Events Galore to Spark Your Curiosity in Reno

by Janet Dickelman

As you read this, convention pre-registration will be up and running. Information regarding affiliate and committee programming and ACB tours will be listed on the registration form.  You can register online at and follow the link for the 2017 convention registration, or via telephone by calling 1-800-866-3242. If you register by phone, make sure to leave your name, phone number, time zone and the best time(s) for someone to reach you. Someone should call you back by the end of the following day.
In this article, you’ll find an overview of some extras the convention has to offer. Convention dates are June 30th through July 7th! Come and join ACB at the Nugget in Reno.
Calling All Kids!
If you plan to bring a child age 6 to age 13 to this year’s convention, we have some fantastic trips planned. Kids’ Club will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. Each day includes breakfast, lunch, crafts, swimming and a daily field trip.  Kids’ Explorers Club will also be open Saturday evening during opening general session for snacks and a meet and greet with Kids’ Club leaders, and Thursday during the ACB banquet for a farewell party.
Breakfast, Anyone? 
Sunday, July 2
The American Foundation for the Blind breakfast: Meet AFB staff and receive updates on AFB’s legislative efforts.
Monday, July 3
Guide Dogs for the Blind breakfast: GDB alumni and those considering the guide dog lifestyle are welcome.
Tuesday, July 4 
National Industries for the Blind (NIB) annual breakfast
Technology Sessions
Google comes to Reno!
A huge thank you to Google, a corporate sponsor at the double diamond level. Google will hold five sessions at this year’s convention.
Saturday, July 1
10 – 11 a.m.: Android Accessibility
Speaker: Victor Tsaran
Description:  Join Victor for an overview of Android accessibility and recent updates. Learn about the latest developments in TalkBack, BrailleBack, and the Android operating system.
1:15 – 2:15 p.m.: Chrome OS Accessibility
Speaker: Laura Palmaro
Description:  Join Laura to learn about the accessibility features built into every Chromebook, and deep dive into the new ChromeVox screen reader.
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.: G Suite Accessibility
Speaker: Roger Benz
Description: Join Roger to learn more about the latest accessibility improvements to G Suite apps, including Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and more.
Sunday, July 2
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.: Google Home
Speaker: Kiran Kaja
Description: Discover the many capabilities of Google Home, the eyes-free Google Assistant device designed to enhance your home environment.
4:15 – 5:15 p.m.: Google Play Apps: Books, Newsstand, Music and More
Speaker: Karo Caran
Description: Join Karo to learn about accessibility updates to Play Apps, including the all-new library in Play Books, an way to discover new books and articles, and the “swipe-and-play” interaction in the Play Music app. 
HumanWare, a ruby sponsor, will hold two sessions.
Sunday, July 2nd 
5:45 p.m.
The BrailleNote Touch is the first and only Google-certified braille tablet. The BrailleNote Touch blends powerful and intuitive apps for managing, accessing and creating information from KeySoft with millions of third-party apps that can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.  In this session, HumanWare staff will begin by reviewing updates to KeySoft such as KeyMath, KNFB Reader and Braille Terminal Mode.  Attendees will also learn how to efficiently access third-party apps from Amazon, BARD, Nest, Spotify, Google and more.  Finally, the HumanWare team will highlight BrailleNote Touch developments for the upcoming year.
Tuesday, July 4th
5:45 – 7 p.m.
Victor Stream – A World of Books at Your Fingertips!
Success of the Victor Stream marches on into 2017! You are invited to join the HumanWare team at the annual Stream User Forum.  Come share stories and tips on downloading and playing back books and periodicals from favorite websites.  Learn what is new with the Stream and see a mystery device in action.
Join VFO, a ruby sponsor, for two sessions on Saturday.
10 – 11 a.m.
ZoomText 11: New Features and Enhancements for All!
Presenter: Scott Moore, VP of Software Product Management—ZoomText
The new ZoomText 11 Magnifier/Reader is here, featuring a large collection of innovative new features and enhancements. Want a fresh, streamlined and fully accessible user interface? You got it. Want faster and friendlier ways to read and find information in documents, web pages, email and more? You got it. Want high-contrast color schemes that make text in web pages easier to read without the photos and graphics looking like film negatives? With the new “Smart Invert” feature, yup … you got it. Want groundbreaking magnified views that expedite work flow on one or multiple monitors? You got that too. And there are even more new features and enhancements in ZoomText 11! Come enjoy a guided tour through the new ZoomText 11 and learn how ZoomText can help you or your clients work with greater productivity and success.
1 – 2 p.m.
ZoomText Fusion 11: Now with the Power of JAWS
Presenter: Scott Moore, VP of Software Product Management — ZoomText
With the combined power of ZoomText and JAWS, the new ZoomText Fusion 11 delivers the most flexible and complete computer access solution available. Whether you are an organization that needs to accommodate users with varying levels of vision loss (from low vision to no vision), or an individual experiencing progressive vision loss, Fusion allows you to choose the right combination of magnification, speech and braille support to suit your specific needs. And it’s all bundled together in a single installation and product activation. Come to this presentation where you’ll see a demo of the all-new ZoomText Fusion. You’ll get an in-depth look at all the capabilities of Fusion and have a chance to ask us any questions that you may have. This is a great opportunity for end users and professionals alike. Don’t miss this presentation!
HIMS will also hold a session on Saturday, July 1st.
3 – 4 p.m. BrailleSense Polaris: A Star is Born
Join HIMS for an in-depth look at what BrailleSense Polaris can do for you. See the difference we can make with the combination of Android Lollipop, traditional apps found on older BrailleSense models, and limitless choices from the Google Play Store. We’ll show you what you can do by just speaking to Polaris. You’ll learn how to use BrailleSense Polaris to listen to your favorite audio content, or broadcast it to your home stereo. You will experience the power and possibilities unleashed by best in class access to Google services like Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Classroom.
On Wednesday, July 5th, Bookshare will hold office hours from 5:45 to 7 p.m. for Bookshare members. Stop by to say hello, meet other members, enjoy light refreshments, hear about the latest Bookshare updates, and get answers to your Bookshare-related questions.
Microsoft, another of our double diamond sponsors; JPMorgan Chase, an emerald conference and convention sponsor; and Charter Communications, an onyx sponsor, will also be holding sessions in Sparks.
Self-Help Sessions
New this year on Tuesday, July 4 is the Ski for Light reception, from 5:45-7 p.m. Meet some SFL veterans and learn about a week-long cross-country skiing program to be held in January 2018 in Reno. No experience necessary. All equipment provided for first-timers. Stipends available.
1Touch Self -Defense:
A self-defense course designed specifically for the blind; addresses real-life situations with practical applications. This year 1Touch will hold beginner sessions Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings, and intermediate courses Wednesday evening.
Other Sessions
Sunday evening join ACB members and guests for our always popular and inspiring Gospel Sing at 7:15 p.m. If you were in Reno in 2011, you’ll remember Pastor Dan Whitemore; he will again be leading the gospel sing.
Wednesday will be ACB film night! Join Joel Snyder for the audio-described screening of the film that almost won the Academy Award for best picture! “La La Land” is the musical romantic drama written and directed by Damien Chazelle, and starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a musician and an aspiring actress who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. The film’s title refers both to the city of Los Angeles and to the idiom for being out of touch with reality.  It received 14 nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, tying the record for most nominations, and won five Academy Awards, including the trophies for Best Director and Best Actress. Free popcorn and drinks!
Other sessions are still in the planning stages. As they are confirmed, information will be posted to the convention announce list.
Staying Connected
The convention announce list will be filled with information about the convention. Subscribe to the list today by sending a blank email to If you’ve been on the list in the past, you need not subscribe again.
Don’t have email? No problem! Convention updates will also be featured on ACB Radio and by telephone through Audio Now at (605) 475-8130.
Hotel Details
All rooms at the Nugget have refrigerators and safes. Room rates at the Nugget Casino Resort are $89 (single or double occupancy) with an additional $10 per person for up to four people per room. Room tax is currently 13.5%. There is also a $2 per day tourism tax added to each room.  When you book your reservation, one night’s stay will be charged to your credit card.
Included in the room rate is the hotel resort fee, which covers:
·        Round-trip shuttle transportation to and from Reno-Tahoe International Airport;
·        Complimentary wireless Internet in guest rooms;
·        Daily complimentary bottled water, 2 bottles per room per day;
·        Unlimited use of the year-round Atrium Pool;
·        Unlimited use of the Fitness Center;
·        Full service concierge; and
·        Valet and self-parking in the secured covered parking structure.
To make reservations via telephone, call 1-800-648-1177 and ask for group code GACB17. You may also make reservations online by visiting www.acb.organd following the 2017 conference and convention link.
Convention Contacts
2017 exhibit information: Michael Smitherman, (601) 331-7740,
2017 advertising and sponsorships: Margarine Beaman, (512) 921-1625,
For any other convention-related questions, please contact Janet Dickelman, convention chair, at (651) 428-5059, or via email,