| THE ADVOCATE - Fall/Winter
Published by the Association of Blind Citizens
PO. Box 246, Holbrook, MA 02343
Telephone: 781 961-1023
Fax: 781 961-0004
News and Activities line: 781 654-2000
Vehicle donation line: 1-888-881-9090
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
By John Oliveira
As 2003 draws to a close, I would like to review some of the Association of Blind Citizens' many successes. I continue to be impressed by the level of requests being submitted, almost on a daily basis, for the Assistive Technology Fund. This program is truly revealing a need for programs to subsidize high adaptive technology costs in the blind community. Many of the requests we are receiving are the result of denials by rehab agencies due to a lack of funds or other circumstances. ABC is proud to have this program as another option for blind individuals who are trying to use technology to improve themselves.
The number of applicants seeking assistance from our educational scholarship program increased substantially in 2003. I believe that this increase in the number of applicants is a result of the information being made available to candidates via the internet, rehab and education professionals and, most important, word of mouth in the blind community. In response to this demand, the board is prepared to expand the education scholarship program for the 2004/2005 school year. The board has allocated $20,000 to the scholarship program. This is a substantial increase. You can learn more about the scholarship program by visiting the web site.
ABC was able to sponsor a number of blind children at summer camp during 2003. These camps give blind children an opportunity to be exposed to activities that they may never be able to do in their community. It also allows these blind children to meet and form relationships with others and these relationships often last for many years. ABC expects to continue this camp sponsorship program for blind children in 2004.
Regarding Braille literacy, we have sponsored the production of 1,000 Braille copies of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. We are so proud to be able to bring this wonderful literature to children and adults alike. This was ABC's second year of sponsoring the reprinting of a Braille book. Braille literacy in this country is extremely low and we hope that our project will put books into children's hands at an affordable cost and reverse this trend.
The Association of Blind Citizens Renegades, the hardest working beep ball team in the nation, has completed a successful 2003 beep ball season. With the addition of an extremely knowledgeable and dedicated coach, committed volunteers and the addition of first year players, coupled with the return of many veteran players and volunteers, ABC continues to provide a successful competitive recreation project for blind athletes. The Renegades played a local game against several Lions Clubs, conducted a beep ball demonstration at the Brockton Rox field and participated in tournaments in Bolingbrook, Illinois and at the World Series tournament in Denver, Colorado. If your organization or company has a softball team and you would like to play or sponsor the ABC Renegades in a fundraising event in the 2004 season, please contact me.
ABC was proud to be the first organization of the blind in the country to sponsor an online card tournament. Hundreds of Players from around the country played a variety of accessible card games and used chips to keep track of points scored. The player with the highest score for the weekend received a $200 gift certificate and several others received runner up prizes. As many of you know, accessible interactive online games for the blind are few. Using speech programs, the players were able to learn what hands they were holding, what the dealer was dealing and what their opponent was playing. The players were also able to text chat with each other. Since many of you enjoy playing cards and other online games with your friends and family, we felt that sponsoring this event would create a great opportunity for the blind community nationwide to play cards on a weekend evening, and would also support the entrepreneur's efforts in making online games available to the blind community. The participants had a great time and are looking forward to ABC sponsoring another event in 2004.
ABC conducted two excursions in New England. In August we visited the white mountains of New Hampshire. The participants had lots of fun and enjoyed the peace and tranquility of a small town surrounded by these majestic mountains. The second trip took the participants to America's home town of Plymouth Massachusetts. Everyone had a great time learning about the pilgrims and all enjoyed a lunch overlooking the ocean while munching on some of the most delicious seafood you will ever taste. ABC is currently developing accessible trips for 2004, so keep watching your email for details. I would also welcome your suggestions.
ABC's successful operation of its programs has also resulted in having to build a stronger and more formal structure for our operations. We have opened a second office in Holbrook, Massachusetts. This office will provide ABC with some much needed space for the business operations that are involved with a growing organization. The new office space gives ABC more flexibility in managing the space to fit our needs and we are now staffed with a full time assistant. The office support will offer the board and me some much needed help in the day-to-day business functions of the organization. I will continue to manage programs the assistant will conduct manage; develop business operations and opportunities for ABC with direction from the board and me.
I continue to seek your feedback on what programs you would like to see ABC develop. As I have said in the past, ABC is not looking to duplicate what other organizations are offering but is looking to offer new opportunities. ABC will only develop programs if the need in the blind community is not sufficiently met. In the coming year ABC will be looking for opportunities to partner with other organizations and businesses to strengthen our programs. If you have any contacts that you feel would be helpful to ABC's growth and expansion, please call the office and let us know how we can contact your friend, family member or associate.
I continue to receive many comments on how simple it is to apply for ABC's programs. During ABC's last ATF grant awarding period several of the recipients were surprised that they were not required to complete more paperwork when they were notified that they had been selected to receive a ATF grant. They received the adaptive product within days after being notified that they had been selected. I continue to work hard to keep the application and awarding process of our grants, scholarships and sponsorships a simple process. Certain restrictions have to be in place to allow our programs to be managed and operate efficiently. The number of visitors to our web site continues to increase and that is a great sign that the word is reaching the blind community around the country. Visitors to our web site often leave messages of encouragement and support through the email link. You can help us to continue to spread the word by telling your friends about ABC or referring our website to them by clicking the link on our home page.
In closing, I ask you to make a much needed contribution to help keep our programs alive and growing. ABC does not receive income from membership dues so we count on you to determine your level of membership and donate accordingly. We know that it is difficult to help every organization you would like in this tough economy. However, we hope when you sit down to determine your charitable giving, you will remember all of the lives we at ABC have enriched through our programs. Please help us continue to serve our community with your generous donation. Remember, you can also apply your donation to your Visa or MasterCard by using the accessible link on the website home page.
- Melanie Gugel of Rock Hill, South Carolina
- Lori Miller, of Warsaw, Indiana,
- Haley Goodlett, of Downners Grove, Illinois
- Melanie Peskoe of Louisville, Kentucky
- Yolanda Garcia of Austin, Texas
- Timothy Vernon of Mansfield, Massachusetts
- John Lipsey, of Midvale, Utah
- Serena Cucco of Madison, New Jersey
Author: Richard Price
Book number: RC 055528
With a title like "Samaritan", you might think this book has some religious content. However, this is a mystery novel. The story and the manner in which it is told adds A new twist to the jenre.
In its simplest form this is a story about a guy who has a mid life crisis, returns to his old neighborhood wanting to do some good and is found beaten near to death in his apartment. Of course, like any good mystery, the author weaves a story in which he responds to the questions of who did it and why.
In answering these questions, Richard Price takes the mystery format beyond its cliché. The story is told from the perspectives of many characters weaving the past and present together. In this way we learn of a character not only through the narration of one character but through his or her own narration. As the reader, you are drawn into the lives of the characters. There is not an omniscient narrator who guides you through the story with a promise of a nice neat conclusion.
For example, our main character, Ray, in reminiscing about the past, tells his daughter about Tweety, a girl who lived in the same housing project in which he grew up. Tweety, he tells his daughter one day was caught writing swear words on the walls of the apartment building and she was marched across the playground by the housing cop. He shares with his daughter Ruby how humiliating he thinks it must have been for Tweety to be taunted by the other children as she was marched to the housing manager's office. He also tells ruby that Tweety's mother took a very very long time to come to the office to pick Tweety up. Ray concludes by suggesting that this must have been one of the worse days in Tweety's life.
Later we meet Tweety as an adult. She is the detective who is investigating Ray's assault. As the story unfolds, one day Ray and Tweety, whose real name is Norrice, are talking about the same event. We learn that rather than humiliation, Tweety was fighting mad. She was upset at the teacher who had put her down one time to many and her spray painting the swear words was an act of defiance. We also learn that it was her time in the office and an interaction with one of the housing cops, which led her to think about joining the police force. The event for Norrice was momentous but not for the reasons Ray thought.
This style of giving the reader different views of an event adds dimension to the various characters. It also contributes to the mystery. Because there are many characters whose veracity is a little suspect although one feels that you are getting a more complete understanding of a character, one still is not absolutely sure that it is the real thing. As a reader, you find yourself not only trying to solve the mystery but trying to solve the puzzle of the characters.
Price further pushes the mystery format by actually asking the reader to consider The significance of "Samaritan". What does it mean to give back? Ray really wants to help others but could his need to help others cause more harm than good? Could his need actually be the thing which endangers his life?
My only criticism is that at one point it began to feel that Price was not really sure how to get us to the solution. As much as I enjoyed the story, as it drew to the end, I began to feel that he was writing because he knew that if he kept writing a conclusion would become apparent.
Having said this, I must admit that the ending was quite spooky. Price answers the questions who did it and why. But then leaves us wondering if people ever learn. If you enjoy reading mysteries and would like one which approaches the jenre a little differently then you should read Samaritan. Like any good book it answers many questions and leaves something for discussion.
The Assistive Technology Fund continues to assist blind people from around the country to obtain adaptive technology products.
ABC has assisted in the purchase of tens of thousands of dollars in adaptive products. Below you will find some of the names of individuals that were assisted during the prior grant periods ending on June 30 and September 30, 2003.
- Patricia A Bandy, West Jefferson, Ohio
- Parastou Sadatmousavi La Mesa, California
- Michael Esserman, Baltimore, Maryland
- Marilyn Wright, Saint Augustine, Florida
- Maria Alegria, Arleta, California
- Ila M. Smiley, Petersburg, Virginia
- Larry Shryock, Phennix, Arizona
- Neil Griffin, Bainbridge, Georgia
- Jose Garcia, West Covina, California
- Dr. M Y Aziz, San Diego, California
- Wanda Glaser, Aberdeen, South Dakota
- Danette C. Rankin, Wasco Oregon
- Kathy Diane Doster, Charlotte, North Carolina
- Jody Lee Stock, Pittsfield, New Hampshire
- Curt Carter, Burlington, North Carolina
- Doris Akins, Canton, Georgia
- Logan Deiner, Lebanon, Pennsylvania
By Susan Fuller
"Quiet" yells the referee. An unusual start to a ball game.
He announces the players on each team-a center and two wings. Then bounces the basketball-size ball to one center. It jingles.
She hurls the ball to the opposite court, the players waiting on their hands and knees. Their bodies tense momentarily, like cats aware that a mouse is nearby. Then they dive and sprawl to block the ball. That team rises and one of them heaves the ball back toward the first team. Several Labrador retrievers and German shepherds lounge at the sidelines.The game: goalball, a sport for blind and visually impaired people. It's a tough, physical sport.
"My hips hurt from repeatedly going to the floor," said Jason Holloway, a recent convert to the game.
Holloway, 35, is an Alameda High School graduate who lost his sight at age 19 from a genetic disorder. He's now in his final quarter at Cal State University in Hayward, majoring in human development and political science. He intends to go to law school and practice criminal law.
Holloway heard about goalball from his Braille tutor and now he's hooked. He is such a new player that he won't be playing in the tournament-the teams were already formed when he enrolled.
Goalball is a fast, exciting game with lots of subtleties. A team has 10 seconds from receiving the ball to send it back. But often players throw it more quickly, hoping to catch their opponents off-guard. All players wear black goggles to make the game fair. They use touch and hearing to communicate and orient themselves. Cords taped to the gym floor outline the court and mark other lines. Players tap on the gym floor to say "send the ball over here" to a teammate or referee.
Bill Johnson is a longtime goalball player and additionally serves as assistant coach for the Berkeley-based Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program teams. Johnson, then fully sighted, learned about goalball in 1988 from his bowling partner, who is blind.
"I got into helping the team as the gofer," he said.
Johnson, an auto mechanic, later lost an eye to cancer but still has too much vision to play in sanctioned competition.
Goalball was invented in 1946 to help rehabilitate blinded veterans. It was introduced to the world in 1976 at the Toronto Paralympics.
The goalball tournament is sponsored by Berkeley-based Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program. There will be three Bay Area teams, two from Sacramento and one representing Lighthouse for the Blind. Last year's champions will be back with a revamped line-up to defend their title. The team is led by Jessica Lorenz, a starting player on the USA Women's Goalball Team that won the World Championships in Brazil in September 2002.
BORP has offered sports, recreation and fitness programs for people with physical disabilities since 1975. BORP has sponsored goalball in Berkeley since 1988 and has hosted the tournament since 1995.
For information about BORP or the tournament, call 849-4663.
Blind athletes ready for fast-paced tourney
By Geoff Adams-Spink
BBC News Online disability affairs reporter
The first mobile phone designed specifically for blind and partially sighted people has gone on show in the UK. The phone has no visual display
The phone is made by a Spanish company, Owasys - pronounced oasis - who hope to have their 22C handset on the UK market in three months' time. It goes on sale in Spain next week.
The phone is on display at the Royal National Institute of the Blind's Techshare exhibition in Birmingham. It has no visual display at all but uses a speech synthesiser to read everything that would normally appear on the screen.
As well as giving audio feedback from button presses, the 22C can send and receive text messages and will speak the name or number of incoming callers.
Owasys hope the mobile will retail at around £250. The company - formed by ex-employees of Ericsson - consulted blind and partially sighted users throughout the development phase. They say the finished product reflects the customer feedback they received.
Fernando Aguirre, Marketing and Sales Director for Owasys, told BBC News Online that the company is hoping to sell around 20,000 of the mobiles in Spain and twice that number in the UK.
"We thought there were parts of the consumer market whose demands were not very well covered by the big players," he said. "From our conversations with ONCE (the blind people's organisation in Spain) and the RNIB here in the UK, it was clear that there was a need among blind people for a product like this."
RNIB technology specialist, Steve Tyler, said the phone has an appeal beyond blind and partially sighted people. He said it will appeal to anyone who wants to make and receive calls but who is put off by screen-based technology.
"A number of people just want a simple device that's easy to use andfriendly," he said.
"What mobile phone should you buy for your elderly grandmother for example, who isn't interested in flashing lights, screens and menu systems, but she is used to an ordinary-looking phone?"
Owasys say the 22C is the first of a number devices aimed at niche markets, but declined to give further details.
BY JOE LAZZARO
This article was previously published in Access World, a publication of the American Foundation for the Blind.
Screen reader users have long been plagued with the plight of configuring their adaptive equipment to work with mainstream software. If you're a Jaws user, then you're likely aware that the package contains a built-in scripting language, letting you make mainstream applications appear more speech friendly and accessible. You've probably also heard that scripting is not for the faint of heart, or the technologically timid. But, fear not. In this article, we'll introduce you to the basics of Jaws scripting, why scripts are sometimes necessary, the structure of scripts, the Script Manager, and how to begin to tackle a scripting job. This article is intended for beginners to Jaws scripting, or those who want a basic overview of their overall utility for making applications appear more accessible. Due to space limitations, I have tried to cover the main points to get you started quickly. As a consequence, a lot of material has unfortunately had to be trimmed down to its barest bones, and some aspects have been omitted altogether. If sufficient interest arises, and time permits, I may write a more advanced article on the subject in future. Freedom Scientific offers beginner and advanced scripting classes at their Florida facility, and on site. Contact http://www.FreedomScientific.com for specific information about costs and dates for the classes.
In the introduction above, I stated that scripts make applications "appear" more accessible. I've used this phrase very deliberately as a Jaws script is merely a bridge between the screen reader and the mainstream application. the script does not change the application itself, but rather helps Jaws extract information from the application that it needs. A script can make an ill behaved application speak more easily and naturally for the end user, and can also provide functionality that previously did not exist. For example, you can use scripts to build hot keys to read any part of the screen, and to move to parts of an application not navigable using keyboard commands. These are only a couple of examples how scripting can be used to make an application more accessible.
So what are scripts exactly? A script is a series of instructions that your computer carries out in sequence, similar to a batch file, and is stored in a file. Script files can contain hundreds or thousands of individual statements that are executed by a single keystroke, not unlike a macro. You write your script in a text editor, and then save the source code to disk. The script source code resembles most high-level languages, similar to Visual Basic, and is fairly easy to understand as languages go. You then compile the source code into machine readable language, which enables it to run on your computer. Once the script has been successfully compiled, you can run it by hitting the trigger keystroke or by running the application for which the script was written. Once started, the script extracts information it needs from the application, and can also make decisions based on that information on how and what to read. Jaws includes a speech friendly manager for creating, editing, and managing script files.
As you may have guessed, scripts are stored in files, and a script file can contain one or more actual scripts. The Jaws script language includes two fundamental types of scripts: default and application. For starters, let's briefly discuss the Default.JSS script file. JSS stands for Jaws Script Source, and is where the source code for a given script or function is stored. The Default.JSS file is the core script file for Jaws, and contains all the basic functions that allow the screen reader to interact with Windows based applications. This default script file is loaded each time Jaws is started, and is always in the background. As we alluded to earlier, there is a second type of script file, and these are known as application scripts. These application script files are loaded on top of the Default.JSS file, and are started when an application is launched. The application script file bears the same name as the application it is designed for. For example, the Windows Calculator application script file is named Calc.JSS, and the script for Notepad is Notepad.JSS, and so on. When you start the calculator, Calc.JSS is loaded automatically, and the scripts for that application become active. When you exit or switch focus away from the calculator, the Calc.JSS file is unloaded from memory, and the Default.JSS script again takes over.
So how does Jaws keep this all straight? Jaws is constantly monitoring the keyboard, looking for keystrokes that it can process. When you strike a given key, Jaws first looks in the applications script file for a match. If it doesn't find one there, it then looks in the Default.JSS file for a match. If it still doesn't find a match there, it then passes the keystroke onto the application. If, however, it finds a match in either file, it executes the script attached to that keystroke.
Binding Keystrokes To Scripts
As we discussed earlier, a keystroke can trigger scripts into operation. So when you create a script, you will be asked if you want to attach it to a keystroke. This is known as binding, or binding the keystroke to the script. When you hit the bound keystroke, the script will run, provided you did everything correctly.
So how does this work? When you press a key that is bound to a script, Jaws looks in the application and default file for a match, and executes the script bound to that keystroke. But what if you try to use a keystroke that is all ready assigned to another script? If by chance the bound key is the same in both the application and default script files, then the script in the applications file takes precedence. The Script Manager will warn you when you're trying to bind a keystroke to a script in the applications file when the same keystroke is bound to another script in the Default.JSS file, helping you avoid conflicts and rendering scripts in the default file accidentally inoperative.
What's Your Function?
Another type of script does not require a bound keystroke to operate. These scripts are called functions, and can run automatically when Windows events take place. For example, these events can be when an application starts, when new text appears on the screen, when an application exits, when focus changes, and for lots of other recognized events. This means that you can do lots of cool stuff seemingly automatically. The Jaws scripting language includes over six-hundred built-in functions that can be used to build new scripts. These functions include commands such as SayString, SayWord, SayLine, NextWord, PreviousWord, SayFont, SayFromCursor, SayHighlightedText, SayWindowTitle, SayRowHeader, SayHighlightedText, etc. You can browse the list of script functions from within Script Manager, and insert them into your creations. In the next sections, I'll discuss Script Manager, and we'll roll up our sleeves to start setting the stage to write a basic Hello World script.
As was alluded to earlier, Jaws includes a built in Script Manager, letting you create, edit, and manage script files. The Script Manager is command central when it comes to scripts. You can use the manager to create new scripts, compile scripts that you have written, and to modify existing scripts that are stored on the system. You can bring up the Script Manager by hitting Insert+F2 for the Jaws Manager Menu, and then arrow down to the Script Manager item, and then press Enter. If you have an application open when you run Script Manager, this will launch the Manager with the application script for that particular program loaded. You can then examine the script bound to that application, modify the script if so desired, and then recompile it to run. A word of caution here, it's not a good idea to fool around with modifying existing scripts, as this can have unpredictable results, especially for those unfamiliar with the language. It's smart to make backup copies of your Settings directory before playing around with editing and recompiling any existing scripts stored on your system. In the next paragraphs, I'll describe some of the Script Manager's basic functions for browsing, creating and working with script files.
In this first example, let's try something relatively safe, to give you an idea of how to start Script Manager, and examine an existing script file. We'll do this by starting an application, and then running the Jaws Script Manager to examine its application specific script file. First, let's start the Windows Calculator program. Do this by hitting CTRL+Escape to go to the Start Menu. Then, use Down Arrow until you hear Accessories, then press Enter. Continue to use the Down Arrow key until you hear Calculator, then press Enter to launch the calculator. If you've done everything correctly, the Windows Calculator program should now be loaded and should have the focus. Now, with Calculator holding the focus, press Insert+F2 to bring up the Run Jaws Manager menu. Arrow down to Script Manager, and press Enter. The Script Manager will start up with the Calc.JSS script file loaded, ready for you to examine. At this point, simply use your arrow keys to read through the Calc.JSS script file. This file actually contains many individual scripts. You can move forward from one script to another by using the F2 key command, and you can move backwards through the script file one script at a time by using Shift+F2. You can also use the CTRL+L command to list all the script names stored in the Calc.JSS file. Once you've browsed through the Calc.JSS file sufficiently using the Arrow keys, try using the F2 and Shift+F2 commands to move through the file one script at a time. Now that you've had a sampling of what scripts actually look like, let's create and compile our first simple script.
The Hello World Script
When learning any computer language, from Pascal to Visual Basic, I've always found it immensely helpful to create a "Hello World" program first. This lets you create a new program, compile it, and run it, just to get an overview of the entire creation process from beginning to end. The Hello World script or program is very simple. When run, the Hello World script prints the message "Hello World" to the screen and speaks it aloud. This may not appear very complex on the surface, but it does allow you to see exactly how a script is created, compiled, saved, and finally run. To create a Hello World script, do the following:
Let's write our HelloWorld script within the Notepad.JSS file. The first step is to start Notepad, and make sure it has the focus. The next step is to start the Script Manager. Simply hit Insert+F2, and then arrow down to Script Manager, and hit Enter. This will open the Notepad.JSS script file, and place you at the beginning. You can use your arrow keys to read through this file. It may or may not contain any scripts, depending on your Jaws version. In either case, press CTRL+END to move to the end of the file, and press Enter to make a blank line. It's standard practice to put all new scripts at the end of any existing script file. Now that you're at the end of Notepad.JSS, press CTRL+E to bring up the New Script dialog box, and start composing your first script.
The first field in the New Script dialog box asks for a name for the new script. Type in a name, and press the Tab key to go to the next field. It's important to name scripts appropriately, as we'll see in a minute.
The next field is a check-box that asks if you want to attach the new script to a keystroke. Remember that we discussed that scripts can be bound to keystrokes? If you want your script to be bound to a key, and we do in this example, make sure this box is checked.
The next field in the New Script dialog box asks for a synopsis of the script. Go ahead here and type a short description. It's good practice to type in the bound keystroke, as well as the name of the script here. Type "CTRL+1 Hello World Script." The synopsis text you just typed will be useful later when using the built-in Jaws keyboard help. This can be turned on by hitting Insert+1, and another press of Insert+1 turns it off.
The next field in the New Script dialog box asks for a description of your new creation. You can use this field to provide a more comprehensive description of the new script and its exact function.
The next field in the New Script dialog box is called Category, and is not used at this time. Simply use the Tab key to skip over this field, and move forward. The next field in the New Script dialog box is much more important, and asks for the key that you want to bind to the new script. This is the hot key that will run your script. You should not use any standard Windows keyboard shortcuts or reserved Jaws keystrokes in this field to avoid potential conflicts. But if you do by mistake, Script Manager will warn you before accepting the bound keystroke. Let's bind the CTRL+1 keystroke to this script, as we know it is not reserved for other purposes. Simply press CTRL+1 to bind the keystroke. (Do not type the plus character.) Tab to the OK field, and you're almost done. Once you press OK, you will be placed in the editor where you can start writing your new script. Be aware that Script Manager inserts some boiler plate code to make your job easier. It should look something like this:
Script Hello World ()
If you examine the two lines of code above, you will see that the Script Manager has inserted the header and footer for your new script. Script Manager also inserts several blank lines between the header and footer, but these have been removed here to save space. All you have to do is insert the SayString command and its parameters to make the script complete. Simply type the SayString command and its parameters in between the header and footer as shown below.
Script HelloWorld ()
SayString ("Hello World!")
Now the moment of truth has arrived, let's try to compile your Hello World script, and see if it will run. Simply hit the CTRL+S key command to compile your script. This will also save your new script at the same time. If you've done everything correctly, you should receive the message "Compile Complete". This means that the Script Manager detected no syntax errors in your script, and it should run when you hit the bound keystroke.
Ok, now let's run your script. You can't run the script from within Script Manager. This is because the script was written for Notepad, and will only work if and when Notepad has the focus. No problem. Bring Notepad to the focus by hitting ALT+TAB. Then hit the CTRL+1 key that you bound to your new script. You should hear Jaws announce "Hello World".
If the compiler gave you an error message when you tried to compile your script, then you have to debug the code. Be sure that the code looks exactly like the example above, and that you have typed all the punctuation marks, including quotes and parenthesis. Writing code is unforgiving, and you must spell all the commands correctly, and include any necessary punctuation. To help you with this, the Jaws Script Manager includes a pull-down list of all functions that you can use for your scripts. To use this, just begin a new script with CTRL+E, and fill out the New Script dialog box. This will place you in the code window with the header and footer of your new script. Put your cursor between the header and footer lines, and press CTRL+I. This will bring up the Insert Function list. You can use your arrow keys to scroll through this list, and this is a quick way to get an overview of the building-block functions available to construct your scripts.
A word about documentation. It's important to fully document your source code to make it easier for you and others to read it. This is done by beginning the line of documentation with a semicolon ";" character. See the example below:
;Hello World Script Script HelloWorld ()
;Speaks Hello World when CTRL+1 is pressed
SayString ("Hello World!")
In closing, scripting is a recognized and accepted tool in many aspects of the computer world. Microsoft Windows itself possesses a built-in script language that can be used to run and control applications. The Jaws Script language is not greatly dissimilar, except that it has been specialized for speech and Braille output. The Jaws script language can extract and expose information from within applications programs, and spoon feed that information to your synthesizer or Braille display. Learning how to script is not for those who consider themselves timid, but it can most definitely be done, if the right approach is taken. The Hello World example will allow you to create, save, compile, and run a script. You can do it. You can write scripts, starting out small, and working your way up. Those that can write Jaws scripts can earn good wages for their work, and organizations are seeking competent scripters to make their information technology infrastructure more accessible. The BlindProgramming.com web site offers resources for Jaws scripters, and computer programmers, and is a good place to meet like minded folks. They maintain a comprehensive web site, and several listserv discussion groups to discuss various aspects of programming. And now that you've gotten your feet wet, maybe it's time to dive into scripting for fun and profit.
Joe Lazzaro is director of the Adaptive Technology Program at the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind in Boston, and a freelance writer. He is author of Adaptive Technologies for Learning and Work Environments, a guide that describes how to adapt information technology for persons with disabilities. He has earned a certificate from Freedom Scientific for their introductory Jaws scripting class. He can be reached by email at Lazzaro@TheWorld.com, and maintains a web site at http://www.JoeLazzaro.com.
The announcement of new products and services in this column should not be considered an endorsement of those products and services by the Association of Blind Citizens, its staff or officials. Products and services are listed free of charge for the benefit of our readers. "The Advocate" cannot be responsible for the reliability of products or services mentioned.
Listen to, Magnify and Record Internet Web Pages.
Opening up the web for many that have low vision and other reading challenges.
Bellingham, WA - Colligo Corp., an assistive technology solutions company, announces WEB ReadingBar(tm). WEB ReadingBar is a cost effective and easy-to-use Internet enhancement using real Natural Voices(tm) from AT&T. From children to seniors it advances Internet use for millions who suffer from many varieties of reading hurdles, such as: blindness*, visual impairments*, dyslexia, and the 94,000,000 adult Americans that "show low basic literary skills" Converge.
Web ReadingBar is an attachment to Microsoft's Internet Explorer(tm) that allows users to listen to and view magnified web pages. Other features allow the user to audibly record and save web pages, including over 70,000 books on the web. Any word document can be created then recorded for later use, for emails and other purposes. An online or offline screen reading clipboard purges web graphics. Synchronized visual and audible highlighted words offer substantial aids for those with dyslexia and literacy problems. Translation tools assist those learning English as a second language. The award winning Natural Voices technology from AT&T, - shatters the myth that a computer has to speak in monotonous dreary tones.
"WEB ReadingBar for low vision and Colligo's other assistive technologies for the blind and visually impaired open a newfound 'information super highway' at prices more cost effective than ever before." states Sean Ison, Vice- President of Colligo Corp.
Assistive technology from Colligo is appropriate for: * Libraries and all Government agencies who are complying with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
* Educational facilities complying with the No Child Left Behind Act, http://www.nochildleftbehind.gov/
* Consumers, in particular, seniors with reading and vision impairments
"Many (seniors) experience deteriorating eyesight. It can be a very formidable barrier when using a computer, they attempt to get online, run into difficulty, and simply assume that the Internet is not for them." SeniorNet
"Innovations of this nature that use readily available technology to improve information access, provide knowledge, freedom and power. Without these basic rights, the ability to self advocate becomes very difficult, therefore hindering independence," said Dr. Dean Stenehjem, Superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind.
Introductory consumer pricing is $189. Multiple licensing is available.
Founded in 1999, Colligo Corp. provides digital content and assistive technology solutions. Headquartered in Bellingham, Washington. For more information, please visit: www.colligo.us.
In concert with other Assistive Technologies
1400 King St., Suite E, Bellingham WA 98229
All product names described are the property of their respective owners.
Blind-Novel-Tees announces new designs
Check us out online at :www.bntonline.com
GUIDELINE RELEASES NEW MOBILITY DEVICE FOR THE BLIND
Newtown, PA... Currently 180 million people throughout the world are blind. For many of these individuals, navigating and adapting to their environment present challenges that are not immediately obvious to the sighted population. A quick jaunt to the mailbox can be fraught with all types of unanticipated obstacles for people who are blind - from abandoned toys on the sidewalk to hanging tree limbs, the visually impaired must constantly have their radar up. The Hand Guide, developed by Guideline, is a personal assistance device that increases mobility for the visually impaired by allowing them to navigate their environment with greater confidence. Hand Guide is design to be used in conjunction with a cane or a Guide Dog.
Tony Rogers, president of Guideline explained, "There is a tremendous need for such a product. Throughout the world a person goes blind every five seconds, any device that can increase ease of mobility is a real boon to the visually impaired population." Hand Guide offers numerous advantages as a supplemental guidance device. Because it is small and unobtrusive, the user can comfortably carry it in the hand, point it in the desired direction and identify hanging objects, increase peripheral perception or discover openings in crowded area.
Hand Guide was created after months of consultation and testing. Infrared sensors detect objects up to four feet away by emitting an invisible stream of light. Once the device detects something, it will signal a warning by vibrating or chirping, depending on the user's preference. It is extremely easy to use and fits into a pocket when not in use.
A Favorable Debut
The Hand Guide was introduced at the American Council of the Blind's annual meeting in July 2003. Although not the first technological guidance device on the market, the Hand Guide received high praise from meeting attendees because of its low price, sleek design and accuracy. After demonstrating the Hand Guide, meeting goers were quick to identify a list of situations in which the device could be used. Currently the Hand Guide is available through the product's website at www.Guideline-technologies.com or by calling 1.800-809-1849.
new blindness related humor magazine
Receive your free subscription to Silliness, a humorous collection of blindness related short stories, poems, and articles available by e-mail.
Subscribe for free by sending a blank email to:
We produce and sell only top quality Braille paper, with or without GBC holes!!! We also sell other tractor fed sizes of paper, see www.braillepaper.com
The same top quality Braille paper is shipped each and every time.
- At a GREAT PRICE
- Shipped as FREE MATTER same day (We also ship daily via UPS & truck.)
- In a CRUSH PROOF box.
Wide paper (11 & 1/2 by 11); box of 1000 sheets is $31.73.
Narrow (notebook size) paper (8 & 1/2 by 11) box of 1500 sheets is $36.62.
Note this is 1500 sheets. (Price per thousand is $24.41).
Remember, this is with or without the binding (GBC) holes, your choice.
And our paper is 100 pound tag, not 360 ledger. (100) pound tag has much less "ash content" than 360 ledger which means less paper dust to clog up your embosser.)
What more could you ask for? How about lower pricing for greater quantities? We have that too.
Please go to our "just launched" web site at www.braillepaper.com for quantity pricing.
We are VERY prompt in shipping!!! Please note, for instance, that we have watched our free matter shipments to our customers in California and they have taken 7 business days. Really!!! (It surprised us too how well it actually went.)
AND none of that crushed box problem either!!! None. (We use "crush proof" boxes.)
We also make many other sizes and colors of tractor fed cards. See more at our website, www.braillepaper.com Call or fax us to request information or to receive free samples.
PARTICIPANTS SOUGHT FOR RP TREATMENT STUDY
A new treatment study for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is being conducted at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston with the support of the National Eye Institute and the assistance of The Foundation Fighting Blindness. If you are between 18 and 60 years of age and wish to participate, or to learn more, call (800) 683-5555.
SKIING IN CALIFORNIA
Tahoe Donner Cross Country will sponsor several Saturday skiing trips and a three-day event in early 2004. The Saturday trips are for children and adults at Tahoe Donner Cross Country, Truckee, CA. The dates for the three-day event are March 13-15. The cost is $185 if you supply your own skis or $285 to rent skis. The dates for the Saturday trips are January 10, February 7, and February 21, 2004. The cost for adults at these events is $15 if you bring skis and $30 to rent them. The cost for children is to be announced.
For more information and an application for any of the scheduled trips, contact Betsy Rowell, SRSFL Skier Coordinator, P.O. Box 276371, Sacramento, CA 95827-6371,
phone (916) 362-5557 or e-mail email@example.com.
APRONS AVAILABLE AT A SPECIAL DISCOUNT
"Cooking in the Dark" offers a special discount on aprons for ACB members. Aprons come in a natural color and have the "Cooking in the Dark" logo screen-printed on the front. From the waist they measure 23 inches long and are about 28 inches wide. They include ties at waist and neck.
The logo features Bart B. Cue, a plump little gray mouse wearing dark sunglasses and a chef's hat, with a spatula in his left hand. On his vest are the words "Cooking in the Dark" in black letters. Beneath the mouse, the show's slogan, "You Don't Need Sight to Make Dinner Tonight!," is printed in cartoon lettering. To view the logo, go to http://www.blindmicemart.com and enter "apron" in the search engine; click on the product when it comes up.
Aprons retail for $26.95 on the show and on the web site. "Here and There" readers can purchase aprons for only $18.40 apiece. To purchase an apron for yourself or a friend, e-mail your order request to Dale Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (713) 876-6971. Shipping cost will depend on location and number of aprons ordered.
NEW COLOR IDENTIFIER AVAILABLE
BRYTECH launched its latest talking product, Color Teller, for people who are blind or visually impaired. Color Teller is a compact, portable, easy-to-use talking color identifier that allows people who are blind or have a color vision impairment to determine the color of materials and objects. It helps people to match clothes, enjoy the pleasures of their gardens and homes, color code products for easy identification, and much more. Color Teller distinguishes all commonly used colors from pink to pale blue-green, dark brown to vivid yellow in English, French, or Spanish. Order online directly from BRYTECH's web site at: www.brytech.com. In the U.S., customers can obtain Color Teller directly from any of BRYTECH's distributors. A list of distributors is available on the web site.
IMPORTANT ONLINE SURVEY SEEKS PARTICIPANTS
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Workplace Accommodations is researching the technology needs of people with visual impairments.
To ensure people who are blind or visually impaired are well represented in the survey population, join our consumer advisory network by signing up on our web site, http://www.workrerc.org/Contact/advisorylist.cfm. The survey will be sent to all those signed up for the network. Our first survey will ask about problems which people with disabilities have encountered finding and maintaining employment and about barriers they may have encountered. Interviews to gather more details about specific problems are also being planned.
If you have difficulty filling out the form on the web site, send an e-mail message to email@example.com to request a text copy.
VERY SPECIAL ARTS FESTIVAL
The 2004 International VSA Arts Festival to be held June 9 through 12, 2004 will be unlike any other festival! VSA Arts will have a presence in some of Washington, D.C.'s premiere and exciting locations. Opening ceremonies will be held in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, which has the capacity to seat an audience of over 2,000. Union Station, a historical landmark visited by over 70,000 people daily, will exhibit and stage some of our finest visual artists and performers. The Smithsonian Institution, one of the nation's most significant art venues, will host some of our master artist workshops and demonstrations. In addition, The Millennium Arts Center, Washington, D.C.'s seven-wing, 150,000 square foot facility, has committed to exhibiting our artwork, particularly installation art.
VSA Arts is currently conducting an open call to artists (literary, media, performing, and visual) to participate in the festival. You can download, complete, and submit the application form at the web site, http://www.vsartsfestival.org/.
ACCESS TECHNOLOGY COURSE
The Hadley School for the Blind's course, "Access Technology: Beginnings," can provide the information to decide which hardware, software and access technology best meet your requirements. Anyone interested in helping a visually impaired family member, client or student select a computer system would also benefit from enrolling. This tuition-free distance education course enables you to learn at your own pace in the comfort of your home.
The four lessons in this course enable you to select a personal computer (PC) that meets your needs. After presenting a brief history of computers, the course describes the components of a typical PC system. It not only explains how computers are used today, but also how visually impaired people access computers. Steps for selecting a PC and appropriate access technology are listed, and alternatives for financing the purchase are suggested. A Technology List includes companies and organizations that provide computer equipment and services to people who are visually impaired.
To enroll, call Student Services at (800) 526-9909 or visit us on the web at www.hadleyschool.org.
USER EVALUATIONS OF Assistive Technology
The AT Connection is a new web-based forum where users of assistive technology can confidentially post product reviews and exchange information about their experiences with assistive technology products. There is no cost or commitment for use of this resource. Visit www.techconnections.org/forum.cfm.
Call the AT Network information and referral hotline at 1-800-390-2699, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., for assistance with finding the products that meet your needs.
ACCESSIBLE SOFTWARE FOR CELL PHONES
Mobile Accessibility software makes your cell phone talk. With Mobile Accessibility you can create and edit your contact list; create, edit, send and read text messages; use audible caller ID; and much more. Contact Tom Rash via e-mail at Tom@audiovisionradio.org for more information.
RFB&D NOW DIGITAL
Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic has gone digital! Last September, we launched RFB&D's Audio Plus (tm) digitally recorded textbooks on CD. A single RFB&D's AudioPlus CD (developed adhering to DAISY format standards) holds the equivalent of 10 to12 four-track cassettes! Call RFB&D to learn about our special offers for existing members. If you haven't borrowed a book since you were a student, call our toll-free number below and ask about renewal options.
To see which books in RFB&D's extensive library are currently available on CD, visit www.rfbd.org/catalog and look for book titles with the designation AD or DT. Or, call toll- free, (800) 221-4792, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Eastern.
NEW PORTABLE READING PRODUCT
Book Port (tm) is a flexible book reading device that consists of a small, portable unit with a keypad and ear buds, plus accompanying software. It features both text-to-speech capabilities for electronic text or Braille format files and digital audio support for electronic audio books. The unit contains a universal serial bus (USB) connector and a Compact Flash card slot for removable mass storage. The device works only with computers with a Windows 2000 or later operating system. Book Port also acts as a recorder, letting you take audio notes on the material you read.
The included software and cable lets you use your PC to transfer material to Book Port. You can then disconnect Book Port and take it anywhere you go. The Book Port is available from the American Printing House for the Blind for $395. To order, call 1- 800-223-1839.
NEW ANN MORRIS CATALOG AVAILABLE
The 2004 Ann Morris Enterprises product catalog is now available in large print or four-track cassette free of charge. Braille costs $12. Downloads are available from www.annmorris.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org. New items include a talking TV remote, talking sign, light gathering magnifier, two color identifiers, and much more. Contact us at 551 Hosner Mountain Rd., Stormville, NY 12582 or call 1-800-454-3175.
PARTICIPANTS NEEDED FOR RESEARCH STUDY
Mississippi State University's Rehabilitation Research & Training Center (RRTC) on Blindness and Low Vision, in collaboration with the Helen Keller National Center on Deaf blind Youth and Adults and the RRTC for Persons who are hard of Hearing or Late Deafened, is currently working on a five-year research project concerning people aging with vision and hearing loss. This project focuses on people who are visually or hearing impaired who experience a secondary onset of hearing or vision loss resulting from aging.
Older people who experience both vision and hearing loss are often isolated by their lack of access to technology, communication systems, and transportation. This project seeks to determine the primary needs of this particular group of people and the best ways to address those needs to improve their everyday lives.
If you have experienced both a hearing and vision loss and are 55 years or older, we request your participation in our study group. Study group members will complete several surveys and possibly participate in one interview. Only a small amount of your time will be required, and your contribution will benefit not only you but others who are aging with vision and hearing loss as well. Any information you provide will remain strictly confidential.
To participate or to ask questions, please contact B.J. LeJeune or Michele Capella at 1-800-675-7782 or via e-mail at DRRP@colled.msstate.edu. Additional information about the project and a study group application form can be obtained at http://www.blind.msstate.edu/pahvl/pahvl.html.
ULTIMATE TALKING DICTIONARY
Premier Assistive Technology recently released the Ultimate Talking Dictionary, a comprehensive PC-based dictionary combined with a powerful thesaurus that actually reads definitions aloud. The dictionary contains more than 250,000 words, including people, places, slang and common phrases; and it includes a spelling feature; a "power search" feature; a thesaurus; hot-key word lookup; a "zoom" feature that allows users to enlarge the print; word history; and it works with screen readers and magnifiers.
The Ultimate Talking Dictionary sells for only $29.95. You can purchase it online at www.readingmadeeasy.com or call (815) 722-5961.
The Computer Science Department of the College of Staten Island in conjunction with the Computer Center for the Visually Impaired of Baruch College has designed a Graphical Calculus Course for Blind Students. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation to help make college-level courses accessible to people with visual impairments. This self-pacing course was designed to enable blind students to master calculus concepts without the assistance of sighted readers. Course materials consist of audio presentations of text specifically worded for blind students and supplemented with easily interpreted tactile graphics.
Audio files and graphic files for transfer to swell paper are freely downloadable from our web site. Audio-tactile files for use with a NOMAD touchpad are also available. Or we can supply ready-made plastic graphics sheets. For more information or to view the materials, please visit our web site at http://domanski.cs.csi.cuny.edu/CalculusForTheBlind.
Or you may e-mail us at: Blank@postbox.csi.cuny.edu or call us at (718) 982-2350.
Henter Math is pleased to announce the release of its first product, Virtual Pencil. The computer software for interactive access to math is designed for people who are unable to operate a pencil effectively. The product is not a tutorial, but rather a tool that can be used to interactively solve a math problem. The virtual pencil moves to the right spot on the "paper," guided by the user, and inputs the answers that the user selects. When used with a screen reader the numbers and actions are read aloud, or displayed in braille.
Virtual Pencil can be used by the student in tutor mode to learn how to navigate around and solve math problems, with lots of on-line help. In test mode the student does not have the tutor and must know how to navigate, where to read the digits in the intermediate steps, and where to put the answers, just like when using a pencil.
Teachers can use Virtual Pencil to create an assignment or test, password protect it, and then send it to the student via e-mail, save it to a diskette, print it or emboss it in Braille. The password prevents students switching from test mode to tutor mode or otherwise changing the assignment. The same file can be printed out for the other students in the class, saving the teacher a lot of time.
The current product handles addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and decimals. Future versions will accommodate higher levels of math, like algebra, trigonometry, differential equations, and calculus. The price is $99. For more information or to download a free demo, go to the web page at www.HenterMath.com.
LOW VISION RESOURCE GUIDE
A new large print publication, Low Vision Resource Guide, is now available from Telesensory. The 30-page booklet explains the major causes of eye disease and provides information about products that help people with vision impairments remain independent. The guide also contains a comprehensive list of organizations that provides additional help, advice and support. The guide can be downloaded free from www.telesensory.com. The booklet is also available for $5 by sending a check to Telesensory - Low Vision Guide Dept., 520 Almanor Ave., Sunnyvale, CA 94085.
Brierwood Custom Jewelry specializes in custom signet rings, I.D. bracelets, and earrings in gold and silver. Create a special design for your dad, perhaps for Father's Day! Or make any day a holiday. Call Brierwood Custom Jewelry at (714) 378- 1345 and ask for Rocky, or send an e-mail to BRIERMAN1@aol.com. Let our designs speak for you!
Atlas of East Asia
The Princeton Braillists now have available the Atlas of East Asia. It covers China, Taiwan, Mongolia, North and South Korea, and Japan in two volumes of Tactile maps and braille information. Japan is first shown as an overall map; subsequent maps divide the island chain into three main parts. Further enlargements depict three heavily populated areas on Honshu Island. A map and brief descriptive material are included for Tokyo. The maps of China each treat a specific feature-population, rivers, mountains, natural regions. Two enlarged fold-out maps depict coastal China and western China. Additional maps provide further enlargements of three densely populated coastal regions and Hong Kong. A map and some information are included on the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Each country has an introductory page of facts followed by the map(s). Places on the map are generally labeled with key letters taken from the corresponding place name, which are identified in the key pages preceding each map.
"Atlas of East Asia" contains 26 maps, 106 pages total. It costs $21. Shipping is by free matter. Send your check or purchase order to The Princeton Braillists,
76 Leabrook Lane, Princeton, NJ 08540. Allow four weeks for delivery. For more information, call (215) 357-7715 or (609) 924-5207.
NEW 'BY EAR' COURSES
"Music By Ear" offers two new course selections: Intro to the Bass Guitar and Intro to the 5-String Banjo. Both courses are tape-based. The intro to the bass guitar teaches the names of the parts of the bass guitar, the names of the notes, and the most commonly used rhythm patterns for the bass including the pop/rock pattern, the alternate bass pattern, the waltz pattern, and 6/8 and 9/8 time patterns. The price of the course is $39 (including shipping inside the United States). The banjo course teaches how to hold the banjo, how to tune it, the alternating thumb roll, the forward and backward rolls, chord progressions to several songs and banjo solos for the songs "Cripple Creek" and "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." It, too, costs $39 (including shipping inside the U.S.).
Also available are Intro to the Guitar, Intro to the Piano, and Piano Course 2. For more information, visit the web site, www.musicvi.com, or phone 1-800-484-1839 code 8123.
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Grated orange peel
- Boil sweet potatoes. When fork goes through them, they are cooked.
- While hot, peel sweet potatoes; cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices.
- Put them in 11-inch by 7-inch baking dish.
- Put dab of butter on each slice.
- In saucepan, combine brown sugar, orange juice, water and grated orange rind; let mixture boil 1-2 minutes.
- Pour this syrup over sweet potatoes.
- Bake at 325 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.
- 1 pound cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup red currant preserves (if unavailable, use raspberry preserves)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoons orange peel
- Wash cranberries; remove stems.
- In saucepan, combine cranberries, sugar, preserves and water; heat to boil.
- Reduce heat to simmer.
- Use a spoon to skim off scum.
- Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat.
- Add walnuts and orange peel.
- Put in bowl.
- Refrigerate overnight.
PUMPKIN CHIFFON PIE
Provided by Jan Doremus
- 2-1/2 cups cold skim milk
- 2 1.5-ounce packages instant sugar-free vanilla pudding mix
- 1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 9-inch reduced-fat Graham cracker crust
- Light frozen whipped topping and additional cinnamon, optional
- In mixing bowl, combine milk and pudding mix; beat 1 minute; the mixture will be thick.
- Add pumpkin and spices; beat 1 minute longer.
- Pour into pie crust; cover.
- Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm.
- If desired, garnish with whipped topping and sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Makes 8 servings.