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Archive for the ‘Accessibility’ Category

CEO George Buys on to Bigger and Better Things

Monday, March 15th, 2010


It is with deep sorry that I inform you that the Founder and CEO of Talking Communities, George Buys, passed away this afternoon from complications of emphysema. An online memorial service will be held at a yet to be disclosed date.

 

George was a believer in relationships, but the secret to his relationships was that he did everything to try and make it unequal. He always tried to end up with less than the other person. We, at Talking Communities, will try to continue to live up to the standard that George has set, always making sure our customers, partners, and friends get more from us than we get from them. And until we meet again, we wish George success in his new endeavors and know that those now surrounding him will benefit from the wonderful man he is. He will be sorely missed.

 

An Online Memorial Service and celbration of George’s life will be held in the Accessible World Teck Talk room on March 23rd, 2010 at 8:00 pm EST. All are invited:
http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rs5affc3cfa191

 

Technology: Where to Spend your Money, if at All

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

There is a common misperception that spending more money on technology will yield less technical problems. I recently had two experiences that epitomize this reality:

I have had the opportunity lately to do some work with the local university here in town, and specifically in their Distance Education classrooms. The university is equipped with Polycom compressed video units and audio-conferencing systems. The professor, located about 60 miles away, sat in front of a camera and was broadcast across a T3 connection to the classroom. Likewise, the classroom was broadcast back to the professor, who at any time could switch from broadcasting himself, to broadcasting his local students, to broadcasting his computer screen, which usually just meant a PowerPoint slide. All of this was displayed on the wall from projectors mounted in the ceiling. The whole system, centralized at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, cost over $20,000 to implement, not to mention the cost of maintaining it. The Internet connection was run through dedicated lines provided by WiscNet, with bandwidth “guaranteed” by the Cisco routers specifically for the Distance Education classrooms. Multiple tests were done prior to the start of the school year, coordinated by the CIO in Madison.

With all of this, you would expect some pretty impressive technological results, right? Well, as of the first class, the quality of the transmissions appeared more like a poor Youtube webcam video than a high-tech video-conference. The video was shifting from 2 to 12 frames per second and freezing for up to 5 seconds at a time. At one point in a class, the PowerPoint slides remained frozen for almost 15 minutes until they magically suddenly started appearing again. Statistics showed over 100,000 packets dropped over the course of a single class transmission. And audio sounded like a cheap cell phone going through a tunnel.

Cutting-edge technology, competent technicians, and the best Internet connection available, and it still had serious problems. Clearly, money does not purchase you technology that never fails, or at least has issues. However, I mentioned the one component here, which is worth the cost, and that is the competency of the technicians that support the technology. Within a couple days and a few rounds of tests, the issue was discovered. The culprit? A $2 cable from one of the routers in the middle of the path between the sites. With the cable replaced, the quality jumped to the expected level instantly.

The second experience I had is with one of our own competitors, the well-known WebEx. I recently participated in a conference over WebEx with our chief developer in Brazil, myself in Wisconsin, and two development partners in California. I was accessing the meeting on a Dell Dimension with 1 GB of Ram. Not the most robust computer in the world, but certainly, I thought, good enough for this participant role. I noticed immediately when the WebEx application launched that my computer started running at sloth speed. The computer became basically unusable while using WebEx. I checked Task Manager and saw the WebEx app using 70% to 100% of my CPU, leaving virtually nothing for any other multi-tasking. Meanwhile, Keith, in California was remotely accessing our chief developer’s computer in Brazil, which happened to be an Intel dual-core Vista machine with 4 GB of Ram. Surely, there should be no problems here, but about 20 minutes into the meeting, the application crashed, causing our developer’s machine to freeze, require an “end task” from within Task Manager and knocking him out of the meeting.

Clearly, even the industry’s leader, and one of the most expensive services in web-conferencing, is far from a guarantee of no technical issues. Imagine when you have 20 or 30 or 100 different computers, on different Internet connections, running different operating systems and different configurations, how many things can, and almost inevitably go wrong. The truth is, no matter how expensive e product or service in the technology field is, you will always have technical issues to deal with.

So why pay more? Well, if you know you are going to have some technical issues with this stuff no matter who you go with, then it behooves you to find the service which best handles your technical issues, doesn’t it? I mean, in the end you are not buying the technology, you are buying the service. So you should buy the one that meets your needs, and best responds to your concerns and difficulties when you have them.

In the end, technology is just circuits and code that when put together create a tool that is supposed to help you do a job. Sure, not all tools are the same, so make sure you buy a tool that will get your job done. But if you want to know whether you are getting your money’s worth in service, look at the people behind the tools and see if they are accessible and helpful. See if they go the extra mile in trying to get your specific issue resolved. Because when the tool is not working, you are going to have to deal with the people, and that’s when you know whether the money you have been paying has been going into making their product better or into make your productivity better, or both.

To try Talking Communities web conferencing for free check out http://www.talkingcommunities.com

How Web-Conferencing Technology Really Works

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

As part of my job as President of Talking Communities, I oversee our tech support department. We don’t get a lot of tech support calls, but we have a few every day. Most of them are simply a “training” issue in which people do not know how to do something in the conferencing system, but some are truly technical challenges. Sometimes, we are able to find problems on specific user’s computers and resolve them, such as a bad sound driver, a spyware infection, or a personal firewall blocking access. Many times, however, there is no direct evidence as to what caused the issue. When we investigate these cases throroughly, what we often find is that technology just isn’t perfect, and when one tiny piece fails along the way, problems results. Unfortunately, many of those pieces are things we, and our customers, have little or no control over.

Technologies used in a web conference:
When you log onto a Talking Communities conference room, you are combining a lot of technology to make the virtual conference come to life. The client software installed and running on your computer is using built-in codecs installed in Windows to convert voice from your sound card into data. The sound card, manufactured by companies like Creative Labs, use specialized software called “drivers” to work. The data is then sent from your computer using a “winsock” connection, another component of Windows to your router through your network card (hardware installed in your computer and using special Windows drivers developed by the manufacturer of the network card, such as 3Comm). The router may be a D-Link, Linksys, Belkin, or another brand and uses its own hardware, software, and firmware to relay the data to your modem. The modem, provided by your Internet provider also uses hardware and software to connect via your phone line or cable to the ISP. Once the data reaches the ISP, it passes through firwalls (more hardware) to other routers (maintained by companies like Cisco) . It then reaches the Internet and gets sent out to more and more routers in different locations. These routers are maintained by “backbone providers”, such as AT&T, Sprint, Global Crossing, and many others. After passing through maybe 8 or 10 routers across the country or across the world, the data finally reaches our data center, where it again passes through firewalls (maintained by our data center provider) and finally reaches our server.

 It is only at this point that Talking Communities technology finally comes back into play. The data is replicated by our server software and sent out through our data center to all the participants connected in the conference room. It then repeats the above process, in reverse, to reach the client software running on each participant’s computer where the client turns the data back into voice and plays it for the participant to hear.

So, as you can see, there is a lot of technology involved in this process. There are a variety of companies involved in this process. Some such companies may be as Microsoft, 3Com, SoundMax, Creative Labs, D-Link, Linksys, Belkin, 2-Wire, AT&T, Verizon, Norton, MaCafee, AOL, Sprint, One and One, Siemens, Cisco, Time-Warner, and so on. In fact, routers running on the Internet have software and firmware developed by many other 3-party companies, and even our own software uses some third-party software for certain tasks. In all, every packet sent and received involves maybe 50 or 60 different companies of hardware and software components, and service providers. Any one of these could have a problem somewhere and cause packets to be “dropped”.

Packets “dropped”, meaning the data did not arrive to the other side, can cause a variety of issues. The most obvious would be break-up in voice. But it could also result in a signal being “lost” and locking up the queue so that no one can speak in the room. This issue, by the way, is easily remedied by a moderator clicking “clear speaker”. It can also result in a participant not receiving a slide presented, or in sever cases, a person being “bumped” from the room or a client crash.

If you think about everything that has to come together and work correctly for web-conferencing to work perfectly, it is pretty amazimg that all these technologies are actually able to work so well together and not have more issues than we do. But this is why we sometimes have a hard time nailing down exactly where the problem lies. Many times, the problem a customer is experiencing has nothing to do with our software or service, but is a problem with one of these other components that is involved in the process.

Unlike many other companies in the industry, however, we at Talking Communities will not simply pawn off the problem to someone else. Although we cannot directly support other hardware and software, our tech support agents have a great deal of experience in working through issues with these components and will assist each and every individual to resolve his or her specific problem.

To experience Web-Conferencing yourself, visit http://www.talkingcommunities.com

Free OPAL Online Programs in July

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Greetings, Everyone.

It’s summertime, and the livin’ is Easy — Easy Rawlins, that is. 

The free, live, online OPAL programs for July feature a discussion of the history behind the Declaration Independence, a casual conversation with Greg Schwartz, the man behind all that Uncontrolled Vocabulary, a discussion of the new book about the tempestuous courtship and marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd, a new monthly series for small, independent investors, an overview of OPAL, and, last but not least, a discussion of Blonde Faith, the tenth Easy Rawlins mystery by Walter Mosley. 

Details about dates and times are below.  To access these and all upcoming live OPAL online events, please visit

http://www.opal-online.org/progschrono.htm

Everyone in the world is welcome to attend these presentations and discussions.  There are no registration fees, registration forms, pre-tests, post-tests, etc.  Just join us online.  If the date and time of a live online event doesn’t  fit into your schedule, rest assured that we will try to record, archive, and podcast these events. 

  • Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 6:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:
    •  
        Everybody knows we celebrate the 4th of July because that’s the day we declared independence. But there’s more to the Declaration of Independence story than just one day or even just one document. Library of Congress Digital Reference Specialists Ken Drexler and Mark Hall will show the Declaration of Independence as it evolved from an idea to an event, looking at a variety of drafts and editions of Declaration and related documents.
    • Declaring Independence: Beyond the Fourth of July

      Host: Library of Congress

      Online Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

  • Friday, July 11, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      A Casual Conversation with Greg Schwartz

      Greg Schwartz is the Library Systems Manager at the Louisville Free Public Library, a blogger at Open Stacks, and the host with the most at Uncontrolled Vocabulary, a live weekly Internet-based audio program.

      The Casual Conversations series is designed to be up-close and personal from a respectable online distance. While there are many conferences (in-person, online, and in-world) where librarians can hear leaders in the field make formal presentations about interesting projects, there are few opportunities to hear these same leaders discuss informally what they currently are working on, their future plans and goals, the challenges and opportunities facing librarianship, their personal pet peeves, etc.

      Host: TAP Information Services

      Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

  • Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 8:00 Central, 7:00 Mountain, 6:00 Pacific, and 1:00 a.m. Thursday GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      Book Discussion of The Lincolns: Portrait of a Marriage by Jason Epstein

      He was tall, uncouth, prone to melancholy, and from a poor, wandering family. She was short, cultured, full of spunk, and from a prominent Kentucky family. When they met in Springfield, Illinois, sparks flew. After several years of an on-off-and-on-again engagement, they finally married, eventually becoming the First Family. Come join in the discussion of the fascinating, enigmatic relationship between Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln.

      Host: TAP Information Services

      Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

  • Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      Spudini: The Monthly Cultivation of the Small Potatoes Investor

      If you, like me, are a small, individual investor with lots to learn, feel free to join in this monthly discussion of the triumphs, tragedies, and heartbreak of small-time investing. This month we’ll be digging into the classic beginner’s book, The Wealthy Barber, to try to unearth some financial freedom fries.

      Host: TAP Information Services

      Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

  • Tuesday, July 22, 2008 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 1:00 Central, noon Mountain, 11:00 a.m. Pacific, and 7:00 p.m. GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      An Overview of OPAL

      Tom Peters, the OPAL Coordinator, will lead a demonstration and discussion of OPAL as a many splendored thing: easy, affordable, accessible web conferencing for libraries and other organizations; free live online programs and events for everyone worldwide; an archive of informative and entertaining recordings and podcasts; and a federation of innovative member organizations spanning the globe. If you’ve always wondered about OPAL but were afraid to ask, fear no more!

      Host: TAP Information Services

      Location: OPAL Online Auditorium

  • Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 8:00 Central, 7:00 Mountain, 6:00 Pacific, and 1:00 a.m. Thursday GMT/UTC/Zulu:
      Book Discussion of the detective novel Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley

      Set in L.A. in 1967, this tenth (and perhaps last) novel in the Easy Rawlins series finds Easy dealing with the loss of the love of his life, Bonnie. He also must find two of his friends, Raymond (”Mouse”) Alexander and Christmas Black, before those who are hunting them do.

      This discussion is part of the ongoing series of casual book discussions called “Waiting for the Other Gumshoe to Drop,” focussing on American and British hard-boiled detective fiction.

      This discussion will also be held in Second Life at Mystery Manor on Info Island. You may participate in OPAL, in Second Life, or both!

      NLS Audiobook number in process.

      Host: TAP Information Services

      Location: OPAL Online Auditorium 
       

  • Tom Peters, OPAL Coordinator

    Accessible World Sponsors Goalball - 2008 Malmo Lady Inter Cup, live this weekend from Malmo, Sweden - May 1 through 4

    Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

    Accessible  World News Wire April 28, 2008 Indianapolis, Indiana USA

    It’s goalball time once more!
     
    The “Road to Beijing” passes through Malmo, Sweden, this weekend, with eleven nations meeting in the Malmo Lady Inter Cup 2008, and you can hear every game live and for free!

    The finest lady goalball athletes will be competing over a three day period, each vying to be the Champion, and give themselves an extra boost before the Paralympics in September.
     
    The action begins at the FIFH-Hallen in Malmo on Friday morning local time (which for those of you on the East Coast of the USA is in the very early hours of Thursday morning), and goes on though to the completion on Sunday
    afternoon local time.

    The live audio broadcasts performed by the Audio Network are done through the auditorium chat rooms of Accessible World, and video feeds are made possible by the marvelous efforts of the organizing team in Sweden.

    Listening is free of charge, and you do not need a password. You do need to install a small program called “Talkcom” that opens up the chat room for you, but this take seconds even on a slower computer, and definitely does
    not contain anything that would harm your computer in any way.

    If you have listened before, chances are that you already have the program still sitting on your computer, and you should not be prompted to download it.
     
    Here is how to get set up to listen.

    This event is co-sponsored by Talking Communities (http://talkingcommunities.com) which provides the web-conferencing technology for the event.
    You will find a link below that will take you to the page where you can listen live.

    http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rs5affc3cfa191 
     
    If you have listened to our audio commentaries previously, click on the link at the bottom of the page that says “Click here to enter the room” - it will ask for a user name and password. You do not need to enter a password! Just
    enter in your name.

    If you have not listened before, then click on the download button to download the small (and safe) Talkcom software. The software will prompt you to either “run” or “save” - click on “run”. The install wizard will install
    the “TC conference client” - the ‘Sunday name’ for Talkcom, and will tell you when it is finished. When it has finished, click on the “continue” button, and then you are ready to click to enter the room.

    If you have any problems, please contact me here at this e-mail address.
     
    See you there!

    Bill.
    Full Schedule of events with local Swedish times (GMT +1 hour, EST -6 hours)

    Friday 2nd May

    08.30 A1 Canada The Netherlands             

    09.15 B1 United States Russia  

    10.00 A1 Germany Denmark            

    10.45 B1 Sweden 1 China    

    11.30 A1 Greece Sweden 2           

    12.15 B1 Spain Finland

    13.00 A2 Denmark Canada

    13.45 B2 China United States   

    14.30 A2 The Netherlands Greece

    15.15 B2 Russia Spain    

    16.00 A2 Sweden 2 Germany            

    16.45 B2 Finland Sweden 1           

    17.30 A3 Greece Denmark            
    Saturday 3rd May

    08.30 B3 Spain China    

    09.15 A3 The Netherlands Sweden 2           

    10.00 B3 Russia Finland

    10.45 A3 Canada Germany            

    11.30 B3 United States Sweden 1           

    12.15 A4 Sweden 2 Canada

    13.00 B4 Finland United States   

    13.45 A4 Germany Greece

    14.30 B4 Sweden 1 Spain    

    15.15 A4 Denmark The Netherlands             

    16.00 B4 China Russia  

    16.45 A5 Canada Greece

    17.30 B5 United States Spain    
    Sunday 4th May

    08.15 A5 Denmark Sweden 2           

    09.00 B5 China Finland

    09.45 A5 The Netherlands Germany            

    10.30 B5 Russia Sweden 1           

    11.50 Semi 1st Pool A 2nd Pool B          

    12.40 Semi 1st Pool B 2nd Pool A         

    14.00 3rd

    14.50 Final                                      

    EASI Webinars for March:

    Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

     Brought to you by Talking Communities Web Conferencing and Webcast services (http://talkingcommunities.com

    There are 3 different Webinar formats: Snapshots are short and focused, Webinars are hour-long public presentations and Webinar series are 4-part, fee-based detailed training running for 4 sequential weeks.  You can read more and register online at:
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Webinar Snapshot: What is an Accessible Vodcast? (March 5)
    Webinar Snapshot: FireFox Browser Extensions (March 19)
    Webinar: Tips and Tricks for Scanning Text (March 6 hour-long)
    Webinar: Updating NLS Library of Congress Uses of Digital Book Formats
    (March 20 hour long)
    Webinar 4-part Series: Creating Accessible and Usable PDF Documents
    (starting March 11)

    Snapshot: What is an Accessible Vodcast?
    Wed. March 5 - 2PM EASTERN (New York) Time
    Presenter: Dick Banks
    Dick Banks explains what Vodcasts are and what devices will display them. He will also explain how to add streaming captions to them that will display on small hand-held players.
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Hour-long Webinar: Tips and Tricks for Scanning Text
    Thursday, March 6 - 2PM EASTERN (New York) Time
    Presenter: Doug Powles
    The idea of converting printed materials to text is certainly not new. The technology that makes that possible has certainly changed.

    This hour long presentation will discuss tips and tricks of scanning materials and getting more accurate results. Things like paper quality, type quality and methods to improve results will be discussed.
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Snapshot: FireFox Browser Extensions
    Wed. March 19 - 2PM EASTERN (New York) Time
    Presenter: Dick Banks
    Firefox is the browser of choice for more and more people because it is not as vulnerable to hacking. Like Internet Explorer, it has many extensions that enhance its uses including helping developers evaluate and test Web pages for Accessibility.
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Open Webinar: Updating NLS Library of Congress Uses of Digital Book Formats
    Thursday, March 20 - 2PM EASTERN (New York) Time Presenters will include:
    Lloyd Rasmussen, Acting Head, Engineering Section
    National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and 3 consumers who have been part of the pilot digital book test group will discuss their experiences with the new audio DAISY format The Library of Congress National Library Service has been providing books in special formats such as Braille and talking books for well over half a century. NLS is currently starting to produce new books in a digital audio format with DAISY type navigation. During 2007 it has been conducting a pilot trial with a number of users who were provided a special player and who have been downloading books from the Web. NLS will be issuing new players to its regular customers this year and opening the new digital books for general use.
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Webinar Series: Creating Accessible and Usable PDF Documents
    Tuesday March 11, 18, 25 and April 1 (2PM EASTERN)
    (This fee-based series is free to all EASI annual Webinar members)
    PDF or portable document format is a very popular document type. It was conceived as an electronic way to produce documents with the look and feel of a highly designed print document. It gave the page designer almost total control over how the page would look on anyone’s computer monitor. It also began as actually being a picture of the page rather than containing actual text. This was totally inaccessible for someone using a screen reader as there was no text as such just a picture of the text. Adobe has continually worked to make the product richer and more flexible. Screen readers can handle it for the most part and screen magnification software can also enlarge the text without distorting it. Because the various creation software are so many and so rich, the page creator needs to know a bit about PDF formatting and about the accessibility issues and their solutions.  For anyone wanting to create quality and more complex PDF documents, there is a need to learn the features provided in Acrobat.  Karen McCall has published on PDF accessibility and is a beta tester for Adobe.
    March 11: Week One: Getting Our Bearings
    March 18: Week Two: Tagging and Repair Tools
    March 25: Week three: Intermediate Techniques
    April 1 : Week Four: The Next Step
    Full description of these lessons is at:
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    You can also read about EASI annual Webinar membership at:
    http://easi.cc/sub.htm

    Norman Coombs
    CEO EASI
    http://easi.cc

    ———————–
    Check out EASI’s New Synchronous Clinics:
    http://easi.cc/clinic.htm

    Accessible World Sponsors Kalamazoo Goalball Tournament Play by Play Live Online March 1 and 2, 2008

    Friday, February 29th, 2008

    Accessivle World News Wire February 27, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana USA

    I am delighted to announce that the Audio Network will begin this year’s “road to Beijing 2008″ with our first live broadcast of the season this weekend, The 24th Annual USABA Midwest Regional Goalball Tournament, coming from the WMU Student Resource Center in Kalamazoo Michigan.

    The tournament, known also as the John Bakos Memorial Tournament, features fifteen of the finest men’s and women’s goalball teams in the USA, playing not only for championship glory, but for qualification for the US National Tournament in Utah later this year, and of course, hoping to catch the selector’s eye for the US national teams bound for the Paralympics in Beijing in September.

    We will be bringing you live action from start to finish, courtesy (as usual) of our friends at the accessibleworld.org

    We will be online live from 9am EST (2pm GMT, 6am Pacific) on Saturday March 1st, with the whole day’s round robin action, and then we will be back on Sunday from around about the same time, right through to the crowning of the champions in the early afternoon.

    The actual schedule has yet to be finalized at the time of writing, but you can keep in touch, and find out how to listen live by going to the following address.

    http://sports.pressakey.net/k2008

    You will be able to listen to the entire event, live, and free of course, by pressing number 1 from this page, or clicking on the visual link below the audio player. This will take you to the accessible world auditorium. Whilst in the auditorium, during the event, you will hear the commentary, and also be able to text chat with others listening in.  When you enter the room, it asks for your name and a password - you do not have to put a password in, just add your name and leave the password blank.

    If you have not used the auditorium before, you must first download a small plugin on your computer. This is available on the page when you press number 1 on your keyboard. It is a small, unobtrusive little program that makes the whole thing work. You only have to go through this operation once. If you have any problems, send an e-mail to us by pressing number 2 on your keyboard.

    The team lineups have been announced, and also this page, during the event, will include a full schedule of games, including results and reports on the games, keeping you right up to date with all that is happening.

    Women’s teams competing  -

    Colorado, Kentucky, New Jersey, GLASA, Illinois, WMU, Kalamazoo

    Men’s teams competing -

    Kentucky, PABA Venom, GLASA, Illinois, Ontario, WMU Red, WMU Black, NE
    Florida

    Please pass this on to as many people as possible!

    See you in Kalamazoo!

    This event is brought to you by Talking Communities - http://talkingcommunities.com - the leader in inovative, accessible web-conferencing and webcasting services.

    Seminars@Hadley Presents: Harvest the Benefits of Gardening

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

    Winnetka, IL-  Join Seminars@Hadley on Saturday, March 8, at 12:00 p.m. CST, 18:00 GMT, as we discuss gardening techniques useful for people with vision impairments.

    This informative discussion will prove helpful whether you have a green thumb or are just interested in getting started!

    George Abbott, dean of educational programs and instruction at Hadley, will moderate discussion between two experienced gardeners as they discuss garden planning, choosing and identifying plants, appropriate tools and hardware, and adaptive and safety techniques. Kathy Austin, BGS, is Coordinator of Adult Rehabilitation Services for the Chicago Guild for the Blind and an avid gardener for over 35 years. Kathy has made many adaptations to continue gardening due to gradual vision loss from Retinitis Pigmentosa. Ed Haines, a Hadley instructor for 15 years and an Itinerant Vision Rehabilitation Therapist has 30 years of gardening experience and is currently rehabilitating a 100 year old garden in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Ed also teaches Hadley’s Container Gardening course, available in the Adult Continuing Education and High School programs. This lively discussion will be followed by time for questions

    and answers. If you are unable to attend this Seminars@Hadley discussion and you want to learn more about Hadley’s container gardening course, please visit
    http://hadley.edu/CourseDetails.asp?course=GAR101 or call 800-323-4238.

    Registration is required by going to http://www.hadley.edu/seminar/ and following the “Registration” link. You will receive instructions on how to log in to the seminar.

    Please note registration will only be taken online, and not by phone. Please read the technology requirements listed below prior to the seminar.

    Technology requirements:
    The Hadley School for the Blind uses Talking Communities tcConference software (http://www.talkingcommunities.com) for its popular Seminars@Hadley, interactive seminars on a variety of topics. If you wish to participate in Seminars@Hadley, you must install the appropriate plug-in prior to the first login. To install the plug-in, follow the “Download and install the new plug-in” link on the Seminar Login page.

    System requirements: Windows98, ME, 2K, XP or 2003 (XP recommended) system, Pentium 3 500 MHz or better CPU, 512 MB RAM, Internet Explorer 6, 7 or FireFox, JavaScript and cookies enabled in the browser, 56K or faster Internet connection (broadband recommended), full duplex audio device, speakers, and microphone (optional).

    If you wish to be permanently removed from The Hadley School for the Blind mailing list, please send your request to unsubscribe@hadley.edu. Do not reply to this message. It was sent from an automated system and replies will not be answered.

    ####

    The Hadley School for the Blind is the single largest worldwide distance educator of blind and visually impaired people. Since its founding by William Hadley and Dr. E.V.L. Brown in 1920, all of Hadley’s distance education courses have been provided free of charge to blind and visually impaired students and their families. Today, the school serves more than 10,000 students annually in all 50 states and 100 countries.

    Hadley relies on contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations to fund its programs. Visit us on the Web at www.hadley.edu.

    Wired For Business! Strategies for incorporating Wireless Braille into your Technological Journey!

    Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

    Tek Talk Monday, March 3, 2008

    Accessible World News Wire:  February 24, 2008
    Indianapolis, Indiana USA
    You will not want to miss the upcoming Accessible World online Tek Talk training event as Larry Lewis, President of Flying Blind LLC, will be showcasing the entire line of wireless Braille displays manufactured by Baum Retek, a European-based manufacturer with decades of experience developing products for persons who are vision impaired. 

    The virtual audience will be taken on a tour of the hardware of these displays and will hear a demonstration of  methods for efficiently using these displays to wirelessly access a PC as well as Mobilespeak-equipped PDAs and Smartphones. 

    Additionally, Lewis will discuss how these displays have complimented his abilities to perform a variety of employment-related tasks in a number of settings and will be available to offer suggestions and guidance to participants as to how to incorporate the use of wireless, refreshable Braille into their own technological experiences.
    Date:  Monday, March 3, 2008

    Time: 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central, 8:00 p.m.
    Eastern and elsewhere in the world Tuesday 1:00 GMT.

    Where: Tek Talk Conference Room at:
    http://www.accessibleworld.org.
    or use the Direct Link:
    http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rsc9613dc89eb2

    All Tech Talk training events are recorded so if you are unable to participate live at the above times then you may download the presentation or podcast from the Tech Talk archives on our website at http://www.accessibleworld.org.

    All online interactive programs require no password, are free of charge, and open to anyone world wide having an Internet connection, a computer, speakers, and a sound card. Those with microphones can interact audibly with the presenters and others in the virtual audience.

    If you are a first-time user of the Talking Communities, http://www.talkingcommunities.com, online conferencing software, there is a small, safe software program that you need to download and then run.  A link to the software is available on every entry screen to the Accessible World online rooms.

    Sign up information for all Accessible World News Wires and discussion lists are also available at our website: http://www.accessibleworld.org.

    The Accessible World News Wire: February 19, 2008 Indianapolis, Indiana USA

    Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

    While Skype is an extremely popular way to interact with friends and colleagues world wide, until recently there seemed to be little knowledge as to how
    the conversations could be recorded and preserved for future reference. During the upcoming Tek Talk online event, sponsored by the Accessible World, attendees will have
    an opportunity to learn just what programs can perform this function.

    Rick Harmon, a recognized technology trainer, will discuss and demonstrate Callburner and several other recording methods now available.

    Date: Monday, February 25, 2008

    Time: 5:00 p.m. Pacific, 6:00 p.m. Mountain, 7:00 p.m. Central, 8:00 p.m. Eastern and elsewhere in the world Tuesday 1:00 GMT.

    Where: Tek Talk Conference Room at:
    http://www.accessibleworld.org.
    or use the Direct Link: http://conference321.com/masteradmin/room.asp?id=rsc9613dc89eb2

    All Tech Talk training events are recorded so if you are unable to participate live at the above times then you may download the presentation or podcast from the Tech Talk archives on our website at http://www.accessibleworld.org.

    All online interactive programs require no password, are free of charge, and open to anyone world wide having an Internet connection, a computer, speakers, and a sound card. Those with microphones can interact audibly with the presenters and others in the virtual audience.

    If you are a first-time user of the Talking Communities online conferencing software, there is a small, safe software program that you need to download and then run. A link to the software is available on every entry screen to the Accessible World online rooms.

    Sign up information for all Accessible World News Wires and discussion lists are also available at our website: http://www.accessibleworld.org.

    This free event is sponsored by Talking Communities Web Conferencing. http://www.talkingcommunities.com