It has been six months since I wrote this column for our
previous edition of the Advocate but it seems like yesterday.
I am happy to report to you that the Association of Blind
Citizens continues to grow by leaps and bounds. The ABC membership
list continues to grow from Massachusetts to California. Many
new members indicate to me via email that this organization
seems to have a different approach in relating to the blind
and visually impaired community. Those comments make me and
the ABC board extremely pleased since the objective in forming
the organization was not to duplicate what other national
organizations for the blind and visually impaired are doing.
I believe that maintaining our difference is very important
and we encourage members from any other organization to join
The deadline for our scholarship program has now passed and
again this year we have many applicants from around the country.
I reviewed several applicants applications briefly and it
looks like our scholarship committee will have a big job in
determining which applicants will be awarded the ABC scholarships.
For those of you who applied, I wish you the best of luck
and I vow to keep working hard to continue to expand this
program so that ABC can create opportunity one step at a time.
ABC continues to show our support and encourage the use of
braille in our blind community. ABC was proud to sponsor the
braille production of the children's book Harry Potter the
Goblet of Fire. Due to our sponsorship of the production of
this braille book we know that 1000 copies will be available
for purchase from National Braille Press in Boston at a reasonable
price. We hope to be able to sponsor more projects such as
this one in the future. I hope that these types of projects
will encourage blind and visually impaired children to learn
braille and read titles which their sighted peers are reading.
Another program that has been well received has been our
sponsorship of camps for blind and visually impaired children.
This summer millions of children will attend summer camp and
enjoy many activities. ABC support for camps for blind children
will give many blind and visually impaired children throughout
the country a chance to participate in many activities that
would not be available in their local community. ABC's camp
sponsorship program has been able to assist an agency serving
the blind and visually impaired by sponsoring some of their
young consumers in attending camps after the funds they were
using to sponsor camps were cut do to ongoing budget cuts
Another new program that has received overwhelming response
has been ABC's Assistive Technology Fund. This program was
announced several weeks ago and has received just over $50,000
in funding requests. This demand has certainly exceeded my
projections. The deadline for applying for funding assistance
is June 30th. ABC will continue to work hard to expand the
funding for this project.
ABC continues to develop projects that will continue to expand
our national presence. I am also working with several state
coordinators to establish local and regional activities. If
you wish to be a state coordinator for ABC please email me
Developing local activities in individual states will be an
ongoing project over the next several years.
ABC continues to operate a beep ball team in Boston the Boston
Renegades. The Renegades are looking forward to an exciting
beep ball season that will culminate with a trip to the beep
ball world series in Glenview Illinois. This recreation program
is giving blind and visually impaired athletes a chance to
compete in a competitive team sport. I wish the Boston Renegades
the best of luck in the upcoming season and world series and
I am confident they will do their best to make ABC proud of
supporting recreation programs for the blind and visually
Several other local activities are currently underdevelopment
and ABC will release details soon. In closing, I would ask
you to please contact me if you have any fundraising ideas,
know individuals or companies that might financially assist
ABC or have ideas on projects that you feel would benefit
the blind and visually impaired community, please contact
me. I do try to respond to every inquiry so do not hesitate
to send any ideas my way. I would like to thank the board,
our donors and supporters, community partner businesses and
organizations and ABC's membership for ABC's successes.
Do you have an interesting hobby? Do you have the latest
high tech gadgets on the market? Articles relating to hobbies
and interests or product reviews are welcome. The submission
deadline for our Fall/Winter 2002 edition is November 1, 2002.
The free Absolutely Scholarships internet database contains
200,000 listings and also states that they allow users to
search across two of the most comprehensive scholarship databases
available. Users need to create a profile to use the database.
This information is provided free of charge to students by
the Academic Research Information System (ARIS) and the organization
subscribers. The site organizes scholarships by disciplines
and then chronologically by deadline date.
You can visit the Adventures in Education (AIE) web database
to locate scholarships. This site also provides career planning
Scholarship, grant, fellowship, and internship information
specifically for underrepresented groups who pursue professions
in the chemical sciences.
Updated monthly, the Arts Deadlines Lists site contains approximately
40-50 competitions, scholarships, and funding primarily for
Club Scholarship boasts over 500,000 scholarship listings.
A database of approximately 3,300 sponsors. College Board
Online is similar to Fastweb.com, but does not retain personal
information: you must reenter your personal data each time
you search for scholarships. (See previous edition of The
Advocate for information on Fastweb.com.)
CollegeQuest, sponsored by the National Association of Financial
Aid Administrators, provides free membership. This site contains
in-depth profiles about college and universities, and allows
users to search the Peterson's database http://www.petersons.com/
of more than 800,000 scholarships and awards.
College Xpress site lists scholarships in various disciplines
that you can browse, but does not save your profile.
Cornell University Graduate School Fellowship Notebook provides
a fellowship database (a majority from non-Cornell sources).
This database does not save profiles and provides listings
either by searching or browsing specific disciplines.
Embark.com requires that you establish an account to use
the scholarship search. This search service allows users to
find awards based on year of study, minimum award level, areas
of study, and applicant criteria.
Dan Cassidy's FASTaiD, another comprehensive scholarship
resource, advertises over 400 pages of scholarship listings,
as well several other links to scholarship sites.
This search service, also known as "The Old School," lists
several well-organized financial resources, and includes international
The Foundation Center, an online orientation to the grant-seeking
process, provides links to corporate and non-profit funding
Free 4-U lists approximately 40,000 nicely organized scholarship
listings. This site is frequently updated, and allows users
to browse listings by specific criteria, search databases,
or browse the most currently available scholarship listings.
This Libertarian-sponsored site provides a directory of contest
and scholarship information.
FreSearch allows you to fill out a personal profile, and
saves a personal "Scholarship Home Page" for you. This link
also provides several college-related resources.
FundsNet contains an alphabetical listings of scholarships
that you can browse. At the bottom of each page, be sure to
check the "More Scholarships" links for additional listings.
This search service lists more than 8,000 funding sources
comprised of more than 600,000 individual awards, and selects
those matching the student's profile. You must choose a user
ID and password to use this service. An added bonus of this
web site: "Every month we have a lucky draw where we give
away many prizes: 1st Prize: a $250 Scholarship, 2nd to 12th
prizes: Cool GoCollege T-Shirts. Fill out [the] form [which
appears when accessing the web site] for a chance to win and
click on the Register button."
UCLA's Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural Support database
search lists scholarship, fellowship, and grant opportunities
for graduate students.
Grant Net provides program search and a funding directory
with contact information.
Excellently organized graduate listings you can browse. Contains
information for nationally coveted awards, Science & Engineering,
Human Health, Women, Minorities, Hodgepodge, and Multiple
Sources. This resource links to the University of New Mexico,
and lists several graduate scholarships, grants, and fellowships.
Users can either browse listings or access the database.
The Look Smart search engine lists several scholarship sites
classified by discipline.
The Mach25 database contains over 600,000 awards totaling
over $1.6 billion. Mach25 includes both undergraduate and
graduate listings, but does not save your profile.
The following "GUERRILLA TACTICS" are listed in Benjamin
Kaplan's book "HOW TO GO TO COLLEGE ALMOST FOR FREE"
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #1: Conduct multiple searches in each
database by varying your personal characteristics. Doing
this helps you locate scholarships that may be misclassified.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #2: Raid the scholarship libraries and
guidance offices of other schools in your area to tap their
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #3: Use internet search engines to "electronically"
visit other high school and college guidance offices and
check out their scholarship listings.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #4: Plan on creating reusable application
materials that bridge multiple contests. Recycle and rethink
past essays on perennial themes.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #5: Use class-related writing assignments
as an opportunity to flesh out essays for scholarship applications.
Search old schoolwork for hidden scholarship treasure.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #6: Use independent study course credit
to pursue self-initiated projects that enhance your record
for scholarship contests.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #7: Talk to past winners of scholarship
contests you are planning to enter.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #8: Try to convey each of the Ten Golden
Virtues somewhere in your context application. [Note: The
Ten Golden Virtues are as follows: (1) Hard Work; (2) Overcoming
Obstacles; (3) Teamwork; (4) Perseverance; (5) Individual
Initiative; (6) Passion & Enthusiasm; (7) Responsibility;
(8) Civic Duty; (9) Purpose; and (10) Character.]
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #9: Find painless ways to fill in your
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #10: Define each scholarship's ideal
applicant, and emphasize personal attributes matching this
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #11: Get others to read your essay out
loud, and listen for trouble areas.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #12: Obtain more recommendation letters
than you need, then pick and choose the best letters to
include with each application.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #13: Get electronic copies of recommendation
letters on disk to reduce the burden on recommendation writers
and gain better control over obtaining additional copies.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #14: If you don't have enough credentials
to fill up a form, expand the descriptions of what you do
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #15: To sidestep space limitations and
highlight your most compelling achievements, include an
awards & honors addendum as part of your school transcript.
- GUERRILLA TACTIC #16: Leave sample work with interviewers
to highlight your talents and remind them to consider you
when it's time to award the money.
To order a copy of Benjamin Kaplan's book, visit: http://www.waggledancer.com
For more scholarship advice from Benjamin Kaplan, visit:
If you write for fun or are a professional writer you may
submit articles on any topic for publication or republication.
Submissions for our Fall/Winter edition must be submitted
by November 1, 2002. Please submit them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or mail them on disk to ABC
P.O. Box 246
Holbrook MA 02343.
by Cheryl Cumings
Title: All the Daring of the Soldier, Women
of the Civil War armies
Author: Elizabeth D. Lennard
Book number: RC 52080
I picked up this book and immediately thought, "thank God
for multiculturalism. Although some people dismiss Multiculturalism
as a late twentieth century social ideology, which can lead
to cultural relativism and political correctness, I value
it for the new perspectives it can bring into my life. As
an avid reader of history I believe that Multiculturalism
has made it possible to learn more fully about the role
of different people in shaping the past, the present, and
I recall the American history I was taught in school. Betsy
Ross sewed the American flag but the significant acts of
building and fighting for the country were done by men.
Women as vibrant, educated, actively involved people do
not appear until the abolitionist movement.
In All the Daring of the Soldier, we learn that in the
Revolutionary and in the Civil war, women played an active
role. We read about women who defied prevailing social beliefs
about the role of a woman and actively shaped the future
of their nation. This book relates in an engaging manner
the eventful stories of these women.
Early in the book, we read about a woman in Philadelphia
whose house the British used to meet at and plan upcoming
battles. Although the soldiers thought she was asleep, she
listened to their conversations and later recounted their
battle plans to Washington. Later we read about women whose
personal convictions led them to spy for the Union or for
the confederacy, women who went with their husbands to the
battlefields and in some cases took over their duties when
their husbands were injured, women who disguised themselves
as men in order to join the army.
Unlike the other books I have reviewed, this is a straightforward
recounting of the lives and activities of ordinary women
doing extraordinary things. I was impressed by the extent
to which the women understood the constraints their society
placed on them and in some instances used that to their
advantage and in all instances refused to accept their socially
prescribed roles. The stories are supported by newspaper
articles that were written about these women during their
time and other historical materials.
There are many footnotes, which are read when, noted. Although
the reading of the text of the footnotes interrupts the
stories and is sometimes distracting, in most instances
the footnotes add more information.
If you enjoy reading American history, then I strongly
recommend you read this book. In its retelling of the role
of women in the revolutionary and in the civil war, we gain
a new understanding of the contributions of women to American
Your donations are always welcome to help in supporting
the programs and the services of the Association of Blind
Citizens. Donations should be made payable to Association
of Blind Citizens
PO Box 246
Holbrook, MA 02343.
The Association of Blind Citizens has established the Assistive
Technology Fund. The Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) will
provide funds to cover 50% of the retail price of adaptive
devices or software. The ABC board of directors believes
that this program will allow blind and visually impaired
individuals access to technology products that will have
a significant impact on improving employment opportunities,
increase the level of independence and enhance their overall
quality of life.
The products covered by this program must retail for a
minimum of $200 with a maximum retail price of $6000. Persons
eligible to apply for assistance must have a family income
of less than $50,000 and cash assets of less than $20,000.
Applications will be reviewed by the Assistive Technology
Committee (ATC) and recommendations will be submitted for
board approval. If applicants are selected to receive a
technology grant, applicants will be asked to provide documents
such as tax returns, bank statements and any other documents
that the ABC board or it’s designee would deem necessary
to assess financial need for the grant.
Applicants must be legally blind and the grantee must be
a resident of the United States. Applications must be submitted
by June 30, September 30 and December 31 for each grant
period (three per year). Applicants will be notified if
their request for a grant is approved. Applicants may submit
one request per calendar year. All applications must be
submitted via e-mail in accordance with the procedures outlined
on the ABC website. You will be notified by ABC within 45
days after the application deadline.
To learn more and obtain your application please visit
and click on the Assistive Technology Fund application link.
This article was published in a recent issue of Science
Fiction Chronicle Magazine at WWW.DNAPublications.Com.
SCIENCE FICTION PUBLISHERS EMBRACE ALTERNATIVE
FORMATS SUCH AS AUDIO, LARGE PRINT, BRAILLE, E-BOOKS, AND
DESCRIPTIVE & CAPTIONED VIDEO
BY JOE LAZZARO
Joe Lazzaro is the Adaptive Technology editor for Absolute
Magnitude Magazine, and maintains a web site at http://www.joelazzaro.com
The dominance of the dusty hard cover is slowly waning
as a wide variety of alternative book and video formats
gain acceptance among publishers and consumers. Print is
no longer the only game in town, as new formats evolve and
expand to support a wide variety of consumer preferences.
In this article, I'll spotlight publishers offering books
and magazines in audio, large print, braille, and digital
formats. I'll also describe sources for descriptive and
captioned video that increases the accessibility of movies
and television programming.
The subject of alternative formats is very near and dear
to my heart. I tend to gravitate towards alternative formats
for very personal reasons. Because I am legally blind, audio
and e-books are more accessible to me than traditional printed
books and magazines, allowing me to read and access information
independently. Yes, I can use a scanner to read printed
material, but that takes time, and there is only so much
time in the day with work, writing, and drinking single
malts. Why go through a conversion process if you don't
have to? It goes without saying that we are experiencing
an explosion of information, but too much of that information
is unfortunately inaccessible to consumers with visual,
learning, or other disabilities. But the good news is that
alternative formats can help you overcome this artificial
barrier in a single bound.
Alternative formats only increase the consumer base for
products by meeting diverse preferences and needs. You don't
have to be a person with a disability to take advantage
of books and magazines in alternative formats. For example,
audio books let you read while driving, exercising, relaxing
with the lights out, working in the shop, or cleaning the
house. E-books give you immediate gratification because
you can browse through titles on the net and download them
immediately without having to take a trip to the brick and
mortar bookstore. In the next sections, I'll explore the
different formats in more detail.
The publishing industry has been producing fact and fiction
on audio cassettes and compact disks for some time. The
Library of Congress, as well as other organizations, also
produce audio books and other formats for readers who have
difficulty reading printed material. There is a wide selection
of SF audio titles from numerous sources if you know where
The audio cassette and CD are certainly not new technologies,
but they have gained wide consumer acceptance, and have
stood the test of time. You can listen to audio books whenever
your eyes are busy or just want to relax. Audio books are
also practical for persons with visual, learning, or other
print related disabilities. while not intended for the disability
market, mainstream publishers are marketing their audio
titles squarely at the mainstream market. It's just a serendipitous
spin-off that the books also empower persons who may have
difficulty reading print.
In addition to their practical benefits, audio books bring
the pleasure of reading out loud to your automobile or living
room. You only need a cassette or CD player, and a decent
set of speakers or headphones to get started.
The American printing House for the Blind in Louisville
Kentucky offers the Louis database that brings together
many different producers of audio books, as well as books
in other formats. The Louis database can be found at http://www.aph.org.
Louis provides a listing of publishers and distributors
that produce books in audio tape, large print, computer
disk, and braille for consumers who are blind or visually
The Louis site also offers a listing of books that can
be downloaded into talking hand-held readers. The Roadrunner
is a speech-enabled book reader that can store e-books,
and play them back using its built-in speech synthesizer.
The Roadrunner plugs into headphones or external speakers,
similar to a cassette or CD player.
Recording for the Blind and Dyslectic (RFBD) offers books
on audio cassette and computer disk. They are also working
on the next generation of digital talking books with the
DAISY Consortium described later in this article. You can
obtain a listing of the extensive RFBD catalog from their
web site at http://www.rfbd.org.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically
handicapped produces talking books and magazines on cassette
for readers who are legally blind or who have disabilities
that impact their ability to read printed material. The
books and magazines are available without charge to qualified
patrons, and most titles are offered on loan by postage-free
mail to library patrons. The NLS web site offers resources
for those seeking books and periodicals in alternative formats,
and also includes a list of the various regional libraries.
The NLS site also includes library resources to assist patrons
who have visual or physical disabilities, as well as other
organizations that produce audio, large print, or braille
books and magazines. The NLS offers a wide selection of
Science Fiction and fantasy titles to their patrons. For
more information, point your web browser to http://www.loc.gov/nls
or at http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/directories.html
for a resource guide.
The National Library Service offers two of the largest
SF magazines free of charge to its patrons: Analog Science
Fiction and Fact, and Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine.
The books are published monthly on audio cassette tape,
and require a special machine to play back the cassettes.
The modified cassette player runs at half the speed of a
standard cassette, and are capable of recording four tracks
per tape, allowing about six hours of playback time on a
standard ninety minute cassette. The cassette players are
provided free of charge to NLS patrons.
Frequency is an audio Science Fiction magazine offered
bimonthly on compact disk. The magazine is professionally
narrated, and includes sound effects to enhance the presentation.
You can obtain more information, or order a subscription,
by pointing your web browser to the Frequency Audio web
site at http://www.frequencymagazine.com.
There is a growing selection of sites on the web that offer
audio books on cassette and CD. To locate additional sources,
point your web browser to one of the search engines and
search for "audio books" or "books on tape". The following
sites offer e-books from their web sites:
If you're a reader with a visual disability, or have eye
strain from too much recreational reading or web surfing,
you may benefit from large print texts. Large print books
are easier to read because they present an expanded image
on the retina. You can purchase large print editions of
books and magazines from numerous sources. Check with your
publisher for the availability of available titles. Doubleday
provides a web site of their large print titles at www.doubledaylargeprint.com.
E-books can be displayed in large print using a computer
or other device. Do this by increasing the font size in
your computer's operating system or applications software.
A font size of 18 points or higher is considered large print.
The accessibility options built into the Macintosh and
Windows platforms support large print, allowing you to magnify
both text and graphics. You can use the CloseView magnification
software package if you're a Macintosh user, or utilize
the Magnifier program for the Windows platform. If you read
e-books on your desktop or notebook computer, you may benefit
from using either of these magnification solutions to make
reading more comfortable and accessible.
The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically
handicapped offers a reference circular called "Reading
Materials in Large Print: A Resource Guide". The booklet
is available free of charge from NLS or cooperating regional
libraries. NLS itself does not provide large print books,
but does offer talking books and books in braille. NLS also
offers resource directories from their web site at http://www.loc.gov/nls/reference/directories.html.
Now, who can say that size no longer matters?
Braille is a writing system used by persons who are blind
or visually impaired, and consists of raised dots that represent
alpha-numeric characters, punctuation marks, mathematics,
and other symbols. Braille characters consist of six raised
dots, and various dot combinations distinguish individual
characters. Books can be printed in braille using a computer
equipped with a braille printer and braille translation
software. See http://www.freedomscientific.com
for a listing of braille printer and display products. Also
for additional braille products.
The Library of Congress offers braille books free of charge
for patrons who are blind, and these can be obtained from
any regional NLS office. For more information, point your
web browser to their web site at http://www.loc.gov/nls.
NLS also offers Web-Braille on the Internet, a site that
allows qualified patrons to download books that can be read
on a braille display, a device that generates braille in
real time using mechanical dots that pop up and down in
various combinations under software control.
The National Braille Press (NBP) in Boston offers a selection
of braille books and magazines. Their selection of Science
Fiction is currently limited to fantasy titles, but their
inventory is constantly expanding. They also offer a braille
production service for a nominal fee. NBP will transcribe
book titles into braille using their in-house production
facilities. For more information, or to arrange braille
transcription services, point your web browser to their
site at http://www.nbp.org.
If you're a consumer with a visual disability, or prefer
using a hand-held device for reading, you can take advantage
of the growing list of e-book titles. Some books are even
being released free of charge! The e-book market is gaining
ground, and the number of reader platforms is expanding.
These include the Microsoft Reader, Palm, Pocket PC, Ebookman,
Windows CE, Rocket, and PDF formats. E- books satisfy the
need for immediate gratification, letting you browse through
bookstores on the web, and then download titles on demand.
Some e-book formats assist users with limited vision, letting
you access titles in large print, audio, or braille. Search
the web for the phrases "electronic books" or "e-books"
and you'll get thousands of hits.
One of the legendary sites offering free e-books is Project
Gutenberg. They offer a wide variety of books both fact
and fiction in standard ASCII computer text files. ASCII
files are readable across diverse computer platforms including
Macintosh, Windows, Unix, etc. You can search the Gutenberg
sites free of charge by pointing your web browser to http://www.gutenberg.org.
Barnes and Noble offers a large selection of Science Fiction
e- books in various formats. You can search their site and
order online at http://www.barnesnadnoble.com.
Peanut Press publishes an e-version of Analog Science Fiction
and Fact Magazine. The magazine is compatible with the Palm
platform. You can download the magazine by first going to
the Analog Science Fiction and Fact site at http://www.analogsf.com
which leads to the Peanut Press site at http://www.peanutpress.Com.
Fictionwise offers a selection of e-books and supports
a wide variety of platforms. See their site at http://www.fictionwise.com.
Embiid Publishing offers a selection of e-books and related
resources from their web site at http://www.embiid.net.
The DAISY Consortium is developing a new set of standards
for a new generation of digital talking books. The DAISY
standard combines the characteristics of audio and e-books
into a single format. DAISY books thus play like a talking
or audio book, but can also be searched like an e-book.
You can browse the table of contents, start and stop the
book at will, spell words, and search the index for specific
words or terms. DAISY also has rational methodologies for
dealing with constructs like tables and other more complex
print formats. The National Library Service for the Blind
and Physically handicapped and Recording for the Blind and
Dyslexic are both working on books that comply with the
DAISY standard, and DAISY might become popular in the mainstream
world if it gains a foothold. You can find out more about
the DAISY Consortium at their web site at http://www.daisy.org.
Descriptive & Captioned Video
The motion picture and entertainment industries have forever
changed the way information is disseminated and experienced,
and this trend shows no sign of slowing whatsoever. If you
have good vision and hearing, video programming does not
present a barrier to access. But if you have a hearing or
visual related disability, you may only be receiving a portion
of the information inherent in video programming.
Because I am legally blind, I find most movies and videos
only partially accessible at best. While I have no problem
perceiving the audio component, the visual content is something
I simply cannot access on my own. Let me furnish a short
example using one of my favorite SF movies -- Alien! The
beginning of Alien is totally devoid of dialog, and relies
solely on the visuals and audio soundtrack to set the stage.
I was a blind man watching a silent movie for those first
few minutes. Bummer!
But I was in luck. The technology known as Descriptive
Video lets film-makers add "narration" to video programming,
making it more accessible for persons with visual and other
disabilities. Unfortunately, descriptive video is not yet
available for every title, but the list of described videos
Just prior to writing this article, NCAM overnighted a
copy of Alien with descriptive video to me. I truly "saw"
the film for the first time that day. The video cassette
is mastered to include a Secondary Audio Program track containing
the visual descriptions of the film. This overlays the audio
soundtrack, similar to a narrator doing a voice-over, and
was indispensable for comprehending the story. The descriptions
included the scenes as they were set, the facial expressions
and body language of the performers, and even their costumes
and special effects. You can turn the descriptive video
track on or off using the SAP button on your television's
remote control. In a movie theater, you use headphones and
a pocket receiver to access the description track.
Descriptive Video was pioneered by the CPB/WGBH National
Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) in Boston. NCAM develops
technologies that increase access to mass-media programming,
and does outreach to diverse communities to spread the benefits
of the technology. The center offers a selection of video
programming that has been professionally described and captioned.
For more information, or for a list of described and/or
captioned titles, point your web browser to http://www.wgbh.org/ncam.
The Narrative Television Network also offers information
on descriptive video, and their web site is located at http://www.narrative.org.
Captioning is another important technology that makes video
programming accessible for persons with hearing related
disabilities. Captioning provides text in parallel with
the audio track of a program, and appear on screen in sync
with the dialog.
There are two basic types of captioning: open and closed.
Open captions means they're always visible, and closed requires
a decoder to view the captions. While captioning was originally
intended to assist persons who are deaf or hard of hearing,
the technology can benefit a wide range of consumers. These
include persons learning English as a second language, individuals
with learning disabilities that impact the processing of
audio information, or fans watching the game in a noisy
The National Association of the Deaf operates the Captioned
Media Program and offers extensive resources at their web
site at http://www.cfv.org.
The site provides a listing of organizations that perform
captioning or to answer questions.
In closing, Science Fiction is the undisputed genre of
diversity, and it's only fitting that it can be enjoyed
in many alternative formats. Sooner or later the publishing
world will follow the music and entertainment industries,
and fully embrace a wider selection of formats including
digital publishing. But some say that people will never
part with their beer money for a device to read mere books.
I don't believe it. the technology is just too damn tempting!
Consumers frequently fork over hundreds or thousands of
dollars for sound and video equipment. Is it such a stretch
to assume that in a few years we will be willing to pay
fifty or a hundred bucks (or even more for high end gear)
for a reader device that can hold a small library in the
space of a paperback book or smaller? The evolution process
is far from over, and there is still no single recognized
digital book standard that has risen to the top of the food
chain. But it is only a short matter of time before the
leap in evolution occurs. It has all ready taken place in
the music and video industry, and is steadily growing in
the publishing business. Stay tuned for further developments!
Joe Lazzaro is the Adaptive Technology editor for Absolute
Magnitude Magazine, and maintains a web site at http://www.joelazzaro.com
Please remember that our relationship with White Flower
Shop is ongoing and they are available to you whenever those
special occasions arise. You can reach them at 781-767-3283
or nationwide at 1-800-788-1427. Be sure to tell them that
you are being referred by ABC so that we may receive a donation.
BY ADAM RODINA, Black Hills PioneerJune 04,
SPEARFISH - Two special local people are sharing their
talents to help those who need it. Lou and Arianna Calesso,
of Spearfish, have just recently completed their first computer
for a South Dakota blind person, but not without overcoming
hurdles of their own.
Both Lou and Arianna are blind themselves. Arianna has
been blind since birth and Lou lost his sight at age 65.
The couple moved to Spearfish in 1997, after participating
in summer classes for the blind at Black Hills State University.
"We fell in love with this area," said Arianna. "We love
the climate and the people here."
With the help of BHSU professor Al Sandau, they found a
house and were living here permanently by November 1997.
Before they moved to Spearfish, they refurbished slightly-outdated
computers for more than two years in Morristown, N.J. According
to the enthusiastic couple, they gave away more than 60
computers to the blind in those years.
"How does a blind person use a computer?" is a common question
the Calessos receive. When they refurbish a computer, they
install specially-designed programs which read aloud everything
that comes onto the screen. The computer's keyboard is used
to select certain texts that are read aloud. "We have to
go through a lot to find where we want to go," Arianna said.
In Morristown, the Calesso's used computers with 386 processors.
Those computers allowed them to use a word processor to
organize data. "It ran on DOS (an operating system)," said
Lou. Most people with personal computers are familiar with
Windows, but not its disk operating system, DOS.
"Then came the Pentium (computer chip)," said Lou. "We
started getting calls from savvy people who wanted to use
Software that allowed Internet browsing, at the time, was
costly. All they could do was continue distributing the
older computers for word processing and other tasks.
Before moving to South Dakota, the Calessos had no experience
with Windows. Two years ago, the couple were asked by the
State Division of the Blind to teach other blind people
how to use Windows.
"(Because of our experience) they thought that we could
be of some use," said Arianna. Before they could teach Windows,
though, they had to learn it themselves. "They gave us a
two week crash course (in Windows)."
Recently, a new screen-reading program, Connect Outloud,
came on the market. The difference with this software is
its price. The $249 price tag is a deal compared to other
similar programs. Because many blind people are on limited
incomes, most text-reading software was too costly for them
to purchase. According to the Calessos, unemployment rates
for blind people are very high.
The Calessos, with help of Sandau, have been installing
Connect Outloud to a Pentium computer. It took a long time,
according to Sandau, a good friend of the Calessos. The
new software's low price tag has given the Calesso's a chance
to give Internet capable system's to blind people.
The couple, along with Sandau, are members of Communicating
Computers for the Blind Foundation Inc. Three associates
in New Jersey are also members. The organization is in the
process of becoming a 501 (c)(3) organization, so that when
computers and other gifts are given to the organization,
they may be written off as tax deductions, according to
Now that the organization's computer is done, the Calessos
are willing to take in a blind person for two weeks to teach
them how to operate the system. "We will give free room
and board, free classes, and a free computer," said Lou.
"The student only has to pay the $249 for the program, be
completely blind, in good health and can be from age 8 to
The Calessos themselves love using their own computers.
"Arianna has never been in a store by herself," Lou said.
"Now she can shop all she wants by herself and not have
someone next to her telling her where she wants to go."
The programs can be really time-consuming, but is only
a small sacrifice. "Sometimes it gets frustrating," said
Arianna, "It takes a lot longer, a lot of patience and a
lot of hunting around." If there was consistency in the
way web-sites are built, they said, it would be easier to
"There are not a lot of blind people in South Dakota,"
Arianna said. They don't let this fact discourage them and
are confident that they will have a good home for the computer
they just refurbished. They are also accepting any donations,
so they can continue the project as they did in New Jersey.
I'll even take an older computer, said Lou. "At least it
could be used for word processing."
For more information about the Calessos' computer, call
©The Black Hills Pioneer, Newspapers, South Dakota, SD
By John Oliveira
HANOVER 2001 ANNUAL REPORT NOW AVAILABLE
IN ACCESSIBLE FORMAT FOR BLIND, LOW-VISION, DYSLEXIC READERS
HANOVER, MASS. March 26, 2002 Hanover's Annual Report for
the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001 is now available in
an accessible, self-voicing, electronic format for blind,
low-vision and dyslexic readers using personal computers
equipped with Microsoft Windows® operating systems.
The accessible edition of the familiar 197-page printed
booklet with the photograph of the flag-raising ceremony
at B. Everett Field on the cover was donated to the town
by AccessBooks Limited, a Hanover nonprofit corporation
specializing in print-to-electronic conversion services
for blind, low-vision and dyslexic readers.
AccessBooks has packaged the report in a vinyl CD case
with the same color cover as the printed edition and a Braille
label. The case holds a CD of the AccessBooks software reader
and a 3-1/2-inch floppy disk containing the actual report
and complete instructions, which are also available on line
once the program is installed.
AccessBooks has already installed the report at the Town
Offices and copies will soon be available at the town library.
Library patrons can check out a copy, install it on their
own personal computers and return the CD package to the
library after installation just like a book on tape. Installed
copies are also available for use by patrons in the library's
reference room. But unlike books on tape, this accessible
edition can be stored on the patron's computer indefinitely
for future reference, and has a table of contents that is
hypertext-linked to each department heading, as well as
an alphabetical index. Readers can also perform full text,
keyword and page number searches. An automatic bookmark
feature was added so the report can be closed and reopened
later at exactly the same place. Readers can also add marginal
notes associated with the bookmark, in anticipation of town
meeting. Financial tables and charts have been converted
to text items with appropriate headings inserted before
AccessBooks uses its own text-to-speech software and a
voice synthesizer that allows readers to choose from a selection
of male or female voices and adjust reading rate and pitch.
Low-vision readers can also display the text in large print
with contrasting background colors and a moving highlighter
that illuminates each word as it is read.
Readers navigate by individual keystrokes (hot keys), two-keystroke
combinations, or by drop-down menus, which are voiced. Low-vision
users can also navigate with a mouse. The program is easy
to use and can be learned in about 20 minutes by blind computer
users, according to Neil Duane, president of AccessBooks.
Duane says that there is a growing need for accessible
public documents as the baby-boomer population ages. Although
the company works primarily with schools and public agencies
for the blind to convert textbooks for schoolchildren to
this unique format, blindness, he says, is increasingly
becoming a disease of aging.
"Diabetic retinopathy, retinitis pigmentosa, cataracts,
and macular degeneration are the leading culprits," Duane
says. "Once people begin to lose their sight, they also
begin to lose their independence. But, older people still
vote and still pay taxes, even though visually impaired,
and they deserve to have access to public documents in fact,
its required by law under Section 508 of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. We feel that we're very much a part of
the Hanover community and, since we have the technology,
we're happy to do what we can to contribute," Duane says.
Additional public documents can be converted to the AccessBooks
format if requested by Hanover residents through the Town
Offices, library or council on aging. Duane, who is a consultant
to the Perkins School for the Blind and Northeastern University,
is also available for free consultation with any visually
impaired town resident, caregiver or parent of a visually
impaired child or college student needing textbooks in an
accessible format. He can be reached at 1-800-233-5119.
AccessBooks, which is located at 193 Rockland Street, developed
this program in conjunction with blind software engineers
when Duane was consulting with the Royal National Institute
for the Blind in England three years ago. Duane says the
need was driven primarily by the fact that less than five
percent of the blind community read Braille, which is also
expensive and time consuming to produce, and that most blind
readers get their information from either scanned-in and
computer-generated plain text or recorded books.
Duane says each of these mediums has shortcomings. Plain
text displayed on computer screens, such as word-processing
files or scanned pages, cannot be searched for keywords,
and hyperlinks cannot be followed or retraced. Neither can
this text be voiced or read without connecting costly voice
synthesizers and specialized screen readers to the basic
computer. Books on tape have many of the same problems and
are not suitable for reference material since they lack
tables of contents and alphabetical indexes. Low-vision
readers can sometimes get along with large print editions,
but these are seldom available from publishers at any price,
because the economics of production are prohibitive, he
Contact: Neil Duane at email@example.com
Please place the Association of Blind Citizens on your
giving list. Donations should be made payable to
Association of Blind Citizens
PO Box 246
Holbrook MA 02343.
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, Inc.
its staff or elected 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.
Books by Telephone
We are pleased to announce today another platform for the
Blind, Visually Impaired and the Disabled that accesses
any digital information using the most common of all tools,
- the Telephone.
Although there are voice-enabled telephone systems currently
being used, VoiceBooks is the only platform that allows
the user complete control within a document. Until now the
user has had to listen to the complete document to retrieve
information. For instance, if the need is to garner information
from one chapter in a text book, now, one can select any
chapter, sentence, go back/forward, and skip etc., with
the added benefits of a speller, dictionary and other features
¦all with voice commands.
We feel since many are without computers*, VoiceBooks is
their solution to access information. Only our imagination
limits that information, whether ADA Sect. 508 accessibility,
newspapers, textbooks, magazines, Email, government notifications,
medical information, Q&A testing, ¦the list goes on. Even
a demonstration is available at 1-416 736-9731, when asked
for the extension, say 24580. Three books are featured,
follow the instructions and after making your selection,
the computer takes a few seconds to "pull the book" off
the shelf. At any time you can say "Tutorial" and the help
menu will be spoken. This demonstration features AT&T's
*For those with computers, Colligo offers other alternatives,
such as VoiceBooks on CD-ROM, or downloadable from the web.
VIP Scanners, and soon, navigable MP3 files for portable
For more information, call us at 360 647-3404 or VoiceBooks@aol.com
New talking text editor
SayPad is a freeware talking text editor that can read
you a good book or help you write one, using the latest
speech technology. It carefully installs the SAPI 5.1 Text
To Speech engine from a compact 8.2 megabyte download. This
is a quick and painless way to get the SAPI5 TTS onto your
system, plus it does cool things like read to you with natural
phrasing as a person would. You can fit huge files into
it like the whole Bible, for instance. In fact it has a
filter you can turn on that skips over verse numbers to
let you hear it like a story. SayPad can now convert Text
to MP3, even a whole book in one run, splitting off chapters
into separate, well named MP3 files you can burn onto a
SayPad is Freeware. If you like it, please let people know
For more information and a free download please visit
New Yahoo Group
There's a new Yahoo! Group! It's called Bought And Sold
By The Blind! If you're blind, visually impaired, or sighted
and have an interest in blindness related items, and you
want to buy, sell or trade something, this is the place
to post your ad for no charge! Your message remains at the
group site for visitors and new members to read until you're
ready for the group owner or moderator to delete it! No
need to be a member to post messages! (But you must be a
member to receive messages from the group.)
Check out one of Yahoo's! newest groups for the blind and
visually impaired today!
Bobbie - group owner
ITEMS FOR SALE:
Brailler, Braille 'n Speak Scholar, Computer
with Magnification and Speech.
Perkins Brailler for sale. Refurbished and in excellent
condition! Will accommodate paper up to fourteen inches
long. It will emboss 25 lines with 42 cells on a standard
11" x 11-1/2" sheet of Braille paper. A vinyl dust cover
is included. $300.
Braille 'n Speak Scholar. One year old, but used very little.
Extra software, leather carrying case, battery charge, A/C
adapter, serial interface cable for connection to PC, parallel
printer cable PC disk and large print user manual, braille
and large print reference guide, audio tape tutorial. $400.
IBM NetVista Desktop Computer with Magic 8.0 Magnification
and Speech already installed!. One year old. Excellent condition!
It has an intel celeron 667 MHz CPU. 64 Megabytes of RAM.
10 gigabyte hard drive. 56Kbps V.90 Modem 48x CD ROM Drive.
3.5 inch 1.44 megabyte floppy diskette drive. Comes with
matching IBM 17 inch monitor, Keyboard, Speakers and mouse.
Magic 8.0 Magnification with Speech is made by Freedom Scientific
for those with low vision or partial blindness. It magnifies
up to 16X and has a choice of children's or adult voices.
Shipping costs for each item is the actual cost, or I'll
mail the Brailler and Braille 'n Speak Scholar as Free Matter
if you prefer. Insurance, if desired, is extra.
For more information on any of these items please call
or email Bobbie at
Products for the blind and visually impaired
Please take some time to visit our WEB Site at www.bugz-eye.com
to see something different for the visually impaired. I
suggest the Mates category for the Magnified Ink Pens. Thank
Gary D. Gilman, Pres.
BUGZ-EYE Int'l Corp.
P.O. Box #19990
Denver, CO 80219
by Jan Doremus
CLASSIC BAKED ZITI
- 8 ounces ziti
- 1/2 pound bulk Italian sausage, cooked and drained
- 1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce, any flavor
- 8 ounces (2 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- Chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook ziti as package directs; drain.
- In large bowl, combine ziti, sausage, sauce and 1 cup
cheese; mix well.
- Turn into lightly greased 2-1/2 quart shallow baking
- Cover; bake 35 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Uncover; top with remaining 1 cup cheese and parsley.
- Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 6-8 servings.
POOR MAN'S HOME FRIES
- 2 medium potatoes per serving
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Salt and pepper
- Boil potatoes until cooked but still firm. Remove potatoes
from water; slice.
- In frying pan, heat butter. Add sliced potatoes seasoned
to taste with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt
- Heat potatoes until slightly warm. Serve with breakfast
- You can sauté onions and/or green peppers along with
the potatoes. You can also substitute frozen French fries
for the boiled potatoes.
PEPPERONI-CHEESE PIZZA LASAGNA
- 1/2 of 1 pound package curly lasagna, uncooked
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 15-ounce cans pizza sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 4-1/2 ounce can sliced mushrooms, drained (optional)
- 15-16 ounces ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- 12 ounces (3 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2-1/2 ounce package sliced pepperoni
- Cook lasagna according to package directions; drain.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In large saucepan, cook garlic in oil over medium heat
until lightly brown.
- Stir in sauce, water and mushrooms if desired.
- Bring to boil; simmer 5 minutes.
- Combine first two cheeses, egg and 1 cup mozzarella
cheese; mix well.
- In lightly greased 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish, spread
1/2 cup sauce; top with half of each of the following:
- lasagna, cheese mixture, sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella
cheese; repeat layers.
- Cover; bake 50 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
- Uncover; let stand 10 minutes. Makes 6-8 servings.
THYME ROASTEDTED CHICKEN BREAST
- 4 chicken breast halves
- Olive oil
- 4 tablespoons fresh or dried thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Pepper to taste
- Rub chicken breasts with oil; sprinkle thyme, garlic
and pepper over chicken breasts.
- Place any extra thyme under chicken breasts. Bake at
375 degrees 1 hour or until juices run clear.