Austin’s Capital Metro Needs Blind Testers

Capital Metro is currently testing new smart beacon technology, which will help fixed route passengers who are blind or visually impaired locate bus stops.

If you are interested in being a tester, please click on this link to complete a survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/THH7CHM

Testers will need a smart phone that can download and install the BlindSquare app. The app is available on iOS devices including Apple phones and iPads.

THE USES OF PHILOSOPHY IN EVERYDAY LIFE

Does philosophy only belong in the halls of academia? Nope. It belongs in the lives of everyone. It helps us solve our problems -mundane or abstract, and it helps us make better decisions by developing our critical thinking (very important in the age of disinformation). But it’s boring, you say. It’s hard to understand, you say. As it turns out, philosophy does not have to be a big snooze-fest. It can actually be stimulating and fun. Check out one of these five titles where authors make Philosophy 101 approachable, interesting, and most importantly, relevant to your life.

BREAKFAST WITH SOCRATES: AN EXTRAORDINARY (PHILOSOPHICAL) JOURNEY THROUGH YOUR ORDINARY DAY by ROBERT ROWLAND SMITH        DB 71181

Former Oxford Fellow posits that the questions raised by renowned philosophers relate directly to daily life. It illustrates by linking influential ideas to mundane activities, such as waking up with Descartes and going to the gym with Heidegger. Some strong language and some descriptions of sex. 2009.

WHAT WOULD ARISTOTLE DO? SELF-CONTROL THROUGH THE POWER OF REASON by ELLIOT D COHEN        DB 58882

Philosophical counselor’s commonsense approach to overcoming self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and actions by harnessing innate powers of reason and critical thinking. Uses real-life scenarios to demonstrate how Aristotelian logic can be used to combat everyday maladies like guilt, loneliness, grief, anger, social anxiety, and depression. 2003

CONSOLATIONS OF PHILOSOPHY by ALAIN DE BOTTON         DB 51489

University of London philosopher finds practical advice on coping with life’s challenges in the writings of some of the world’s renowned thinkers. Each of the six sections poses a problem and suggests a source of inspiration. For example, Socrates offers consolation for unpopularity, and Epicurus, for poverty. 2000

HEART OF PHILOSOPHY by JACOB NEEDLEMAN            DB 19136

A philosophy professor offers a compelling and thought-provoking study in which he attempts to reconcile philosophical concepts with day-to-day life. Needleman draws upon childhood memories, teaching episodes, and recollections of friends’ deaths to illustrate the relevance of philosophy.

EXAMINED LIFE: PHILOSOPHICAL MEDITATIONS by ROBERT NOZICK     DB 30651

A philosophy professor at Harvard University shares his views on the search for understanding and illumination.  He discusses the topics of happiness, dying, immortality, creativity, faith, sexuality, good and evil, wisdom, and the gulf between the ideal and the real. Bestseller. 1989

How to Listen to the Upcoming Eclipse

Visit the web site http://eclipsesoundscapes.org/ to learn how people who are blind or visually impaired can experience the upcoming solar eclipse.

Eclipse Soundscapes has an iOS and will soon have an Android app that will allow people with vision impairments to hear about the eclipse as it happens on Monday, August 21st. For those individuals without access to a smart phone, the web site will have mp3 and mp4 audio files available for download or streaming.

After the eclipse, the site will feature a database of the recordings.

Perkins Store and Other Adaptive Technology Sources

The Perkins online store (www.perkinsproducts.org/store/en/) is now only selling braillers and related equipment, although the organization will continue to offer blank NLS digital cartridges when the new shipment arrives in July.

Here are a few other distributors for assistive technology such as video magnifiers, digital book players, and Braille notetakers:
Independent Living Aids: www.independentliving.com
LS&S: www.lssproducts.com
Maxi-Aids: www.maxiaids.com
Enablemart: www.enablemart.com/
IRTI (Innovative Rehabilitation Technology): www.irti.net/

 

Bill Gates’ 2017 Summer Reading List

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has just announced his summer reading list for 2017. The Texas Talking Book Program has 80% of them in our collection. This year many of his selections are memoirs. Mr. Gates states that he chose books that took him outside of his own personal experiences in order to view the world from different perspectives. He hopes that these book selections will help readers to think about what it really means to connect with other people and find purpose in their lives.

For more information directly from Bill Gates himself: https://www.gatesnotes.com/About-Bill-Gates/Summer-Books-2017

The books in TBP’s collection:

Title: FULL LIFE: REFLECTIONS AT NINETY
Author: CARTER, JIMMY

Nobel Peace Prize winner and thirty-ninth President of the United States Jimmy Carter reflects on his life, both private and public. He discusses his youth in rural Georgia, his family, his military service, his decision to enter politics, and more. Carter reveals what he is proud of as well as his regrets. Bestseller. 2015
DB 83306; LB 08215

Title: BORN A CRIME: STORIES FROM A SOUTH AFRICAN CHILDHOOD
Author: NOAH, TREVOR

The host of TV’s The Daily Show shares his coming-of-age story as the child of a white father and black mother in South Africa. Their very union was considered a crime, and when the author was born during
apartheid, his biracial status made him an outcast. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2016.
DB 86608

Title: HILLBILLY ELEGY: A MEMOIR OF A FAMILY AND CULTURE IN CRISIS
Author: VANCE, J. D

Memoir of growing up in the Ohio Rust Belt in a family culture rooted in Scots-Irish Appalachia. Explores political themes affecting these community cultures through the lens of personal and familial experiences. Discusses what it took to go from nearly failing high school to graduating from Yale Law School. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2016.
DB 85796; LB 08948

Title: HOMO DEUS: A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOMORROW
Author: HARARI, YUVAL N

Author of Sapiens (DB 81335) examines the grand projects, dreams, and nightmares facing the human race at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Discusses changing economies, the role of faith systems, and humanity’s interconnectedness with the world around itself. Translated from the original 2015 Hebrew edition. Bestseller. 2017.
DB 87653 (In Process)

Exciting New Assistive Technology Alternatives

Exciting developments in the field of Assistive Technology include lower cost or free alternatives, and the ability to use mainstream products in place of expensive devices designed specifically for people with disabilities.

Here are two examples of free or lower cost alternatives to expensive assistive technology products:

1) Microsoft has developed the Office Lens Reader, a free app that can be used in place of the KNFB Reader. The Office Lens Reader is an app that uses your mobile phone’s camera to scan printed material and then read it aloud. For now, the Office Lens Reader is only available on IOS devices. For more information about the Office Lens Reader, click on this link: http://www.rsbc.org.uk/blogs/microsoft-office-lens-review-an-accessible-way-to-read-printed-documents/

2) Braille printers can be very expensive. Samsung has developed a Touchable Ink cartridge that will allow any commercial laser printer to create Braille. Although the Touchable Ink cartridge costs more than regular ink cartridges, most laser printers cost considerably less than a Braille printer: thousands of dollars for a Braille printer versus around one hundred dollars for a laser printer. For more information about the Touchable Ink cartridge, click here: https://www.geek.com/tech/samsungs-touchable-ink-prints-braille-using-any-laser-printer-1673209/

AI Squared ends sales of Window Eyes

The popular screen reader Window Eyes will no longer be sold in the United States and Canada, effective immediately. AI Squared will be offering JAWS 18 as a replacement for Window Eyes.

For more information about the migration process from Window Eyes to JAWS, please click here: www.gwmicro.com/window-eyes/migrate/

Note, the free Window-Eyes Offer for Users of Microsoft Office version is not part of the conversion program.

Presentation about Non 24 in Dallas

Non 24 is a sleep disorder that affects some people who are totally blind. The condition can make you feel sleepy during the day and can make it difficult for you to sleep through the night. The AFB Center on Vision Loss is offering a 45 minute presentation about Non 24. The seminar is free, and lunch is included. Attendees will also have the option for a private consultation.

Here are the details:
What: Non 24 presentation
When: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: American Foundation for the Blind Center on Vision Loss, 11030 Ables Lane, Dallas
RSVP to: Neva Fairchild: e-mail neva@afb.net or call 214-438-5316
Cost: free

Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation Mentor Program

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation offers a Peer & Family Support Program for individuals who have paralysis and their families or caregivers. The foundation matches persons who have been newly paralyzed, or are having difficulty copying with their condition, with individuals who can act as peer mentors.

The organization strives to match people who live close to each other and are similar in traits such as age, gender, ethnicity, cause of paralysis, and level of injury. If no one can be found that lives nearby, the mentor may communicate with an individual by phone, e-mail, or Skype.

To get started, contact the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation at 800-539-7309, or use the form available at: https://www.christopherreeve.org/get-support/get-a-peer-mentor

AGE of Central Texas Services

AGE, which stands for Austin Groups for the Elderly, provides a variety of free and fee-based services for elderly individuals and their families / caregivers in Central Texas.

Fee-based service:
AGE operates two adult day care centers, one in Austin and one in Round Rock

Free services:
Health Equipment Lending Program
AGE library / online resources
Quarterly ENGAGE newsletter
Personal consultations
Computer classes for seniors
Monthly caregiver support groups in Austin and Round Rock
Annual caregiver conferences in Austin and Round Rock
Caregiver U classes, for caregivers and seniors, in Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties
Caregiver seminars and workshops, which are usually held four or five times per year

For more information on this beneficial resource, please contact AGE:
512-451-4611
info@ageofcentraltx.org
www.ageofcentraltx.org