The Braille Monitor                                                                                               _June 1997

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New Web Services Available:

The Greater San Antonio Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Texas is pleased to announce the start-up of its World Wide Web Site. You can visit us at As a service to the blind community part of this site will contain a list of Braille transcription groups. In the short time we have had the site online, we have posted a number of interested individuals and Braille-producing organizations on our site. The best part is that the service is free.

Part of this site is also a bulletin board where blind people who wish to post their resumes on the World Wide Web can do so free of charge. You need not be a member of the NFB in order to avail yourself of this service. Supplementary material in the form of task descriptions (information detailing how you have done or will do the job you are seeking), photographs, midi files, audio files, or film clips with a maximum length of 30 seconds are welcome, and we will post them as disk space permits. You could also send us the URL of the site where this material resides so we can link to it. Our only other requirements are that your audio or video material be directed toward getting a job and that it be in good taste (something that everyone can enjoy).

If you would like to list your business or your resume on our site, please send the information to us in an ASCII, Microsoft Word 6.0, or HTML file on a 3.5-inch diskette. We will put you on the web as quickly as possible. You can e mail us at Our postal mailing address is Peter Donahue, Secretary, Greater San Antonio Chapter, National Federation of the Blind of Texas, 100 Lorenz Road, Apt. 1205, San Antonio, Texas 78209, phone, (210) 554-9454. Please leave us a message, and we will return your call. We hope these services will benefit you. The San Antonio Chapter looks forward to serving you.

Braille Music Transcription Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Dancing Dots specializes in Braille music transcription. Their software-based service is much, much quicker than traditional methods. Dancing Dots can transcribe a printed score or your MIDI or Lime notation files. Contact them for details, a rate schedule, and an order form. In most cases your Braille music will be returned to you in two weeks or less.

The translator has been designed to provide music Braille that conforms to the standards set by the Music Committee of the Braille Authority of North America. Send your print score, Lime notation file, or MIDI file. They will use GOODFEEL to convert these files to music Braille. They will input print scores into the Lime notation editor and then translate the resultant Lime file using GOODFEEL. Transcriptions can be returned as embossed Braille or as an ASCII text file. All first-time orders will receive a discount.

$3.25 per Braille page transcribed from computer files, $4.75 per Braille page transcribed from print score, $3 minimum handling charge per order, $20 per hour rate for set up (prorated to the quarter hour, typically fifteen to thirty minutes). $2 per volume, optional binding fee, $.75 per page for additional copies. Written estimate provided for large jobs.

For more information contact Dancing Dots, 130 Hampden Road, Third Floor, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 19082-3110, (610) 352-7607, fax (610) 352-4582, e-mail URL:


Lois Montgomery, Secretary of the Bix Beiderbecke Chapter of the NFB of Iowa, reports her chapter's election of new officers. They are Deb Smith, President; Mary Hartle Smith, Vice President; Lois Montgomery, Secretary; Mike Smith, Treasurer; and Teresa Gregg, Board member.

Children's Books in Braille Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The following books are available in Braille from the Louis Braille Center: A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, $10; Winnie-the-Pooh, $15; The House at Pooh Corner, $18; and When We Were Very Young, $10; all by A.A. Milne. Ask for a free catalog in Braille or print. Please note our new address is Louis Braille Center, 320 Dayton Street, Suite 125, Edmonds, Washington 98020 3590. Phone (206) 776-4042, fax (206) 778-2384, e-mail: lbc

Useful Audio Tapes Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

For people who find conventional explanations of computer operation or the Internet bewildering, there is good news now in the form of a two-cassette audio package that can make the basic concepts and terms of computers and the Internet understandable to virtually anyone. Internet Explained--Short & Sweet, new in September, '95, is for people who want to understand what the Internet phenomenon is all about, whether they choose to become cybernauts or not. This often humorous one-hour audio tape explains the Internet concept in terms clearly understandable to the non techie. $12.95.

60 Minutes Towards Computer Literacy makes basic computer concepts and terms understandable to virtually anybody through a series of non-technical, non-threatening, and highly imaginative analogies to which everyone can relate. Praised and recommended by publications such as PC Novice, Home Office Computing, Library Journal, Modern Office Technology, and Law Practice Management. Used by thousands of individuals, business and professional offices, libraries, schools, and governmental agencies, $12.95.

To order, call BusinessFilm International at (800) 260 7717, fax (203) 968-2255, or write 1397 Hope St., Stamford, Connecticut 06907.

For Sale:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

For sale, Braille 'n Speak, Classic, without calculator, used very little, in good condition with carrying case, line cords, tape tutorials, manual, Braille cord book. $600 or best offer.

Contact Phil Copeland at (216) 324-2520 or (216) 365 7970, or write to 110 Indiana Avenue, Elyria, Ohio 44035.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Peggy Chong]

Useful Chapter Project:

Peggy Chong, President of the Metro Chapter of the NFB of Minnesota, reports that her chapter took time during its March meeting to tell each other about products and services they had found useful. They then compiled Braille and print lists and distributed them at the April meeting. Very few of the products or services had anything to do with blindness, yet they were useful alternatives that many of the chapter members did not know about.

It all started when one chapter member wanted to visit relatives over Thanksgiving in a small Minnesota town. But she could not get a Greyhound bus there. After talking with the Chamber of Commerce in that town, she discovered a van service that would take her from the Minnesota/St. Paul Airport to the little town. She then passed that information on to other members of the chapter.

Soon more ideas were being shared. The list turned out to be six print pages long. It included transportation alternatives, grocery stores that deliver, the phone number for the movie information line, catalogs that carry talking items, transcribers in our area, a source for 5-by-7-inch Rolodex cards, and much more.

Peggy says, "Everyone got involved. It was a fun project for our chapter, and we learned a lot about our community."

Searching the Internet with AltaVista:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Now available from National Braille Press, The AltaVista Search Revolution: How to Find Anything on the Internet (three volumes), $18.99. Millions of users are already taking advantage of this powerful search engine-which also happens to be accessible with speech or Braille.

Perhaps you are plagued by a few words of what may be a song or a poem or a passage in a book. You don't know who wrote it or when. With AltaVista, you just enter the words you know, and it finds what you are looking for anywhere on the Internet. AltaVista is a web site, not a piece of software. If you have access to the Net, you have access to AltaVista.

Order from National Braille Press, 88 St. Stephen Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02115 or call toll-free (800) 548-7323. Major credit cards accepted.

Reading on the Air:

WRBH is sponsoring a Braille-on-the-air week. WRBH is a non-profit radio station broadcasting twenty-four hours a day translating the written word into the spoken word. We read everything from the TV Guide to the daily newspaper; best sellers; our book of the month; and articles from various magazines, including the Braille Monitor.

If you would be interested in reading on the air, please contact the station for a copy of an audition page that you can read onto a cassette. Read in a clear voice and include your name, address, and phone number and send it to Diana S. Ahern, 3606 Magazine St., New Orleans, Louisiana 70115, or call (504) 899-1144 or (504) 888-5509.

This opportunity will do a lot to promote the use of Braille; and, who knows, some of you good readers may find a new career. We also include children, so submit your audition tapes.

Unabridged Audio Fiction Available:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Dercum Audio is a company producing quality unabridged audio fiction. Their offerings fall into five main genres: mystery, science fiction, horror, fantasy, and classic literature. Authors in the collection include Dickens, Poe, Mark Twain, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Jules Verne, etc. Dercum Audio also has exclusive anthology collections, including four all new editions and the first ever audio edition of Ayn Rand's classic, Anthem. Dercum Audio is known for its quality recordings. These are now being further enhanced by digital re-mastering, so Dercum titles will sound better than ever. A new catalog of titles has just become available.

To order call (800) 327-5113 or check out the Web site:


The Greater San Diego Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of California reports its April 1, 1997, results. The new officers are Brian Miller, President; Joseph Lopez, Vice President; James Lyons, Treasurer, Dominique Platero, Secretary; and John Miller and Ivan Weich, Board members.

Grant Award Made:

We recently received a press release announcing the following information:

Bayer Animal Health, a division of the Bayer Corporation, has awarded a grant to Ed and Toni Eames to continue their mission of educating veterinary students about the needs of clients with disabilities, particularly those partnered with guide, hearing, and service dogs. The grant will underwrite the costs of lecturing at six veterinary schools in 1997.

Ed Eames, Ph.D., and Toni Eames, M.S., are adjunct professors of sociology at California State University, Fresno. They have co-authored a book about guide dog training programs in the United States and Canada. Their publications as columnists for Dog World Magazine have earned them top awards from the Dog Writers Association of America. A number of these columns will appear in a book, Partners in Independence, to be published by Howell Book House in 1997.

In their endeavor to sensitize the veterinary community about disabled clients, Ed and Toni Eames have visited thirteen of the twenty-seven veterinary schools in the United States. Bayer's grant will enable them and their golden retriever guide dogs, Echo and Escort, to travel to programs not previously visited. It will also enable them to return to previously visited colleges where a new generation of students has enrolled.

Bayer Animal Health is pleased to make this grant as part of its mission of fostering the role of the veterinarian in enhancing the human/companion animal bond. Toni and Ed Eames can be contacted at 3376 North Wishon, Fresno, California 93703-4832, (209) 224-0544.


Alyce Bouy and Clint Hickman of the Pueblo Chapter of the NFB of Colorado, report the chapter's recent election of officers. They are Alyce Bouy, President; Clint Hickman, Vice President; Don Kayganich, Secretary; and Treva Bright, Treasurer. The Board members are Elaine Kayganich, Christine Daniels, and Mike Massey.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Donna Siebert, 1945 to 1997]

In Memoriam:

Sharon Gold, President of the NFB of Sacramento, writes: I am saddened to tell you that Donna Siebert passed away on April 1, 1997, from severe diabetic complications. In early 1980 I received a telephone call from Richard Edlund, who was then President of the NFB of Kansas. Dick told me that Donna and her husband Richard were moving to California, that they were active members of the Kansas affiliate, that Donna was a good NFB worker, and that I should meet her and put her to work as soon as they arrived in California. I did just that. Over the years Donna served on many NFB of California committees and as the Treasurer of our state affiliate. She was a leader in our Diabetic Chapter and the National Diabetic Division. She also served as the President and Treasurer of the NFB of Sacramento. For many years Donna made a weekly trip by light rail and bus from her home in Carmichael to the NFB of California office, where she prepared literally thousands of envelopes, cassette tapes, and other pieces of mail for the NFB of California. Donna's health began to fail several years ago, which forced her gradually to curtail many of her NFB activities; however, unless Donna was in the hospital, she and her husband Richard faithfully attended chapter meetings. While Donna's presence and faithfulness will be forever missed in the NFB, Rich continues to be active; in fact, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the NFB of Sacramento. Our condolences go to Rich in his sorrow.

Tandem Bike Rental at Yosemite:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

The bicycle rental concession at Yosemite National Park has acquired a tandem bicycle for use by blind or visually impaired persons. You must provide your own sighted pilot. Since only one tandem is available at this time, advance reservations are strongly encouraged. For further information and reservations, contact Joe Alfano at (209) 372-1208.

Kurzweil Introduces a Free Demo Disk for Omni 1000 Software:

We have been asked to carry the following announcement:

Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc. (KESI) announces the release of a demo disk for its Omni 1000 software. Now, anyone with the proper hardware can try the Omni 1000 free of charge and realize the benefits of this advanced PC-based reading system for people who are blind or visually impaired from Ray Kurzweil.

"Twenty years ago, I founded the reading technology industry with the Kurzweil Reading Machine, the first print-to-speech reader," said Mr. Kurzweil, KESI Chairman and CEO. "Now KESI is reinventing reading technology with Omni 1000. We see opportunities to give people who are blind or visually impaired greater freedom, independence, and enjoyment by providing a reading system that is easy to use and more technologically advanced than any other product currently available."

A fully-functioning version of the actual software, the Omni 1000 demo disk will run for thirty minutes at a time for two full weeks. After that, it will automatically de install. Omni 1000 is the only system with a talking dictionary, document management capabilities, batch scanning, and the ability to read multi-column text easily. Additional features include highly accurate opticalcharacter recognition (OCR), twelve reading personalities, the clearest synthetic speech available, and voice commands.

Please note that for the demo to perform at its optimum level, the following hardware is required: a pentium processor, 32MB of RAM, 1.2GB of hard disk storage, a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, a 17-button keypad, a color scanner, speech synthesis, speakers, and a microphone.

For a free demo or more information about Omni 1000 and other leading-edge reading solutions for people with disabilities, contact KESI at 411 Waverley Oaks Road, Waltham, Massachusetts 02154, (800) 894-5374, and fax (617) 893-4157. Send e-mail to or visit KESI's Web site at


Larry Povinelli, President of the Potomac Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia, reports his chapter's April 9, 1997, election results. The new officers are Larry Povinelli, President; Seville Allen, First Vice President; Jerry Yeager, Second Vice President; Cathy Schroeder, Recording Secretary; Carol Cooper, Corresponding Secretary; and Bob Hartt, Treasurer. The Board members are Melissa Ressnick, Rajiv Shah, and Michael Reese.

[PHOTO/CAPTION: Victor Gonzalez (left) stands with NFB of West Virginia President Ed McDonald (center) and Progressive Blind of Clarksburg Chapter President Jack McIntire (right).]

Forty Years of Board Service:

In March, 1997, the Clarksburg Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind of West Virginia celebrated its fortieth anniversary. The Board of Directors of the West Virginia affiliate is comprised of representatives from each chapter. In 1957 Victor Gonzalez was elected as the Clarksburg representative to the Board. He has served in that role ever since. In addition, he has held every elective office in the chapter and, since 1960, has chaired an NFB committee that meets regularly with the state agency serving the blind. Congratulations to Victor Gonzalez for a long and distinguished career of service in the West Virginia affiliate.