Table of Contents
Stuff you should have
Do you have a Durable Power of Attourney over your loved ones
A durable power of attourney is a document that allows you to take care of important things for one of your loved ones if they are not able to. For example, Lets say your Mother falls ill and is unable to communicate or tend to her bills or other important matters. This document allows you to speak for her and take control of her assets like her bank account and so on. This document can be prepared yourself, but it is very easy for a notary to do so for you and notorize it at the same time.
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.
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.
Get Windows Eyes Screen reader for free if you have office 2010 or higher
What we do
Our main goal is to find an inexpensive or otherwise free way for blind and other disabled individuals to get access to computers and software. We feature screen readers and email programs along with word processing and web surfing so that people with disabilities will have a way to look for and apply for jobs. Currently we are using NVDA for a free screen reader and Mozilla Firebird as an acccessible web mail client. OCR software is being investigated for paper document and mail reading. If you are new to computers and need keyboarding skills or need to learn how to type, we have access to a limited number of copies of a talking typer program for the blind that is completely accessible and is great for new users.
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.
Next, I will be talking about my programming experience and how I have been working with Visual Dbase for the past month and my findings on accessibility and how it lends itself to a blind programmer.
It is pretty much accessible but there are some workarounds and concerns. Both nvda and jaws have their own issues but they can be gotten past.
Also, any other topics or issues anyone is having, please feel free to bring them and we can work them out.
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.
Do you have an I D Mate Quest or Summit and would like to know how to create a custom database?
I have an I D mate Quest and have 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. I would be willing to investigate this further if someone has a need and wants to try it.
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.
Does anyone have a flatbed scanner that they are not using?
In setting up and repurposing my pc's, I am going to be in need of some flatbed scanners. If you have one that you would like to donate to my cause, please contact me. 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. Any and all would be appreciated, as we can donate them back out to a good home. 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
- Pittsburgh Friendship Group
- 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.