Many of us on Out of Sight gather regularly to play games, learn new skills, show off our musical talents and chat about our lives. Maybe though, you\'ve often thought how terrific it would be to meet your friends from our wonderful community in person. Well now you have just such an opportunity. Recently a handful of members began discussing how we could meet one another, and an idea was hatched to gather at the 2015 national convention of the National Federation of the Blind, being held in July at the Rosen Center Hotel and Conference Centre in Orlando, Florida.
Several members of our site have expressed their commitment to attending the convention, and many others are working on plans to attend. Folks wil be coming by planes, trains and automobiles from all over the U.S. and Canada to attend the largest formal gathering of blind people in the world.
The Convention is scheduled to be held from July 5th thru July 10th. You do not need to be a member of the NFB to attend their national convention, many of the 3000 attendees are in fact not NFB members.
An informal committee has been formed to help provide important information about Convention and an Out of Sight mee-and-greet, and to help grow enthusiasm and excitement for our plans. We plan to hold some information sharing sessions soon in one of our chat rooms and will advise you all of the events once they are scheduled. In the meantime, you can find information about the NFBs national convention online at https://www.nfb.org/convention. Feel free as well to ask Russ or Debi about our plans the next time you see them online, (they are easy to find), and would be thrilled to have a chance to tell you about our gathering. We hope you will give serious thought to meeting us in Florida in July. Serious thought to serious fun! Sounds like a plan! plan to be part of it!
I suppose My name is Paul Smith, and I suppose I first became acquainted with the Lions as a very young student at the Maryland School for the Blind when our local Lions Club, the Overlea Lions Club here in northeast Baltimore, invited those students who were interested to go to a location in downtown Baltimore to go to the circus free of charge. It was an experience for many of us, as the Lions also provided us with a somewhat primitive audio description of what was going on in the ring, whether that be animals performing tricks, high wire walking or acrobatics. One thing I definitely remember is that our personal describer came through our row of seats with a lion cub for us to feel. I thought that was very interesting personally.
The next time the Lions came into my life and that of selected other students was when our schools concert band was formed, and they paid not only for uniforms but for all the instruments used, including my section which was the saxophone one.
The third time the Lions came into my life was in the summer of 2013 when I spent ten great days at Beacon Lodge, a camp for the blind which has been supported both financially and otherwise by the Lions of Pennsylvania since 1948, and probably is the oldest such camp in the country if not the world.
With these impressive services that the Lions provided us blind and other people with various disabilities, it gave me the desire to join such a worthwhile organization, and this I did in September 2014. Although the club to which I belong has only 19 members, our service achievements, together with other clubs in multiple District 22, have been impressive. We support the programs of the Johns Hopkins Hospitals Wilmer Eye Clinic which, in addition to treating patients here and in satellite locations across the district covering Maryland, Delaware and Washington DC, does eye research. In fact your correspondent is one of only four people in our district who are taking phone calls from potentially blind folks who could benefit from Wilmers services, and in so doing probably will restore their sight, if not totally, at least partially.
Being a Lion under these circumstances gives one a warm feeling of helping those who are truly in need, and I invite anyone who may be interested to look and see if there may be a Lions Club in your area. If there are other Lions here in Out-Of-Sight I would like to connect up with them.To find out more about Lions and what we do, go to the Lions Internationals website at:
BBC journalist Damon Rose completely lost his sight as a child, but he says his world is not pitch black. So what exactly does he see?
It is often assumed that blind people experience complete darkness, but in my experience this is far from the truth.
I appreciate this is going to sound odd coming from a blind person but when people ask me what I miss most about not being able to see, my answer is always, darkness.
Let me explain. I am one of a very small number of people who have no sight whatsoever. I am properly blind. A total, as we used to say at school. I lost my sight 31 years ago thanks to ill advised surgery, and on my blind persons registration certificate it has three, now very faded letters, NLP, no light perception.
The logical assumption is that when sight is snuffed out, a person must be left in darkness. If you dive under the bed covers you cannot see anything at all. If you close your eyes then everything turns to black. So, blind equals black? It make sense, right? Apparently not.
Though I\'ve had the cord cut between my eyes and my brain, it seems that the world has not turned black. All metaphors, similes, analogies, and literary flourishes about blindness and darkness should henceforth cease to be used because I am saying it is far from dark. It is, in fact, quite the opposite.
So what replaces 3D Technicolor vision once it\'s gone? The answer - at least in my case, is light. Lots of it. Bright, colorful, ever changing, often terribly distracting, light.
How do I even begin to describe it? Let me have a go. Right now I have got a dark brown background, with a turquoise luminescence front and centre. Actually it has just changed to green. now it is bright blue with flecks of yellow, and there is some orange threatening to break through and cover the whole lot.
The rest of my field of vision is taken up by squashed geometric shapes, squiggles and clouds I could not hope to describe, and not before they all change again anyway. Give it an hour, and it\'ll all be different.
If I try to block out all of this distraction by closing my eyes it does not work. It never goes away.
I miss those peaceful moments of near darkness: walking at nighttime while focusing on the streetlights ahead, the atmospheric shadows in a room with a real fire burning, or traveling home late in the back of my dads car glimpsing cat\'s eyes lighting up in the middle of the road.
For me, dark has come to signify quiet, and because my built in fireworks never go away I describe what I have got as a kind of visual tinnitus.
When I first went blind I thought the brightly colored lights were a sign my eyes were trying to work again. It gave me some hope and I was quite fascinated by it. I used to sit and stare at it. Now I know that it is my brain making up for the fact that it no longer receives any pictures.
Some people of faith have occasionally tried to tell me that I am seeing the after life, and I never know how to respond to that. But what I have never been able to find out is whether other people who have no light perception also see what I see.
And, assuming that full vision and driving a car are not on
offer, do they also long for a bit of darkness?
Have you ever tried to break boards with your bare hands? I have heard several times that some people can, but always thought they must be really tough or somehow be able to focus all their energy into a point. However they did it, I never envisioned myself doing it, until recently. My perspective changed at a youth leadership academy for the blind last May, where I was a counselor. A few adults demonstrated a technique to the youth, and it was not long until I heard of some youth even busting through 3 or 4 boards at a time. The National Federation of the Blind believes that pushing people out of their comfort zone is a very important part of training blind individuals to be more independent and successful, as it builds their confidence to try other things, thus enabling them to break through attitudinal barriers and grow personally.
As I sat there, unwilling to risk hurting my hands, I thought about what message I might be sending to the youth, for whom I was supposed to be a role model. Not wanting to show any fear of trying something new, but rather wanting to demonstrate a, can do attitude, I stepped out of my comfort zone by stepping forward to try breaking some boards. I reviewed the technique in person, took a step back, and took a good swing at the two boards being held in front of me. To my amazement, both broke completely through, and that without hurting my hand. The youth around me thought it was great, but I fell into introspection for a while. I wondered how many other things I had never tried in my life, simply because I believed what others told me was impossible for a blind person. I am so grateful to people who have pushed me to try new things, like my parents and my wife.
Shortly before that weekend with the blind youth, my wife Kim really pushed me out of my comfort zone, inciting me to do something I had always been afraid of. It was the last day of our two week vacation in Peru. We had visited several museums, fascinating ruins (like Machu Picchu) and had even spent half a week in the jungle. Now, we were ready to unwind a little, before returning home. We thought that spending some time relaxing on the beach would accomplish that, but found the water to be rather chilly, the surf unusually strong and the plentiful jellyfish to be rather large, a foot or so in diameter. As we bummed around a nearby outdoor mall, Kim marveled at a number of people paragliding, sailing on the updrafts on the steep coast, suspended from large parachutes. Though it sounded like fun, it was definitely something I had always said I would never do, as it seemed foolish to put my life in the hands of something as uncertain as the wind.
Nevertheless, as we were packing up our room on the last day of our trip, Kim announced: quote, I know what you are doing today. quote. I figured that it probably was something I really like, since she knows me quite well by now. But, when I learned that it was paragliding she was planning out, I thought she must have lost her mind. She tried to arrest my concerns by explaining that I would be accompanied by an experienced instructor; but, I did not gain much comfort from knowing that at least I would not be dying alone. Then my risk management logic kicked into gear in a somewhat unusual way. I figured, if the instructor is assuming this risk day in and day out, and has managed to survive it for several years, then I could possibly risk paragliding for 15 minutes. So, off we went to the coastal cliff.
When we got there and paid for my paragliding session, no one seemed too concerned about my blindness, since I would be flying in tandem with a sighted instructor anyway. I felt excited but not that nervous; however, when they hooked the harness around me and then ordered me to run towards the cliff, I was glad I could not see the 150 foot drop off in front of me. When my feet all of a sudden lost touch with the ground, I did feel rather uneasy for the first 10 seconds of being airborne. But, as we started gaining altitude and I felt the cool ocean breeze rush by my face, my fear gave way to bliss. Though it did feel rather odd to hear the foaming ocean so far beneath me, I was enjoying the freedom of a bird too much to really care. As the instructor was taking us through gentle swoops and loops, he remarked, quote, If I could only give you my eyes right now. quote. I replied, quote, But why? There is so much for me to enjoy with all my other senses. quote. So, he closed his eyes, and liked it so much that he kept them shut for a while. Of course, he did open his eyes again to bring us in for a safe landing. As we parted, I thanked him for a wonderful time, and he thanked me for opening his understanding to what it is like to be blind.
As each of us stepped out of our comfort zone that day, each of our lives was enriched. Once again, my understanding of what blind people can and cannot do was altered, thus boosting my confidence to try something else that is traditionally held to be impossible for someone who is blind.
For those of us that are disabled, we are at risk for any number of security issues. I am, hopefully, going to help you to not become a victim, either in your home or away from it. And, it does not really matter what your disability is, since I am blind myself, I will use the word blind to cover all disabilities.
The first major thing is, and you are gonna roll your eyes, because you have heard this a million times at least, you have to be aware of what is going on around you. If you do not pay attention to your surroundings you can make a mistake and find yourself in an unfamiliar place, fall, or tip over, and either of these can be dangerous.
Take your time and let your cane show you where you are at. Do not take anything for granted when moving down a sidewalk or across the street. In this case, make every effort to do one thing and do it well. Listen. If you do not listen closely, then you may miss a clue as to something coming up on you. I have also learned that if you walk past a vehicle parked on the curb, the air pressure changes slightly, which means the sound level changes. Pay attention to these as they can alert you to where you are, or if something is coming up on you slowly.
In order to not be considered a target, move as quickly as you can when walking. The motto is apropros for us, quote, walk like you have somewhere to go and something to do once you get there, end quote. In other words, walk confidently.
Use all of your senses to be aware of what is around you. It is not easy paying attention to everything, including your cane, but you have to try to do so.
As for smell, that may be a little more subjective than your hearing, but do not ignore it either. Cigarette smoke, body odor, and other smells will alert you to someone close by you. Even vehicle exhaust, or perfume can help you.
As for intuition, that is even more subjective than smell. The only thing I can tell you about your gut instinct is this; if you think or feel something is wrong, it probably is. That, in of itself, can be unnerving. If you are alone, and you know it, yet you feel as though you are being watched, or you feel that something is wrong, you are probably right. Therefore, pay closer attention to your surroundings.
If you live in an apartment and you have security concerns, for any reason, do not hesitate to complain to the management. If anything is wrong with the doors, windows, or landscaping close by your apartment, then you have to tell them about it. And over and above that, you have to document the complaints. Remember, if it is not documented, then it did not happen. Think of it this way, if something should happen to you or your apartment, who is to say you told the management about it? Certainly not them.
That is why the documentation is so important. No matter how you record it, ensure that you place a date, time, and who you spoke with or notified about the issue. Use your computer, voicemail on the phone, tape or digital recorder, it does not matter. Just make sure you have a record of it.
If you are disabled, no one can guarantee your security or safety. It is up to you to do the things yourself to ensure that you are secure and safe when out and about or at home. Therefore, do not let anyone patronize you and condescend to you about your concerns. Threaten to move if you have too, but be prepared to do it, or it is an empty threat.
If necessary, find a family member, neighbor, social service, pastor, or someone to help you push the agenda for better security and safety.
If you live in a house, then ensure that you are as heavy on security as aesthetics in your home. I am not trying to scare you about this, but just be aware about what is around you and the potential for crime.
In a multi part series of articles, I will instruct you on the many aspects of security around your apartment or house. The topics will include, landscaping, windows, locks, lighting, alarms, and keeping yourself safe around your home.Robert D. Sollars is a 31 year veteran of the security field and has been blind since 2003. He has continued to write, with 2 published books and a twice weekly blog, and has appeared in the media on a range of security topics. If you would like to hear a presentation on home security, please call him at:
Many iPhone users with visual impairments use a video FaceTime or Skype call with a friend for a brief session of sighted help to find a hotel room door, for instance, or to help set the controls on a washer or dryer. But what if your friends or family members are not available when you need assistance? Or maybe you call the same person again and again, and you worry you might be overstaying your welcome? Mobile identification and text recognition apps such as TapTapSee, Talking Goggles, and the KNFB Reader can take up a lot of the slack, but there are times when you really do need a working pair of eyeballs. Now, thanks to a new iOS app called Be My Eyes, sighted help is just a tap away.How Be My Eyes Works:
Be My Eyes pairs sighted volunteers with visually impaired individuals who would appreciate a bit of remote assistance. The app is free both to download and to use. For visually impaired users, the app could not be simpler to use. Most of the screen is taken up by a single control to connect you to the first available helper. Double tap this button and your device will announce, Creating connection request. A few seconds later a sort of electronic ring tone begins to play, and soon you are connected to a sighted volunteer through a two way audio and one way video connection using the opentok/tokbox video platform. The volunteer can view your environment through the higher resolution rear facing camera. With a connection established, you can converse with the volunteer, introduce yourself (if you like), and ask for help with whatever identification task is at hand. You can disconnect at any time. When you first open the app you are asked if you need assistance or wish to provide it. In either case you are required to register. You can do this using your Facebook credentials, or you can create a Be My Eyes account with your name, e-mail address and the password of your choice. More about this later.
If you register as a helper, you merely need to leave the app running in the background. When its your turn to offer assistance, the app will alert you. If you do not respond within 10 seconds or so, the app servers will move onto the next person in the queue and alert them. Quote, At first we tried pinging ten people at once, so people requesting assistance would not have to wait so long for a response, but we started getting emails from volunteers who were frustrated because they wanted to help, but were not the first to respond, end quote, says Hans Jørgen Wiberg, the service\'s founder.Turning an idea into a Service:
Like many of us, after a few remote FaceTime sessions, Wiberg had the idea that we could more easily obtain sighted help if there were only some way to tap into a wider network than just our friends and family. Unlike most of us, however, Wiberg put action to thought, and he is not even a programmer. Wiberg, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a part time upholsterer and Regional Chairman of the Danish Association of the Blind.
Wiberg took his idea to a local startup meeting, where people come together to exchange and refine ideas for new businesses and services. There he teamed up with seven others, none of whom were programmers. They formalized their idea and began searching for grant money. With just a few thousand donated Danish Krone, the group hired outside developers to create an iOS app. They released it in the Danish App Store in November of 2014, and beta tested it with just a handful of users. After the user base reached 150 blind users and 400 helpers, the group was awarded a substantial grant from Velux, a Danish window and skylight company. Development continued until January 15, when the Be My Eyes app and service were released worldwide. Quote, The response was more than we dreamed, quote, says Wiberg. Quote, In just a few days we had over 60,000 users, most of them potential helpers, quote, he says. Quote, The signups came so fast, by the end of the second day we had to suspend the service while we moved to the largest server our provider can host. Quote.
The main app screen displays a running count of the number of sighted and blind users who are registered. It also displays the number of individuals who have been helped, over 10,000 in the first six days. A future app update will also include the numbers of volunteers who are currently available. Quote, This will help users have some idea of how long it will take to either offer or receive help, quote, says Wiberg.Putting Be My Eyes Through Its Paces:
I first tried Be My Eyes just a few days after it was released. The first two attempts were unsuccessful: after 20 minutes I had not yet been connected to a volunteer. I was using the app late on a Sunday evening, around the time when the servers were being swamped with setup requests, so those circumstances may have played a part in the delays. The next day I tried the app several times, and each time I was connected within 2 minutes. According to Wiberg, this is the norm. quote, There are going to be people who for some reason cannot answer an alert in time, and we have to connect to several different helpers, one at a time, before a request is answered. Other times there may be server problems caused by our rapid growth. My advice to users seeking help is that if there is no response within 3 or 4 minutes, disconnect and immediately try again. Quote.
My first Monday call was answered by a woman in Britain. My question was simple: quote, Is this package of teabags caffeinated or decaf? Quote. Quote, Caffeinated, quote, came the reply, and after a quick thank you, I disconnected. Total time: less than 2 minutes from start to finish. My second request was answered by a man in California. He helped me access my thermostat and find the LCD off setting. My third session was answered by a man in Germany. I had inadvertently left the plastic cover to a vegetable seed starter on the patio table, and sometime during the night it had blown away. Together the volunteer and I search the backyard for it. We did not find it, but the help was still useful as it saved me the considerable time I might have spent walking around the yard, hoping to encounter it.
One task I did not try, and hope I do not have cause to for some time to come, is getting help with the computer error message that has in the past locked up my screen reader or prevented it from booting. My computer seems to know when all of my friends and family are unavailable. It must, why else would it always choose those times to crash?
On initial setup, the Be My Eyes app uses your iOS device\'s default language setting to direct your calls. English speaking helpers are always connected with English speaking help requesters, French with French, and so forth. But the apps Setting menu offers you the ability to add additional languages, which is how I was able to connect with an English speaking helper in Germany.Privacy:
According to Wiberg, your personal information is not shared with the helper. You may then wonder why you need to enter your name and email address to create a Be My Eyes account. When I posed this question, Wiberg replied, quote, Both the helper and user can report a problem member, and we can then block that [account] and prevent [the user] from returning. Quote. Unfortunately, the version I tested, 1.2 (45), did not require any e-mail verification, which means someone could make up a series of false accounts and cause mischief. Perhaps verification will be a part of an update in a future version.
Common sense would dictate that Be My Eyes users avoid asking questions about bank or credit card statements, medical reports, or any other information you want to remain private. Wiberg offers a useful rule of thumb: quote, If you were walking down a street and needed to know what you are considering asking [a Be My Eyes helper], would you feel uncomfortable asking a stranger? Quote. If so, find some other way to obtain the information. Some may wish to consider the opposite scenario: Perhaps there is something you wish to keep private from your friends and family? Its probably best to avoid asking a Be My Eyes helper to assist in orientation at a busy intersection or other potentially dangerous scenario. Currently, the app contains no rating system for users to weed out what I can only believe would be a very few bad apples.What is ahead for the Be My Eyes App?
Wiberg is determined to keep the service free. He states that currently they have enough money to pay for development and server resources through next September. Consequently, I would not be surprised to see a Donate button pop up in a future release of the app, on the company\'s website, or both. The app is currently available only for iOS devices. There are no immediate plans to create an Android version. Ironically, the biggest hurdle Be My Eyes currently faces is finding enough blind users. Quote, The response to the opportunity to become volunteers has been overwhelming, quote, says Wiberg. quote, If they do not get the chance to become fully involved, they may grow frustrated and uninstall the app. Quote. Until I uninstalled it, I had a dinosaur app on my iPhone to entertain my granddaughter. Every so often, even when the app was not running, I received an alert asking if I wanted to play. I can see many potential helpers who might reset their phone or change devices, and forget to restart the app. Perhaps a future update might include a similar gentle reminder to those with the app installed but left closed for several weeks?
I also hope Wiberg and his colleagues publish a Be My Eyes API that would enable other apps to seamlessly link to the app. BlindSquare, which we reviewed in the July 2014 AccessWorld , offers the ability to reach out to someone in your contact list for a bit of e-mail or text message help. Imagine how much more powerful BlindSquare, or the Seeing Eye App for iPhone, would be if users could request sighted help directly from within their accessible navigation app? As it is now, Be My Eyes is an extremely powerful platform whose time has come. I will still keep both TapTapSee and KNFB Reader on my iPhone home screen, but Be My Eyes will definitely be my fallback, and in many instances, my go to resource for those times when greater independence can best be achieved by knowing when and how to ask for help.
One of our guest speakers on January 31st, was one of the most talented narrators in American Printing House. Here is a little bonus article about the interesting life of Jack Fox.
Every career has a beginning. For former Harvard resident Jack Fox, his prestigious radio career began in 1959 at WMCW, Harvards former radio station, when he was a senior in high school. Fox would go on to work at six other radio stations across the country during his 35 year career.
It all began in 1958 when Foxs father, who was a Baptist minister, moved the family from Evansville, Indiana, to minister at Harvard Baptist Church. Fox started working at WMCW his senior year in the winter of 1959. His family was unable to travel back to Evansville for Thanksgiving, so Fox was looking for something to do. His older brother worked at a radio station while going to college, so Fox decided to visit the WMCW studio which was also the home of station owner Esther Blodgett. Blodgett had one employee at the time and had given him the day off.
quote, She was happy for the company, end quote, Fox said. quote, We struck up a conversation, and I started coming out after school and on weekends. Finally she said, If you are going to hang around, I am going to put you to work. Thats when it all started. end quote. Fox graduated from Harvard High School in 1960, and his family moved back to Evansville while he stayed behind to work for WMCW for the summer at Blodgetts recommendation.
His duties at the station included everything from mowing the grass to having an on-air show. He would read obituaries and the grain market report and run his show that covered rock n roll, polka and country. Fox has some fond memories of working at WMCW.
quote, One of my first broadcasts was Milk Day, end quote, Fox said. quote, Back then, 60,000 to 70,000 people would attend. The governor would come in. It was quite an event. end quote.
quote, We had a great basketball team that year, end quote, he continued. quote, They were one game away from going to the state finals. We went down to broadcast that game. We recorded the game and played it the next day. Everyone was gathered at Bairds listening to the game. It was a great time. end quote.
Fox left Harvard at the end of the summer and moved back to Evansville to go to Evansville College. In Evansville, he worked for WROZ. He left college in fall of 1962 to work at WAIR in Winston-Salem, N.C. After a year, he returned to Evansville and college to work for WIKY radio in Evansville. Fox knew he was destined for a career in radio and, in time, gave up on college.
quote, As I got farther along, it got harder to arrange classes around the 40- to 50-hour workweek, end quote, Fox said. Fox met his wife, Lou, at his fathers church in Evansville, and they married in 1964.
In March 1967, Fox went to work for the WAIR program director, who had moved to KMBZ in Kansas City, Mo. Two years later, Fox went to Denver to do the morning drive on KOA Radio. While in Denver, he and his wife led listeners on two trips to Europe. They enjoyed the trips so much that Fox moved his wife and two daughters, Heather and Jill, in June 1972. They spent a month in Switzerland, and then rented a place on the coastal town of San Vincenzo, Italy, in the Tuscany region. The money began to run out, and they returned home six months later.
In January 1973, Fox went to work for WHAS Radio in Louisville and he has lived in Louisville ever since.
quote, It was a good experience, end quote, Fox said. quote, WHAS was a very community-oriented station. We covered the University of Louisville basketball team whenever [it] made the final four and took listeners to Ireland for St. Patricks Day. It was a good place. end quote.
Fox left WHAS in the 1994 and does freelance voiceover work with his daughter Jill. They both work for the Printing House for the Blind in Louisville. Fox has worked there since 1978 recording talking books for the Library of Congress, recording over 1,000 books. Fox also records for an airport computer paging system. He can be heard in approximately 100 airports in the United States, including Midway in Chicago.
Fox has people walk up to him all the time telling him they recognize his voice. quote, I was in Atlanta at a conference, and I heard someone say Jack Fox, and I turned around, and I did not know the young man, end quote, Fox said. quote, It was a blind man who had read some of my books and recognized the voice. end quote.
Fox believes the secret to a successful radio career is simple. quote, One of my secrets was getting out among the people and getting to know them, forming friendships, end quote, Fox said. quote, I enjoyed connecting with people. Thats what radio is all about. Getting out and connecting with people. Some of the best things I did on air came from listeners. end quote.
Looking back to the beginning of his career, Fox remembers the influence Blodgett, who passed away in 1987, had on him. quote, Whenever I had time, I would get out and drive around to familiarize myself so when I talked about the intersection of Third and Winkle, I knew there was a newsstand there, end quote, Fox said. quote, Esther taught me that. She told me whenever you talk about something, picture it in your mind, and people will feel it. It will color your inflection. end quote.
quote, Esther was an interesting lady, a good lady, end quote, Fox said. quote, She was very committed to what she did. She was very good to me. end quote.
Most of us, at one time or another, have been stuck trying to go somewhere, with no transportation, and in a desperate need. Well, one company decided to come in and fill the gap. Uber. Uber is a service, that pairs drivers and passengers using an app on the iPhone or android. So you might be asking, how does this work? It works like this.
Drivers, (who contract with Uber) drive their own cars to pick up passengers, as they request rides through the app. A passenger (in this case we) will press a button in the (completely accessible with voice over) app. They will then send out the closest available driver, using GPS technology to pinpoint the exact location of each driver in relation to the passenger.
The driver will then take the passenger whereever he or she needs to go, and then the app will deduct the fair from the credit card or paypal account of the passenger in question. Below I have listed a few advantages with Uber, over a regular cab service.
Let me take you through a sample Uber ride. Yesterday, I got a message, saying I needed to take care of some business at the post office about 7 miles away. So I went into the Uber app, and clicked set pickup location. I did not need to type in my address, because it used GPS to find my location. Then I clicked, request Uber, and it said, contacting drivers. Within about 10 seconds, I got the name of the driver, the vehicle, the license plate number, and information that he would be here in 5 minutes. For those who can see a bit, there is a map with a dot showing where the driver is At the present time. Exactly five minutes later, the driver called me, and told me he was outside my block of flats. I walked out, and after finding him, ggot in the car.
I then told him where I needed to go, and I asked him if he would kindly wait for me, and then take me back, to which he agreed (there is a small charge on time, but they really do not mind waiting). We had a nice conversation on the way there, and then he offeredd to help me into the post office. After my business was concluded, we got back into the car, and headed back home.
When he dropped me off, I did not need to hand him any cash. He just ended the trip on his end, and I simply had to OK the charge to my credit card. The final cost? I went about 14 miles total, and spent about 40 minutes, and it came out to about $19.
So you might be wondering, how do I get to this wonderful service?Well, click this link:
and you will be able to sign up. Then download the Uber app on your phone, and you will be good to go! As an added bonus, if you use the link above that I gave you, you will get your first ride free! How cool is that?
Here is just a quick article listing a few iPhone apps that I have recently come across.1. Spoken Word, both Old and New Testament.
These are separate apps. They contain the full text of the King James Bible. I think that this is the revision from 1902, but do not quote me on this. Although the apps are free, for $1.99 each, you can add the features of a sleep timer that shuts the reading off after up to 2 hours, reading speed variation without changing the pitch, the ability to search by book, chapter, and verse, and a few other features. Its well worth the money. You can, with a braille display, read along with the spoken text. Speaking of the spoken text, it is not using the voice you have on your iPhone. This is all human speech, and sounds very good. So, now, with these two apps, you have the Bible on your phone, to read and browse whenever and wherever you choose.
As of January 15, this app is available. Here is the info, taken from the page in iTunes, along with my thoughts:
Be the eyes for a blind person in need of help remotely through a live video connection if you are sighted or be assisted by the network of sighted users if you are blind, Be My Eyes is all about contributing to and benefiting from small acts of kindness, so hop on board and get involved!Blind users can request help from a sighted person and the sighted users will then be called for help. As soon as the first sighted user accepts the request for help a live audio video connection will be set up between the two and the sighted user can tell the blind person what she sees when the blind user points his phone at something using the rear facing camera. As a sighted user you do not need to worry about missing a call and \'leave a blind person hanging. You are a part of the bigger, Be My Eyes helper network and we will find the next available sighted person in the network. The challenges that the blind person needs help. This can be anything from knowing the expiration date on the milk to getting help crossing the street.
My opinion: I would feel much safer using my own mobility skills, along with my dog guide, to cross a street rather than rely on a sighted person viewing an intersection and traffic flow through the camera on my iPhone, although, admittedly, I have not tried this. It seems like a dangerous suggestion to me, though. Now, back to the info from the page:
Note: We encourage blind users to be patient when requesting help because we rely on real people to help you. Live audio video connection between blind and sighted users. Add the languages you know under settings.
More of my comments: All you need is a first name, user name, password, and an Email address.
If you are familiar with Tap Tap See, this seems to be sort of like that app. If you are familiar with Biz Wiz, it seems to be similar to that one. Sort of a combination of the two, but you are in contact with a human, getting your info in real time once the connection has been made. It is important to note that I have not personally tried this app, but will do so soon.
A note to all members: On the first and third Sunday of each month, come into The Learning Center at 6 PM. Eastern time and ask about, discuss, or let us know of apps you have found or get tips on how to use your iPhone that you may have gotten as a Christmas present and are still frustratedly working with. Blind people helping blind people to use their touch screen devices. The event is called iPhones Anonymous. It is fun learning from each other based on our personal experiences with the fascinating and absolutely handy electronic marvels!
Create labels for color, laundry instructions, or other information about clothing. Sstays attached through washing, drying, and ironing.
Tactile Clothing Tape allows braille readers to keep colors and
other information about their clothing and linens exactly where
they need it:
attached to the item and ready to be read.
The brailled information remains clean and readable 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.
Unlike premade color labels that are limited to a few clothing colors, this tape allows you to include your own abbreviations for as many colors or patterns as you wish.
You can create labels with laundry instructions, clothes matching information, names, etc.Includes:
White distilled vinegar is a great all purpose cleaner that disinfects, deodorizes, pulls dirt from wood, and dissolves hard water scale, gummy residues, and tarnish. It also works wonders on windows. Put 1/4 cup in your laundry rinse cycle to remove detergent completely from clothes and to eliminate that scratchy feel.
Lemon juice can be used as a cleaner to cut grease, polish metal, and lighten stains. For a laundry brightener, add 1/2 cup of strained juice to the rinse cycle. To remove tarnish, rub sliced lemons sprinkled with baking soda on brass, copper, bronze and aluminum.
Baking soda neutralizes odors and makes a good sink, tub, oven and countertop scourer. Sprinkle it on carpets before vacuuming. Line litter boxes with a cup before adding litter. To de-grease and deodorize drains, pour in 1/2 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of vinegar; let bubble for 15 minutes and rinse with hot water. For a soft scrub, mix together baking soda and liquid soap in single use amounts. As a cleaner, baking soda is a work horse and no home is complete with out a box.
Washing soda is baking soda\'s stronger cousin. It requires the use of gloves and more rinsing, so save this cleaner for extra stubborn stains. To clean ovens, apply a paste of 1 cup baking soda, 1/4 cup of washing soda, plus water, and soak overnight. Add 1/2 cup washing soda to laundry as a detergent booster.
BORAX is a good mold and mildew solution. This alkaline mineral is found in the laundry aisle and can also be used in place of washing soda as a cleaner.
Note: Extra tips:
For those whose water supply is composed of hard water, that is, water with a high dissolved lime content, borax will soften it.
For an extra strength toilet bowl cleaner, pour 1 cup of borax into the toilet before going to bed and scrub and flush next morning. Borax is also disliked by ants, so can be spread where they are proving to be a problem, but it can be TOXIC if ingested, so should not be used where there are small children crawling around on the floor, and, of course, where animals, cats and dogs are likely to get it on their paws!
Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to Januarys brainteasers. Many of you were very close, but close only counts in horseshoes! Congratulations to Suzy Barnes, Victor Chan, and Brenda Green for ansering both brainteasers absolutely right!
A job well done to Lorelei Dattan, Roger Khouri, and Joseph Weakland for answering one brain teaser correctly.
Now, here are the super duper brainteasers for March. Are you smarter than a 5th grader, hmmmm?
We will let you know if you are correct, and if so, we will publish your name in the next issue of the newsletter. Have fun trying to solve these puzzles!
Thanks goes out to you, our extended family on Out-Of-Sight! You participate and spend your time getting to know one another on the site. Without you, there would be no need for programming, no need for special activities, and no need to even have a site. So, thank you very much! Thanks for making this community an Out of Sight place to be!