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Blind V I Updates & News

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New Forms Coming Soon Feb. 10th, 2010 @ 11:52 pm
Big Thanks goes out to Jotform.com. They've got a really sweet form builder on the web. They provide the following free tools:
  • Contact Form
  • Blog Contact/Survey
  • Event Calendar
  • Document Uploader
  • Satisfaction Survey
  • Time Sheet
  • Job Application Form
  • RSVP for a Party or Wedding
  • Bug Tracker
  • Reservation Form
I suggested a Tell A Friend & Poll items to be added to their free program. I found the form easy to use. Not sure how well it is jaws friendly. If it's not I'll try to make it accessible. And if it's still not I'll allow visitors to continue emailing me at the hotmail email addresss that I kept.

Along with the contact form going live soon, I'm also working on a visitor survey. The problem with this survey is it's in flash (because iwth my personal website I added page break components (buttons). If it comes to doing html in one long form I will.

Ending 2009 with a Bang Dec. 31st, 2009 @ 03:05 am
And a big bang I must say. This year it's been crazy getting the website updated and stuff. With the new updates and new additions it's still evolving. Hoping 2010 will be a good one for the website and it's team of volunteers that help run it.

Have a safe and wonderful New Years Eve and New Years Day!

Eye Conditions Page Complete Dec. 7th, 2009 @ 12:39 am
The section is complete! I see my eye specialist in May where I can show him a printed list of what I have. For now the list stays as is.

Again, I can't put up downloadable articles for print use unless I get permission to via the source's webmaster. And said source is the same source for the diagrams I want to use. So those can't go on the website until I get authorization I'm afraid.

Blind VI's Terms of Use Page Dec. 2nd, 2009 @ 01:18 am
This page will show up in the following areas of the site: Blind VI, Braille Suite, White Cane Project, Access Tech & Guiding Paws start pages right below the copyright notice. It'll also show up in the Websites section of Blind VI because thats where a bunch of articles & the eye conditions section houses. As mentioned via the last entry, I have to start using a TOU page on certain areas of the website. Because some visitors are careless and need to understand that if you use the articles you gotta be discreet. On the bottom of each TOU page you'll see a link either back to the start pages where the TOU is linked or back to Blind VI's start page. At some point in the future if I get rid of the title names (i.e. from Braille Suite to Braille.) I'll focus on one TOU page but with a links list of start pages where you can go to. So instead of 6 seperate pages it'd be down to one.

Below is a copy of the page. Notice I'm very particular on whats expected of a visitor who uses any of my information. It's more like me saying "You can use the information just use common sense and be discreet and respectful."

Unless indicated otherwise, all images and information on this site was originally written by the authors stated in the article/image source credits (at the end of each article taken from print/web source.) and are protected by both US and international copyright laws. The below lists the terms of use users of Blind VI must agree to before using the images and or information before hand:
  • Users may use any of the information found on Blind VI on personal, educational, non-profit, non-commercial web sites, free of charge. However, users may NOT redistribute, sell, or repost for download any of the info/images found on Blind VI on any medium (CD-Rom, website, video, brochures, etc.) as articles from this part of Blind VI was taken from the net and properly credited.

  • Users agree not to remove the watermark, if present on any images or articles.

  • If using articles in a report/presentation or speech they agree to source Blind VI in their bibliography/works cited pages.

  • If using the downloaded version as a hand out/article etc they agree NOT to remove the article/image source along with the copyright notice at the bottom of each article. If you use the articles you will give credit where credit is due.

  • Users agree not to hold Blind VI liable for any damages resulting from proper or improper use of any information or images found on the website.
Thanks for taking the time reading this and understanding.

Eye Conditions Update Dec. 1st, 2009 @ 01:17 am
Here's the list I wanted to share with you guys.

Most common conditions causing visual impairment

  • Astigmatism (distorted vision)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Presbyopia (aging eyes)
  • Strabismus (cross eye/turned vision)
Most common conditions causing blindness:
  • Amblyopia
  • Cataracts
  • Color Blindness
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Retinal Detachment
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Uveitis
If it's not on the list it's either a rare eye condition or only found in 3rd world countries.

I do have updated HTML coding for all pages and am now waiting for permission to use the diagrams. See you can use the content from the site so long you credit each page from where you got it. That it's not altered in any way. That you're not using it for commercial use. Finally not saving said info on CDs and publishing it for commercial use... Oh yeah and the website where I got the content wants a TOS page linked on the eye conditions start page. Just to make sure visitors understand that only I got permission to use the info and diagrams. That neither Blind VI nor the site I'm crediting is held accountable for any damage or misinformation. So once that gets made (it will be linked on here just like the copyright page.) and the author contacts me we're good to go.
Other entries
» Eye Conditions Update
I landed on a article on the NFB's website. They had a list on that article of most common eye conditions. I googled keywords "most common eye conditions" with blind being a wild card keyword. Then I found a even better list. One for the most common conditions that cause vision impairment and a secondary for just vision loss. I have most of the articles on my computer. All I gotta do is edit (that'll happen when I get home from my trip.)and post. Now not all are going to have images or diagrams but I will try my best to find some to go with each eye condition via google search.

I have 5 for vision impairment and 17 for blindness. And the list as a whole only a couple I couldn't find info on this one website I frequent.

As always: Source of article and images will be at the bottom of each article (just in case you wanna print and use in a book report on your eye condition.).
» Sorry for the delays.
Howdy folks. It's been a loooong time since I made up a update. I've been working on the website real slowly. Reason? I was cleaning my closet one day and found my old high school blindness resource binder. Since I'm reactivating my NFB status I wanted to update it. Everyone has at least one of these scrap book type deals. If you don't you can get the binder, paper and other supplies at a local office supply store. If it's anything blindness related (like a magnifyer or a slate) you'd have to go through your local vision store (or go online).

It's a surprise as to what I'm doing. I will say this: If you get any articles, notes or handouts via ILS/braille/mobility/Access Tech classes store it in the binder. You never know when you'll need to reuse those items. It's also good to have a article on your eye condition... It came in handy for me on 3 occations. And I know as my sight slowly gets worse this binder will be my life line.

So I've not abaondoned Blind VI. If anything, I've found new stuff for the site that I gotta read up on first. I'm hoping that I can one day publish my work (websites don't last forever books however do.). Anything I put on Blind VI (old or current) it's going in the book. I understand a blindness resource book is so much to digest at one point. But I feel this has helped me cope and adapt to being visually impaired. Some find this inspiring while others find this annoying (or attention getting which ever comes first.).

Take Care and please continue to visit and refer Blind VI and it's many linked websitees!
» Talking IPod Review
I'm one year late but I didn't see the need for IPod Nano at that time. The newer IPods are packed with lots of cool stuff that even those with little to no vision might like. I'll go into the list and then cratique each one.
  • Spoken Menus
  • Video Camera
  • Voice Recorder
  • External Speaker
  • FM Radio (kit sold seperately)
  • Fitness (kit sold seperately)
  • Pedometer (measures walking)
  • Alarm Clock
  • Accessible ITunes
  • Genius & On The Go Playlist (never used it)
The only features I've ever used in this list are the voice recorder, speaker, spoken menus and playlists (never used genius/on the go don't see a need.). Radio and fitness those have seperate kits that you have to buy. And the downside to this is you can only use one or the other. Theres enough memory to even play videos, movies and podcasts. What I love about the external speaker is that it's hidden and no need for additional gear. Plus the sound quality is good enough (well for me it is.) where I can listen to the speaker or use headphones. There are some features that really don't work for me or the average user might not like.

Video Camera: Apple chose to go with a video camera instead of camera that takes still shots. This is great and all cause I've always wanted a video camera (just not on the IPod) but the cam on the pod isn't worth it. You only have a small window of time to record things. Plus your viewing window is very limited.

Spoken Menus: There's a tiny complaint here. The Talking IPod is only limited to menus, audio books and music/video (to announce artist/album/track listing) and settings. You can't use the talking feature in the extras menu (camera, recorder, games, etc.). But it is good none the less. Since I only use the IPod for music means only this doesn't bother me. But it might bother someone else with a vision impairment who wanna use the sighted features but need that extra assistance. For me, it means I can keep the power eater (I mean backlight) turned off.

Font/Contrast: Apple plugged in the fact that font size and contrast can be enabled for those with visual impairment. I'm visually impaired but this feature did nothing for me. Unless you get a skin application that has dark color or black background with light colored text you're out of luck. Rockbox has this ability but Rockbox never worked for me. Thus why I opted for a new IPod instead. Cause I can barely see my IPod's menus on the 30 gig IPod now collecting dust in my desk drawer.

External Speaker: I LOVED this feature but for those who haven't found it they may never know about it. I caught it by accident. It means having to jack your volume up but you turn the volume down when you use head phones. I was messing around with the volume limit setting when my head phones disconnected from the jack. All of a sudden I heard my Nano cherp (cause I had spoken menus feature turned on.) when normally if this happened the device would automatically shut down. This is a lovely option if you prefer your device without headphones (like for offices, bedrooms etc that you'd rather not have real loud music in.). The problem is if you want loud music and or surround sound (like when you're at a party) you'll have to purchase a speaker system thats sold seperately. There are many speaker systems out there and my only advice is to read the reviews and product descriptions carefully before purchasing. But a great feature for me nonethe less.

Games/Calendars/Photos: These options can be hidden if you don't want them. But if you prefer them off your device all together you're out of luck. There is no way you can remove these from your device. Apple needs to make these features optional instead of permenant. You know to have the ability to disable features you don't want on your device to free up space via ITunes. You can remove these items from the device's usb folder but be real careful. You delte the wrong thing and you erase your IPod or screw up to needing a factory reset (and starting from scratch.).

Radio & Fitness: I wanna try the fitness feature but it requires buying nikkie shoes that have built in sensor. And let me be honest here: I own Nikkie shoes but they are expensive. I bought mine a year ago for 60 bucks but they were on sale. What I'm seeing is it just records your run/walk times. If there were options to record time/distance for multiple things than I'd buy it. Mult-taskers such as running, walking, stairs (for stair climber), steps (for step master), eliptical, tredmil and bike. For now all I see is this is good for just walking and running so this does nothing for me. Another thing that does absolutely nothing for me is the radio. Again you must purchase a kit for the radio feature. But why do that when you have like your entire music library on your IPod? I mean you wouldn't have to put up with commercials or DJs talking about pointless stuff plus the static.

Stop Watch: I liked the digital stop watch. Cause the digital was in large print. Large enough where I didn't see it as a problem. The new stop watch is a image of a stop watch with a big/little/seconds hand.

Accessories: There's a huge disadvantage with the new nanos. You can't use the accessories. Accessories such as dock holders (to hold up right on clock radios) to charge or listen to your device. That also includes wall chargers as well. Not to mention the cases. I'm having a rather difficult time finding a case to protect my IPod. I tried 2 different cases that were too snug for my device. Not to mention if you plan on using the video camera you'd have to risk taking the device out of the case. Had I heard about the disadvantage w/the cases I would've waited til they came out. Cause when I bought my 30 GB a couple years ago I was able to purchase things alot quickly. Like a clock rado to charge/listen to my IPod (w/the nano for now I'm using the usb charger) and cases weren't hard to come by. But I'm having problems finding a case that has 2 belt clip options. One's a D ring clip that you clip to your jeans. Another is a actual belt clip. I did find one case that worked but ended up returning cause I couldn't use the click wheel. Again, the video camera isn't in use so any case from the 4th gen is fine. But if you're using the camera then you're gonna need a case that has a peep hole for the camera's lense. IPod should've thought about this before putting the camera on their devices.

Other than that it was worth the $179 bucks (IPod Nano comes in 4, 8 or 16 GBs.) for a 16 gig hard drive. But if you just want the music and spoken menus - good luck finding the older IPod Nano. The 4th Gen IPod Nanos were discontinued a few months ago. You'd have to go on Amazon I think to find something like that.
» URL Changes Coming Soon
I googled the no-ip redirect urls that I've been using for the last few years. They for whatever reason are not showing up on google. The next blog update you see on url changes, the no-ip IDs will have been removed.

Secondly, angelfire (blind vi's web host since 2004) has gotten rid of the lengthy urls (or directory urls. When you signed up for a account in the past, you had to choose a directory to be listed under. Blind VI was always under directory blues2. Thus the url would be angelfire.com/blues2/blindvi. Now Angelfire has a shortened url. I've no idea how I'm going to route the entire website to the new one. Until I can change the urls to blindvi.angelfire.com in all nav strips, frame & site maps it'll remain the way it is.

HOWEVER since Blind VI is linked on many websites I'd like to use the old url as a redirect. How I have no idea.

There will be a part 2 to this topic. So be on the look out for it in the coming weeks.
» Blind VI's New Look & Appeal + Updates!
This is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay over due and I apologize.

For the 5 year anniversary, I decided to give Blind VI a much needed make over and do sprucing up.

Blind VI no longer has "A Place for the Blind & Visually Impaired" as its slogan/subtitle. Since 2007, Blind VI has become more sighted friendly. With interactive tools on The Braille Suite & White Cane Project, I've decided to change the slogan. New Slogan: not just a place for the blind and visually impaired. If anyone can think of a more catchier subtitle/slogan please contact me.

Got rid of the intro paragraph on the start page. It'll have a About Blind VI page all on its own.

Got rid of the chat/boards programs. No one uses them so why keep them?

Twitter & Facebook Fan Page - see the previous journal entry for more info.

Nav bar now has drop down menus! And Jaws takes real well to them too! And they open in and out of frames (depending on the link you choose.). This makes the nav bar (and website as a whole) look cleaner, nicer and more professional looking. 3 Catagories Sections, Features & Linked Websites (same format as you see on the main page.). And yes all 3 linked websites have drop down menus on the nav bar. Real easy to create and install.

Main Page Restructure
Kept the date/time/copyright scripts. If anything they got updated sometime last year. What you see catagorized in the nav bar section is what you'll see in the main page. This'll be easier to remember where things are and to get to quickly. Same sections: Sections, Features & Linked Websites.

List refreshes for Games & Website pages. Organizations is next after I get the CSS embed rels up on the entire website. The only refresh you see in Organizations is I removed International sections.
Organizations's Schools for the Blind & Guide Dog Schools both have same format as Braille/Large Print/Audio book sections.

Due to lack of interest Groups & Communities has been removed. The other reason is MSN Groups closed down and most of the Yahoo links don't work.

Horizontal Nav Strip: Lots of cleanup. Because I changed the main window's name to main.html, I had to re-do the nav strip. This'll take some time but it's worth the wait. The Horizontial strip in pages is for those who don't like frames.

Frameset: Blind VI & Linked Websites all have the same frame set values.

CSS Rel Embed: This has been a friggin time saver! CSS embeds can change the outlook for a entire section (or in this case the entire Blind VI landscape which has close to 90 html pages.) in seconds and not days.

Images on certain parts of Blind VI that wouldn't have them for sighted appeal. All linked websites have a image on the nav bar and a image on their main page. Blind VI only has 1 image and thats the site logo on the nav bar.

Bookmarks & Refer has been disabled until further notice. I'd like to have each website of Blind VI have their own B&R page. Just like the site map idea (it worked for that so I'm assuming it'll work for the B&R.). Each site will have it's own set of java bookmark and make page to default home page links. Text & Image links to promote each section on their own home page/websites/blogs/profiles - anywhere where HTML is allowed.

Polls have been removed from Linked Website pages. The only poll you'll see is on Blind VI (not Braille Suite, White Cane Project or Access Tech.)

New linked website coming soon! In honor of Bill Heisler! We were in discussions on getting a guide dog website up on Blind VI. I mean why not? It's apart of my blindness resource book. I had most of the information. Site Editor Fran is slowly helping (god bless her, she's got PHD Program & work and is able to help me on this.) me edit pages that need editing. When Bill was alive we talked about this as a potential idea. Due to his dialysis schedule draining him I chose to put this project on hold. But I slowly had collected research while waiting. Unfortunately Bill passed away in January and I wanted to further show him my apprication. Both he and Fran are guide dog users. She owns a lab and he owned one or two German Shepherds and wanted to get his 3rd Shep after his transplant was complete and able to take care of both himself and the dog. He always supported me on this idea. And I'm glad we've got this section for him. Sections include articles on many different topics, image gallery, article downloads and much more. So be on the look out for a activation date for Guiding Paws (Guiding Paws is the name of the linked website.) coming soon!

Wow, like I said alot of restructuring and alot of labor to get this site up to date. 5 years is a long time and I felt this was much needed.
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