Attention Cassette Edition Subscribers:
At the convention and in the August/September Braille Monitor we announced that the December issue 2011 will be the last one produced on cassette. There are, of course, optional ways for cassette readers to continue to get the Monitor. If you have access to the Internet, the Monitor can be read or downloaded in Microsoft Word, as an audio MP3 file, or as a Daisy recording, meaning that it can be easily navigated by article. If you want to read the magazine in print or Braille, we continue to provide it in these formats.
Starting with the January issue, however, the Monitor will also be available on NFB-NEWSLINE®. Just access NEWSLINE using any of the options available, and the Monitor will appear in the magazines section.
If you prefer reading by listening to high-quality human narration, we can still ship the Monitor to you by mail, but instead of a cassette tape, you will receive a USB drive. These are sometimes called thumb drives or memory sticks. The digital player provided by the National Library Service has two slots for playing recorded material. The most familiar one is on the front of the unit. It accepts the special cartridge used by the Library. The second slot is found on the right side of the unit near the headphone jack, and, unless you have removed it or it has become dislodged, the slot is covered by a protective rubber pad. Removing this pad reveals an indentation in the unit where the USB drive is inserted. It will go into the unit in only one direction, so, if you encounter resistance, flip the drive over and try inserting it again. The main cartridge slot used to play books from the Library must be empty before you insert the memory stick in the right side of the player. If the main slot has a cartridge in it, the digital player will ignore the USB drive.
Once the USB drive has been inserted, the player should function just as it does when you are reading a book. Pressing the rewind or advance keys moves back or ahead by five seconds. Pressing the previous element or next element keys moves from article to article or, in some cases, moves to the next section in an article in which divisions are present. If you remove the USB drive to use the player for other material, when you again insert it, reading should resume from the place you stopped reading.
The USB drive will be every bit as functional as the cassettes we have been providing. The audio quality should be improved, along with the navigation, and the drive should last many years. If you think you will want to refer to an issue again, you are welcome to keep the drive, but, because they cost more than cassettes and can be used hundreds of times, readers willing to return the USB drives are requested to use the return address label that will be sent along with your drive. This will save money that we can use for other programs.
Current cassette readers who wish to continue receiving the Monitor after December must contact Marsha Dyer. She can handle subscription requests for print, Braille, email, or USB drive. Call her at (410) 659-9314, ext. 2344. If you do not reach her directly, please leave your information on the Publications line voicemail. Please be assured that all voicemail messages will be received, and your information will be updated prior to each month's issue being mailed out. She can also receive your request by email when you write her at <[email protected]> or by postal mail at 200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place, Baltimore, MD 21230. Be sure Marsha has your first and last name (if leaving her a voicemail, please spell both), your address, and the format in which you want to receive the Monitor. If you currently receive the Monitor in another format, you need do nothing; your subscription will continue. But please understand that, if you are currently a cassette reader, doing nothing will mean you will stop receiving the Monitor, so please think about the new options and let us know how to keep you informed.
Margaret Warren: A Life Well Lived
Margaret Warren, seventy-eight, died on August 2, 2011, at the Wesley Acres residence in Des Moines, Iowa. Federationist Cindy Ray officiated at a memorial service at Wesley Acres on August 27. Always thinking of others, Margaret donated her body to the University of Iowa School of Medicine for medical research. Memorial contributions may be sent to the American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults (formerly known as the American Brotherhood for the Blind), at 1800 Johnson Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21230.
Margaret is remembered as a unique individual with definite likes and dislikes who happened to be deaf-blind. She was born August 9, 1932, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and graduated from the Iowa School for the Blind (now the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School), in Vinton, Iowa. Over time she lost contact with most of her family until 1993 when she was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit her brother in Hawaii.
Margaret was blind from birth. During childhood she could hear and understand speech. However, she lost most of her hearing during her teen years and all of it in middle age. In 1990 she received a cochlear implant. She helped to pioneer the concept that a deaf-blind person can benefit from this technology, even if it does not result in understanding voices. She benefited from and enjoyed again hearing sounds such as the typewriter bell and running water.
For many years Margaret was the face of deaf-blindness in the NFB. In the exhibit hall at national conventions she displayed literature and offered personal conversation. People would stop and ask her questions about how one could handle being both blind and deaf, and her many NFB friends would stop to say hi and trade news.
She retained a speaking voice throughout her life. However, she needed the help of technology for anyone to speak to her. For many years this was the Tellatouch, a portable instrument with a keyboard that brings up Braille cells one at a time. She read fluently this way for many years. In later years, as her health declined, using a single cell became hard for her, so various other devices were used with varying success. During convention sessions and the banquet, a group of devoted interpreters took turns typing a live summary of the proceedings. The American Action Fund for Blind Children and Adults, as well as the Iowa Department for the Blind, helped provide equipment and services. Mary Ann Martin, Cindy Ray, and Doris Willoughby are among those who have been of help to her through the years.
Margaret was a member of the First United Methodist Church, where Lee Kline (farm director at WHO-Radio), along with other members of her Sunday School class, provided transportation and interpreting. Also on Sundays a number of friends took turns inviting Margaret over for a meal and a pleasant afternoon. She was active in the community at large--reading aloud to children and doing Braille proofreading.
At a local NFB meeting in Des Moines some years ago, members were talking about their personal backgrounds, and Margaret said that she had no family. One of the other members said, "Tell Margaret that she is wrong. We are all her family!" Deeply moved, the interpreter repeated these words to Margaret on the Tellatouch. This message is still the same, and we will all miss Margaret’s indomitable spirit.
Independence Market Corner:
For your information the following 2012 calendars are available through the NFB Independence Market:
American Action Fund Braille Calendar: Comb-bound, pocket-sized Braille calendar measures 6 by 6 1/2 inches. Each calendar page includes the days of the month and lists major holidays. A page for personal notes is in the back. Available free of charge.
Large Print Calendar: Spiral-bound large print appointment calendar measuring 8 1/2 by 11 inches with inside pockets. Each month is displayed on two facing pages and features two-inch blocks for each day of the month. The months are tabbed and include a section for monthly notes as well as a three-month calendar overview. $10.00 plus shipping and handling.
Large Print Planner: Featuring easy-to-read large print, This new spiral-bound 146-page organizer measures 8 1/2 by 11 inches. All calendar views are spread over two pages and include current and upcoming year-at-a-glance views, twelve monthly and fifty-three weekly views, and pages for names and addresses, notes, and personal information. $20.00 plus shipping and handling.
For more information contact the NFB Independence Market by email at <[email protected]> or by phone at (410) 659-9314, extension 2216, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. eastern time.
Deaf-Blind Division Report:
This convention was active and productive for the Deaf-Blind Division. We had inspiring speakers at the general business meeting on Wednesday, July 6, and of course the T-shirt table in the exhibit hall kept us busy. This was the seventeenth consecutive year for puffy Braille T-shirts.
President Burnell Brown, assisted by several members of the Deaf-Blind Division, worked to fold and present the T-shirts with puffy Braille and print during the setup of the exhibit hall. This year the colors were definitely characteristic of Florida sunshine--hot pink, lime green, and aquatic blue—and the T-shirt table was very busy.
Many people made requests of the national office and the Deaf-Blind Division to provide interpreting services for the growing number of attendees with hearing loss and deafness. The annual meeting Wednesday, July 6, was a beehive of activity as people from all over the country came together to share their convention experiences as well as their need for improved communication. Two guest speakers offered great information about advocacy and deaf-blind resources.
Before next year’s convention the Deaf-Blind Division will be working with the national office to ensure that the most updated deaf-blind communication technology is available for review at the Jernigan Institute. New technology is opening doors that have been closed to the deaf-blind. The National Federation of the Blind will continue to be on the cutting edge of changing what it means to be blind.
In order to help us provide interpreting services for the 2012 convention in Dallas, please contact Deaf-Blind Division President Burnell Brown by March 1, 2012, if you will need this service. She can be reached at <[email protected]>.
In the August/September issue we talked about the presentation made by Second Vice President Ronald Brown at the national convention about his experience as an athlete playing beep baseball. In response to an inquiry to follow up on that mention, here is what he says:
I have now been inducted into the Beep Baseball Hall of Fame. I was honored on August 7, 2011, at the banquet. It was awesome. My team retired my number and placed my jersey stamped with the number 25 into a glass shadow box and presented it to me on stage. I also received a certificate for the Hall of Fame and a plaque. They served two big sheet cakes and 250 cupcakes all decorated with the number 25.
Whozit Lapel Pins Available:
These pins are great on ties, hats, or shirts. They are blue, red, and yellow, and of course the cane is white. These Whozit pins are oven-fired enamel, silver plated pieces of jewelry. You can feel the shape of the Whozit. They make great gifts for members, guest speakers, etc. The cost is one to ten, $5 each; eleven to twenty-nine, $4; thirty or more, $3. A $2 shipping fee will apply to all orders. Contact Liz Lewis at <[email protected]> or call (803) 642-9940.
Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.
SWEET TOOTH Offers Braille Treats:
Chocolate is a favorite for many people, and it makes great gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, and the holidays. SWEET TOOTH, in business for over ten years, looks forward to serving the public with its chocolate treats.
Many new items have been added to the list of products, including fudge, chocolate sauce, and truffles; but the standard items are still available. From clusters of all kinds, to molded chocolate to Braille chocolate bars and guide dogs with Braille on them, SWEET TOOTH can accommodate your chocolate needs. The Braille bars come with a choice of various sayings, including “Thank You,” “Have a Nice Day,” “Happy Birthday,” “Love You,” “Merry Christmas,” and “Happy Holidays.” They weigh 4.5 ounces and can be made in milk, dark, or white chocolate or sugar free. The bars can also be made with Rice Krispies, nuts, peppermint, or raisins. The guide dogs can be personalized with the dog’s name or the owner's name and come complete with a harness done in chocolate.
Price lists are available online, in regular or large print, and in Braille. SWEET TOOTH is also on Facebook. Orders can be placed through email at <[email protected]> or by phone at (585) 544-1853. A brand new website has just been established, so we are including it. Visit us at <www.acsu.buffaloedu/laurabai/sweettooth>.
Three-D Velocity--Flying Faster, Higher:
Everybody’s heard of blind people driving cars because of the NFB’s Blind Driver Challenge™. Blind people are driving tanks, piloting submarines, and participating in races, thanks to audio games. Still we have not heard of one thing—at least until recently. In June 2007, when a new game project began, a small team, including Munawar Bijani as head, set themselves to create the most challenging, serious, and realistic game for blind people to date. In November 2010 they released Three-D Velocity, a combat flight-simulation designed for blind and visually impaired gamers.
Three-D Velocity is the first-ever fully accessible combat flight simulation game designed with the blind in mind. Very little is left to the auto pilot, which means that you are in complete control of every single maneuver done by your aircraft. From taking off, to shooting down other aircraft, to landing on an aircraft carrier, you can do it all with Three-D Velocity. But it isn't just a flight simulation made for pilot enthusiasts. The developers have spent a lot of time ensuring that blind players get the best of both worlds--realism and gaming. This is why, in addition to engaging in an aerial dog fight with other aircraft, players can play what thay have called "Mission Mode," a fully developed and engaging story that takes the player through a mission carried out by the United States military.
If you've listened to people playing games like Metal Gear Solid, Afterburner, and Top Gun, and thought to yourself, "I wish I could play that," Three-D Velocity is for you. If you've ever wanted to fly at mach two, shoot down other aircraft, make split-second decisions to save your own life, and play the lead role in the outcome of a mission started by United States black operations forces, Three-D Velocity is definitely for you. From people who just want to try their hands at flying to the serious gamers who want a real challenge, Three-D Velocity is sure to bring you days of entertainment. Packed with high-quality scenes, a full-length story, and numerous challenges, this game is an interactive movie--from an aerial perspective. Best of all, Three-D Velocity is designed from the ground up with accessibility in mind. Graphics are not used to convey information; it's all done through directional sound.
You can download a copy of this game by visiting <www.bpcprograms.com>, and be among the hundreds of blind people who can now brag to their sighted friends that they've flown a fighter jet.
PATH International Works with Blind Riders:
Every day at the Mariana Greene Henry Special Equestrians (MGHSE), a subsidiary of the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (AIDB) in Talladega, children experience the joy of riding horses. The riding center is one of 800-plus member centers belonging to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International. PATH International helps people with physical, mental, and psychological challenges (including blindness and visual impairments) gain strength, coordination, confidence, and pride. Formerly NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association), PATH International better expresses the scope of the forty-two-year-old organization whose 6,300 trained therapy horses and 3,500 instructors help 42,000 children and adults find a sense of independence through their involvement with horses.
Therapeutic horsemanship includes, not only therapeutic riding, but also equine-facilitated psychotherapy and learning, therapeutic carriage driving, interactive vaulting, hippotherapy, competition, and programs for leadership, team building, and stable management. Certified PATH International instructors also work closely with physical, occupational, speech, mental health, and rehabilitation therapists to benefit their clients. Many centers partner with schools, hospitals, the Veterans Administration, and residential rehabilitation and adult day care centers in changing lives through equine-assisted activities and therapies. For more information contact Cher Smith at (800) 369-RIDE (7433) or <[email protected]>; or go to <www.pathintl.org>.
New Director of Visual Services Appointed in Oklahoma:
Here is part of a release from Oklahoma’s state agency for the blind about the appointment of Dr. Michael Jones as its administrator.
Dr. J. Michael Jones has been appointed as the new division administrator of Visual Services, a state program that provides vocational rehabilitation, employment, and independent-living training for Oklahomans who are blind or visually impaired. Jones’s career serving blind people has spanned more than twenty-five years on four continents.
“What attracted me to Oklahoma is the broad scope of DRS’ responsibilities,” Jones said. “I have the operational freedom in Visual Services to use my skills and experience to help our customers become masters of their own destiny.” “When our customers are educated and have some wealth and political clout or personal influence, then they are controlling their own destinies and have achieved social justice for themselves,” he explained.
Jones served seven years as a rehabilitation program administrator, ten years as a rehabilitation counselor, seven years as a university instructor, and three years working in international rehabilitation programs for people with disabilities. He was previously employed as senior professor of special education in Lushoto, Tanzania, in Africa and administered two federal programs as executive director for the division of rehabilitation in Hawaii. While supervising rehabilitation programs in Hawaii, Jones launched new employment programs for youth with disabilities, created cutting-edge technology programs for children with disabilities living on rural islands, and mentored professionals in rehabilitation techniques.
He was elected six times as president of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama and led Alabama’s Braille literacy movement, culminating in an administrative rule requiring that Braille be taught and emphasized in Alabama’s school system. He was the creator of the Braillewriters for Blind Children Program, which gave a free Braillewriter to every blind student in Alabama.
Atlas of Northern Africa:
This third volume of maps of Africa, Atlas of Northern Africa, covers thirteen countries: Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, and Cape Verde. Each country has an introductory section in Braille with facts and general information followed by a full-page tactile map. The maps show cities, towns, rivers, mountains, and places of special interest. The book contains seventy-eight pages and sixteen maps; price: $14.00; shipping by free mail where eligible. Also available at $14 each: Atlas of Southern Africa and Atlas of Eastern and Central Africa.
To order, send requests and checks to The Princeton Braillists, 76 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540. We cannot accept letters by fax, nor do we accept credit cards. We can be reached by telephone. To speak with Ruth Bogia, call (215) 357-7715; to speak with Nancy Amick, call (609) 924-5207.
We are the Full Circle Band, a new and exciting vocal and instrumental group based in Los Angeles. We feature a twelve-string acoustic electric guitarist, a synthesizer/keyboardist, and a singer and alto recorder player who is totally blind.
We perform a variety of folk, pop, soft rock, and Spanish love ballads, all with our own unique touch. The group is currently seeking a professional flautist. Our goal is to perform at local venues for enjoyment and charity. Interested individuals must be reliable, flexible, and willing and able to participate and follow direction; leave your egos at home. For more information contact Liz at <[email protected]>, or call (323) 254-9213.
Refurbished Computers for the Blind Available:
Join your friends in using a refurbished computer that is two gigs or faster. Listen using your Talking Book or CD player for a step-by-step tutorial on how to use WindowEyes or NVDA, including email and reading web pages. It will come with a demonstration copy of WindowEyes or a free copy of NVDA.
Keep track of your tax and insurance files, write letters and emails to your friends and family, keep your own recipes, and maintain your family's genealogy records. Shop online. A demonstration copy of the ZoomText screen-enlargement program is provided. If it works for you, a full, registered copy of ZoomText will be provided when you demonstrate that you can use it.
If you have wanted to have your own computer, now is your chance. A gift of $100 will get you the computer. Call Lee Mann (214) 340-6328 during Central Time business hours, please. This offer extends to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Learning to use the computer is a lot of work, but it offers many new pleasures. <http://computersfortheblind.net>
Descriptive Videos Available:
Now enjoy 200 movies with added audio information on the soundtrack. Call Ken Man at (972) 530-2949 for a print or cassette copy of the catalog. A one-time gift of $25 gets you started. This will allow you to access 200 movies that you can enjoy alone or with the family. <http://computersfortheblind.net/movie-program.html>
Disability, Accessibility, and Arts Residency--Call for Participation:
Calling artists of all media (visual artists, filmmakers, performance artists, choreographers, sound artists, creative writers, and poets) to participate in a one-week residency at the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) at UC Irvine from June 12 to 20, 2012. Six artists will be invited to work in conversation with other artists and scholars, to consider issues of multiple access/disability in the conception and design of a creative work.
(Approaches to accessibility could include but are not limited to audio description, captioning, sign language, multimodal design, etc.)
We are interested in expanding notions and strategies for works that are multiply accessible. Leading scholars in disability studies will offer daily workshops on disability and access in the arts for a small group of graduate student participants. These workshops are optional for artists in residence. The week will culminate in a final day of informal public presentations aimed at sharing findings in the form of discussion, sketches, and performances.
Residency will include basic support for travel, accommodations, and materials fees, as well as a small stipend. Some meals will also be provided. This residency is organized by the Critical Disability Studies research group <http://www.uchri.org/Fellows/Residential-Research-Groups/2011F-Critical-Disability-Studies.php>, and is partially funded in kind by UCHRI and a grant from the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA).
By November 1, 2011, please submit a one-page résumé; a one- to two-page written statement regarding your interest or experience in disability, access, and the arts; and relevant work samples. Send URL(s) and PDFs of the above to <[email protected]>.
Music Instruction for the Blind:
This season you can learn to play your favorite musical instrument without having to use print or Braille. Music for the Blind has beginner courses for a dozen instruments, including piano, guitar, harmonica, violin, banjo, saxophone, and flute. These courses are taught totally by ear--in an all-audio format, so there is no print or Braille to read. Each course contains at least four tapes or CDs and costs as little as $39. If you already play, Music for the Blind also has over 800 individual song lessons that are taught in the same all-audio format. These individual song lessons start at only $11.95 each. For more information go to the website <www.musicfortheblind.com> or call (888) 778-1828. Start playing today.
Perkins SHELF Project Offers Free Book Downloads:
The Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library is the first NLS regional library in the nation to offer patrons the SHELF Project, a new download service for digital audio books like those produced at the Perkins Library's own recording studio on the Perkins School for the Blind campus in Watertown, Massachusetts. The SHELF Project (SHared ELectronic Files) provides an online catalog of locally-recorded digital audio books, plus the capacity to download and play them on a variety of devices available to eligible NLS patrons. People unable to read standard print materials may be eligible to use Perkins SHELF and other free services from the Library. Eligibility details are online at <www.perkinslibrary.org>.
Massachusetts is the first state to make its locally-produced audio books available on the national SHELF Project developed by Keystone Systems. Other libraries' content will soon come onboard, and users will have access to that content in addition to Massachusetts titles. Talking Book versions of national best-sellers and other high-demand books are available through the Library's affiliation with the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Books by local authors and titles of particular interest to Massachusetts readers are recorded by volunteer narrators at Perkins's Watertown recording studios. Interested borrowers can access Perkins SHELF Project through the Library's online catalog <www.perkinslibrary.org>. Using the Perkins SHELF Project, patrons can browse the collection and download a desired title immediately.
Keystone Systems, Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina, is a leading provider of software and services for libraries with distinctive needs. "The SHELF Project will be a repository for sharing locally recorded titles from across the country. The fact that Perkins has taken the lead on the SHELF Project will be instrumental to its success. Without the Library’s expertise, feedback, input, and support, it would not have been possible to launch such an ambitious program," said James Burts, executive vice president of Keystone Systems. States that have already committed to putting their titles on SHELF include Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Missouri, Vermont, Maryland, and the Braille Institute of America in southern California. Several other states will soon add their locally-produced titles to the SHELF Project. More than one thousand titles will be available for Perkins and other states' libraries on the service. Patrons can email <[email protected]> or call (617) 972-7240 for details about Perkins SHELF Project.
The notices in this section have been edited for clarity, but we can pass along only the information we were given. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the statements made or the quality of the products for sale.
I have the following items for sale:
BookPort, including manual, connectivity cable, and software. Asking $225 or best offer.
Braille Blazer, which has built-in speech synthesizer, used minimally. Does not include connectivity cable or paper. Asking $500.
Braillino with Bluetooth. In good condition, recently cleaned and updated. Includes manuals, software, charger, and connectivity cable. Asking $1,900.
Please email <[email protected]> if interested.
Braille TDD, comes with carrying case, never been used, asking $650. Call Donna Webb at (501) 655-4369 or (501) 249-6196.
BrailleNote mPower BT 32, $949 or best offer (shipping included). The unit is in very good condition. Braille display, buttons, and keys are all in fine shape. Comes with AC adapter, earphones, leather carrying case, carrying strap, SD card, external SD card reader, and network card to allow for wireless network connectivity. The internal SD card reader does not recognize SD cards, but, as mentioned, the unit does come with an external reader. The CompactFlash and PCMCIA slots work fine too. I can be reached at (519) 669-1456 or at <[email protected]>.
I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.