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.


The American Printing House has created new digital talking book software. The Book Wizard program is available in two versions, Reader and Producer. The programs allow users to read and create DAISY/NISO 2002 Digital Talking Books. For more information about the features and pricing, visit or call 1-800-223-1839.


"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," the seventh and final book in J.K. Rowling's magical Harry Potter series, will be released on July 21, 2007. By arrangement with the book's publisher, Scholastic Press, National Braille Press is pleased to announce that the braille edition of the book will again be ready on the same day as the print edition. Pre-orders are now being taken for hard-copy braille, PortaBook, and downloadable braille files. The price for orders placed before the release date will be $18.89. On or after July 21, the regular price is $34.99. To learn more, visit To order, send payment to: National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, MA 02115-4302 or call 1-800-548-7323.


The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability and Employment Policy has released a brochure to help faith-based and community organizations understand federal requirements for including people with disabilities in their programs. The brochure, "Demystifying Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act," addresses common questions relating to Section 504 requirements in plain, conversational language. The brochure is available for free at


Perkins School for the Blind has recently published "Welcoming Students with Visual Impairment to Your School: A guide for training public school personnel and families about the needs of students with vision loss." These multi-media modules, funded by a grant from The Gibney Family Foundation, have been developed to provide vision professionals with a user-friendly resource for sharing information about students with visual impairment. Topics include an overview of visual impairment; social implications of vision loss; orientation and mobility; and low vision. The grant enables the school to offer the first 500 copies free, plus $14.99 for shipping and handling. Subsequent copies will be available for $70 plus shipping and handling. For a copy, contact Marianne Riggio at the Perkins School for the Blind, 175 N. Beacon St., Watertown, MA 02472 or call (617) 924-3434. Learn more at


AFB recently launched a new web site to connect older people who are losing their vision with the various service providers who can help. The site includes photos, videos, articles, and resource links. Other sections include Understanding Vision Loss, Finding Help and Support, Daily Living, Changing Your Home, and Fitness & Fun. Additional features and sections are being added frequently. Visit to learn more.


Dr. Gaylen Kapperman and Jodi Sticken of Northern Illinois University have developed a Nemeth code tutorial for the BrailleNote mPower family of notetakers. The tutorial consists of 18 chapters, with lessons covering everything from the basics of writing numbers up to statistics. Each lesson is broken down into four parts: an explanation of the lesson, and reading, writing and proofreading exercises. It is available as an option for the BrailleNote mPower BT and QT only, running the latest version of KeySoft. For more information, contact Richard Krafsig at Integration Technologies Group at (703) 698-8282 x262, or e-mail him, [email protected].


Monty Drespling of Flossmoor, Ill. has created The Money Reader to identify U.S. paper currency. The device is comparable in size and shape to a credit card. When a bill is inserted, a computer chip reads the currency and verbally identifies it through a speaker. The Money Reader includes an on-off switch and volume control. Monty is seeking a manufacturer to begin production and distribution of The Money Reader. If you know of a company that may be interested in manufacturing this product, contact Donna Hardiman at (843) 457-7854 and reference account 21540.


America's Career Resource Network has an on-line hub of resources available for students, parents, and professionals on career development and education. Many of its brochures have been converted to MS Word files for users who are visually impaired. Visit the site at


LevelStar has released version 1.0 of Icon, a personal digital assistant designed for people who are visually impaired. The Icon comes with life-managing software applications pre-installed, including calendar, music player, podcast, journal, voice recorder, clock, stopwatch, e-mail, web browser, word processor, RSS reader, and library options for Daisy and Bookshare books. Wi-fi and Bluetooth wireless are also built-in. The Icon works with LevelStar's Icon Docking Station, which transforms the Icon PDA into a highly functional, portable notetaker with expanded connectivity and an ergonomic keyboard. The Icon PDA is available for $1,395 alone, and $1,745 with the Icon Docking Station from LevelStar. For additional information, visit or call (303) 926-4334.


Draconis Entertainment has launched a social networking portal aimed at people who are visually impaired. is a free service that allows blind and visually impaired computer users to keep blogs, make new friends, and showcase their talents and wares in a fully accessible web-based community. Users of the service can keep a list of friends, leave comments for one another, and maintain a fully customizable profile. For additional information, or to try out the service, visit


"Physical Disabilities: The Ultimate Teen Guide," by Denise Thornton, provides a road map through tribulations teens with disabilities face by showing the methods, mechanisms, and resources other teens are using to cope with their disabilities. Interviews with teens who are meeting the challenges of living with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, osteosarcoma, amputations, visual impairment, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, paralysis, hearing impairment, and deafness are included. The book is organized into eight categories: school; tools and technology; transportation and access; sports; the arts; relationships; independence; and advocacy. Each chapter combines the experiences of teens and young adults in all these spheres with up-to-date information on the resources that readers can call on as they follow their own dreams. The book is available through all mainstream bookstores; by calling Scarecrow Press, Inc. at 1-800-462-6420; or by visiting Orders through the publisher's web site receive an automatic 15 percent discount.

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