Making Coffee When You Can’t See

Skip to main content

Search This Blog



Showing posts from May, 2011Show all

Making Coffee When You Can’t See

ByMichael McCarty-May 31, 2011by Alena RobertsI’m guessing that the Northwest is probably the most caffeinated part of the country. Coffee shops are practically on every corner, and even though I’m not a coffee drinker myself, I find the aroma amazing. The great thing about coffee is that the roasting can be done without the aid of sight, and as part of a new program, the Washington State School for the Blind is combining math with coffee for an educational and aromatic experience.The students started with an old popcorn maker, a colander, and some wooden spoons. Their teacher found a place in California to order the beans, and then it was up to students to find out how to best roast them. The math came in when the students were asked to devise a way to properly roast the beans and then figure out how much to sell their beans for in order to make a profit. The students accomplished this, and they’re now selling their beans at the school’s coffee shop and to the school’s staff. The project has been successful …Post a CommentRead More »

How to Fold a Plastic Bag That Will Fit into Your Pocket

ByMichael McCarty-May 31, 2011How to Fold a Plastic Bagfrom wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Tired of all those plastic grocery bags stuffed under your sink that threaten to spill out all over the place? This article will teach you how to fold a plastic bag into a compact, secure shape that makes it easy to unfold. Steps ]] Flatten the bag, trying to get all the air out of it. Make sure you line up both sides of the bag so that the handles aren’t creased. This is easiest to do on a hard, flat surface such as a kitchen countertop.Fold the bag in half lengthwise (“hotdog” style), and flatten again to squeeze out the air. Repeat four or five times until you have a long skinny strip. The flatter it is, the easier it will be to tie it. Fold the strip in half to make a shorter strip. To get it even narrower, fold this strip in half lengthwise like in the previous step. Tie a slip knot in the bag. To do this, make a small loop about 1 inch from the folded end of t…Post a CommentRead More »

APH Launches Redesigned Website

ByMichael McCarty-May 28, 2011We’re excited to announce the launch of our completely redesigned APH website! The web address continues to be http://www.aph.orgSome new features include: Redesigned look, improved navigation, “billboard” main feature, social media links, What’s Hot section, Featured APH Products, highlights of APH News, and highlights from the “Fred’s Head from APH” blog. Our shopping site continues to be http://shop.aph.orgPost a CommentRead More »

Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit and Accessories

ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011ImageFun, colorful tactile board can be used for numerous educational activities!Includes a felt covered board measuring 21 1/2 x 11 1/4 inches, and a wide variety of VELCRO® brand-backed pieces that attach to the board in an infinite number of patterns.

Over 100 pieces in many shapes, sizes, textures, and colors.
Extra “hook” VELCRO® brand material provided for helping create additional tactile pieces.
Example activities
Mapping: streets, bus routes, classrooms
Charting: flow charts of organizations, processes
Basic concepts: shapes, numbers, spatial relationships, etc.
Art activitiesGuidebook includes suggestions for use and example layouts in print and raised-line graphic form. The guidebook is a large print/braille publication.

Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit:
Catalog Number: 1-08838-00

Guidebook only (large print/braille):
Catalog Number: 6-08838-00
Click this link to purchase Picture Maker: Wheatley Tactile Diagramming Kit.
Picture Maker Video…Post a CommentRead More »

The Lighting Guide Kit: What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting

ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011ImageThe Lighting Guide Kit includes a Better Vision Lamp and a book about appropriate lighting for students with visual impairments.What Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments Need to Know about Lighting is a booklet that helps teachers, administrators, parents, and practitioners make decisions about lighting that aids their student or child with comfort and productivity. Too often, students with low vision work in lighted environments that do not meet their visual or physiological needs. This short, easy-to-read book presents information, based upon the latest research, about light and its physical properties. It shows how to judge what kind of light is best for a given student or situation. Vivid photographs show examples and help convey meaning.The Better Vision Lamp was specially developed by an inventor and APH staff in order to provide the best light possible for students with visual impairments. This energy-saving lamp gives off light that doesn’t cause photo stress in mo…Post a CommentRead More »


ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011ImageTADPOLE is a set of standardized tools that aids in performing functional vision evaluations or visual skills development activities. It is similar to APH’s kit Tools for Assessment and Development of Visual Skills (ToAD), but is geared for younger learners. TADPOLE is a natural precursor to the ToAD Program.Note: Materials from the ToAD kit are required to use the TADPOLE program.TADPOLE does not provide a formal assessment—there are several excellent assessment tools available, including ISAVE from APH. TADPOLE provides materials that assist the educator as he or she performs vision assessments or activities. Note: TADPOLE also functions as the Vision Modality section for APH’s Sensory Learning Kit (SLK).The TADPOLE Practitioner’s Guidebook is a collection of suggested activities, mainly for use with students who are very young (0-2 level), or who have communication and/or cognitive delays. These activities are functional, and uncomplicated, natural to the learner’s envi…Post a CommentRead More »

The History of Memorial Day

ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011In the US, Memorial Day is a time for us to honor our fallen soldiers. In between bites of hot dogs and hamburgers, visiting with friends and relatives, let’s not forget those who paid the ultimate price so that we may be free. Check out Memorial Day History: for a brief history of Memorial Day.Blinded Veterans Association (BVA)The Blinded Veterans Association (BVA) is an organization specifically established to promote the welfare of blinded veterans. There is no charge for any BVA service and membership is not a prerequisite. All legally blind veterans are eligible for BVA’s help, whether they became blind during, or after, active duty. Through the BVA Forum, members and visitors can post up-to-date information, ask questions, reply to posts, and keep in touch with other members, their families, and BVA staff on the Net.BVA traces its roots back to the end of World War II and was founded by a group of veterans blinded during…Post a CommentRead More »

Managing Expectations

ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011by Donna J. Jodhan When it comes to suitable careers, I think that the trick here is to ensure that expectations are well managed on both sides of the fence. Nothing could be more frustrating and disappointing when expectations are not met by both sides. That is, when employers and their blind and sight impaired employees fail to discuss expectations before hand. This has been the case ever since I started my working career and with technology playing more and more of a major role in the workplace, expectations need to be managed more carefully and intelligently. If expectations are properly managed, then it is only natural that suitable careers will be easier to come by. A suitable career, one that brings personal and financial satisfaction to a blind and sight impaired employee should also be one that brings satisfaction to the employer as well. The choice of career for blind and sight impaired employees is almost governed by the type of working environment; that is, is the…Post a CommentRead More »

Half Empty or Half Full?

ByMichael McCarty-May 27, 2011by Donna J. Jodhan This is one of the questions that I constantly continue to ask myself and I guess that if I am a positive person as I usually am, I would say that the glass is half full. However, there are many other blind persons who would take the opposite opinion. For me, the glass is half full because despite my challenges I still somehow manage to come out on top and I have so many things to be thankful for. For my parents, family, and friends; plus my undying ability to dream, create, and try. Most of all, my deep and unshakeable faith in God. For others, the glass is half empty because there is so much that they have to deal with; a disability, no family close by, and not too many friends. In addition, many blind persons also have to deal with secondary and even tertiary challenges. More and more blind persons are having to deal with such things as loss of hearing, physical disabilities, plus so much more. No wonder they find it difficult to see the glass as hal…Post a CommentRead More »

Additional Makeup Application Tips

ByMichael McCarty-May 26, 2011by Lisa SalingerAfter reading the information on the Fred’s Head Blog, I would like to add a few additional tips which may make the application of cosmetics a bit easierConsider spending a little more for some products. While you can get away with less expensive lipstick and any liquid cosmetics, consider going “higher end,” especially for any powder-based item. While there may be exceptions at both ends of the spectrum, less expensive powders may tend to not be as firmly packed, so that a few swipes of the brush gives you more product than you need.Don’t buy in bulk. This advice may vary based on the product and your degree of vision loss, but many with low or no vision choose not to buy a palate containing several shades of blush or eye makeup. While it is certainly easy enough to make a large print or braille representation of the layout of the various colors, it is also easier for colors to be accidentally blended together, with less than spectacular results.Use a numeric la…Post a CommentRead More »

ServiceMagic Connects You to the Right People

ByMichael McCarty-May 25, 2011Headquartered in Golden, Colorado, ServiceMagic connects consumers with screened and approved local service professionals. Their network consists of over 80,000 customer-rated service pros in hundreds of categories, such as home improvement, cleaning services, photography, senior care, videography and more. All ServiceMagic pros carry the ServiceMagic Seal of Approval, which includes a rigorous screening process, including criminal background checks, and state-level trade licensing when applicable. ServiceMagic was recently named Colorado Technology Company of the Year and they draw in nearly four million unique visitors to their website each month.Consumers visit the ServiceMagic website ( or call 877-800-3177 and complete a free service request form, answering a series of specific questions, such as job type, scope and location, to ensure the appropriate professionals are approached with the right request. The company then uses proprietary technology to…Post a CommentRead More »

How to Wear Blush on a Naturally Red Face

ByMichael McCarty-May 25, 2011How to Wear Blush on a Naturally Red Facefrom wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
When you have a face that is already naturally reddened by a ruddy complexion, rosacea, acne, or other sources of redness, you might feel that adding blush will only make things worse. It is possible to wear blush over a red facial complexion, as outlined in this article. Steps Neutralize the redness to begin with. Apply a yellow-based tinted moisturizer or foundation over your whole face. Use a blush that has a pink or slightly brown color to it. This is much better than applying a blush with any hint of red to it. Place the blush on as usual. Just don’t overdo it; look for a hint of a healthy glow rather than lashings of blush. Tips Read How to apply blush for more details. Warnings If your complexion is red owing to a medical condition, talk to your doctor before applying makeup. Makeup might exacerbate any problems your skin or face is experiencing. Things You’ll Need Pin…Post a CommentRead More »

What Does an Executive-in-Residence Do?

ByMichael McCarty-May 20, 2011ImageKay Ferrell What Does an Executive-in-Residence actually DO, anyway? The answer is EVERYTHING . . . and NOTHING. By everything, I mean that the APH leadership includes you in every meeting and every event possible. By nothing, I mean that what the Executive-in-Residence does pales in comparison to what individual staff members do on a daily basis. I am humbled by the experience and grateful for the opportunity to know more about how one of the premier institutions in our field works.My APH residency occurred as part of my sabbatical from the University of Northern Colorado. I had several goals for my sabbatical, but the primary one was to develop a tactile adaptation of the Boehm Test of Basic Concepts (Boehm—3). I worked with Barbara Henderson on this effort, as well as with the author, Ann Boehm, Professor Emeritus at Teachers College, Columbia University. But the number of other people who were involved in what I thought was a tiny little project was simply amazing – Dr. Ralph Bartl…Post a CommentRead More »

Larry Skutchan: a Blind Cool Tech

ByMichael McCarty-May 19, 2011ImageWith the introduction of APH’s Braille+ Mobile Manager, I thought it was time to talk about someone I’ve looked up to for many years. As a student at the Kentucky School for the Blind, I became aware of Larry Skutchan when I began working on the apple II E computer. My screen reader was a program called Bex and I remember seeing Larry’s name on the credits. I would later meet Larry as I toured APH and stopped in his office to hear some of the latest speech-enabled products offered at the time. It’s people like Larry who fired up my interest in technology and computers.Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Larry at different events and now that we work in the same building, I get to speak with him a little more often. He’s just one of those people who you learn something from everytime you talk to them. He’s always up on the latest computer gadgets and filled with great ideas of how to make technology work for the blind. There’s a…Post a CommentRead More »

Tour The American Printing House for the Blind

ByMichael McCarty-May 19, 2011ImageAPH offers a fascinating guided tour of its historic facility. Visitors will see the production of braille publications, the recording of Talking Books, and a demonstration of educational products. Tours can be customized for your group’s interests. Advance reservations are required for groups of ten or more people.

Tour HoursTours each day at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Thursday, except holidays. Tour length: 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

APH MuseumThe history of the education of people who are blind is presented in APH’s unique multi-media Museum. Artifacts, photos, and electronic displays present such topics as the development of braille, the history of the braillewriter, and the history of Talking Books. All displays are accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired.

Museum Hours8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday-Friday, except holidays.

APH FacilityAPH is located in the historic Louisville neighborhood known as Clifton, with easy access to n…Post a CommentRead More »

Over There?

ByMichael McCarty-May 18, 2011This is a mystery that has perplexed the Blind for some time. The story has been told in various ways on the internet. I believe sighted folks will enjoy this and may stop using the term when giving directions to someone who is blind or visually impaired.As my guide dog and I stood in line at the checkout of the River City Market at CSUS, I asked the cashier what I considered a simple question. “Where are the napkins please?”Her response was hurried, but sincere, “over there.”Emerging from the light rail for the first time, I managed to catch the attention of a passer-by. “Please sir, can you tell me where I might catch bus 63?”A kind voice offered a pleasant response before disappearing into the cacophony of the early afternoon, “You can catch it, Over there.”So many things reside over there — napkins, bus stops, pencils, pens, clothing racks, department stores and even my shoes! A never ending supply of important and indispensable i…Post a CommentRead More »

How to Choose a Tie

ByMichael McCarty-May 18, 2011How to Choose a Tiefrom wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit
Few fashion accessories can enhance an outfit like a necktie. And every man should have at least a dozen good ties in the wardrobe.[1] Follow these tips to look your classiest. Steps Understand the various parts of the tie. Knowing a quality tie when you spot it is dependent on knowing what you should look for. The following elements of the tie are things to check:[2]Look at the lining of the tie. The purpose of the lining is to make tying the tie easier and to prevent it from wrinkling. The lining should be made from 100 percent wool. The more gold bars on the lining, the heavier the lining.Feel and look at the fabric of the tie. If you’re after silk (the ideal tie fabric), make sure it is by feeling it. Silk is smooth; other fabrics mimicking silk tend to feel brittle. A quality tie will be made from three pieces of fabric, while a cheaper one will be made from only two.Check for…Post a CommentRead More »

Directional Tracking with the Hide & Seek Plush Monkey

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011One of the downsides of being the eldest child is that when your siblings can’t crawl, they’re pretty boring playmates. What’s a 4 year old to do when they get bored playing peekaboo with the baby? Other than cause mayhem, which 4 year olds are spectacular at doing… ooh, how about hide and seek? Oh, wait, the baby can’t hide and playing hide-the-baby is a bad, bad, idea.This little monkey is the perfect hide and seek companion for your wee geek. Hide him indoors or outside. The seeker wand tracks the monkey and emits a signal only the monkey can hear. When your wee geek gets close to the monkey, it will start making monkey noises. Listen for the sounds, hunt around, and find the monkey’s hiding place. ThinkGeek has two hide and seek monkeys: this plush version is better for the youngest wee geeks (ages 2-5) because the sound effects make the monkey easier to find. All batteries are included, so your Hide and Seek Plush Monkey is ready to play right out of the b…Post a CommentRead More »

Coupon Codes, Savings and Discounts at

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011By using free coupon codes provided on this site, users can save up to 90% on their regular purchases while shopping online at their favorite stores. Coupon codes are added twice a day by the CouponSpace editorial team and at the moment, the site has over 17,000 active coupon codes.The most interesting is the coupon code sharing functionality. This allows any user to share coupon codes not found on CouponSpace with the CouponSpace consumer community. All shared coupons will appear alongside the editorially chosen coupons on the site. Users can even share coupon codes for merchants not featured on the site, and a new page will be added featuring the new merchant along with the shared coupon. In addition to this, users are able to share coupon codes of interest to them with their friends on Facebook by simply clicking a button. This way, they share smart consumer awareness together.

Click this link to start saving money with a CommentRead More »

Please Don’t Patronize Me

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011by Donna J. Jodhan As a blind person, one of the most annoying and upsetting challenges for me is when someone patronizes me. When a person speaks to me in a tone that they would normally use for a kid, when they pat me on the hand and say something like “Okay dear, or “you poor thing.” This absolutely drives me up the wall. Another example of patronizing is when someone speaks to my mom or friend or accompanying friend instead of me. Something like: “What would she like to have” at a restaurant or “Would she like to try on those sweaters?” Getting angry does not really help as I have discovered over the years. Instead, I speak up for myself or my mom or friend would gently say “You can ask Donna herself.” In my experience, , the worst type of patronization takes place in: Stores, the doctor’s office, the supermarket, restaurants, and at recreation parks. There is absolutely no need to patronize a blind person.I’m…Post a CommentRead More »

Recreational Sports; A Benefit to the Blind

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011A Canadian perspective by Donna J. Jodhan As an avid ice skater and as someone who has recently become more interested in cross country skiing, I have decided to do my best to push the benefits of recreational sports for blind persons. Here in Toronto where I live, I have found it extremely difficult to find ways to engage in recreational sports and I am definitely not alone in my opinion.Over the past year, I have spoken to several other blind persons who feel the same way. We have approached countless sporting organizations, volunteer groups, church groups, plus individuals and at the end of the day it is all the same message that we seem to be getting. It appears that the Federal government is more than willing to fund competitive sports for persons with disabilities, including blind and sight impaired persons but when it comes to recreational sports, there seems to be a huge hole; something like nothing beyond the deep blue sea or horizon.Maybe it’s time that we start…Post a CommentRead More »

My Accessible Google: Non-Visual Access to Google’s Calendar Application

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011Povidi LTD has announced that for the first time users who are visually impaired will now be able to access Google’s Calendar Application. Up until now, this robust, online means of organizing one’s calendar has been virtually inaccessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired. But no longer thanks to the development efforts of Povidi, a New Zealand-based development firm committed to providing orientation and navigation solutions as well as intuitive access to otherwise relatively inaccessible web-based applications by persons who are blind or visually impaired. Povidi has created a user interface to Google’s Calendar Application that can be freely utilized by visiting Users must first have a Google account; once they sign in and grant this application access to their Google calendar, users may create, store, and review appointments in the same manner as their sighted peers. Povidi was able to accomplish this milestone in the wake of …Post a CommentRead More »

Android Has a Voice for Your RSS Feeds

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011WebTalks is an Android app that can speak your favorite RSS feeds. This works both online and offline, and in the latter case, WebTalks reads preloaded content that you have provided. An application such as this one will be more than handy for people who are running, jogging or doing anything that keeps them from hand-gesturing to the phone/device as usual. They will be able to have their favorite magazines or news articles read to them without interupting their activities. WebTalks can handle virtually every language – integration with Google Translate. The application will determine the language the content should be voiced in, and have it rendered as it should be.

Click this link to visit a CommentRead More »

Blind man is fire department’s ‘eyes’ for underwater operations

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2011A 10-year-old boy has slipped and fallen into a tank near Medavakkam. Neighbours call the fire and rescue department. But the fire-fighters of the Tambaram fire station immediately make a call to Sundrarajan of Jalladampettai, near Pallikaranai.The 38-year-old visually impaired Sundrarajan is their underwater operations expert. He rushes across with the team and dives into the tank. Within minutes, he has found the boy. Sundrarajan, who has been blind from birth, uses his sense of touch to feel his way around underwater and locate people, bodies and other objects.“He uses his feet to ‘see’,” says a fire department officer. “He can dive into wells and tanks that are 60m deep and retrieve bodies. His sense of touch is so well-developed that he can even find chains or small coins on the bed of a water body,” he adds.It usually takes him ten minutes to retrieve a body. “I can hold my breath underwater for more than one minute,” says Sundrarajan, who has retrieved 140 bodies and save…Post a CommentRead More »

Spice Up Your Smile with these Sexy Summer Lip Tips

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2011by Sassy OutwaterI was watching TV last night; in the space of one comercial break, I heard ads for three different brands of lipstick. One stays on all day. Another comes in 52 luscious must-have shades. The last one hydrates for that perfect soft sweet kissable look…Choosing the right lipstick for your perfect Summer look isn’t as hard as you might think. And you don’t have to buy up half the store and switch colors with every dress. A few colors and glosses mixed and matched together will compliment any outfit like icing on a cake. Here’s how:Prep:Before putting on lipstick, apply foundation to the whole face, and do the rest of your makeup. I say save the lips for last. If you’re doing an eye shadow that stands out, like a blue, green, purple or other eye-catching color, pair it with a softer, more neutral lip tone. Or vice versa. Pair soft pink, gray, and brown eye shadow colors with a lip color that pops. The two most arresting features of the face are the eyes and the mou…Post a CommentRead More »

Stem Stumper: Puzzle Gaming for Visually Impaired on the iPhone

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2011You can’t go too far in the App Store without coming across yet another cute puzzle game. They’re everywhere, but even in that crowded field, Stem Stumper provides an experience that’s unique. While the gameplay itself may not be original, the game is completely accessible to the visually impaired.The premise is simple: you guide an anthropomorphic plant creature around a series of obstacles—ranging from angry tree stumps to clouds of weed killer—in search of bags of fertilizer. You drag your finger along to create a path and various clues will alert you when you stumble across something important. If you’re playing in the standard mode you’ll be able to see as well as hear when you get close to something. And when you play in sonar mode, the visuals melt away completely, forcing you to focus on the sound.Every item in the game, both obstacles and tools, has a specific sound. You’ll hear music when you’re near, and when you land on the right square that…Post a CommentRead More »

Accessible Freebie Finder Websites

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2011Who doesn’t like to get things for free? It can be done if you know where to look, or where to go in this case. Here’s some great sites for the delivery of sample products direct to your mailbox!
Freaky Freddies Free Stuff and Free SamplesFree Stuff Free Samples at Freaky Freddies. Try and say that ten times. You have just entered the funhouse full of surprise Samples. Freaky Freddies is oneof the oldest and fastest growing free stuff free sample sites on the net. Currently, there are 72 categories of free stuff and free samples you can choose from, so come back often because this site is updated daily. Join the famous daily newsletter of Free Stuff and Free Samples to find out what Free Samples were added. This is no normal newsletter! Humor is added to each free stuff and free sample offer, because they like to have fun with their subscribers. hehehe
Best of all, check out the Freaky Freddies Daily Free Stuff Surprise, which you can find at the bottom of the daily de…Post a CommentRead More »More postsPowered by Blogger

About Fred’s Head

Welcome to the APH Blog, also known as Fred’s Head! This is where you’ll find information on new products, APH events and new developments in the field of blindness.


Show moreShow less


Show moreShow less

Alison Currey
Being a Literature Students she loves to write and always kept working for the society and who really need a hand. Apart from writing she is an excellent singer herself. Have found her either reading or drawing in her free time. An inspiring personality you may want to follow at FredForum here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *