Topics of Interest
Getting back to EyesFree Pittsburgh
Are you interested in attending meetings and gatherings?
Now that things have settled down since my Mother's passing just short of two years, I am considering starting the gatherings up again. We need to come up with a good location that is accessible for everyone as BVRS is no longer going to be an option. I have spoken to the very nice people at Falce's Restaurant up on Main Street in Munhall and they have a back room for meetings. We are not required to purchase anything for the use of the room. I am going to schedule a meeting date in the next few weeks to get things organized and see what people think about this location. If anyone has any ideas please share them.
Attention JAWS 2018 users
If you are installing JAWS 2018 and are using Windows 7 please make sure all your updates are installed. If your system is not up to date you may encounter and error during installation that it cannot install vcredist files,. I learned this first hand in helping someone. Also, after contacting Freedom, the great tech explained to me the file has nothing to do with video (which is what i thought). It is the Microsoft Visual C Redistributable runtimes. It has nothing to do with the jaws installation, but has to do with Windows being up to date.
Also, if you get an error towards the end of the install that it cannot install the mirror display video driver, here is something you can try. Download the latest version of Magic from Freedom's website and install it. You dont have to install it completely. When it comes up and says welcome to the magic install, you can just cancel out of it. This scenario worked for someone that I know and there system is fine now.
My d j services
As some of you have known for the past year when my Mother was still with us I have learned to dj with two computers instead of two turntables. Well, as it turns out I have also learned to do it with my two professional turntables. I realized I can label the records with pen friend dot by playing them to see what they are. In learning this I also have purchased a professional p a system that packs a whopping 4000 watts. I got them through Guitar Center, which are excellent to deal with. Ok, now for the good part. I told my Mother before she passed away I was going to do this and donate some of the proceeds to the Family Hospice that took care of her. So, if anyone needs a dj for any sort of occasion, I would be willing to test my skills out for a very, very nominal donation to the Family Hospice, along with travel arrangements to get to and from your location.
Do you have an I D Mate Quest or Summit and find that some products are not in it?
If anyone finds any products that are not in the Envision America database please feel free to email me the barcode and I will research it and let you know the product and add it to my database.Barcode page
This page will list in barcode order products that I either have added myself or are not in the quest database. Please feel free to peruse the list. Also, remember, you can do a find and search for any barcode you are looking for.Visit the barcode product page
Ihave learned how to create a custom database that can be loaded onto the Quest. It allows for adding products that are not in the database shipped from Envision America. It is fairly simple to create one. If anyone is interested or if there is an interest in creating a database that people can download and use on their own device, please let me know. I am finding a lot of private label stuff, like Giant Eagle and Save-A-Lot or Dollar General are not all in their. We could figure a way to create a local database that can be updated and shared within the blind community. Also, it has the capability to create custom barcodes so that you could enter and label any of your own items. .
Cooking Podcasts and other entertainment
Cooking in the dark podcast
This podcast is from a blindness perspective. It offers recipes and as Dale Campbel and his other friends cook a different dish every episode they do it blind. He also adds some jokes and other stuff to make the program very lively. Note that it does not always run every week. If you have a Miss A device you can get it there by saying Miss A play podcast cooking in the dark and she will play the latest episode.
Cooking with Marilyn Harris
This show is a three hour talk show featuring Marilyn Harris as the host. It is from radio station 55 WKRC in Ohio. It airs every saturday from 1 pm to 4 pm. The archived podcast can be heard on Miss A as well. Just ask for podcast cooking with Marilyn Harris and she will play the latest episode. Note that she is not on some weeks as it is pre-empted with sports broadcast and other stuff.
Mushroom is a radio station that can be streamed from your iphone or Miss A device. Just ask Miss A to play Mushroom FM or you can find it on the SERO app for idevices.
SERO app for idevices
This app has lots of content and a good bit is geared towards the blind or low vision person. There are podcasts, radio broadcasts and even some described tv content. It can be a great friend to listen to for gaining knowledge on whats up in the access technology world, or just listenting to stuff for pure fun and enjoyment.
How about a way to read your paper mail and important documents?
You should have a way in place to access and read your paper mail and documents if you are not able to independently already. I found the k n f b reader for my i phone invaluable when i lost my Mother and noone was available to read mail or important papers. It is not one hundred percent accurate but does a darn good job of reading papers so you have a really good idea of what they are.
Also, Text Cloner Pro is an inexpensive program priced at $99 and will you to use a scanner and it will scan and convert your paper documents into readable and editable text on a Windows platform. I have tested a demo of it and it is completely accessible with screen readers. If anyone is interested and getting started or doing this, I would be willing to help you out. If you use JAWS or NVDA as your screen reader I can connect to your computer and get you setup.
Important phone numbers in an accessible form.
You should have any important phone numbers in an accessible form. For example, how about the number for all the utility companies that service your residence. I use Microsoft Excel and keep them in a spreadsheet for easy access with my computer and screen reader.
Access to a computer with a screen reader and internet.
You should have access to a computer with internet access. you will find good computer skills and access to the internet invaluable for paying bills online and getting access to needed information. You can also pay your bills over the telephone through automated systems, but the computer allows you to have the capability for storing and gaining access to all of your account information. I have put all of my major utilities on auto pay through my bank account, allowing me to not have to worry about writing and mailing checks. I also signed them all up for email bills to eliminate extra and unneeded paper bills coming into my home.
Leaving this in memory of my Mom and the great parties we have had
December 10th meetting - Our annual Holiday party and luncheon and a clothing drive for the homeless.
At this meeting we are goin gto have our annual holiday party
We will be enjoying lots of food and treats.
The menu will include my Bback by popular demand garlic parmesean chicken legs along with barbecue ones and my world famous pasta salad. There will be deserts and side dishes as well. This year there will be some extra surprises, so please plan to attend. Also, if anyone is interested in donating any clothing, I will be making a trip to the Jubalee Soup Kitchen with all the donations. If you can come, please let me or Tracey know that you plan to attend so I can plan enough food for everyone.
. If you cant decide or rsvp, dont worry we always have extras, so come at any event.
I currently have a computer loaded with windows 10. I have not had a lot of time to put towards it, but I will be looking at it in the coming weeks. Once the access technology software gets up to speed with it, maybe I will bring it into one of our meetings for a closer look. Please let me know if anyone is interested.
We now have an email list service in place
There is now an email list service in place for use to post and share any thoughts or comments or just let everyone in the group know what you are up to. To subscribe to the list, click on the link below.Subscribe to the list page.
Training and individual support
In moving my project forward, in addition to repurposing and donating out computers, I am willing to offer some training and support as needed by people in various levels and needs in the access technology world. For instance, if you need help setting up or installing software on your computer, or assistance in getting a screen reader installed, I would be willing to help you. Just let me know.
Teleconferencing for the EyesFree meetings
There is now the capability to teleconference into our weekly meetings. If you are unable to attend in person, now you can attend via telephone. At our last meeting it was tested and works very cool. All you have to do is dial in and enter the conference number and you are automatically connected. Now you can participate even if you can't physically get here. Please let me know if you are interested in trying this out.
Is anyone interested in being able to have access to a resource center?
I would be willing to set up a resource center for anyone interested in using it. It would consist of several computer workstations with a screen reader and scanner to read mail and so on. These could be used for training purposes by anyone in need of help. If anyone has any thoughts on the idea, please let me know. As usual, I am just spitballing and coming up with some ideas. I think it would be a nice idea to have it at bvrs and allow the students to have access to it as well.
I am currently accepting older and unwanted computer equipment and repurposing them for use by a blind person so they can have computer access. If you have anything you would like to donate or if you are in need of a computer, please feel free to contact me to discuss your particular situation and needs.
If you have a flatbed scanner that you would like to donate that would be great. Canon scanners are a good brand since they seem to keep up on their software updates. HP, unfortunately seems to not update a lot of their software to work with the older ones. Also, if you have an old all in one printer that is not printing, the scanner part may still work perfectly well. So, instead of just tossing it out, please think about donating it to us. please contact me.
Member, Guest, and Supporter Contributions and Articles
Tech Tidbits of the Week
This column will give you some tech stuff on what I came up against in the recent weeks when configuring computers and software. Here you will find helpful hints that you may want to watch out for. Visit Tech Tidbits
This column will feature tips and suggestions from Tracey, one of our web designers. She is well informed in access technology along with many other topics that can lend us a helping hand.Visit Traceys's Treats
This column will feature recepies from one of our members, Ellen.recepie table of contents
Software and other tools for the blind
Here you'll find links to downloads of free software that may be useful as you begin using your computer.
- Download Microsoft Security Essentials This is a free antivirus program from Microsoft.
- Download NVDA screen reader. After installing NVDA, the User Guide is available under the Help menu. The software is written by NV Access, and they provide links to a number of guides on NVDA community website. And while it's free, you might want to make a donation.
- IBM Lotus Symphony
Links to Other Sites
- Place Marker
- NVDA Infromation page with lots of audio tutorials
- Access Technology available at Allegheny County Libraries
This site offers a lot of information on NVDA as well as a large collection of audio tutorials that you can listen to and/or download. If you want to download them, go to the end of the list and there will be an option to download them all in one zip file. I have not listened to them yet but I am going to start and see how they are. Let me know if you have any feedback on them.