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Coming up on Main Menu and Main Menu Live for the week of May 2

April 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This week we return to coverage of the Mac. Gordon Smith joins us to talk
all things machine virtualization. It is possible to run multiple operating
systems on the Mac and switch between them. Come hear how this is done.

On the second hour of Main Menu Live we bring Gordon Smith on to talk to all
of us about the Mac. We will ask him about the current state of
applications running on the Mac and more questions on virtualization. You
will also have an opportunity to call in and ask any questions pertaining to
the Mac, Tiger, Voice Over and machine virtualization.

We will briefly discuss the brand-new ACB Radio Tuner released on May 1,

The number to call into the show is 866-400-5333. You can email your
questions to You can also interact with the show via
MSN Messenger. The MSN Messenger ID to add is:

Would you like to interact with a group of Main Menu listeners about the
topics heard on Main Menu and Main Menu Live? You can do this by joining the
Main Menu Friends email list. The address to subscribe is:

Come join an already lively group of users.

Would you like to subscribe to podcast feeds for Main Menu and Main Menu
Live? The RSS feeds to add to your podcatching application are:

Main Menu

Main Menu Live

Main Menu and Main Menu Live can be heard on Tuesday evening at 9:00
Eastern, 6:00 Pacific, and at 1 universal on Wednesday morning on the ACB
Radio Main Stream channel. To listen to the show, just click this link:

Jeff Bishop and Darrell Shandrow
The Main Menu Production Team

Categories: Uncategorized

Time to break the mold of paper money for the blind

April 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This is a good article that describes a little of what it is like to be
blind, from the perspective of an actual blind couple

Fresno Bee, California USA
Monday, April 30, 2007

Time to break the mold of paper money for the blind

By Eddie Jimenez

04/30/07 05:46:59

Ed and Toni Eames, both blind, each have their own systems to distinguish
denominations of paper money once they've separated the bills.

Ed keeps dollar bills flat, folds $5 bills in half width-wise and $10 bills
length-wise. Toni also leaves her dollar bills flat, but folds $5 bills in
half twice width-wise and $10 bills in half, but keeps them in a different
part of her purse.

They try not to carry around anything larger than $10. That makes it easier
to keep track of their money.

"If somebody does cheat you, intentionally or unintentionally, you don't
lose a lot of money," Toni said.

The Fresno couple and other blind and visually impaired people will no
longer have to go through this exercise if Pete Stark, a Democratic
congressman from Fremont, has his way.

Stark wants all U.S. paper money to be redesigned to meet a federal court
ruling last November that said our nation's currency — being all the same
size and indistinguishable — violates the civil rights of the blind.

A judge told the Treasury Department to fix the problem, but the agency is
appealing the ruling. Treasury officials say changing U.S. paper money would
be costly.

Undeterred, Stark has suggested a less expensive remedy — cutting off the
edges of bills, for example, trimming the four corners of the $1 bill, three
corners of the $2 and so on.

That doesn't seem too practical, but one way or another, a change should be
made so the blind can tell the difference between denominations of paper
currency. As one news report said, about 180 other countries have different
sizes for paper money.

The Eameses understand that the switch would be costly and realize there are
other pressing issues for the blind, such as education, transportation,
learning Braille and getting easier access to Web sites.

Still, being able to distinguish paper money would eliminate one dependency
on others.

The couple offered examples of how the blind are overlooked in everyday
dealings that sighted people take for granted.

Listening to a Channel 18 fundraiser, the Eameses kept hearing "Call the
number on your screen," but the number was never read aloud.

So they had to phone a friend for the number before they could contribute.

They're also not able to use all the functions on their cell phone because
it's about "50% blind friendly." And their search for a new stove was
hampered because most oven functions are digital. They need a stove with
knobs to distinguish temperatures.

"Change doesn't always include the blind population," said Ed, who is the
chairman of the Fresno Americans with Disabilities Act Advisory Council.
This can add to life's challenges.

"You get by," Toni said, and Ed finished, "with occasional high levels of

They said making the switch to a new U.S. paper currency system would be
another step toward independence for the blind.

"There's no way to get around it. [Now] you do need sighted help with
bills," Toni said. "I think it's time for the government to do it."

The columnist can be reached at ejimenez or (559) 441-6386.

Categories: Uncategorized

Tune into ACB Radio World with the brand-new ACB Radio Tuner!

April 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

The ACB Radio Web team among a number of others have been working hard on a
brand-new version of the ACB Radio Tuner. With the launch of the ACB Radio
World stream, we have released the new ACB Radio Tuner. Here is what is new
in this release:

This version only supports Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 and
Windows VISTA. The older version will remain available for older client
desktops such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME and Windows NT Version

Addition of the ACB Radio World stream reachable by pressing CTRL+D.

Addition of several new hotkeys.

Windows Media Player hotkey changed to CTRL+E.

Settings are saved in a custom INI file (ACB Radio Tuner.ini) to eliminate
Windows registry writes. The file is placed in the user's Application Data
folder in a directory called "ACB Radio Tuner". This insures that the
program will operate under VISTA.

Improved, cleaner visual user interface.

The "No Extra Speech" setting is now saved if selected so that future
sessions do not check for the availability of a screen reader.

We have great plans for the future of the Tuner and you will start to see
more frequent updates as we begin to implement those features.

You can download the Tuner from the web at:

I want to sincerely thank the following individuals for their contributions
in making this version a tremendous success:

Darren Paskell – for giving us the source code of the original from which to
build from. He rocks!

Darrell Shandrow – for putting up with buggy versions and for assisting in
writing the documentation.

Matthew Horspool – for assistance with documentation updates and for
developing the ACB Radio Tuner tutorial (to be released soon).

Tina Ektermanis – for digging out her dusty Windows 98 box, blowing the dirt
out of the fans, finding its old power cord and getting that crusty hard
drive to boot to test the new version on that platform. Shucks, and all to
find out it doesn't work. Thanks Tina for the hard work late in to the

Chrissie and Marlaina – for giving us the support we needed to get this done
and for always being there.

Main Menu Friends Group users – without their help, this never would have
been a success. There are far to many to list here, but thanks gang!

Again, get the new tuner at:

Happy Tuning everyone.

Categories: Uncategorized

A brand new station comes to the ACB Radio family

April 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Hi Folks

This is to announce the imminent birth of a new station, ACB Radio World.

This brand new station will concentrate on programming in languages other
than English, although English programs will be carried, as well as focusing
on music from all parts of the world.

The station will commence programming on 7 May at 06:00 UTC with a live
stream from the Africa Forum, hosted by the Institutional Development
Program and the Perkins School for the Blind. The Forum is being held in
Nairobi Kenya, and focuses on continued action of the African Decade of the
Disabled to breakdown barriers towards social inclusion and the creation of
opportunities for blind and visually impaired citizens of Africa.
Concerning the Forum itself, I will be posting more details of speakers
etc., as and when I receive the full agenda.

The new ACB Radio World stream can be reached from the ACB Radio homepage, and will cater for both broadband and modem users.

ACB Radio World can also be found on the new and improved ACB Radio Tuner.
Watch for details of that coming very soon.

If you are a speaker of a language other than English and fancy yourself
broadcasting to the world, then we'd very much like to hear from you.
Please write to

I genuinely hope that ACB Radio World will be a catalyst for the bringing
together of the world's blind community, and I look forward to working with
blind people from every part of this planet of ours.

Chrissie Cochrane
managing Director
ACB Radio

Categories: Uncategorized

Serotek Opens Doors to Employment

April 30, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

This is absolutely huge! Jeff Bishop reports that Serotek has opened the doors of employment wide by introducing the ability for a blind person to easily gain remote access to another person’s computer without need of that person having any installed assistive technology! This means that many private industry jobs may be opened up to the blind in the very near future. The functionality this technology provides is equivalent to GoToAssist, Microsoft’s Remote Assistance and similar products and services already enjoyed by the sighted! Please read RIM and RAM – opening more doors for professionals and get ready for a revolution in remote accessibility!

I’ll have much more to say about Serotek’s new remote access technology in the next week or so. Please stay tuned!

Categories: remote access, Serotek

Finally, somebody listened

April 29, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker, New York USA
Friday, April 27, 2007

Finally, somebody listened

By James T. Mulder, Staff writer

Therese Fredette receives her utility bill and her bank statement in
Braille, the system of raised letters she reads with her fingers.

At many restaurants, she can order from menus written in Braille.

But the North Syracuse woman, blind since birth, could not read her annual
12-page recertification letter from Medicaid, the state's major health
program for the blind and disabled, because it came in standard print.

She asked the Onondaga County Department of Social Services, which
administers Medicaid locally, to send her the letter in Braille. County
officials refused, but offered to have someone read the letter to her over
the phone or in person. That proposal didn't sit well with Fredette, who
likes to do things for herself.

"The less people help me, the better," Fredette said. "I believe my mail and
everything is private."

She turned for help to the Disability Rights Clinic at Syracuse University's
College of Law. Law students Koert Wehberg and Carrie Auringer worked out a
compromise on Fredette's behalf with the state Health Department, which
oversees Medicaid.

While state officials rejected the request for Braille, they recently agreed
to provide the information to Fredette on an audiocassette. Wehberg and
Auringer said it took them 18 months to

cut through the government bureaucracy to get Fredette the accommodation she
is entitled to under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

"We find it ironic that private businesses such as banks and National Grid
provide people with information in Braille, but our own government, where we
pay taxes, does not provide people with accessible information so they can
be independent," said Wehberg, who also is blind.

Wehbergand Auringer consider Medicaid's agreement to accommodate Fredette a
victory for visually impaired people. They said it is important for people
with disabilities to know they can ask for accommodations from the county
Department of Social Services and the state Health Department, the two
agencies that run Medicaid.

Zach Karmen, Onondaga County's chief welfare attorney, said the county
Department of Social Services often receives requests to accommodate people
with physical and mental disabilities or limited language proficiency.

"Ideally what we like is for the case worker to make the accommodation right
on the fly," he said. "They just use common sense."

Karmen said Fredette's case was the first time the department received a
request for Braille correspondence. He said the county could not provide the
information in Braille because the Medicaid letters are sent directly by the

After the law students negotiated the compromise with the state, the county
made the recording by taping one of its employees reading Fredette's letter
aloud, according to Karmen.

"To be honest, that didn't make too much sense to me," he said. "I thought
it would make much more sense to have someone read it to her and help her
fill out the form."

That was unacceptable because it would not let Fredette review the
information more than once to make sure she understood it, the same way a
sighted person would when reading and rereading a printed letter, Wehberg
said. It also would have compromised her privacy, he said.

The state Health Department was contacted by the law students in November
and resolved the case in three months, according to Claire Pospisil, a
department spokeswoman.

She said the request should have been resolved at the county level.

Wehberg said a Health Department official told him the agency did not want
to provide Fredette her recertification letter in Braille because it would
set a precedent.

The Americanswith Disabilities Act says that as long as the accommodation is
considered reasonable, it does not have to be exactly what the individual
requested, according to Pospisil. Under the law, an audio recording is
considered a reasonable accommodation. "She was offered and accepted the
accommodation of an audiocassette of the recertification letter's contents,"
she said.

The Health Department may have opted for an audiocassette instead of Braille
because the cassette is accessible not only to Fredette, but to anyone else
she may want to share the information with, such as an attorney, Pospisil

About 10 million Americans are totally or partially blind. In Central New
York, there are more than 5,800, according to an estimate by Aurora of
Central New York, an agency that serves people with hearing and vision loss.

Federal disability laws such as the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act require
that blind and visually impaired individuals receive communications in an
alternative format.

Many privatecompanies accommodate the blind because they understand it's not
only a legal obligation, but good business, said Silvia Yee, a staff
attorney with the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, a national
civil rights and policy group.

Government agencies, however, often are slow to abide by these laws, Yee
said. Her organization is representing some blind Social Security
Administration beneficiaries suing the federal agency for not providing them
with alternatives to standard print.

"If you cannot communicate with the agency or the agency refuses to
communicate with you in a way you can understand, you are denied
participation," Yee said. "These bureaucracies have a lot of inertia to
overcome in thinking of systemwide solutions and creative changes."

Persistent individuals like Fredette who file complaints are sometimes
successful in getting accommodations, according to Yee.

"But it's very hard to get systemic change so that all people with visual
disabilities, including seniors who need large fonts, are able to get the
communication they need to effectively participate in the system."

James T. Mulder can be reached at 470-2245 or

Categories: Uncategorized

Target 32 Investigates: Drivers Endanger The Blind

April 27, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker, Kentucky USA
Friday, April 27, 2007

Target 32 Investigates: Drivers Endanger The Blind

UPDATED: 1:01 pm EDT April 27, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Blind pedestrians have been victims in two recent
accidents in the Clifton neighborhood, where the Kentucky School for The
Blind is located. The people hit were doing nothing wrong, even though they
could not see where they were going.

After the accident in March, Newchannel 32 anchor John Boel investigated.

While law mandates drivers "shall stop and give the right of way at any
intersection to blind pedestrians" the hidden camera investigation found
drivers seldom do. Even a police officer failed to follow the law.

In one tape, at the same intersection where a blind man was seriously
injured last month, a blind woman waited for the walk signal. The moment the
light turned green, a car coming the other way jumps the light to make a
left turn without waiting just as the woman receives the audio command to
cross. The left-turning car misses her by inches and if she had started
walking on her cue, she would have been hit.

The neighborhood around the Kentucky School for The Blind is loaded with
signs reading "No Turn On Red When Pedestrians Are Present" because that's
how the blind are often hit.

But over and over, Boel recorded people disregarding the signs and turning
with or without noticing blind pedestrians right there.

"I think the right turn on red is a problem," Kentucky School For The Blind
mobility teacher Mary Pawlowski said. "Speeding is a big problem. Parking
lots, I would say, is the most dangerous."

Teachers at the school also said drivers should wait longer than they might
think it should take them to cross, and not to honk or talk to them because
the noise or instructions might divert them from practicing what they've

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Categories: Uncategorized

KDD: The Desert Skies

April 27, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Listen to The Desert Skies tonight,
Jeff will be playing the tunes passed midnight,
He wil start at 7 o'clock
And the music will rock.

The desert Skies can be heard from 0 to 5 UTC,
And on Interactive,
Is where, he will be.

Saturday, April Twenty-eight
Won't it be great?
His show will be extended and be 6 hours long.

Come join us, he will play your favorite songs,
Whatever you choose,
As well as Techie News,
Give you the Impossible Question to make you think,
So no need for winks
Do not take a nap,
Bring your thinking cap,
You all will have a great time.

Categories: Uncategorized

Win a Smartphone with a license of Code Factory’s world-class screen reader!

April 27, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Win a Smartphone with a license of Code Factory's world-class screen reader!

Code Factory welcomes everyone to join our new competition! Participate for
a chance to win a Windows Mobile-powered Smartphone, licenses for any
Windows Mobile screen reader from Code Factory, and more!

This competition is a real challenge of team creativity! Ask two of your
blind or visually impaired friends to join you, and together, create the
best ringtone!!!

Each winner can choose to get a free license for either of the following:

Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile SmartPhones, the very first screen reader
officially tested on and supporting over 40 SmartPhones running Windows
Mobile Standard 5.0 and 6.0. First released last September 2006 and already
with support for around 20 different languages and variants, over 15 Braille
devices and several third-party applications through a powerful scripting
language, Mobile Speak for Windows Mobile Smartphones does not only make a
true claim to be the first, but has also made a respected name in just a few
months as a world-class screen reader with satisfied users across different

Mobile Speak for Pocket PC Phones and PDAs, the most powerful full-fledged
screen reader compatible with Windows Mobile Professional and Classic, and
officially tested to work on versions 2003 Second Edition, 5.0 and 6.0 found
on more than a hundred devices. This innovative screen reader is the only
one to give the blind and visually impaired true access to a Pocket PC even
using the touch screen, and comes with a plug-in for the only screen
magnifier for the Windows Mobile Pocket PC platform. Also available with
several text-to-speech engines for different languages, support for various
Braille input and output devices, and numerous third-party applications
using the LUA scripting language, this screen reader is known and loved by
the blind and visually impaired worldwide.

But why just read about these amazing access solutions for Windows Mobile
devices when you can be a proud user like many others? Tell your friends
about our new Team Creativity competition and join to win!

Go now to

If you have any questions about the competition, feel free to send an email

Categories: Uncategorized

Blank Virtual Buffer Issues Continue with Outlook Express after JAWS 8.0 Update

April 26, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker
It seems that some of the blank virtual buffer issues continue after the update to JAWS 8.00.2107, at least in Outlook Express.  Consistent with previous experience, I just observed a short e-mail message in Outlook Express that JAWS was unable to render.  It was necessary to read the message using the JAWS cursor.  At minimum, these issues are incredibly annoying.  If they’re still happening on web sites, well, they represent a potentially significant loss of productivity on the job!  Come on, Freedom Scientific, please, let’s run down and resolve these virtual buffer issues!
Categories: Uncategorized