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.
MORSE APPOINTED TO NY STATE COMMISSION BOARD
Alan R. Morse, president and CEO of The Jewish Guild for the Blind, was recently appointed by Gov. Eliot Spitzer to serve as a member of the newly created Executive Board of New York State's Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Morse's term will be for three years. NEW
TECHNOLOGY IN THE WORKS
A team of researchers from five institutions, led by The City College of New York, has been awarded $330,000 over three years from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a tactile surface that can facilitate communication between visually impaired and blind people and computers. Right now, braille displays can only share text-based information. The researchers hope to develop a viable dynamic tactile interface that allows graphic and pictorial information to be presented in real time in tactile rather than visual space. Through focus groups with both sighted and blind individuals, researchers expect to obtain feedback on how touch can best convey visual graphic displays, how much the material needs to change for optimal tactile detection and what is the best way to receive the information.
ReadThisToMe is a new free service that allows blind and low-vision people to have printed documents read to them over the phone. The blind person simply faxes the document to be read to the ReadThisToMe toll-free fax number: 1-877-333-8848. The first page of the fax must include the client's first name and a phone number where he/she may be reached. The document itself can be just about anything: a handwritten letter, a bill, a can of food, a multi-page magazine article -- just about anything that can be faxed. Then, one of ReadThisToMe's volunteer readers will call the client back and read the document. The service is available throughout the U.S. and is free, though donations and business sponsorships are accepted. For more information, visit www.ReadThisToMe.org, call 1-877-333-8847, or e-mail [email protected].
AFB'S TALKING BOOK ARCHIVES
The American Foundation for the Blind has launched its web-based Talking Book Archives, celebrating the birth of the Talking Book. Thanks to a generous grant from the Carnegie Foundation, which funded AFB's first efforts to use audio technology for blind readers in 1932, an electronic finding aid to this historic collection is now available online. The archival finding aid is accompanied by a multimedia exhibit, including audio clips from celebrated narrators, letters, press clippings, and photographs from the collection. This exhibit was funded by The New York Times Company Foundation. The archives are available at www.afb.org/talkingbook.
DISNEY BOOK FOR DISABLED
"Walt Disney World (R) with Disabilities" contains in-depth descriptions of the physical and emotional "feel" of Disney World attractions. It's also filled with a wide variety of tips for increasing comfort and avoiding problems at Disney for people with a serious health condition or disability. In addition to ride descriptions, the book also offers information on Disney's special services, as well as expert advice regarding: how to get your needs met in the parks, resorts and restaurants; details on handling medication and medical equipment; meeting special dietary needs; transportation; wheelchair use; and dealing with specific conditions in the parks and resorts. "Walt Disney World (R) with Disabilities" is available on the web at www.Diz-Abled.com. It is also available from www.Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com.
TV LISTINGS ONLINE
There is a helpful web site that provides TV listings. When you enter your zip code and select your TV service provider, it gives an easy-to-read listing. To try this site, visit wireless.tvguide.com.
HELP ST. JUDE
Imagine hearing these words: "Your child has cancer." Prior to 1962, when St. Jude Children's Research Hospital opened, these words would have been a virtual death sentence. But one man, the late entertainer Danny Thomas, had a dream that "no child should die in the dawn of life." Donor support has helped St. Jude fulfill Danny's promise that no child be turned away because of a family's inability to pay. Eighty-five cents of every dollar St. Jude receives goes directly to research and treatment. And there are many ways to help with the hospital's life-saving work. You can make a donation to honor a friend, relative, your wedding guests, or others. St. Jude has a selection of electronic and print greeting cards to fit many occasions including birthdays, anniversaries, and seasonal greetings. For more information, visit www.stjude.org/tribute, call 1-800-873-6983, or send your donation to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, PO Box 1000, Dept. 174, Memphis, TN 38148-0174.
SEEKING FLORIDA SCHOOL HERALDS
I am looking for Heralds from the Florida School for the Blind. Those include Sept. 1948 through May 1959. If anyone has any of these, please contact Tom Fillyaw, 1201 SW 3rd Ave., Lake Butler, FL 32054-2814, or by phone, (386) 496-8189. Or you may e-mail him, [email protected]. In the subject line, please mention School Heralds.
WORK FOR ENVISION
Are you interested in working for Envision? Envision has immediate openings in manufacturing, retail sales, printing, and administration, in Kansas and throughout the United States. If you haven't worked in a while, we can help you with job skills training. And through education assistance, you can create new opportunities and realize greater independence. Envision is a Kansas-based private, non-profit agency. Revenue from the sale of our manufactured products and our base service stores helps fund vision rehabilitation services for people who are blind or low vision. To learn more, visit www.envisionus.com or e-mail Mark Benson at [email protected]. You may also call toll-free (888) 425-7072 or fax us at (316) 267-4312.
A national magazine is seeking a highly motivated salesperson to sell ads. Must have tremendous networking and people skills. For more information, contact Bob at (508) 994-4972 or e-mail him at [email protected].
'WORDS IN MY HANDS'
Diane Chambers has a degree in therapeutic recreation and is a sign language interpreter. She has also written, "Words in My Hands: A Teacher, A Deaf-Blind Man, An Unforgettable Journey." This is a true story about Bert Riedel, an elderly deaf-blind man who played classical piano. Before he lost his sight and hearing to Usher syndrome, he was a dentist in Lombard, Ill. Diane met Bert when he was 86 years old and taught him how to read tactile sign language. While the story illustrates psychosocial factors that complicate the disabilities of deafness and deaf-blindness, it carries an inspirational message as well. It shows that miracles can happen where there are dedicated professionals and caregivers. For more information about the book, visit www.ellexapress.citymax.com or contact Diane Chambers at (303) 591-1040.
"As I See It" by Robert Theodore Branco is a collaboration of events and facts presented by a blind adult. It discusses a wide variety of topics relating to blindness, including discrimination, myths, adaptive technology, training, legislation, etc. The book's ISBN is 9781434323521 and is available through www.authorhouse.com.
DEALING WITH VISION LOSS BOOK Blind since birth, Fred Olver has devoted his life to demolishing stereotypes and breaking down barriers, and as a rehabilitation teacher, he has taught others facing vision loss to do the same. Now Olver presents a comprehensive guide for anyone directly or indirectly affected by vision loss in his new book, "Dealing With Vision Loss" (published by AuthorHouse). Olver offers answers and hope for individuals losing their vision, their family members, parents of visually impaired children, those who interact with the visually impaired on a regular basis and people interested in pursuing a degree to work with the visually impaired. "Dealing with Vision Loss" is also a vast resource of practical information, explaining how to find everything from talking watches to braille playing cards to magnifiers. For more information, go to www.dealingwithvisionloss.com, or contact Fred Olver at (314) 226-9699.
OCUTECH VES SPORT
Ocutech Vision Enhancing Systems recently introduced the VES (R) Sport bioptic telescope system. It is a bioptic telescope system with state-of- the-art design, bright images and a wide field of view. The VES Sport is intended for individuals with vision loss affecting central vision. It is available in jewel and metallic colors. For more information, contact Ocutech at 1-800-326-6460, e-mail [email protected], or visit www.ocutech.com.
GOVERNMENT MADE EASY
Have questions about Social Security, passports, government auctions and more? Now there's an easy way to get answers. Visit www.USA.gov, your official source for all the federal, state and local government information you need. Or call 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636). SOFTWARE UPDATE FOR NETECHO Internet Speech has recently updated its netECHO software that allows anyone to access the Internet using any phone and user's voice, without a computer. Users can surf, search, do e-mail, listen to online books, listen to streaming audio and much more just by talking and listening. To learn more, visit www.InternetSpeech.com or contact Emdad Khan at (408) 532-9630.
Richards Vending currently offers magnification products and other items that could be useful for individuals who are visually impaired. The Owl Magnifier fits any flip-style cell phone and enlarges the print to twice the size. Quik Top Lids fit over any size bottle/container in the refrigerator to avoid spilling. The lids can be used both as a can opener and coaster. These items are available by wholesale, bulk orders, or by the individual piece through various distributors. To learn more, visit www.RichardsVending.com. [spell]
Tutoring is available for grades 1 and 2 braille by telephone, e-mail, and in person. Braille instruction for use of slate and stylus, braille laptops, and Perkins braillers can be given. Lessons are $5 per hour. To learn more, contact Edward Zolotarevsky by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at (908) 470-1533.
For almost two years now, www.Dating4Disabled.com has provided people with disabilities the opportunity to meet others, make friends and share resources from the comfort of their own homes. The site offers discussion forums, instant messaging, a chat room, and blogs as ways for its members to get to know each other at no charge. Members can search the networking database of more than 8,000 fellow members for a potential match. More information is available at www.Dating4Disabled.com. CASSETTE TAPE CLUB Bill South would like to make new friends by starting a correspondence club -- cassettes and/or braille letters in uncontracted braille. He enjoys country and western music, listening to the St. Louis Cardinals baseball games and the Kansas City Royals games, and football games too. Write to him at 701 N. Jeffries St., Mexico, MO 65265. Or you may call him at (573) 581-1740.
TURKISH SCHOOL NEEDS HELP
The people of Ankara, Turkey have recently opened the country's first-ever school for children who are visually impaired. They are in need of two Perkins braille writers and a braille printer. If you can help, e-mail Adil Ko‡ak, the school's director, at [email protected].
WEB SITE DESIGN
Are you in need of a web site or a webmaster to create it? For rates and information, contact Christine at [email protected] or visit konawebsite.angelfire.com. Be sure to let her know where you heard of her web-building service.
SECOND CHANCE TO LIVE
Craig J. Philips welcomes you to visit his web site, Second Chance to Live. Available at secondchancetolive.wordpress.com, the site presents topics in such a way to encourage, motivate and empower the reader to live life on life's terms. As a traumatic brain injury survivor, Craig speaks from his experience, strength and hope. As a professional, he provides information to encourage, motivate and empower both disabled and non-disabled individuals to not give up on their process.