Blindskills, Inc. - Publisher of DIALOGUE Magazine
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Compiled in part by Jackie Ohime, LaPorte, Indiana
EDITOR'S NOTE: This column is provided as an informational service to readers. As with all purchases, readers are expected to investigate thoroughly before making transactions. Send items for possible inclusion in this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ABC's OF UEB is a free publication which explains the practical differences between English Braille, American Edition (EBAE) and Unified English Braille (UEB). The Braille Authority of North America (BANA) is distributing the book as part of its public education campaign following BANA's adoption of UEB which becomes the official code for American English Braille in 2016. Written by Constance Risjord, The ABC's OF UEB provides examples and practice exercises, designed to allow people who already know EBAE to quickly build on their knowledge of braille to understand UEB. The book may be downloaded in BRF, HTML, and PDF formats from the website at www.brailleauthority.org/ueb.html.
National Braille Press has released a book entitled GET THE PICTURE VIEWING THE WORLD WITH THE iPHONE CAMERA. Author Judith Dixon has tested and rated hundreds of apps to search for those most accessible to blind users. She describes apps that tell you if an image should be taken portrait or landscape, how far away you should be, what is visible in the background, issues with background clutter and lighting, how many faces are in the picture and whether all body parts are included. There is also information about other applications for the camera, such as reading a barcode at the grocery store, and recognition apps for identifying money, checks, clothing, and more. GET THE PICTURE! VIEWING THE WORLD WITH THE iPHONE CAMERA costs $15 and is available in braille, eBraille on CD or by download, DAISY on CD or by download, or Word file on CD or by download. To purchase, contact National Braille Press at 888-965-8965 or visit www.nbp.org.
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NLS offers the Magazine of the Month program as a form of newsstand browsing. Subscribers get a different audio magazine each month of the selection available. To receive Magazine of the Month, contact your Talking Book and braille library.
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Technology consultant Phil Brooks has developed the IRT-1, a hand-held "talking" infrared thermometer specifically for blind and low-vision users. Because it captures the temperature of the infrared energy being radiated by an object, the thermometer can read the temperature of hot oil in a pot or hot liquid in a cup without coming into direct contact. Brooks recently told an internet podcaster, "My motive for developing the IRT-1 came from a blind friend who was badly burned while teaching a newly blind student to cook. Had there been the means to easily determine the cooking oil temperature, the accident could most probably have been prevented."
The IRT-1's imaginative applications include speaking the indoor or outdoor temperature, the air temperature inside a refrigerator or freezer, or the temperature of soups and stews as they cook on the stove. A special scan mode causes a beep which increases in frequency as the sensor gets closer to an active heating unit. This "scan" mode can help a blind user determine whether or not a pan is centered on a burner without direct contact. The IRT-1 is not designed to read the internal temperature of meat while it roasts in the oven, nor is it designed for medical uses such as determining the presence or absence of a fever. An electronic product manual provides clear guidance on the thermometer's limitations, and a brief set of user instructions is spoken through the internal voice when the batteries are first inserted. To repeat the spoken instructions, simply remove and reinsert one of the two required AA batteries.
The IRT-1 speaks in English, Spanish and French, and offers its readouts in either Fahrenheit or Centigrade. It costs $119.95. Paypal and credit card orders are accepted at the developer's website, www.brooks-technology.com or phone 408-781-4577.
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The iGrill 2 and iGrill Mini are meat thermometers designed to interact with an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The iGrill Mini offers a single probe which sits inside the cut of meat as it cooks on the grill. The probe is permanently connected by cable to a small transmitter which can be magnetically attached to a cool outside edge of the grill or stove. The device has no "talking" mechanism of its own, but communicates with an iOS device which will speak the cooking temperature and other information using the built-in screen reader VoiceOver. The free iDevices software app for iGrill features presets for many different meat choices; choose the appropriate preset, and the app will sound an alert when the meat reaches the desired temperature. An app for Android devices is reported to be under development. The iGrill Mini with a single probe sells for $39.99. The iGrill 2 with two separate probes costs $99.99. One source for purchasing or finding further information about accessibility of these products is the website www.atguys.com.
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ACB Radio is a free source of information and music programs sponsored by the American Council of the Blind. Until recently, the programs could only be received by way of internet access. DIALOGUE reader Sue Tullos Duffy reports that the six separate streams of ACB Radio programming may now be heard through a US phone number, 231-460-1047. This is not a toll-free phone number, so extended use would be expensive without unlimited long distance service. Information about program schedules in accessible formats is available through the ACB national office, whose toll-free number is 800-424-8666.
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CVS Pharmacy has the ScriptTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its website www.CVS.com. ScriptTalk labels are free to CVS.com blind and visually impaired customers. To arrange talking labels for an online mail order, telephone 888-861-4363. A free ScriptTalk reader may be obtained from Envision America. For further information, telephone 800-890-1180.
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The MonoMouse is a device that allows blind and visually impaired individuals to read printed materials using a regular television. Plug the MonoMouse into your television, switch it on, and begin reading text as a large, sharp image on your screen. Magnification is 14-power on a 20-inch TV. MonoMouse costs $149. To purchase the MonoMouse, contact Bierley Electronics at 800-985-0535 or visit their website at www.bierley.com.
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Hadley School for the Blind has a new module called HOW TO MAKE MONEY AS A WRITER. This module gives information on how to make money writing professionally. It introduces the variety of ways people write professionally and the personal qualities that are important for successful writers. To find out more, contact Hadley Student Services at 800-526-9909 or visit the Hadley website at www.hadley.edu.
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Microsoft and GW Micro have partnered to offer Window-Eyes free to blind and visually impaired customers who have a licensed version of Microsoft Office 2010 or later. To download your free copy or for more information, visit www.windoweyesforoffice.com.
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The Guide Dog Foundation offers its guide dog training in a 12-day program. The new curriculum will provide a two-to-one student/instructor ratio and will focus on incorporating a variety of customized training formats to meet the lifestyles and needs of students. For more information, contact the Guide Dog Foundation at 800-548-4337 or visit their website at www.guidedog.org.
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