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The Blind Canadians Blog

Why Do We Read & Write Blog Posts?

People write blogs as a way to express themselves and their knowledge or expertise. People read blogs as a source of information or because they find the writer interesting.

Blogs are extremely useful, both to the writer and the reader. The writer may have a lot of knowledge to share, and the reader may want an informal way to learn about a topic. Some people use blogs to find other people with similar problems, issues or situations

Blogging is an excellent way to keep your writing skills sharp.  It’s also a great way to interact with people by posting on forums, discussion lists, networks & other larger social media sites, such as twitter & facebook, to educate, advocate & learn.

It’s a great way to find out new and informative information

Jaws 14

I am pleased to report the release of Jaws 14 has finally hit the market.

On October 22, 2012 jaws 14 was released, beating Microsoft's Windows 8 release scheduled on October 26, 2012.

As I stated in an earlier blog the release of Jaws 14 is supposed to include support for Windows 8 and the support for the new SAPI speech synthesizer, known as Vocalizer.

The nice thing about this software synth is that it gives fantastic response when typing text into a word processor.  One important question which comes to mind is - will this synthesizer replace the default Eloquence synthesizer which comes standard with Jaws?

Update on Windows 8

As promised I told you that I would report on my findings of Windows 8.

As you all know Windows 8 was released on October 26, 2012.  I have personally  picked up a couple of copies of Windows 8 Pro Edition.

At the cost of $69.99 who could go wrong with that price.  Microsoft states that the price will not increase until January 31 2013.

How to Write a Successful Blog

You should be aware that there is no "standard" blog approach. There are no hard and fast rules on how to blog.

The top advice for writing a blog is:

The Expanded Core Curriculum

In a previous blog post, it was noted that parents often become the very first advocates for their children with visual impairments. That post provided several useful resources, but this discussion will focus on another important theme: the expanded core curriculum. What is it and why does it matter?

While not an exhaustive overview, this discussion notes some of the specialized services that may be available to a child with a visual impairment in a regular, mainstream school.

Google Now Great for providing access to your surroundings

Google released a new feature called "Google Now" in their latest version of the Android OS called Jelly Bean.    

Happy Blog-Oween !

HAPPY BLOG-OWEEN !

October is my second favorite month of the year. One of the best things about the fall month is doing traditional Halloween activities, like going out to a pumpkin patch and picking out the perfect pumpkin. I love sipping a pumpkin tea, or one with cinnamon and spice, drink that have that cozy taste of fall ! Another terrific thing about the month of October is the fact that it’s not to hot, but not to cold, just the perfect weather to throw on a warm cozy sweater and curl up on the sofa !

To try and make this a bit of an interactive blog, I’m going to share a few questions and my answers , and I’d love to hear yours

1) What is your favorite Halloween Movie?  Mine is Charlie Brown’s Pumpkin Patch

Talk to the President October 2012

Dear fellow AEBC members:
Ah yes!  October is soon going to be a memory and here comes November.  Christmas and our holiday season are just around the corner and I can already hear Santa's reindeers arguing with each other as to who is going to sit in the front seat with Santa when he sets out from the North Pole in less than two months from now.
 
As always, I'd like to thank those of you who took the time to stop by to share your feedback and comments with me so here we go.   
 
My quote for this month is as follows:
 
The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
Pierre de Courbertin
_________________________
 

Hallowe'en as a "blind man": The legal perils of carrying a white cane

Yesterday, the AEBC released a press release in protest of the selling of “blind person” Hallowe’en costumes. I agree that the sale of such costumes is wholly inappropriate or at the very least insensitive. Media portrayals of blindness are often, at a minimum, misguided. The public’s conception of what it means to be blind, and what people who are blind or who have low vision can do, is typically a far cry from reality. Dressing up and acting as a blind person can only further these misconceptions.

Blogging & Sharing

A blog is a valuable asset to our organization. It gives us the opportunity to establish ourselves, it gives us a platform to network with your peers, fellow organizations, and general public and allows allows us to generate buzz in social media.

You ask, what is social media? In short, social media can be defined as interactive platforms via which individuals and communities create and share user-generated content. 

If we can get comments on our blogs, we’ll increase our status as an organization.  The more comments we have, the more clout we appear to have, because people are interested enough in what we are and have to say as an organization, so much that people will take the time to comment  on interesting topics.

Soon to be released: Windows 8

It has finally come!  The anxiously-awaited, new-to-be-released Windows 8.  Microsoft promises this to be the best release of Windows ever, filled with lots of features, and boasts that this new soon-to-be-released version of Windows will be even more stable than it's predecessor, Windows 7. 

Isn't it funny how we are all now used to Windows 7 and how we have become accustomed to how it operates alongside the commercial and free screen readers out on the market to date, while companies like Freedom Scientific and GW Micro have been frantically working so hard in the last several months to ensure that their screen readers are compatible with the soon-to-be-released operating system from the Big Giant?

TC Electronic (music software)

In today's blog I wanted to tell you about a seminar I attended this week on a company that designs products for guitar, bass, and audio enthusiasts.  The company which hosted the seminar was TC Electronic

In this seminar they presented a whole range of guitar peddles which produce and change the way the guitar sounds.  As some of you may know an electric guitar isn't an electric guitar if it doesn't have a series of effects to give it an enhanced tone in colour.  The gentleman giving the talk was very thorough in informing his audience of what each peddle did, and demonstrated how one could change and vary each peddles effect. 

Advocacy- We cannot sleep, Let Our Voices be heard !

In this blog, I'd just like to take a moment to speak regarding a quote that i find quite inspiring. I hope that the following quote, will also inspire you. After the quote you will see my follow up comments!

One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change."

- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the Issue of Bullying and Students with Visual Impairments

The issue of bullying is one we have all heard about in recent years. In fact, it seems as though bullying in schools is becoming an ever-increasing problem, with the media regularly telling us stories of students who were tormented so frequently by their peers that they felt that there was nowhere left to turn.

Some may argue that the sheer number of bullying-related stories is not due to the increase in bullying, but instead, a consequence of better methods we now have today to share and distribute breaking news - almost instantly - through the media and online.

A Toolkit for Success: Children with Visual Impairments in the Inclusive Classroom

Parents of children with visual impairments often become the very first advocates of their child. With very little guidance and with no road map to steer them, these parents navigate with perseverance through what can sometimes feel like a very confusing system. Questions abound: Will my child be left behind? What resources are available, and how do I know which are appropriate for my child?

Though it can seem daunting at first - fear not - a number of resources and supports to foster success exist.

I would like to start by saying that blindness is but one thread in the rich tapestry that make some of us who we are. I would also like to say that blindness, in and of itself, is often not the obstacle.

Toys for Children with Visual Impairments

I came across this post this morning. Students at the Rhode Island School of Design would like to design an accessible toy for children with visual impairments.

An Educational Resource to Remember: The Hadley School for the Blind

Over the years, I've learned about many interesting and useful resources for individuals with visual impairments and those working within the field of blindness/visual impairment.

One of these is the Hadley School for the Blind, which specializes in distance education and is based in Illinois. Hadley provides distance education courses to over ten thousand students around the world each year. Their courses are offered free of charge to the blind and visually impaired (as well as to their family members) and are made affordable to professionals within the blindness field. These courses are designed to be entirely accessible, and are available in a variety of formats (such as braille, online, audio and large print).

APPLE THIS Website

This week, I'd like to talk about a web site dedicated to those who own or are interested in purchasing a Mac system.

The web site is http://www.applethis.com.

On this web site you will find new breaking stories about what apple is doing, and some valuable information on compatibility of softwares, and OS release information, and what exactly is  the future of Apple products.

The information on this web site is extremely accessible, and you can navigate all the sections by pressing the letter h on your screen reader to navigate by heading, and follow the links to the full story.

Finally there are also links to resources to sites  dedicated to those with a visual impairment.

Open Office 3 Software

This blog is on an alternative word processing software for the Mac.  The software package is called Open Office 3, and was designed by a group of individuals who believed that paying lots of money for a Office suite was simply not satisfactory.

While they accept  donations, the software is completely free, and easy to download. You simply go to www.openoffice.org, and the rest is straightforward, if you follow the instructions.

I had always heard about this software before but was not inclined to download it until a friend of mine from work encouraged me to download it.

The installation easy and straight forward, and I had no problems in installing the software on my Mac.

Overriding Font & Colors For Incoming & Outgoing Messages In Outlook 2010 For Low Vision Users

I was at a retreat last week and a question came up from one of the low vision participants that seems to come up extremely regularly.  The question usually sounds something like this: "I want to see emails in outlook in my color (i.e high contrast black) or I want my emails to be in my choice of font and font size, but I don't want recipients to get emails with a honking huge font size specification embedded in the messages I send."  The solution for this does not appear to be well documented or well known.  So here is how it's done, why it's done and the keyboard keystrokes necessary for you to go off and change outlook to adopt any font settings you want and to have messages respect the color choices you have made in windows own appearance & color setting

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