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Posts tagged blind

Was librarian David Faucheux the world’s first blind blogger?
February 25, 2013 | 11:25 am

librarian David FaucheuxWas my friend David Faucheux—a library and information science graduate—the world’s first blind blogger? Any librarians or others know the answer? I set David up in May 2004 on a commercial audio service, which he dialed up to submit recordings, often augmented with text. For the next four years David gave us an inimitable slice of America as seen through his own “eyes.” Where else could you have found such MP3s as Gaming the Shows: How to Be a (Blind) Millionaire? My favorite segment from David Faucheux, however, was Seeing eye dog etiquette—and a few recollections of Nader. Said animal, owned during David’s library...

Why Everyone Should Care About DRM’s Punishment Of The Visually Impaired
October 1, 2012 | 4:39 pm

Techdirt writes a lot about the problems with DRM, and how inefficient and inconvenient it is. But for millions of visually-impaired people, those "inconveniences" represent something much deeper, and much worse. Somebody who has started writing eloquently about this issue is Rupert Goodwins. He is one of the UK's most respected technology journalists and also, sadly, is losing his sight. As he points out in a powerful new piece, things ought to be getting better for the visually impaired in the Internet age:... Read Full Article ... Source: Techdirt...

Blind patrons sue Free Library of Philadelphia for providing unaccessible Nook ereaders
May 4, 2012 | 2:23 pm

Nfb logo From the press release by the National Federation of the Blind: With the assistance of the National Federation of the Blind, four blind patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia—Denice Brown, Karen Comorato, Patricia Grebloski, and Antoinette Whaley—have filed suit (case number: 12-2373) against the library because they cannot access one of the library’s programs for which they are eligible.  The Free Library of Philadelphia has instituted and announced plans to expand a program in which free NOOK Simple Touch e-readers, which are manufactured and sold by Barnes & Noble, are loaned to patrons over the age of fifty.  Unlike some...

Haptic Braille device could let blind read print books in braille
December 10, 2010 | 2:12 pm

haptic-brailleAnyone who has seen the movie Sneakers is familiar with the idea of braille screens for reading by the blind. In the real world, however, braille screens are gimmicky, expensive, non-portable devices prone to mechanical failure, and I am told most blind computer users make do with speech-synthesizers instead (be it on their computer, or via hand-held devices like the Intel or LookTel gadgets I’ve mentioned before). But speech-synth does have some drawbacks, especially for reading a book—the voice can be annoying, for one thing, getting in the way of immersion into the book (which is why I...

UN-backed initiative to enable the blind to access published works
October 28, 2010 | 9:23 am

22-09-2009wipo.jpgFrom the UN News Centre: In an unprecedented United Nations-supported initiative, people who cannot see and those who have other forms of visual disability will have access to published works through publisher intermediaries who will create accessible formats of publications and share them with specialized libraries. The new arrangement was announced today at the of the UN World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) meeting in the Indian capital, New Delhi. It is estimated that only five percent of the world's one million print titles that are published every year are accessible to the some 340 million around the world who are blind, visually...

The iPhone is the greatest thing to happen to the blind, says Austin Seraphin
September 29, 2010 | 6:40 pm

images.jpgThis is a post from Austin Seraphin's Behind the Curtain blog from back in June. It's well worth reading the whole thing: Last Wednesday, my life changed forever. I got an iPhone. I consider it the greatest thing to happen to the blind for a very long time, possibly ever. It offers unparalleled access to properly made applications, and changed my life in twenty-four hours. The iPhone only has one thing holding it back: iTunes. Nevertheless, I have fallen in love. ... I have seen a lot of technology for the blind, and I can safely say that the iPhone represents...

E-Texts for All (Even Lucy) | Ebooks and Accessibility
September 28, 2010 | 10:09 pm

wall.jpgAn important article from the Library Journal for anyone interested in people with disabilities. Here's a snippet: If digital literacy is exploding, the visually disabled are taking the shrapnel. I would wager that most librarians consider ourselves committed to accessibility and make individual and organizational efforts to comply with (and often exceed) the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in our buildings and the Rehabilitation Act Section 508 standards on our websites. We may not, however, have had the sobering experience of trying to access an ebook or e-journal using screen-reading software or other assistive technology. Despite our best intentions,...

Taiwanese boffin lets the blind “see” photos
September 7, 2010 | 9:36 am

canvas.pngTechEye has an article by TeleRead contributor Dan Bloom about this new development from Taiwanese doctoral student Yu-shuan Peng. He developed Android software to let blind people use a cellphone camera to take flat images and transmit the image, via bluetooth, to a tactile board that will allow the image to take on a three-dimensional form so that blind users can feel it. "It's like what people do when they can tell what a mahjong tile is without looking at it, just by stroking it with their thumbs," Peng says, using the example of a popular parlour game in Taiwan. The...

Ereaders and accessibility – Kindle and iPad take the lead
August 6, 2010 | 11:38 am

images.jpgArs Technica has an overview article about current ereaders and accessibility - the Kindle and the iPad lead and the Nook and Sony aren't in the running. We already covered the National Federation of the Blind commending Amazon on the new accessibility features of the 3rd generation Kindle. Here's what Ars has to day about the iPad: Similarly, the iPad excels in this area, thanks largely to its sort-of-computer status and Apple's accessibility support in the OS. Screen reading is not a setting within the iBooks app, but the iPad itself—users can turn on VoiceOver so that every object, menu item,...

National Federation of the Blind commends Amazon on new accessible Kindle
August 5, 2010 | 7:48 am

images.jpgFrom the press release: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today commended Amazon on the unveiling of a new, accessible Kindle. Amazon announced Wednesday that the new Kindle will come equipped with a voice guide that reads all menu options aloud so blind and other print-disabled people can navigate the device menus. Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "We commend Amazon on the unveiling of a new Kindle that blind and print-disabled people can use. In order to compete in today's digital society, blind and print-disabled people must be able to access the...

How to use an iPhone 4 with a braille display
July 13, 2010 | 9:47 am

More information available in the Engadget article this is taken from....

Royal National Institute of Blind People praises Apple and the iPad
June 4, 2010 | 11:20 am

rnib.jpegThat is what The Telegraph is reporting today. According to the article: "When it comes to embedding accessibility, Apple has set the standard in recent years," said Robin Spinks, principal manager of digital accessibility at the RNIB. "It is now up to other manufacturers to follow their lead." The features cited include the ability to increase the size of text, option to change the color of the screen background and text and the ability to read out the words on the screen....

Technology overtakes braille in Canada
April 30, 2010 | 7:10 am

braille.jpegBack in January we did an article: “Listening to Braille” : Braille advocates at odds with new audio technologies. Now an article in CTV News, of Canada, discusses the same issue. Less than 10 percent of Canada's 830,000 vision impaired people can read braille. New technology, such as JAWS (Job Access With Speech) is gaining popularity and obviating the need for braille in many cases. Nevertheless, the braille advocates are still there: "What braille allows is for someone to gain literacy, to gain an understanding of sentence structure and grammar. Computer technology doesn't replace how to learn to write, to spell, what...

The iPad and reading for the blind – a real boon
April 14, 2010 | 9:22 am

Screen shot 2010-04-14 at 9.20.22 AM.pngForbes talks about this and points out how the Kindle could have been a great boon to the blind and visually disabled, but missed the opportunity because of its setup and even incurred a lawsuit from advocacy groups. However, the iPad is a boon to the blind, says the article. I must admit that I didn't know this about the Apple interface, even though I have two MacBooks. The picture above is a screen shot from my MacBook Air: ... all iPads have a standard application called VoiceOver, which allows for audible control of every single menu, even...

Overdrive offers new program for visually impaired users
April 1, 2010 | 7:40 am

overdrive.jpgDigital content distributor OverDrive is announcing a new program for visually impaired readers, LEAP (Library eBook Accessibility Program). Through LEAP, OverDrive is offering a free one-year Bookshare account to qualifying patrons of libraries that offer eBooks from OverDrive. The accounts will allow patrons to download up to 20 accessible Bookshare eBooks per month. There is a different selection available under this program than OverDrive’s standard eBook offerings. Though there is some overlap between Bookshare’s catalog and the standard OverDrive catalog, only Bookshare titles will be available through LEAP. Bookshare currently offers over 70,000 titles. More information here....

Looktel bringing hand-held text-to-speech to Windows Mobile smartphones
March 31, 2010 | 9:00 am

looktel Remember the Intel Reader, the $1500 handheld device that acts as a hand-held portable scanner/OCR/text-to-speech device for the blind? A company called LookTel is in the beta stage of bringing something similar to Windows Mobile camera phones. The device will speak aloud text (package labels or street signs) or identify currency within its field of vision; snapshot-OCR magazine articles, book pages, and so forth; and allow adding voice tags to patterned labels that can be applied to containers and other objects without speakable text. According to the article, it will even allow the user to provide...

Digital talking book internet service delivers one millionth download
March 27, 2010 | 8:20 am

images.jpegFrom the press release by the Library of Congress: ... [a recent download] marked the one millionth piece of reading material delivered by the Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service, a new initiative from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress. Formally launched on April 30, 2009, BARD quickly became popular. Today more than 15,000 of NLS’s more than 800,000 patrons are registered for access. ... The next stage in BARD’s development is to transfer administrative control from NLS to state and local libraries serving blind and physically handicapped readers. ... (via Resource Shelf)...

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