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7-128 Software Releases their 2014 list of Top 25 Websites for Blind gamers



If you are a computer gamer but you don't know where to go to get accessible games, 7-128 software has a list to help you out. The annual list from 7-128 software provides a link to the website and a description of what the site includes. The comments about each website are very useful and will help you find what you're looking for. It's awesome to see that more accessible games are coming onto the market and this is a great resource to learn about what games are available.

the Android Accessibility Help Center



If you are a new Android user, or if you are curious about all of the accessibility options that Android has to offer, you can now get the information you need by visiting the Android Accessibility Help Center. The website provides information about: general android accessibility, TalkBack, Accessibility features common to applications, BrailleBack, and Android updates.

Tax Tips for the Blind from Turbo Tax



Tax day is just around the corner. If you still haven't filed your taxes for this year, Turbo Tax can help you save some money with their helpful tips for blind tax payers. There are a number of deductions that apply if you are blind. It's great to have a resource that outlines these tips in one place. Happy filing.

ScripTalk Talking Prescriptions Come to CVS Pharmacy



CVS Pharmacy announced today that it will be providing accessible prescription labels for their visually impaired customers. This announcement is a result of an agreement between CVS, the American Council of the Blind, the American Foundation for the Blind, and the California Council of the Blind. Customers who are interested in using the ScripTalk labels should call 888-227-3403. The press release is pasted below.

CVS/pharmacy Now Offers “Talking” Prescription Labels for Individuals with Vision Impairments Through its Online Pharmacy

New service on CVS.com is the result of a collaboration with state and national organizations for the blind

Woonsocket, Rhode Island (March 18, 2014) – CVS/pharmacy announced today that it now provides ScripTalk talking prescription labels for prescriptions ordered for home delivery through its online pharmacy, CVS.com. The ScripTalk labels provide a safe and convenient way to access information on prescription labels for individuals who cannot read standard print. The ScripTalk labels are free to CVS.com pharmacy customers who are blind or visually impaired. Customers can also obtain a free ScripTalk reader from Envision America that will enable them to listen to the information on the ScripTalk label.

We are pleased to offer the ScripTalk service to our online pharmacy customers who are visually impaired. Enhancing access to important information about prescriptions is in keeping with our purpose of helping people on their path to better health.Josh Flum, Senior Vice President of Retail Pharmacy at CVS Caremark

Today’s announcement is the result of collaboration between CVS/pharmacy, the American Foundation for the Blind, American Council of the Blind and California Council of the Blind. These groups applauded CVS/pharmacy’s actions.

“The lack of accessible labels on prescription drug containers puts people with vision loss at serious risk of medication mishaps,” said Paul Schroeder, Vice President of Programs & Policy at the American Foundation for the Blind. “We applaud CVS/pharmacy for taking steps to provide speech access to label information for customers with vision loss along with its willingness to evaluate methods to improve large print labels.”

“This agreement is a positive step that allows for a greater level of privacy, safety, and independence for blind and visually impaired Americans of all ages who take prescription medications,” said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind.

“The California Council of the Blind applauds CVS’s willingness to offer access to the information on prescription medication labels. As a result of this initiative, persons who are blind or visually impaired who use CVS mail order to fill their prescription needs will have the same direct, and independent access to label information as do sighted customers,” stated Donna Pomerantz, President, California Council of the Blind.

About CVS/pharmacy

CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America’s leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://info.cvscaremark.com.

About American Council of the Blind (ACB) and California Council of the Blind (CCB)

American Council of the Blind is a national consumer-based advocacy organization working on behalf of blind and visually impaired Americans throughout the country with members organized through seventy state and special interest affiliates. California Council of the Blind is the California affiliate of the ACB and is a statewide membership organization with 40 local chapters and statewide special interest associations. ACB and CCB are dedicated to improving the quality of life, equality of opportunity and independence of all people who have visual impairments. Their members and affiliated organizations have a long history of commitment to the advancement of policies and programs which will enhance independence for people who are blind and visually impaired. More information about ACB and CCB can be found by visiting www.acb.org and www.ccbnet.org.

About American Foundation for the Blind

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB’s priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. AFB is also proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the over forty years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB. For more information visit AFB online at www.afb.org.

CONTACTS

For CVS

Michael DeAngelis
CVS/pharmacy
Director, Public Relations
401.770.2645
Michael.DeAngelis@CVSCaremark.com

For the Blindness Organizations

Kim Charlson
President, American Council of the Blind
617-501-5853
kim.charlson@perkins.org

Adrianna Montague-Devaud
Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
Tel. (212) 502-7615
amontague@afb.net

Simplified Summary: CVS is now offering talking prescription labels to blind customers who order through cvs.com. People will be able to listen to important information about their prescriptions. CVS will use ScripTalk talking labels. If you are blind or visually impaired you can get a free device to read the labels. You can call the cvs.com pharmacy at 1-888-607-4287. To find out more about the free device you need to listen to the labels, call: 800-890-1180. Back to the Press Release

Filed under Accessible Prescription Information, Health Care Access, News and Articles, Settlement Agreement Press Releases, Talking Pill Bottle Press Releases on Mar 18th, 2014

Alphabetical List of All DVDs With Descriptive Audio



When renting a DVD, one of the most important things you might want to know is whether it includes a descriptive audio track. The Audio Description Project of the American Council of the Blind is keeping track of all DVDs that get released with descriptive audio, and now there's an alphabetical list. The list includes links to the movies where you can get more information about the film. This is a great resource for movie watchers. Just as a tip, the descriptive audio track can be accessed once the movie on the DVD has started playing by switching between the different audio tracks using the audio button on your DVD player remote.

A Guide to Switching to NVDA from JAWS



If you're a JAWS user that is considering switching to NVDA, but is concerned about the learning curve of switching to a new screen reader, there is now a new guide on how to make the switch. The guide covers a number of topics including: voices for NVDA, cursers and their functions, forms mode, and scripts. The guide will not teach you how to use NVDA, but it gives you tips on how to transition from JAWS.

Results of the 5th Screen Reader Survey from WebAIM Released



For the past five years, WebAIM has been surveying screen reader users around the world to find out which screen readers are being used, how comfortable users feel with using their screen reader, how proficient they are using the web, and more. This year's results have just been published. All continents were represented in the survey, although North America still had the highest numbers. The results this year show that how people use screen readers and what devices they use is continuing to change. For instance, JAWS is still the most used screen reader, but it's continuing to decline in use. Also, more respondants are using mobile technology. Visit the WebAIM website linked in this post to see the full list of results.

A New Tool Allows Anyone to Add Audio Description to YouTube Videos



Many YouTube videos have captioning, but almost none have descriptive audio. Now thanks to a new tool from the Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Center, anyone can add descriptive audio to a YouTube video. According to the article from Media Access Australia, here are the steps to add the descriptive audio track:

"1. Copy and paste a YouTube URL into the YouDescribe search box and click on Search .
2. The YouTube video will appear with an option to 'Create/Edit Descriptions'. Select this option.
3. Using the 'Play/Pause' option on the video player, pause when you wish to insert audio description.
4. Use the 'Record' option to record your audio description then select Upload to upload the new audio file.
5. Continue this process until the end of the video.
6. When the process is complete you can log out or return to the YouDescribe search page where your video should appear at the top of the video list. The video can be played with audio description."

Hopefully this tool will result in many more youtube videos having descriptive audio tracks.

A List of Disability Tech Support Hotlines



A number of companies have set up designated support options for customers with disabilities. Below is a list of the companies and the contact information for their disability tech support hotlines. If we've missed any companies please let us know and we'll add them to the list.

Fedora Outlier Starts a New Weekly Series Called There's An App For That



Fedora Outlier, the company behind the weekly access chats on Twitter and the book "The Old Hat Guide to iPhone Accessibility", has just started a new series on their blog called "There's an app for that". Each week they will feature a list of apps based on a category. This first week focusses on music. All of the apps recommended will be accessible to VoiceOver users. It's great to see another place where VoiceOver users can go to get app suggestions.

Beginners Guide to WordPress for the Screen Reader User



Creating your own website can feel like an impossible task especially if you use a screen reader. With the right tools and information though, building websites using WordPress is in your grasp. A new e-book called, "WordPress for Bad Eyes: A Beginners Guide" is designed with screen reader users in mind. Topics covered in the book include: buying a domain name, securing a host, and code for including different pieces of your website. The book also comes with a set of plugins that will help the user in developing their website. The book costs $9.99 and is available in Word, PDF, and DAISY formats. Those who want to try the book before they buy can also download it for free for one hour.

RNIB Guide to Smart Phones



Smart phones can be a great asset to people with vision impairments, but sometimes it's hard to know which model or operating system will meet your needs. The RNIB has created a simple to follow spread sheet that lists a number of phone models with their price in the UK and the features that come with the phone. For those outside of the UK, the price will not be relevant, but in many cases, the phones themselves will be available where you live. Hopefully this guide will help users make informed decisions about what smart phone to choose.

AI Squared Releases SiteCues: A Simple Way to Add Accessibility To Your Website



AI Squared has many years of experience helping people with low vision access material on the computer. Now they're going one step further and offering web developers a simple way to add magnification and speech to their website. By adding a line of code, webpages can have these options without the programmer going to the extra trouble of building the feature into each part of the website. It also offers more usability than a person simply magnifying the entire webpage. No pricing is available, though it seems to depend on the size of the business and amount of web traffic served. Those that are interested can try it out for free or read the FAQ.

First Non-24 Sleep-wake Disorder Medication is Approved by the FDA



Vanda Pharmaceuticals announced today that HETLIOZ™ (tasimelteon) has received FDA approval to treat non-24 sleep-wake disorder. According to the press release, this disorder may effect as many as 80,000 totally blind people in the US. Non-24 disorder is caused when a person's circadian rhythms become misaligned from the 24 hour day cycle resulting in their bodies not knowing when to be awake or sleep. The end result is that many totally blind people suffer with insomnia or find themselves wanting to sleep during the day. Vanda hopes that this medication will become available during the second quarter of the year. This treatment will hopefully be a solution for people who struggle with this disorder. Find the press release pasted below.

The Microsoft Disability Scholarship



If you are a high school senior with a disability, and are planning to go to college, consider applying for one of the Microsoft Disability Scholarships. Winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship that will be sent directly to their school of choice. According to the scholarship website, those who apply must be majoring in the following areas: "engineering, computer science, computer information systems, legal or in business that are approved (ie. paralegal, pre-law, finance, business administration, or marketing)." Other requirements include financial need, a passion for technology, leadership, and a GPA of at least 3.0. Applications must be submitted by March 15.

Review of TeleTender: Accessing the Internet Using a Phone for Free



I recently came across a resource that is a great option for someone who needs to access the internet, but either doesn't have internet at their home or can't afford internet access. TeleTender is a service that allows the blind and visually impaired to access the news, weather, email, webpages, and even Facebook by using their telephones. The organization currently has six different phone numbers that people can use to access the service. If you don't have long distance and want TeleTender to provide a local phone number, send an email to numbers@teletender.org and they'll do their best to get a local number for you.

Even though I have good access to the internet and a computer that is accessible to me, I wanted to test out the service for our readers. My overall impression is that this is a good alternative to accessing the web on a computer. Setting up my email was a bit challenging, but once I got my email address and password entered in correctly, accessing my email was very simple. There is even an option to compose new emails or to reply to emails that are received.

I also tested out the news, internet, and Facebook features. In all three cases, using the features of the service was easy. For screen reader users that like having a lot of control over how they browse, this experience is going to possibly be frustrating, but I feel like TeleTender is not aimed at advanced screen reader users.

Some of the additional features of the service include: being able to speak selections rather than using the phone keypad, ability to increase or decrease the speed of the voice, and ability to change your time zone.

A List of White Cane Laws by State



The American Council of the Blind has compiled a list of the white cane laws for each state. These are the laws that give rights to blind pedestrians while crossing streets and outline penalties for drivers who do not yield for travelers. It is easy to navigate to your own state by heading and there are links to each law. Having access to this information is very important. If you ever feel like your rights as a traveler with a vision impairment have been violated, be sure to check this list.

Tutorial Videos for BARD Mobile from NLS



The National Library Service has put together a set of 12 videos to help users of the new BARD Mobile app learn how to use all of the features. The videos include topics such as how to read an audio book, how to adjust visual settings, how to pair a braille display and read a braille book, and both basic and advanced VoiceOver gestures that are used within the app. Check the link on this post to view the videos.

Learn About technology Options From RNIB



The Royal National Institute of Blind People has deemed November "Switch on Technology Month". This month, they are offering technology seminars throughout the United Kingdom, and they've put together three guides to technology that can be downloaded in either Word or PDF. The topics of the three guides are: Making Sense of Mobile Phones, Getting Online with Computers and Tablets, and "Ebooks and Downloading Audio Books".

As an adaptive technology instructor, one of the most common things I hear from clients is that they don't know what tools are available. I hope these guides can help people who are new to technology or those new to vision loss learn what their options are.

Experience Descriptive Audio at the Theater with a New iOS App MovieReading



Many theaters around the country are starting to offer the visually impaired the option of listening to the descriptive audio track while they're watching a film. Sadly though, this technology is not available everywhere, and sometimes it doesn't work. The team at Solo-DX wants to make the experience better by having the blind film-goer use a smart phone app to listen to the descriptive audio track instead. Last week, I had the opportunity to test out the new MovieReading app. The interface is very simple. Once you're logged in, you visit the Marketplace, download the descriptive audio track for the film you're going to go see at your theater, and than start the track when your film begins. The app will listen to the audio in the theater and sync the audio track with where the film is so that the user doesn't have to try and match the two tracks themselves. to test the app, I downloaded the Princess Bride track and then watched some Youtube clips from the film. In all three cases, the sync option worked perfectly.

The app is now available from the iTunes App Store. The film "Philomena", opening on November 22 in select cities, will be the first movie to use the app's new features. MovieReading is currently available on iOS, and they hope to have an Android version soon.

Pasted below is a press release from Solo-DX about the MovieReading app and "Philomena".

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