by Sue Lichtenfels

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 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 mailbox 26. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.


Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits for more than 55 million Americans will increase 5.8 percent in January 2009. Information about the Medicare changes for 2009 can be found at


For Women Facing Cancer, a booklet from the American Cancer Society, covers some of the many questions you will have if you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with breast cancer. It explains mammograms, biopsies, cancer staging, treatment options, and breast reconstruction, and also covers how to join clinical trials and where to find emotional support. Since so many details cannot be contained in one small booklet, each section has a list of questions that you might ask your doctor or nurse. The booklet is available free in braille or PortaBook from NBP. To order it, go to or call 1-800-548-7323.


Congratulations to Mike Calvo, founder and CEO of Serotek Corp., for being named as a Technology Executive of the Year finalist for the 2008 Tekne Awards. The awards recognize Minnesota companies and individuals who have shown superior technology innovation and leadership. Born blind, Calvo committed to making a difference from a young age and today, hundreds of thousands around the world, including the elderly, visually impaired, and those with limited mobility, are using Serotek products to operate computers and access the Internet. He conceived of and led the delivery of several industry firsts, including the first Web 2.0-based accessibility software, the first Microsoft Vista-ready product line, the first accessible software-as-a-service offering, the first remote incident and remote access management systems for corporate technology support personnel, and he was the first to remove financial barriers by providing world-wide computer accessibility free of charge by donating Serotek's screen-reading product to a foundation he helped found. Additionally, Calvo established and co-sponsored with Lenovo and Microsoft the Serotek Technology Camp for Children, and launched a program for K-12 students in the United States to obtain free accessibility software for their schools.


Last month the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) presented its 15th annual Helen Keller Achievement Awards. Stephen G. Marriott, Executive Vice President of Culture for Marriott International, Inc., received the Helen Keller Personal Achievement Award for his success, as a visually impaired person, in business and industry. IBM Corp. received the Helen Keller Achievement Award in Accessibility for providing innovative and accessible products for people with vision loss. And the Helen Keller Achievement Award in Corporate Responsibility went to L'Occitane en Provence, for creating awareness of the many issues facing people with vision loss around the world, and adding braille to their packaging.


Bosma Enterprises, located in Indianapolis, Ind., is looking for temporary production workers. If you are an energetic individual who enjoys a fast-paced environment, Bosma is looking for you. The company needs individuals who are blind or visually impaired who could work 32 to 40 hours per week in the packaging area. If you are interested, contact Jodi Schultz at (317) 704-8210.


Envision is a Kansas-based non-profit organization that provides employment opportunities for people who are blind or have low vision. Full- time competitive pay positions with great benefits, including relocation assistance, medical/dental/life insurance, and retirement benefits, are available. To learn more, visit, contact Mark Benson via e-mail, [email protected], or call 1-888-425-7072.


You can help celebrate Louis Braille's bicentennial birthday by introducing Braille to the community. National Braille Press offers a free poster of Louis Braille with images from France. NBP also offers a variety of items that honor Louis Braille. They include: box of note cards for $7.99, a Braille keychain for $5, lapel pins for $5, a tactile plaque for $45, and packages of bookmarks for $8. To order any of these products, call 1-800-548-7323 or visit


Ashley Auger is conducting research on attitudes towards intimate relationships and friendships and whether there is any difference between those with visual impairment and those without when it comes to partners they choose. Theory suggests that those with some form of visual impairment may have different criteria for choosing an intimate partner than those without visual impairment, as physical attraction is less of an issue. The research will look at those with visual impairment and those without and assess a range of criteria by giving participants a questionnaire which looks at relationship wants, mate preferences and personality types. Anyone wanting to participate should log onto or e-mail ps602[email protected]. All completed surveys are due by Feb. 15, 2009.


Leader Dogs for the Blind and HumanWare have partnered to put the Trekker Breeze in the hands of guide dog users who go through the Leader Dog program. The first class to be trained in the use of the device during training will graduate in December. The 14 American students will return home with the Trekker Breeze. These students have been selected to participate in an ongoing study to determine the long-term usability and assess the functionality of the GPS device in their home environments. Leader Dog is working to secure funding to provide every student who goes to the school with a free GPS unit to complete their mobility package. For more information on this program, visit the Leader Dogs for the Blind web site at


All inPlay recently held the ACB Open, a collaboration between ACB Radio and All inPlay. The month-long online tournament included all of All inPlay's games: Five Card Draw poker, Texas Hold'em, Crazy Eights, and Tag, All inPlay's new anagram game. All inPlay is currently developing a word game based on the game show "Lingo." For more information or to sign up for a free trial, visit $5 will be donated to ACB Radio for each new paying member of All inPlay who signs up using this link. For updates on the new game, visit the All inPlay blog at


The Here and After Book is a 20-page fill-in-the-blanks handbook that outlines the disposition of everything -- from artwork to heirlooms and even your pets. The Here and After Book provides detailed instructions for those who are left behind. It makes the transition from "here" to the "after" easier, and it allows your wishes to be carried out exactly as you intended. To order this handbook, log onto Or send $12.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling to L.A. Justice, Inc., PO Box 25, Boca Raton, FL 33429. It is available on CD-ROM, in print, in Spanish and with the pink ribbon logo.


Chris Tromborg is a professor of animal behavior at Sacramento City College and of perception at the University of California-Davis. He is also an avid reader of science fiction, and has received Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact and Asimov's Science Fiction in cassette format from the National Library Service. Recently he embarked on a project to accumulate science fiction materials that focus on non-humans in science fiction for the purposes of developing a compendium. However, he did not keep hard copies of past issues to create an audio archive, and the older editions of the magazines mentioned above are no longer available. If you have back issues of the magazines (especially those produced before 2005), or know someone who might, please contact Chris Tromborg, Ph.D., 217 Baja Ave., Davis, CA 95616; phone (530) 753-2763, or e-mail [email protected]. Format is not important; he has the facilities to transcribe materials from either the older 8 1/3 RPM flexible discs or from four-track tapes. He's interested in procuring the copies on either a temporary or permanent basis, and would be willing to compensate anyone for their time and effort in locating these potentially interesting and valuable materials.


Bring your brailler back to life! The Selective Doctor, Inc. specializes in the repair of Perkins braillers. Repairs are $55 for labor, plus the cost of parts. Send your brailler to: The Selective Doctor, Inc., PO Box 28432, Baltimore, MD 21234 via U.S. mail. Free matter shipping is accepted. Be sure to insure your brailler, which will cost $5.55 (if you insure it for $400). The Selective Doctor will add the cost of return insurance to your invoice. For more information, call (410) 668-1143 or e- mail [email protected]. You may also check out the web site,

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