Out-Of-Sight News and Views

Issue #5

May 1, 2013



Surprise Announcement!


Unlike last month’s April fool’s joke in this section, this item is for real!  We promised you a big surprise announcement, and so here it is!


It is Your Choice!  Would you like a brand new iPod Touch?  Or, an iPad Mini?

Yup!  That is right!  You could be the proud owner of one of these two devices, courtesy of Out-Of-Sight.net!

Do you love technology?  Do you love Apple products?  Are you just dying to have the latest and greatest iDevice available?  Would you like to win?  We are pleased to announce our first ever raffle, here on Out-Of-Sight!  Mark Dew has so graciously offered to purchase one of these two devices for the winner of our first ever raffle! 


The raffle winner will be drawn at the conclusion of our 6th Annual Fall Auction, which will be held on Saturday, September 21st, at 3:00 PM eastern. A donation of $5 per ticket, or 5 tickets for $20 will be available.  Specific rules for the raffle are below. 


Please send all requests for tickets to the following email address.  We will need your name, telephone number, and the number of tickets you would like.  Send this information to:


Once we receive your payment, ticket numbers will be issued to you by email.  So, what are you waiting for?  Send in your request for raffle tickets, send in your payment, and be there on September 21st to see if you are the winner!  All proceeds will be used to continue to keep, Out-Of-Sight up and running for many years to come! Support the site that brings you hours and hours of enjoyment each week, while at the same time, getting a chance to be the proud owner of a brand new iPod Touch, or iPad Mini!  Will the winner be you?


Item 1.  iPod Touch:

5th Generation

The Ipod touch comes in 5 different colors.
Black, Silver, Pink, Yellow, Blue, and Red.
Ipod Touch 64 gb storage.
Connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi networks.
Free iPod engraving.
Brilliant new design
The ultra slim, ultra light iPod touch comes in fresh new colors, and rocks the incredible
new Apple Ear Pods.
4-inch Retina display
More screen means more music, messages, websites, and games. And it all looks stunning
on the Retina display.
5-megapixel iSight camera
Make every shot your best with advanced optics, tap to focus, and LED flash. And
shoot video in 1080p HD.
What is in the box
iPod touch
iPod touch loop
Apple Ear Pods
Lightning to USB cable
Every iPod touch includes 90 days of free telephone technical support and a one year
limited warranty.

Item 2.  iPad Mini:
IPad mini 32 gb storage.
Connects to the Internet over Wi-Fi networks.
Free iPod engraving.
Beautiful 7.9-inch display
Colors are vivid and text is sharp on the iPad mini display. But what really makes
it stand out is its size. At 7.9 inches, it is perfectly sized to deliver an experience
every bit as big as iPad.
Over 300,000 apps3
Right from the start, apps made for iPad also work with iPad mini. They are immersive,
full-screen apps that let you do almost anything you can imagine. And they make iPad
mini practically impossible to put down.  Ultrafast wireless With advanced Wi-Fi that’s up to twice as fast as any previous generation iPad and access to fast cellular data networks around the world, iPad mini lets you download content, stream video, and browse the web at amazing speeds.
What is in the box
iPad mini
Lightning to USB Cable
USB Power Adapter
Limited Warranty
Every iPad mini comes with complimentary telephone technical support for 90 days
from your iPad mini purchase date and a one year limited warranty.
Note: the winner may upgrade the iPad mini from 32 to 64 gb if they wish.
The cost is $100 paid by the winner.


Out-Of-Sight.net Raffle Rules:


  1. All payments for raffle tickets must be received by midnight September 20, 2013.
  2. No ticket numbers will be released to an individual until payment has been made.
  3. Tickets will be sold as either $5 per ticket, or in increments of 5 tickets for $20.  For example, a $50donation, would provide 12 raffle tickets.
  4. The drawing will be held on September 21st, 2013 at the conclusion of the Fall Auction, unless the Fall Auction is cancelled due to technical difficulties.  If this occurs, the drawing will occur at the conclusion of the rescheduled Fall Auction.
  5. The winner of the raffle will only have a choice of  either the iPod touch or the iPad Mini described above.
  6. These items will be purchased new by Mark Dew, direct from Apple, shortly after the Fall Auction on September 21, 2013, after the winner has made personal choices, as to the color, engraving, and such.
  7. The device will be engraved with the words:  www.Out-Of-Sight.net on the back, along with the winner’s personalized preference.
  8. The winner need not be present to win.
  9. The item chosen will be shipped directly from Apple to the raffle winner.
  10. No shipping cost of any kind will be incurred by the winner.
  11. If choosing an iPad Mini 64 gig, instead of the 32 gig offered, the winner will need to add an additional $100 to upgrade the device.  This will not be paid by Out-Of-Sight.net.
  12. Any questions about either of these devices should be sent to Mark Dew at:


  1. All requests for raffle tickets must be sent to the email address provided below. We will not accept requests for tickets in any other format.  Send your ticket requests to:


  1. Payments may be made by check, money order, credit card, or through Pay Pal.  If using a credit card or Pay Pal account, please go to our home page at:


and click on Donate to complete your transaction.

  1. If sending payment by check or money order, please send it to:


c/o Lee Richards

P. O. Box 668

War, WV  24892   


Hurry, and get your tickets now, and see you on September 21st!



Greetings from our President


I would personally like to thank everyone who has taken the time to send in their comments about our monthly newsletter. Each month, many people work together to research, write, and edit the articles and sections featured.  I appreciate your positive feedback, and encourage you to continue to let us know what you think about its content.


We will continue to not only make you aware of what is available on our site on a daily basis in the way of fun and challenging games, varied interesting events and presentations, but, to also strive to keep the blind and visually impaired community abreast of the many things that are going on around the world that will either enhance or hinder our lives now and in the future.


As we progress from month to month, there will be periodic changes in the format to make room for additional sections to keep the news letter interesting and current to the needs and interests of our membership.


I wish to extend my gratitude to the game and event hosts and to all the membership for their time and dedication ensuring that Out-Of-Sight continues to improve and grow. My desire is that the newsletter will help make it possible for us to become better acquainted with one another.  If there is anything else you would like to see included in this format, please contact us with your suggestions at:


Best Regards,

Lee Richards





To navigate quickly to the different articles in this newsletter using JAWS or Window Eyes, press the letter H to move through the headings.  For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H. 



Word on the Street


  • Wonderful news!  Lee Richards is recovering nicely from his triple bypass surgery.  We miss you and love you Lee, so get well soon!
  • Jim Ashley is also recovering from surgery to have a toe removed.  So glad to hear everything went well Jim!
  • Congratulations to Lee Smiley and his wife who were married for 31 years last month, on April 17th! At this moment, the happy couple is enjoying a relaxing cruise to Hawaii!  !  Enjoy that fun in the sun!
  • Wedding bells are ringing!  Congratulations to Glenda’s son who will be married on May 3rd!  Eat some cake for us Glenda!
  • It’s about time!  Cynthia’s husband will be flying from Ghana to America on May 30th, and his immigration interview will take place sometime before his departure! Great news Cynthia!

Got any news for us?  We would love to hear what is going on in your world, so please keep us up to date and write to:


We look forward to sharing your news with our extended family, here on Out-Of-Sight!



Guess Who Just Took Another Trip Around the Sun?


Help us celebrate our May birthdays:

May 5, Geoff Krisen – Geoff, from Florida.

May 7, Kathy Mertz – Kathy Mertz, from California.

May 7, Harrison Tu – Tech Lover, from California.

May 8, Ray Carette – Ray C., from New Hampshire.

May 14, Charles Rivard – Charles, from Oklahoma.

May 15, Kaye ZimpherKayeZ, from Georgia.

May 22, Neesie Hammock – Neesie, from Oklahoma.

May 29, Paula Barton – Paula with Kala, from California.

Please help us build our birthday list, by sending your Username, first and last name, date of birth, (year optional), and where you live, to:




Our Out-Of-Sight Superstar

By Karen Santiago


Editor’s Note:

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with your suggestions about who should be our very first Member of the Month! There were several names put forth, and it was a difficult decision as all of the candidates are members who deserve this recognition! Unfortunately, only one member each month can be the recipient of this honor. So, without further ado:

Congratulations to Suzy Barnes for becoming our very first Member of the Month!

On behalf of the board and the membership of Out-Of-Sight, we want to thank you for the many hours you have freely given, and continue to offer to our site.  You clearly demonstrate what happens when an individual truly quote catches the vision end quote, and helps make it an Out-Of-Sight place to be! 


Here are just some of the ways Suzy has contributed to help the site grow and become what it is today!

1.  Member of the board for 3 years.

2.  Served as a moderator for the majority of time here.

3.  Manages our Mystery Santa Gift Exchange since its beginning.

4.  Writes the Recipe Box article for our monthly newsletter.

5.  Assists with each Fall Auction by taking notes and keeping track of items being shipped.

6.  Created our Out-Of-Sight radio promo with Phil Parr.

7.  Facilitates Tech Talk every Tuesday.

8.  Hosts Ultimate Outburst on the 2nd and 4th Sunday.

9.  Hosts Trivia Jumble on the 4th Friday.

10.  Always willing to volunteer as captain, time keeper, and score keeper

11.  Always willing to fill in when games are cancelled.

12.  Used to be the host for events and games such as, Memory Lane, Comedy Club Showdown, Out-Of-Sight Cooking with Suzy B., The Smooth Contest, The Biggest Cheater, Zilch, Chain Reaction, Connect Three, Game Night, Scategories, Buzz Word, and Comedy Club Turn Around.     


Now, here is Karen’s article about Suzy! 


Suzy B., the sweet Southern belle from Tennessee, has been chosen as our first member of the month. She has been with Out-Of-Sight since it originated in January, 2008. She served on the board for 3 years and hosted several games and events.  She currently hosts a couple of games, is a Moderator, and contributes recipes for the monthly newsletter.


Suzy worked as a rehabilitation teacher for many years. She told me that she took an eleven year maternity leave after the birth of her twins, a son and a daughter. She wanted to be with them while they were young and growing. Then after her break, she took up as a rehab teacher once again. She taught independent living skills and Braille. She then worked in the vending business for 12 years. Suzy is now retired and enjoys playing the piano, reading, cooking, and being with others. One of her favorite activities is her once a month outing with the Red Hat group. A bunch of women, over 50 (yep can you believe it, she is over 50) who wear purple clothing and a red hat and go do something fun together. Some of the things these women have done include visiting an Amish settlement, taking a horse drawn tour, attending a concert of the comedian, Jeanne Roberts, watched a goat show at the county fair, took a trip to the Opryland Hotel, and in addition, they always go out to eat in some unique place.   


Suzy says she enjoys Out-Of-Sight, because it is a place where you can literally meet people from around the world. She loves chatting, teasing, laughing, and learning about others in The Front Porch chat room. She has seen the site grow from a handful of people hosting events to a greater participation from members, and a greater diversity of games and events for all to enjoy.  Suzy concluded the interview by stating that she is very flattered and thankful for this honor. And, those of us at Out-Of-Sight are honored to have such a wonderful lady on the site!

If you would like to send Suzy a message of congratulations, or recommend someone for our June Member of the Month, please write to:


We look forward to your suggestions in selecting our next Out-Of-Sight Superstar! 



Event of the Month

Chain Reaction

By Charles Rivard


Quote That is the sound of the men workin’ on the . . . end quote, No, wait!  That is not right!


No, it is not one of Sam Cook’s musical hits!  It is great word fun, brought to us by Brenda every other Monday at 8:00 PM eastern, time in The Game Zone.  Come on in for some Chain Reaction!  You can be a member of the quote Chain Gang end quote that won’t make you sweat.  It is easy, and here’s how it works.


Two teams compete for high score.  Seven words make up a chain.  Let’s say that the top word is hot, and you are given the first letter of the second word, which is D.  The second word has something to do with hot and starts with D.  It could be dog.  If you guess correctly after your team discusses what they think it is, your team gets 2 points.  You keep control, and get to guess at the third word.  If you are wrong, the other team gets to try and guess it right.  They get 1 point if they are right, and they then get a try at the third word.  The first letter of the third word, is G.  What could it be?  The team that has control guesses, Guide, and is correct for 2 points.  And so it goes until the fifth word is revealed.  Now comes a challenge.  The team that has control is given the seventh word of the chain.  The sixth word has something in common with both the fifth and seventh word.  Without discussing what they think that sixth word is, they first decide whether they want to try guessing it without being given the first letter.  If they decide to do so, and get it right, they earn 3 points instead of 2.  Getting it wrong gives the other team control.  They are given the first letter and get 1 point if they get it right.  After all 7 words have been revealed the team in control gets to guess a bonus chain.  This is a 4 word chain.  The first and fourth words are given, along with the first letter of the second and third words.  They try to guess the 2 unknown words for a bonus.


The last chain is where the excitement really begins, if it hasn’t been enough yet!  This is a 20 word chain that is open to everyone.  No time limit.  The first word is given as well as the first letter of the second word.  Whoever gets the key guesses and gives their team’s captain’s name for identification.  If the first person who gets the key is right, that team gets 2 points.  After that, one point is given for a correct answer.  Then, the third word’s first letter is given, and play continues until the full chain is revealed.  High score wins.


If you think this sounds like fun, it is even more fun to play than it is to read about, so come on in and be a member of the quote Chain Gang end quote, on the 2nd and 4th Monday, at 8:00 PM eastern.



The Book Shelf


Do you love to curl up with a good book?  Been meaning to read that best seller?  Here are two of our book club selections.  They are to be read for our next book club meeting, which will be held, Friday, May 17, at 8:00 PM eastern, in the Library.  See you there!


Deadliest Sea:  The Untold Story Behind the Greatest Rescue in Coast Guard History

DB 73020

Author:  Kaylee Thompson

Reading Time:  11 Hours, 19 Minutes.

Read by Ray Childs

Genre:  Adventure and travel.

Details the March, 2008 Coast Guard rescue of 42 fishermen from the Bering Sea as their factory trawler, the Alaska Ranger, sank.  Describes the tactics of helicopter crews and rescue swimmers, who battled snow squalls, ocean swells, and gale force winds to save the shipwrecked men.  Some strong language.  2010.           

Download Deadliest sea: the untold story behind the greatest rescue in Coast Guard history


The Face of Deception

DB 49057

Author:  Iris Johansen

Reading Time:  11 Hours, 21 Minutes.

Read by Annie Wauters.

Genre:  Bestsellers and suspense fiction.

When the man who murdered Eve Duncan’s daughter was executed, Eve lost the chance to find her daughter’s body.  Now as a forensic sculptor, she reconstructs faces to identify juvenile skulls. When a billionaire wants to hire her to work on a mysterious adult skull, she reluctantly agrees.  Violence and strong language.  Bestseller, 1998         

Download The face of deception



A Seed is Planted

Vegetables that are Easy to Grow

By Karen Santiago


From Seeds:

  • Carrots

Find a plot of soil, or a deep pot that is free of rocks, and is able to handle this root vegetable. Carrots are ready to harvest when their tops breach the soil line.  Suggested types: Scarlet Nantes, Danvers Half Long, and Sweet Treat.


  • Green Beans

Although many varieties, try broad beans which are the easiest green beans to grow.  Suggested types: Kentucky Wonder and Contender.


  • Lettuce

Easy to grow and maintain from seeds.  Suggested Types: Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, and Rocket.


  • Cucumbers

A sprawling plant, so allow plenty of room to grow.  Suggested Types: Diva, Straight Eight, and Salad Bush Hybrid.


  • Spinach

You can continuously pick it once its leaves are of reasonable size, and it will encourage new growth.  Suggested Types: Renegade, Melody Hybrid, and Baby’s Leaf.


  • Radishes

Easy to grow from seeds, in early Spring and Fall.  Suggested Types: Cheriette, Cherry Belle, and Scarlet Globe.


From Starter Plants:

  • Tomatoes

Need little water and a lot of sun. You can plant cherry tomatoes in a large container and pick all summer long.  Suggested Types: Big Boy, Beef Steak, and Roma.


  • Bell Peppers

Try an assortment of colors; green, red, and yellow.  Suggested Types: California Wonder, Gypsy, and Big Bertha.

If you have a question about this section or would like a specific gardening topic covered, please email us at:




Dog Gone It

The Feeling of Freedom

By Charles Rivard


Last month, I described how a dog is selected to work with a blind traveler.  Let’s now go through the experience of meeting and starting to work with your, 4 on the floor, instead of using a stick shift!


You are a good cane traveler.  That swing to the right as you step with your left foot has always been there to alert you of something you might run into or encounter, such as a curb, pole, grass, or whatever might be there.  The cane has been your eyes.  Now, that cane is going to no longer be there.  You will be trusting your protection to an affectionate new family member.  A sighted guide who is not human!  Sound scary?  It might be, at first, but if this works for you, you will never want to go back to that stick anymore!


First off, let me say that my experiences have only been with Guide Dogs for the Blind, Inc., and there are differences if you attend other dog guide schools.  I will refer to the school from now on as GDB.


So, you arrive at the airport near the school, and an instructor will meet you and get you and your luggage to a small bus that can hold up to 9 passengers and their guides, but there are not any guides yet.  You might meet others who are in the same class.  Some, like you, are there for their first guide, while others are getting a dog for the second time, or later.  You ride to the school and arrive in time for dinner, which is a good thing, because the food is excellent!!  You will sit with 3 other students in the dining room, and will be eating with these 3 throughout the training.  An instructor might join you, or, during lunch, one of the other GDB staff members.  You will probably meet quite a few of them in this way, in a informal and relaxed atmosphere.  Come to think of it, the whole time you are there is that way.  The staff treats you as an adult, and they do not have the preconceived notions of how blind people are expected to be, nor do they demand that you be one of those blind people who they mold into what they think you should be.  You are there to get a Guide Dog, not to raise money for the organization or not to showcase the fact that you can do something.  The GDB staff does not treat you like a rehab councilor might.  Your goal and theirs is the same: for you to leave the school as part of a working team of human and dog, able to independently and successfully travel with confidence.


Shortly after arriving at GDB, you will, as a group, be given a tour of the dorm in which you will be living.  A new dorm has been built since I was at the school getting my fifth Guide Dog, so I can’t tell you about the dorm.


For the next few days, the instructors will be watching you as you travel through the dorm and around the campus with them.  You will begin learning the obedience commands you will be giving your dog and how to give them.  An instructor will take you for walks asking you about how hard of a pull you like, what pace is comfortable for you, trying to find the right feel as you travel.  This helps them choose the dog that will work with you the best.  You do not want a dog that is too big or small, too short or tall, runs or lags behind you.  You want a dog that pretty much matches your normal walking speed, and you want a dog that you can handle, rather than a dog that can handle you!  Accurate feedback from you will ensure success with your dog once you start working together.


The first Wednesday you are there is always an exciting day.  This is quote dog day end quote.  It seems to have taken forever, but today is the day!  All of the students wait in their room, and the instructors bring your dog to you on a leash!  You are introduced to each other, probably hand to nose!  You finally get to pet Your! Puppy!!  For the rest of that first afternoon, you get to relax with your new guide.  Keep in mind that this is a new experience for the dog, too.  Other than for short periods of time during the training, and from now on, you and your dog will be with each other all the time.  You learn to feed them and care for them.  This hairy bundle of love will now be an inseparable member of your family.  You and your dog will form a bond that neither will want to break.  You will trust your life to this dog, and this dog just might save your life some day by preventing you from being hit by a car, or the dog might guide you out of, or through a dangerous situation, and then, or when this happens, you will form an even stronger bond with this new sighted guide.  But for now, just spend some relaxing time with your dog, getting to know each other.  There is a comfortable rug for the dog to lay on, and there is a cable bolted to the wall that you connect the dog’s collar to.  This does give the dog enough room to maneuver, but ensures that your dog, who might be excited or might be nervous, does not run away from you.  The instructors are who your dog knows right now, as they have been working with your dog for the last few months on a regular basis.  Now, the dog will be your guide, not theirs, and the dog might be confused at first.  They wonder why their humans are not paying attention to them anymore like they were, and who is this new person, anyway?  So you have to let the dog know that everything is cool, you are their friend, they are going to be living in the dorm instead of in the kennel, and you are there for them.  The dog really will want to please you by working for you and with you.  You will learn how to tell them when they do something right and when they are doing something wrong and you will learn how to correct them.  You are the master, but you also will learn when to let the dog take the initiative and make the safe decisions.  It sounds like a lot, and the schedule is rigorous, but you and your dog will get through it, and you are about to embark on an awesome journey down the path to freedom.  Freedom you ask?  Absolutely!  You will find out tomorrow.


Thursday!  Your first walk together!  When using a cane, have you ever stepped off of a curb because the cane did not give you enough of a warning that it was there?  I will bet that you have not noticed that you have actually adjusted your pace to the length of your cane.  Unless you use a very long cane, you have slowed your pace to the point at which you will have enough time to react to feedback from the cane’s tip. When using a dog guide, this problem is eliminated.  The dog can see what is ahead for at least a block, and the dog makes the decision as to which is the best way to avoid an object before you get to it.  You might not even know that you went around that sign post or mailbox or trash dumpster that someone left in your path.  Your dog took you right around it without even breaking stride!  Think of it this way:  A dog guide is a sighted guide that woofs.  Ever notice that you can get from point A to point B more quickly if using a sighted guide than if you use your cane?  Well, you have now met your new sighted guide.  Your puppy!  That first walk with your Guide Dog is a feeling of freedom!  You may feel like you are blasting down a sidewalk, running like crazy!  To me, it was like water skiing!  You sure did get there quick!  You may feel unprotected on the right side; because you don’t get any feedback as to what’s ahead of you, and you are traveling so fast that you think you would not have time to react.  But when you make that first successful walk with your dog, it is such a smooth feeling with the wind in your hair, the dog pulling in the harness, and your instructor right there with you, encouraging you as you go, it just blows you away!  And the dog knows a job well done, too, because you give your dog praise for doing right.  This is a free and easy feeling that you just cannot get anywhere else!  Once you know that you can stride along without worrying about running into something, and that you can trust your dog’s guiding, you realize just how slowly you have been walking without realizing it.  And it only gets better from this point on! 


See you next month!



In My Opinion

Omniscience vs. Free Will

By Ashish Singla


Since the beginning of time man has acknowledged the presence of a higher power or God, which has resulted in numerous religions.  Religions have also been the single largest reason for world population to be divided since religions propagated different philosophies and practices. But one quality of God that all religions have accepted is Omniscience. All of them accept that God knows all. And there is nothing that is not known to Him. Another common preaching of all religions is the power of free will, if one does good, the result is good, whether you get these results in this life, after life, or next life is debatable. But, all religions agree that result of good actions is good and bad actions are bad.  Thinking about these two concepts more closely, they seem to be an oxymoron to me. God’s omniscience and man’s free will that is. Since omniscient is someone who knows all, He knows all past, present, and future. He knows all my actions and their results. He knows all my thoughts and intentions. And by this virtue He knows when will I do well, and when will I do badly. When my will power will sustain and when will it cave in.  If this were the case where is the room for free will? My free will is like the free will of a child who sits in the toy car of a merry-go-round. He thinks he is driving the car; making it go faster or slower but actually has absolutely no role to play. My thinking that my actions will give me good or bad results is a folly as one omniscient power would know the outcome even before I have decided to perform the action. If this be the case why did all the Sages, Saints, Prophets and the learned ones not tell us the fallacy of free will? Or was this what they wanted to communicate when they preached to just keep doing the actions and not worry about the results. Since I have no role to play in the results of my actions I should stop bothering and just keep doing what I wish. In fact what I think is my wish, is also known to Him and was destined to happen and so is not my wish at all.



More Things to Ponder

White Men Can't Jump?
By Charlie Richardson


The title of the 1992 movie came to mind while I was hosting Sort it out, played on the first Monday of the month at 9:15 PM Eastern.  One of the lists had a fact that there was one mammal that cannot jump.  It does not give us the answer, so after the game I had to look this fact up, and someone during the game did think it was an elephant and they would be right.  Elephants can move both forwards and backwards, but cannot trot, jump, or gallop. They use only two gaits when moving on land, the walk and a faster gait similar to running.  In walking, the legs act as pendulums, with the hips and shoulders rising and falling while the foot is planted on the ground.  With no aerial phase, the fast gait does not meet all the criteria of running, although the elephant uses its legs much like other running animals, with the hips and shoulders falling and then rising while the feet are on the ground.  Fast-moving elephants appear to 'run' with their front legs, but 'walk' with their hind legs and can reach a top speed of 11 mph.  At this speed, most other quadrupeds are well into a gallop, even accounting for leg length. Spring-like kinetics could explain the difference between the motion of elephants and other animals.  During locomotion, the cushion pads expand and contract, and reduce both the pain and noise that would come from a very heavy animal moving.  The previous facts of the elephant come from Wikipedia.com.



Flick, Swipe, and Tap

Top 10 Apps for the Visually Impaired


Apps Tell Blind People Clothing Colors and Currency Denominations By Andrew Leibs, About.com Guide

AppsApple TV commercials are so visually stunning they make the company's advancements in assistive technology all the more impressive. Products such as the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch are becoming increasingly accessible to blind and visually impaired users through screen-access technology (VoiceOver) and a magnification program (Zoom) built into the iOS operating system and a growing number of accessible apps.  Here are 10 mobile apps designed specifically to help the blind and visually impaired.

1. LookTel Money Reader
Apple iTunes The LookTel Money Reader ($1.99) recognizes US currency in standard denominations ($1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills) enabling blind and visually impaired people to quickly identify and count bills. Point the iPhone camera at any US bill and LookTel's object recognition technology via VoiceOver tells users the denomination in real time. Best to organize bills before hitting the nightclub; the app does not work as well in low light.

2. SayText
Apple iTunes StoreSayText (free), developed by Norfello Oy, scans text within any image, such as a medical form or restaurant menu, and reads it aloud. Center the document under the iPhone camera and double-tap the quote Take Picture end quote, button. Then raise it slowly. A beep indicates that the entire document is in the phone's frame. The app's Optical Character Recognition utility then scans the text. Tap the screen for status updates. When it is scanned,
swipe right on the screen to hear the document
3. Color Identifier
Apple iTunesGreenGar Studios' Color Identifier ($1.99) uses the iPhone camera to identify and speak color names aloud. Shades identified are specific to the point of annoyance (Paris Daisy, Moon Mist) for some users. The company makes a free app called Color ID Free that sticks to basic colors. Blind people will never wear mix matched socks or the wrong shirt again. An interesting offshoot is using the app to distinguish shades of sky, enabling one to experience sunsets or gauge possible weather changes.

4. TalkingTag LV
Apple iTunesTalkingTagT LV ($9.99) from TalkingTag enables blind people to label everyday items with special coded stickers. Users scan each sticker with the iPhone camera and record and replay via Voiceover up to a 1-minute audio message identifying what is being labeled. The app is ideal for organizing a DVD collection, locating boxes during a move, or picking the right jelly jar from the refrigerator. Stickers can be erased and recorded over.

5. Learning Ally
Apple iTunes The Learning Ally app ($19.99) provides access to Learning Ally's library of more than 70,000 audiobooks is considered the best source for K-12 and college-level textbooks. Users can download and play on all iOS devices. A Learning Ally membership is required and costs $99. Persons with visual and learning disabilities can seek reimbursement from their school. Readers navigate DAISY books by page number and chapter, can adjust playback speed, and place electronic bookmarks throughout the text.  Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic became Learning Ally in April 2011.

6. Visible Braille
Apple iTunesVisible Braille ($3.99) from Mindwarrior is a tutorial for self-paced Braille instruction. It translates English letters and words into the six-dot cells of the characters comprising the braille alphabet.  Users can store the side-by-side images. The app teaches letters, words, and contractions and has built-in quizzes and a Help section to reinforce learning.

7. Navigon MobileNavigator North America
Apple iTunesNAVIGON's MobileNavigator North America ($44.99) transforms the iPhone into a fully functional mobile navigation system that uses the latest NAVTEQ map material. The app offers text-to-speech voice guidance, enhanced pedestrian navigation, a turn-by-turn RouteList, location sharing via email, and a Take Me Home function. It also provides direct access and navigation to iPhone address book contacts.  Navigation is automatically resumed after an incoming phone call.

8. Big Clock
The Coding Monkeys' Big Clock HD app ($0.99) is a must for visually impaired travelers. Just double tap to rotate iPad orientation to landscape view and set it atop a hotel room TV or table.  You will be able to read it with a glance while lying in bed. The clock displays time and date in the region format and language the device is set to. The app prevents devices from auto-locking when displaying the time.

9. The Talking Calculator
Adam CroserThis easy-to-read app calculator ($0.99) speaks button names, numbers, and answers aloud through a customizable built-in directory that lets users record their own voice. Button names are spoken as your finger moves over the screen. Double tapping activates enters buttons. The calculator also has a high-contrast display mode to enhance visibility.  Developer Adam Croser also makes the Talking Scientific Calculator app.

10. iBlink Radio
Apple iTunesSerotek Corporation's iBlink Radio was the first application promoting the digital lifestyle among the visually impaired, providing access to community web radio stations with formats spanning every genre.  The iBlink network also offers radio reading services (USA Today, the New York Times, among hundreds), and podcasts covering assistive technology, independent living, travel, and more. The app's latest player toolbars simplifies navigation.



Healthy Choice, Healthy Living

The Importance of Water

By Lawrence MacLellan


Hello, everyone!  This month I will talk a little bit more about the importance of water. It is often a topic that stirs up a lot of controversy, because some people say they drink enough water, or explain that they get enough water through drinking coffee, soda, or alcohol. Some research shows that water is in these products, but many of these studies are sponsored by the particular beverage companies involved. The bottom line is, that you have to check how you, yourself are doing. Do you find yourself being dehydrated at times?   


Now, the type of dehydration I am talking about with water, is on a cellular level. You have 50 plus trillion cells in your body, and those cells die off and new ones are produced. These cells also give off toxins, and have to be eliminated from the body.  When you can hydrate a cell, you can return that cell to a normal function. Your cells make up who you are.  Every body part, organs, glands, joints, etc., so when you are dehydrated, it shows up in different parts of the body. So, for instance, in a joint, it may show up as inflammation or arthritis.  Or, it could manifest as an organ or gland function problem.  A system of the body may be disturbed as well, or a person may experience headaches.  It is difficult to measure on a cellular level whether or not you are hydrated, so a good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day.  Remember, if you are on medication that restricts fluids, please consult your doctor.  What will happen when you begin getting enough water is, you start getting some things back, such as your thirst mechanism, pain signal, fatigue signal, and your energy level will improve as well.  If there is a short period of time where you do not drink enough, this will not cause a major problem.  But, over time, the dehydration will add up.  The signals of dehydration begin to fade when your body does not get enough water for long periods of time.  When you are drinking enough water, you will notice results! That is why I always start with hydration and taking in enough water as the first area to look at when correcting some problems you may be experiencing.  As a side note, I would like to mention, that when you are drinking enough water, do not avoid salt completely. This is normally not an issue as most of us get plenty of salt, or even too much salt each day. But, if you are eating really clean and on a low sodium diet, be careful to make sure your body is getting enough salt, as salt helps you to hydrate.  Your body must retain a certain amount of salt so that your cells, on a cellular level, can get the hydration they need.         


To begin drinking enough water each day, drink a few glasses, and then, increase that by one glass, each one or two days until you reach your goal.  Make drinking enough water a habit each day!  You will notice that you feel better, your skin is clearer and you have better digestion, less pain, and more energy as well.  For all of these reasons and more, I choose hydration as the first topic to become educated about when making a change to live a healthier lifestyle.  To coincide with this, I would suggest reading the book titled, quote Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, end quote, by Fereydoon Batmanghelidj. He has also written other books on hydration, which are also very enlightening.  So, with that, I wish you good luck! Make a concerted effort to increase your intake of water each day, and give it some time.  In a week or two, you will notice some improvements in how you feel.  Your health is your responsibility, so take on this challenge today, and start making a difference in your life, one healthy choice at a time!

If you have any questions for Lawrence, or would like a certain topic covered, please write to:


Each month, an MP3 of this section will be available, so that you may keep an audio reference of the advice given by Lawrence in this section.  Here is the download link:




The Recipe Box

Fudge Crinkles

By Suzy Barnes


This is a great 4 ingredient cake mix cookie.  These are chewy, fudgy, SUPER EASY cookies that you can have ready in 15 minutes.



1, 18 ¼ box Devil’s Food Cake Mix

½ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

Confectioner’s sugar



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir, by hand, dry cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl until dough forms.  Dust hands with Confectioner’s Sugar, and shape dough into 1 inch balls.  Roll the balls in Confectioner’s Sugar, and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until the center of cookie is just barely set.  Remove from the cookie sheets after about 1 minute or so, and cool on wire racks.  Note:  If you like lemon, use lemon cake mix       



Dear Betty Blunt


Please note:

This submission is not to be taken seriously.  It is just for fun! If you would like to submit a question for Miss Betty Blunt to answer, please write to:


She may or may not answer your question seriously, and she may or may not give you the answer you were hoping for, but one thing is for sure, you will get a good laugh out of her witty, bold, and blunt advice.  She will often make comments that we all wish we could say, but are just too afraid to make.                    So, send in your questions, and let us see if she can help you with your relationship issues.  If you wish, your initials, city, and state will be altered to conceal your identity. 


Dear Betty Blunt,


My husband is consumed with golf. Now that we have nice weather, he will always be on the golf course and traveling with his friends to out of town golf games.  I tried to play the game, but it absolutely drives me mad. I hate it.  So, I cannot bear having my husband away, and us not doing things together, and at the same time, I cannot see myself sucking it up and playing golf with him.  During golf season, he is so busy that we do not have much time to spend with one another.  So, please help me out and offer me a, hole in one solution to my problem.


Gertrude Sutherland
Niagara Falls, NY


Dear Third Wheel,

We all have a particular hobby that no one cares about or understands but us!  Mine is watching those reality housewife shows and following their every move on twitter.  Your husbands is the most predictable hobby that men claim to quote enjoy end quote, Golf!  I would rather watch paint dry! You have two options.  If you are attached at the hip, feel free to ride along in the golf cart, pack snacks, and read your favorite book.  Or, you can do what I do, and head to the nail salon every time he goes golfing, and make him pay for your mani and pedi!  Now, that is a hole in one!






Hot Links

Submitted by Debi Chatfield


Each month, we will showcase 5 blindness related websites that we hope will be useful to you.  If you have any suggestions for this section, please write to:



  1. Braille T-Shirts



2.  LookTel – Instant Recognition Apps



3.  MaxiAids – Products for Independent Living



  1. Perkins School for the Blind



  1. RS Games – Accessible games, products, and software




Think Tank

By Charles Rivard and Mike


Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to last month’s brain teasers.  Many of you were very close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.!  Just kidding!  It is apparent that this month many of you had your thinking caps on!  So, congratulations go out to Ashish Singla, Charlie Richardson, Roger Khouri, and Lee Smiley for answering both brain teasers correctly!


Applause also goes out to Ana Jacob, Charles Rivard, Karen Santiago, Kerri Giesbrecht, and Letitia Bouwer for figuring out that the bus driver was you, the reader!  Smile! 


Here were the April brain teasers and their answers:

  1. During the latest round of the BrainBashers triathlon, Keith was fourth.  Adrian is not the oldest, but is older than Duncan, who was not second.  The child who was next in age to the youngest, finished second. The child who finished in third place is older than the child who finished first.  Billy is younger than the child who finished in third place.  Can you determine who finished where, and place the children in order of age?


Duncan is the youngest

Billy is the next to youngest

Adrian is the next to oldest

Keith is the oldest


  1. You are the bus driver. At your first stop, you pick up 29 people. On your second stop, 18 of those 29 people get off, and at the same time 10 new passengers arrive. At your next stop, 3 of those 10 passengers get off, and 13 new passengers come on. On your fourth stop 4 of the remaining 10 passengers get off, 6 of those new 13 passengers get off as well, then 17 new passengers get on. What is the color of the bus driver's eyes?



You are the bus driver, so the color is your eye color!


Now, for our super duper May brain teasers!  Can you solve these?  Let’s see who thinks they are smarter than a fifth grader!


1.       If you are in a dark room with a candle, a wood stove, and a gas lamp, and you only have one match, what do you light first?

2.       An ameba reproduces by splitting in half, becoming 2.  They divide in the same manner, each growing another half to make those 2 into 4.  Those 4 become 8, and so on.  This happens once an hour.  It will take 354 days to fill a 5 gallon tank with ameba.  How long will it take to fill a 20-gallon tank?

Please submit the answers to these brain teasers to:


We will let you know if you are correct, and if so, we will publish your name in the June newsletter. Have fun trying to solve these puzzles!



Who Wants to be a Millionaire

Wall of Fame

By Charlie Richardson


Our first game of Who Wants to be a millionaire had 5 contestants in the hot seat and no millionaires as of yet.  Charles was going for a 64k question when he used his Double Dip lifeline and missed finishing with 32,000.  Burying saint statues in your yard for luck… who would have thunk.  Loren was up next and got tripped up on not knowing that Susan Powder's book was called Stop the Insanity before making it to the 1000 point milestone.  Better luck next time.  Michael Capelle was up next, and though A Night to Remember sounds like it would be a good title for a sequel to night of the Living Dead, it was his 2000 point question and incorrect it left him with 1000 points at the end of his turn.  Ron Nurse was warned that his 2000 point question looked tricky.  It was tricky, as Ron picked Frostbite Falls as the place Bullwinkle’s arch enemies were from, when it was indeed Potsylvania.  Our final contestant was Pinkalicious who was going for her 16k question and took a shot at Panama for the country that Daniel Ortega was president of.  She was probably thinking, as I did when I first saw that question, of Manuel Noriega.  Join us on May 20 at 9:15 PM eastern, for our next installment of Who Wants to be a millionaire.  Cheer on the contestants, help out by being a lifeline or jump in the hot seat yourself.



Did You Know?

Spic and Span

By Katie Chandler


This household cleaner was originally invented by two Michigan housewives back in 1933. They named their invention, Spick and Span, but left off the letter K when the product was marketed.  Originally, the phrase, Spick and Span was a British idiom.  A span was a wood shaving.  If something was newly built, it would have tell-tale wood chips, so it was span new.  The term spick is an old word for a nail or spike.  New spicks or nails would be shiny, and so therefore, the phrase meant neat and clean and all in place—as in all tied down.  Today, the phrase means that everything is all neat and tidy.



Words to Live By

Submitted by Karen Santiago


A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

Washington Irving



A Round of Applause

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!


Oosabell’s List


No, this is not Craig’s List, but it is the next best thing!  If you have something to sell, send us your ad, and we will post it, as long as there is space available in the newsletter.  Send your ads to:



  • Hello folks.  This is Paul from Baltimore wondering that, if anyone who receives this publication is going to be at the PA Lions Beacon Lodge Camp this year from July 6-16.

If you will be there please contact me, as I don't necessarily wish to be in a place with total strangers.  Contact me privately at:


      Thanks in advance for any contacts.




What is Happening on Out-Of-Sight?


If you would like to receive our daily announcements and schedule of events, please select the following email link.



That is all there is to it!  You should receive a daily announcement from us within 24 hours. These announcements not only highlight the schedule of the day, they provide important information about any cancellations, new events, or special messages from our hosts or board members. Stay informed with our daily announcement!


Stay tuned for our monthly newsletter, which will be distributed on the first of every month.  We look forward to your input and suggestions for future newsletters.  Please submit your questions, comments, or article submissions to




Debi Chatfield



Catch the vision--it is Out of Sight!