <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 05:39 AM PDT

How many email accounts do you have right now? I'll bet many of you have more than one. One for home, one for work, one for junk, one for family members, the list can be endless.

How do you manage all those accounts? Are they all just mixed up in your Outlook or Outlook Express? Maybe you check some of them through Outlook and others you go online for? Why are you putting yourself through all the hastle? Let me make your email notification a lot simpler with one small program.

POP Peeper is an email notifier that runs in your Windows task bar and alerts you when you have new email on your POP3, IMAP (with IDLE support), Hotmail\MSN\LiveMail, Yahoo, GMail,, MyWay, Excite,, RediffMail, Juno and NetZero accounts.

IMAP support allows you to access AOL, AIM, Netscape and other services.?? Send mail directly from POP Peeper and use the address book to email your frequently used contacts.

POP Peeper allows you to view messages using HTML or you can choose to safely view all messages in rich or plain text. Several options are available that will decrease or eliminate the risks of picking up an email virus, dangerous javascript, webbugs, etc.

POP Peeper can be run from a portable device and can be password protected.?? Many notification options are available to indicate when new mail has arrived, such as sound alerts (configurable for each account), flashing scroll lock, skinnable popup notifier, customized screensaver and more.

For more information, visit the website: <>.

What is "web based email"? <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 05:37 AM PDT

Outlook Express and Thunderbird are referred to as email "clients". They're programs on your computer whose main goal in life is to manage your email.

"Web based", on the other hand, is located on a server and can be accessed from any computer using a web browser. You don't usually have as many options for filtering, sorting, or saving email, but if you want a free email account they're great.

Two popular free web based email services include Yahoo Mail! MSN/Hotmail, and Google's G-mail . AOL can be considered web based since you can check it in the AOL browser or any web browser.

Since there is no standard way to do things like change text color, create filters, make folders, or add pictures it can sometimes be difficult to use these services. Also, they regularly "improve" without warning, causing things to work differently than they did the week before.

If you have a POP3 email account that you check using a mail client, it's still a good idea to sign up for a free web-based account. When you register products or sign up for stuff you can have it sent there rather than your regular account. This can help keep your inbox clean. I hope this clears things up.

Get your Mail2Web and Never Miss a Message <>

Posted: 30 Mar 2009 05:37 AM PDT

Mail2Web is a free Web site that lets you check the contents of any POP3 or IMAP e-mail account. In other words, if you use Outlook or Eudora (or any of the hundreds of POP-3 email programs out there) and want to check your email when you are away from your computer, this site will let you do it. And better still, unlike Hotmail, Mail2Web doesn't require you to send scads of personal information to some company before you can use the service. :)

Since Mail2Web is only a Web interface -- it shows you the contents of your email inbox without actually "popping" the mail -- you can read your emails on a remote computer and then, when you return to your own computer, download all of those emails just like normal. Mail2Web also lets you reply to and even delete any or all of the emails in your inbox before you ever even download them with your regular email program.

That last point is important. Using Mail2Web, you can delete any or all emails in your inbox before you ever download them. Why is this important? Well, have you ever had a "friend" send you a 27 kajillion byte uncompressed bitmap of a squirrel drinking a Coke with a straw? Did the file take 57 years to download? By using Mail2Web, you can keep this from happening. Just go to Mail2Web and delete that hideously large email. The file goes away, and you never have to download it. Yay! If your ISP or workplace doesn't offer its own webmail interface, Mail2Web is an absolute must.

Click this link to get started with Mail2Web: <>.

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