[handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21 March 2012

  • From: Patrick Tice <wa0tda@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: handiham-world@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 17:39:41 -0500

Courage Center Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21
March 2012

This is a free weekly news & information update from Courage Center
Handiham System. Our contact information is at the end, or simply email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for changes in subscriptions or to comment. You
can listen to this news online.

MP3 audio stream:

Download the 40 kbs MP3 audio to your portable player:

Get this podcast in iTunes:
[image: Subscribe in iTunes] <http://www.itunes.com/podcast?id=372422406>

RSS feed for the audio podcast if you use other podcasting software:
Welcome to Handiham World.

[image: drawing of transceiver]
Digital Bling and a Cautionary Tale

The news this week about QST going digital is exciting stuff. (See the next
story for an explanation and link.)  If our own Handiham World had not gone
digital, we would still be publishing only four issues a year, one for each
season.  Yes, back in the bad old days a couple of decades ago the Handiham
World was mailed out each Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter in a print
format.  Volunteers would read the print version onto cassette tapes that
were mailed to our blind members. Any news that arrived via that system was
bound to be pretty old.  Then, when printing and mailing costs began to
climb we had to cut down to three issues, then two.  Using the Internet to
deliver the Handiham World was faster, cheaper, and better.  Not only could
it be read directly with screenreading software by our blind members, but
it could be in audio as well, also delivered via streaming or download.
Members could even call a phone number to hear the same Internet audio,
even if they only had a telephone. The Handiham World could be enjoyed by
anyone as a podcast from iTunes.  Better yet, it could be published weekly
instead of quarterly.

Even though these advantages seem obvious, there were - and still are -
some who feel that our service has left them behind.  These are the members
who don't have computers and who don't plan to get them.  And this, my
friends, is the problem every publisher faces.  That is why I'm going to
share with you my experience with a newspaper.

It is certainly not news that newspapers want to print:  Newspapers are
struggling to find their new business model in the 21st century. Who reads
them anymore?

Probably people like me, that's who!  I'm old enough to remember having a
paper route as a kid.  Delivering the daily paper was one of those rite of
passage jobs a kid could have back in the middle of the 20th century. The
news business was less competitive back then, and there was little urgency
to have up to the second updates.  The newspaper business held its own
until cable news began nipping at its heels, but it wasn't until news sites
began appearing on the Internet that the real problems with printing paper
copies and physically dumping them on doorsteps became too big to ignore.

These days we would get our newspaper delivered by some guy driving his
personal vehicle around town and pitching the paper out onto the driveway
or sidewalk.  He would back over the lawn and sometimes his truck would
have a loud muffler in the wee hours of the morning. Often as not the
morning dew or the lawn sprinklers would soak the paper before we could
retrieve it. On rainy mornings the paper arrived in a plastic bag that
managed to protect about 3/4 of the paper from getting soaked.  The
newspaper company also published an on line edition once the power of the
web was obvious, and like many other readers I took to it instantly and
never looked back.  Unfortunately for the newspaper, they lost money giving
the news away for free on the web (duh), and they finally had to come up
with a pay-for alternative.  It involved a special digital edition that
looked just like the printed version.  In a scattergun approach to pleasing
every customer from the grumpiest computer-hating Luddite to the
early-adopter geek, they offered a plan to give you a print paper AND a
digital edition.

We signed up.  I like trying new stuff but I still like a print edition.
This would be a chance to compare the technologies.

It's been a couple of months now, so I feel as if I know where things are
going.  Both my wife and I read the print paper to some extent, and both of
us use the newspaper's website.  The website is actually easy to use, but
it is not the new so-called "digital edition" that looks exactly like the
printed paper.  For that, you have to log on to a special website. The
newspaper sends a helpful link by email each day as a reminder.  The
digital look alike loads a web application in your browser window, after
which you see the copy of the printed version in what amounts to a browser
frame.  Try as I might, I just cannot warm to the idea of trying to read a
newspaper that way.  The page does not all fit in the browser window, which
means that you are constantly scrolling one way of another to read
articles.  Worse yet, because the digital look alike is supposed to be like
the printed copy, you have to follow the story onto other pages buried deep
in that day's edition.  The pages of the digital edition have a feature
that prompts you with a cute little animation to turn them.  Page turns
themselves are also animated.  Ooooo!  This is digital bling!  It looks so
cool, but let's face it - I think having to scroll left and right and up
and down, then fiddle with the mouse to get the cursor exactly in the right
spot to connect me to the remainder of a front-page article that ends up
buried on page 10 is just not my cup of tea.  What I want is content.  I
would like it to be easy to find, easy to read, and - after being in the
business of helping people with disabilities for so many years - accessible
to people who use screenreaders. I have to say that some of these new
digital publishing efforts fall flat on all those counts.

What I don't really understand is the need to make a digital edition look
like a printed page.  The printed page is fine when it is a printed page.
When it is a digital copy on a small screen, it is like putting Victorian
furniture in a Frank Lloyd Wright house. It is a bad fit. If you are going
to use the web to publish your newspaper, publish it using the easily
understood, common, and highly accessible web page formats that are already
available. That is why for Handiham World we provide accessible HTML in our
web pages.  If we put something up in a format like PDF, it contains
embedded text and an audio alternative, plus an HTML version.  But really,
the PDF version is not meant so much to be read on line as to be printed
and read as a print publication.

The bottom line with digital publishing is that it needs to be recognized
for what it really is - a new and better way to deliver content that is
more up to date, cheaper to deliver, and takes advantage of the technology
to allow users to search thousands of pages quickly, have access to past
issues without collecting an attic full of paper copies, and enjoy it all
with accessible technology.  It is not a new way to deliver the same old
paper dressed up with page turn animations.  In other words, forget the
bling and give me the content.

Oh, well.  At least the digital version does not drive over my lawn at 4:00
A.M. in a noisy truck.  On the down side, I miss the plastic bag that is so
handy for "dog duty" when I take Jasper out for a walk.

For Handiham World, I'm...
Patrick Tice, handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Handiham Manager
ARRL alerts members to upcoming digital QST on line edition

ARRL has sent an email to its members today alerting them to a new
membership benefit, the availability of QST on line in a digital format. In
June, archived issues from December 1915 to the present will also be added.
For many of us, that will solve the problem of whether to keep those old
paper issues that might just have an article we could use someday. If you
are like me, you probably have lots of old magazines lying around, some of
them organized on shelves and others... Well, who knows where we last left
them? The new digital system assures that we will be able to search for the
articles we want and find them easily without going through boxes of dusty
old magazines in the far corner of the attic!

ARRL members must have a valid ARRL website login to access the current
digital edition of QST and archived editions. You can find out more about
ARRL membership at www.arrl.org.

One of the best things I ever did was join ARRL. I hope you will join, too.

*Read more:

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham Manager
Troubleshooting 101

[image: Cartoon guy with toolkit]

*"Help!  I want to download Handiham audio, but when I click on a download
link, the file just starts playing.  I want to put the audio on my portable
device, not play it on the computer."*

Does that sound familiar?

*Are you having trouble downloading the audio lectures?  What if you click
on the download link and instead of getting a download dialog box or having
the file just download, instead it begins to play the audio in your web

The download link is a direct path to the file.  Be sure that you have the
correct target file.  The link should not end with an M3U file extension,
because that tells your computer's software media player that you want it
to stream the audio content.  What you want is a link to an actual audio
file, which ends in a file extension such as MP3.  If you definitely know
you are choosing the correct file and it does not offer you the option of
downloading instead of playing, then continue reading.

Depending on how your computer is set up, you may have to right click a
download link and choose "save link as" or "save target as" or similar.

Also, bear in mind that computers with Apple QuickTime® installed will want
to play any and all of these links in the web browser. Since Apple bundles
it with iTunes®, it is on a lot of family computers and makes downloading
MP3 files from the links a real hassle.
*The fix: *A workaround if you don't want to uninstall QuickTime is left
click the download link while holding the CTRL key. A dialog box will come
up asking you "open with" or "Save file".  You can choose "save file" and
additionally check the box that says "Do this from now on".

Email me at handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with your questions & comments.
Patrick Tice
Handiham Manager
A dip in the pool

[image: cartoon kid doing math problems]

It's time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the pool - the question
pool, that is!

Today we are taking a question from the General Class pool and sticking to
the safety section:

G0A12 asks, "What precaution should you take whenever you make adjustments
or repairs to an antenna?"

You possible choices are:

A. Ensure that you and the antenna structure are grounded

B. Turn off the transmitter and disconnect the feed line

C. Wear a radiation badge

D. All of these choices are correct

Ha, ha - I get quite a chuckle out of the choice "Wear a radiation badge".
The most correct answer is B, Turn off the transmitter and disconnect the
feed line.  The reason that I say "most correct" is that you should really
disconnect the equipment from the power mains before you disconnect the
feed line.  While most modern equipment is well-designed and safe, you do
not want to bank on the assumption that there is no way AC from the power
mains can travel through that antenna connector.  A fault in the equipment
can cause a shack hazard to be present, and the way you will find out is
when you place one hand on the metal case or RF connector of the radio and
the other on the PL-259 plug that you are unscrewing.  Once the connection
breaks between the chassis and the shield of the PL-259, you have a
potentially grounded cable in one hand and a possible AC source in the
other. Zap!  The voltage can travel through your arms and your chest
cavity, a very dangerous and possibly deadly situation. That is why you
should do more than just turn the equipment off.  It is safest to first
disconnect it from power altogether before disconnecting grounding wires or
antenna cables.  Reverse the process when finished with your project by
connecting everything but the AC power, which you should do last.  I guess
it wouldn't hurt to wear a radiation badge, but you would look kind of
Remote Base Health Report for 21 March 2012

[image: W4MQ software screenshot]

*We have a new beta website for the remote base software. You may check it
out at:

*W0ZSW is on line.
W0EQO is on line. *

Please check the latest operating tips on the remote base pages:

Request for feedback!

Have you installed the remote base software?  How were the instruction
pages on our website?  We know that these pages need updating and we are
looking for feedback from users.  The idea is to make them less confusing -
and they are pretty confusing right now because we have added items over
the years without looking at the big picture.  If you have suggestions, we
would very much appreciate hearing from you. Please contact

The link to the daily status update pages:

Our thanks to volunteer engineer Lyle Koehler, K0LR, for his help
maintaining the station databases and updates.
A feel good job!

This week I will get a chance to help my amateur radio club with something
that I feel honored to do: teach a Technician Amateur Radio Class.

Over the years I have seen radio clubs come and go.  Some are more
successful than others, and there are a variety of reasons for that.  One
thing that the clubs with healthy membership numbers seem to share in
common is their education programs.  These successful clubs deem education
to be a core function in their mission, and that will likely include
classes for beginners, upgrade courses or study groups, emergency
communications training, and club programs designed to keep the membership
up to date on the latest technology and operating skills.  Clubs that
neglect these duties eventually founder as their membership dwindles and
ultimately becomes too small to be vital anymore.  Teaching is fun; you
meet new people and you get to share the fun of ham radio with them.  Give
it a try!
This week @ HQ

[image: happy cartoon guy wearing earphones]

*Office closed on late Thursday afternoon & Friday.  *Nancy does not work
Fridays and Pat will be out for an all-day meeting. The office will be
closed Thursday after 2:00 PM until Monday morning.  *Pat will teach the
Thursday evening Technician Class. *

*Technician License Class continues in Stillwater this Thursday (March 22)
for Handiham Members and the General Public *

   - Location:  Stillwater Public Library (224 Third Street North),
   Stillwater, MN.
   - When: Thursdays beginning March 1 (8 Thursday sessions)  6:00 to 8:00
   - Pat, WA0TDA, is teaching about communicating with other hams.
   Handiham members are encouraged to attend.

*Due to time limitations this week there will be no new General Class audio
lecture. *

*Bob, N1BLF, has completed the Spring 2012 QCWA Journal audio digest for
our blind members. *Check it out in the members section.  Thanks, Bob, for
another great job of recording.

*Members Only Website Update:*

Handiham.org open enrollment is over, but Handiham members who do not have
log in credentials for the site may request them by emailing
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx This step was taken to curtail the hundreds of
account requests from spammers and other non-members each week.
Tonight is EchoLink net night.

[image: Echolink screenshot]

The Wednesday evening EchoLink net is at 19:30 United States Central time,
which translates to 00:30 GMT Thursday morning.

The 11:00 daily net will be heard at 16:00 GMT.

EchoLink nodes:

HANDIHAM conference server Node 494492 (Our preferred high-capacity node.)
KA0PQW-R, node 267582
KA0PQW-L, node 538131
N0BVE-R, node 89680
N9GMR-R 640860
W0EQO-R, node 309436

Other ways to connect:

IRLP node 9008 (Vancouver BC reflector)
WIRES system number 1427

More information about repeaters and nodes may be found at
Stay in touch!

Be sure to send Nancy your changes of address, phone number changes, or
email address changes so that we can continue to stay in touch with you.
You may either email Nancy at hamradio@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or call her at
763-520-0512.  If you need to use the toll-free number, call

Handiham Manager Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, may be reached at
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or by phone at 763-520-0511.

Mornings Monday through Thursday are the best time to contact us.

Answers to many questions about radios, Echolink, nets, and the Remote Base
stations are all at www.handiham.org.
Supporting Handihams - 2012.

Now you can support the Handiham program by donating on line using Courage
Center's secure website. It is easy, but one thing to remember is that you
need to use the pull-down menu to designate your gift to the Handiham

Step one: Follow this link to the secure Courage Center Website:

Step two: Fill out the form, being careful to use the pull-down Designation
menu to select "Handi-Hams".

Step three: Submit the form to complete your donation. If the gift is a
tribute to someone, don't forget to fill out the tribute information. This
would be a gift in memory of a silent key, for example.

We really appreciate your help. As you know, we have cut expenses this year
due to the difficult economic conditions. We are working hard to make sure
that we are delivering the most services to our members for the money - and
we plan to continue doing just that in 2012.

Thank you from the Members, Volunteers, and Staff of the Handiham System.

Patrick Tice, WA0TDA, Handiham Manager

Handiham Membership Dues

Benefits of membership:


Handiham renewals are on a monthly schedule - Please renew or join, as we
need you to keep our program strong! You will have several choices when you

   - Join at the usual $12 annual dues level for one year. Your renewal
   date is the anniversary of your last renewal, so your membership extends
   for one year.
   - Join for three years at $36.
   - Lifetime membership is $120.
   - If you can't afford the dues, request a 90 day non-renewable sponsored
   - Donate an extra amount of your choice to help support our activities.
   - Discontinue your membership.

Please return your renewal form as soon as possible. Your support is
critical! Please help.

The Courage Handiham System depends on the support of people like you, who
want to share the fun and friendship of ham radio with others. Please help
us provide services to people with disabilities. We would really appreciate
it if you would remember us in your estate plans. If you need a planning
kit, please call. If you are wondering whether a gift of stock can be given
to Handihams, the answer is yes! Please call Walt Seibert at 763-520-0532
or email him at walt.seibert@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ask for a free DVD about the Handiham System.

It's perfect for your club program, too! The video tells your club about
how we got started, the Radio Camps, and working with hams who have
disabilities.  We are in the process of revising the video, so it is
presently out of stock.  You can get on the list to get one when they are
back in stock.

Call 1-866-426-3442 toll-free. -- Help us get new hams on the air.

Get the Handiham E-Letter by email every Wednesday, and stay up-to-date
with ham radio news.

You may listen in audio to the E-Letter at www.handiham.org.
Email us to subscribe:

Handiham members with disabilities can take an online audio course at

   - Beginner
   - General
   - Extra
   - Operating Skills

That's it for this week. 73 from all of us at the Courage Handiham System!
Manager, Courage Handiham System
Reach me by email at:

Nancy, Handiham Secretary:

Radio Camp email:

*ARRL is the premier organization supporting amateur radio worldwide.
Please contact Handihams for help joining the ARRL. We will be happy to
help you fill out the paperwork!*

[image: ARRL Diamond Logo]

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of software tips, operating
information, and Handiham news. It is published on Wednesdays, and is
available to everyone free of charge. Please email
handiham@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc.
Include your old email address and your new address.

Courage Center Handiham System
3915 Golden Valley Road
Golden Valley, MN 55422

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  • » [handiham-world] Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 21 March 2012 - Patrick Tice