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Blind V I Updates & News

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Blind VI Now on Twitter & Facebook! Jun. 13th, 2009 @ 11:43 pm
More ways to promote/support Blind VI and spread the word about the website!

Twitter
http://twitter.com/BlindVI
    Blind VI now has a twitter page! Please follow Blind VI! This is a great tool for those who have no time to read a long lengthy blog entry. Lots of people can read stuff on their mobile phones so this is something new that could be a positive for the website. Once you're following Blind VI's twitter page, spread the word by telling your entire followers list to follow Blind VI!
Facebook Fan Page
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/pages/Blind-VI/37535532979
    Everyone's doing it! Please place Blind VI as one of your fan pages! Click on Become a Fan and then click on the SHARE button and share Blind VI's fan page info to all your friends on facebook. And ask them to become a fan to Blind VI as well to support the website.

Happy Belated 5 Year Anniversary Blind VI! Jun. 3rd, 2009 @ 09:12 pm
Created on April 21, 2004, it's been going strong for the last 5 years. Some features have come and gone, but the site's mission stays the same. To allow those who are blind, visually impaired or sighted access to a wealth of information on the topic of blindness. Such topics cover Organizations, Websites/Groups, Access Tech, Braille, White Cane and hopefully as years continue to go by much more.

I feel awful I missed the 5 year anniversary (was attending a funeral and completely forgot.) as this project has been near and dear to me since it's beginnings as a simple website database. As years went by, sections for access technology, braille and the white cane were added. I do want to take the time to thank my web team (including Bill who helped out up until Jan. 2009.) and my visitors who come by to use the tools on this particular website.

So a happy belated 5th and to many many more years!
Mood: accomplished

In Memory of Bill 1978-2009 Jan. 4th, 2009 @ 09:12 pm
He would step in for Fran when she couldn't find time to test areas of the site for me while in university. A good friend of mine, like a brother to me - he taught me how to be a diabetic - but to cope with diabetes. His health was in pretty bad shape for a while. He passed at home, and thats all I can say on the matter. If anyone knew him and are just now finding out, the following obituary was taken from a website - heck I didn't know he had passed until I googled his name after seeing a memorial message on the zonebbs.com. A friend of mine told me it wasn't a joke, and thus I googled his full name. And I reconized things that were told about him in the online obituary. Rest in peace my friend - I will miss you, remember you for the true friend you are. I hope you are in a better place now.


Source: Legacy.com: Life Story Page

Billie Jack Heisler
Billie Jack "Bill" Heisler, 30, of Effort, passed away Saturday, Jan. 3, at home.

He was born April 22, 1978, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Herman and Elaine (Burger) Heisler.

Since the age of 3, Bill faced many physical challenges due to his diabetes, going blind at 21, but he never complained and always brought laughter wherever he went. He had a joyous spirit and a wonderful sense of humor. He touched the lives of everyone who knew him, and he will be deeply missed.

He was a 1996 graduate of Pleasant Valley High School and a 1999 graduate of Allentown Business School. He taught computer training at Delco Blind Center in Philadelphia for the past eight years.

In addition to his parents, Herman and Elaine, he is survived by two sisters, Lisa Green and her husband, Meril, of Kunkletown and Beverly Green and her husband, Lee, of Lehighton; his grandmother, Shirley S. Heisler of Lehighton; an aunt, Rosie Pinto of Lehighton; five nephews, Ben, Evan, Nathan, Lucas and Logan; and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the Donald N. Gower Funeral Home, Route 209, Gilbert, with the Rev. Michael Eckroth officiating.

Visitation will be from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 10, at the funeral home.

Route 209

Gilbert

Blind VI's Facebook Fan Page! Dec. 7th, 2008 @ 01:00 pm
Blind VI's Fan Page
You MUST be a member of Facebook and logged in to access this fan page.

If you are already a member of facebook, logged in and a regular to Blind VI please add the site's fan page! Easy and free all it does is promote the website - just another way to promote blind vi.

If you're not a member to facebook, it's free and easy to use. Register today at facebook's website.

Link is posted everywhere:
  • Blind VI Website Home & Websites Section
  • Access Tech, White Cane & Braille Suite
  • blind vi blog, rp room, braille talk & vi place
    • side bar, profile page and one entry
Fan Page Link will be added in the days to come! So if you want to participate add the page as a fan!

White Cane Awareness Day Oct. 15th, 2008 @ 12:00 am
Subject: Oct 15 is White Cane Awarness Day.

Date: Oct. 15

Here's a website about the long white cane.

http://white-cane.no-ip.info
click on White Cane Safety Day.

The cane is used by those who are blind and partially sighted. Not alot of people are educated properly about the long white cane.

Do your part by contacting your local Lions Club and making a donation to their white cane day fundraiser.

Club Locator:
http://www.lionsclubs.org/locator/lions/search_form_state.php

Please spread the word by copying the text below.
Then pasting it in blogs, bulletin and/or also pasting this message in a email and forwarding it to your friends and family!
Other entries
» Talking IPod Article
Note:Thanks to Bill sent me this on Messenger just now. If anyone wants to send a copy to friends who are blind/visually impaired and want a talking IPod, the article source is linked at the bottom of this entry!

Music lovers who are blind or vision-impaired can now enjoy iTunes and iPod nano in an entirely new way thanks to the latest version of iTunes and the new iPod nano (4th generation).

iTunes 8, which is screen-reader friendly for both the Mac and the PC, provides compatibility with VoiceOver in Mac OS X Leopard and Window-Eyes 7.0 for Windows XP and Windows Vista. And since the new iPod nano (4th generation) has optional spoken menus, you now can easily find and play the music you want to hear while on the go.

Introducing Spoken Menus on iPod nano (4th generation)
The new iPod nano (4th generation) — the world’s most popular music player — introduces spoken menus that let visually impaired music lovers browse and select songs without viewing the screen. Instead, you’ll hear a synthesized voice speaking the names of menus, songs, and artists.

To take advantage of spoken menus, you will need:
  • iPod nano (4th generation)
  • iTunes 8
  • Mac OS X v10.4.11 or later
  • Windows Vista or Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 3 or later)
Enabling spoken menus
When you connect the iPod nano (4th generation) to your Mac or PC with iTunes 8, you’ll find a new option in iTunes to “Enable spoken menus for accessibility.” When you sync, iTunes 8 creates spoken descriptions for the contents of your iPod nano using the text-to-speech engine on your computer (in Mac OS X, Windows XP and Windows Vista) and then syncs them to your iPod nano (4th generation) along with your music.

iPod nano (4th generation) speaks volumes
In Mac OS X, you can choose from a variety of natural-sounding and novelty voices, including Alex, the amazing new English-speaking voice available in Mac OS X Leopard. Using patented Apple speech technology, Alex closely matches the nuances of human speech and can deliver natural intonation even at extraordinarily fast speaking rates. Learn more about Alex. You can also purchase additional English and non-English voices separately. Contact third-party voice providers for further details.

In Windows, iTunes 8 uses Microsoft’s Speech API (SAPI) compatible voices to generate spoken menu descriptions. Be sure to enable Text to Speech and choose a voice in the Control Panel in Windows XP or Windows Vista before you enable spoken menus in iTunes 8, since speech may not be enabled by default.

Adjusting the speed of the computer’s voice changes the way spoken menus sound on iPod nano (4th generation). In Mac OS X, you can adjust the speaking rate for Alex and other Mac voices in the Speech pane of System Preferences. In Windows XP and Windows Vista, you can adjust the speaking rate for voices using the Text to Speech Control Panel.

For more information about setting up spoken menus on iPod nano (4th generation) see “Enabling Spoken Menus on iPod nano (4th generation).”

Large Font on iPod nano (4th generation)
The new iPod nano (4th generation) introduces a font size setting that lets you choose a standard or large font size. You can enable the large font in the Settings menu.

High Contrast Screen and Backlight
iPod classic and iPod nano feature high-resolution LCD displays with adjustable brightness settings that make them easy to read even in low-light conditions.

iPod touch features a large, high-resolution 3.5-inch LCD display with adjustable brightness. There’s even an Auto-Brightness feature that continually adjusts the brightness automatically — using an integrated ambient light sensor — for optimal viewing even in very high and very low lighting conditions.

Accessibility in iTunes 8
iTunes 8 is screen-reader friendly. On a Mac using Mac OS X Leopard, it’s compatible with VoiceOver; on a PC using Windows XP or Windows Vista, it’s compatible with GW-Micro Window-Eyes 7.0.

Screen Reader Technology
For those who are blind or have a vision impairment, screen readers provide spoken descriptions and full keyboard control as an alternative to using a mouse. Screen readers use a speech engine to synthesize spoken descriptions that explain what’s taking place on the computer screen. While customers using Windows PCs typically purchase screen readers separately, on a Mac both Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger and v10.5 Leopard include a full-featured, built-in screen reader called VoiceOver.

On a Mac, iTunes 8 works in conjunction with VoiceOver to provide full keyboard control and spoken audio descriptions. iTunes also works with the other built-in Universal Access features of Mac OS X Leopard, including Zoom, Sticky Keys, and Mouse Keys. The Universal Access features of Mac OS X work in conjunction with VoiceOver to suit your specific needs.

Thanks to its support for Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA), iTunes 8 for Windows can also be used with screen readers for Windows, but to take advantage of the support, screen reader manufacturers may have to update their applications. Apple recommends using GW-Micro Window-Eyes 7, which is sold separately, on Windows XP Service Pack 3.

iTunes Store
With iTunes 8, you can use a screen reader to browse the iTunes Store and shop for music, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, free podcasts, and other content. A number of areas in the iTunes Store have been enhanced for accessibility, including the iTunes Store home page, iTunes U, Podcasts, Music, Audiobooks, Movies, TV Shows, Music Videos, and iTunes Latino, among others. On the home page, you’ll find links to the Top Movie Rentals, Top Movie Sales, Top Songs, Top Albums, Top Audiobooks, and similar content. And since even the sign-up process is now accessible, you can create an iTunes account without sighted assistance.

To make browsing with a screen reader easier, the iTunes Store uses headers, links, and form controls, terms and landmarks you’ve already become accustomed to while browsing web pages.

If you can’t immediately find a song, album, or artist you’re interested in, you can use the search feature on the iTunes Store to find and display a matching list of songs, movies, TV shows, and other content based on the criteria you enter. For more complex searches, use Power Search, which lets you enter multiple search criteria at once.

When you find content you like, iTunes 8 makes purchasing that content easy. Use a simple keystroke to purchase and download all media types, including individual songs, complete albums, movies, TV episodes, Season Passes, audiobooks, and podcasts.

iTunes U also features enhanced accessbility for those using screen readers. As a result, everyone with access to the Internet, including those who are blind or vision-impaired, can enjoy great educational content. iTunes hosts content provided by participating colleges, universities, K12 schools, museums, public radio stations, and other educational organizations. That means the content is always available, easy to find, and even easier to download and play. On iTunes U, you search, download, and play course content just as you do music, movies, and TV shows.

Source: Apple's iTunes Accessibility Page: Vision
» Braille Alphabet Card


Get your own braille alphabet card!


It's now here! Two versions: online and printable.

ONLINE:
Online version has 2 types to choose from. Light color text for dark backgrounds. Dark color text for light backgrounds. Link at the bottom of the image.

PRINTABLE:
Dark color text on white background.
Microsoft Office Publisher document.
You must have Publisher in order to access the printable version of this card.

Love the cards? Put one on your website, profile or blog! Enjoy these as they took me a week to create. I had a more complex card but it was too big and I couldn't shrink the image in size. This version that I've got on the braille suite is a perfect size and a perfect way to not only promote the braille suite (and blind vi) but also braille in general.
» Braille Suite Update
The site's back up and running for the most part. I took it offline for a face lift as was stated in the last entry. Said face lift is finished. Additons, edits and future ideas are posted below.

Additions
Braille Images
On main pages only. This conserves space.
BRL image at the bottom of the nav bar.

New See Your Name in Braille
Former Hotbraille co-owner Oliver has a SYNIB script on code Factory. This script is actually customizable which you rarely see now a days. He had 3 image sets but I had my own. Long story short, the images I had only needed a tiny size adjustment and directed the url in the script to the image library. Works nice because once you type in your word, instead of going to a new window (like the old version from Maryland School for the Blind.) this new script shows the images below the text box. I still have MSB's SYNIB script on the braille talk's profile page because MSB's version is not java. Which LJ doesn't allow java or javascript. MSB's version is a form.

Edits:
Thankfully only a few pages needed edited. Some had no black background (now fixed), site map got a new look and all links to the charts section have been removed until further notice. The only other major edit was to the intro page where I made a adjustment for sighted appeal.

Future Ideas:
I love this part of this entry.

Braille Scramble
I'm working on a new braille scramble game. No this one is in actual text, not braille image so you can relax. 11 words scrambled, you have to descramble each word ten check your work. This one will take time as there are many catagories I'd like to create. Plus I wanna see if this script'll work with the script I have for braille quiz. Stay tune for any updates for this as this'll definately be on the site sometime in the comming future.

Poster & Matching Card
I got the poster idea after seeing a few versions of the braille symbols poster on a few sites. And I've got the matching grade 1 card (alphabet and numbers only) to go with. The card is finished (and on a diskette.) but I wont put the card up unless the poster is finished. Both will be available via a PDF (Adobe) document. And there'll be 2 types of posters to download and choose from. One poster has grade one and two symbols combined. While another poster is in 3 printable sections with just grade 1 on one sheet, a brief intro to braille as a second sheet and the third sheet being the contractions list... This tri poster would be used to assemble a tri folder like poster format (the 3 fold poster board you get a office depot or staples.) for a presenation visual aid. The tri fold was my idea - because I've seen people use tri fold posters in presentations (about other topics that had images or multiple charts.) and it just looked more organized. The poster would be a braille promoter visual aid and the cards as something a person would take home with them. These can be used as long as the braille suite logos remain. This too will be up in the comming future so look out for updates.

So those 2 additions are what I'm actually working on now as a new project. And before I go: I did check the java scripts on this site (a bunch of them sprinkled throughout the site.) to make sure these things were working properly. And I'm pleased to say all of the scripts are still in working order.
» Braille Suite Down for Repairs
It's not a huge website. So this should only take a couple of months to edit.

BUGS
The Nagivation Strips show the entire url when only the page should be cut short. ex:http://www.page.com/page.html should be page.html unless connected to a sub directory.

Not all pages are in bold.

Some code is disfigured or not showing prperly.

SITEMAP
Site Map got the first edits.

DOWNLOADS
Charts wont be available anymore. I say this because the font I use for my charts is copyrighted by someone else. My fear is that someone will take the charts and use it and claim it as their own property and even worse - sell the charts without my knowledge. Thus I decided to remove the charts. I'm now working on a text only chart in two formats: Word has the tables and .TXT no tables. The ONLY chart available for print or download is for the braille code quiz.

CHARTS ON DISPLAY
I'm redoing the image charts for the charts section. Files and images to this section will be encrypted. Charts will be in gif format so that if you use any other dark colored background, the font will still show.

JAVA FILES
Anything thats a java file will be tested.
Date, Time and Copyright were first to be tested. They will remain.

NEW LOOK
Front page will have a logo in braille right below the title of the site. The Nav Bar and Main Page will have the word braille contracted to BRL all in white font. Start pages for all catagories will have braille titles below their main page. The following pages will have this:
    Site Map
    Start Page
    Intro
    Charts
    Links
    Tools
    Poll
    Search the Site
I hope you all will be patient with me on this. As soon as I reopen the braille suite, you'll be alerted here and the notice sign will be taken down.
» Update for August 2007
No More Images
In the nav pane of all 4 websites you'll see two small images. One says Site Navigation and the other says Site Tools. Those were removed because of frame width not working with the images. Shrinking the images would make the text pixulate or break up. With the removal of the two images on the nav pane it is now blind friendly to move around on that section; regardless if the images had alt tags.

No Border Frame
Removed the border lines for all four websites. When you open blindvi or one of the other 3, you'll see a frame set. The frame set is divided by a line which I wanted to hide but couldn't. I found a way to remove that line and did so.

Frame Widths
These will vary on all four websites. Most noticed is on the braille suite.

More Edits
On the nav pane and main page of all four sites I put a bold tag at the top of page. This should make the white stand out better. And on all main pages I removed the sections and site tool tags. This should make the site a bit more appealing.

When I get more time I'll slowly put bold tags on all pages of blindvi, the braille suite, white cane project and access tech.

Due to the time limit and me moving into my new home in Pennsylvania this might be the only update for August 2007.
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