Voice of the Nation's Blind

The Blog of the National Federation of the Blind
Edited by Danielle Trevino
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Twenty-Six Years and Counting: The ADA and Stalled Progress

Introduction by Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations, National Federation of the Blind

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BrailleNote Touch: accessing and using third party apps

By Karl Belanger

The BrailleNote Touch (Touch) from HumanWare has full access to the Google Play Store. Many third party apps are made available in a notetaking device for the first time. While this provides a lot of opportunity, there are also many chances for things to go wrong when developers haven't made their apps accessible. The Touch handles many third party apps very well, but sometimes the Braille keyboard interface can cause some interesting interactions, and there are also the expected issues when encountering partially inaccessible apps. In general, the TalkBack gestures translate well to keyboard commands either with TouchBraille or the physical keyboard. It is also possible, by pressing the previous and next thumb keys together, to turn on explore by touch mode and access many of the usual gestures that Android users will be familiar with.

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The BrailleNote Touch as a Braille Notetaker- How Does It Stack Up?

By Amy Mason

The BrailleNote Touch is an impressive feat of hardware and software engineering. It is an Android tablet with full-fledged Braille support, a skinned and simplified interface running custom-built accessible programs, full visual display, and the option, but not requirement, of using an external Braille keyboard. It is also a Google certified Android device, capable of running the vast majority of applications in the Play store. Furthermore, it does what it sets out to do quite effectively. The BrailleNote is indisputably ambitious, and in some ways it is already an impressive device. That said, how does it handle the traditional tasks of a Braille Notetaker? Is it worth the $5500 asking price? Let’s take a closer look.

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My Path to Leadership through the National Federation of the Blind’s National Conventions

From the Editor:

Rounding out our series of posts from our summer interns is one from Jerad Nylin. Jerad comes to us from Iowa and in this post, he writes about what it's like to learn and grow within the Federation through attending national convention. 


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Singing to the Rhythm of Our Movement

From the Editor:

In the second entry in our series of blogs from our summer interns, Julie McGinnity from Missouri writes about performing, learning about leadership, and looking toward the future.

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KNFB Reader: The Convention Chronicles

From the Editor:

The KNFB Reader can be used in a variety of situations. Keep reading to learn how one might use the app at national convention. The KNFB Reader is a smartphone app which converts printed text into synthetic speech or Braille. Moments after taking a picture with the camera of a mobile device, the content of previously inaccessible documents can be read with ease.  As you will see below, KNFB Reader is a game changer for anyone who is blind or otherwise print disabled.  To find out more about KNFB Reader, go to www.knfbreader.com


By Joel Zimba

I was relieved to find the schedule for the airport shuttle on the company website.  I was only mildly dismayed to find it was an inaccessible PDF document.  One pass through KNFB Reader and I was good to go.


Twin Perspectives, One Objective

From the Editor:

Every summer, the NFB Jernigan Institute hosts a group of summer interns to stay in Baltimore for several weeks to learn about the inner workings of the national organization, to gain a better understanding of our philosophy, and to work on personal growth. Over the next month, we will be featuring blog posts from this year's interns. First up is Michael Ausbun from Nevada.


As the case is with most millennials, my attention was divided between the material world and my phone. I was anticipating an email; the results determining my proximal future. If, by chance, the email was in affirmation, then I would be spending my summer in Baltimore, Maryland. If the email reflected rejection, I would be doing the same old thing that I normally do–school, school, and more school.

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Making the News

From the Editor:

Chris Danielsen, Director of Public Relations for the National Federation of the Blind has spent the last twelve years building relationships with members of the press to spread the stories of the NFB. In this post, he will share some tips on how to attract reporters and get your chapters, divisions, and affiliates on the news.


By Chris Danielsen

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By Dr. Marc Maurer

I have been a father now for more than thirty years, and I remember very well when this condition came upon me. It was mysterious, scary, and joyous. A brand new human being was my responsibility, and I could imagine all of the things that could go wrong. Many of them did.

Our son David came first, and our daughter Dianna came later. Although both my wife and I are blind, our children are sighted, which has led to a number of interesting discussions.

The job of a father is to give support and love to Mom and the new lives that come to the family. Children are extraordinarily demanding, dramatically expensive, and inconvenient. If it weren’t for love, having children would be close to intolerable. However, every moment comes to be worth the trouble because the love exists.

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Father’s Day Reflections and a Call to Action

By Mark A. Riccobono
President, National Federation of the Blind

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