by Sue Lichtenfels

The announcement of products and services in this column is not an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its staff, or elected officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Braille Forum" cannot be held responsible for the reliability of products and services mentioned.

To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or call ACB at 1-800-424-8666 and leave a message in mailbox 26. Please remember that postal regulations prohibit us from including advertisements, and that we need information two months ahead of actual publication dates.


ENTRY POINT!, a program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), is accepting applications for its 2008 summer internship program. ENTRY POINT! offers paid, 10-week internships and semester co-ops in major companies throughout the United States, including NASA, IBM, NOAA, Merck, Lockheed Martin, Google, CVS, and NAVAIR. To qualify, students must: be full-time undergraduate or graduate students; be a science, mathematics, engineering, business, or computer science major; have at least a B average GPA, and be a U.S. citizen. For more information, contact Laureen Summers at (202) 326-6649 or [email protected] You can apply online at While applications will be accepted through April, the placement process begins as early as January for some corporations.


The results are in from the third IBSA Tenpin Bowling Championships, and Team USA did very well. Marie Van Liere of Newport News, Va. earned the team's first gold medal in the B2 women's scratch event. She followed that up with a silver medal in the women's handicap event. Melody Heath of Greensboro, N.C. earned a bronze medal in the B1 women's handicap event. Jack Lenk of St. Louis took home a silver medal in the B1 men's scratch event; Gar Giddings (Ramsey, Minn.) brought home the bronze. In the three- person team event, Van Liere, Lenk and Jim Fleming (Roanoke, Va.) won a bronze medal in the handicap division. In the four-person team event, Van Liere, Lenk, Fleming and Herbert Everett (Raleigh, N.C.) captured the bronze in the handicap division.


Dr. Barry Hughes at Arizona State University is conducting a research study to investigate how the fingers and brain work together during braille reading. Based on the results, he hopes to develop some ideas for how to improve its teaching and learning. Hughes seeks individuals to take part in one or more studies (up to a maximum of six) which will take no more than 90 minutes each. The research will involve participants reading sample braille text of various lengths and word familiarity. The study will measure the position of the dominant reading finger and its speed as the participant reads. Qualified study participants must: be over 21; be a good reader of both English and braille; have no usable residual vision; and have no disability other than blindness. Participants will be paid $25 per study and transportation can be provided to and from the ASU Tempe campus. For more information, or to participate, contact Barry Hughes by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (480) 334-5374.


The Josephine L. Taylor Leadership Institute will take place April 4- 5, 2008 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott. Room rates are $145 per night plus tax. Call 1-800-228-9290 to make your reservation. The conference registration fee is $345. You may register online at For more information, call 1-800-232-5463.


Ai Squared recently released ZoomText USB, a portable program on a USB memory drive that fits in your pocket or around your neck on the included lanyard. The drive enables users to install and run ZoomText wherever and whenever needed without having to purchase additional licensing or worry about activating each installation. Just plug in the USB drive and, if ZoomText has already been installed on the system, immediately use the software. If ZoomText hasn't been installed, a low-vision--friendly setup program launches for a quick installation. The user settings are saved back to the USB drive and load automatically each time the drive is used. For more information, visit or call 1-800-859-0270.


Microsoft and the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY) Consortium recently announced a joint development project that will make it possible for computer users who are blind or print-disabled to gain access to more written content by using assistive technology. This project will be a reference model for other Open XML solution models. It will be available on, and will yield a free, downloadable plug-in for Microsoft Word that will enable users to translate Open XML-based documents into DAISY XML, the standard for reading and publishing navigable multimedia content. When it becomes available in early 2008, the "Save as DAISY" feature will mean that people with print disabilities will have better access to the information in billions of documents.


AOL has recently launched a new web interface, Websuite Lite, which makes the dynamic Web 2.0 interface accessible for users who are blind. The team that designed the interface was led by Tom Wlodkowski, a blind man who experienced the challenges Web 2.0 applications presented firsthand. To further enhance web accessibility, AOL also released a new Javascript library that makes it easier for web developers to implement accessible features with modern Web 2.0 sites.


Victor Reader Stream, the pocket-sized portable MP3 player designed for blind and low-vision people, now has the capability to play the popular books. The Audible format provides a huge additional choice of content to users as Audible is the leading provider of spoken audio on the Internet, providing over 140,000 hours of digital audio editions of books, newspapers and magazines. For Audible books, the user will be able to navigate from one Audible heading to the next, move by increments of one-, five-, or ten-minute time jumps, and move with an accelerated fast-forward feature that announces the amount of time lapsed. Current Victor Reader Stream users will need to upgrade their player to software version 1.1 in order to play Audible books. For more information, visit


The Princeton Braillists recently released a new set of maps, "Maps of Canada and the United States." This is a single volume, 75 pages long, which includes 28 maps. There are four thematic maps (major cities, land forms, elevation and climate) of Canada and the U.S., six maps of Canada (including enlarged maps of the maritime provinces and the Great Lakes region), and 18 maps on the U.S. and its territories (including four thematic maps), maps of Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. These maps are much more detailed than those in the company's "Atlas of North and South America." "Maps of Canada and the United States" is bound with cardboard covers and a multi-ring binder, and costs $20. Shipping is by free matter, if eligible. Send check or money order to The Princeton Braillists, 76 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, N.J. 08540, and allow four weeks for delivery. For more information on other maps and atlases, visit or call (215) 357-7715 or (609) 924-5207.


Bring your brailler back to life! The Selective Doctor, Inc., specializes in the repair of Perkins braillers. Repairs cost $55 for labor, plus the cost of parts. You can send your brailler to: The Selective Doctor, Inc., P.O. Box 28432, Baltimore, MD 21234; free matter shipping is accepted. Please insure your brailler. The company will include the cost of return postal insurance to your invoice. For more information, call (410) 668-1143 or e-mail [email protected] You may also visit the web site,


America's Telability Media, a directory containing nearly 1,500 mass media resources that serve the disability community and the rehabilitation industry, is now available. It can be purchased for $60 in print, or $40 by e-mail, by calling Charlie Winston at (573) 445-7656.

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