Here and There, edited by Sharon Strzalkowski
The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB Braille Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned. To submit items for this column, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Are you blind or low vision? Are you interested in anything related to fishing, from catching to cooking? You are invited to join our Vision Masters' Fishing Association (VMFA) email list. This is an open list where we discuss everything associated with fish and fishing, from fishing techniques and fishing gear to cooking fish and everything in between. We fish for all kinds of fish, both freshwater and saltwater, and if you don’t fish, but just enjoy cooking and eating fish, we would like to hear about what kinds of fish and seafood you most enjoy eating and cooking.
You can subscribe by sending an e-mail to email@example.com with “subscribe” in the subject field, or by visiting the VMFA list page at http://www.freelists.org/list/vmfa.
NBP Recognizes Volunteers
National Braille Press honored its volunteers and employees who have served for over 20 years at its recent annual meeting. This year’s Volunteer Award Winners were IBM and the Middleton family.
IBM is a leader in supporting accessibility in the workplace. Employees have donated time and money to support braille literacy since 2011. IBM hosted a “Because Braille Matters” luncheon in Austin, Texas and volunteered at the Baltimore luncheon. IBM has also put together print/braille books for the Children’s Braille Book Club.
The Middleton family – Joyce, Marty, Michael and Katherine – of Bridgewater, Mass., has volunteered with the NBP since 2011. They are members of the Bridgewater Lions Club.
Helen Keller Achievement Award
On June 16th, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) recognized Comcast for breakthroughs in making its technology and programming accessible to people with vision loss by honoring it with a Helen Keller Achievement Award. The company made history in 2015 when it launched the industry’s first voice-guided TV interface — the X1 talking guide — which allows customers with a visual disability to operate settings and explore programming independently. Comcast made headlines again later that year with its video-described broadcast of NBC’s “The Wiz Live!”— the first live entertainment program to be aired with video description.
Comcast also makes available braille or large-print billing statements, large-button remotes, and an Accessibility Support Center that can be contacted seven days a week (7 a.m. to midnight) by phone, chat, or e-mail.
Accepting the award for Comcast were AFB Trustee Tom Wlodkowski, who is Vice President of Accessibility for Comcast Cable, and Shanice Williams, the young star who played Dorothy in “The Wiz Live!”
Students, are you taking geometry this fall? Teachers, do you need a tool to help your blind students with geometry? Check out the Tactile Caliper at National Braille Press. Created and produced by Squirrel Devices, the Tactile Caliper improves access to geometry and other STEM subjects. It looks like a traditional caliper. Whole inches are embossed in braille across the top of the ruler, while fractions are dynamically displayed in braille on a sliding jaw – as you move the jaw, the braille refreshes to the nearest 16th of an inch.
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302; phone toll-free 1-800-548-7323, or (617) 266-6160; or visit http://www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/CALIPER.html?id=mpea8Gj7.
New Tactile Print-and-Braille Books
Seedlings Braille Books for Children is offering 5 new tactile print-and-braille books from DK Braille. Choose from: “Shapes,” “Counting,” “Animals,” “On the Move,” and “It Can’t Be True!” All titles in uncontracted braille and UEB. For more information, visit www.seedlings.org/browse.php?cat=11.
Back in stock are the ever-popular SENSEsational Alphabet books. The book incorporates visual stimuli, movement, touch, smell and sound. Feel the different textures of the horse and lizard, smell the distinctive aromas of apples and roses, move the hands of the watch, pull the zipper, and much more! For a preview, visit www.seedlings.org/browse.php?search=SENSEsational+Alphabet&field=Item_name.
For more information, call 1-800-777-8552, or visit www.seedlings.org/index.php.
Lyrics Guru Trivia Game
Al Jones Corporation, developer of the Lyrics Guru platform, announced the launch of its playing card version of the song lyrics trivia game, Lyrics Guru. In this game, the winner is the first person to collect eight cards, one of each music genre.
Want to learn more? Visit the Lyrics Guru web site at www.LyricsGuru.mobi/cards.html. It uses the APHont (TM) typeface, eight color barrier-free suits, embossed indicators and large 22-, 24- and 36-point text.
New Category on Apple’s Online Store
People with disabilities can now find equipment to suit their needs under the newly launched “Accessibility” section in Apple’s online store. Products found under this new category include accessories for Mac, iPad and iPhone devices specially designed for the needs of people with vision, physical or learning impairments.
Apple is also providing a personal pickup option for the new specialty items for customers who live within the vicinity of an Apple Store.
One of the items featured is the HumanWare Brailliant BI 32 Braille Display. This accessory allows people with vision impairments to navigate through OS X or iOS using a lightweight braille keyboard that connects to Apple devices through Bluetooth.
Another new product is the Skoog 2.0 Tactile Musical Interface for the iPad, which features multi-purpose buttons arranged on a five-sided cube. This accessory is designed to promote “expressive music making” through the help of responsive sounds made by tapping, twisting or squeezing the Skoog cube.
And that’s not all! Visit www.apple.com/us/shop/accessories/all-accessories/accessibility to see the variety of products available.
New from National Braille Press
Now available from National Braille Press is the B2G! What is it? It’s a portable, Android-based refreshable braille computer with optional smart phone, designed specifically for blind people. The B2G allows you to add or remove apps, and to tailor your device the way that you want. It has an 8-dot braille keyboard, space bar, navigation pad, forward and back buttons, as well as a 20-cell refreshable braille display. The user interface includes many of the command sets used by traditional braille notetakers, as well as some new ones.
New in books is “Everything You Need to Know to Use the Mac with El Capitan and VoiceOver” by Janet Ingber. It’s available in braille, BRF, Word, text file, or DAISY. It explains how to use VoiceOver, learn the keyboard layout, choose preferences, navigate text, surf the web, and use many of the standard applications that come with the Mac, such as Apple Mail, Safari, iTunes, and TextEdit. It covers different models of MacBook and iMac.
Also available is “Anyone Can Play: Accessible Games for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.” It’s available in braille (1 vol.), BRF, Word, DAISY, or ePub.
If you enjoy traveling, you may want to read “Out and About: Our Favorite iOS Travel Apps,” by Judy Dixon and Doug Wakefield. It’s available in braille, as well as BRF, Word, or DAISY.
Looking to eat healthy? Take a look at “121 Good Eating Tips.” Everyone can use reliable advice on how to develop and maintain good eating habits. The advice in this special report has been compiled by the staff of scientists and nutritionists at NutritionAction.com. Their goal: to help you develop and maintain good eating habits – day in and day out. You’ll learn which are the best basic foods to eat; how to prepare dips, soups, and tasty side dishes; quick tips for easy main courses, healthy snacks and desserts; and simple ways to eat healthier. Also included in the book are shopping advice and safe food-handling pointers.
Over in the children’s section, kids are cheering for “The Day the Crayons Came Home” by Drew Dawalt. It’s available in contracted UEB, for ages 4 and up. Duncan faces a new group of crayons asking to be rescued and returned to the crayon box. Every color has its own story; maroon was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broke in two after Dad sat on him, turquoise got stuck to one of Duncan’s socks after going through the dryer, and pea green ran away. We won’t spoil the rest of the story for you; check it out at www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1606-CRAYHOME.html?id=fBpgwuYd.
For more information, contact National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302; phone toll-free 1-800-548-7323, or (617) 266-6160; or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.
Orbis Flying Eye Hospital
Orbis, the international charity that fights blindness around the world, recently unveiled its new Flying Eye Hospital. More than six years in the making, the third-generation Flying Eye Hospital is the world’s only mobile ophthalmic teaching hospital on board an aircraft.
The flying hospital features 3D technology and live broadcast capabilities. It is equipped with everything the Orbis medical team needs to provide hands-on training to local eye care professionals and convey the knowledge to save and restore sight for patients in their own countries. The plane also includes a 46-seat classroom, state-of-the-art AV/IT room, patient care and laser treatment room, operating room, sterilization room and a pre-and post-operative care room
Life Coaching Available
Have you been thinking of making positive life changes with tangible results? Are you seeking clarity in defining and implementing personal, professional or spiritual goals? Have you been struggling with broken relationships that you sincerely long to repair? Are there hidden gifts, talents or passions that you’d like to discover within yourself and share with the world?
If you’ve answered yes to some or all of these soul-searching questions, then you have come to the right place — LightSource Coaching! We offer life coaching, specializing in personal development, relationship coaching, and spiritual growth.
Coaching can be short- or long-term; the usual frequency of sessions is 2-4 times a month for 3-6 months. Sessions typically last from 1-2 hours, according to clients’ needs, availability and budget. If you are interested in working with a certified life coach, contact Kathleen Prime at Kathleen@lightsourcecoaching.com.
The Selective Doctor, Inc. specializes in the repair of Perkins braillers. Repairs are $65 for labor, plus the cost of parts. You can send your brailler via U.S. mail to The Selective Doctor, Inc., P.O. Box 571, Manchester, MD 21102. The company accepts free matter shipping. For more information, call (410) 668-1143, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.selectivedoctor.com.
New Facebook Groups
Adrijana Prokopenko has created a Facebook group for blind pen pals. It currently has 1,200 members from all over the world. To join, look for blind penpals on Facebook.
She has also created a Facebook group for those who wish to help blind people get used or donated blindness items for free, and another group for international travelers who are blind to discuss past and present travel experiences. If you would like to support them in getting the items they need, or are in need of some, search for “give and get blind items” on Facebook, or e-mail her at email@example.com. To join the international travelers group, search for “blind international travelers” on Facebook and click the “join” button when the page comes up. If you have further questions, e-mail her at the address above.
Branco Broadcast is a weekly conference call that features a special guest each week. Would you like to join the call? Contact Bob Branco, firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will add you to the list. It is usually held either on Monday evenings at 7 p.m. Eastern, or Tuesdays at 3 p.m. Eastern.
So far there have been more than 25 shows, with guests having covered topics such as high technology, online dating, teaching, job coaching, writing, recording, network marketing, the employment rate of the blind, and how to get a guide dog. If you’re interested in being a featured guest, please include that information in your e-mail message.