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 E-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.
Talking Thermostats Closes
The ACB national office recently received a letter from Harry Cohen, informing us that Talking Thermostats.com was closing. With the closure of the business, product questions and warranty issues now revert back to BuyMax Alliance, the VIP 3000 manufacturer/supplier. BuyMax Alliance can be reached at 1-866-936-6622.
Congratulations to Jay Doudna!
Jay Doudna recently received the Jim Aronson Founders Award from Slippery Rock University’s Media Hall of Fame. Jay spent most of his career working in the radio reading service field, including the Lancaster Association for the Blind and the Radio Information Center for the Blind in Philadelphia. He also served on the board of the International Association of Audio Information Services. Known on air as “the Jaybird,” Doudna worked at WNFT at Slippery Rock University, and helped build the station’s music library. He is now retired and living in Oklahoma with his wife, Elaine.
Distinguished Alumni Award
Congratulations to Nanci Sumner for receiving Overbrook’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award. Nanci studied medical transcription at the Goodwin Business Institute in Pittsburgh, and was employed for 35 years as a clerk-typist for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Newel Perry Award Winner
Catherine Skivers received the Newel Perry Award for enduring and effective leadership at the LightHouse’s gala awards celebration in San Francisco, Calif. Cathy’s commitment to the furtherance of the blindness community is rooted in California, but felt throughout the world. Holding many leadership roles through her career, including president of the California Council of the Blind, she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to equity, dignity and authenticity for blind people everywhere.
Swan Receives Envision-Atwell Award
Garrett Swan, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research fellow at the Schepens Eye Research Institute of Massachusetts Eye and Ear in Boston, received the 11th annual Envision-Atwell Award for outstanding efforts in low vision research. Swan studied the different ways in which individuals with complete hemianopic field loss scan on their blind and seeing sides to detect potential hazards. His findings could help improve training in compensatory strategies for vision loss and suggest improvements to assistive technologies.
Ski for Light Makes Tracks for Wyoming
The 45th annual Ski for Light International Week will take place from Feb. 9 through 16, 2020, in Casper, Wyo. This is a new venue for the event. Participants will stay at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center and ski at the Casper Mountain Outdoor Center at McMurry Mountain Park. The Center has 42 kilometers of wide cross-country trails.
During the week, each skier will be paired with an experienced, sighted cross-country skier who acts as ski instructor and on-snow guide. Most blind and/or mobility impaired adults leave Ski for Light with a sense of accomplishment and motivation that carries over to every aspect of their lives. Many volunteer guides return year after year and most discover that in the process of giving of themselves they get much more back in return.
If you have never attended what many have called “the experience of a lifetime,” join us on an epic adventure in Wyoming. For more information, visit www.sfl.org, or contact Visually Impaired Participant Recruitment Chair Melinda Hollands at (231) 590-0986 or [email protected].
Hadley Returns to Home Base
Following an 11-month renovation featuring major additions to the campus, the Hadley staff is now back in its corporate offices at 700 Elm Street. The move-in comes ahead of the nonprofit’s 100th anniversary in 2020. Originally built in the 1950s, the building’s extensive structural modifications increased the safety and accessibility of the building by adding sprinklers, an elevator, and updated wiring. The renovation also increased Hadley’s general office area and collaboration spaces, with several areas dedicated for outreach and education.
Technological advances built into the construction include an expanded audio-visual studio and virtual reality screening room. The entire restoration project allows Hadley to better meet the needs of older individuals with vision loss from age-related diseases such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
BrailleNote Touch Plus
The BrailleNote Touch Plus is now available! Powered by Android Oreo and driven by KeySoft, the BrailleNote Touch Plus gives its users all the efficiency they need. And since it is compatible with most third-party applications, it includes books available for download, allowing for quick and easy book reading.
BrailleNote Touch Plus comes with Dolphin’s EasyReader Plus application installed.
HumanWare is offering a “Boost Up” plan to enable all those who own a BrailleNote Touch to upgrade to a BrailleNote Touch Plus. For more information, contact HumanWare at 1-800-722-3393, or via email, [email protected].
Now Available from NBP
Just in time for school, newly available is “The Periodic Table of Elements,” by Tactile Vision Graphics, Inc. It comes in English braille-American edition (not UEB). It features textured squares to represent the different classes of elements, and a braille chart with important data.
Also new is “Format Your Word Documents with JAWS and NVDA: A Guide for Students and Professionals” by David Kingsbury. It is available in braille, BRF, DAISY, or Word. The book covers using ribbon menus; font, paragraph, and margin settings; adding headers that adhere to academic style guide requirements; headings and styles; constructing tables; managing citations and bibliographies; tools for proofreading and review, and more. An appendix with a list of keystrokes is included for convenient reference. You can also download a set of files with practice exercises to hone your skills.
Puzzle lovers will enjoy “Will Shortz’s Mind Games: 100 Alphabet Riddles,” available in braille (two volumes) or BRF. It contains 100 of his popular initial puzzles, where every answer is a familiar two-word phrase having the same pair of initials.
For more information on any of these books, call NBP toll-free at 1-800-548-7323, or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.
Tokyo Paralympic Games Torch Contains Braille
To read the full announcement online, go to https://tinyurl.com/yylahms2.
The organizing committee of the 2020 Tokyo Games has unveiled the Paralympic version of the official torch, which uses the braille alphabet and differs from the Olympic torch in color. Both the Paralympic and Olympic torches for next year’s games make use of Japan’s iconic “sakura” cherry blossoms in their design. This is to suggest a sense of hope that aligns with the theme of the Olympics and Paralympics as spotlighting the Tohoku region’s reconstruction from the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami that devastated three prefectures.
Each torch has the braille text of four words that exemplify the meaning of the games as well as symbols indicating the torch’s front to those with visual impairments. The theme of the Paralympic relay is “share your light.” The Paralympic flame ceremony will begin Aug. 13 with the first flame-lighting festivals in several cities. On Aug. 21, 2020, the different flames will come together in Tokyo, where they will be combined for a final relay around the capital leading up to the opening ceremony on Aug. 25.