edited 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Hadley Holiday Cards
The Hadley School for the Blind is selling its annual holiday cards to support its free education courses. This year’s greeting, written in braille and print, reads, "Wishing you peace, happiness and the spirit of the season." The photo is an oil painting of a whimsical Christmas tree with a snowy white background. The design is embossed for people who are visually impaired to enjoy. A box of 25 cards is $28 plus shipping. Custom imprinting is available for an added charge. Cards will be available until Dec. 17. To order, visit www.hadley.edu/holidaycards or call 1-800-323-4238.
The Parents & Friends Association of the California School for the Blind is selling T-shirts and sweatshirts that honor Louis Braille to raise funds for some of the school’s extracurricular activities. Their past fundraisers have enabled activities such as class field trips, school carnivals, ski trips and goalball programs. The front of each shirt reads, “Got Braille?” On the back it says, “Happy Birthday Louis! Louis Braille 1809-2009 Blind innovator who gave reading and writing to the world.” All shirts are solid black with white puffy writing and braille. Shirts are a 50/50 poly/cotton blend. T-shirts go for $12 each, sweatshirts for $20, plus $4 per shirt for shipping. For more information, contact Staci Gonzales at (510) 794-3800 extension 216 or at email@example.com.
Oh Say, Can You See...
National Braille Press now offers tactile American flags for $5 each. The stars and stripes are tactile; the red stripes are indicated with a braille “r” and the white with a “w." Flags measure 7 1/2” x 9 1/2”. These flags also include The Pledge of Allegiance in both braille and large print. Flags are available in contracted and uncontracted braille. To see one for yourself, visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/FLAG.html. For more information, call NBP at 1-800-548-7323.
DVDs for Seniors with Vision Loss
Two new DVDs are now available through AFB’s Senior Site. "Better Lighting for Better Sight" discusses ways to enhance vision, including different types of lighting, positioning of lighting, contrast sensitivity, and control of glare. It provides suggestions on how to choose the right light for the person and the task. “Preventing Falls by Adapting Your Home” suggests simple and inexpensive changes that can be made in the home to dramatically lessen the chance of a fall, whether it be in the kitchen, bathroom, or living room. Each video retails for $49.95 through www.afb.org/store.
Feedback Wanted on Described Movies
Job de Reus, a graduate student in the Netherlands, has created a web site exclusively for people with low or no vision that seeks feedback on the suitability of described movies. The web site, www.suitablemovies.com, is unique because it includes no text, just hidden code that can be read only by screen-reading software. Job’s database includes all described movies in the U.S. and the UK and a rating system for their usability for blind viewers. To share your feedback on any described movies and help Job with his project, visit www.suitablemovies.com.
New Money Identifier
Orbit Research has developed a new money identifier for people who are blind. The iBill is small enough to attach to a keychain or lanyard. When U.S. currency is inserted into the machine, the denomination can be either spoken or indicated by tone or vibration for privacy. The iBill runs on a single AAA battery and has a one-year warranty. It can also be upgraded to accept currency design changes. The iBill retails for $99. For more information, call 1-888-606-7248 or visit www.orbitresearch.com.
iPhone Application for the Blind
Serotek has created an iPhone application specifically for people who are blind. The iBlink Radio application gives users access to all known radio stations, reading services and podcasts for people who are blind or have low vision. This application can provide access to daily newspapers, popular magazines, and special interest recordings. To learn more, visit www.serotek.com/iblink.
Accessible Talking Dartboard
The Audio Dart Master is a fully speaking electronic dartboard available through Sam Jasmine of Access Education. This newly designed board features human voice announcements of every hit, inside and outside indicators, large buttons, talking menus and game instructions, and more. The games offered are various countdowns, high score, golf, baseball, and cricket. Sam also offers a PVC portable stand with roll-out carpet and tactile toe line. For more information, visit www.audiodartmaster.com or call (763) 383-0077.
Braille Writer Design Wins Award
Perkins Products/Perkins School for the Blind and Product Development Technologies, Inc., were honored in the 2009 International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA®) sponsored by "BusinessWeek," the Industrial Designers Society of America, Target and Autodesk for the Next Generation™ Perkins/APH Brailler®, developed in collaboration with the American Printing House. The IDEA competition is a celebration of the year’s most innovative and exciting product and product concept designs and one of the world’s most prestigious and recognizable design competitions. The brailler received a Silver Award, one of only 47 such designations out of 1,631 entries.
Youth Exploration Opportunity
Global Explorers provides educational tourism experiences for youth of all physical abilities ages 14-21 through its Leading the Way program. The program integrates science, service, leadership, and culture, resulting in a life-changing adventure. Far more than just a fun trip, each expedition involves preparatory curriculum prior to travel and a service leadership project post travel. Two trips are planned for 2010: Rim to River Expedition: Grand Canyon, Ariz., July 6-20, 2010 and Yucatan Leadership Program, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, July 10-18, 2010. For additional information, e-mail LeadingTheWay@GlobalExplorers.org; call 1-877-627-1425; or visit www.GlobalExplorers.org and click "Leading the Way." Braille, screen reader friendly and large print materials are available upon request.
Golden Reflections Book
Michael Yale has written his second book, “Golden Reflections; My Master’s Secrets.” The story is told from Vargus’ perspective, Yale’s Seeing Eye dog for 12 years. Vargus says, "Do you have any idea how frustrating it is being on the wrong end of a leash with a hippie, for twelve years? What about living under the stoned hands and harsh rules in a dogtatorship?” “Golden Reflections" is available in print or on audio CD as an MP3 file. For more information, contact Mike Yale, 3 Burrow Pit Lane, Huntsville, Ontario, P1H 1X3 or phone (705) 789-1546.
Resource for Bioptic Driving
The Low Vision Centers of Indiana have developed a new web site for people who experience vision loss but want to continue driving with bioptic assistance. The site is designed as a resource for professionals who are seeking additional expertise and potential drivers who want to learn more about the bioptic driving technique. With the help of telescope-like devices, individuals who have poor central vision but good peripheral vision may be able to drive independently. To learn more, visit www.biopticdrivingusa.com.
Radio Reading Coming to China
Minnesota State Services for the Blind's (SSB) Radio Talking Book (RTB) is helping China establish its own radio reading service that will serve as many as 3 million blind or visually impaired people in that country. The project is being sponsored by China-based TCL Electronics and the China Charitable Federation (CCF). CCF intends to establish a nationwide service using the same technology and radios developed for the RTB and serve from 200 to 500 cities. To learn more about this venture, visit http://cszh.mca.gov.cn/article/english/.
Spiritual Stories Needed
Anyone interested in sharing a story of rejection or alienation from the church in which you could not use your gifts adequately should contact Lindy Morelli on her web page, www.alabasterheart.org, or via phone, (570) 341-5858.
Free Braille Magazine
"The Higher Way" is a free Christian magazine, available in braille. It is published quarterly. If you are interested in subscribing, call (503) 777-1741 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Careers in Hospitality & Customer Service
Individuals seeking careers in the hospitality industry and customer service professions may want to learn more about the National Statler Center’s Careers in Hospitality Program. The center offers this class to blind, visually impaired and disabled people at its Buffalo, N.Y. campus, attracting students from throughout the U.S., North America and abroad. The 10-week course provides training in hospitality, tourism, travel and customer service preparedness; the Microsoft Office suite; and personal job-search assistance to place graduates in fulfilling career positions. For more information, contact Jeff Pease at (716) 888-4516 or at www.statlercenter.org.