Greetings from Our President
Word on the Street
Guess Who Took Another Trip Around the Sun
Our Out-Of-Sight Superstar
On Stage – An Intimate Little Theater
The Bookshelf – 2 Selections
On Your Own – Facts and Statistics
In the News - Talking TV Channel Guide
Geek Gossip – Getting Started with Audacity
Another Milestone - Blind Motorcyclist Breaks Record
Healthy Choice, Healthy Living – Stress
In My Opinion - Top 10 Advantages of Dating Sighted and Blind People
Taking a Vacation? – Visit the White House
Adventure – Blind Navy Veteran Kayaks
The Argus – Helps Blind People See Shapes and Colors
Come Join Our Fall Auction – September 21st
And, the Winner Is
The Recipe Box – Magic Cookie Bars
Dear Betty Blunt
Did You Know? – Birthstones
Words to Live By
A Round of Applause
What is Happening on Out-Of-Sight
Here we are again thanks to various contributors with another edition of the news letter packed with interesting articles and information for all of us to enjoy.
Another month has brought us new Additions to the site in the way of members, games, event hosts and delightful presentations.
Each of you continues to make Out-Of-Sight the place to come and enjoy meeting new people and forging friendships that will last a life time.
Remember to mark your calendar for our annual fall auction and raffle that will be taking place later this month on September 21st at 3:00 PM eastern. There are several items and goodies for you to consider bidding upon and I am looking forward to seeing all of you there. Note the details concerning this event are further down in the news letter.
And as always, if you think of anything else you would like to see in this format, be sure to let us know by writing to us at the below email address.
To navigate quickly to the different articles in this newsletter using JAWS, System Access, or Window Eyes, press the letter H to move through the headings. For MAC users, press Control Option Command plus the letter H.
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:
Help us celebrate our September birthdays:
By Karen Santiago
Thanks to everyone who wrote in with your suggestions about who should be our Member of the Month for September! 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. Keep those submissions coming, because we recognize a member for each month. So, without further ado:
Congratulations to Mike Everett for becoming our September Member of the Month! Now, here is a bit more about our friend, Mike.
I had a great time interviewing our September
member of the month, Mike Everett. Mike has lived in
In his earlier years, Mike lived near the
In 1984 the
In 1988 Mike had cataract surgery and it greatly improved his vision. Two years later Mike started working for Stanadyne automotive corporation, a manufacturing company of diesel parts. He started on the 2nd shift, 3:30 – 12:00, which was difficult when arranging rides. Finally after two years of second shift, he was moved to first shift. Some of his jobs included working on an antifreeze recycling machine, dye casting molds, machine shop, fuel pumps, production line, , and training new employees. Due to the cataract surgery, his eyes were extremely sensitive to light. He suffered from macularedema; blisters forming on the retina. The company tried to accommodate his needs, but it was difficult since he moved from one department to the next. After five years, Mike decided it would be best for the health of his eyes to leave, and he did.
In February 1995, Mike’s mother became ill and suddenly passed away. This was a great shock to Mike and his father. It took quite some time for the both of them to adjust, as anyone could imagine. Mike is a Christian, and is a firm believer in his faith and that is how he was able to cope and move on. It was his faith that would have to be called upon again in late 1999, when his father suffered a heart attack and needed bypass surgery. Mike’s dad had several other complications while in the hospital for 51 days, and Mike is truly grateful for his father’s recovery.
Currently, Mike maintains some parts of the lawn, the house, and the behind -the -scenes of the auto body shop and car lot. For instance, he is in charge of advertising, ordering parts, handling calls, e bay, just to name a few.
It was his sister that got Mike involved in computers. She introduced him to text chat, the in thing back then. After acquiring a computer and JAWS, Mike continuously listened to the trainings till he got a headache. He was introduced to FTP, Audio Tips, and Out-Of-Sight, by friends. As you all know, Mike is a host of Technically Speaking, where he gives computer advice. Mike likes going to games and chat rooms where he meets people from all over the world. He especially likes the Book Club, Blind Handyman, and The Learning Center.
Here are two things that Mike said during the closing of our interview; do not limit yourself and become more independent, the technology is out there. His final question to me was if I wanted to know his real name. He told me it was Fred, who knew?
If you would like to send Mike a message of congratulations, or recommend someone for our October Member of the Month, please write to:
We look forward to your suggestions in selecting our next Out-Of-Sight Superstar!
By Joe Giovanelli
Not long ago I had some free time so I wandered into a small but well-appointed theater. The seats were very comfortable and the temperature was just about right. A music show was getting ready to start. From what I could see, there were about 25 to 30 people in the room. One man had a guitar. A lady had a few sheets of paper which I guess she planned to read from. There was a grand piano on the stage.
The room got very quiet and the host stepped to the mike and introduced the first performer. He sang a good old country tune. You should have heard the applause he received. The next person went to a keyboard he'd previously set up and played an energetic rock tune which sounded like Jimmy Hendricks. He got lots of cheers after that was over. A rather shy lady stepped to the mike holding a flute. She played a beautiful piece of classical music to the accompaniment of a recorded music track. What a hand she got!
The evening was just getting started and we already had three different musical styles. The audience appreciated each one's performance. Another guy went to the grand piano and played some pretty advanced jazz. As before, the clapping was almost deafening. As the evening progressed, I heard singers and musicians with various skill levels, but regardless of that, each received thunderous applause. I'm looking forward to the next music show in that small, intimate theater.
Would you like to come to the next performance? Well, you can! All you need to do is check the daily schedule for Out-Of-Sight, and you will see that the next time the little theater will open is next Saturday at 8:00 PM eastern. Follow the crowd to the On Stage room and get there early so you can get a good seat. See you there!
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, September 20, at 8:00 PM eastern, in the Library. See you there!
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Reading Time: 10 hours, 1 minute
Read by Madelyn Buzzard
Concerned by something she discovered at her family’s furniture business, Kate Connelly asks former employee Gus Schmidt to join her there in the predawn hours. But, the building explodes as they enter, killing Gus and leaving Kate comatose—and the prime suspect in an insurance scam. Some violence. Bestseller 2013.
Author: Robert Galbraith
Reading Time: 15 hours, 56 minutes
Read by Robert Glenister
Mystery and Detective Stories
J.K. Rowling writing as Robert
Galbraith. Private detective Cormoran
Strike is down on his luck. He lost a
By Karen Santiago
Levels of Visual Function:
There are four levels of visual function, according to the International Classification of Diseases;
Moderate visual impairment combined with severe visual impairment are grouped under the term low vision: low vision taken together with blindness represents all visual impairment.
The federal statute states that blindness means central vision acuity (clearness of vision) of 20/200 in the more functioning eye with the use of corrective lens. Simply put, individuals who are incapable of reading the largest letter on an eye chart even while wearing corrective lens are deemed legally blind by the government.
Causes of Visual Impairments:
Globally the major causes of visual impairment are:
all statistics on blindness are estimates, which mean that the numbers found in
a sample are extrapolated to the entire population.
Children: under age 15
An estimated 19 million children are visually impaired. Of these, 12 million children are visually impaired due to refractive errors, a condition that could be easily diagnosed and corrected. 1.4 million are irreversibly blind for the rest of their lives.
Blindness among Children through age 21 (2012):
· By reporting agency
· Reported by state departments of education: 49,794 (84.1%)
· Reported by residential schools for the blind: 4,859 (8.2%)
· Reported by rehabilitation programs: 3,301 (5.6%)
· Reported by multiple disability programs: 1,239 (2.1%)
· By primary reading medium
· Braille readers: 5,186 (8.8%)
· Print readers: 16,635 (28.1%)
· Auditory readers: 4,728 (8.0%)
· Non-readers: 20,361 (34.4%)
· Pre-readers: 12,283 (20.7%)
Education attainment 21 – 64 (2011):
· Less than high school graduation: 4,232,100
· High school diploma or a GED: 1,061,600
· Some college education/associates degree: 939,700
· Bachelor's degree or higher: 374,400
Adults: age 55 and over
About 65 % of all people who are visually impaired are aged 50 and older, while this age group comprises about 20 % of the world's population. With an increasing elderly population in many countries, more people will be at risk of age-related visual impairment.
Income Status, 2011:
· Median Annual Earnings: $33,200
· Median Annual Household Income: $32,600
· Number living below the poverty line: 1,002,700 (31.0%)
Supplemental Security Income 21 - 64:
received SSI benefits in 2011 was 604,700 (18.7%).
Braille is a strategy that enables the blind to read and write. Through the use of Braille and technology there are several employment opportunities that are available to blind people. Blind people have been successful in the field of accounting, law, customer service, travel, stock brokerage, electrical engineering, teaching, and more.
Employment 21 - 64( 2011):
Therefore, for working age adults reporting significant vision loss, only 36.8% were employed.
Global response to the Prevention of Blindness:
Globally, 80% of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured. Areas of progress over the last 20 years include:
Data over the last 20 years shows that there has been significant progress in preventing and curing visual impairment in many countries. Furthermore, there has been a massive reduction in onchocerciasis-related blindness as part of a significant reduction in the disease. This has been achieved through a number of successful international partnerships.
Its role is to:
the World Health Organization (WHO) approved the 2009-13 Action Plan for the Prevention of Avoidable Blindness and
Visual Impairment, a roadmap for
WHO works to strengthen national and country-level efforts to eliminate avoidable blindness, help national health care providers treat eye diseases, expand access to eye health services, and increase rehabilitation for people with residual visual impairment. Building and strengthening health systems is a particular area of focus.
WHO leads an international alliance of governments, private sector and civil society organizations aiming to eliminate blinding trachoma from the world by the year 2020.
For the last ten years WHO has worked with the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness in the global initiative "Vision 2020: the Right to Sight".
Since 2004, WHO in partnership with Lions Clubs International has established a global network of 35 childhood blindness centers in 30 countries for the preservation, restoration or rehabilitation of sight in children.
In response to the increasing burden of chronic eye disease WHO is now developing policies and guidelines for diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and refractive errors.
Finally, to support comprehensive eye care systems, WHO provides epidemiologic and public health technical support to its Member States.
If you have a question about this section or would like a specific topic covered, please email us at:
Submitted by Debi Chatfield
Reprinted from the
How does a blind person find what to watch on a TV with 200 channels and 46,000 video-on-demand choices of movies, shows, and clips? Tom Wlodkowski, a blind executive at Comcast Corp., thinks he has the answer: a talking TV channel guide. No joke.
Quote, The television is not strictly as visual
a medium as you might think, end quote, said David Goldfield, a computer
technology instructor at the Associated Services for the Blind and Visually
Impaired. Quote, Radio drama in the
Comcast also market-tested the guide with 20 average-Joe-type sight-impaired individuals in
This is part of a year-old project at Comcast to make the company's products more accessible to customers with disabilities. Wlodkowski has an accessibility team and will soon have a lab in the
Comcast is not doing this just to reach out to the nation's 1.3 million blind individuals who fear being left behind as popular culture and media go digital on the Internet and TV. The Twenty-First Century Communications and Accessibility Act of 2010, passed on the 20-year anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act, is forcing technology companies to integrate accessibility functions into products. It's believed that, in three years, talking interfaces will have to come with TV products.
Wlodkowski thinks he also can drive business. People with disabilities account for $200 billion in discretionary spending power, and catering to their needs, he believes, can boost brand loyalty. Quote, We will meet the requirements of the law, but we also believe there can be innovation, end quote, he said. Wlodkowski is looking to develop products that could help older Americans, quote, age in place, end quote, through the Xfinity home products, which now include home security.
Generally, technology companies - with the exception of Apple Inc. -have received poor marks in the selling of blind-friendly products. Quote, We see it as a civil right, and we see manufacturers embracing accessibility way too slowly, end quote, Lauren McLarney, government affairs specialist at the National Federation of the Blind, said of consumer electronics and technology companies. Comcast's talking guide sounds, quote, worthwhile, end quote, but she hasn't seen it. The association offers a channel guide by zip code called newsline that last year was accessed 600,000 times. Before the talking guide, Wlodkowski said, he would have to recognize Matt Lauer's voice at NBC or Anderson Cooper on CNN. He also memorized channel numbers. But most times, he had no idea what was on the channel. Quote, The only way I could navigate TV before, end quote, Wlodkowski said, "was to go up and down the channels and listen until I found something that I liked. End quote. Recently, he was fiddling with a talking TV guide and stumbled on Brady Bunch reruns. Quote, They still syndicate that? Wow, end quote, he said.
Formerly with AOL Inc., Wlodkowski is the vice president of accessibility and said his team at Comcast had four goals:
* To seek information from disabled customers about what they need and how they interact with Comcast's products.
* To integrate functionality into products so they can be more easily used by disabled subscribers.
* To introduce specific products, such as the
* To enhance customer service for disabled subscribers.
Wlodkowski, who was born blind, was raised in
One challenging experience in
By Rich De Steno
Audacity is a free powerful multi-track audio recorder and editor for Windows or the Mac. This article will focus on its basic functions in the Windows environment. David Bailes has written an excellent guide for use of Audacity with Jaws, although it really applies to use with any screen-reader. You can download a zip file of Audacity Version 2.0.3, its special Lame MP3 encoder, and the David Bailes guide from my dropbox with the following link:
After you install Audacity, you should also install its special Lame MP3 encoder so that you will be able to save files in the MP3 format. To make a voice recording, first plug a microphone into your computer and make sure your sound card is set to microphone, and not line-in. Press r for record and speak. You may pause recording by pressing p for pause. To end the recording, press the space bar. Press space bar again to hear the recording. If the volume of the recording is too low or high, you can adjust the input and output by pressing control-F6 twice to get to the Transport Tool Bar and tabbing over to the mixer slider out and input and adjusting the percentage numbers. The input will affect the volume of future recordings. Press control-F6 again to exit that tool bar. To adjust the volume of the recording you just made, press control-a to select the entire recording, press alt-c to get to the Effects menu, arrow down once to Amplification, and press Enter to accept the suggested adjustment in volume. This will adjust the volume to peak level without distortion. To save the recording, press alt-f for the file menu, arrow down to Export, and press Enter. Type in a path and file name and tab over to select a format, such as wav or MP3. If you choose MP3, you should tab over to Options and choose a bit rate. Tab over to Save and press Enter. A screen will come up enabling you to enter file tag information, such as a title and artist. Press Enter to exit this file tag screen. The same procedure applies to line-in recordings once you change your computer's audio input to line-in. Line-in recordings would enable you to, for example, record old cassettes and save them in MP3.
Audacity is capable of making professional-sounding multi-track recordings. Let us say you make a recording of you singing a line of a song. It is fairly simple to record a second track over that recording of you singing harmony with yourself. Similarly, you may want to record yourself singing over a karaoke music background. To sing over a karaoke track, press control-o to open the karaoke file. Once it is loaded into Audacity, it becomes your first track, similar to the above example of singing a line of music.
Use headphones for this procedure. With the first track loaded into Audacity, press r to begin recording a second track. You will hear the first track played through your headphones, so you will know exactly when to sing the second track. When you are finished, press the space bar to stop.
You now have a two-track recording, but you will probably want to balance the volume of the two tracks to get the most desirable mix. You can work on each track individually to adjust volume or apply other effects. Press the up and down arrows to hear if either or both tracks are selected. To toggle a track between selected and unselected, press Enter on the track. To work on one of the two tracks, make sure it is selected and that the other track is unselected. To adjust the volume of the selected track,, focus on that track, press the home key, and then press shift-end key to work on that entire track. Now you may adjust the volume of that track by pressing alt-c for the Effects menu, arrowing down once to Amplify and pressing Enter, and typing in a positive number or a negative number and pressing Enter to raise or lower the volume of that track, respectively.
Once you are satisfied with the mix, you should save this two-track recording as a Project in the file menu. This enables you to retrieve it at a later date if you decide that you want to make further adjustments to individual tracks. If you want to save the two-track recording as a wav or MP3 file, follow the instructions described above for exporting a file to wav or MP3.
Audacity has a multitude of other functions and capabilities, such as using effects like noise reduction, applying reverb, compressing the sound, fading in and out, and many others, all of which is beyond the scope of this article. The David Bailes guide referred to above is an excellent means of learning much more about the program and its use
with a screen-reader. Good luck and have fun with Audacity.
Submitted by Roger Khouri
By Nicole Le Marie
Every corner is a blind bend for this motorcyclist.
But Stuart Gunns inability to see where he’s going has not prevented him from setting a new world speed record.
He became the fastest blind and disabled biker on the planet after hitting 167.1mph on Saturday.
His father, Geoff, rides alongside him and uses an intercom system to tell him if he is drifting off course or needs to brake.
‘I hope this proves to people that just
because you are blind or have a disability, does not mean it should change. or
limit your life, said Stuart, from
The 39-year-old broke his back in two places, shattered several ribs and his shoulder and was paralyzed across the right side of his body in a horror road accident 11 years ago.
But he fought back to regain some feeling in his right arm and eventually conquered the challenge of climbing back on his bike.
Mr Gunn battled crosswinds to beat the
previous fastest time of 164mph at Elvington Airfield in
Quote, I am absolutely ecstatic and I do not think the news has quite sunk in, end quote he said.
Hello everyone! The topic for this month is stress. Managing our stress is very critical for staying healthy. It is just as important as the other topics I have covered in recent months. It is helpful to take a look at ourselves. Figure out what we think about how we are doing. Too often, blind people have been exposed to lots of negativity from their friends, family, and society in general. Many of us place limitations on ourselves based on these negative comments, and all of this can cause a lot of stress.
There is a lot of information about stress, especially on the internet. I have included a link below, which has information about meditation, relaxation, and other such related topics, that I think would be helpful for you. Check out the following link:
Recognizing that you are stressed, is the first step in the process of stress management. This could be, realizing that you are not sleeping well, being irritable, gaining weight, suffering from headaches, experiencing digestive problems, or a whole host of other issues. So, first, identify if you are feeling stressed. Then, ask yourself what you can do about it? For example, is the stress you are feeling self inflicted? Meaning, are you getting enough sleep? Drinking enough water? Drinking too much alcohol or coffee? Are you upset with someone and cannot forgive them? Are you eating right? Eating too much junk food? Some of our stress levels are caused by our own habits, so we have to be careful and try to minimize these as much as possible. It is also a good idea to talk to someone about how we are feeling. Sometimes, we take on more duties than we realize, and this can be overwhelming, too.
Another way to manage your stress, is to make a schedule for yourself. In your schedule, plan for some activities that you enjoy and look forward to attending. This could be as simple as having dinner with a friend. Or, it may be getting back into that hobby that you used to do so long ago. Relax, take some time for yourself, and start releasing some of the stressers that are in your life. Adopt the glass is half full kind of attitude. Remember, your health is your responsibility, so, make one healthy choice at a time!
If you have any
month, an MP3 of this section will be available, so that you may keep an audio
reference of the advice given by
Submitted by Roger Khouri
By Priscilla McKinley
Dating a sighted person means having a sighted guide when some idiot smashes
into you and breaks your cane on your way to class. Dating a blind person means
having a spare cane when some idiot smashes into you and breaks your cane on
your way to class.
9. Dating a sighted person means having someone to keep you from kissing a nose instead of the lips. Dating a blind person means not caring if you give or get a kiss on the nose instead of the lips.
8. Dating a sighted person means being able to take drives in the country on weekends. Dating a blind person means being able to have private NFB conventions on weekends.
7. Dating a sighted person means having someone to blame when you run into each other in the hall. Dating a blind person means it's no ones fault when you run into each other in the hall.
6. Dating a sighted person means having someone to describe what is going on during the silent moments of a movie. Dating a blind person means having time to get popcorn. Or go to the bathroom during the silent moments of a movie.
5. Dating a sighted person means knowing who is going to drive on your next date. Dating a blind person means knowing you are going to take the bus on your next date.
4. Dating a sighted person means having someone to tell you if your socks match. Dating a blind person means having someone else remember if you cut your tag out of your orange or purple shirt.
3. Dating a sighted person means someone telling you when you have a piece of broccoli stuck between your two front teeth. Dating a blind person means no one noticing when you have a piece of broccoli stuck between your two front teeth.
2. Dating a sighted person means being able to ask questions like, What is the expiration date on this milk? And, Does this look infected? Dating a blind person means being able to ask questions like, What is the Braille symbol for S-I-O-N? And, Does this feel swollen?
Okay! Okay! Hold on! I am not going to give you the number one advantage for dating sighted and blind persons, at least not until you hear me out. And, do not cheat by skipping ahead, for I have some important things to say hereReally!
As students, many of you have dated, are dating, or at least would like to date. Some of you may have pondered the questions about whether or not to date a sighted or a blind person, as I have in the past. Sometimes, I thought it would be easier to date a blind person. Someone who could understand the challenges blind people face on a daily basis. Other times, I thought it would be easier to date a sighted person. Someone who could alleviate some of the challenges that go along with blindness, But then, when in a relationship with a sighted person, I would start questioning why I was with this person, and why he was with me. Is he with me, because he likes to play the protector? Is he with me because he has low self esteem and does not think he can get a sighted person? Am am I with him because it is nice to have someone to drive me places when I'm in a hurry, or read the paper when Newsline® breaks down? Am I with this person because I am afraid to be alone?
When in a relationship with a blind person, I found myself asking similar types of questions. Do we have anything in common besides our blindness? Am I in this relationship because I do not think a sighted person could accept my blindness? If I stay in this relationship, how are we going to manage as a blind couple?
There are many reasons why people enter into relationships with others, and we as blind students are just as likely to enter into relationships for the wrong reasons. However, we can make this less likely by possessing self-confidence and good blindness skills. For example, I will not be as likely to get into a relationship of dependency on a sighted person if I have access to readers, have good Braille and cane travel skills, and know the city bus schedule like the back of my hand. Likewise, I will not be as likely to enter into a relationship of safety with a blind person if I have the self-confidence to be blind on my own.
In other words, as in any relationship, you have to be happy with yourself before you can make another person happy. The better your blindness skills, the less your blindness becomes an issue in any relationship. Both sighted and blind persons will respect you more if you have self-confidence and good blindness skills, And is not that
what Doctor Jernigan, Doctor Maurer, and our other mentors from the National Federation of the Blind have been telling us for years? It is respectable to be blind. It is respectable to be blind. It is respectable to be blind. If you keep telling yourself this, you will start to believe it. If you believe it, you will start to live it, which will positively affect your relationships with both the sighted and the blind.
It is important for all of us as blind individuals to analyze our relationships. I am not saying you should get out a microscope and examine each and every move you and your partner make, but you should ask yourself the following questions:
1. Would you still be interested in this person if the status of his or her sight changed? In other words, if dating a sighted person, would you still be interested if he or she went blind? Or, if dating a blind person, would you be interested if he or she got his or her sight back?
2. Would you still want to be with this person if all of a sudden you could see?
If you are currently in a relationship and answered no to either of the above questions, you might want to get out that microscope and take a closer look, for you might be in the relationship for the wrong reasons.
If you answered yes to both of the questions, then you have made it to the number one advantage for dating a sighted or a blind person, which is the same for both.
1. Dating this person, sighted or blind, means being with the one you love (or at least the one you like a heck of a lot), and is this not what really matters?
Submitted by Mike Everett
Wheelchairs may be requested from
· Listening devices with audio description of the orientation film and exhibition are available at the Information Desks in Emancipation Hall.
An audio-descriptive tour of Exhibition Hall
provides visitors who are blind or have low vision with a self-guided
experience of the
Sign language interpretation for
tours is available when booked in advance. Email Interpreters@saa.senate.gov. All
films have open captioning.
Family Restrooms are
available throughout the
Service animals are
allowed in the
A public TTY is located
near one of the gift shops on the Upper Level.
Copies of all
evacuation information for visitors with disabilities is available here.
information on accessibility in the Capitol and the House and
Senate and House have accessible Galleries which include televisions with
closed-captioning. In addition, the Senate has informational materials available
in alternative formats.
· If you have any accessibility questions, please call the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services at 202-224-4048.
Shuttle Service to the
For your convenience,
the Capitol Visitor Center Office of Visitor Services provides an on-demand
shuttle service for those with mobility issues or in manual wheelchairs.
The shuttles run from the southwest corner of
If you are traveling with a large group requesting mobility assistance, we strongly recommend that you contact the Office of Congressional Accessibility Services at 202-224-4048 prior to your visit. Please provide as much advance notice as possible to help facilitate your request.
Submitted by Debi Chatfield
Disabled Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell
made history last week, becoming the first completely blind solo kayaker to go
down the entire length of the
By kayaking the entire 226-mile length
Mornini, who co-founded Team River
Runner, a chapter of Disabled Sports USA, in 2004 and currently serves as its
Executive Director, praised the team effort that engendered this historic
achievement and which continues to serve as the ethos of his organization.
Quote, No one goes down the
Quote, Joe Mornini has opened the doors for warriors who were wounded to find life again on the water. He is a man of singular vision and energy who saw a need and focused his sites on helping wounded veterans get back in the game,” said Brian Brurud, the founder of Check-6, Inc. Congratulations to Lonnie and Team River Runner on a job very well done!end quote.
ABOUT TEAM RIVER RUNNER
Team River Runner (TRR) was established in August 2004 by kayakers in the
ABOUT CHECK-6, INC.
Founded in 2007, Check-6 (http://www.checksix.com) is a disabled veteran run organization that brings lessons learned from aviation and the military to other high-risk industries, including oil & gas, mining, and industrial power generation. Check-6 applies the best practices of aircraft carrier operations, commercial aviation, nuclear and space operations to help reduce human error, increasing efficiency in the process. The company has grown from a handful of dedicated people in 2007 to more than 300 working around the world today.
Submitted by Roger Khouri
By Danela Hernandez
Lloyd started losing his sight in his mid twenties, while he was studying
medicine in the early 1960’s. His doctors diagnosed him with a debilitating
condition known as Usher Syndrome. They told him he would be blind and deaf in
months, and that dementia would follow.
Quote, my prognosis did not look good, end quote, Lloyd recalls with a chuckle. As it turns out, Lloyd had something else altogether. He had been born with a genetic condition known as retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that eats away at the retina, specifically targeting those cells that detect light. Once these cells die, the eyes cannot transform and decode the incoming light in order to produce sight.
Lloyds condition worsened very slowly. Though his night vision was not great, he does not recall having other difficulties at first. He transitioned into biochemistry research at Stanford, then moved on to be a software engineer. When his loss of vision began to make coding on a computer screen too difficult - there were no aids for visually impaired programmers back then, he says - he decided to try law school. With the help of two readers, Lloyd passed the bar and started practicing law in 1982. At the time, he had very limited vision.
Then in 1989, he finally lost the ability to see. Quote, There was nothing for 17 years, he says. Until I got the Argus in 2007. end quote. The Argus, named after the all-seeing Greek god with 100 eyes, is a wearable computer that helps blind people see borders and boundaries at very low resolution. We first reported on the device some eight years ago, when it was still in testing. Now, at long last, the Food and Drug Administration has approved its use in the
The Argus is not a true eyes for the blind device - patients can't see objects in the same way people with normal eyesight can. Instead, they see black-and-white edges and contrast points, and the brain can be trained to use this artificial data as a visual guide. It provides enough visual information for the patient to gain some independence, allowing them to cross a street safely, or navigate an unfamiliar room.
Quote, you have to learn to see again, but people who have this implant were people that used to see, end quote, said Lloyd, one of the first patients to get the Argus. "As you go through life, you still have pictures in your brain of everything you've seen before. So, you are creating yourself an image that matches what's in your memory. It's a concept that a lot of people do not get when they think about this device. End quote.
An array of hardware makes this possible. Central to the Argus system is a grid of 60 tiny electrodes, which are implanted in a patient's retina. The patient also wears a pair of sunglasses outfitted with a video camera and a Texas Instruments digital signal processor. The chip translates the light picked up by the video camera into patterns of electrical activity, and those patterns get beamed wirelessly to a receiver connected to the grid of electrodes inside the eye. These electrodes - basically miniature glass needles – stimulate nerve cells in the retina, which then send signals to the part of the brain that processes visual information. Through this stimulation, the perception of sight is produced. Since it requires the optic nerve to be healthy, it will not work on patients who have nerve damage or suffer from other kinds of blindness.
The device is the result of about 20 years of research and clinical trials, and its development has benefited tremendously from innovations in consumer electronics. The tiny video camera, for example, is very close to what you'd find on a cellphone, says Dr. Robert Greenberg of Second Sight, the Sylmar, California-based company that developed Argus. The images the camera captures are then processed by a DSP chip, a component common in consumer-grade electronics.
Even though the Argus is the first of its kind in the medical world, the hardware components are not exactly state-of-the-art. The DSP chip it's currently using is 10 years old. Getting a medical device cleared by the FDA is a long and tedious process, and approval is only granted for a specific device. So if it's tweaked at all, the FDA needs to take a second look. The medical space isn't like the consumer world, where new and shiny devices are prototyped and brought to market within months. Right now, Second Sight is considering upgrading the Argus to an ARM processor or a new DSP chip for image processing, but such changes would likely result in a couple of years of testing and regulatory approvals.
Quote, the computer technology [we use] tends to not be the latest cutting edge because of the amount of testing required, end quote, said Greenberg. To speed up the development process, Second Sight is turning to software instead. The company is working on a software platform called Acuboost that would make updating previously manufactured Argus models as easy as updating your computer's operating system, says Greenberg. This is especially important because the Argus is an implanted device, and installing it inside a patient's eye requires pretty invasive surgery. Swapping out the electrode array like you would a cellphone, a tablet, or a pair of augmented-reality goggles is not really an option. So software upgrades would benefit both new patients and patients who already have the device implanted.
The company is currently developing algorithms to improve resolution, image focus and zooming. Their latest software can also automate brightness adjustments and enable color recognition. Thus far, scientists at Second Sight have been able to produce the perception of multiple colors in the lab by sending different patterns of stimulation to each electrode in the retinal implant. When the Argus camera picks up red or green, that information would be encoded through different patterns of electrical activity, which would be sent to the electrodes in the patient's eye, creating the perception of color. The team is testing whether varying the frequency or the delay between each stimulus plays a roll in producing color quote, vision. End quote. Because each patient is different, they also have to optimize the algorithm to determine each persons color map - that is, which stimuli can reliably result in the particular patient seeing which colors.
This new direction of research grew out of feedback from current Argus patients who reported seeing colors. Because the cells that are tuned to detect specific colors are dead in these patients, the scientists at Second Sight did not expect any color perception to be reported.
Quote, that is what led to the investigation, end quote, said USC's Dr. Mark Humayun, the ophthalmologist and biomedical engineer who developed Argus. These new color detecting algorithms are not quite ready yet, but the Argus team hopes to roll them out shortly.
Meanwhile, researchers continue to learn a lot about how an artificial sight mechanism relays the information it gathers to the brain. Quote, It is different, end quote, says Humayun. Quote, It is not the way we normally see, but it activates the same function. End quote.
We will be having our 6th Annual
Fall Auction Fund Raiser coming up on Saturday, September 21st, at 3:00 PM
eastern, in the
Please feel free to let us know of any items you would like to donate. Perhaps, you have updated your adaptive technology and have a talking dictionary lying around collecting dust, or what about some software, keyboards, microphones, note takers, cellphones, headphones, hard drives, mp3 players, digital recorders, and even computers, that you've meant to sell, but just haven't found a buyer? We've got the perfect solution for you! Donate your technology items, whether new or gently used, to us, so that we may auction them off and raise money for our site. All proceeds go toward our annual fees to maintain the site for your continued enjoyment and fellowship. Most of the donations tend to be accessible electronic items, however we are not going to limit it to just this. So if you have any homemade craft items, delectable desserts, or anything non electronic we would appreciate the donation of those items as well. We ask when you donate please let us know the physical condition as well as the working order of your donation. We also ask anyone who is donating to pay for the shipping of that particular item to the winner of that bid, if possible.
If you wish to donate an item to this fund raiser, please, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .
Please include the name of your item, the age of the item, model number, a brief description, any problems with the item, and any other pertinent information about the item which would be beneficial for the new user to know. It's due to the generosity of members like yourself that we enjoy the activities, games and events here on Out-Of-Sight.net.
Whether you donate or not to our auction, everyone is welcome for an afternoon of friendship and fun!
At the conclusion of the auction on September 21st, please send all donations for winning bids to the address below. Once those donations have been received, we will promptly ensure that the respective auction item is shipped.
If you are unable to attend the auction, but
wish to make a tax deductible donation, please send your check to:
Make sure you put donation in the memo field for your tax records.
If you prefer to make your donation through Pay Pal or credit card, you may click on the Donate button on our Fall Auction page.
Thank you for your support, and see you on September 21st! Together, we can truly make this community an Out-Of-Sight place to be!
You! This would be great to hear, right?
Well then, it is Your Choice! Would you like either a brand new iPod Touch? Or, an iPad Mini? Or, how about a Logitech Wireless, Bluetooth capable headset?
Yup! That is right! You could be the proud owner of one of these items, courtesy of Out-Of-Sight.net!
Do you love a good sounding headset? 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!
The raffle winners 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 Logitech Wireless Headset, or the choice of either a brand new iPod Touch, or iPad Mini! Will the winner be you?
3 items are being raffled:
Drawing #1: Your choice of either an iPod Touch or iPad Mini.
Drawing #2. LogiTech Wireless, Blue Tooth capable, H 800, Headset.
Drawing #3. LogiTech Wireless, Blue Tooth capable, H 800, Headset.
and click on Donate to complete your transaction.
c/o Lee Richards
Hurry, and get your tickets now, and see you on September 21st!
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 loop
Apple Ear Pods
Lightning to USB cable
Every iPod touch includes 90 days of free telephone technical support and a one-year
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’s 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’re 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
Lightning to USB Cable
USB Power Adapter
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.
Chat, rock, and surf on your PC, Tablet, or Smartphone with no wires to tie you down. Easily connect to and switch between devices like your PC, tablet and smartphone with a full set of on-ear controls. Laser-tuned drivers and a built-in equalizer give you rich digital stereo that immerses you in your music and calls, and a noise-canceling microphone reduces background noise. This headset is blue tooth capable as well.
Adapted from Eagle Brand recipe
By Suzy Barnes
Yields about 24 bars
Preparation Time: About 10 minutes
Cooking Time: About 30 minutes
Crisco, original, no-stick cooking spray
1 ½ cups, graham cracker crumbs (about 15 crackers)
1/2 cup, (1 stick) melted butter
1 can, 14 ounces, Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 cups, dark chocolate pieces, (I use Ghirardelli 60%)
2 cups, peanut butter morsels
1 1/3 cups, moist, flaked coconut
1 cup, slivered almonds (you may also use walnut or pecan pieces)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8” by 8: square baking pan with cooking spray. Use approximately 15 graham crackers for crust. If these are not already crushed, place in a Ziploc bag and crush crackers using a can, rolling back and forth over the bag. Mix together crushed graham crackers and melted butter in a bowl. Mix together. Press moistened mixture into greased pan to form a crust. Pour ½ can of condensed milk over the crust. Begin layering ingredients, beginning with some chocolate pieces, flaked coconut, peanut butter chips, and then, slivered almonds. Repeat again to make another layer beginning with chocolate pieces. Add a few more chocolate pieces and coconut to the top. Pour remaining condensed milk over top of layers. Lightly tap down ingredients before baking. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until coconut is lightly browned. Loosen from sides of pan while still warm. Cool on wire rack. Cut into squares.
Substitute chocolate pieces or nuts with candy coated pieces, dried cranberries, raisins, mini-marshmallows, or butterscotch chips.
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,
I am new to computers, and it is getting quite
frustrating when trying to learn how to use things. Take for example; you need
to click on the Start Button to find the Shutdown button to turn off your
computer. How intuitive is that? Looking for it in the Start Button menu would
have been the last place on earth for me to look. Would it have really
killed them to put a Turn Off button right beside the Start Button? I'm getting
more gray hairs as I trudge along. Do you have any sound advice as I make
my way through all this nonsense?
Albert G. Doerty
Dear Computer Geek,
Oh, some of these questions make my head hurt. Ah, the wonderful wonders of the world! If we could only find answers to all of our burning questions! Today is your lucky day, however! I actually have an answer for you that should make some sense. Back in my day, the Start Button actually was called, the System Button. But, there seemed to be a problem. People would boot up their computers and just sit there, unsure of what to do next. So, the powers that be renamed the button, the Start Button, so that people would know where to where to click when they wanted to do something. The button represents click here you dummy, and after it was renamed, the usability of the button sky rocketed. Hmmmmm, I wonder just exactly who they were thinking about when they programmed that button? Got any clues Mister Computer Geek? I will give you three guesses, and the first two do not count. Miss Betty points to Computer Geek.
By Rich De Steno and Roger Khouri
Thank you to everyone who submitted answers to last months 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 Muffee Beaton, sue Burdyshaw, Roann Clarke, Allison Hilliker, Roger Khouri, Lawrence MacLellan, Charlie Richardson, and Pam Scott for answering all three brain teasers correctly!
Applause also goes out to Suzy Barnes, Joe Giovanelli, and Nancy Martin for figuring out one of the three brain teasers! Way to go!
Here are the August brain teasers and their answers:
Answer: None. There is no dirt in a hole.
2. What word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly?
3. How many seconds are there in a year?
Answer: 12. January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd, etc.
Now, for our super duper brain teasers for September! Can you solve these? Lets see who thinks they are smarter than a fifth grader!
1. I am the beginning of the end, and the end of time and space. I am essential to creation, and I surround every place. What am I?
2. What always runs but never walks, often murmurs, never talks, has a bed but never sleeps, has a mouth but never eats?
men play five complete games of checkers. Each man wins the same
number of games. There are no ties. How?
We will let you know if you are correct, and if so, we will publish your name in the October newsletter. Have fun trying to solve these puzzles!
By Katie Chandler
Do you know the name of your birthstone and its color? Check out this list and discover!
Garnet – deep red
Amethyst - purple
Aquamarine – pale blue
Diamond – clear
Emerald - green
Ruby – red
Peridot, Sardonyx – pale green
Sapphire – deep blue
Opal, Pink Tourmaline – multicolored, pink
Citrine, Yellow Topaz - yellow
Blue Topaz, Turquoise - blue
Submitted by Karen Santiago
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
By Henry Van Dyke
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!
No, this is not Craig’s List, but it is the next best thing! If you have something to sell, or announce, send us your ad, and we will post it, as long as there is space available in the newsletter. Send your ads to:
A unit converter for all measurements.
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Or, write a blank email to:
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!
Also 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 by the 20th of each month to
Catch the vision--it is Out of Sight!