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 email@example.com.
National Braille Press offers a new publication entitled OUT AND ABOUT: OUR FAVORITE TRAVEL APPS. The book includes two dozen “tried-and-true travel apps” that are, in one way or another, related to moving around–from moving about town to moving around the world. There are even apps for the armchair traveler. With these apps, the publisher’s description suggests that “even the most timid traveler can grab an iPhone and head out with confidence.” Every app described in this book has been tested with all iPhone models beginning with the 4s and the iOS 8 operating system. Only those apps deemed usable and accessible are included.
OUT AND ABOUT: OUR FAVORITE IOS TRAVEL APPS costs $9 and is available in Braille, DAISY CD, DAISY download, eBraille (CD), eBraille (download), Word File (download), and Word File (CD). To purchase this book, contact National Braille Press at 888-965-8965 or visit www.nbp.org.
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Choice Magazine Listening (CML) is a recorded quarterly anthology available free to US residents who are blind or visually impaired, or who are otherwise unable to read standard print. CML editors select unabridged articles from more than a hundred magazines and literary journals, and their product is professionally recorded for distribution on digital Talking Book cartridges. Eligible readers can download the latest issue or older issues back to 2006 through the CML website, choicemagazinelistening.org. For sign-up information or download instructions, call toll-free 888-724-6423.
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The JOURNAL OF VISUAL IMPAIRMENT & BLINDNESS (JVIB) has resumed publication in print. A one-year individual print subscription costs $129. It includes six print editions yearly, sent by mail, as well as online access to JVIB. To subscribe, visit www.jvib.org.
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The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) offers a series entitled A YEAR OF HEALTH PLANNERS. These multicultural planners offer information to help maintain health and manage conditions of the bones, joints, muscles, and skin. Patients should use the planners to write down the medicines and supplements they take each day, record any new symptoms they have, bring the planner with their written questions when they visit health care providers, and use the included stickers as reminders. Planners in the series include: African American Health Planner; American Indian / Alaska Native / Native Hawaiian Health Planner; Asian American / Pacific Islander Health Planner; and the Hispanic / Latino Health Planner (bilingual). For more information, contact NIAMS at 877-226-4267. The planners may also be downloaded from http://niams.nih.gov//multicultural/planners.asp.
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Products and Services
Blind Alive is a new company that provides workouts specifically designed for people who are blind. All exercises are described with the intention that blind participants will be able to follow them. Titles include Boot Camp Workout, Sculpting with Weights Level One, Sculpting with Weights Level Two, Cardio Level One , and Cardio Level Two. The workouts are available as a digital download from Blind Alive, and some workouts are available on CD from Amazon. For more information, leave a message for a return call at 570-212-9979 or visit www.blindalive.com.
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General Electric is selling a kit of braille overlays as an accessory to its new Artistry Electric Range. Working with students of the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB), company engineers and designers developed the overlays to make the range’s oven and cooktop controls accessible to blind customers. Many of today’s ranges have smooth push buttons which make nonvisual operation difficult or impossible. According to a company product release, “the ADA-compliant Artistry range offers front-control knobs that are within reach and a straightforward design that lends itself to a braille accessory kit.” On the advice of the KSB student-consultants, the cooktop was given a “low,” “high,” and “off” heat setting, and the oven was configured with settings marked “low,” “350 degrees,” and “broil.”
The estimated retail cost of the Artistry range is $599. The braille kit costs $15.75 and comes in black (braille kit number 4-A034) and white (braille kit number 4-A024) to match the range. To locate a dealer, visit geappliances.com or call the GE Answer Center at 800-626-2000.
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Visus Labels, Inc., is marketing a system of adhesive labels with tactile patterns intended for identifying food containers, medicines and other household items. The Visus Touch Classification Kit is intended for people who are not able to use braille. Each kit contains 90 tactile labels and a set of instructions for classifying and marking common types of household items. A kit containing paper labels sells for $34.95, while a heavier plastic option costs $39.95. For more information, telephone toll-free at 800-310-4517 or visit their website visuslabels.com.
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Hadley School for the Blind has a new six-lesson course called TRANSITIONING TO UNIFIED ENGLISH BRAILLE. This course provides a structured approach to learning the differences between EBAE (English Braille American Edition) and UEB. To enroll in this course (currently very popular since 2016 marks the beginning of UEB braille production in the US), contact Hadley Student Services at 800-526-9909 or visit the Hadley website, www.hadley.edu.
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National Braille Press offers new braille bracelets and pendants, including a silver or gold-plated cuff braille bracelet with the inscription “Never Give Up,” a silver or gold-plated cuff braille bracelet with the single word “Love,” a gold or silver-plated pendant with the inscription, “The Key is to Believe,” and more. To purchase, contact National Braille Press at 888-965-8965 or visit their website www.nbp.org.
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The cable and internet provider Xfinity offers “voice guidance” and video description to some customers. The voice guidance on the X1 Entertainment Operating System announces on-screen text and options as the user navigates with the remote control. Voice guidance support is available for the Main Menu, Guide, Saved, On Demand and Settings pages of the X1 set-top box. Video description is also available on select programs as they air live. Currently, Xfinity On Demand and the Xfinity TV Go web and mobile platforms do not offer content with video description. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.comcast.com/accessibility.
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American Printing House for the Blind (APH) offers Tactile Clothing Tape enabling braille readers to keep colors and other information about clothing and linens just where they need it. The brailled information remains after going through automatic washers and dryers and even holds up under an iron, as long as a layer of fabric is kept between the iron and the label. The tape allows users to include as many personalized abbreviations as they wish. Create labels with names, laundry instructions, matching information, etc. Each package contains two 1/2-inch roles of tape, two packs of sturdy quilting safety pins and instructions in both braille and print. The cost is $59. Contact APH at 800-223-1839, or visit the APH website at www.aph.org.
APH has launched a Products Showcase Shopping Site, featuring 40 of its most popular consumer products. Examples include the Book Port DT Talking Book player/recorder with its large speaker, the VisioBook electronic magnifier, and the Color Test II talking color identifier. The new website offers an uncluttered approach to product presentations and has new shopping features intended for ease of use. To check out this new website, visit http://showcase.aph.org.
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The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) provides free money identifiers to blind and visually impaired individuals. Applicants no longer need to be NLS patrons to apply. For an application, call 844-815-9388 or visit the following websites: www.moneyfactory.gov/uscurrencyreaderform.html orwww.loc.gov/nls/other/currencyreader/index.html
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ABiSee, Inc., and Freedom Scientific have announced a merger of the two companies as of April, 2015. ABiSee products will eventually be marketed, sold and supported through Freedom Scientific’s marketing and dealer network. It was not immediately clear whether, or for how long, ABiSee would continue to have an independent sales and support presence. Customers who have difficulty contacting ABiSee may want to take ABiSee sales or support questions to alternate contacts at Freedom Scientific.
ABiSee, Inc., has released the newest version of the Eye-Pal Ace Plus. The Eye-Pal Ace Plus is a WiFi enabled stand-alone portable scanner and reader, allowing users to send and receive emails, download books from Bookshare.org, and, with the new release, download news publications from NFB Newsline. Text being scanned or downloaded is read aloud by the device and displayed in magnified font on the built-in 10-inch screen. Eye-Pal Ace Plus is also compatible with some USB-connected refreshable braille displays, giving readers access to print material in braille. The compatible refreshable braille displays are Freedom Scientific Focus 14 and 40, ALVA BC640, APH Refreshabraille, HIMS Braille Edge, Baum SuperVario, HumanWare Brailliant 40 and HumanWare Brailliant BI 40. At the present time, it is not compatible with Bluetooth. To learn more, call 855-354-4080 or send an email to email@example.com.
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Freedom Scientific offers the TOPAZ PHD, a portable version of its TOPAZ desktop video magnifier, available in 12-inch or 15-inch models. With its wide magnification range, configurable screen color modes, and adjustable reference lines and masks, the new TOPAZ PHD aims to provide portable comfort and productivity with less bulk than stationary desktop magnifiers.
Both models include a Freeze Frame to hold an image on-screen and a Find function to quickly zoom out to an overview, locate the next area of interest, and zoom back in to the magnification setting previously in use. The TOPAZ PHD also offers an SD card slot to save images and a USB port to connect to a PC and work with documents and applications using GEM software. For more information contact Freedom Scientific at 800-444-4443 or visit their website at www.freedomscientific.com.
HumanWare is introducing a new version of its standalone GPS solution, the Trekker Breeze. While retaining the controls and command structure of the original Breeze, the Trekker Breeze Plus offers much quicker acquisition of GPS satellites and more signal stability in so-called urban canyons, where tall buildings can create echo effects that produce inaccurate or confusing GPS location information. The Breeze Plus also offers improved battery performance and more flexibility in large open areas, such as university campuses where street maps are not available.
The new Trekker Breeze Plus costs $799. Owners of the original Trekker Breeze may contact their HumanWare dealer to arrange for a full upgrade costing $199. For more information, visit humanware.com/breeze, or telephone HumanWare toll-free at 800-722-3393.