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 [email protected], 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.
DOJ Unveils New Online ADA Complaint Form
The Department of Justice now has available an online form for individuals wishing to file ADA complaints. It can be filled out and submitted directly from the web site. Filers will also immediately receive a reference number that can be used whenever contacting the Department about that complaint. To view the form, visit www.ada.gov. Effective March 15, 2015, e-mail complaints will no longer be accepted by the Department. However, complaints will still be accepted by U.S. mail. Contact the Department's ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TTY) to receive a paper complaint form by mail.
Visionary Award Winner
The Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College will present Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer with the 2015 CCVIP Matthew P. Sapolin Visionary Award at the 8th Annual Employment and Visual Impairment Conference on Policy & Practice: Making It Happen. Named after the late commissioner for Bloomberg’s office for People with Disabilities, the award is intended to recognize and honor someone who has made an outstanding and long-lasting contribution to the advancement, well-being and full participation of people who are blind or visually impaired in all aspects of life in New York City. Brewer has been an advocate for pedestrian safety for people who are blind or visually impaired since 2007.
Still Waiting for the Migraine Book?
Are you still waiting for the little migraine book that Ojocion Ingram has talked with 21 of you about? You can download it for free from http://livinganyway.com/wp/the-little-big-headache-book-2/! It’s called “The Little Big Headache Book, A Fellow Sufferer’s Home Remedy Guide” by Ojocion Ingram. Get it while it’s free! The cover will be on Instagram.
New Books Available from NBP
“A House Is a House for Me” by Mary Ann Hoberman, for ages preschool and up, is now available from National Braille Press. It is in contracted braille, with a blank line between each line of braille. Please note that this book is transcribed in Unified English Braille (UEB). A cheat sheet with special/new UEB characters is included.
Where does everyone and everything live? In this rollicking book about houses, some are familiar like ant hills or dog kennels. And others are surprising, like corn husks and pea pods.
For more information about this book, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/BC1503-HOUSE.html, or call 1-800-548-7323.
Over in the adult section, there’s “Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS 8 Step-by-Step Instructions for Blind Users” by Anna Dresner. It’s available in braille, eBraille (BRF), Word, ASCII text, ePub, or DAISY formats. If you like step-by-step tutorials, you'll appreciate the detailed way in which you're guided through setting up your phone, loading and backing up music, contacts, etc., placing calls, entering text, using a Bluetooth keyboard and braille display, and more. If you prefer to look up the commands you need, you'll love the first appendix, which lists every gesture and button on the phone in an organized manner so you can find the one you want.
Other appendices include troubleshooting tips and a list of resources to help you learn more. Most of the book is relevant for iPod Touch users, and since the layout of many iPhone 6 Plus screens resembles that of corresponding iPad screens, iPad users should find this edition useful as well.
Want more information about this book? Visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/IPHONE-IOS8.html, or call the number above.
Cloud-Based Document Accessibility
Actuate Corporation-The BIRT Company™, Braille Works, and Venatôre recently announced a collaboration to deliver Cloud508, the industry’s first cloud-based document accessibility service for U.S. federal government agencies. The new Cloud508 service is designed to support Section 508 compliance, while reducing cost and complexity from traditional processes to assist people who are visually impaired.
The collaboration will integrate Actuate’s patented PDF Accessibility technology, taking high-volume documents and turning them into fully accessible, standards-compliant PDF format; Braille Works’ more than 20 years of accessibility expertise and design best practices; and Venatôre’s secure cloud infrastructure and engineering required by government agencies.
Together, this joint offering helps government agencies meet compliance by automating the conversion of some of the most important and broadly used documents such as tax, health and other notices and statements, into accessible PDF, braille, audio and large-print formats to assist and provide equal access to people with visual impairments.
Cloud508 is only available in the U.S.
WRBH Launches Web Site
WRBH 88.3 in New Orleans is the only full-time reading service on the FM dial in the U.S. and 1 of just 3 in the world, and now, it has its own information-packed web site! What’s the URL? It’s www.wrbh.org, and it makes information more accessible for the visually impaired and streams live broadcasts worldwide. The station’s more than 200 volunteers make 24 hours of programming, 365 days a year possible.
WRBH’s programming includes: “The Wall Street Journal,” “Newsweek,” “Time,” “The Onion,” weekly and monthly magazines, area publications, listings of local events, short stories, and both fiction and non-fiction books, including current bestsellers like “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” by Michael Lewis and “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr.
For the full broadcast schedule and information, visit the programming or news and event sections of www.wrbh.org.
Internet-Based TV Services and Apps
Like many blind people, David Goldfield grew up enjoying television along with sighted peers and watched/listened to TV programs on a daily basis, along with audio drama and the radio in general. With Internet-based TV, we are now able to enjoy many of today's TV shows not only on our TV but on our accessible devices, such as an iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, etc. We are not limited to today's programs, either; we can also enjoy many of the classic shows we grew up with, such as “I Love Lucy,” “Lost in Space” and “Star Trek,” among many others.
This new freedom comes with various accessibility challenges, as some apps are more of a challenge to use than others. David has set up a mailing list for the purpose of discussing accessibility issues with Internet-based TV services. It won’t be discussing specific show; instead, it will facilitate discussion with questions, answers, tips and tricks for using your favorite Internet TV service with speech, braille or low-vision solutions. He would also like the list to facilitate some advocacy, such as contacting the developers of these services to alert them to accessibility issues or relevant bugs. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to [email protected]. In the subject field of the message, type the word “subscribe” (without the quotes) and send the message.
For more information, visit www.davidgoldfield.info.
New Executive Director for Ramah
Howard Blas has been appointed director of the National Ramah Tikvah Network, in order to promote the growth of programming for campers with disabilities within the Ramah movement and beyond. Blas, who has served as the director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England for 14 years, is an award-winning disabilities educator who is widely recognized as a leading national expert and spokesperson on behalf of inclusion and Jewish education for young people with disabilities.
He will work closely with national Ramah staff including Orlee Krass, who currently coordinates staff training for the National Ramah Tikvah Network, focusing on helping camps expand their offerings in this area, the training of staff for Ramah and other Jewish camps, advocacy for the field, and strengthening the networking among parents, professional staff, summer staff, and donors.
Williams Joins Office of Public Engagement
Taryn Mackenzie Williams has joined the White House Office of Public Engagement as an associate director, where she will be our liaison to the disability community. Taryn joins OPE from the U.S. Department of Labor, where she served as a senior policy advisor with the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). Taryn, who lives with ulcerative colitis and arthritis, is a passionate supporter of the rights of individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions. She can be reached at [email protected].
‘And That’s How I See It’
“And That’s How I See It,” selected commentaries by Larry P. Johnson, is now available in booklet format or as a 2-CD audio set. It includes 31 provocative, humorous and insightful commentaries from his popular newspaper column, including: a hope for a better tomorrow, disability does not mean inability, and turning 80 has its privileges. Contact Larry Johnson, 10863 Lake Path Dr., San Antonio, TX 78217. Include your e-mail address so that he can acknowledge receipt of your order.
Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind
Do you know anyone who would like to experience the joy, magic and independence of Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind? Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind in Napa, Calif. is one of the only programs of its kind dedicated to blind, visually impaired, deaf-blind and multi-disabled participants. Since 1950 Enchanted Hills has been a place for campers of all ages to make friends, try new things and have unparalleled opportunities to explore and create. We are proud to announce our sessions for 2015 including our new horse camp, STEM camp, music academy and more!
2015 camp sessions include the following:
- Family Camp, for families with children 17 and under, with visually impaired children or parents, features three sessions. Session 1 runs June 11-14; session 2, July 9-12; and session 3, July 29-August 1.
- Blind Babies Family Camp will be held June 19-21. It was created for families of visually impaired children from birth to age 6.
- This year’s adult session will be held June 27-July 2. It is designed for active, independent adults. Activities include swimming, horseback riding and much more.
- Camp for adults with special needs will be held July 3-8. It is designed to serve developmentally delayed and cognitively impaired campers age 21 and over.
- Youth session, for children in grades 3 through 8, will be held July 13-19.
- New this year is TouchSTEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). It will be held July 15-18, and will focus on science, technology, engineering and math for ages 11 to 15.
- The teen session will be held July 20-26, for youth in 9th through 12th grades. Its activities are geared toward promoting leadership.
- New this year is the Music Academy for blind and visually impaired musicians ages 14 to 25. It will be held Aug. 2-8.
- Also new this year is horse camp, which will be held Aug. 2-8. It is for independent visually impaired novice riders 16 to 24 years of age, who are interested in the best ways to work with horses.
- Last but not least is the deaf-blind session, Aug. 9-13. It is for adults 21 and over with dual sensory loss, with an emphasis on vocational training.
To apply or learn more, call (415) 694-7310 or visit www.enchantedhillscamp.org.
Vegan Starter Kit for the Blind
PETA recently released an HTML version of its popular, free vegan starter kit for screen-reading software. The kit has all the text on one page so that users don't have to navigate away to other pages. The new version also uses code that makes it easier for the screen reader to read the page.
To check out to PETA's new vegan starter kit for the blind, visit www.peta.org/living/food/vegan-starter-kit-html/. To get a free copy of the kit for sighted people, visit www.peta.org/living/food/free-vegan-starter-kit/.
Unwritten Hope Blog
Unwritten Hope is a movement by a group of alternative thinkers calling people to see each other as partners in life, and to work together to rewrite our future as a global society. The hub of this movement is our blog, planethope.tumblr.com. We are looking for those interested to write for us. Contact us at [email protected].
Are your brailler keys sluggish or sticking? Does it need a tune-up? Bring your brailler back to life! The Selective Doctor, Inc. specializes in the repair of Perkins braillers. Send your brailler to The Selective Doctor, Inc., PO Box 571, Manchester, MD 21102 via U.S. mail. The company accepts free matter shipping. Be sure to insure your brailler; the company recommends you insure it for $400. If you need more information, call the company at (410) 668-1143 or e-mail [email protected]. Or you may check the web site, www.selectivedoctor.com.