Braille Monitor                                      October 2016

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News from the Federation Family

Voter Information Available on NFB-NEWSLINE:
The best tool for voters is information! In an effort to help our subscribers become more informed voters, NFB-NEWSLINE has added candidate information for the upcoming presidential elections.

Just in time for the November 8 election, you can log into NFB-NEWSLINE and get up-to-the-minute information about the leading candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election.

To hear about the candidates using the telephone-access method, press five on the main menu for “Newspapers in a Different State,” then five for 2016 “Presidential Election.” From there you can choose “Breaking News,” “Daily Newspaper,” “International,” or “Magazine” search results for Clinton or Trump. You will be able to read articles from today’s and yesterday’s publications.

To read about candidates for the 2016 Presidential Election using NFB-NEWSLINE Mobile, choose “Publications,” then “Publication Options,” then “All Publications” and look for “Breaking News Search Results” or “Daily Newspaper Search Results” or “International Search Results” or “Magazine Search Results” for Clinton and Trump to read the most current information available.

In order to obtain this information, we have performed a Global Search for the candidates under “Breaking News” or “Daily Newspaper” or “International” or “Magazines” and created the articles listed in this new section called “2016 Presidential Election.” To obtain further information, you can use the Global Search function to search under additional topics.

Additional election information will be added as it becomes available. Don't forget to get out and vote!

A Report from the PEAT Committee:
The Promotion, Evaluation, and Advancement of Technology Committee met June 30, 2016, and gave most of the technology exhibitors a chance to talk about what was in their booths when the exhibits opened on Friday. There was lots of emphasis on Braille this year, and much interest was stirred by the new video remote assistive services soon to be available. A good crowd was on hand to hear our speakers, and at the end of the program Clara Van Gerven explained how the committee could help the Jernigan Institute. She would like to know what barriers are affecting our lives the most, and we discussed one on which the institute needs immediate input: inaccessible home appliances. For those wishing to give me information on either of these points, I'll be glad to hear it. The best way to reach me is at (601) 529-8629 or email me at Mark Jones <>.

The program began with OrCam, which has new and better software for its camera-equipped glasses which allows reading and face recognition. Then Bookshare asked the question "Why can't books be born accessible?" Ai Squared mentioned its merger with a parent company that now also owns Freedom Scientific and Optelec.

Anne Taylor, now with Microsoft, talked about significant progress with Microsoft's screenreader, Narrator. Darrel Templeton of MegaVoice talked about the first solar-powered audio recorder-player called the Envoy EZ that's smaller than a cell phone, has lots of onboard memory, and costs just $60. Dolphin, which has been doing screenreading for thirty years, has its new Bookshelf, which allows access to several content providers such as Bookshare, NFB NEWSLINE, and NLS BARD directly from its Super Nova product that will transfer information to a Windows computer or Victor Stream with just two keystrokes. Mike Tindell of HumanWare talked about their new BrailleNote Touch, the first Google-certified Braille tablet. Amanda Tolson of En-Vision told us about the new i.d. mate Galaxy with more grocery product descriptions than ever before and their ScriptTalk that has a new and better scanner.

Our program continued with Aira speaking about their video remote assistance solutions, allowing a person wearing the company’s glasses containing a built-in camera to receive real-time help from a live human on the other end of a mobile connection. The VTSECURE folks also have a new product called the Lantern, which detects objects from as far away as 200 feet and contains a haptic compass. When worn on the wrist, the device can greatly enhance cane travel. NCR and Cardtronics talked about their accessible ATM touchscreen solutions. Then the American Printing House for the Blind discussed its new scientific calculator with accessible scientific and math options and discussed the new Nearby Explorer Android mapping application that works with a GPS device for finding your way to anywhere. Additionally, the APH folks talked about the new 20-cell Braille display that will sell for $500 or less when released in October. It's called the Orbit Reader.

Stephen Baum of Kurzweil was next on the program and mentioned his twenty-two-year career at Kurzweil working with the Kurzweil 1000. He's looking for input from users for the new Version 15 that he’s currently working on.

Then Ron Miller with the VFO Group, formerly Freedom Scientific, spoke about the new ElBraille that's being released soon, which is a Windows 10 computer with a small Braille display. Lloyd Rasmussen told us that NLS is working on Braille output for BARD Mobile for Android. A T Guys talked about many new products including a switch-connected plug that would enable Siri to turn on and off different devices in your home from afar.

Clara Van Gerven closed the presentation portion of the program with news about the new comprehensive Technology Resource List now being made available in an updateable form by the NFB’s International Braille and Technology Center.

I'd like to remind everyone who plans to be in Orlando next year that this meeting is open to all and is a great way to find out what's going to be in the exhibit hall before the exhibits open.

We also took questions this year from the audience. You don't have to be on the committee to attend, and this is a wonderful way to get answers to your most pressing technology questions.

In Brief

Notices and information in this section may be of interest to Monitor readers. We are not responsible for the accuracy of the information; we have edited only for space and clarity.

Adult Rehabilitation and Employment Survey:
We are looking for you! If you are blind or visually impaired, reside in the United States, and are at least eighteen years of age, we cordially invite you to participate in this survey. Its purpose is to gain a better understanding of your experiences as an adult who is blind or visually impaired, including your experiences with education, employment, training, and vocational rehabilitation.

This survey should not take more than ten minutes of your time. If you complete this survey, you will be entered into a drawing in which five individuals will win a $100 VISA gift card.

We offer you three ways to complete the survey: Go to <>, email <>, or call (318) 257-2029.

Thank you for taking the time to better help us understand the lived experiences of adults with visual impairments. Questions or concerns about this survey may be directed to Edward Bell, principal investigator, Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, by calling (318) 257-4554 or by sending him an email at <>.

The 2017 Ski for Light International Week:
The forty-second annual Ski for Light International Week will be held from Sunday, February 5, through Sunday, February 12, 2017. The event will take place on the grounds of Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado, near Winter Park. Snow Mountain Ranch is a 5,100 acre year-round recreational complex that includes a 100-kilometer cross-country trail system consistently rated as one of the top ten Nordic venues in the country. This year we will be housed right on the grounds of Snow Mountain Ranch, so participants will be able to access the trail system just a short distance from their front door. Also on the property are a lighted tubing hill, a covered outdoor ice skating rink, fat bike, snow shoe and hiking trails, an indoor pool and sauna, a roller skating rink, an indoor climbing wall, a craft center, a horse stable, and much more.

Cost for the week-long event this year will be a choice of $690 or $775 per person for double room occupancy. Other options will range from $550 for a four-person room to $1,125 for a single room. The room rate you choose will also cover all meals, as well as transportation to and from the Denver airport to the ski site and trail passes. Partial financial stipends based on need for first- and second-time participants will be considered upon request.

Applications are requested by November 1. Applications received after this date will be considered on a space available basis. Full details about the event and the accessible online application, which can be completed on the Ski for Light website, can be found at <>.

If you are a novice and want to learn how to cross-country ski, or if you have skied before and just want to be matched with an experienced guide and meet new friends for a wonderful week of fun in the snow, this is the event for you!

Individuals interested in attending can also contact visually impaired participant application coordinator, Tim McCorcle, at (206) 522-5850 or <>.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children Offers Free Books:
Seedlings Braille Books for Children invites Braille readers and pre-readers from ages zero to twenty-one in the United States and Canada to register to receive two free Braille books per year. This amazing program called the Book Angel Program was originally called "Anna's Book Angel Project" and was named in memory of our director's 19-year-old daughter who was tragically killed by a drunk driver in 2001. Each year, blind children who were registered received one free book in Anna's name, but now we’re doing even more.

Thanks to Seedlings' generous donors, blind children in the US and Canada can receive two free Braille books per year! Seedlings offers 1,300 titles, from contemporary literature to well-loved classics and continues to add new titles each year so that visually impaired children have the opportunity to read the same books their sighted peers are reading.

The Book Angel Program is a wonderful way to introduce a visually impaired child to the marvel of Braille literacy. Here’s a testimonial from a parent who ordered her first Braille books for her son from the Book Angel Program: “Alex has always been a curious boy and loves to read anything he gets his hands on. He received his first Braille book from Seedling’s Book Angel Program when he was a baby, and the print/Braille format allowed me to read to him while he could touch the Braille just as a sighted child would look at the words as he listens to bedtime stories. Thank you!”

To order free books for your child or student, fill out the form located on the Seedlings website: <>.

Note: This is a continuing program, but registration is required each year to participate since book choices must be communicated to Seedlings.

Computers for the Blind Lowers Price on Laptops:
In an effort to make accessible laptops more affordable to students and others, Computers for the Blind is dropping the price from $160 to $130. These laptops come loaded with powerful software that will enhance the education, employability, independence, and quality of life of those who can least afford them.

No age or income requirements. We also honor this price for organizations. Join the 9,000 consumers who have benefited from our computers.

Talking Typing Teacher is still available on CFTB computers for $10 (90 percent of retail) through Marvelsoft. 

For more information visit <> or email <>.

Resource Handbooks Available:
I have created seventeen screen-reader-friendly resource handbooks containing resources pertaining to the blind and visually impaired for use by consumers and professionals. This handbook is for the residents of specific states and includes the many organizations for the blind and visually impaired covering areas such as employment, housing, transportation, and more. Currently the handbooks are for Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

The handbooks include contact information on the local, regional, and national level. For more information on pricing and formats, please contact Insightful Publications by email at <>, by phone at (808) 747-1006, or by visiting <> for more information on pricing, formats, availability, and state resource handbook order form.

Braille Candy Calendar Available:
We are very excited to announce the arrival of a beautiful Braille Christmas Advent Calendar. This unique and special calendar is produced in Germany by Kampmann International and has been distributed throughout Europe for the past five years. Each of the twenty-four windows, representing the twenty-four days in December leading up to Christmas, is embossed in Braille, and behind each window is a piece of premium European milk chocolate—not only wonderful for someone who is blind, but also wonderful as a learning tool for anyone and at any age. There is a limited quantity available and will only be sold through November 10, 2016.

The calendar is $14.95 with free shipping, and calendars are mailed the same day as the order is received. To order please use the following link to Alex’s Pantry: <>.

If you have questions or wish to discuss a large quantity order, please contact the exclusive importer, JSI Importers and Distributors, at (800) 422-2595, Extension 1 and ask for Nancy!

NFB Pledge

I pledge to participate actively in the efforts of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.

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