Archive for December, 2009
12 really cool reasons to get OS X Snow Leopard | News | TechRadar UK, including support for about 40 Braille displays.
‘BrainPort’ research project seeks nationwide for participants | savannahnow.com – Pittsburgh medical research targets blinded veterans.
CALVERT TRUST KIELDER Kielder, Northumberland. – on the whole highly praised as a holiday/vacation destination for disabled people, but lack of induction loops and braille signage.
Clock Sheet tells you the time | Gadgets and Technology – and it’s tactile.
Code Factory: Products – Screen readers – Overview – here you can find out which screen reader is compatible with your mobile device.
Computer mice for the blind: Feeling in the dark | The Economist tactile mouse helps blind people to feel graphs and graphics.
Culture: Braille, To See the Unseen The Foreign Exchange – challenges and advantages of using Chinese Braille in Taiwan.
Downloadable Braille Materials – educational files.
DR on dealing with GOJ border fingerprinting: sandpaper down your fingers – debito.org Blog Archive – confuse the Japanese Government’s mass fingerprinting operation, and feel Braille more accurately too.
Elves send letters from Santa — in Braille — baltimoresun.com – don’t tell the kids the NFB dealt with them, though!
Experience what is on screen with Sense | Wyrd – multi-sensory device allows experience of smells, tastes, textures, and can handle Braille.
Faithful volunteers make Braille Bibles possible – DailyBulletin.com – Lutherans in Canada produce large print and Braille Bibles for free distribution world-wide.
Feel by Blend Apparel [hands-on review] :: Hide Your Arms – Braille t-shirt that says “feel”? Surely some discretion needed?
Flat World Knowledge announces partnership with Bookshare – The CITE: – this will make textbooks easier to obtain by students with visual impairments.
For Those with Special Needs | Information-Online – some USA venues and the provisions they make for disabled people.
Fox Creek Wines Pty Ltd | News / Events – launch of large print and Braille wine labels by this Australian wine company.
Future Aids – The Braille Superstore with toll-free US phone number.
Handy Tech North America – Handy Holiday Specials 2009 – deadline extended to December 31st. Offers include Code Factory and GW Micro products.
Honea Path woman aiming to go back to college after losing her eyesight» Anderson Independent – when Andi Mills lost her sight, all else seemed to be lost – but not for long.
How is braille produced? – Resources – Vision Australia Website – everything from manual to electronic methods explained.
How to Cope With Being Blind – wikiHow – a beginner’s guide. It’s a wiki, so you can edit it.
[Podcast] Importance Of Braille blind academic praises the versatility and accuracy that Braille gives her at work and in life generally.
Index Braille – Braille embossers, software and accessories. Based Sweden, distributed world-wide.
Innovation: Award-winning product design of 2009 – Image 2 – New Scientist – the design excellence awards included the Haptic Reader from Korea, a device that can scan text and convert it instantly to Braille or speech.
Lees Mee braille stamps by René Put – Dezeen » Blog Archive – Dutch award for designer.
libbraille – Library for Braille Display – free computer library that enables the development of Braille for displays in many languages. Free Braille translation tool. Braille alphabets for several languages.
Library goes digital for visually impaired – Global Times – visually impaired people in China can get hold of e-books, music and lectures through the China Digital Library.
Lights for the blind – Craft and Design Happenings – Australian designer has made a device that represents Braille as LED lights. Totally blind people can use it to read Braille in the regular way.
Livescribe Talking Braille Periodic Table « Livescribe Smartpen Applications – to be released early 2010?
Making Museums More Accessible – Museu Picasso Barcelona » Blog Archive – recent conference explored how to make art more accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities.
Mitra Jyothi – Changing the lives of visually impaired – this organisation in Bangalore, India, enables visually impaired people to find jobs and facilities they need for an independent life.
Multilingual Braille Output For Snow Leopard | ATMac – while VoiceOver can speak several languages, SnowLeopard Braille is in standard English. Archie Robertson has addedseveral languages at Grade 1. Anyone who can help him advance this work into other languages and higher grades of Braille can e-mail conseil at anarchie dot org dot uk.
OBR – Optical Braille Recognition -using an ordinary scanner, non-readers of Braille can get ordinary text from Braille documents.
Open Content Textbooks Available to All Without Proof of Disability – No Limits to Learning – thanks to US Government funding Bookshare.
Orca 2.28.2 (Stable) – SourceWell – Open Source Software Announcement & Retrieval – provides speech, magnification and braille.
Rightfully theirs – Financial Express – India proposes fair deal law to enable books to be produced in alternative formats.
RoboBraille.org – converts text to Braille and mp3 audio online.
Squibble Portable Braille Interface – concept device could result in mobile phones accessible by Braille interface.
The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media – "A non-profit R&D organization dedicated to achieving media access equality for people with disabilities."
Who Invented Braille And How Does It Work? – from The Eye, a site about vision loss – there are more advanced Braille topics here, too, such as contracted Braille symbols.
Access all areas – everyday tasks that are more difficult with a disability, illustrated in this article from the Jerusalem Post.
Accessites.org – The Art of Accessibility – accessible sites don’t have to be boring!”
ADA Audio Conference Series – find out about trends and regulations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Ai Squared Adds their Holiday Specials to the Mix – Blind Bargains – special offers run until the end of the year.
An Overview of Website Accessibility at Online Pacific Time (Thursday January 14, 2010) – Upcoming – it’s not really too complicated to make sites more accessible.
BookSense 2.0 Firmware Now Available – get your free upgrade from GW Micro.
Cinema for the Blind – Festival : lifestyle, cinema | euronews – films at the International film festival in Marrakech available with audio description and Braille.
DAISY: AMIS (Adaptive Multimedia Information System) – this self-voicing DAISY book reading freeware has a new version, 3.1, released Dec. 19th, 2009.
Language packs and installers for other languages
DAISY: PLEXTALK Pocket PTP1 Firmware Version 3 Now Available – update for this DAISY recording and playback device.
DIADEM project – researches what technology works for older people, and produces front-ends for existing programs that are more suitable for their skill level. Project shared by the UK, Norway and Italy.
EASI: Equal Access to Software and Information – podcasts of conferences on accessibility topics.
Free Assistive Technology – OSU Web Accessibility Center – don’t spend your inheritance until you’ve tried these.
[DRAFT] How People with Disabilities Use the Web: Overview document in progress, comments welcome but citations not. from WAI
KNFBReader V6.3.1 upgrade now available – Blind Bargains – supports more devices, trial version available.
Making Flash Accessible: a quick guide – presented as an inaccessible Shockwave object. Great joke, fellas.
Mobile Speak 4 Information – useful resources on the forthcoming screen reader for mobile phones.
NCAM and Apple Publish “Creating Accessible iTunes Content” / NCAM – guidelines include how to include closed captions and audio description.
North Carolina Assistive Technology Program – Freware – programs that could help people with a range of disabilities
Police ignore disabled in metrobus station protest – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review – wheelchair protest at an Istanbul bus station causes divided opinions.
PROJECT DETAIL for Lynx text web browser = useful material on this text-only web browser.
Project:Possibility – A Software Collaboration for Persons with Disabilities – aims to bring developers and disabled people together to make a difference by developing open-source software.
ReadTheWords – make an audio file from written text.
Shareware, Freeware and Demos – The DRM WebWatcher: Assistive Technology – software to make life easier.
The 2010 Accessible Transportation Coalitions Initiative (ATCI) – want to see improvements in your local transport in the USA? This program may be able to help.
Trust gives green light to net TV – the BBC will take part in the Canvas Project, which will develop on-demand TV.
TTS: Internet for the visually challenged | My Sinchew – the push for better accessibility in Malaysia.
Typeface or Font Readability – it’s not all a matter of fonts…..
What is accesselearning? – tutorial on accessible distance learning from Georgia Tech.
What is MobileSpeak 4? – Blind Bargains – the new version of the screen reader for mobile phones is scheduled for release in January, 2010.
WinAmp update fades out critical media player flaws • The Register – users advised to upgrade to the latest version to avoid malware activity.
Zoom into Any Screen on Your iPhone – Fred’s Head from APH – don’t overlook the built-in Zoom feature on the iPhone.
ZoomIt – this tool for Windows is designed to work with software used in presentations. Zoom in on an area and draw on it if you like.
This is a heady mixture of travel opportunities, technology to enable travel, and – sorry to say – plenty of stories of blind people facing discrimination in travel.
Apply for the Crashing Through Award for Independent Travel | The LightHouse Blog – "Sendero Group would like to encourage and recognize independent travel exploits by blind people as exemplified by the book about Mike May,
Crashing Through by Robert Kurson. A portion of every Sendero GPS sale will go into an annual scholarship fund to be awarded to the applicant with the most impressive travel adventure for the year."
Blindtravel.com – "Powered by Damar Travel & Cruise. Our message is to help launch the non-sighted into a position of travel confidence. Thus, helping to enable each person to build his or her own self worth and independence for future travels." Based St. Louis, Missouri.
Feeling the way – MIT TouchLab device gives blind people a chance to navigate within a building virtually before attempting the real thing.
Mind’s Eye Travel – tours for people with visual impairments in the USA and Europe.
National Sports Center for the Disabled – outdoor recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities – outdoor travel and leisure opportunities. Based Colorado.
Reflections on European travel as a blind person / Best Travel Spots/Tips written from an American perspective.
Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality – an educational nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to raise awareness of the needs of all travelers with disabilities, remove physical and attitudinal barriers to free access and expand travel opportunities in the United States and abroad.
[Video] Travel, Navigations & Tech for Blind – playlist on YouTube containing several videos.
Travel guide: Museums: special services for blind visitors – covers the Louvre, the British Museum and MoMa. Also visit
Special services for blind visitors, in British museums and
Visits guided for blind persons in the Zoo of Buenos Aires
Travel Outlook for People with Disabilities | Travel the World – sites that may help you plan your dream trip.
[Video] Traveleyes – Amar Latif – Part 1 – Orange business – the boss of the well-known UK travel company, TravelEyes..
Vision Outdoor – Nature tours for blind and visually impaired people. Based Germany.
Walking on the Edge: Life with a Guide Dog | Interactive Journalism – travel in New York (with embedded video).
10 Best Nokia Beta Labs Apps -include the experimental Braille Reader, indoor GPS, magnifier
A vision for inclusion – A Guide to the European Blind Union. Includes a section on inaccessible products and services.
Abilities Expo | Events for People with Disabilities – USA organization for disabled people and proefessionals. Events display latest technology, products and services.
Access Keys -Accessibility Assessments – these are awards for web sites that meet particular needs.
Accessible Alternatives for CAPTCHA – those visual puzzles you have to solve before you can enter some web sites are not a whole heap of use to blind people, so here are some solutions.
Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) 1.0 – what’s ARIA all about?
Accessibility tools, web developer tools, wizards and markup generators | Accessify – warning: a script on this page generated a threat warning from AVG anti-virus. Probably trivial, but it’s your choice whether to follow this link.
ADA Online: Is a Website a “Place of Public Accommodation”? | Citizen Media Law Project – in the light of the recent case claiming that Sony’s games site was not made accessible to visually impaired people, questions arise about the status of websites.
AMP Express – get a free accessibility report for your web site.
Balabolka: Free Text-to-Speech for Windows – Fred’s Head – this is a simple text-to-speech program that can read from the clipboard and save sound files from what it reads there.
Beyo CBS Reader is an OCR application for Symbian phones, cost £75. Get a demo in the UK from
Computer Room Services – supposedly the OCR program requires Talks.
Blind in business: Cutting-edge seeing aids – The Independent, UK – how a City of London blind high flyer does it.
Bookshare – Accessible Books for Individuals with Print Disabilities – books and periodicals made accessible. USA based.
Browser Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts « AccessTech News – Firefox, IE, Chrome, Safari, Opera.
Color Vision – by Cal Henderson – a tool to simulate how someone with color deficiency would see your site – or not, as the case may be.
Discover new ways of thinking about accessibility – W3C Blog – new documents urges designers to involve users, not just stick to standards.
Dive Into Accessibility – book for site owners.
eyes-free Google Group – access to Android phones.
Finally, Posted Notes for the Visually Impaired – Fred’s Head – ever wanted bigger post-it notes? Now’s your chance!
FireVox – free text-to-speech extension for Firefox.
Free PDF to Word Converter Online – send in your scanned PDF file, and get a Word document back with page features preserved.
Global Assistive Technology Encyclopedia – accessible wiki site that everyone can help to build.
GW Micro – News & Events – Upcoming Events – Online Presentation of BookSense 2.0 Firmware! – When: Monday, December 21, 2009 – registration for this event is closed, but you will be able to hear a recording of it eventually.
IDEAL Group Android Accessibility Wizard – helping people to move from previous generation phones to Android smartphones.
Introducing Easy Web Browsing – Macy’s talking web browser in co-operation with IBM. Only works with oudated versions of Internet Explorer.
JAWS ate my tables – WebAIM Blog – is this a data table or is it a layout table? It isn’t always clear to screen readers.
JAWS scripts for Mozilla Thunderbird version 3.0 – this link starts the installer.
Lighthouse International: Get Organized – handy hints on making your whole life more accessible.
Lou Reed Launches iPhone App for the Visually Impaired – Spinner UK – yes, it is that Lou Reed. The app zooms your iPhone contacts.
Memory Fox Manages Firefox’s Memory Use, Aims to Keep It Low – Memory – Lifehacker – much as you might love Firefox, it can be a memory hog.
northtemple – The Accessibility Checklist I Vowed I’d Never Write – a guideline for developers not experienced in accessibility.
Obama Sides With Blind in Copyright-Treaty Debate – some copyright holders (authors and publishers) in the USA want to deny blind people the right to accessible bookes e.g., text-to-speech on the Kindle). Obama has laid his cards on the table on this issue.
Section 508: Summary of Section 508 Standards – site may not be available this weekend.
Simplicity launches in London computer powered by Eldy – easy computer targeted at older people.
Ubuntu brings advanced Screen features to the masses – screen profiles are very powerful, but most users don’t know about the advanced features.
UN Agencies Agree on Need for Closer Collaboration in Favor of Visually Impaired including access to literary and scientific materials.
VisionAWARE | Resources For Adults Experiencing Low Vision, Vision Loss, and Blindness – find products, services and useful information.
WCAG 2 Tutorial – learn about the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Web Accessibility Toolbar for IE – several manual web page testing tools for Internet Explorer only.
Windows Vista Accessibility Tutorials from Microsoft.
Let the buyer beware!
Please note that these links are only for information. You are wise to do more research before purchasing any piece of equipment or software, and make sure that it fits your requirements.
I’m in no position to conduct detailed reviews of any item listed here, so please be cautious.
Aurora Device Search freeware for the Android phones – apps and games.
EyesFreeAndroid’s Channel on YouTube.
The Mobile Phone Directory – mobile phones, glossary of terms, telecom news – information for the UK and Europe.
Accessible Technology On-line Seminar Series – The goal of the Accessible Technology Webinars is to increase awareness on technology accessibility for people with disabilities.
AccessWatch Going Offline As Of December 12 – but if you’ve benefited from the site, maybe a nice note to the author is in order!
AccessWorld News – AccessWorld® – November 2009 – yes, it’s a bit late. Subjects covered include Accessible TV, e-book accessibility, click and go maps,
Aiding access to arts -stuff.co.nz – new guide has simple practical advice for arts venues.
Archos Introduces 1 Vision Media Player, Allows More Audio Than Vision » ZiggyTek » Blog – Archos try to make a comeback with this low-end media player gadget.
ATIA Educational Webinar Series « LVATUG blog – free webinars for educators, rehab workers, assistive technology professionals, disabled people and their supporters.
ATTO: Assistive Technology Training Online – aimed at USA educators in elementary classes.
Bosch Puts New Spin on Washer and Dryer Controls – AccessWorld® – November 2009 – old-fashioned controls are simpler and give positive clicks as you turn them.
BRAILLE MONITOR, December 2009 includes latest on the FS vs GWM lawsuit and VoiceOver on the Mac
British Museum Launches Multimedia Guides in 11 Languages – artdaily.org – audio described and sign language versions available.
Call For Compliance With UN Convention Covering ICT Rights – E-Access Bulletin Live » Blog Archive. Nations that ratified the treaty need to report on progress next year.
Disaboom on Top 8 Free Browsers for Seniors and Disabled – several browsers and add-ons briefly described.
Discounted Braille Jewelry in the ACB Store – Blind Bargains
Feeling in the dark « Cervantes – a tactile mouse invented in Israel can give Braille and tactile diagram feedback to a blind user. No more “in the dark”, please! Dark is a sighted concept.
Grafting web accessibility onto computer science education « As Your World Changes – traditional computer science education does not cover a ccessibility issues, but that needs to change.
GWMicro Script Central – has a lunar lander game and a script to force the Window Eyes focus on to a list of file names.
Liverpool Actionnaires achieve Sport England Clubmark – Actionnaires Clubs are multi-sports clubs for blind and partially sighted children of school age.
Nuance brings its speech-recognition technology to the iPhone | Software | iPhone Central | Macworld – Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software arrives for the iPhone.
Packaging Information Available from Horizons for the Blind – Fred’s Head from APH: – infromation on grocery, health and beauty product labels in accessible form.
Reading Rights represents Americans who cannot read print.
Redstart Systems Inc. — Utter Command speech recognition interface software – take control of your computer with this add-on for the Dragon Naturally Speaking Pro Engine.
Squibble Portable Braille Interface – this device is only a concept at the moment, but if it is marketed, it will have a tactile and high-contrast displa
Subscribe to Yahoo! Group b-v-m – virtualisation and issues raised for visually impaired people.
T. R. Fraser’s Storefront – Lulu.com – current offers on e-books about JAWS and Word 2007, Outlook 2007 and Vista. $12 each.
Tek Talk Training Room – GMT Tuesday, 15 December at 01:00 – featuring the Sound post, a device to augment GPS and give us more information about our immediate environment. From Top Tech Tidbits, 10th Dec 09.
The Problem with PDF Content – Fred’s Head article describing the perils of graphics-only PDF content.
UK’s First Educational e-Book Library Launched Online – E-Access Bulletin – Books For All has educational books in a range of digital formats suitable for visually impaired people.