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Showing posts from May, 2006Show all

Tomato Plant Care

ByMichael McCarty-May 31, 2006By Michael RussellThe tomato is one of the most popular plants kept in home gardens. They are easy to grow and provide food for your family. Tomatoes do need to be cared for to grow.The tomato is actually a fruit even though most people think of it as a vegetable. At one time, people thought it was poisonous to eat and they were only grown for decoration. They were originally referred to as “love apples”. There are literally hundreds of varieties to choose from for your home garden and all of them have different size, color, shape, season of maturity, disease resistance and taste.Tomatoes can be either determinate or indeterminate. Determinate means that they develop a flower cluster at the terminal growing point. The plant will stop growing at this height. Indeterminate plants do not form this flower cluster and will continue to grow taller indefinitely. Indeterminate tomatoes also produce very flavorful fruit, but are usually late to mature. Most of the older v…Post a CommentRead More »

Blind Girl Cake

ByMichael McCarty-May 31, 2006I don’t know how this cake got its name, the recipe is rather simple, so I wonder if it was a negative slap at blind people? Never the less, it does sound good and is simple to make so here’s the recipe.

Things You’ll Need

12 ice cream sandwiches
12 ounces Cool Whip
1 cup toffee pieces
1/4 cup caramels (to taste)
5 minutes prep

Cover bottom of 9x13pan (or as big as you want) with ice cream sandwiches. (Yes, you unwrap them!).
Ice with cool whip.
Break toffee pieces over top.
Drizzle caramel topping over the top (make sure you don’t use the ketchup squeeze bottle – make sure it is caramel!).
Serve and make a lot because every one loves this one!

Makes 12 servings.1 commentRead More »

The National Braille Factory

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006The National Braille Factory is dedicated to producing high-quality braille documents and products in a timely and professional manner. The National Braille Factory has been proudly serving the Lower Mainland’s Blind and Low Vision community for over four years.The National Braille Factory also offers a wide range and variety of large print, brailled, and audio books for the visually impaired.If you need anything brailled, contact the NATIONAL BRAILLE FACTORY at 877-8-BRAILL or locally (in Vancouver) at 604-522-7187 or email them at

Click this link to visit the National Braille Factory website: a CommentRead More »

The Large Print Bookshop: Reading is for Everyone

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006Owned and operated by Marian Haugh, The Large Print Bookshop is a great resource to find those easier-on-the-eyes books.The Large Print Bookshop offers over 2,000 titles from all imaginable categories, including Classic Literature, Novels, Humor, Mysteries, Inspirational Books, Westerns, and Non-Fiction.They also offer a separate catalog for Children and Young Adults. In addition to its location in the Denver Book Mall, they also offer their books for sale through mail order. Feel free to look over a sample of the titles available or have a catalog mailed to you. Books printed in large type can be helpful to many people. People may have difficulty reading normal size print for any of a number of reasons (such as age or vision impairment) or may simply like to read large print.

For more information, please contact:

The Large Print Bookshop
P.O. Box 5375
Englewood, CO 80155
Phone: 303-721-7511
or 1-800-305-2743Fax: 303-721-7512
Web:…Post a CommentRead More »

Adaptive Physical Education Equipment at Flaghouse

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006FlagHouse is a global supplier of physical education equipment and products, equipment and programs to both physical education and recreation professionals, as well as professionals who deal with children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.The mission of Flaghouse is to enhance the quality of life for all people, with resources for physical activity, recreation, therapy, and the development and support of life skills.

For more information on their products and services, contact:Flaghouse
601 FlagHouse Drive
Hasbrouck Heights, NJ 07604-3116
Toll Free: 800-793-7900
Phone: 201-288-7600
Fax: 800-793-7922 or 201-288-7887
Web: http://www.flaghouse.comPost a CommentRead More »

Enabling Devices

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006Enabling Devices is a company that develops affordable learning and assistive devices to help people of all ages with disabling conditions. Founded by Steven E. Kanor, Ph.D. and originally known as Toys for Special Children, the company has been creating innovative toys and switches for the physically challenged for more than 25 years. Enabling Devices still manufactures and sells those same products, but now the company also carries a complete line of products for the physically challenged adult under their “Products for Independent Living” sections.Through their electro-mechanical assistive and adaptive devices, they enable people with physical challenges to communicate, learn, work, play, and function more easily, effectively, and enjoyably in the world. They work to improve the quality of life for those with disabling conditions.

To order a catalog or learn more, contact:

Enabling Devices
385 Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY 10706
Toll Fr…Post a CommentRead More »

The William A. Thomas Braille Bookstore

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006Opened in January, 1992, The William A. Thomas Braille Bookstore was established as an integral part of Braille International, Inc. Currently, there are about 2,000 titles available for purchase. Go to their online catalog to find your next book! You may call, write or e-mail using the phone number or address listed below.Located in Stuart, Florida, Braille International, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the independence and quality of life for blind persons everywhere. They believe the key to this is education and knowledge-which require available, affordable reading materials. Access to information allows the visually impaired to compete and perform with dignity in a highly competitive world. They accomplish this by printing a broad range of braille and large print material for all ages, from the very young to the older citizen. They strive to utilize cost effective and innovative methods to increase the volume of materials available.

Braille Interna…Post a CommentRead More »

Undo Typing Mistakes

ByMichael McCarty-May 30, 2006Ever make a mistake while typing? Yeah, I know, we never do that! Would you like tobe able to go back and undo it so your mistake is long gone? If this sounds good, all you have to do is hit Ctrl + Z on your keyboard.Using Ctrl and Z at the same time will undo any changes you’ve made (good or bad). Maybe you’ve done something and it’s not necessarily a mistake, but you would like to redo it. Well, just use Ctrl + Z and it will be taken away! This undo shortcut works in just about any program.You can also undo by going to Edit, Undo, but the keyboard shortcut is much faster and easier!Post a CommentRead More »

Premier Test Builder

ByMichael McCarty-May 26, 2006Premier Test Builder takes the frustration out of creating tests in Microsoft Word. Test Builder has everything done for you. All you add is your questions. Test Builder combines the power and flexibility of Microsoft Word with pre-built templates of question styles. All you do is select the question style you want by clicking on a button from the Test Builder tool bar and just add your text, audio or pictures. This tool is a must for busy educators. The best part about Premier Test Builder is that when you save the finished test, it is also fully accessible to a wide variety of assistive technologies. Now educators do not need to take a class in accessible design to build an accessible test. Your resulting test can be printed and handed out like a regular test, PLUS they can be provided to the resource teachers in electronic format for use with screen readers and other adaptive technologies.The exciting part for educators is that you make one test that can be used with ALL students…1 commentRead More »

Computer Help Online: Live Computer Support 24/7

ByMichael McCarty-May 26, 2006The Fred’s Head database features several articles that attempt to assist you with computer problems, but sometimes a computer tech is needed. You can’t have someone standing behind you offering suggestions of how to keep your computer safe from viruses and spyware, but this website is the next best uses cutting edge technology to fix computer problems online. Their highly trained technicians use the power of the Internet and specialized software to securely access your computer. This connection allows them to diagnose computer problems and fix them right before your eyes. Sit back, relax and learn as they immediately repair your system.If you don’t have Internet access, or if your computer crashes, call us and a technician will walk you through the solution to your computer problem. Day or night, 24 hours a day, their knowledgeable technicians are always there for you. Call them toll free at 888-869-3915 or Click this link …Post a CommentRead More »

Mosquito Repeller Necklace

ByMichael McCarty-May 26, 2006Are you allergic to mosquito bites? Even if you’re not, how are blind people supposed to swat these things? It’s difficult for sighted folks to hit those little flying targets! Talk about annoying!With the Mosquito Repeller Necklace you don’t have to worry about improving your target practice. No need to wear harmful chemicals and toxic sprays either. The mosquito beater is a battery-operated necklace that transmits a sonic repelling frequency that drives bugs crazy! The plastic case is compact enough (1″ x 2″) to wear around your neck (cord included) or clip to your collar. Effective up to 10 ft. The unit has an on-off switch, and the batteries are included.

Click this link to purchase the Mosquito Repeller Necklacefrom the Miles Kimball website.Post a CommentRead More »

The Portable Players Portal

ByMichael McCarty-May 25, 2006The Portable Players Portal is a list of resources where you can read and listen to material relating to using portable media players if you are visually impaired. The site is maintained by Brian Hartgen and includes links to sources of downloadable music, a link to download the Juice podcatching program, and a Juice tutorial by Dean Martineau. The site also gives links to The iTunes JAWS scripts and The iTunes Window-Eyes set files. You’ll also find detailed discussions ofiRiver players and players made specifically for blind people.

Click this link to visit the Portable Media Player Portal: Hartgen has also started a new email list called Blind iPod. The purpose of this list is for the helpful discussion of all aspects of using iPods or similar products by visually impaired people, including the software installed onto a computer in order to transfer music or spoken word material onto the device. Although the original intention (and …Post a CommentRead More »

Radio Remote Controls

ByMichael McCarty-May 24, 2006By Peter EmersonRadio remote controls use radio waves to send commands to different devices. These are electromagnetic waves of varying frequencies, emitted through antennas and picked up by radio receivers.Therefore, when you press a button on your radio remote, it sends radio waves to your music system, which decodes the signal and obeys your command. An amazing aspect of radio remotes is that they can send signals from greater distances, since radio waves travel as long as 100 feet to reach the receiver. They can even penetrate walls, and therefore an increasing number of modern appliances are now being designed with radio remotes.Bluetooth technology also uses the principle of radio frequencies. For example, Bluetooth technology can interconnect your home theater system, mobile phone, music system, computer and television by using radio frequencies to send signals between them. It creates a wireless community of your gadgets that literally speak to each other. Every appliance wo…Post a CommentRead More »

How to Decorate the Apartment on a Budget

ByMichael McCarty-May 24, 2006By Bill McReaDeciding to rent an apartment may be a bit challenging especially if the person is on a tight budget. This isn’t only about the rent and the other bills that have to be paid monthly but also the maintenance costs should the individual decide to make a few decorative changes.When anyone rents an apartment, the apartment owner will usually ask for a deposit and a few months rent in advance. The deposit will only be returned when the contract ends and if there is no (or little) repair needed before it can be occupied by another tenant.Here are some cost-saving tips for decorating an apartment;

Should the person have any posters, a good idea is to use straight pins to prevent them from falling from the walls. If they are framed, use the smallest nail possible so that when the contract ends the holes will be easy to patch using a spackling compound.

If the apartment is fully furnished, the furniture should be covered to prevent it from getting dirty or stained. The apartme…Post a CommentRead More »

The Basics of Home Security

ByMichael McCarty-May 23, 2006By Jack NelsonEvery homeowner needs to be active and aware of their home security concerns. With home invasions and break-ins on the rise, it is time to take some steps towards protecting your family and your valuable belongings. It would surprise most people to realize how simple it is for a burglar to break into their home. By following these simple steps, you can reduce the odds of coming home to discover your home has been broken into and your cherished valuables have been taken.For a burglar, the three greatest enemies are noise, time, and light. If a burglar must make a lot of noise, take a lot of time, and work in a well-lit area to get into your home, chances are that he will not bother. In most cases, he will move onto an easier “mark”. These are things that work in the favor of homeowners. I always tell my clients that, in order to defeat the burglar, one must think like the burglar.Take some time and “case” the exterior of your home for points o…Post a CommentRead More »

Text to Speech App for Palm OS

ByMichael McCarty-May 22, 2006SayIt is a Text To Speech (TTS) application for Palm OS 5.1 and higher devices from Toysoft. SayIt is the first global TTS application for the Palm OS that works with most applications with text editing capabilities. SayIt will speak selected text in plain English using a synthesized computer voice. The user interface allows you to follow the text as SayIt speaks the words, you can Stop and Start the speech and adjust the volume control. It also has customized features to work with the following applications: MemoPad, TreoMail, VersaMail, SnapperMail, ChatterMail, Messaging and SMS (on the Treo), Docs To Go and the Blazer web browser.

Click this link to learn more about SayIt.Post a CommentRead More »

Accessible Health Care Guide to all Diseases and Conditions

ByMichael McCarty-May 19, 2006Welcome to the! Your complete online health has compiled and consolidated the latest information on all diseases and conditions basics, their symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and their treatment. Diseasesatoz also provides health advice on different diseases and conditions with various health articles which will make it easier for you to ask your doctor important questions and to take a more active role in keeping you and your family provides you with required health information. Here you can learn about the symptoms, causes, diagnoses and treatments of a broad range of illnesses. Look here for complete information on common diseases and conditions and health resources for yourself or someone you care about. Learn how to manage your health.

Click this link to learn about diseases, from A to Z:

Disclaimer: All information on is for educational purposes only. It is not a subst…Post a CommentRead More »

QuietCare for Your Loved Ones

ByMichael McCarty-May 17, 2006Home monitoring has come a long way since Life Alert:, an emergency pendant worn around a senior’s neck that was best known for its “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” TV commercials. A senior presses a button on the device to contact emergency services. But what if you’re too weak to press the button, or you lose consciousness? QuietCare, from Living Independently, is a service that monitors wireless sensors placed in the most frequently used areas of the home, including the bathroom, bedroom, kitchen and medicine cabinet. QuietCare spends several days creating an “electronic map” of a person’s behavior; when they wake up, how frequently they use the bathroom, when they eat, their general activities of daily living. Once the software determines a person’s daily routine, it checks for anomalies in behavior, such as if someone fails to get out of bed in the morning. It also detects nonemergencies that may requi…Post a CommentRead More »

The Well Adjusted Campaign

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2006What on earth is the Well Adjusted Campaign?Well, it’s all about web accessibility for people with communication disabilities; dyslexia, poor or partial vision, and visual stress. Launched in a partnership between the British Dyslexia Association and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators that aims to raise awareness of the fact that businesses are currently missing out because nearly 20% of their customers can’t use their inaccessible websites. They’ve also published their Top 10 Reasonable Adjustments to make sites and marking communications accessible.The Well Adjusted Campaign site has information on how you can join the campaign, plus a special toolbar you can download to make reading on the web much, much easier. Worth checking out.

Article Source: commentRead More »

Play RealAudio Files with Winamp

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2006Those who know me know that I love to stream audio from the net. I have all types of internet radio stations saved in my Winamp media player.Winamp is software that turns your computer into an internet radio and television receiver. It plays a variety of filetypes and is the most accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired. There are other players, each one having its own audio format. The RealPlayer is a popular choice, but screen readers often have difficulty with its menus and setup screens. Microsoft includes a media player with all versions of Windows, but it too is difficult to navigate with a screen reader and some magnification programs.Recently, I came across some information that solves the problem of accessibility when playing RealAudio files. The solution, which sounds rather strange at first, is to remove the RealPlayer and use Winamp instead.Click this link to download 8 megs of real media kodeks: Kodeks tell…Post a CommentRead More »

Skype! The Whole World Can Talk for Free

ByMichael McCarty-May 16, 2006Skype is a program for making free calls over the internet to anyone else who also has Skype. It’s free and easy to download and use, and works with most computers.With SkypeOut, you can use Skype to call ordinary phone numbers all over the world.SkypeIn is a real phone number your friends can call. You pick up the call in Skype.Skype Voicemail lets you direct calls when you’re busy or offline to your voicemail.Download, register, install, plug in your headset, speakers or USB phone and start calling your friends. The calls have excellent sound quality and are highly secure with end-to-end encryption. You don’t even need to configure your firewall or router or any other networking gear. It just works.It doesn’t just work with Windows. Skype is also for Mac OS X, Linux and PDAs using Pocket PC, with a native look and feel for each platform. Talking, sending instant messages or even file transfers work between different platforms like a charm.If there weren…Post a CommentRead More »

Refrigerator Air Purifier

ByMichael McCarty-May 15, 2006Hide the smell of those rotting leftovers in your refrigerator with this air purifier.This compact purifier uses advanced ionic technology to generate billions of negative ions that neutralize odors. Two levels of ozone help eliminate bacteria and leave the air smelling rain-fresh. Your refrigerator remains odor-free and food stays fresher longer. No cords or filters needed.

Click this link to purchase the Refrigerator Air Purifier from Clever Gear.Post a CommentRead More »

Accoona Talking Search Bar

ByMichael McCarty-May 12, 2006Accoona Corp., the artificial intelligence-based on-line search engine and Acapela group, the leading European speech group, launch today the first information-seeking technology using speech. The Accoona Search Bar is the first application of it’s kind directly liked to an Internet search engine.This application allows internet users to:

Unwind: Let the eyes have a rest for a while
Save time: Be able to do something else while an article is read outloud
Speak another language: Improve language abilities by listening to foreign news, at all ages
Learn: A fun interface that gives children the urge to listen and learn
Have easier access to information: For those who are visually impairedAccoona Talking Search Bar is installed in no time. In a few clicks, the vocal function appears in Accoona’s search engine toolbar. All you need to do then is highlight the text you want to hear and click on the TTS (Text To Speech) icon: a piece of cake!Available in English, Accoona plans to ext…Post a CommentRead More »

Search with Ctrl+F

ByMichael McCarty-May 12, 2006Here’s the scenario. You’re on a Web site looking for a particular word or phrase and you can’t, for the life of you, find it. Well, a quick keyboard shortcut can save you from all of that searching.Just hold down Ctrl+F at the same time. Ctrl+F will bring up a Find box on your screen. You can just type in any word or phrase in the search box and hit Enter. It will then proceed to highlight the word (or words) that you are looking for. Once you find the first one, it might appear again, so just click, or tab to the “Find Next” button and it will find the same thing again. It will do that until the whole Web page or document is scanned.You can search in either a Up or Down direction and you can even choose the way your matches are found. You can select “Match whole word only” or “Match case.” It’s all up to you! It’s just a fast and easy way to scan through a page and find exactly what you’re looking for! The same command also …1 commentRead More »

Cordless Lighted Toilet Seat

ByMichael McCarty-May 11, 2006I hope you get the “aim” of this product. Fun novelty or helpful bathroom nightlight for people who are visually impaired? You decide.just lift the lid and ten blue LED lights send a soft glow around the seat. Powered by 3 AA batteries, not included. Bubble design in the lucite.Click this link to purchase the Cordless Lighted Toilet Seat from the Taylor Gifts website.Post a CommentRead More »

How to Purchase A Spice Rack

ByMichael McCarty-May 09, 2006When purchasing a spice rack, make sure to think of accessability. Can you label the rack with braille? What about the bottles? Do you have a system that will assist you in finding the spices you need? This article by Anne Clarke may help you decide what spice rack works best in your kitchen.Spice Racks: Add a Little Spice to Kitchen OrganizationSpices are the spice of life, so to speak. So, if your spices are disorganized, what does that say about your life? There is not yet a feng shui of spices that I know of, but there certainly ought to be. Do not worry, though, there is hope for those of us who cannot find our cinnamon amongst our fennel and nutmeg!What is this hope that we can cling to? Spice racks. Yes, it sounds like too simple of a solution, but spice racks really make a big difference for anyone who owns more than three or four spices. There are multiple types of spice racks for you to choose from. Need help deciding which is best for you? Follow this simple guide o…Post a CommentRead More »

How To Use A USB Thumb Drive

ByMichael McCarty-May 08, 2006A USB thumb drive is, believe it or not, very easy to use. It’s not hard for any computer user to figure it out and if you’re really interested in purchasing one, you shouldn’t put it off any longer, because the setup really isn’t that bad. I know it may sound confusing if you’re not used to some of this new technology, but if you buy one, you’ll be up to par in no time.If you have Windows XP or 2000, the setup couldn’t be easier. All you do is plug the thumb drive that you get into one of your USB ports on your computer. XP automatically recognizes the new hardware and you can start moving files to your new external file saver (the thumb drive). You don’t even have to worry about connecting to a drive if you have XP or 2000, because it is driverless, so you can just plug it in and play.If you have Windows 98 or ME, the setup is a little different, but again, it’s not too difficult. Just plug the thumb drive into one of your USB ports and Window…Post a CommentRead More »

Skypecasts and the Blind Community, a Revolution!

ByMichael McCarty-May 05, 2006By Jonathan MosenI will never forget the day when Shoutcast was released. On that day, I realised that this was going to be huge for the blind community. Broadcasting over the Internet had been democratised. using Winamp and a few free tools, you could netcast like the big boys.Skypecasts give me the same feeling. Released in beta, Skypecasts allow up to 100 Skype users to congregate for any imaginable purpose. perhaps there is a common interest that brings together friends and strangers alike. perhaps it’s a family planning what’s going to happen at Christmas. perhaps a company wants to run a focus group, or perhaps someone wants to provide a lecture or tutorial, where listeners are muted initially, but where questions can be answered at the conclusion of the formal part of the presentation. If you combine Skypecasts with a plug-in that records the event, such as Skylook, you can upload the archive to your web site as a permanent record.In a blindness context, this has ph…Post a CommentRead More »

Accessible English & German language instruction

ByMichael McCarty-May 05, 2006By Peter KornThe good folks at Brailcom: in the Czech Republic have developed a suite of free, online English & German languages courses specifically geared to folks with visual impairments at They are presently offering intermediate and advanced courses, including courses specifically geared to native speakers of Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Norwegian, German, and English (these last two only for going into the other language). >From their about page:

“The general aim of the project is to reduce the unemployment rate of the blind and visually impaired. By improving the skills of the visually impaired and raising the level of awareness of the professional community regarding the skills and competences of the blind and visually impaired, it is hoped that this project will make a solid contribution to achieving this goal.””Specifically our partnership has developed English and German language modules for t…Post a CommentRead More »

Lisa Hall’s World: Information About Braille

ByMichael McCarty-May 05, 2006Lisa Hall has created a website called Lisa Hall’s Worldand provides links to a variety of blindness-related services in Texas. She has a wonderful page on braille with tons of links to schools and rehabilitation offices for the blind and other resources. If you are interested in braille, check out this site!

Click this link to visit Lisa Hall’s Information About Braille page.Post a CommentRead More »

Pantry Makeover: Three Easy Steps to Organizing Success

ByMichael McCarty-May 05, 2006By Nancy PehamAre there items in your pantry that are no longer recognizable as food? Do the expiration dates on your canned goods take you back to the 20th Century? What surprises lie dormant in the deep dark recesses of the back shelves?Consider the last time your pantry had a makeover. Makeover you say? Perhaps the term is a bit strong, but if you haven’t cleaned your pantry recently and gotten rid of stale, partially used, or unpopular purchases, now is a great time.

Step 1Start by removing everything. As you do, throw away items that have reached or exceeded their expiration dates. If you’re concerned about the environment, your city’s recycling program accepts them. Don’t forget to recycle plastic, glass, and certain metals.Next, get rid of anything you’ll never eat. It’s good to experiment with new foods, but some just fail the taste test.If you’ve left cracker boxes, chip bags, or sacks of flour open, the contents are probably stale. Throw th…Post a CommentRead More »

Marking Keys For Easy Identification

ByMichael McCarty-May 05, 2006How many times have you went to unlock your home and found that you grabbed the wrong key on the ring? You stand there trying to figure out why the key won’t fit in the lock and suddenly, you realize that you’re holding the wrong key. Wouldn’t it be great to have something that could help you distinguish one key from another? You’re ready for some Key-Shirts my friend!Don’t read it again, I didn’t miss spelt T-shirts as Key-shirts, it’s actually a shirt for your keys.All you have to do is to place these different colored “T-Shirts” over each key and you’ll never get confused again. These shirts fit almost any key, which means that size doesn’t matter. You can’t see colors? How about scratching different marks into each cover to differentiate one key from another?

Click this link to purchase some fashion for your keys with Key-Shirts from ShopIntuition.There are a number of ways to mark keys for identification. You can use a rub…1 commentRead More »

The JAWS for Windows and PAC Mate Blog

ByMichael McCarty-May 04, 2006Brian Hartgen has started the JAWS and Pac Mate blog to provide news items and web links regarding these two products.”Hello and welcome to my Blog containing information about the JAWS for Windows screen-reader from Freedom Scientific. This Blog also includes information relating to the PAC Mate, also manufactured by Freedom Scientific, as this contains Pocket JAWS. I hope you are going to find the Blog informative and useful.””I hope to be able to point people in the direction of useful resources they can find on the web or elsewhere for improving the accessibility of applications through JAWS, or audio presentations such as those contained on Main Menu where JAWS is the primary subject.”

Click this link to visit The JAWS for Windows and PAC Mate Blog: a CommentRead More »

How do you pick a good contractor?

ByMichael McCarty-May 04, 2006By Jan SmithThis has been the too-often asked question for decades. What are 10 tell-tale signs to look for when you need a maintenance contractor to come into your home?This is not easy to answer as personalities vary so much. So, you have to rely on ‘gut instinct’ and certain outward indicators.Here is a list of 10 tell-tale signs to look for:

The Contractor or staff member who answers the phone / Email is courteous, friendly and helpful.

The contractor arrives on time for the appointment or phones if s/he is unavoidably delayed.

The person is neatly attired and preferably has the logo of the Business on their shirt.

They stand back from the door so as not to invade your space.

They immediately offer a business card that is professionally printed.

They don’t enter your home until invited to do so. They remove shoes before entering your home or they have shoe protectors over their shoes/boots.

They do not have dirty clothes, hands, grubby diaries or smell as if they have j…Post a CommentRead More »

Cleaning Combs & Brushes

ByMichael McCarty-May 03, 2006You’re getting ready for work and notice that your combs and brushes are not clean. What in the world is all over them? It looks like lint and who knows what that is on the handle.An easy way to clean these off is to place all of your combs and brushes in the bathroom sink and fill with water. Now add about a cup of ammonia and let sit all day while you are at work.When you get home, drain the sink and rinse your combs and brushes. Place them on a towel to dry.Your combs and brushes will be sparkling clean.Post a CommentRead More »

Preventing Soggy Salt

ByMichael McCarty-May 03, 2006You grab the salt shaker to spice up your dinner and nothing comes out.You pop off the top and notice that once again it is all caked at the bottom of the shaker.An easy way to help stop soggy salt is to pick up a package of oyster crackers.Drop a couple in your shaker then add salt. The crackers will absorb extra humidity and help prevent your salt from caking.When your shaker is empty, discard the crackers and add a couple of new ones before refilling.Post a CommentRead More »

AdvantEdge Reader for the Blind

ByMichael McCarty-May 03, 2006The Assistive Technology Center in Sacramento has announced the release of a complete portable scan-and-read system for the blind and print challenged.The system, named the “AdvantEdge Reader”, combines several mainstream and adaptive technologies in order to achieve the goal of a pocket scan and read solution.The AdvantEdge Reader is the essence of simplicity. The user merely inserts the material to be read into the scanner. The material is scanned, recognized, converted into readable format, and read automatically. There are no other steps.ATC has, for several years, been adapting scanners for use by the blind. Most recently, ATC has adapted the Visioneer strobe scanner. This is a tiny, portable scanner. The problem has been finding a small enough device to host the conversion and speech programs.This is where the SmallTalk computer comes in. SmallTalk is a hand held uPC enhanced with the screen reading software “Window Eyes”, by GW Mic…Post a CommentRead More »

Five Simple Percautions When Using USB Flash Drives

ByMichael McCarty-May 02, 2006Ontrack Data Recovery: has performed a study that shows one in four USB memory stick owners has lost data. The study involved research conducted among 400 professionals world wide. To help combat data loss, Ontrack has compiled a list of things USB memory users should do to minimize the risk of data loss.

Minimise misplacement Try to prevent ‘wandering’ USB sticks. The device is easily lost when you don’t exactly know where it’s kept. A dedicated USB spot prevents loss of data from a portable storage device.

Carry with care Make sure your USB is stored safely when travelling to minimise the risk of losing data. You don’t keep a laptop in a plastic bag for transport, so why stick a USB stick with similarly valuable data in your trouser pocket?

No backups, please A USB stick is too vulnerable to store precious information. These sticks should therefore never be used as a backup device.

Put a lid on it When not in use ensure that the connect…Post a CommentRead More »

Pop-Up Hotdog Cooker

ByMichael McCarty-May 02, 2006I am blessed to have children who aren’t picky when it comes to lunch. My kids loved hot dogs, especially chili dogs. I can’t tell you the times I made hot dogs for lunch! One problem I always had was heating the buns. They would turn out dry and tough. I wish I would have had this device to help me.Operating much like a pop-up toaster, this unique kitchen appliance lets you easily prepare two hot dogs (complete with toasted buns) in minutes. To use, simply drop two wieners in the center basket and the buns in the two toasting baskets on either side. Its 660-watt electronic heating coil has four controllable heat settings so that you can cook the wieners and toast both buns to your taste preference. Crumb basket removes for cleaning. Measures 8-1/2″ High x 10-1/2″ Wide x 5-1/4″ Deep.

Click this link to purchase the Pop-Up Hotdog Cooker from Hammacher Schlemmer.Post a CommentRead More »

How To Wash Your Eyes After LASIK Surgery

ByMichael McCarty-May 02, 2006By Nicola KennedyLASIK is an efficient and fairly innocuous procedure. It is capable of treating several refractive errors, such as myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. The procedure itself entails virtually no pain and provides rapid recovery. Though the vision will be blurry immediately after surgery, visual acuity will be restored within a few days. However, it takes about 3 to 6 months for the refraction to stabilize. It is imperative that you carry out a scrupulous postoperative regime in order to boost the recovery process and avoid unnecessary complications.Avoid rubbing your eyes for at least the first week after LASIK surgery. The corneal flap cut out during the surgery requires substantial time to heal. Unnecessary rubbing may inadvertently aggravate the wound. You should also take extreme caution to avoid soap, hair spray or shaving lotion from entering your eyes. The eye surgeon will typically provide you with a postoperative kit, which may include a set of eye shields/g…Post a CommentRead More »

Tips for Flying the Airlines

ByMichael McCarty-May 02, 2006With a few simple tips you can avoid delays, fly non-stop, AND save money.Forget your frequent flier miles! Cash them in and never use them again. Frequent flier miles lure you back to one particular airline, and thereby narrow your options considerably. By opening yourself up to multiple airlines you can almost always fly non-stop, without delay, and arrive happy.

Learn the “hub and spoke system” inside and out. This is the most valuable thing you can do to save time and trouble. Some airlines are concentrated in certain regional areas, and serve some cities more heavily. Once you know the ins-and-outs of the complicated hub system, you can cut hours off your travel time, and avoid missed connections, by far the worst part of airline travel. (Your luggage is less likely to be lost when you fly direct,too).

Use more than one website to buy your tickets. Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz; are good research tools and sometimes offer the best deal, but not always. Sometimes, only co…Post a CommentRead More »

Winter Bedding Storage Tips

ByMichael McCarty-May 01, 2006By Katie CurtisWith the winter finally behind us, it is time to put that winter bedding away for yet another year. While flannel sheets and heavy comforters are perfect for those cold winter nights, most of us look forward to sleeping under light cotton sheets and lightweight throws. With a little care and preparation,your winter bedding will be as fresh as a spring morning the next time you bring it out.Be sure to give your winter bedding a proper cleaning before you put it away. While going to the laundromat is not the ideal way to spend an afternoon, it will save you loads of time when washing your winter bedding. Use one of the large-capacity washers to launder your blankets and comforters. If you have a good quality duvet, you may want to have it dry-cleaned to ensure that it is not damaged.If you do decide to wash your duvet while you are at the laundromat, be sure to pay careful attention to the washing instructions. It would be an awful shame to ruin your expensive down…Post a CommentRead More »

How to Remove Permanent Marker from Furniture

ByMichael McCarty-May 01, 2006I purchased an old table at a yardsale that someone had discarded because a child had marked on its surface. My father restored that table by following these steps:

Before you begin, test the paste on a part of the furniture that’s not normally visible. You want to insure that the paste won’t strip the paint or finish from the wood.

Use white paste, not the gel, and put a small amount directly onto the furniture. With either a soft bristle toothbrush or a soft rag, start making circular motions and rubbing the paste into the marked area.

Be patient. It may take several applications before the marker is completely removed.

When the paste has taken on the color of the marker, wipe clean and repeat step two until the marks are no longer visible.Post a CommentRead More »

How to Easily Remove Address Labels from Packages

ByMichael McCarty-May 01, 2006Are you one of those people who keep the postal service busy delivering packages to your house from eBay or QVC? Do you recycle the boxes that your purchases come in? Many people don’t because they’re afraid of the label on the box. You don’t want your name and address to go “public” via the garbage can. Here’sthe fastest way to get rid of those labels.

Buy some nail polish remover, preferably in one of those hand held pens for easier application. You can also pour some into one of those plastic bottles used for moistening envelopes, or pour some on a cotton swab or a napkin. The nail polish remover can be acetone or non-acetone, either will work.

Vigorously rub the nail polish remover across the address label. Your name and address will simply “melt” off in seconds. No need to cut the label out or write over it with another pen.

This works for almost every type of professional address label and even works to remove black marker from boxes.

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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.


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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.

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